Poacher can't hunt for 12 years

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A Craig man will not be allowed to hunt or fish in Colorado or 20 other states for 12 years because he poached a big horn sheep, Colorado Division of Wildlife officials said Monday.

Shane Baker, 35, and his cousin Seth Campbell, 35, of Fort Morgan, killed a big horn sheep in Axial Basin in 2003.

After illegally killing the animal, the two men, scared of being caught with the carcass, cut it up, leaving pieces of its horns along the side of a road, according to the Division of Wildlife.

DOW officials think the big horn sheep was the only one in Axial Basin.

Baker and his cousin pleaded guilty in 2004 to charges of illegal possession of wildlife, waste of wildlife, hunting without proper and valid licenses and tampering with and destruction of evidence.

The two men were ordered to pay fines of $15,599.

After the criminal cases against Baker and Campbell ended, the Colorado Division of Wildlife held hearings to determine what restrictions to place on the men's hunting privileges.

In April, DOW suspended Baker's hunting and fishing privileges for 12 years.

Campbell's DOW hearings are pending.

DOW spokesman Randy Hampton said the 12-year suspension is a long one, but a fair one.

"Twelve years is significant, and we believe it was a significant incident," Hampton said.

The fact that the two men went to great lengths to dispose of the animal and cover up their crime made the incident worse than most, Hampton said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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