November 29, 2022 |
A Saratoga man charged with poaching a trophy deer out season is hoping to negotiate a deal with prosecutors to avoid standing stand trial. Tom Arthur earlier pled “not guilty” to the charge.” A lot of area hunters are watching the case to see how the justice system works when the person accused of allegedly poaching is wealthy.
At 8 a.m. on September 10th, Wyoming Game and Fish Warden Levi Wood issued a citation to Thomas D. Arthur from Saratoga. In the citation, Arthur is described as a Caucasian male, standing 5 foot 8 inches tall, with gray hair and hazel eyes. Warden Wood described the alleged crime.
Pictured above: File photo of a mule deer.
In a word, Arthur is charged with poaching. According to court documents obtained by Bigfoot 99, the violation occurred on private land. Game Warden Wood would not disclose the exact address of the crime, except to say it was within his jurisdiction.
Warden Wood said he isn’t free to provide more details because of the ongoing investigation.
The citation states that Arthur was scheduled to appear before a county circuit judge on September 26th at 1:30 p.m.
Game Warden Wood said the violation was called in by another hunter who happened to be in the area. Arthur apparently was unaware his actions were being watched from a distance.
An individual who requested anonymity told Bigfoot 99 that two out-of-state hunters reported Arthur and another man for shooting a large buck during bow season. According to the source, the two hunters used their vantage point on a ridge to watch undetected as Arthur used a rifle to bring down the buck.
The eyewitnesses described the poached deer as scoring somewhere in the 200’s on the Boone and Crockett Club’s Official Scoring System for North American Big Game Trophies. The other man, charged alongside Arthur isn’t named in the papers obtained by Bigfoot 99, but has been identified in other published reports as Joseph Johnston, also of Saratoga.
Court documents show that, on September 21st, Arthur retained Jason M. Tangeman, of Nicholas & Tangeman, LLC, out of Laramie, to represent him. A call placed to the attorney’s office wasn’t immediately returned.
On September 23rd, Thomas Arthur submitted a “not guilty” plea to the charge of violating Wyoming Statue 23-3-102(d), taking certain game animals without license or during a closed season without a license. The misdemeanor crime is punishable by a fine, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, and a prison term of up to two years.
Under Wyoming Statute 23-6-206 sections (a) and (i), the court may also revoke Arthur’s hunting license for the remainder of 2022 and suspend his hunting privileges for no less than five years. The court may seize Arthur’s hunting firearms and equipment using statute 23-6-208.
In addition to the penalties already listed, there are also court costs, fines, and restitution, totaling $4,000.
Arthur and his attorneys met with Deputy Carbon County Prosecutor Mark Nugent on October 25th for a settlement conference. According to the legal papers, a request was made at the time for a second, and final, settlement conference to occur at a later date.
Carbon County Circuit Court Deputy Clerk Annette Green said Deputy Prosecutor Nugent and Thomas Arthur’s attorneys are set to meet this morning, at 9:00 a.m., to discuss a plea deal.
If a settlement can’t be reached, Arthur’s jury trial will begin on February 9th.