It’s Christmas Eve 2000. The curator of the Draper Museum of Natural History, Dr. Charles Preston and his wife were driving along the North Fork corridor when they spotted a truck.
Dr. Preston said something looked weird, “…so we started turning around to see what was going on. But before we could get back, the game warden from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department had pulled the truck over and was questioning the folks.”
It turns out the two people in the truck had just killed two bighorn rams. It was out of season and done without a license. The poachers were tried and sentenced. They had to pay heavy fines and also jail sentences.
The two big rams that were poached on Christmas Eve, 2000, were very well known by local residents. The North Fork corridor leading to the East entrance of Yellowstone National Park is a major wintering area for bighorn sheep. The same populations of rams return during the winter. The two poached rams were known by the community because of the exceptional size of their curls and their size.
After the trials of the poachers were over, Wyoming Game and Fish offered the specimens to the Draper Museum of Natural History so to inform the community on poaching.
Museum Minute is a series co-produced with Wyoming Public Media (WPM). A new minute can be heard every Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. on WPM.