2nd poacher fined 18KContributors to this thread:
Quinn @work 29-Jul-18
Dirk Diggler 29-Jul-18
I will post the full story next
The second of two Oklahoma men who poached multiple elk while trespassing on private property received fi nes in court reaching over $18,000. Tanner J. England, of Oklahoma, plead guilty in court on July 18 to three counts of wildlife-fail to dress, three counts of wildlife-illegal possession, one count of hunting/trapping/fishing without permission and two counts of hunting without license-big game. England received fi nes and costs totaling $18,126.50. England, who acted alongside another charged poacher, Dakota Epperly, trespassed and poached elk on private property in Archuleta County, according to Rod Ruybalid, a wildlife manager and officer with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). In an interview with The SUN on July 23, Ruybalid explained that England appeared in court and signed a plea agreement identical to Epperly’s. “These guys, I think, they were not lawful hunters, they werepoachers. They were trying to fi nd loopholes in the law and violate those and get away with it,” Ruybalid told The SUN on July 11. “They were pretty simultaneous in what they did and working together,” Ruybalid said on July 23. Epperly, as reported previously, plead guilty to multiple poaching charges and trespassing, and he received fi nes totaling $19,126.50. According to Ruybalid, Epperly “... plead guilty to hunting on private property without permission, multiple counts of illegal possession of wildlife, multiple counts of waste of edible portions of wildlife, multiple counts of hunting elk without a proper and valid hunting license with fi nes and surcharges exceeding $19,000.” According to a case summary by Ruybalid, the case began when he received a report from the ranch manager for Rancho del Oso Pardo, located in Archuleta County near the New Mexico border, north of Chama, N.M. “The ranch manager reported that he and his employees found three dead bull elk on ranch property,” the summary reads. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that one bull elk was shot with an arrow, killing the elk, the report indicates. “The head, antlers, and some of the meat were removed and taken,” the summary states. A second bull elk, Ruybalid explained in the summary, had been shot and killed by an arrow “and left to rot.” The summary further reads that with the second bull elk: • “The only meat taken from this elk was the back straps (choice meat). • “This elk was covered with tree branches in an attempt to conceal the carcass. • “One antler was cut and broken off, which was found at the fi rst elk kill site. The other antler remained on the elk. • “The elk was a smaller bull with antlers that had 4 points on each side.” A third bull elk carcass was found, the summary notes, in which only the head, cape and antlers were removed. Ruybalid expressed to The SUN his ideas about England’s poaching activities. “I’m pretty certain that he’s actually the shooter on one of the elk where just the back straps weretaken and nothing else,” Ruybalid said to The SUN on July 23. Ruybalid explained that both England and Epperly worked in conjunction to “cover it up,” referring to taking that piece of meat out and leaving the rest of the animal. “The meat was left to rot,” the summary reads on the third bull elk. Ruybalid told The SUN on July 11 that nothing could be done with the meat and carcasses of the elk found dead on the ranch. Sometimes, the CPW takes meat samples off the carcasses for DNA testing to try to match them to other parts of the animal, Ruybalid explained. But, in this case, no samples were taken because the testing process was not used, Ruybalid explained. As far as the remainder of the carcasses of the elk were concerned, they smelt so bad, they were already decomposing “with fl ies and maggots” and at that point the ranch was all right with just letting the scavengers fi nish off the remains, Ruybalid explained. In other cases where the meat and parts of an animal are salvageable, CPW will document evidence and donate the remaining parts to “someone in the community who would benefit from that meat,” Ruybalid explained on July 11. Three carcasses were found, according to the summary, but complications on location arose. “There was a valid archery elk season going on in Colorado however, the Rancho del Oso Pardo did not have anyone hunting or give permission to anyone to be hunting on ranch property at the time,” the summary states. Ruybalid noted that hunting on private property without permission is an issue dealt with nearly every hunting season. However, the Rancho del Oso Pardo boundary is fenced and well signed to assist lawful hunters in identifying and respecting private property, even though this is not required by law, the summary notes. The ranch manager reported that two individuals had been spotted trespassing a few days before the incident, but had run into the woods, according to the report. “At that time, ranch employees documented vehicles and license plates parked at possible access points to the ranch from the neighboring Rio Grande National Forest,” the summary states. Next, using the collected information from the license plates, it was discovered that one of the vehicles belonged to Epperly, according to the summary. Colorado wildlife officers and ranch employees viewed social media pages belonging to Epperly, the report reads, and “discovered that Epperly had been archery elk hunting in Colorado and he had posted photos of himself posing with a 5x6 bull elk that he killed in Colorado.” Epperly posted other photos of bull elk that were killed in Colorado, according to the summary. It was then discovered that Epperly was accompanied by another man, the report reads. Ruybalid later identified the man to The SUN as England. Epperly had an elk hunting license prior to hunting in Colorado, Ruybalid explained to the SUN on July 23. Ruybalid explained that Epperly and England had taken more elk than the license legally allowed them to and that “they did it on private property, without permission, those elk were illegal anyway, regardless of their license.” However, England hunted without securing a license prior to taking an elk, Ruybalid explained. “He went and purchased a license after the fact, after he had killed,” Ruybalid said. England’s charge “was a little more aggravated” due to the fact that he was not licensed to hunt elk in Colorado, Ruybalid explained. Epperly did have an elk hunting license prior to the hunting in Colorado, Ruybalid explained on July 23. The background of the photos of Epperly posing with “two different 5x6 bull elk” matched the location of the kill sites of the elk discovered on Rancho del Oso Pardo property, the summary states. “Evidence collected provided cause to allow for search warrants to be obtained for phone and social media records for Epperly,” the summary reads. Search warrants were obtained and served on Epperly by wardens from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the summary continues. “Hunting equipment believed to be used in the commission of the crimes was seized as evidence and returned to Colorado, as well as the heads and antlers from the two bull elk,” the summary reads. Arrest warrants wereissued, Ruybalid explained on July 23. England was extradited to Colorado after being arrested byOklahoma state game wardens, according to Ruybalid. “So,they arrested him. Myunderstanding was, they arrested him right off of his job site, I think he worked on an oil rig,” Ruybalid said. “This prompted Epperly to drive to Colorado and turn himself in,” Ruybalid wrote in the summary. Epperly pleaded guilty, according to the report, of hunting on private property without permission, multiple counts of waste of edible portions of wildlife, and multiple counts of hunting elk without a proper and valid hunting license. Indications had been found in talks with Oklahoma wardens that the two had past experiences such as this incident, and were known to their local game wardens, Ruybalid explained on July 23. Both men had previous criminal records outside wildlife charges, according to Ruybalid. Both men face the possibility of losing their hunting and fi shing privileges for life. “Any suspension will be reciprocated in Oklahoma and 46 other states, as participating members of the Wildlife Violator Compact Agreement,” the summary reads. These acts do not represent lawful hunters, according to the summary, who respect private property, care or use the meat from the animals they take and stay within their limits. “This case is a great example where Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officers worked together with landowners and other wildlife agencies to catch and prosecute violators of wildlife law,” Ruybalid wrote in his summary. The head and antlers of the elk were recovered and returned to Colorado, Ruybalid explained to The SUN. Further, Ruybalid explained to The SUN, the CPW protects wildlife and it is important to the people who live in and visit Colorado, as well as to the state government. “We take it pretty seriously,”Ruybalid said. Ruybalid explained that if people choose to violate the law there could be significant consequences. “We may not catch you every time or the fi rst time, but we do catch up with people,” Ruybalid said. The summary notes that employees of Rancho del Oso Pardo made “great witnesses” and reported the violations “promptly.” This, in turn, according to the summary,helped CPW work with the District Attorney’s Office to successfully prosecute the case. Ruybalid mentioned on July 23 that he was very appreciative of how thorough the District Attorney’s Offi ce had been about the case and that it “also treated the wildlife violations of the case in a serious nature.” “This allowed CPW to recover the monetary value (set in State Statute) of the wildlife illegally taken, on behalf of the people of Colorado, while assisting in protecting private property rights in Colorado,” the summary reads. “They were hand in hand, and wereboth serious wildlife violators,” Ruybalid said on July 23. Ruybalid further explained that while England and Epperly may have felt safe returning to Oklahoma after the incident, they were ultimately caught for their crimes.
Even if they lose their privilege for life, scum like this will find away ... glad they were caught... I wonder how many others are out there like these two twits and just havnt been caught .....yet .. ..
Good to read about the conclusion of this case.
Thanks for posting.
CPW, nicely done.
Scum. Good news that they got caught.
JTV...I agree, scum (criminals) like this will break the law even if they lose their hunting privaliges for life. That is what criminals do, break the law.
From: Quinn @work
Glad the poachers were caught. I'm also pleasantly surprised at the fine amounts. Usually they get a small fine and a slap on the wrist.
To bad there wasn't about five years in the state penitentiary added to the fines.
From: Dirk Diggler
I'm with Quinn, good to see a fine with some teeth in it for a change. Taking their hunting rights is no different than gun laws, only the law abiding are affected.
wow ... I always hope they were just stupid and didn't know they were on private..Glad they lost there hunting rights. that would suck for me.
"wow ... I always hope they were just stupid and didn't know they were on private'......
Did you read the report? No ignorance - they knew what they were doing.
Yeah, these guys didn't even have the respect for the hunt/animal to keep the meat. I am sure they knew they were on private. Sh%tbags.
I am pretty sure stupid is not a defense to trespassing on private land while hunting in CO.
Glad they were caught and punished accordingly.