Poaching suspect arrested in sheep death | VailDaily.com
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Poaching suspect arrested in sheep death

Greg Masse

A 25-year-old man suspected of poaching a trophy-size bighorn sheep posted a $50,000 bond Tuesday afternoon to get out of Garfield County Jail.

Joshua Eli Lloyd, of Glenwood Springs, was arrested by Colorado Division of Wildlife officials in Glenwood Canyon around 10 p.m. Sunday after he allegedly tried to recover the partially-concealed head of his kill from a culvert north of Interstate 70, area wildlife manager Pat Tucker said.

Glenwood Canyon is a well-known habitat for the state’s official mammal, the bighorn sheep. “It was just a head cut off at the neck and stuffed in a plastic bag,” Tucker said on Tuesday.

The head was discovered by a fisherman Sunday just north of Interstate 70 in the Grizzly Creek area.

“They were out hiking and found it,” Tucker said. “We found the rest of the body on the hill.”

Lloyd was arrested on three charges: a felony charge of willful destruction of wildlife; a charge of illegal possession of wildlife, which carries fines ranging from $1,000 to $100,000; and a charge of violating Colorado’s Samson Law.

Under the state’s Samson Law, illegal killing of trophy-size wildlife carries a $25,000 surcharge. Wildlife biologists said the ram Lloyd is suspected of killing was 8 1/2 years old, with a three-quarter horn curl. Any ram with a half curl – where the horn has grown at least through half or 180 degrees of a circle – meets the Samson classification, a Department of Wildlife news release said.

Lloyd is suspected of shooting the bighorn out of hunting season, without an appropriate license and in an area where bighorn hunting is never allowed.

More fines, charges possible

Department of Wildlife spokesman Todd Malmsbury said Lloyd could face more fines, depending on the outcome of the investigation. He could also lose hunting privileges in Colorado and 18 other states under the terms of a multi-state compact among wildlife agencies.

Authorities could also seize any equipment, vehicles, or other items used to commit the crime. In addition, authorities are investigating whether he committed any type of fraud with relation to taxes, vehicle registration, hunting licenses and other documents, the news release said.

Tucker said he was pleased that Lloyd had to post such a high bail.

“It’s a very serious situation,” he said. “In the grand scheme of things, these are the types of violations we like to concentrate on.”

Carcass site staked out

Tucker also pointed out that it’s relatively common for someone who illegally kills an animal to hide the carcass and try to recover it under the cover of darkness.

“They don’t want to take the animal out in the daylight, so they stash it,” he said.

Lloyd was caught by wildlife officers Darren Chacon and Sonia Marzec, who staked out the site of the severed head Sunday, waiting for Lloyd to pick up his quarry.

“Obviously they did a helluva job,” Tucker said. “They waited four to five hours for the guy to come back and when he came back, they were there.”

According to the news release on the incident, Lloyd is accused of parking his pickup truck with Oklahoma plates on the shoulder of I-70 about 10 p.m. Sunday, before grabbing a plastic bag from the bed of his vehicle and walking down an embankment toward the culvert, wildlife officers said.

Tipster applauded

Tucker also applauded the angler and other concerned citizens who have helped wildlife officers catch poachers in recent months. In the most recent cases, tipsters have reported suspicious activity on principle alone, declining to accept rewards, he said.

“Some of our best cases come from people who see something they believe is wrong and take the time to let us know,” he said.

Tucker urged others to follow the example set by the angler and alert the DOW to any wildlife violations, either through the state’s Operation Game Thief hotline or directly by calling a local DOW office.

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Division of Wildlife

For more information about Colorado’s Operation Game Thief, visit http://wildlife.state.co.us/OGT/. To send in tips, call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-332-4155 or e-mail at game.thief@state.co.us.

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