Moffat County court sentences poacher for killing six-point bull elk | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County court sentences poacher for killing six-point bull elk

A poacher was sentenced in Moffat County Court on Monday for illegally killing a six point bull elk in 2015 from Game Management Unit 2 in Moffat County.

— A Denver man was sentenced in Moffat County Court on Monday after pleading guilty for illegally killing a trophy elk.

Agapito Alarid II was fined $11,000 for shooting a six-point bull elk in 2015 in Game Management Unit 2, a unit managed for trophy elk that is highly sought after by hunters.

"As a resident it can take 21 to 22 years to legally draw a tag to hunt in this unit. As a non-resident it can take 24 to 25 years," said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Mike Swaro who was recently appointed assistant area wildlife manager. At the time of the investigation Swaro was a district wildlife manager out of Craig.

Alarid may also loose the privilege to hunt in Colorado pending a review of the case by CPW.

The usual fine for the charge is $1,000, however under the provisions of Colorado's Samson Law, Alarid was fined an additional $10,000 because he poached an elk with at least six points on one antler beam.

The successful conviction was helped by information provided by a concerned hunter.

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The tipster hunter will be rewarded for his help by CPW's "Turn In Poachers" program.

His tip and testimony have earned him the opportunity to draw a license in the same game management unit where Alarid poached the elk.

"We are very grateful the person who witnessed this gave us the information we needed to convict this individual," Swaro said.

The "Turn In Poachers" or TIP program was started in 2004 to reward people for reporting poachers and is an additional program to CPW's Operation Game Thief.

TIP provides rewards for reporting when the person also agrees to testify whereas Operation Game Thief provides rewards even to those participants who choose to remain anonymous and decline to testify.

"We depend greatly on the public's assistance. The ability to remain anonymous makes it a lot more likely witnesses will submit information of crimes," said CPW Northwest Region Public Affairs Officers Mike Porras.

In addition to witness help, CPW praised the Colorado 14th Judicial District for their work on the case.

"Alexandra Jennings with the DA's office showed great determination to protect Colorado's valuable wildlife resource," Swaro said. "Poachers steal from everyone in Colorado. The local district attorney's office understands how important it is for poachers to pay for their crimes."

The meat and antlers of the poached elk were recovered.

By the time officers caught up with Alarid the elk was already in Denver.

"Any meat that we seize through investigations, all that meat goes back out through the community to people in need of meat. By the time we caught up on this one the elk was taken to Denver so the meat was donating to folks in that area in need," Swaro said.

The antlers are back in Craig and were used as evidence in the case.

"We typically hold on to antlers of this quality for educational purposes. We are probably going to keep them and use them for educational stuff down the road," Swaro said.

Poaching is a serious crime.

"While the exact figures are unknown, studies indicate poachers may kill almost as many animals and fish as legitimate hunters take during legal seasons. If poachers kill even half that number each year, the problem is serious," states CPW's website.

Report poaching by calling, toll-free within Colorado, 1-877-COLO-OGT. Verizon cell phone users can dial #OGT. Or e-mail game.thief@state.co.us.

CPW asks that tipsters specify the type of reward (TIP or Operation Game Thief) that they are interested in receiving.

"We have individuals take advantage of the resources this time of year, especially as game move into winter range and become move visible," Swaro said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.