By Mike Koshmrl
A Jackson man was fined more than $2,000 and lost his hunting privileges for two years after killing a six-point bull elk during an antlerless-only hunting season and then leaving the animal to waste.
Charles Chanatry shot the elk Nov. 20 in hunt area 80 east of the National Elk Refuge and then buried the animal’s carcass in snow, according to a Wyoming Game and Fish Department statement.
Kyle Lash, Game and Fish’s South Jackson game warden, tracked down Chanatry after receiving a tip from mountain lion hunters using the area. The hunters gave Lash information about Chanatry’s vehicle that enabled Lash to find him.
“After being questioned, Chanatry admitted to shooting the bull elk and that he had buried it in the snow when he realized that it was not a cow,” state officials said in the statement. “He also told Warden Lash that he did not plan on returning later to salvage the elk.”
Chanatry’s charge, determined in Teton County Circuit Court in March, was abandonment of big game and failure to tag a big game animal. The two charges carried fines of $500 apiece, but those fines were suspended by Circuit Court Judge James Radda, Game and Fish spokesman Mark Gocke said. Chanatry was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution for the elk and another $80 in court fees and fines, which were not suspended.
Chanatry lost his right to hunt for two years in Wyoming as well as the 43 other states that participate in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact
In a statement, Lash commended the lion hunters who reported the violation.
“This is a great example of how a concerned citizen can make all the difference in bringing a poacher to justice,” he said. “Not only did these individuals provide great information, but they also helped us pack out the meat so that it could be donated to those in need, which was no small task.”
Hunting, fishing and other wildlife violations can be reported to Game and Fish’s Stop Poaching hotline at 877-WGFD-TIP.
Information leading to an arrest and conviction can result in a reward of up to $5,000.
It was unclear at press time if the lion hunters who reported Chanatry received any award money.