Poaching verdict shameful
February 29, 2004
After all the hard work put forth by the Colorado Division of Wildlife to catch the repeatedly brazen wildlife poacher Charles Goure, it’s a shame that the best Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols and [Pitkin County] Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely could come up with was a five -year suspension of privileges and an $892 fine.
This was not an isolated incident done by a young or ignorant person trying to put some meat on the table. This was a supposedly mature 37-year-old man, who should be fully aware of the illegallity of his acts and their consequences, which were committed again and again in fairly high profile areas near significant human activity. (I witnessed the aftermath at Spring Gulch and White Hill.)
That the charges of hunting out of season were somehow dismissed by the court belittles the work of the DOW and makes a mockery of the system of rules in place to protect wildlife. Did the court even consider a cruelty-to-animals charge since the acts were done with a .22 caliber rifle?
If Goure had gone out to dinner with a date and gotten pulled over after drinking a couple glasses of wine and charged with a DUI, the court would have certainly jumped at the chance to make a lot more money than the $892 collected for five confirmed lives taken, and the many more that were not confirmed.
At hunter education classes, the DOW teaches that wildlife belongs to everyone, but evidently in this case, it’s not worth very much.
With this judgment, Nichols and Fernandez-Ely are, in effect, condoning this type of behavior, which is costing Goure a lot less than most out-of-state hunters contribute to the local economy by paying outfitters to hunt legally.
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For this we say thanks for nothing ” you let a lot of people and animals down and your priorities are all messed up.