South Dakota poacher banned from hunting for 12 years after killing and wasting bear in Colorado
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has suspended a South Dakota poacher’s hunting and fishing privileges for 12 years following the defendant’s conviction for wasting the meat of a black bear he killed during the 2017 hunting season near Steamboat Springs.
A CPW Hearing Officer meted out the suspension to Robert Stalley, 58, of Pierre, South Dakota on June 25 after considering the behavior of the defendant, including his attempts to evade and mislead CPW investigators. In one instance, officers say Stalley presented a bag filled with the meat of a legally taken deer during the required inspection of the bear’s hide, likely in an attempt to deceive the CPW inspector.
Stalley possessed valid deer and bear licenses at the time of the violations.
“During my interview with Mr. Stalley at his South Dakota home, he stated that he did take bear meat from the backstraps and hindquarters and that he ate some and gave some away; however, our investigation proved otherwise,” said Wildlife Officer Jack Taylor of Steamboat Springs. “In addition, Mr. Stalley took deer meat from the same location that the bear was harvested but chose to leave all of the bear meat behind, removing only the head and hide.”
In July 2018, Stalley pleaded guilty in Routt County court to three misdemeanors; failing to care for the edible portions of the bear, illegal take, and illegal possession of the bear. In an agreement with prosecutors, Stalley also received a 1-year deferred sentence on a felony charge for the intentional take and abandonment of wildlife. Stalley paid a fine of $3,415 in addition to serving a one-year term of court ordered unsupervised probation and forfeiture of his rifle. His violations resulted in 50 suspension points.
In Colorado, hunters are required by law to prepare all harvested big game for human consumption. The removal of hides, antlers, heads and abandoning the animal’s meat can bring up to class-five felony charges against anyone suspected of the crime.
Taylor said he learned about the bear’s carcass after receiving a tip from an anonymous source through Operation Game Thief, Colorado’s wildlife tip line.
“The witnesses gave me the information I needed to begin the investigation, and for that we are very grateful to those individuals,” said Taylor. “It gives us great satisfaction that we have put another poacher out of business, but it’s likely we could not have done it without the help of the hunters that brought it to our attention. It’s a good thing that most hunters are ethical and conscientious.”
Stalley has the option of appealing his suspension before the CPW Commission. If upheld, he cannot hunt in Colorado and 47 additional Wildlife Violator Compact states for the duration of the suspension.
CPW officials thanked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks for their assistance.
To report a wildlife violation anonymously, call Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648. Rewards are available if the information leads to an arrest or conviction.