Slap on the wrist for Wyoming bighorn poacher

Bighorn looking over hillside
Photo credits: Shutterstock

For anyone who has waited years to draw that coveted bighorn sheep tag to fulfill that once-in-a-lifetime hunt, you should probably sit down. Why? Because a Wyoming man decided to take a bighorn sheep without a license and authorities have punished him with a small slap on the wrist.

Caleb Payne was nabbed by Wyoming Game and Fish Department South Cody Game Warden Grant Gerharter at the Aldrich Creek check station on Oct. 21. Yet, according to, Payne only had to pay a total of $2,040 ($500 fine, $40 court costs, $1,500 in restitution to the Wyoming Wildlife Protector’s Association) after pleading guilty to illegally killing the bighorn sheep.

This seems like a slim fine for poaching a bighorn since it typically takes years to draw a tag. Not to mention that if you draw, you must wait five years before you can start applying again. Payne’s actions were not only unethical; they were also unsportsmanlike.

Do you think the fine fit the crime?




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