Tom Tietz/Shutterstock

Mule deer stock photo by Tom Tietz/Shutterstock.

(Lander, Wyo.) – On December 3, 2013, a Riverton man plead guilty in the Ninth District Circuit Court in Lander to poaching a large trophy buck mule deer.  The incident occurred on October 14, 2013, near Lander.

Joseph A. Holdren, 28, pleaded guilty to knowingly and intentionally taking an antlered mule deer without a license, hunting private land without permission, and using an illegal firearm to take the deer.

On October 14, 2013, Holdren illegally killed a large trophy class mule deer buck without a license on private land near Lander. He killed the deer with illegal ammunition, causing the rifle to be illegal. Recent changes to Wyoming Game and Fish Department regulations allow the use of the .223 caliber cartridge, as long as the bullet weight is at least 60 grains and has a soft, expanding point. Holdren used ammunition that did not meet these requirements.

The defendant was ordered to pay $12,340.00 in fines and restitution for the illegally taken mule deer. Holdren’s hunting and fishing privileges were revoked for the next 10 years in Wyoming and 39 reciprocal states. In addition, equipment used in the poaching of this magnificent animal was forfeited to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, including the .223 caliber AR-15 rifle used to kill the trophy.

“A huge thanks goes out to the anonymous individual who called the Game and Fish to report what was believed to be suspicious activity,” said Lander Game Warden Brad Hovinga.  “It’s folks like this taking the time to report possible illegal activity that allows us to catch more of these criminals and successfully prosecute them for their wildlife crimes.”

Lander Warden Hovinga, continued: “None of this would have been possible without the efforts of Deputy County Attorney Tom Majdic and his dedication to the successful prosecution of wildlife crimes.  The support of County Attorney Michael Bennett and the Fremont County Attorney’s Office is unprecedented in this case.”

Like several investigations, this investigation started with an anonymous tip from the public. Poaching reports may be made to the “STOP POACHING” Hotline: 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847) or 1-307-777-4330 for out-of-state “STOP POACHING” calls only. Violations may also be reported at regional offices or on-line at

–Wyoming Game & Fish Department