Hunters fined for illegal killing of elk
Aspen, CO Colorado
GUNNISON ” Two Gunnison County men who killed at least two elk illegally will pay $2,700 in fines and could lose their Colorado hunting privileges.
The elk were killed in Gunnison County about halfway between Lake City and the town of Gunnison in November 2006.
In a plea bargain, Larry McGraw, 49, of Gunnison paid $1,988, was assessed 30 penalty points against his hunting privileges and forfeited his rifle. Thomas McGraw, 21, of Crested Butte, admitted guilt to DOW officers, paid $616 and was assessed 35 penalty points.
Hunters can lose their license privileges if they accumulate 20 points or more. An administrative hearing will be held later this year to determine if the men will lose their ability to buy hunting and fishing licenses, the DOW reported in a press release detailing the penalties.
A tip made to the Colorado Division of Wildlife from other hunters in the area led to the charges.
“The hunters who told us about the suspicious activity in the area truly care about Colorado’s wildlife,” said J. Wenum, area wildlife manager in Gunnison. “Without their report, we probably wouldn’t have caught these guys.”
According to the DOW incident report, the McGraws were sitting on a cliff when they spotted a herd of elk below them. The men started shooting indiscriminately – up to 30 shots were reportedly fired. They then went down and tagged and field dressed two cow elk. The men had cow tags for the area.
However, their careless shooting resulted in several other elk being hit, according to the DOW.
Observant hunters nearby heard the gunfire and contacted the DOW. When wildlife officers arrived on the scene they found a dead 5×5 bull that had been shot.
“The guys who fired all these shots walked right by the bull, they just let it go to waste,” Wenum said.
Besides the dead bull, DOW officers found blood trails that indicated that five or six other animals had been shot. Officers also tracked and spotted a wounded calf. Two days later they found a cow that had died of wounds.
Based on witness descriptions and license information, DOW officers located the men the next day in Gunnison and Crested Butte.
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