Two Bozeman Men Charged With Poaching Elk Inside Yellowstone National Park
Contact: Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Vallie, (307) 344-2012
A vigilant citizen reporting suspicious behavior led to the capture and arrest of two poachers in Yellowstone National Park.
21-year-old Travis Mark Johnson and 25-year-old Vincent Giovanni Ripoli of Bozeman were arrested Saturday evening and booked into the Yellowstone National Park jail in Mammoth Hot Springs.
They’re accused of shooting and killing a bull elk inside the Boundary Lands area of Yellowstone National Park near Stephens Creek, west of the Yellowstone River and northwest of Gardiner, Montana.
The men were each arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen E. Cole on misdemeanor poaching, drug possession, and weapons charges. Johnson and Ripoli are being held in the custody of the United States Marshals Service pending another court appearance Thursday.
A person convicted of a misdemeanor violation of the federal anti-poaching statute known as the Lacey Act can be fined up to $10,000 and sentenced to up to one year in jail. Carrying a weapon in a national park can result in a $5,000 fine and 6 months in jail.
Hunting is not permitted within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. Shooting and taking of wildlife inside any park area is a criminal offense. Poachers are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and potentially face heavy fines, restitution costs, jail time, forfeiture of crime-associated personal property, and loss of hunting privileges throughout most western states.
Did You Know?
There are more people hurt by bison than by bears each year in Yellowstone. Park regulations state that visitors must stay at least 25 yards away from bison or elk and 100 yards away from bears.