GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The last member of group of poachers from western Colorado to face trial agreed to plead guilty to eight misdemeanor violations of the federal Lacey Act in U.S. District Court in Grand Junction on April 6. Nathan Simms, 31, of Grand Junction will face sentencing in June for his role in what veteran wildlife officers called one of the most disturbing cases they had ever seen.
In the plea agreement, Simms accepted a recommendation that he serve a six-month prison sentence for his involvement in the crimes. In addition, he faces a possible lifetime suspension of his hunting and fishing privileges, pending an appearance before a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hearings Officer.
“We want to make it clear to anyone that chooses to ignore our laws that we take wildlife violations very seriously and our officers will do what it takes to bring them to justice,” said CPW Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “Criminals involved in this activity can face significant penalties from the courts, which is appropriate when you consider how unethical and destructive poaching is to wildlife.”
Christopher Loncarich of Mack was the owner of the now defunct outfitting business that employed Simms and his wife Caitlin Simms – daughter of Loncarich – her sister Andie Loncarich of Crawford, Nicholaus Rodgers of Medford, Oregon and Marvin Ellis of Grand Junction. The co-conspirators developed a scheme to capture and maim lions and bobcats in western Colorado and eastern Utah, making it easy for their customers to kill. The investigation revealed that most of the clients, many that came from out-of-state and paid up to $7,500 for the opportunity, were unaware of their illegal methods.
Officials apprehended the group after a lengthy investigation beginning in 2007 and continuing through 2010, involving law enforcement officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Read more
GW: And, to imagine anyone would whine about this. Good going Maryland!
MISSOULA, Mont. – Boone and Crockett Club applauds the Maryland Hunting Coalition for the passage of The Poaching Restitution Act of 2016 in Maryland. The act has been sent to Governor Larry Hogan for signature into law. The Maryland Hunting Coalition was instrumental in the creation and passage of the act, which will make Maryland one of the most punitive states in America for poaching deer.
In September of 2015, the Maryland Hunting Coalition hosted the First Annual Hunter’s Summit. The most important subject discussed was widespread deer poaching and the lack of sufficient enforcement of established hunting laws. The genesis of The Poaching Restitution Act of 2016 was born from this summit and, with the help of dedicated supporters Maryland State Senator Johnny Ray Salling and Maryland Delegate Anthony O’Donnell, passed by both the state Senate and House of Delegates.
“The Boone and Crockett Club commends the State of Maryland on their commitment to deter poaching of deer with the implementation of some of the stiffest penalties in the nation,” said Club President Morrie Stevens. “Poachers are not hunters. They are thieves that pose a significant threat to our natural resources and circumvent the hard work of wildlife managers, landowners, and hunters who abide by the law to take their game. This new, stricter policy echoes the purpose of B&C’s ‘Poach and Pay’ research program.”
The act not only increases penalties for illegal killing of deer but also creates greater penalties for the poaching of trophy deer, which will be determined by the widely accepted Boone and Crockett Club’s standard for measuring and evaluating trophy quality. With support from optics-maker, Leupold & Stevens, the Club’s Poach and Pay research initiative is aimed at gathering information from all states relative to their poaching restitution policies on what is and is not working as deterrents, and what can be improved upon.
Last week, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the National Wild Turkey Federation gathered with other partners, volunteers and individuals to celebrate the opening of the first Turkey Tracts hunting area, located at Allegan State Game Area in Allegan County.
Sadly, the new Turkey Tracts kiosk, which is a large information station built by volunteers, thoughtlessly was vandalized and destroyed Friday night. It stood for only a few days. Read more
Investigation continues into thefts in Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties
Contact: Lt. James Gorno at 989-732-3541 or John Pepin, 906-226-1352
Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are continuing to investigate the theft of sugar maple logs from public state-managed lands in three northern Lower Peninsula counties.
Three males in their mid-20s, one each from – Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties – have been arrested and charged with 1-year misdemeanors or 5-year felonies for removal of forest products. Names are being withheld pending arraignments.
The arrest warrants were issued by prosecutors in Cheboygan and Charlevoix counties. Officers expect more charges to be authorized as the investigation moves forward.
Late last year, conservation officers began receiving public complaints about large sugar maple trees being cut on state forestland. Only the thickest part of the trees – the lowest 8-12 feet – was taken most often.
In many cases, there were several valuable saw logs left on the site to rot in the woods. More than 100 logs were allegedly stolen.
“This is a clear case of thieves stealing what belongs to all of Michigan’s citizens,” said Sgt. Greg Drogowski of the Gaylord District office. “An analogy to the wasted timber left in the woods is that of a poacher illegally killing a deer and taking only the back straps (tenderloins).” Read more
“The recently reported instances of wanton and wasteful poaching in Minnesota should offend the sensibilities of all ethical and law-abiding hunters and anglers,” Gov. Mark Dayton said. “They are shameful criminal acts, and they should be treated as serious offenses by Minnesota laws.”
Dayton said he wants certain types of poaching to be upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony offense for individuals who take animals above a restitution value of $2,000. More here…
Two rewards totaling $10,000 have been offered for information on the killing of a federally protected grizzly bear in Idaho.
In October 2015, a radio collared grizzly bear was found dead in the Grouse Creek drainage of Bonner County, Idaho. It is a violation of the Endangered Species Act to kill a grizzly bear, which is listed as threatened. The incident was investigated by the Idaho Fish and Game Department and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Read more
Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers announced today a Marquette man has been arraigned in two counties on a total of 26 charges related to alleged waterfowl and charter operation violations.
Terry Jay Wilson, 30, of Marquette was arraigned Jan. 25 in Arenac County District Court in Standish. Wilson waived arraignment in Mackinac County District Court in St. Ignace on additional charges.
The charges from both counties were the result of a 2-year undercover investigation by detectives from the Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division’s Special Investigations Unit.
The 26 counts – 17 from Arenac County and 9 from Mackinac County – ranged from operating an unlicensed and uninspected charter boat, to hunting waterfowl from a boat under power and exceeding waterfowl bag limits. Read more
Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are seeking information on a dead cougar found approximately 4 miles north of Iron Mountain in Dickinson County. The male cougar was discovered by conservation officers around 11 a.m. today, Feb. 1, near the intersection of Johnson Road and County Road 607 in Breitung Township.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call 1st Lt. Pete Wright at the Marquette Customer Service Center at 906-228-6561, ext. 3028 during normal business hours, or the 24-hour DNR Report All Poaching (RAP) Line at 800-292-7800.
Information may be left anonymously.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are seeking information on an elk poaching in southwest Otsego County. On Nov. 16, a large bull elk carcass was found west of Lewiston, between Shupac Lake Road and Big Creek Road.
“Anyone who has information that may assist us in finding the person or persons responsible for this poaching is asked to contact the DNR,” said Lt. Jim Gorno. Read more