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Colorado poacher pleads guilty to five wildlife violations in illegal killing of bull moose

Posted: 3:04 PM, Apr 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-15 20:38:01-04

HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS – A Colorado man convicted of poaching will pay nearly $20,000 in fines for illegally killing and then abandoning a bull moose in Grand County last November, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

On April 9th in a 14th Judicial District court, 19-year-old Callan Hyatt, of Broomfield, pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor wildlife violations.

  • Hunting in a careless manner
  • Failing to locate wounded game
  • Failing to dress wildlife
  • Illegal possession of wildlife
  • Hunting without a license

According to CPW, Hyatt’s total fine included an additional $10,000 penalty, referred to as the ‘Samson Law,’ for the illegal take of a bull moose. CPW said he also received a warning for a felony charge of willful destruction of wildlife.

Pending a decision by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hearings Examiner, Hyatt could also receive up to a five-year suspension of his hunting and fishing privileges in 47 Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact states.

CPW said officials learned of the dead moose the day after Hyatt shot it when a hunter called in a tip to a local CPW officer. By that time though, the meat had spoiled.

CPW said that when a District Wildlife Officer confronted Hyatt, he admitted that while he was elk hunting, he saw movement in the trees and fired without properly identifying the target. Hyatt, who did not have a moose license, wounded the moose and did not pursue it, as is required by law.

In a situation such as this, a person is required to track the wounded animal, field dress it, and report the incident.

“We understand hunting mistakes and accidents will happen, but we expect sportsmen and women to take immediate responsibility for their actions,” said District Wildlife Officer, Jeff Behncke. “Thankfully the vast majority of hunters are ethical and do the right thing in cases like this; unfortunately, there are a few that may prefer to try and evade authorities. We offer everyone this advice; if you accidentally kill the wrong species, you should call us right away and field dress the animal immediately so that it does not spoil.”

Behncke said doing the right thing can be the difference between a simple $70.50 fine and a $20,000 citation, felony charges, and the loss of hunting and fishing privileges.

“A legal, bull moose hunter waits a minimum of four years to draw a license,” added Behncke. “In fact, many hunters never draw a license in their lifetime because of the very limited license allocations. This act essentially stole that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from a legal hunter.”

CPW credits the hunter that called in to report finding the dead moose.

“He had two young sons with him,” said Behncke. “I think the father set a great example about how to handle a situation like this by reporting what he saw as soon as possible.”

Behncke said he is currently investigating the poaching of two additional moose and one bull elk that were shot and abandoned in Game Management Unit 28 in Grand County.