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Men Charged With Poaching After Illegal Wyoming Hunt Is Featured on Television (VIDEO)

A pair of television hunters have plead no-contest on charges of poaching in Wyoming.

Jimmy Duncan (left), Ricky Mills (right), as they appear in the "Western Redemption" episode of "Hunting In The Sticks" on The Pursuit Channel. A tip from a viewer of this episode led to the pair being charged with poaching. (YouTube)

(EDIT: As of about 12:30 pm [3/14/17] the YouTube link to the Season 3 episode of “Hunting in the Sticks” has been removed from the show’s official YouTube page.  It is still available on the Vimeo platform by following this link.)

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department recently closed a poaching case in Converse County Circuit Court. On March 13, 2017, Ricky J. Mills, 37, and Jimmy G. Duncan, 25 pled no contest to numerous wildlife violations totaling over $30,000 in fines. Mills and Duncan are from Bedford, Kentucky.

The case started with a tip from a concerned Wyoming citizen who watched the two defendants on a hunting show called “Hunting in the Sticks” that aired on national television. In the episode “Western Redemption,” Mills and Duncan are seen harvesting two bull elk in Wyoming. The concerned citizen noticed that the area they claimed to have killed their elk, did not match the area of their licenses.

As of late morning on Tuesday March 14, 2017; the episode from season three was still available from the “Hunting in the Sticks” YouTube channel. That episode has been embedded below. (Note: this video was removed from YouTube by 12:30 pm March 14th, 2017.)

An investigator from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Investigative Unit and Douglas Game Warden Rod Lebert opened the case and began an exhaustive search for the kill sites north of Douglas in the Cow Creek Buttes and Miller Hills areas. When the first kill site was located, they collected evidence and a solid case was built against the poachers.

“This case could not have been made without the assistance of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources agents,” said Mike Ehlebracht, investigative supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish. “Through search warrants and interviews we were able to make a case and both men confessed.”

At the conclusion of the investigation, it was determined that in 2014 while deer hunting in Deer Hunt Area 10 in northern Converse County, Mills and Duncan each killed a mature bull elk on private property. Both men also had elk licenses that same year, but the licenses were valid for Elk Hunt Area 51, which is in extreme northwest Wyoming bordering Yellowstone National Park, not for Elk Hunt Area 113 where they shot the elk. Elk Hunt Area 113 is a highly coveted hunt area with very few licenses. In this hunt area, bulls are only allowed to be harvested every other year.

It was also discovered that the two defendants attempted to do the same thing in 2013. Other evidence showed that Duncan harvested an antelope buck in September 2013 without a license. The two were also charged with waste of big game animals in connection with the two illegally harvested elk, along with a small game violation.

Ricky Mills was sentenced to pay $7,460 in fines, $6,000 in restitution for the bull elk he killed, $240 in court costs and lost his hunting privileges for 15 years. Mills will be entered into the Wildlife Violator Compact which will prevent him from hunting and trapping in 43 participating states.

Jimmy Duncan was sentenced to pay $7,500 in fines, $6,000 in restitution for the bull elk he killed, $4,000 in restitution for the antelope in 2013 and $240 in court costs. He was also suspended for 15 years from hunting and trapping and will be entered into the Wildlife Violator Compact. The elk mounts from both Duncan and Mills were forfeited to the Game and Fish.

“I believe the two defendants were driven to get kill shot footage for the television show and that resulted in their making bad decisions,” added Ehlebracht.