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Help Stop Poaching in Colorado

By Wildlife Lawyer on March 16, 2022

Poaching is a crime that inflicts a terrible toll on our wildlife, disrupting the natural environment. Although you may think of a poacher as someone who is trying to feed their family, this is rarely the case. In many instances, poachers are part of organized criminal conspiracies where rare animals are being killed for profit and their carcasses are left to rot in the sun. Colorado needs your help to protect our majestic wildlife.

What Is Operation Game Thief?

Operation Game Thief is a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) program that provides rewards for people who report illegal poaching. You can help prevent poaching by calling 1-877-COLO-OGT if you see any suspicious activity. Verizon cell phone users can dial #OGT. Or contact them by e-mail at​​.

The process is totally confidential, and you may be able to collect a reward. But most of the concerned Colorado citizens who report poaching are doing it because they love nature and they want to help. With just 122 District Wildlife Managers, Colorado needs all the help we can get tracking down poachers.

Information leading to an arrest or citation will authorize you for a cash award that will be paid anonymously. The Citizens Committee offers the following rewards:

  • $500 for big game and endangered species
  • $250 for turkeys
  • $100 for fishing and small game violations
  • Up to $1,000 for flagrant cases

Contributions to the Citizens Committee are greatly appreciated.

Illegal Hunting Activities in Colorado

Poaching is the illegal taking of wildlife. The following activities are prohibited by Colorado law:

  • Hunting out of season
  • Taking more than the legal limit
  • Hunting on private property without permission
  • Abandoning a carcass and taking only the head, hide, claws, teeth, antlers, horns, internal organs, feathers, or any or all such parts
  • Using aircraft, spotlights, night vision, or thermal imaging devices
  • Not making a reasonable attempt to pursue injured game
  • Hunting in an area closed by commission rule
  • Hunting from a motor vehicle
  • Damaging nests or eggs
  • Using game for bait
  • Using explosives, toxicants, or poisons
  • Luring bears with food or edible waste

The High Cost of Poaching

CPW issues about 3,300 poaching citations each year. But this only represents a fraction of the animals taken by poachers. Poaching is big business, as rings of illegal hunters collect trophies and meat to sell on the black market.

Poaching has a devastating impact on our wildlife. For example, our box turtle population has plummeted since poachers began collecting them to sell to the pet industry.

The Penalties for Poaching

Willful destruction of big game is a class 5 felony punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to three years jail time. Poachers can also face a lifetime suspension of their hunting license for grievous violations. And thanks to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, they can be prohibited from hunting in over 47 states.

Recently, a poacher from Texas was apprehended in Colorado and fined over $53,000 for illegally killing five elk and one deer. Three of the elk were considered trophy animals. CPW officials worked with the Texas Game Warden to apprehend the poacher after an extensive investigation.

Your Colorado Wildlife Law Attorney

Are you a sportsman, landowner, or outfitter who has been charged with violating state or federal wildlife laws? These laws can be pretty complicated, and the penalties are often severe. Contact the Colorado Wildlife Law Lawyer today by calling (720) 836-1777.

Sit down with us in a FREE confidential consultation to talk about your case and learn how we can fight for you.

Posted in: Wildlife Violations