A Highlands Ranch man was sentenced for accidently shooting a moose and failing to report it to wildlife officials. Joel D. Eady, 30, pleaded guilty …
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A Highlands Ranch man was sentenced for accidently shooting a
moose and failing to report it to wildlife officials.
Joel D. Eady, 30, pleaded guilty to willful destruction of
wildlife April 1 and was subsequently sentenced to three years of
probation and a $5,177 fine. The felony charge, along with one
count each of illegal possession of wildlife, hunting out of season
and failing to properly care for a harvested animal, stemmed from
an incident in the Missouri Creek Basin outside of the small
Western Slope town of Meeker last October.
Eady told authorities that he mistakenly thought the moose was
an elk. Officials from the Colorado Division of Wildlife released a
statement saying they understand that animals are occasionally
misidentified, but Eady did not immediately come forward, resulting
in a three-month investigation and stiffer penalties. He allegedly
told his hunting companions that he would report the killing, but
never followed through, the DOW says.
“We understand that mistakes happen and we will usually be more
lenient with someone who reports an accident right away, but
failing to report this incident turned a careless mistake into a
felony,” said Jon Wangnild, district wildlife manager and lead
Eady could have his hunting license permanently suspended, but a
possible lifetime ban will be determined by a Colorado Division of
Wildlife hearing examiner at a later date. The case highlights a
growing problem for Colorado wildlife managers, who say a hunter
should never pull the trigger unless they are certain of the
Wangnild said the DOW has conducted an extensive education and
outreach program to help hunters distinguish between moose and elk,
including letters and e-mails sent to hunters. A moose calf can
look very similar to an elk without antlers. The state agency
recommends carrying binoculars to help identify game, noting that
the “differences are stark enough that anyone with basic knowledge
of wildlife and a good pair of binoculars should be able to avoid
mistaking one species for the other.”
Wildlife officials offer rewards for information about illegal
hunting activities that lead to an arrest or citation.
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