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Hunting Mule Deer & Blacktail Wyoming

Buck’s Stomach Contents Help Convict Wyoming Poachers

by Dylan Polk   |  February 17th, 2012 11

Three Wyoming poachers have been convicted after a look at their trophy buck’s stomach contents proved their guilt.

It may sound like something off one of those cheesy cop dramas, but according to the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune, investigators were able to determine that Shenae Blakemore, 29, Cody Gilligan, 23, and Colton Lapp, 19, had taken a nine-point buck illegally based on the type of leaves found in the deer’s stomach.

Wardens became suspicious after finding a carcass in a Worland, Wyo., shed in November 2010 while conducting a search of the property in regards to an unrelated case. Lapp told investigators that Blakemore had shot the buck, which would have scored 185 points on the Boone & Crockett system, near the Black Hills.

However, Matt Lentsch, Worland area game warden for Game and Fish, discovered a type of leaf that proved inconsistent with Lapp’s story.

“The pieces of narrow-leaf cottonwood leaves were the key to the whole case,” Lentsch said. “Narrow-leaf cottonwoods typically grow in gravelly soils like those found along the Greybull River, unlike the Plains cottonwoods found along the Bighorn River.”

In addition, Lentsch obtained a series of text messages which indicated Blakemore had shot the deer.

Blakemore was sentenced to two years probation and was ordered to pay $3,000 restitution, and is banned from hunting for two years. Lapp and Gilligan were both ordered to pay $5,040 each.

  • Jim

    Not enough fine.. Should be 10,000 dollars per deer
    Some people wake up in the morning and wonder what crime to commit today.
    Make the poachers work for the warden and do manual labor in the field to improve the habitat
    Give them a shovel and chainsaw

  • orr

    Whwn is the law going to punish poachers more severely? Poaching should be loss of hunting privleges for at least 10 years and $10,000 fine plus restitution.

    • DHMammoths

      Poachers losing hunt priviledges probably won't bother them much. They don't hunt legally anyway so why would anyone think losing their hunting license would make them stop.

  • Ryan

    I agree fines and penalties should be stiffer, What I don't understand is why the guy who shot the buck was fined less than the other two?_

    • Gary

      I agree with all of the above, stop poaching with harsh finmes and jail time aswell.

  • e.zwiep`

    i agree w/jim

  • jerry

    I guess these Wy young folks need more than they got while growing up, brains.

  • Mark Orlicky

    Stomach contents? So, these clowns didn't even gut the animal out? I mean, in 99% cases, don't you all gut your animal where he falls and just pack out the cleaned out carcass?

  • Holum

    If you are poaching you don't want to leave any evidence behind that could link you to the deer, this includes a gut pile. Also, there is no doubt they knew they were poaching and wanted to get out of there as quick as they could. No lollygagging around gutting the damn thing. I've heard of poachers taking the tailgates off their trucks just to save a few seconds.

  • Big Tex

    The story does not explain WHY this was poaching. Shooting a deer at point X instead of Point Y is not in itself poaching. Was the hunting season closed on the Greybull area and open in the Black Hills? Were they on private land where they did not have permission to hunt? Did Blakemore not have a permit for the Greybull hunt area? And since Blakemore apparently was convicted of actually killing the animal, what were the other two charged with? The story does not disclose that information.

    The story is skimpy on important details.

    Who among us always tells exactly where we killed a big buck? I know few hunters who do, but not coming clean with a warden is foolish. You may not want to broadcast to the whole world where your top hunting spot is located, but be honest with the warden.

    FYI: DHMammoths is right. Banning a poacher from hunting just leads to more poaching. That "sentence" of losing hunting rights for a certain amount of time is worthless. Poachers have already demonstrated they will kill illegally if they can't hunt legally. They didn't abide by the game laws in the first place.

  • Mountain man

    The biggest problem I have with this situation is the quality trophy which was killed. I heard the buck was over 200 B&C . If this guy had 5 kids and a wife and a spike or doe in the back end of the truck that’s one thing. But if you claim you need the meat then poach a once in a lifetime buck you could have saved the gas money and bought McDonald’s for a week. Just saying… I know times are tough, this case was not a feed my family case, therefore I have no sympathy for the guy. Play by the rules or put down the ball.

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