Area DOW looks into poaching |

Area DOW looks into poaching

Tyler Baskfield

Possibly more than a dozen elk were poached by hunters Nov. 30 on land north of Craig along Moffat County Road 22.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) is investigating the killing of up to 14 elk on the property, but Mike Bauman, DOW district wildlife officer, isn’t saying much about the killings.

The day after the incident, Bauman didn’t release details, only saying there was an incident and it was under investigation. He later said he didn’t want to release too much or wrong information that might “harm” the people involved.

Eleven days after the incident, following a Craig Daily Press Freedom of Information Act request under the Colorado Open Records Law, Bauman released a limited fact sheet to the newspaper. He referred any further queries for details to the DOW law enforcement office in Denver. The officer he referenced couldn’t be reached for comment.

The owner of the land was contacted about the incident, but he said Bauman told him not to comment until charges were filed and asked that the name of the ranch he owns not be released.

The fact sheet Bauman released stated:

The DOW is investigating the killing of up to 14 elk near Craig, Colo., on Nov. 30;

The elk were killed on land about 7 miles north of Craig;

The DOW has collected evidence related to the investigation;

DOW law enforcement officers have also conducted interviews with a number of individuals in connection with the killing of the elk;

The investigation will continue until wildlife officers have obtained all appropriate evidence, concluded interviews and analyzed all information pertaining to the incident under investigation;

Any decision to cite individuals with violations of Colorado wildlife statutes will be made in cooperation with the Moffat County district attorney;

Once charges are filed and tickets have been issued to individuals involved in alleged crimes against wildlife, the names of those individuals will be provided to the public and press;

Specific aspects of the investigation will not be provided to the public and the press;

Specific aspects of the investigation will not be released to avoid jeopardizing the potential prosecution of individuals who may be charged.

14th Judicial District Deputy District Attorney David Waite was contacted about the case, as suggested by Bauman, and told the Craig Daily Press he was unaware of any charges or tickets issued in the case.

As part of the Freedom of information act request the Craig Daily Press sent to Bauman, a copy of the local and state DOW policy on release of information to the public was requested. Bauman stated, “I was informed by the Denver DOW staff that the Colorado Public Records Law is the policy of the Division of Wildlife concerning release of information on criminal law enforcement cases to the public. No other policy exists.”