GUNNISON, Colo. — Two people connected to the illegal killing of a moose on Oct. 4 near Lake City have admitted guilt in the incident and paid fines of nearly $2,000 to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The investigation of the incident by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers showed that the cow moose was shot on private property where hunting is not allowed. The area is near the inlet of Lake San Cristobal about 10 miles south of Lake City.
Susan Boyles, 67, who shot the moose, was charged with hunting on private property without permission and unlawful take of wildlife. She paid a fine of $1,646.50. She did possess a valid moose license. Her husband, Donald Boyles, 68, was charged with hunting/trespassing without permission. He paid a fine of $276.50. The couple lives in Mesa County.
The meat of the animal was confiscated and donated to local families through CPW’s donation process.
“During an interview with CPW officers the couple did express remorse,” said J Wenum, area wildlife manager in Gunnison. “The couple said that they did not see the ‘no hunting’ and ‘no trespassing’ signs posted around the property. Hunting is not allowed on that property. The bottom line is you need to know where you are and what is legal in areas where you go, and that applies to all recreational users.”
After the moose was killed, the hunters reported seeing two moose calves nearby. Susan Boyles told the officers that she would not have shot if she had seen the calves.
Fortunately, the calves had already been weaned, Wenum said. He inspected the carcass and found that the udders of the moose were dry.
“Moose are very hardy animals and those calves had transitioned to a regular diet of willows and other vegetation which are abundant in that area,” Wenum said. “Biologically, for sustenance at this point in their lives, they are no longer dependent on their mother.”
Lucas Martin, the district wildlife manager in Lake City who investigated the incident, cautioned hunters to be careful of where they are hunting.
“First, make sure you are hunting where you are legally allowed,” Martin said. “And next, think about the setting. If it is an area that is highly visible to the public, you might want to hunt somewhere else.”
The couple is also required to undergo a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission administrative hearing process to determine the length of time that their hunting and fishing privileges could be suspended. Any suspension of hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado will be honored by all 48-member states through the Wildlife Violator Compact.
Anyone who has information about a possible crime against wildlife is encouraged to call CPW or report it anonymously to Operation Game Thief. Witnesses can reach Operation Game Thief by calling 1-877-COLO-OGT (877-265-6648). Verizon cell phone users can dial #OGT. Or send an email to CPW at firstname.lastname@example.org.