Los Angeles Sheriff Deputy Poaching Case

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A recently resolved court case involving the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) highlights the serious nature of illegally killing big game animals. The case demonstrates the efforts of wildlife officers, prosecutors, and judges in attempting to stop the practice of illegally killing Colorado’s big game animals.

The killing of a deer north of the southwestern Colorado town of Bayfield in October resulted in a lengthy investigation for the DOW. The case started with the alleged after-dark, spotlight shooting of a mule deer buck on private property on Oct. 21.

Witnesses informed wildlife officers that they heard several shots come from the area of a county road near the Coolwater Ranch property. When witnesses investigated they came across several men near a truck with California license plates. The suspects left the area when witnesses went to contact law enforcement.

District Wildlife Manager Cary Carron responded and returned to search the area the following morning. He discovered the dead deer on private property bordering La Plata County Road 501. Evidence was collected at the scene.

Several wildlife officers, led by Carron, found the suspect vehicle at a hunting camp in the Sauls Creek area. In all, 10 suspects were interviewed, but all denied any involvement in, or knowledge of, the killing of the deer. Officers questioned the suspects and collected evidence at the camp, including seizing the pickup truck identified by witnesses.

For the next six months, DOW officers continued to pursue leads, re-interview suspects, analyze and compile evidence, and, eventually, gain arrest warrants for the suspects. The investigation determined that Frank G. Bowne III, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, was the person who illegally shot the deer. Two other parties also were charged. Because of the hard work of those investigating this case, guilty pleas were entered by the following parties:

Frank G. Bowne III
Hometown: Lancaster, Calif.
Illegal take of one deer
Fines and court costs of $4,199;

Rodney Ludington Jr.
Hometown: Aztec, N.M.
2nd degree criminal trespass
Fine of $159; 10 days in jail (suspended);
and 24 hours useful public service;

Sig Hall IV
Hometown: Queen Creek, Ariz.
2nd degree criminal trespass
Fine of $159; 10 days in jail (suspended);
and 24 hours useful public service.

Credit for this successful prosecution goes to Carron and other officers from the DOW office in Durango. Assistance in the case was provided by the Colorado Bureau of Investigations; the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office; the La Plata County District Attorney’s Office; the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish; the California Department of Fish and Game; and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.