Gillette Couple Pleads Guilty to Poaching

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

SHERIDAN – A Gillette couple will pay close to $10,000 in fines and restitution after pleading guilty to the illegal taking of a buck mule deer during the fall of 2017.

On Nov. 10, 2017, South Gillette Game Warden Dustin Kirsch received an anonymous tip suggesting Rocky Lamascolo of Gillette had illegally killed a large buck mule deer without a license and likely during a closed hunting season. Warden Kirsch initiated an investigation and discovered Lamascolo had purchased two nonresident doe/fawn deer licenses and one nonresident cow/calf elk license for the 2017 hunting season. He did not have a license for antlered buck mule deer. Warden Kirsch also learned that Lamascolo’s wife, Sarah Lamascolo, purchased a 2017 resident general deer license on the evening of Nov. 8.
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On Nov. 11, Warden Kirsch and Sheridan Regional Game Warden Ryan Bagley interviewed Rocky and Sarah Lamascolo at their residence. A white cutting board table with what appeared to be unprocessed wild game meat was in the living room as well as the skull-capped antlers of a large, non-typical buck mule deer. Rocky Lamascolo stated that the deer he was cutting up in the living room was a doe mule deer he had harvested a week prior while hunting on a private ranch near Leiter.

During the interview, it was determined that although the Lamascolos are former Buffalo residents, neither individual met Wyoming residency requirements for hunting as they had been living in Texas from May 2016 until their return to Wyoming in late May 2017. Sarah Lamascolo said she purchased a Wyoming resident elk license and a Wyoming resident deer license for the 2017 hunting season, but that she did not hunt much. She also stated that Rocky Lamascolo had killed the buck mule deer with a .270-caliber rifle.

She admitted purchasing the deer license on Nov. 8 after Rocky Lamascolo called her and requested she purchase one so he could have it legally mounted by a taxidermist.

Although Sarah Lamascolo admitted to the illegal acts that she and Rocky Lamascolo conspired in after the buck mule deer was killed, Rocky Lamascolo would not admit to all aspects of the killing. He eventually stated that he killed the buck mule deer on the afternoon of Nov. 8 without a license in Deer Hunt Area 1, one mile from the city limits of Sundance in Crook County.

Citations were issued in Campbell County for Sarah Lamascolo and in Crook County for Rocky Lamascolo, and the mule deer meat, antlers, rifle and licenses used in the commission of the crimes were seized.

Continued investigation by wardens yielded photographs and video taken on Nov. 4, 2017, of a large 6-by-8, non-typical buck mule deer alive along the Bittercreek Road in Deer Hunt Area 17 in northern Campbell County. The photos and video, voluntarily provided by two Campbell County residents, matched the antlers seized from the Lamascolo residence by wardens Kirsch and Bagley.

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Deer Hunt Area 17 had closed to the taking of antlered mule deer on Oct. 20, – 19 days prior to Rocky Lamascolo illegally killing the buck mule deer on Nov. 8.  When this was discovered, the charges filed against Rocky Lamascolo in Crook County were dismissed and re-filed in Campbell County where the violation occurred.

“Information provided in the initial report and the willingness of concerned citizens to step up and provide crucial evidence, were key to apprehending Mr. Lamascolo,” said Kirsch.

On Dec. 5, 2017, Sarah Lamascolo pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to purchase a Wyoming resident general deer license and was ordered to pay a fine of $805 and her privilege to hunt in Wyoming and 47 other Wildlife Violator Compact member states was suspended until Dec. 6, 2018.

On June 1, 2018, Rocky Lamascolo pleaded guilty to the illegal take of a buck mule deer without a license/during a closed season in Campbell County and was sentenced the same afternoon.  He was ordered to pay a $5,055 fine, $4,000 in restitution and his .270 rifle used during the commission of his crime was forfeited. His privilege to hunt in Wyoming and the Wildlife Violator Compact member states was also suspended until June 2, 2021.