Colorado Residents Help Catch Poachers

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Some alert residents helped the Colorado Division of Wildlife nab two poachers in Bayfield on Nov. 8.

Wayne Anderson of Colorado Springs and a 17-year-old male juvenile were arrested and charged with hunting in a careless manner and illegal possession of wildlife by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Additional charges are pending. Both individuals are required to appear in court, could pay up to $2,000 in fines and face suspension of their hunting and fishing privileges.

About 10 a.m. Nov. 8, some Bayfield residents saw a man in a field near a developed area just south of U.S. Highway 160 near the Shell gas station. Witnesses reported that the man shot a large 6 x 6 mule deer buck that was walking across a light-industrial lot. The buck is one of several "Bayfield bucks" that live in an around Bayfield for much of the year. The men then left the scene.

Witnesses followed the men's vehicle, wrote down the license plate number and a vehicle description and then called the Bayfield Marshal's office. Bayfield officers located the men a short time later and held them until DOW officers arrived.

"This incident really shows how much the Division of Wildlife relies on citizens and other law enforcement agencies to help solve crimes against wildlife," Patt Dorsey, DOW Area Wildlife Manager said.

Dorsey said this case is similar to the Greenmount Cemetery deer case in Durango that occurred in 2005. In both cases highly-visible big buck deer were treasured by the public and the public passed along information to DOW that helped solve the cases.

"If law enforcement can get good information there's a great chance we can apprehend violators. There's no doubt it would have been more difficult to make this case without the help of alert citizens," Dorsey said.

Both witnesses were hunters that were alert and immediately contacted law enforcement. "Unfortunately, it's not the good guys like our witnesses that make the news," Dorsey said. "Poor hunter behavior makes the rest of the hunter community look bad."

While poaching occurs year around in Colorado, it is most significant in the late fall when mule deer enter their breeding stage and the antlers of buck deer are fully developed. At this time of year deer are often in highly-visible areas and are gathered in groups.

If you seen any suspicious activity along roads where deer are nearby, please contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife at (970) 375-0855, Operation Game Thief at 1-877-265-6648; local law enforcement or the Colorado State Patrol.

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