Back-porch poach earns Carbondale employee a DOW fine
A Carbondale employee who poached a deer from his back porch is under investigation over allegations he used town resources to dispose of the carcass.The Colorado Division of Wildlife on Monday ticketed Ed Fortner, the town’s utilities director in charge of water and wastewater systems, for illegal possession of wildlife and hunting without a valid license. He paid a $1,767 fine and received 30 points on his license, which likely means it will be revoked, said DOW spokesman Randy Hampton.According to an affidavit for a search warrant filed by the DOW with Pitkin County court, the incident occurred Nov. 6. Tom McClelland, a Carbondale employee, notified the DOW on Jan. 20 that he believed Fortner had shot a buck mule deer from the back porch of his home at 316 Thomas Road in Carbondale. He said he was sure Fortner did not have a license and “had wasted most of the meat,” the affidavit read.McClelland also told the DOW that Fortner removed the antlers and hung them over his hot tub on his porch.On Monday, DOW officers interviewed several town employees who either confirmed or added to the information surrounding the shooting.Rich Poulin, who works for the Carbondale water department and has worked for the town for nine years, told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent that Fortner approached him in November to dispose of some deer remains.Fortner told him he’d shot a deer and asked him to drive a town truck around to a Dumpster and to throw away several bags full of deer remains, Poulin said. Poulin said he did not realize the deer was taken illegally until January, when a co-worker told him Fortner had poached the deer near his home and did not have a license.Poulin, fearing he would be implicated in using town property to dispose of the deer carcass, went to McClelland, who he said was a supervisor with the utilities department, and told him about the shooting and Fortner’s request. “He said he’d let someone know,” Poulin said.Poulin told the DOW the story on Monday.After reporting to McClelland, Poulin said he felt he was in “a hell of a position at work,” and feared he would be fired.Poulin said Fortner fired McClelland in January, and that only increased his concern.Fortner did not immediately respond to a phone call Thursday.On Wednesday, Poulin said, Fortner approached him and warned him “not to talk to anyone.””I said ‘I don’t want to talk to you unless it’s work-related,'” Poulin said.The DOW also interviewed Carbondale employee Matt Wagner on Monday. Wagner told the DOW Fortner had told him he’d shot a deer from his back porch using a handgun. DOW officers removed a .40-caliber Smith and Wesson semiautomatic handgun from his home. The DOW later returned the gun to Fortner.Carbondale Town Manager Tom Baker said he has talked with DOW officials about the situation, and for now Fortner remains on the job.However, he said he is looking into the allegation that Fortner used town resources to commit a crime.”There is no verification that that happened,” Baker said. “It’s a question that I have to take responsibility to look into, but nothing has been determined.”If any town resources were used, “that would not be proper,” Baker said. “If there is any improper conduct, it will be addressed.”Carbondale correspondent John Stroud contributed to this story.
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Pitkin County Health Department has put together a “Frequently Asked Questions” guideline for its new Traveler Affidavit Requirement, which starts Dec. 14.