DOW arrests two suspected of poaching five deer |

DOW arrests two suspected of poaching five deer

Colorado Division of Wildlife officers recently arrested two Colorado residents suspected of poaching five deer on the Western Slope over a four-month period on winter range, when deer are most vulnerable.

Wildlife investigators identified the suspects as John Head, 25, of Clifton, and Robert Gallob, 51, of DeBeque.

Officers arrested the men in late February and, if convicted, each suspect faces fines of $50,000 and up to five years in jail.

Ron Velarde, regional manager of the DOW’s northwest region, commended DOW officers for their work in the case, pointing out that illegal hunting drains wildlife resources and denies law-abiding sportsmen opportunities during established hunting seasons.

Gallob and Head are suspected of taking the deer outside of any hunting season and while bucks are much less wary of hunters.

“I’m glad our officers caught them. Hopefully this will send a message that we’re not going to tolerate this stuff,” Velarde said in a news release.

In a tip received through the state’s Operation Game Thief hotline, wildlife investigators learned of suspicious hunting activity since early November near Gallob’s home in a remote area between DeBeque and Mesa.

After responding to Gallob’s home, investigators found a freshly-killed four-point buck deer and parts of three other bucks. Further investigation led officers to Head’s home, where they found meat from the bucks and meat from a doe.

“We have had many complaints about deer poaching in the DeBeque Cutoff area,” district wildlife manager John Broderick said in a news release. “This case is a great example of how information from citizens ” through OGT or directly to an officer ” can make a huge impact on DOW’s efforts towards wildlife enforcement.”

Under Colorado law, a single deer poaching entails a $700 fine plus a 37 percent surcharge. In cases involving multiple poachings, however, each deer carries a fine of up to $10,000 per animal and up to one year in county jail.

Under the state’s Samson Law, fines can top $11,000 if a deer is classified as trophy size, or 22 inches wide or larger.

If convicted, both men could lose hunting and fishing privileges for life in Colorado and in 18 other states under the terms of an interstate compact.

Steve Yamashita, assistant regional manager for the DOW’s northwest region, said wildlife officers deal with a variety of situations involving deer illegally killed or possessed. For acts that are willful and wanton, however, the DOW takes a harsh stand to send a strong message to would-be poachers.

“These types of poachings are premeditated and they occur at a time of year these animals are most vulnerable,” Yamashita said in a news release.

For more information about the state’s Operation Game Thief, visit

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