CO: Craigslist Ad Yields Wildlife Convictions

CASTLE ROCK– 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.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife considers poaching to be a serious
crime. Sportsmen and other citizens who have knowledge of
violations of Colorado’s wildlife laws may report that information
by calling Operation Game Thief at 1-877-265-6648 or their local
Colorado wildlife officer. Callers to OGT may remain anonymous.

Learn more about Operation Game Thief at:

http://wildlife.state.co.us/RulesRegs/LawEnforcement/TurninPoachers/Pages/TurnInPoachers.aspx

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:
http://wildlife.state.co.us.

 

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