Roan Plateau elk poacher to pay $5,000 donation
Nearly two years ago four men, two of them U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees, were involved in poaching a trophy-class, twelve-point elk on the Roan Plateau.
Thad Bingham, a 44-year-old Fruita man who killed the animal, accepted a plea agreement and admitted to illegal possession of wildlife, a misdemeanor, and to trespassing, a petty offense. On top of about $200 in court costs, he agreed to pay $5,000 as a donation to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Three other Western Slope men participated in the illegal hunt on private property in October 2014: Brian Scheer, 45, Barrett Rowles, 48, and Joshua Fitzsimmons, 45.
Bingham and Sheer work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Horsethief Canyon Native Fish Facility Ponds. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson Anna Munoz said both men still work for the agency.
CPW was alerted to the poachers when Bingham posted a photo online of himself with the animal. Using landmarks in the background, CPW officers determined the location was well within private property.
They obtained warrants and searched Bingham’s home and the fish hatchery, and retrieved the animal’s antlers at his home.
All four men were initially charged with illegal transportation of wildlife, failure to contact the landowner prior to entering private property to pursue wounded game, illegal possession of a trophy class 6-by-6 bull elk, all misdemeanors, according to CPW. They also faced a petty offense of trespassing.
The Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office pleaded the other three men down to petty offense trespassing.
A CPW hearing officer will determine whether to level a five-year suspension of the four men’s hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado.
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