April 16, 2017

From TheSheridanPress.com

A man facing one count of voyeurism in 4th Judicial District Court also faces 13 counts related to hunting violations from 2014 to 2016 in Sheridan County Circuit Court.

Court documents say on April 16, 2017, local law enforcement received a “Stop Poaching” call from a city of Sheridan resident, saying a neighbor had been seen dumping a deer or elk carcass in a dumpster in the alley.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department officers responded and discovered eight halves of white-tailed deer and concluded there were four carcasses in the two dumpsters behind Matthew Jon Thums’ residence and none of them had been skinned.

The meat was in advanced decomposition. The warden also found the head of a white-tailed deer with the antlers and skull plate that had been removed with a saw.

When speaking with Thums, he first said he killed the white-tailed deer in October and November of 2016 — two does, a spike buck and a larger buck. He claimed to have three doe licenses and a general license. He also said he gave the antlers to a friend of a friend. The warden learned later that Thums had only a 2016 general deer license.

An additional warden and WGFD investigator continued looking into Thums’ case. Thums initially said he killed all four deer with his crossbow in October and November 2016 on the Powder Horn property, giving the antlers of the two bucks to two people for whom he claimed to not know the names. Thums said the meat had frozen in the garage and he could not process the meat before it spoiled.

Thums allowed investigators to search through his cellphone photos for evidence. Thums admitted that he had not processed the deer out of “laziness” and that he had been dishonest about the two white-tailed deer and the spike deer. He admitted to killing four mature white-tailed deer with only one general license in the months of October through possibly December in 2016. He also admitted that he was dishonest about not knowing the names of the men he gave the antlers to and not still possessing the bow with which he killed the deer.

Thums showed the warden and investigator four deer heads from 2016, one from 2015 and two from 2014. The investigator learned Thums had one general license in 2016, one in 2015 and none in 2014. In total, he showed investigators the remains of seven deer. He additionally abandoned and needlessly allowed four buck whitetail deer to go to waste. Court documents indicate investigators obtained numerous photos related to the poaching incidents described.

The 42-year-old man pleaded not guilty to all 13 counts, including three counts of taking certain game animals without a license, one count of use of automobile for hunting, four counts of waste of edible portion of animal, two counts of accessory to take certain game animals without a license and three counts of violation of commission order. If convicted of all 13 counts, Thums faces up to a total of $40,000 in fines and imprisonment for up to eight years.

Thums also faces one count of voyeurism in district court for allegedly video recording a juvenile in the bathroom. The man pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in August and faces a 1.5-day trial starting Jan. 8, with a pretrial conference scheduled for Dec. 5.

Court documents in the district court case said the WGFD employee who was investigating the hunting violations contacted the Sheridan Police Department. While looking through Thums’ cellphone, the WGFD investigator noticed a video voyeuristic in nature. SPD reviewed the video and learned it was recorded on March 26, 2016, and eventually charged him with voyeurism.


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