Colorado Hunting Outfitter Indicted For Elk And Deer Baiting

A Denver federal grand jury recently passed down an indictment against D&S Guide and Outfitter, a hunting outfitter based in Colorado. Members of the organization were found to have placed several hundred pounds of salt near White River National Forest tree stands. This act drew local deer and elk, providing easy targets for the company’s out of state clients.

Brian Douglas Kunz and Dennis Eugene Rodebaugh were charged with violations of the Lacey Act and conspiracy. Mr. Rodebaugh, the business operator, is a resident of Meeker and Mr. Kunz, the guide he employed, resides in Augusta, Wisconsin. The Lacey Act is a federal law that bans interstate sales of large game guiding and outfitting services utilizing bait. It is illegal to use bait to hunt large game in Colorado.

According to the indictment, Mr. Rodebaugh charged anywhere from $1,300 to $1,600 for multi-day deer and elk hunts within the White River National Forest. Mr. Rodebaugh and Mr. Kunz were determined to have guided clients to forest tree stands with several hundred pounds of salt nearby to entice the elk and deer. The two engaged in these acts each year from 2002 to 2007, per the indictment.

The individuals were charged with ten felony counts, each of which carries maximum penalties of a five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. The Lacey Act also requires that any equipment or vehicles used to commit prohibited acts be forfeited. No mention was made regarding what, if any, items were confiscated as a result of this indictment.

Bill deVergie, Colorado Division of Wildlife area manager, claims that the anti-baiting rules “promote equal access and fair-chase hunting:  baiting is cheating, pure and simple.”In a recent release, U.S. Attorney John Walsh stated, “With this year’s archery season about to start, this indictment serves as an important reminder that there are criminal consequences for illegal baiting.” Mr. Walsh expanded on this by stating, “Violations of this kind are the theft of a public resource for commercial gain.”

Source:  Pankratz, Howard. Meeker outfitter indicted on charges of baiting deer and elk.

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