Man admits baiting bighorn sheep near Durango
A La Plata County man has pleaded guilty to illegally baiting bighorn sheep and was fined $156.50 for the misdemeanor.
Dave Hall, 52, also was placed on probation for one year and had his hunting privileges suspended for one year.
Hall, who admitted to spreading more than 1,000 pounds of salt during the last two years in at least four areas northeast of Vallecito Reservoir, initially was charged with two counts of wildlife baiting and two counts as an accomplice in the illegal taking of two bighorn rams.
There are three bighorn sheep hunting licenses issued for this area and two rams were killed at one of the bait sites during the 2009 season.
According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Hall admitted accompanying one of the hunters who harvested a ram in 2009. Hall said the hunters did not know about the salt.
District Wildlife Manager Cary Carron, the DOW officer who investigated the case, said he first noticed an unusually high number of sheep using an area near Vallecito Reservoir while doing a population count of the Pine River sheep herd.
Carron said he found two 50-pound salt blocks, which Hall later admitted to placing.
During the investigation, Carron and other DOW investigators kept watch on the area during bighorn hunting season in late August 2009. Numerous interviews with informants led them to Hall.
Hall told the DOW officers he placed salt blocks and spread granular salt in numerous areas because he thought the bighorns needed extra nutrition.
Carron said wild animals find natural salt licks and don’t need supplements.
“The other big problem is that the salt is now imbedded in the soil and will attract bighorns to those areas for the next five years or more,” Carron said. “There’s nothing that can be done to get all of it out of the soil.”