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South Dakota poacher banned from hunting for more than a decade after wasting bear meat in Colorado

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Posted at 4:00 PM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 18:57:26-04

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Colorado Parks and Wildlife has suspended a South Dakota poacher's hunting and fishing privileges for more than a decade following his conviction for wasting the meat of a black bear killed during the 2017 hunting season.

On June 25th , CPW issued 58-year-old Robert Stalley, of Pierre, South Dakota, a 12 year suspension of his hunting and fishing privileges. CPW said that in deciding on the punishment, Stalley's behavior was considered, which included attempts to evade and mislead CPW investigators.

CPW said that in one instance, Stalley presented a bag filled with the meat of a legally taken deer during the required inspection of the bear's hide, likely in an attempt to deceive the CPW inspector.

"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," said Wildlife Officer Jack Taylor of Steamboat Springs. "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."

Colorado law requires hunters to prepare all harvested big game for human consumption. Simply removing the head, antlers, or hide, and leaving the meat can bring up to a class-five felony.

According to CPW, Stalley pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors in Routt County in 2018: failing to care for the edible portions of the bear, illegal take, and illegal possession of the bear. He struck a deal with prosecutors and received a one-year deferred sentence on the felony charge of intentional take and abandonment of wildlife. In addition, Stalley paid a fine of $3,415, served a one-year term of probation, and forfeited his rifle.

Wildlife Officer Taylor said he learned of the bear's carcass after receiving a tip from an anonymous source through the Operation Game Thief tip line.

"The witnesses gave me the information I needed to begin the investigation, and for that we are very grateful to those individuals," said Taylor. "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. It's a good thing that most hunters are ethical and conscientious."

According to CPW, Stalley has the option of appealing his suspension before the CPW Commission. If the suspension is upheld, he cannot hunt in Colorado or 47 other Wildlife Violator Compact state for the duration of the suspension.