CHEYENNE - A Cheyenne taxidermist has earned convictions for a litany of wildlife crimes, though only fully admitting guilt for one - importing feral pigs from Texas.
The award-winning taxidermist, Troy Hall of Artistic Impressions, might need a taxonomist to classify all the crimes for which he received convictions after an anonymous letter jump-started an investigation spanning a lot of ground.
"The investigation was complicated by the fact that some of the violations were up to eight years old," said Cheyenne Game Warden Shawn Blajszczak, who led the investigation, in a release. "It was a true cold case. Memories fade and are lost and evidence disappears, so it took a lot of extra interviews and a great deal of evidence collection to piece things together."
The investigation discovered that in 2004 Hall intentionally poached a buck mule deer out of season with no license while trespassing and falsified an interstate game tag to cover the crime, illegally imported live feral pigs in 2006, guided several hunters without a license in 2010 and as a taxidermist failed to attach an interstate game tag to a bighorn sheep mount, according to a Wyoming Game and Fish release.
"He was an equal-opportunity violator," Wyoming Game and Fish Public Information Officer Jeff Obrecht told the Business Report.
For the variety of violations, Hall, 43, got slapped with $16,080 in fines and restitution, earned 18 months supervised probation and got 30 months of concurrent unsupervised probation. He also lost hunting privileges for six years and forfeited the mount of his illegally taken deer, among other penalties. Blajszczak said in a phone interview Hall kept his taxidermy license as part of the plea agreement, though because they didn't want to take away his sole source of income.
"Although he pleaded guilty in the plea agreements, the only violation Hall admitted to me he committed was importing the live feral pigs from Texas," Blajszczak said. That 2006 violation could have given a nuisance species in Texas a hoof-hold in Wyoming that might have been difficult to relinquish. The species also could have introduced new diseases to the region.
"He had that one [feral pig that] escaped," Obrecht said. "To corral it he had to bait it in and shoot it."
Hall did not return a call to his cell phone prior to press time.
"There's no doubt about it he loves to hunt," Obrecht said. "He just has to do it within the laws and regulations."
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