Hunting bans extended to 15, 20 years for poachers who killed bear at landfill near Aspen
A father and son from Indiana who pleaded guilty to poaching a bear at the Pitkin County Landfill in 2016 have been banned from hunting and fishing in most of the United States for 20 years and 15 years, respectively, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Wednesday.
A CPW hearing officer ruled in August that Dan Roe, 56, of Tipton, Indiana, would be banned from hunting or fishing for 20 years and his son, Alex Roe, 28, also of Tipton, would be banned from the activities for 15 years, said Kurtis Tesch, CPW’s Aspen-area wildlife officer who investigated the Roes.
The Roes appealed that ruling, and their case was eventually set to be heard by the CPW commission at its February meeting, Tesch said Wednesday. Commissioners can vote on the appeal, though the Roes didn’t appear, so the sentences went into effect, he said.
“It’s very justifiable,” Tesch said of the punishment. “The only reason (Alex Roe) didn’t get 20 years was that he realized the situation he was in and started to be honest (with the hearing officer). (Dan Roe) continued to make up stories and excuses, and that’s why he got more.”
A text message sent Wednesday to Alex Roe seeking comment was not returned. Richard Nedlin, the Roes’ Aspen attorney, said he did not know of the new hunting bans and had not had any contact with the father and son since their Pitkin County District Court sentencing in February 2018.
At that hearing, Nedlin told District Judge Chris Seldin that Alex Roe has a taxidermy business in Indiana and that both father and son teach and train hunters and archers “how to properly hunt.”
“They’ve both been hunting their entire lives,” he said. “Hunting is their life. It’s their livelihood.”
The hunting ban from CPW applies in states that are part of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, according to a CPW news release sent out Wednesday. According to the organization’s website, Hawaii is not a member, and membership is pending for Nebraska, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Both father and son pleaded guilty in February 2018 to felony willful destruction of big game and misdemeanor counts of failure to dress or care for wildlife, illegal possession of wildlife and hunting without permission. The felony convictions, however, will be wiped from their records under a plea deal provided they stay out of trouble for two years.
The two men agreed to a two-year hunting ban as part of that plea deal, though a prosecutor at the time made it clear that CPW could increase the ban.
The Roes were hunting with a valid permit in September 2016, but killed the bear on landfill property that was outside the hunting zone. Wildlife officials said the men took the bear’s hide and head, but covered up the carcass with trash and left it to rot.
After shooting a bear, hunters in Colorado must prepare the meat for human consumption and bring the head and hide to a CPW office for inspection within five days, according to the news release. The Roes presented the hide and head, but lied about where the bear was killed and said they donated the meat to nearby campers, the release states.
“These individuals not only took the bear illegally, they concocted an elaborate story in an attempt to hide their crime,” Tesch said in the release. “Even after we began looking into the situation, they continued to lie about it.”
Tesch and CPW worked with Indiana wildlife officials to track down the Roes and gather evidence against them.
Another man, Pablo Gutierrez, 54, of Aspen, allegedly helped the Roes by driving them to the landfill area, according to the release. He was convicted of hunting on private property without permission and given a warning for illegal possession of wildlife. Gutierrez was fined $139.50 and banned from hunting or fishing for a year, the release states.
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