Couple bags heavy fines, penalties for poaching Grand County mountain lion
Sky-Hi Daily News
Failing to buy $250 hunting licenses turned into $6,000 in fines and a loss in Colorado hunting privileges for two individuals who bagged a mountain lion then transported it over state lines.
The illegal incident occurred near Hot Sulphur Springs in January 2006.
The couple pleaded guilty in Denver’s federal court last week. They were found to be in violation of the Lacey Act, a law that prohibits the interstate transportation of wildlife.
John “Tom” Boyer and his wife Deborah Boyer, owners of Let’s Tree It Outfitters in Reserve, N.M., took the illegally killed mountain lion to New Mexico, making the act a federal case. The lion was shot in the Blue River State Wildlife Area, where hunting is prohibited.
John Boyer was ordered to serve three years of probation and pay a $3,000 fine. During the term of his probation, he may not hunt or accompany anyone hunting anywhere in the world. As part of his guilty plea, John Boyer also agreed to forfeit his ability to apply for or receive a Colorado hunting license for the remainder of his life.
Deborah Boyer, a taxidermist, was also ordered to serve three years of probation and pay a $3,000 fine. During the term of her probation, Deborah Boyer may not hunt or accompany anyone hunting within Colorado. Also, as part of her guilty plea, Deborah Boyer agreed not to accept, receive, or perform any taxidermy services on any wildlife hunted or killed within Colorado.
The $3,000 fines will be contributed to the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s “Operation Game Thief,” a fund used to offer financial incentives to citizens who provide information that leads to the arrest or citation of a wildlife poacher.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services seized the animal, and it now will be used for educational purposes.
Hot Sulphur Springs Division of Wildlife officers became suspicious of the couple when they brought the animal in to be checked.
“Things didn’t add up, especially the timeline,” said Shannon Schwab, district wildlife manager in Hot Sulphur Springs.
An investigation ensued, conducted by special agents from the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement, and officers from the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Linda McMahan and Trial Attorney James B. Nelson of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section.
Since mountain lions are hunted on a quota system, the season for which starts the first day after the last combined dear and elk rifle season and continues until a certain number of animals are taken from the field, poachers “steal an opportunity from somebody who is doing it the right way,” Schwab said.
Illegal hunting does occur “more often than the division is able to catch (hunters) for,” Schwab said. “That small percentage can do a lot of damage to the wildlife resource.”
For this, the division relies heavily on tips and information from citizens. (Operation Game Thief: 1-877-265-6648.)
“The vast majority of hunters are law abiding, but the bad apples stick out, and those are the ones we want to catch,” Schwab said.
” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext 19603 or e-mail email@example.com.
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