In parts of Western Wyoming extremely heavy snowfall, cold and wind have dangerously stressed our elk, moose, mule deer and antelope this winter. It is a deadly critical time for the survival of these animals that can’t afford to spend any extra calories they can’t afford to burn.

Enter David A. Smart, 45, of Washington, D.C., who launched a drone from a highway pullout near the National Elk Refuge near Jackson. He flew it over a massive herd of elk that were resting there and the buzzing drone triggered an estimated 1,500 elk to stampede, struggling through 3 feet of snow to escape the invader in the sky.

David felt “really bad” and was apologetic and got off with a $280 ticket, of a possible $5,000 fine for a federal crime of harassing wildlife.

I hope that $280 fine will serve fair warning to anyone who would disturb our wildlife. Yes, that was sarcasm. We are stewards of our planet. We have to protect our charges.

Again, he felt “Really bad.” Do we need tourists to take classes and sign off to respect Wyoming wildlife and habitat?

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