Below is a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
A 2019 poaching case on the Uncompahgre Plateau has been resolved following guilty pleas by three adults and two juveniles.
The case began on the morning of November 9, 2019, when witnesses reported seeing a group of people shooting into a herd of elk on the Uncompahgre Plateau in Game Management Unit 61. The witnesses contacted Colorado Parks and Wildlife after seeing the other group shoot several elk and leave them to rot. Colorado regulations require that any animal harvested must have all meat prepared for human consumption.
Responding wildlife officers found two dead elk, including a spike bull that had been dragged into some bushes and hidden without being gutted. Officers also found the gut pile of a third elk that had been shot and taken from the location. Based on witness descriptions, officers were able to locate the people involved in the incident at a nearby camp where additional evidence was gathered.
The following individuals were charged in the case with the following resolutions following the entry of guilty pleas in Mesa County District Court:
- Floyd Kendall, age 68, of Grand Junction
- Willful destruction of big game and waste of wildlife
- $3,914.35 in fines and court costs plus a $1,000 donation to Operation Game Thief (OGT)
- Steven Creech, age 36, of Grand Junction
- Willful destruction of big game and hunting without a license
- $5,640.50 in fines plus a $1,000 donation to OGT
- Joseph Kendall, age 37, of Grand Junction
- Hunting without a license
- $371.50 in fines and court costs
- Juvenile 1
- Illegal possession of wildlife and shooting from a public road
- $205.42 in fines and court costs
- Juvenile 2
- Waste of wildlife and shooting from a public road
- $598 in fines and $500 donation to OGT
While the incident did occur during a legal hunting season only two of the five members of the party who had shot that morning had valid hunting licenses at the time.
“This case wouldn’t have been possible without the information that was provided by the witnesses in this case,” said Kevin Duckett, District Wildlife Manager for the western portion of the Uncompahgre Plateau. “There are millions of acres of public hunting lands in Colorado so we count on people to help be our eyes in the field. With more than 500,000 legal and ethical hunters in the field each year, we’ve got a great team out there that can help make sure that everyone is following the rules.”
Hunting seasons pump millions of dollars into the state economy. Communities such as Delta, Meeker, Craig, Montrose and Gunnison rely on hunting seasons in the same way that Aspen and Vail count on skiers each year. A 2008 study by BBC Research and Consulting found that hunting and fishing contribute $1.8 Billion to the Colorado economy each year.
Anyone who believes they’ve witnessed a crime against wildlife can call Operation Game Thief to provide information. Information can be given anonymously and rewards are possible for those giving tips that lead to a citation. Call OGT at 1-877-265-6648 or #OGT on the Verizon network.
(Photo source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)