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Hunting Mule Deer & Blacktail Wyoming

Man Charged Under Wyoming Felony Poaching Law

by Dylan Polk   |  April 2nd, 2012 26

Colton LappA 19-year-old Wyoming man is the first to face felony poaching charging under new state laws.

According to the Casper Star-Tribune, Colton Lapp faces five counts of felony poaching after allegedly killing four bucks and shooting at another near Thermopolis, Wyo., after being convicted of poaching twice before.

A Wyoming felony poaching law that took effect in July allows prosecutors, along with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, to charge offenders with a felony if they have been convicted of poaching three times within a 10-year period.

First-time offenders can only be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a one-year prison sentence, up to $10,000 in fines, loss of hunting and fishing privileges for up to five years, and forfeiture of anything used during the crime.

However, for each felony count stacked against him, Lapp faces up to two years in prison, fines between $5,000 and $10,000, as well as possible forfeiture of his right to vote, carry firearms or run for public office. If convicted, Lapp could spend up to 12 years in jail.

The Star-Tribune reports that Lapp shot a large buck in November 2010 and entered the head into a rack contest. Officials entered a search warrant for that buck, then discovered a second carcass. A subsequent investigation turned up two more people, and Lapp was charged as an accessory. He was found guilty as an accessory in April, then found guilty again of the first poaching in December.

Then, on Dec. 29, Wyoming game warden Matt Lentsch was investigating a poaching case near Thermopolis when he spotted Lapp’s truck with a gun in the window, and fresh animal blood and hair in the back. Under his probation agreement, Lapp was not allowed to possess firearms, but a search of his vehicle turned up more guns.

Lapp eventually confessed that he had shot and killed four deer and missed another, then cut the heads off three of the carcasses and dumped the bodies. Arrest records said Lapp told authorities he killed the deer to release “built-up anger and frustration.”

“This individual has repeatedly committed some of the most egregious wildlife violations,” said Wyoming chief game warden Brian Nesvik, adding that he believes a prison sentence would deter other poachers.

  • Guest

    12 years in jail….Seems Fair he had plenty of chances.

  • intelligent

    Hard to imagine anyone being stupid enough to continue to poach when he has been busted for it already. Go to McDonalds if you need meat that bad. Dumb ass.

    • Ghost

      From the way it reads he caped them out and dumped the rest. He didn't even have the decency to use the animals he killed illegally. Lock him up for as long as the law will allow!

      • Lance

        He didn't cape them he just cut thier heads off. This is a serial killer in the making!!!

  • Frank Paganini

    It might be one thing if a guy takes an animal to stay alive, but to take three animals for their heads and toss the rest out, he should be convicted on several counts. Gee can't run for public office that's pretty tough!! This guy should get minimum 5 yrs. for every animal. Otherwise what's the deterrent. People like this are depleteing the breed stock of a very precious source. If he has that much anger what the hell is he doing with a firearm in the first place.

  • me3401

    My first thoughts were to throw him under the jail and then throw away the keys. This person has no respect for the state game laws, or really laws in general.

    But then I look at what that will cost the rest of the citizens. 20 – 40 thousand dollars per year to keep him in prison. And what happens when he gets out? Nothing would have really changed.

    This kid needs some real help and he won't get it in prison. He really has not hurt another person, yet. Something needs to be done to turn him into a productive citizen (instead of being a parasite in prison).

    He should pay for his crimes, fines, loss of guns, loss of vehicles, etc. His actions should be monitored so he does not get the chance to wantonly kill animals.

    Throwing him in prison punishes the rest of us as much as it does him.

    • ed l

      throw him in jail and feed him the headless carcasses!

    • David Edge

      This nation needs to start the old chain gang back up.Work their butts of 10-12 hours a day six days a week.I am tired of their free ride,I know some people locally who are in & out continually,& say they like it just as much in as out.Put them out working on the right of way,saving the tax payers money instead of costing us.Lease them out to farmers,contractors,ect.BUT fix it where they can not sue anyone.It would cut down on crime,guarnteed.

  • guest

    Spokesman Review, Spokane Washington, Rich Landers Editor
    Bad reality TV: Bob Beck, co-host of Extreme Outer Limits on The Sportsman Channel won’t be filming himself participating in public hunting seasons in Idaho – or 36 others states – next year.
    Beck’s TV broadcast of a 2010 hunt helped seal his case, forcing him to plead guilty last month to hunting illegally near St. Maries.On the broadcast, the Oregon hunter explained Idaho’s rules allow hunters to purchase a second tag that entitles them to shoot an additional whitetail. Indeed, he bags two deer for the viewers’ pleasure.

  • guest

    But working with a tip from a sportsman a year after the TV show aired, Idaho Fish and Game officers and Benewah County prosecutors were able to prove, among other things, that Beck had purchased only one tag.
    Beck was required to pay $2,600 in fines and restitution and he lost hunting privileges in 37 states that cooperate to shun illegal hunters.He’ll be able to ply his style in the West only on private canned hunt ranches, where he won’t have to bother with silly state hunting laws that protect public resources.
    Incidentally, he’s lucky the feds didn’t bother to pursue him for violating the Lacey Act by transporting the illegally killed deer across that state line to Oregon.
    Being a felony offense, that could have taken a bit of the firepower out of his hunting show.
    A federal gun restriction might tarnish TV show hosts who bill themselves as being “capable and able to make competent, ethical harvests at extreme distances” of more than 1,000 yards.

  • guest

    Dave Overman, IFG conservation officer, said several TV hunting show personalities have been prosecuted in Idaho. Among them:
    • Keith “Doc” Ainsley (Outdoor Icon Show) killed a sow black bear accompanied by her cubs in 2004
    • Glenn Berry filmed himself killing a bull elk in Idaho with a Montana tag. Berry of Medical Lake has filmed big-game hunts worldwide for Big Bull Productions.
    Overman senses the pressure to get television video of kill shots may factor into the illegal activity of hunting show personalities.
    And wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many TV kill shots were made on baited animals?
    Enjoy the next show.

    • what

      what does your above statements have to do will what this monster did. I hunt with bait and without bait and I have never lost an animal and it makes my sick to think he just left them rot. These guys are not true sportsman if they can't follow the law, but what does baiting have to do with this topic.

  • Sick in KY

    This kid, and yes at 19 he is still a kid, needs to do hard time for this. But I hope there will be some counseling available to him while in prison. He needs to learn that there are healthier ways to release "built-up anger". Grabbing a gun and unlawfully shooting a living thing is not the answer. I know I'll sound like an armchair psychologist by saying this, but it sounded like he had the potential to move on to killing something else (like humans) once killing deer no longer offered the "release" he was looking for. Its people like this that give responsible, law abiding gun owners and hunters a bad name in the press.

  • John ODonnell

    Once given the due process of law and convicted for a third time( a felony) he should lose his right to own or possess a firearm and then do his time. Never should he be allowed to hunt again. The quest for bigger and better racks and his pent up anger is only the camo for his self centered personality. All ethical sportsman and women should standup and cheer for the men who brought him to justice. We do not need (people ) like this within our ranks. Like baseball, three stikes, You're out.

  • John

    You assume his excuse is the truth. I wonder if he was coached or lead to use "pent-up anger" as a "reason" in order to further the anti-hunting and anti-gun agenda. Nothing is ever as it seems. Additionally, there must also be a demand for this in his area, else why not just kill the animal; or any animal? Caping out bucks says to me that he's making money and it's enough to keep going back for more, regardless of the punishment. I say make an example of this kid and forget why he says he did it. It's illegal regardless of the motivation. A criminal is not a victim. Period.

  • m.holmes

    A shorter prison time should be imposed, 2 years or so and I am sure their are some swell inmates there who will help him our with his stored up frustrations and anger

  • Rock

    This clown should be forced next hunting season to gut out 100 deer that are brought into a ranger station by other hunters along with a large poster of him and the animals he poached explaining what he did and his punishment. If he still feels the need to poach after gutting 100 deer then throw him in jail and toss away the key. Does Wyoming have the death penalty?

  • rancher guy

    This little pecker head needs a good "ass beating" (wyoming blanket party style) by the true sportsman and hunters of that state. There is NO excuse for his actions, and should be in prison at least 10 years, with loss of any hunting privileges for life.

    Welcome to prison bitch life you little bastard!

  • Bob

    I certainly agree with and commend Wyoming for their strict stance on wildlife laws. Me3401 mentions that treatment would be a good alternative because "he hasn't hurt anyone yet." The same could be said for someone that robs the local Kroger store to "feed their family."
    Criminals are criminals and thanks goodness that some states are standing up for the rights of the people that play fair.

  • Jesse

    The authorities are way too lenient on poachers and trespassers in my opinion. They are firing weapons in unfamiliar locations and often at night, plus killing animals. If I shoot my neighbors dog I face animal cruelty plus a barrage of other charges, why should poachers get off with a slap on the wrist? Not to mention the size of much of the game they take. They just removed a trophy animal and in some cases that buck of a lifetime that someone else could have had the chance to take. It's safe to say there is a 70 year old man out there who is still pursuing his trophy of a lifetime and always doing it by the book, just to have some little punk come in and shoot that animal he has spent his whole life trying to harvest. It's pathetic what people get away with.

  • ylittle guy

    put him as head of game and fish. what the heck, the wolves have got the rest anyway because of the liberals& their policies and they havent locked them up yet

    • nice

      good thinking he can run the wolf control team, he will be the happiest person ever.

  • mike

    screw him he is stealing from the legal hunter who spend time and money . he should be banned from hunting and carrying any weapon for life . he a poacher not a hunter he only got caught for shooting 4 deer how much damage did he really do to wildlife and did not get caught , these people are not sorry they committed the crime they are upset they got caught.

  • Diane

    I think this guy is mentally unstable. He is headed down the wrong path and should be punished for the damage he is causing to other hunters. Bad press again about deer hunters! The fact that he is 19 is even worse! He knowingly destroyed wildlife, wasted the meat, and is taking his "anger" issues too far. He shows no remorse, and worse admitted to the crime, like it was not big deal. The worst thing we can do is not prosecute him.

  • Ken

    I agree with the chain gang rule.I use to work in a prison,they have it easy in there.put him and everybody
    else that break hunting laws on a chain gang.

  • guest

    he is crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! throw him under tha prison n feed him tha wildlife that he has ever poached!!!!!!

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