Reality TV Hunters Caught Poaching Elk for Episode of Show

'Hunting in the Sticks' hosts lose hunting privileges for 15 years after illegal kills

March 15, 2017

Two reality TV hunters from Kentucky have been charged with poaching and fined more than $30,000 in Wyoming circuit court after they illegally harvested a bull elk for a 2014 episode of their Pursuit TV show, "Hunting in the Sticks."

Ricky Mills, 37, and Jimmy Duncan, 25, both of Bedford, Kentucky, pled no contest to multiple violations in Converse County Circuit Court on Monday, reports the Oil City News in Casper.

In the opening episode to season 3 of their show titled, "Western Redemption," Mills and Duncan harvested two bull elks. A viewer noticed that the area in which the elks were taken -- the Cow Creek Buttes and Miller Hills areas north of Douglas -- didn't match the area covered by the hunters' licenses, and contacted Wyoming Game and Fish.

Mills was sentenced to pay $7,460 in fines, $6,000 in restitution for the bull elk he killed, $240 in court costs and lost his hunting privileges for 15 years. He will be entered into the Wildlife Violator Compact which will prevent him from hunting and trapping in 43 participating states.

Duncan, meanwhile, was sentenced to pay $7,500 in fines, $6,000 in restitution for the bull elk he killed, $4,000 in restitution for an illegal antelope kill in 2013 and $240 in court costs. He also was suspended for 15 years from hunting and trapping and will be entered into the Wildlife Violator Compact.

Duncan (left) and Mills, as seen in footage from the episode that got them in trouble. (YouTube via Oil City Times)

Cow Creek and Millers Hills are located in Elk Hunt Area 113 in east central Wyoming, an area for which few hunting licenses are issued. Bulls can be harvested only every other year there, making it a coveted spot for hunters. The men's licenses were for Elk Hunt Area 51 bordering Yellowstone National Park in the northwest corner of the state.

The tip led to an investigation by Wyoming officials with assistance from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Through search warrants and interviews, officials built a solid case against the men, who confessed to illegally taking the elk, according to Mike Ehlebracht, investigative supervisor for Wyoming Game and Fish.

The elk mounts from both Duncan and Mills were forfeited to Wyoming Game and Fish, the Oil City Times reported.

“I believe the two defendants were driven to get kill shot footage for the television show and that resulted in their making bad decisions,” Ehlebracht said.

The episode, which as of Tuesday had been taken off YouTube, can be seen on Vimeo.

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