Poachers fined, lose privilege to hunt in Colorado

Erik Ambriz

Michael Gordon

Three Grand Junction men have been fined and banned from hunting in Colorado for at least a decade after pleading guilty to illegally killing six elk and mule deer in eastern Utah.

Erik Ambriz and Michael Gordon shot and killed a trophy bull elk in October 2008 in Utah’s Bitter Creek Canyon in the Bookcliffs near the Utah-Colorado border. Ambriz and Gordon tagged the elk with a Colorado license for youth archery before returning to Colorado.

A tip about that incident to the Utah Division of Wildlife Turn-in-a-Poacher hotline, UTiP, led to an investigation that unearthed other poaching crimes, according to a news release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Anyone who sees or suspects a person has violated wildlife laws can call the hotline number at 1-800-662-3337.

Investigators from the division found that Gordon, Ambriz and another Grand Junction man, Adam Boden, shot and killed a cow elk in Utah that was sold in Colorado and shot a trophy bull elk in Colorado. The men tried to sell the trophy elk to undercover investigators, according to the UDWR.

The men killed two more bucks near the mouth of Bitter Creek Canyon, took the heads and left the bodies behind. Ambriz killed another trophy bull elk near Wild Cow Wash in the Bookcliffs as investigators neared the scene.

Ambriz agreed in September to a plea agreement that allowed him to pay $2,200 in fines and $4,000 in restitution and serve 120 days in Moab’s Grand County Jail in exchange for pleading guilty to three third-degree felony counts of wanton destruction of protected wildlife. Ambriz had already served four years in a Colorado state prison for killing a trophy bull elk and for possession of a dangerous weapon. He is now barred for life from receiving a wildlife license to hunt in Utah and 37 other states that participate in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

Boden and Gordon pleaded guilty to numerous misdemeanor counts of aiding and assisting in the wanton destruction of protected wildlife this fall and were sentenced to pay $4,000 apiece in restitution. Gordon was ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and was banned from hunting in Utah and 37 other states for 20 years. Boden was ordered to pay $790 in fines and banned from hunting in Utah and 37 other states for 10 years.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources joined with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate the above incidents.


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