Disgraced Parker outfitter put profit before ethics in the hunting arena
A series of missteps by an outfitter from Parker has resulted in him paying fines in excess of $13,000 after pleading guilty to illegally hunting deer in eastern Colorado.
In addition, outfitter Tom Tietz, 56, faces two years of supervised probation and lifetime loss of his hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 34 other member states in the Wildlife Violator’s Compact.
According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Tietz was paid $5,000 from each of three clients in 2008. During the ensuing hunt, the three engaged in “party hunting’” (where one person would tag an animal with someone else’s license). Also, one person in the group was hunting outside the legal game management unit.
As their guide, Tietz was aware of the violations and therefore complicit in the crimes, the DOW said.
On Oct. 15, Tietz pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal possession of wildlife in Lincoln County Court in Hugo.
One of the charges to which Tietz pleaded guilty carried a $10,000 Samson surcharge for the killing of a trophy white-tail buck.
Tietz, who no longer is a registered guide in Colorado, also pleaded guilty to a separate count alleging he was responsible for the illegal take of three or more deer.
He was fined $13,750 and was placed on supervised probation for two years.
Two other defendants, Thomas W. Franks, 56, of Harrisburg, Ill., and Amy S. Word, 35, of Newburgh, Ind., pleaded guilty in November 2009 to three counts of illegal possession of wildlife, including Samson violations, and each was fined $11,968.50.
The fourth defendant, 57-year-old Blaise Pignotti of St. Louis, Mo., pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal possession of wildlife and was fined $1,968.50.
In exchange for Tietz’s guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed to drop numerous additional charges, including a fourth count of illegal possession of wildlife, illegal sale of wildlife, tampering with physical evidence and illegal transfer of hunting licenses.
“Commercial outfitters have a professional obligation to see that their clients obey Colorado hunting regulations,” said Steve Yamashita, DOW’s Northeast Regional Manager.
Although the vast majority of Colorado’s outfitters are ethical and diligent, “Mr. Tietz put profit before ethics and stole from other hunters the opportunity to harvest those deer legally,” Yamashita said.
Race volunteers sought: On a brighter note, hundreds of volunteers are needed to help Telluride Ski Resort put on the Visa Snowboardcross Cup from Dec. 11-18.
The races, one leg of the LG FIS Snowboard World Cup tour, include Parallel Giant Slalom, Snowboardcross and Team Snowboardcross over a week of training and competition.
The event is expected to attract up to 500 athletes, coaches and support staff with more than 24 national teams participating.
Of course, the week will be full of on- and off-slope events, including training runs, receptions, meals and concerts, all of which need volunteer staffing.
According to Justin Chandler, executive director of the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club, hundreds of volunteers are needed for positions in all facets of the event, including on-slope race course maintenance, staffing the VIP and media areas, hosting visitors, managing team food and beverage and much more.
“The inaugural VISA Snowboard Cup was a huge success last year, due in large part to the passion and participation of the local community,” Chandler. said. “If you want to experience the World Cup up close, between the lines with the teams and athletes, then volunteering is the way to go.”
Last year’s race was given the Rookie of the Year award by the United States Ski and Snowboard Association as the year’s best new event.
Volunteer benefits include a lift ticket for every day that is worked. People who volunteer all four race days will also receive a Helly-Hansen World Cup jacket and a bonus lift ticket.
The Telluride competition will be televised nationally on NBC on Dec. 26, with continuing coverage on NBC, Versus and internationally.