Nina Webber, the Wyoming Republican National Committeewoman and a two-time candidate for House District 24, has been charged with reckless endangerment stemming from a morning elk hunt Nov. 30 near …
Nina Webber, the Wyoming Republican National Committeewoman and a two-time candidate for House District 24, has been charged with reckless endangerment stemming from a morning elk hunt Nov. 30 near Wapiti.
Ranch manager Cory Williams at Trout Creek Ranch said he and his wife were forced to seek cover as bullets from a group of hunters buzzed over their heads while they were outside their home preparing for work. He said he heard roughly two dozen shots being fired as elk stacked up on private land near the Wapiti post office. The bullets were fired in the direction of U.S. Highway 14/16/20W but did not cross the roadway, according to the sheriff’s office report.
Webber was the only member of the hunt party cited by a Park County deputy responding to the scene. She issued a short statement in an interview Friday afternoon, “I have retained an attorney, and we will be fighting these allegations.”
Park County Sheriff Scott Steward said the the investigation at the scene revealed Webber was the only hunter in the group who was in position to take the shots threatening the Williams family.
He said the deputy felt “the evidence was sufficient to cite her,” Steward said.
“I think the evidence in this case will show that when she was interviewed by the deputy, and asked to point out the direction she was firing, she was showing the direction she was firing was directly toward the home. If you look at where they were staged around this the field, the other people would not have been firing in that direction based on where they were,” he said.
He also said there are photos to support the charges. Reckless endangerment carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for not more than one year.
A person is guilty of reckless endangering if they recklessly engage in conduct which places another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury. According to the state statute, any person who knowingly points a firearm at or in the direction of another, whether or not the person believes the firearm is loaded, is guilty of reckless endangering unless reasonably necessary in defense of his person, property or abode or to prevent serious bodily injury to another.
Elk numbering close to 300 at times often congregate in the fields surrounding ranches and homes along the highway during the season. Steward, who lives near Wapiti, calls the hunt for elk in the area “gathering groceries” due to the ease of the hunt in that section of the valley near the river. He said there is nothing wrong with hunting the herd as long as hunters are aware of nearby residences and the road.
“I’m 100% for it as long as you can do it safely and harvest some meat,” he said.
However, he said hunting has become more complicated recently as more people are building homes in the area.
Several elk were harvested by the group during the hunt, but authorities have not said how many people were in the group.
A separate unidentified member of the hunting party was cited by a Game and Fish game warden for failing to wear a mandatory fluorescent orange or pink garment, said Dan Smith, Cody Regional Wildlife Supervisor.
“The Game and Fish Department advocates for hunters to behave in a responsible, ethical and safe manner,” he said, adding “Sometimes people get a little excited, but we need to remember to fall back on the main tenants of hunter safety.”