GILLETTE — Campbell County Circuit Court Judge Wendy Bartlett sentenced Gillette resident Eric Sorensen April 15 with directives to pay $615 in fines and $4,000 in restitution for killing a buck mule deer with a rifle during an archery-only season in fall 2018. In addition, his hunting privileges in Wyoming and 46 other Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact states were suspended for two years.
The case began on the morning of Sept. 16, 2018, when the manager of a Gillette-area ranch called North Gillette Game Warden Kristen DaVanon to provide information on a suspected violation. The caller reported that hunters on his property heard gunshots on nearby public land and later observed Sorensen with a buck mule deer. The ranch manager then visited with Sorensen on a road, observed him with the deer and provided his license plate number to DaVanon.
DaVanon made contact with Sorensen and he agreed to meet her for an interview at noon. He had the deer in his possession, but denied that he had taken it with a firearm.
After further investigation, DaVanon met Sorensen for a second interview that evening and he admitted shooting the deer with a rifle from a roadway. He no longer had the deer carcass in his possession, claiming that while he was removing the cape, skull and antlers, the meat had gone bad. He admitted to dumping the meat along Echeta Road. DaVanon located the abandoned meat and determined most of it would have been salvageable at the time he disposed of it.
DaVanon confiscated the deer head and cape and Sorensen was charged with waste or abandonment of a big game animal, use of a firearm during a special archery season and shooting from a roadway.
“This is a good reminder for the public to contact us if they see anything suspicious, even if they are not sure a violation has taken place,” DaVanon said. “Without the assistance of the ranch manager and the hunters’ willingness to report what they heard and saw, this case would not have been possible.”