Two federal wildlife workers are among the four men who have pleaded guilty in connection with an investigation into the Western Slope poaching of a high-quality bull elk in 2014.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife say the men participated in an illegal hunt after trespassing onto private land on the Roan Plateau, northwest of Rifle.
State investigators said they learned of the poached elk after one of the men posted a photo online of himself with the animal. CPW says wildlife officers “recognized landmarks in the background of the snapshot confirming that the bull was killed in an area well into private property and closed to all hunting.”
Thad Bingham, 44, of Fruita, was the last of the four to be sentenced last month in the case. He was ordered to pay $200 in court fines and donate $5,000 to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, according to CPW.
Brian Scheer, 45, Barrett Rowles, 48, and Josh Fitzsimmons, 45, all also from the Western Slope, participated in the illegal hunt as well, CPW said. They pleaded guilty to criminal trespass and were fined $86 each, according to Mike Porras, a CPW spokesman.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife says Bingham and Scheer are employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who work at the Horsethief Canyon Native Fish Facility Ponds near Fruita.
“Poachers come from all walks of life but everyone is subject to the same rules and regulations,” area wildlife manager JT Romatzke said in a statement. “Rather than setting a good example as employees of a federal wildlife management agency, these two individuals and their accomplices instead chose to violate the law in an egregious manner, and that is a real shame.”
Colorado wildlife authorities say the four men face up to a five-year suspension of their hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado.
Syndicated from Denver Post
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