A father and son from Indiana face long-time bans from hunting and fishing in 47 states after being convicted of poaching a giant black bear in Colorado.
The men illegally killed the 400-pound bear near Aspen in 2016, and after hearings by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, officials said Wednesday they have not appealed their lengthy sentences.
Now, Dan Roe, 55, of Tipton, Indiana, will serve a 20-year hunting and fishing ban while his 27-year-old son, Alex Roe, has a 15-year suspension under terms of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
A third man, Pablo Gutierrez, 54, of Aspen, is banned from hunting for a year.
Officials said he dropped the Roes off where they could sneak onto Pitkin County Landfill property to poach a bear.
“I don’t know why they didn’t follow through with their right to appeal but either way, in my opinion, the length of the suspensions are warranted in this case,” Kurtis Tesch, a district wildlife officer from Aspen and a primary investigator,” said in a statement. “These individuals not only took the bear illegally, they concocted an elaborate story in an attempt to hide their crime.”
In Colorado, bear hunters must use the animal’s meat for human consumption and bring the head and hide to a wildlife officer for mandatory inspection.
But in this case, the Roes’ story didn’t add up.
“While the hide was being inspected, the Roes talked about how they had killed the bear off a Forest Service road they couldn’t identify, how tough it was to pack-out the large animal but they didn’t have the meat because they had donated it to nearby campers,” Tesch added. “In reality, we discovered they killed the bear at the Pitkin County landfill. They took only the hide and wasted the meat, then falsified documents. Even after we began looking into the situation, they continued to lie about it.”
The men pleaded guilty to willful destruction of wildlife, illegal possession of wildlife, hunting on private property without permission and waste of edible wildlife.
In addition to the hunting and fishing ban, the Roes agreed to donate $2,500 each to Colorado’s Operation Game Thief, a wildlife violation tip line.
Officials said the father and son are “paying steep price for poaching.”
“This was not hunting – this was poaching, one of the most serious wildlife crimes you can commit,” Tesch said. “We strongly urge the public to report illegal wildlife activity. In many cases, that’s the only way we can bring a poacher to justice.”
Photos Colorado Parks & Wildlife