An investigation into the hunting activities of well-known local bowhunter, Tim Strickland, 72, of Montrose, resulted in a plea agreement reached Sept. 6 in Ouray District Court.
In exchange for dismissing four felony charges of illegal sale of wildlife, Strickland pleaded guilty to nine misdemeanor counts of illegally using bait to hunt big game and illegal possession of three or more elk.
After reaching a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s Office, Strickland made a $12,000 donation to Operation Game Thief, paid $3,000 in court fines, forfeited twelve trail cameras along with other evidence seized during the investigation.
Strickland will also face a suspension of his hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 46 other Wildlife Violator Compact states, pending a review by a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hearings Examiner.
After extensive investigation, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers served a search warrant on Sept. 15, 2016, on a private ranch near Ridgway, where Strickland was allegedly acting as an unregistered outfitter for numerous hunters.
In 2016, CPW Officer Kelly Crane received an anonymous tip about Strickland baiting hunting stands with mineral blocks for his clients to hunt over.
Strickland, also known for designing a broadhead, was charged with four felony counts for providing unregistered outfitting services for the take of big game and nine misdemeanor counts of unlawfully using bait to hunt big game.
“People who use unfair means to kill big game are ultimately stealing from all of us, and when they are illegally profiting from the poaching, it makes us work that much harder to make sure they are prosecuted,” said Crane.
“Sometimes it takes years to investigate and prosecute wildlife cases, but that does not deter Colorado Parks and Wildlife from pursuing these crimes,” said Renzo DelPiccolo, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Montrose.
“We especially appreciate the tips that come in from the public and want to encourage others to speak up and report illegal hunting activity. No matter who you are, we are going to do what we can to bring you to justice. This was good work by all officers involved,” he added.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds the public that poachers steal wildlife and opportunity from the public and legal hunters.
To report a wildlife violation and remain anonymous, call Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648. Rewards are available for information that leads to a conviction.