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Wyoming News Briefs AUGUST 5

GILLETTE (WNE) — An Alabama man pleaded not guilty last week to 42 big game violations that he is accused of committing over a 10-year period in Campbell County.

Russell “Rusty” B. Vick, 54, could spend up to 31 years in jail and pay up to $218,000 in fines if convicted of all the misdemeanor crimes.

Among the charges are 20 counts of illegally taking a game animal without a license or during a closed season involving buck antelope, buck mule deer, bull and cow elk from 2003 to 2012, according to charging documents.

They also include 13 counts of fraudulently getting or trying to get big game hunting licenses and three instances in which he allegedly killed elk or was around people who killed elk over their limit.

The investigation started in 2015 over the illegal purchase of a Wyoming resident hunting license by Vick and others, which evolved into a federal case, according to an affidavit of probable cause. That led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service getting search warrants for several homes — including Vick’s Buhl, Alabama, home and taxidermy shop — as officials sought cellphones, computers, documents and taxidermy that linked him and others to big game violations.

Game and Fish investigators also were able to determine that Vick had lived in the same area in Buhl since 1985 despite the fact that he used a Wyoming address to apply for hunting licenses. He had never lived in Wyoming the requisite 365 consecutive days, according to the affidavit.

Starting in 2004, Vick began buying Wyoming resident hunting licenses and through the years got or applied for about 30 licenses or preference points, according to the affidavit.

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