Game wardens use social media to catch poacher

Posted at: 11/09/2012 8:49 PM
By: Gadi Schwartz, KOB Eyewitness News 4

When you think of Game Wardens tracking poachers, you’d probably imagine them in the wild, but investigators with the Game and Fish department have turned to Facebook to find suspects who have fled the law.

Earlier this year, 22-year-old Michael Yarborough was indicted for shooting and killing five pronghorn antelope and leaving their carcasses on the private King’s Ranch.

Investigators said after the indictments Yarborough left New Mexico and officers took to Facebook to keep tabs on his whereabouts.

Game and Fish Officer Shawn Carrell said they learned Yarborough had gone to South Carolina in part because of posts to social media.

“We can track them all over the country where he moves from day to day,” said Carrell.

This week Yarbrough came back to New Mexico where Game and Fish officers were able to arrest him while he took his dog for a walk.

Yarborough has been indicted for poaching antelope, being in possession of antelope, and criminal trespass.

Carrell said this case has been a priority for a department that is funded through the conservation fees collected from sportsmen and anglers.

"By them taking those animals out of the population we are not allowed to collect revenue,” Said Carroll. “The residents lose hunting opportunities to go out and harvest these animals and actually use the meat instead of leaving it in the field."

Yarbrough was indicted along with another suspected poacher Travis Miller.

Both men are also facing a felony charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor who is believed to have accompanied them during the shootings.