A Grand Junction man accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to several wildlife poaching charges.
Dylan Zuber, 23, of Grand Junction was charged with 20 counts of wildlife violations after a Colorado Parks and Wildlife investigation, according to an agency news release.
He pleaded guilty on July 26 in Mesa County Court to charges including willful destruction of wildlife, illegal take of three or more big game animals and hunting with artificial light.
He agreed to pay fines totaling $3,360.50.
The Mesa County judge also sentenced Zuber to a four-year deferred judgment for the felony charge of willful destruction of wildlife, which includes a court-ordered prohibition of hunting and possession of firearms, as well as 50 hours of community service.
Zuber’s conviction makes him eligible for suspension of all hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in Colorado and the other 47 states in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. Parks and Wildlife’s suspension hearing examiner will determine the possible suspension at a later date.
As part of the adjudication of the criminal case, Zuber was also ordered to donate $2,500 to Colorado Operation Game Thief.
In June of 2020, wildlife officer Zac Chrisman received information from an anonymous party suggesting Zuber and a friend had poached a buck and doe mule deer on Piñon Mesa in Mesa County.
On the same night, Zuber’s friend was in a fatal rollover vehicle accident.
In the following days, Chrisman, with the help of other wildlife officers in Grand Junction, was able to locate the carcasses of the deer in locations consistent with the anonymous party’s report.
Over the course of the investigation, more illegal animals were discovered, and it became obvious that this was not the first time Zuber had killed wildlife illegally.
After a thorough investigation, wildlife officers filed the case with the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office.
“I would like to thank the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office for their hard work and dedication on this important case,” Chrisman said. “Poachers who steal wildlife from law-abiding citizens will not be tolerated.”
The agency’s Operation Game Thief program has a toll free number for people to report suspected poachers: 1-877-COLO-OGT or Verizon cell-phone users can dial #OGT. Email is also available at email@example.com.