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Category: Conservation

Responsible Hunting and Wildlife Conservation

I have always and always will advocate for responsible hunting and wildlife conservation. In my mind, it has never been more apparent than now that we as hunters need to be on same page when comes to conservation.  Today, we are going to cover a recent case that highlights the severe consequences of illegal hunting from a Kansas man caught poaching in Colorado and the crucial role the public can play in preserving our wildlife.

Kansas Man Caught Poaching in Colorado

In July 2023, a Kansas man caught poaching in Colorado named Steven Samuelson found himself in the crosshairs of justice for his illegal hunting activities. Samuelson, a 33-year-old resident of Oakley, Kansas, was confronted at his workplace by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officers after a nearly two-year investigation into his illicit activities.

The investigation was initiated in September 2021 when CPW’s office in Colorado Springs received a report of a bull moose being illegally shot with an arrow in the woods north of Divide. The officers, Aaron Berscheid, Travis Sauder, and Ben Meier, were led to the remains of the bull moose by the reporting parties. The moose had not only been shot but also attempted to be beheaded, and when Samuelson was unsuccessful in this, he tried to hide the carcass by laying tree branches and sticks across it.

The investigation involved a collaborative effort between CPW and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. They executed a search warrant at Samuelson’s home in Oakley, Kansas, where they collected physical evidence, including photos and videos from the reporting party’s game cameras. These pieces of evidence were crucial in pinpointing the time of the incident and providing photos of the suspect.

Samuelson was charged with willful destruction of wildlife, a felony, as well as several misdemeanor charges, including hunting without a proper and valid big game license, aggravated illegal possession of wildlife, failure to prepare wildlife for human consumption, hunting in a careless manner, and illegal take of wildlife. He pleaded guilty to these charges in Teller County.

As a result of his actions, Samuelson received a two-year deferred jail sentence, which means it will be waived if he meets the terms of the plea agreement, and two years of unsupervised probation. He was also fined nearly $20,000 and had to surrender the bow he used to poach the moose, along with other property that contained evidence of the crime, including his cell phone.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of illegal hunting activities on our wildlife and the seriousness with which our legal system treats wildlife crimes. It underscores the importance of responsible hunting and the role of the public in helping to preserve our wildlife.

The Importance of Responsible Hunting

Responsible hunting and wildlife conservation is essential to preserve wildlife. As hunters, we have a duty to respect the laws that govern hunting and to ensure that our activities do not harm the delicate balance of our ecosystems. Regulated hunting helps maintain healthy wildlife populations and prevents overpopulation, which can lead to habitat degradation and conflict with human activities.

The Samuelson case is a clear example of irresponsible hunting. Not only did he hunt without a proper license, but he also left the animal to rot, wasting the life he had taken and disrespecting the principles of ethical hunting.

 

The Role of the Public in Wildlife Conservation

The public played a significant role in bringing Samuelson to justice. Their vigilance and willingness to report suspicious activities were instrumental in initiating the investigation. This case highlights the power of community involvement in wildlife conservation and the importance of public education about wildlife laws and the consequences of breaking them.

Consequences of Illegal Poaching

Illegal poaching has far-reaching consequences. It disrupts the balance of ecosystems, threatens biodiversity, and can lead to the extinction of species. In Samuelson’s case, his actions not only resulted in the unnecessary death of a bull moose but also led to severe legal and financial consequences for him.

As hunters, we must condemn illegal activities like those committed by Samuelson. We must strive to uphold the principles of responsible hunting and wildlife conservation. We must also educate others about the importance of these principles and the severe consequences of breaking wildlife laws.

I urge all hunters to familiarize themselves with local hunting laws and regulations, to hunt responsibly, and to report any suspicious activities. Together, we can ensure the preservation of our wildlife and the continued enjoyment of hunting for future generations.

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