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Rock Springs man sentenced in elk and mountain lion poaching case

Green River – Rock Springs resident Christian J. Cosby will pay over $5,000 in fines and have his hunting and fishing privileges suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to the intentional illegal taking of a bull elk in 2017 and taking a mountain lion with an illegal caliber firearm in 2018.

In the fall of 2017, Green River Region Game and Fish enforcement personnel received multiple tips suggesting Cosby had illegally killed a large bull elk in an area he did not have a license for and had entered the bull in a local contest.

Green River Wildlife Investigator Jim Gregory (retired) and Rock Springs Game Warden Andy Roosa initiated an investigation and discovered Cosby had an elk license valid for Elk Hunt Area 93, north of Pinedale, and had entered a large bull elk in the Radio Network Big Bull Contest. The antlers of the bull Cosby entered in the contest matched those of a large bull multiple people had photographed on Aspen Mountain, in Elk Hunt Area 30, south of Rock Springs in September 2017.

During an initial interview Cosby claimed to have killed the bull with a bow in Elk Hunt Area 93 on the evening of September 27 and packed it out to his truck on September 28. Cosby’s cell phone records, however, showed that he had been in the vicinity of Aspen Mountain south of Rock Springs on the 27th and 28th and had not been in area 93 as he stated.

During the course of the investigation multiple additional wildlife violations committed by Cosby were discovered, including taking a mountain lion with an illegal caliber rifle on February 23, 2018.

After further questioning, Cosby confessed to knowingly killing the elk in an area he did not have a license for and provided video of himself shooting the bull multiple times with a compound bow.

Cosby was charged with intentional illegal take of an antlered big game animal, using an illegal caliber firearm to take trophy game, failure to wear fluorescent orange clothing while hunting trophy game and using artificial light to take wildlife. The elk antlers, a compound bow, and arrows used in the commission of the crime were seized as evidence.

“Photos and information provided by concerned citizens who came forward were key to the investigation,” said Rock Springs Game Warden Andy Roosa.”The elk herd south of Rock Springs is prized by locals and is one of the most difficult hunt areas in Wyoming to draw a Type 1 Limited Quota License (any elk). The attention paid to this elk herd paid-off by providing photographic evidence, which lead to a successful conviction in this case.”

On Jan. 10, 2019, Cosby pleaded guilty to intentional illegal take of antlered big game and taking a trophy game animal with an illegal caliber firearm and was ordered to pay a fine of $5,055. The compound bow used during the commission of his crime was forfeited and his privileges to hunt and fish in Wyoming and 46 other Wildlife Violator Compact member states was suspended until Jan. 10, 2021.

Anyone with information on a wildlife violation may call the Stop Poaching Hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847). Tips may be reported online at wgfd.wyo.gov, directly to the local game warden, or by calling the Green River Game and Fish Office at-1-307-875-3223. Poaching information may also be texted; text keyword WGFD a message toTIP411 (847-411).