The owner of a Colorado outfitting business and an Indiana man recently paid more than $7,000 in fines for violating numerous state hunting regulations during the 2016 big-game season.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources conducted the investigation. Jerald Flowers, co-owner of Hot T Camp near Montrose, paid $1,512 in fines; and Charles Conner of Boonville, Ind., paid $5,766. The fines were paid in September. The men could also lose their hunting and fishing license privileges in Colorado and 46 other states.
“Colorado Parks and Wildlife is serious about catching people who violate wildlife laws and especially when they intentionally violate the law year after year,” stated Wildlife Officer Kelly Crane. “Wildlife violators can face significant penalties, which are appropriate considering how destructive and unethical poaching is to the state’s wildlife.”
The investigation started in the fall of 2016 when Crane received a tip about possible hunting violations at the Hot T Camp.
The investigation showed that Conner, who was working as a guide for Hot T, had, in previous years, taken two bull elk and one black bear without a license. The investigation also showed Flowers, a licensed outfitter, had illegally transferred his licenses to the animals that Conner had killed. In Colorado, licenses are assigned only to the hunter who purchased them.
Further, the investigation proved that Conner, Flowers and other paid clients of the Hot T had hunted on a neighboring private property multiple times without permission.
Conner was charged with hunting without a license, illegal possession of a black bear, illegal possession of two bull elk, illegally using another person’s license and multiple counts of hunting on private property without permission. Flowers was charged with transferring his license to another person, illegal possession of a mule deer and multiple counts of hunting on private property without permission.
As part of the investigation, CPW officers seized several sets of big-game antlers and a black bear hide and skull. The owners forfeited all of those wildlife parts.
Conner and Flowers will be subject to hearings in front of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission Hearing Examiner who will determine the status of the men’s license privileges. Penalties imposed will also be enforced by the 47 states that cooperate as part of the national Wildlife Violator Compact.
“This case should serve as a warning to anyone that chooses to ignore our wildlife laws,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Renzo DelPiccolo. “We take this very seriously and greatly appreciate information from concerned members of the public.”
Poaching and violation of wildlife laws continues to be a serious problem in Colorado, DelPiccolo said.
“Wildlife belongs to the people of Colorado. Anyone who takes wildlife without respect for the laws of Colorado is stealing from all the people of Colorado.”
Anyone who has information concerning crimes against wildlife or violation of hunting or fishing laws can contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife through Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648. Tips can be given anonymously. Rewards are given for tips that result in convictions.