Two hunters were banned from hunting after illegally trapping and failing to harvest big game.
Robert Stalley, from Pierre, South Dakota, has been issues a twelve-year ban on hunting and fishing for “failing to harvest the meat of a black bear he killed in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 2017, taking only the mammal’s head and hide,” according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officers who investigated the big game hunting. Stalley, 58, is also accused of “trying to mislead” officials. Wildlife officials were happy to report they put “another poacher out of business.”
“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,” Wildlife Officer Jack Taylor, of Steamboat Springs, said. “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.”
CPW officials also reported that Stalley “provided officers with a bag of meat which he presented as evidence of his black bear harvest, though that meat was determined to be from the deer. Stalley did have valid hunting licenses for both deer and bear at the time of the incident.”
According to state law, meat from big game animals must be harvested and prepared for human consumption. Stalley pleaded guilty to “failing to care for the edible portions of a bear, illegal take, and illegal possession of the bear.” He was also handed a one-year suspended sentence “for intentional take and abandonment of wildlife, fined $3,415, was forced to hand over his rifle, and was sentenced to one year of probation.
“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,” Taylor added. “It’s a good thing that most hunters are ethical and conscientious.”
A Colorado man received a lifetime hunting, fishing and trapping ban after an investigation into his activities led to a felony conviction.
Jeff Bodnar, 46, of Hartsel, Colorado, was also recently arrested and charged with 22 crimes related to illegal hunting and trapping activities. He was given a lifetime ban on hunting by the CPW after having his hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges suspended twice previously. Bodnar’s charges were also related to big game hunting, and he pleaded guilty to “unlawful possession of two black bears and a mountain lion as well as possession of a weapon by a previous offender,” according to the department.
“Mr. Bodnar appears to possess a complete disregard for Colorado’s hunting laws and a total indifference for wildlife,” said Wildlife Officer Ian Petkash. “We take these investigations seriously because of the toll someone like this can take on local wildlife populations.” He added, “The illegal exploitation of wildlife will not be tolerated, and we will continue to aggressively investigate wildlife crimes in this state. It is important to note that these types of actions are those of a poacher, not a hunter, and it is good to bring somebody like this to justice.”