For illegally killing and disposing of a 400-pound bear outside Aspen in 2016, a father and son from Indiana have received what could be considered a life sentence for a hunter, though a Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman preferred instead to call it “a very lengthy suspension.”
On Wednesday, CPW announced that Dan Roe, 55, and his son Alex Roe, 27, of Tipton, Ind., will serve a 20-year and 15-year suspension, respectively, of their hunting and fishing privileges. The suspension applies to 47 states under the terms of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
The Roes pleaded guilty in February 2018 of shooting the bear on private property near the Pitkin County Landfill and leaving most of the bear’s carcass, other than its hide and head, to waste.
According to Don Nottingham, prosecutor in the 9th Judicial District, the men received no jail time and a three-year deferred judgment last year for their misdeeds. The case was heard before Nottingham became the deputy district attorney. But in commenting Wednesday on the sentence handed down by CPW, Nottingham noted, “This really matters to those people.”
An Aspen man, Pablo Gutierrez, 54, had his hunting and fishing privileges suspended for one year, as he was considered an accomplice to the crime.
Mike Porras, the wildlife officer for the Aspen area, said the suspension speaks to “how serious poaching is for our agency.” Porras said Wednesday he’s heard some officers opine that “illegal takes may rival legal takes in number.”
In Porras’ statement about the suspension he wrote that, “By law, Colorado bear hunters must prepare the animal’s meat for human consumption and bring the head and hide to a CPW office for a mandatory inspection within five days after taking the bear. In addition, hunters much provide an exact location of where they killed it.”
The accused apparently did neither, something that emerged while the bear’s hide was being inspected.
“The Roes talked about how they had killed the bear off a Forest Service road they couldn’t identify, how tough it was to pack-out the large animal but they didn’t have the meat because they had donated it to nearby campers. In reality, we discovered they killed the bear at the Pitkin County landfill. They took only the hide and wasted the meat, then falsified documents. Even after we began looking into the situation, they continued to lie about it,” according to Kurtis Tesch, a primary investigator and district wildlife officer from Aspen.
Porras pointed out that in Colorado, one has the right to appeal the terms of their suspension to the CPW Commission, after which time the commissioners will vote to deny or approve the appeal. But as the deadline for appeal recently came and went, “Both men failed to complete an appeal application in March, forfeiting their right to have their case heard by CPW commissioners,” Porras noted.
“In this case the guys will serve the entire suspension,” Porras said Wednesday.