Hunter fined $12,090 for poaching trophy elk near Glenwood | AspenTimes.com

Hunter fined $12,090 for poaching trophy elk near Glenwood

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A New York man has paid more than $12,000 in fines and may lose his ability to hunt in more than 30 states after admitting that he poached a trophy elk near Glenwood Springs in September.

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Thomas W. Post, 35, of Massena, N.Y., illegally shot and killed a 6-point bull elk on a private ranch in the Spring Valley area southeast of Glenwood Springs on Sept. 27.

DOW officials said that they received a phone call from a person who claimed that they had witnessed Post kill the elk with a rifle. Officially, the first rifle season doesn’t begin until Oct. 10.

But according to DOW spokesman Randy Hampton, private-land rifle hunts are allowed on private property in September, and Post was on private land. The DOW utilizes the early and late season private land hunts as population control and damage reduction, according to Hampton. However, hunters are only allowed to bag cows, not bulls, or males.

“Being that this was a bull elk, shot with a rifle on private land, that is where we got the hint of some kind of violation,” Hampton said.

Post did have permission to be on the private property and was with someone who had a license to hunt a cow elk. However, Post did not have a license, according to Hampton.

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DOW officers investigated the incident and charged Post with hunting without a proper and valid license and unlawful possession of wildlife, both misdemeanors. Post was fined $2,090 and 30 suspension points against his hunting license, according to Hampton.

Any hunter who accumulates more than 20 points is subject to an administrative hearing process and faces suspension of their hunting privileges in Colorado, and according to the Interstate Wildlife Violation Compact, Post could also lose his hunting privileges in 30 other states including his home state of New York.

Post was also hit with a $10,000 fine for the Samson Law because of the “trophy nature” of the animal. The Samson Law was created after a bull elk by the same name was illegally killed near Estes Park in 1996.

According to Hampton, the DOW seized the antlers and the meat. The meat is to be donated to someone who will use it.

Hampton said that with more than 300,000 hunting licenses sold each year in Colorado, catching poachers is a relatively rare occurrence.

“The ones that we catch up with are relatively rare,” he said. “But poaching is something that is more common than people understand because it happens, most often, in fairly remote areas.”

Hampton said that officers were able to catch up with Post this time because of the tip they received from the witness.

“Most people are obeying the laws in place to protect wildlife,” Hampton said. “But there are people out there that don’t. That is why we rely on people who are out there to report when things like this happen.”

Hampton said that the CDOW officials will hold a hearing with Post to determine if his hunting and fishing privileges will be revoked.

jgardner@postindependent.com