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State says Facebook posts, Monster Muley photos led Game and Fish to poaching suspect

State says Facebook posts, Monster Muley photos led Game and Fish to poaching suspect

(Sheridan, Wyo.) — Photos shared on Facebook and a hunting website called Monster Muleys helped lead the Wyoming Game and Fish to a man who is on trial this week in the Sheridan County Circuit Court for a 2014 poaching incident. Clayvin Herrera is charged with knowingly taking antlered, horned or trophy game during a closed season, and accessory after the fact. Sheridan County Deputy Attorney Christopher LaRosa spent much of the afternoon in court questioning Dayton Game Warden Dustin Shorma about his investigation of the incident. In January of 2014, numerous photographs of Crow Reservation resident Clayvin Herrera and others on a hunting outing appeared on the site Monster Muleys . The photos showed elk carcasses, back straps removed and Herrera posing in the snow. That winter, Wyoming Game and Fish had received numerous reports of poaching incidents in Hunt Area 38, which is situated on the Wyoming side of the state boundary. Shorma testified today that the photographs appeared to be taken in Area 38, specifically near Marble Quarry Road and Eskimo Creek. In May and June of 2014, with the help of GPS devices and the photographs, Shorma said he attempted to find the kill sites. "I started hiking around for two to three hours," Shorma said, adding that he used the photographs as his reference point. "Right when I thought I hit the jackpot, I looked down and saw ... a pelvic bone and spinal column." Shorma and other Game and Fish investigators later found other kill sites, all which they identified as within the Wyoming boundary, in a "football-field" sized vicinity in Area 38. The Game and Fish obtained warrants for Facebook pages belonging to Herrera, and other members of his hunting party, including Colton Herrera, after seeing the same pictures appear on those sites. Facebook provided the Game and Fish with discussion posts and photos from the pages. On at least one photo, another Facebook user had commented on the buck photo, asking Herrera where he had shot the animal. Shorma testified that Herrera commented, "Don't tell ridge, lol," and "No tell them ridge." When LaRosa asked Shorma if he was familiar with a "Don't Tell Ridge" in the Bighorns, Shorma said he was not. He then testified that it is a phrase sometimes used when an outdoorsman doesn't want to give away a hunting or fishing spot. In the summer of 2014, the Wyoming Game and Fish enlisted the help of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Tribal Fish and Game to find Herrera. From Herrera's father's home in Hardin, the Wyoming Game and Fish obtained heads with antlers that Shorma testified matched those in the photographs, and sent the head and pelvis he had collected from the kill site in Wyoming to forensics for analysis. Herrara's attorney will question Shorma when the trial continues tomorrow, and it is anticipated she will claim First Nations' rights to hunt on their native lands supersede the state laws governing hunting seasons. #dally #news