Suspect Arrested for Poaching a Bighorn Sheep

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A 25-year-old man suspected of illegally killing a trophy-size bighorn sheep in Glenwood Canyon, a well-known habitat for the state’s official mammal, is being held on a $50,000 bond in Garfield County Jail. He faces thousands of dollars in fines and more jail time, pending further investigation, authorities said Tuesday.

Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) officers identified the suspect as Joshua Eli Lloyd, a former Oklahoma resident who has lived in Colorado for about a year. Wildlife officers arrested Lloyd late Sunday after he apparently tried to recover a partially concealed sheep head from a culvert north of westbound Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon. DOW officers ran a surveillance of the site after a fisherman alerted them to a trash bag with a sheep head inside.

“These animals are seen right alongside I-70 by thousands of people every day,” said DOW Area Wildlife Manager Pat Tucker.

Lloyd is being held on three charges, including a felony charge of willful destruction of wildlife; a charge of illegal possession of wildlife, which carries fines ranging from $1,000-$100,000; and a charge of violating Colorado’s Samson Law. He is suspected of taking the bighorn sheep out of hunting season and without an appropriate license, and in an area where bighorn hunting is never allowed.

Under the state’s Samson Law, illegal killing of trophy-size wildlife carries a $25,000 surcharge. Wildlife biologists said the ram Lloyd is suspected of killing was eight and a half years old, with a three-quarter horn curl. Any ram with a half curl—where the horn has grown at least through half or 180 degrees of a circle—meets the Samson classification.

Authorities said Lloyd faces more fines, pending the outcome of the investigation. Lloyd could lose hunting privileges in Colorado and 18 other states under the terms of a multi-state compact among wildlife agencies. Authorities could also seize any equipment, vehicles, or other items used to commit the crime. In addition, authorities are investigating whether he committed any type of fraud with relation to taxes, vehicle registration, hunting licenses and other documents.

“People who illegally kill these animals have no respect for Colorado’s wildlife and deserve what they get. We’re going to do everything we can to apprehend these folks and get them into the legal system,” Tucker said.

Lloyd is accused of parking his pickup truck with Oklahoma plates on the shoulder of I-70 about 10 p.m. Sunday, before grabbing a plastic bag from the bed of his vehicle, and walking down an embankment toward the culvert, wildlife officers said.

DOW District Wildlife Managers Darren Chacon and Sonia Marzec advised Lloyd of his rights soon after that and transported him to the county jail for further questioning.

Tucker lauded the efforts of the DOW officers who handled the arrest, as well as the angler and other concerned citizens who have helped wildlife officers catch poachers in recent months. In the most recent cases, tipsters have reported suspicious activity on principle alone, declining to accept rewards.

“Some of our best cases come from people who see something they believe is wrong and take the time to let us know,” he said.

Tucker urged others to follow the example set by the angler and alert the DOW to any wildlife violations, either through the state’s Operation Game Thief hotline or directly by calling a local DOW office.

PHOTO can be viewed at: Poached Bighorn.
Division of Wildlife officers Darren Chacon and Sonia Marzec hold the head of a 3/4-curl bighorn ram allegedly poached in Glenwood Canyon last week. A Glenwood Springs man is in custody for allegedly poaching the ram.