Brothers fined for trespass, abandoning elk in Wyoming | TSLN.com

Brothers fined for trespass, abandoning elk in Wyoming

Two brothers face large fines and loss of hunting privileges after they were found guilty of trespassing and abandoning a big game animal.

Brandon Bustos, 31, of Rawlins, and Robert Bustos, 37, of Laramie, were approached by a landowner after Brandon Bustos shot a bull elk on private property in Sybille Canyon on Oct. 2, 2014. The men did not have permission to hunt the private land.

North Laramie Game Warden Kelly Todd said the brothers own property in Sybille Canyon, but they crossed at least three other private ranches to get to the spot where Brandon Bustos shot the elk. A landowner observed the brothers driving across his land and then traveling onto a neighbor's property. He watched the brothers sneak up on the bull and saw Brandon Bustos harvest the 6 x 6 bull elk.

The landowner approached the brothers as they were in the process of field dressing the elk. The Bustos brothers gave fake names as the landowner used his cell phone to take photos of them field dressing the elk. The brothers then left the area and abandoned the elk carcass. Law enforcement personnel were later able to identify the men from the photographs.

Albany County Circuit Court Judge Robert Castor heard the case in Albany County Circuit Court on Feb. 19, 2015. Brandon Bustos was fined a total of $7,300 including $270 for failure to tag a big game animal; $500 for waste of a big game animal; $6,000 in restitution for the elk; $500 for hunting on private land without permission; and $30 for failure to wear fluorescent orange. He must also pay $240 in court costs and his hunting privileges were revoked for three years.

Robert Bustos was charged with accessory to trespass and accessory to waste a big game animal. He was fined $400 plus $100 in court costs, and his hunting privileges were revoked for one year. Warden Todd noted that Robert Bustos had received a citation for trespassing in roughly the same area in the summer of 2014.

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"This is total disrespect for the landowners and disrespect for wildlife to just walk away and abandon this elk," Warden Todd said. However, due to the prompt response of the landowner, Todd was able to salvage the meat from the elk.

–Wyoming Game and Fish