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Craigslist Ad Leads to Wildlife Convictions in Colorado

October 4, 2011.

From Colorado Parks and Wildlife:

Three Douglas County men who were caught reselling Colorado big-game licenses on Craigslist.com have been assessed tens of thousands of dollars in fines following their conviction on charges of aggravated illegal possession of wildlife.

An investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers showed that the three men, a father and two sons, advertised guided big-game hunts on the popular internet marketplace in 2009 and 2010, offering prospective clients the opportunity to hunt trophy Colorado elk and deer without a license for fees ranging up to $3,500. Prospective clients were also told that an additional "kill fee" of up to $2,500 would be assessed if a trophy animal was taken.

"This is an egregious case of fraud perpetrated against law-abiding hunters," said Bob Thompson, the Acting Chief of Wildlife Law Enforcement. "These men are not sportsmen -- they're criminals."

Zachary Morrow, 24, of Highlands Ranch, pleaded guilty to aggravated illegal possession of wildlife, which is defined as the illegal take of three or more animals. Morrow was sentenced to two years probation and fined $21,837. Morrow's fines included a $10,000 Samson surcharge because one of the illegally taken elk was a trophy bull. Morrow was required to surrender bull elk heads and must perform 75 hours of volunteer service with a wildlife-related agency. In exchange for Morrow's guilty plea, prosecutors seven other charges, including three felonies were dismissed.

In addition, Gary Morrow, 55 and Jacob Morrow, 28, both of Sedalia, also pleaded guilty to aggravated illegal possession of wildlife. Each man was placed on two years' supervised probation and fined $9,247. They were also required to surrender trophy bull elk heads and must each perform 75 hours of volunteer service with a wildlife-related agency. In exchange for the Morrows' guilty pleas, prosecutors dismissed multiple other poaching-related charges, including a total of four felonies.

The investigation showed that the Morrows worked as a team, with Zachary and Jacob acting like salesmen, pitching and closing agreements with prospective clients. Clients were shown multiple trophy heads in Gary Morrow's Sedalia residence as an inducement to book a hunt. One of the Morrows also transmitted photographs of an illegally taken bull elk to an undercover investigator in an effort to close a deal.

During the hunt, clients were accompanied by a member of the Morrow family who had a legal hunting license. The client would be offered an opportunity to kill an animal, which the Morrows would then falsely claim was killed by one of them. Gary Morrow admitted to the investigator that the men knew that what they were doing was illegal. Under Colorado law, only a legal license holder may shoot a game animal.

Each of the men will be subject to a license suspension hearing before the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hearing Examiner at a later date. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Board, as provided in statute, may suspend any or all hunting and fishing license privileges of these three Douglas County men for a period of one year to life.

 

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