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.