CHEYENNE – Charges were bound over to Laramie County District Court last week for a Utah man accused of tampering with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s computer system to successfully apply for two nonresident moose hunting tags in two months.
Byron Oldham was charged with an intellectual property crime of modifying data in a computer network. If convicted, he could face three years in prison.
According to charging documents:
An application development programmer for Wyoming Game and Fish contacted authorities about a possible breach of the computer system.
Oldham applied for two limited quota, non-resident moose applications in the Wyoming Game and Fish Department electronic license application system on Jan. 25, 2016, and again on Feb. 25, 2016.
“Moose are highly regulated, with limited quota licenses, and are coveted by hunters,” the probable cause affidavit states. “By Wyoming statute, applicants may only apply for one moose license per year.”
The online system is designed to “time out” in 20 minutes. But authorities believe that Oldham was able to write a computer script that kept the application button active past its 20-minute window, thereby allowing him to apply for a second moose tag.
On May 10, 2016, Wyoming Game and Fish notified authorities that the computer system identified Oldham as having attempted to enter a big horn sheep license at 4:22 a.m. He attempted to enter the application 99 times during one minute.
The timing of the attempts coincided with the drawing of big horn sheep, moose and mountain goat licenses.
A search of Oldham revealed that he is the owner of two hunting businesses – GotMyTag LLC and HuntinTool LLC.
GotMyTag is a license application service that applies for tags and licenses for hunters, including in Wyoming.
The Wyoming Game and Fish database also revealed that Oldham had an “extensive” license application history.
He accumulated five preference points for antelope, 10 for big horn sheep, 11 for elk and 11 for moose. Preference points allow people better odds at drawing a tag for hard-to-draw animals. It requires an extra fee to get such an advantage.
Anybody see the irony?
A while back I responded to a fire alarm at the local WY G&F office (I’m a volunteer firefighter). As is usually the case, it was a false alarm, but I couldn’t resist joshing them that I kind of hoped it was a real fire. That way I could don my SCBA, sneak through the smoke, log onto one of their computers, and grab myself a few commissioners’ tags. They got a chuckle out of that.