Fish & Wildlife employees trespassed and poached a Colorado elk two years ago.
Two U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees have been hit with big fines after Colorado Parks and Wildlife determined they poached an elk two years ago.
CPW announced the results of a two-year investigation into the actions of 44-year-old Thad Bingham and 45-year-old Brian Scheer in October 2014 on a press release on their website.
Bingham has pled guilty to trespassing and illegal possession of wildlife. His plea will result in lesser charges, but it is still going to cost him. "He paid over $200 in court fines and ordered to donate $5,000 to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Prior to his plea agreement with the DA, he faced over $12,000 in fines for several charges," CPW stated in the press release.
"Poachers come from all walks of life but everyone is subject to the same rules and regulations," CPW area wildlife manager JT Romatzke said in the release.
Officials caught on to the illegal actions of Bingham, Scheer and two other men, 48-year-old Barrett Rowles and 45-year-old Josh Fitzsimmons with the help of the internet. Wildlife officials learned of a photo circulating online of Bingham with the elk. Upon closer examination, officers realized the landmarks in the background corresponded to an area that is off-limits to hunting.
After collecting evidence at the scene of the crime, officers found more evidence at Bingham's home and workplace that helped link him and his friends to the poaching incident.
CPW says the other men were initially hit with trespassing and illegal transportation of wildlife charges. There is a good chance all four will lose hunting privileges for the next five years. Because the bull was a 6x6, there is a chance they could be hit with additional fines under Colorado's Samson Law for illegally killing trophy elk.
There was no word in the release how this crime might affect Bingham and Scheer's job status with U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The men work at Horsethief Canyon Fish Facility Ponds in Fruita.
But CPW is making a big deal of this incident. No doubt they want to drive home the fact that no one is immune to game laws.
"We say this over and over, and we cannot stress this enough, if you commit a wildlife crime, no matter who you are, we are going to do what we can to find you," Romatzke said in the release. "Colorado Game wardens know every rock, tree and canyon in the state and are constantly on the lookout for people that ignore our wildlife laws."