The Wyoming Game and Fish Department on Monday announced that a Natrona man has been sentenced and fined after poaching deer and antelope before passing off the meat as beef jerky.

Game and fish did not name the man but did say he lived on the Grazing Hills Ranch near Natrona.

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According to game and fish, the sentence is the culmination of a years-long investigation.

Wildlife officials say the investigation began when game and fish's Stop Poaching Hotline received a tip. The investigation reportedly revealed that the man had been killing mule deer and antelope without licenses and during closed seasons. He would then substitute big game meat for beef to sustain his jerky business.

Following the investigation, authorities in Natrona County arrested the man and he was charged with 26 wildlife violations.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, the man pleaded no contest to killing a buck mule deer and buck antelope without a license and during a closed season. He was also charged as an accessory for the killing of another buck mule deer and antelope without a license and during a closed season.

Additionally, the plea agreement includes two counts of wanton destruction of big game animals and three counts of selling game meat.

A judge also assessed $45,070 in fines and restitution. The man has also had his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges suspended for at least five years and is not eligible to hunt in Wyoming or the other 48 states that are members of the Wildlife Violator Compact.

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