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Poacher Gets Absurd Sentence in Colorado

October 16, 2007.

A Minnesota man pled guilty this week to three misdemeanors stemming from the baiting and killing of a bear last month near Carbondale, Colorado.

The man had set dog food out to bait the bear (baiting is illegal in Colorado), then shot the bear with his bow the day before the season opened, then left the meat to rot. He was caught after raising suspicions when he took the bear hide in to get it tagged and sealed as required by Colorado hunting regulations.

The man was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation, loss of hunting privileges for five years, and fines of $5,300. As part of a plea bargain, a felony charge of willful destruction of big-game wildlife was dropped.

This all seems within norms.

The absurd part was that District Judge Chuck Buss required that Miller donate $500 to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the radical anti-hunting organization.

It is unclear why the judge felt it appropriate to mandate the financing of anti-hunting organizations as part of this poaching case. This seems incredibly inappropriate and utterly irrelevant to the crime at hand. It is unfortunate that the judge didn't consider directing funds towards an organization that is actually relevant to reducing poaching, such as Colorado's Turn in Poachers Program or Operation Game Thief.

Hopefully, next time, the punishment will fit the crime.

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