California man pleads guilty to illegal hunting charges in Moffat County
After an investigation and arrest by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, a California man found guilty of committing a variety of serious wildlife crimes in Northwest Colorado will pay thousands in fines and could potentially lose his hunting and fishing privileges for life, according to a CPW news release.
Kyle Odle, 29, of Menifee, California, appeared before a judge June 20 in the 14th Judicial District Court in Moffat County. Odle pleaded guilty and agreed to pay fines for a misdemeanor charge of aggravated illegal possession of wildlife involving the illegal take of three or more big game animals.
He received a 24-month deferred judgment and sentence for the charge on the condition that he not commit any additional violations during the two-year period.
He also pleaded guilty and was fined for two misdemeanor counts of providing false information to obtain resident big game licenses illegally, one misdemeanor count of hunting without a license, one misdemeanor count of illegal possession of a mule deer and one misdemeanor count of wasting game meat.
The cost comes to more than $5,000 in fines for the misdemeanor convictions, a mandatory $6,000 donation to Operation Game Thief and $5,500 in restitution to several hunters he guided illegally for profit.
Odle cannot hunt, fish, outfit or guide for two years and may receive up to a lifetime suspension of his hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 43 additional Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact States, pending a decision by the CPW Hearings Officer.
“We are grateful to the District Attorney’s office for their help and cooperation to bring this case to a successful conclusion and make sure this individual paid for his crimes,” said Craig’s Johnathan Lambert, a district wildlife officer, in the release. “I appreciate the hard work of my fellow CPW officers for their help with this case. This individual will no longer be cheating the citizens of Colorado out of their wildlife resource because of the dedication of a lot of people.”
Odle initially faced one felony count of criminal impersonation, multiple counts of providing false information to purchase big game licenses illegally, multiple counts of hunting without a valid big game license, illegal possession of a deer, failure to pursue wounded game and waste of game, in addition to two felony counts of illegal outfitting for which he faced jail time.
CPW officers arrested Odle during the 2016 hunting seasons and charged him with the multiple violations. During the contact, they discovered Odle had also killed a 5×5 mule deer buck near Maybell during the third rifle season without possessing a proper and valid license, then failed to recover the carcass.
“A CPW officer observed Odle taking a shot at a mule deer, killing it. But he never pursued the animal as is required by law,” Lambert said.
Further investigation showed Odle had purchased a resident leftover buck deer license for a unit near Kremmling, valid only in that unit, then presented the license to officers in the unit near Maybell where he killed the buck. Odle, a resident of California and a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps at the time of his arrest, presented falsified military documents to wildlife officers in an attempt to prove his Colorado residency. Officers say he used the documents to illegally purchase the Colorado hunting license at the lower, resident fee.
“He’d been using military credentials to unlawfully purchase resident hunting licenses for several years, for himself and for other nonresidents,” Lambert said. “This included his 12-year-old relative, without the knowledge or consent of the relative’s parents.”
According to a Marine Corps representative, Odle has left the military for reasons unrelated to this case.
CPW officials credit the help and cooperation of several local landowners and hunters for providing the information leading to the arrest.
“All it takes is one phone call to help us stop a poacher,” Lambert said. “Because someone picked up a phone and gave us a tip, we were able to bring Mr. Odle to justice. Colorado considers poaching a serious crime and these types of actions will not be tolerated.”
To provide information about a wildlife violation anonymously, the public can contact Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648. Rewards are available if the information leads to an arrest or issuance of a citation.
For more information about Operation Game Thief, visit cpw.state.co.us.
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