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Texas poacher fined $53,000 for killing Colorado elk

Texas poacher fined $53,000 for killing Colorado elk

Photo credit: Dreamstime

A Colorado elk poaching case is finally solved following a few slip-ups by the Texas “hunter.” It turns out that, if you’re hunting illegally, perhaps you shouldn’t stash incriminating evidence—cellphone, compound bow, backpack—in bushes where investigators can find them. 

According to The Kansas City Star, officials were tipped off in September 2018 when an Evergreen, Colorado resident “spotted a hunter with the dead elk and called the sheriff’s office for help.”When three deputies went to the local residential property where the tipster had spotted the man with a headless elk, Raymond Muse answered the door dressed in camouflage. According to the report, he then ran away. However, Unfortunately for Muse, he also left behind some damning evidence in the bushes: backpacks (with “identifying information”) and his cellphone. Further searching led investigators to other places where Muse had stashed a bicycle, compound bow, backpack, clothing and the actual head of the elk.

“This was a huge find as it showed officers how (the poacher) was sneaking onto private properties to poach trophy wildlife,” officials wrote in the news release. “Many of the hunting locations that were identified were right under the noses or in the backyards of Conifer and Evergreen residents.”

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Officials figured out that Muse must have hid hunting gear around the areas and used his bike to go from place to place to keep his actions under the radar. Based upon the amount of clothing found, Muse likely changed into his camouflage in the bushes before he started hunting. Investigators eventually linked Muse to other elk and deer illegally killed in the state using evidence found in Muse’s cellphone.

In total, Muse poached five elk and a deer.

In December, he pleaded guilty to the willful destruction of wildlife as well as 11 misdemeanor charges. According to The Kansas City Star, he was ordered to pay $53,000 in fines and will lose his hunting and firearm-possession privileges during a two-year probation period.

Do you think the punishment fits the crime?


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Aaron K. - posted 2 months ago on 01-20-2020 07:08:12 pm
Waco, TX

He's a bow hunter so the firearm possession won't affect his hunting. Seems like a small fine for that many animals as well. I think he got off easy. The punishment should be much worse. It should at least cost him 2 or 3 times that of the law abiding hunter paying for a private land guided hunt.

Shane A. - posted 2 months ago on 01-07-2020 07:44:44 am

Losing hunting privileges doesn't have much of effect, if any, on habitual poachers. The firearm possession and fine have a much bigger sting to it.

I definitely agree with some of the others that community service should be a portion of it. I would imagine he dedicated a pretty substantial amount of time planning and executing his poaching operation and it only seems reasonable that he would be able to transfer a similar amount of time to helping the community over the next 2 years of his probation.

Wade S. - posted 2 months ago on 01-02-2020 09:36:19 am
Colfax, CA

He illegally killed 6 animals with no intent to harvest any of the meat, from what I'm reading. These animals died for someones ego and trophy status, inexcusable. The punishment does not fit the crime. I agree with William R. 2 years minimum suspension of all hunting and fishing privileges for each animal poached and a $10,000 fine for each animal, along with community service.

Gary H. - posted 2 months ago on 01-02-2020 06:51:21 am

They should have banned him from hunting and fishing for life. Then they should have chopped off his hands.

William R. - posted 2 months ago on 12-31-2019 06:19:18 pm
Albuquerque, NM

6 months jail, pay fine in full, loss of hunting for 11 years (2yrs per elk, 1yr per deer). I bet if they caught him poaching just this elk he would have received the 2 year hunting loss so why not multiply it by the number of elk he poached. I also like the wildlife community service hours. Those would all have to be served and the fine paid in full before hunting privileges restored. In other words, if 11 years passes and he hasn't paid the full fine or done all of his community service then he still can't hunt. When are we going to make people suffer the consequences of their actions in this country?

Stefan R. - posted 3 months ago on 12-31-2019 10:38:37 am

So glad they got this guy and i totally agree with the other comments on here, 2 years seems like a slap on the wrist for such a crime. This guy obviously had intent and thought through his illegal actions and therefore very well knows the consequences, i would say at least 10 years loss of hunting rights and my personal opinion is a lifetime ban because he willingly and knowingly took advantage, i have seen far less crimes go for similar privilege loss and i think Colorado has some work to do in this department! but in all, glad to see something being done

Brandon S. - posted 3 months ago on 12-31-2019 08:28:00 am

10 year minimum loss of hunting privileges, loss of all confiscated hunting equipment, 300 hours of wildlife community service, and must pay all $53,000 in the 10 year period plus interest or loss of hunting privileges indefinitely in all states under the Wildlife Violator Compact.

Brandon P. - posted 3 months ago on 12-31-2019 07:13:04 am

THANK YOU for not having ‘hunter’ in the heading and using is very sparingly in the article. Hate it when misinformed writings happen, happy this was not one of them. I would have like to have seen the fine larger and the 2 years is way to short for this crime. 2 years for every poached animal maybe. Also a clause that was there to make sure the fine was paid in full in addition to a longer time period being exhausted would have been better for this POS.

justin t. - posted 3 months ago on 12-31-2019 05:35:00 am
Andrews Tx

I think the fine is fitting but he should loose his hunting rights and firearm privileges for no less than 10 years. Guys like this are not “hunters” and give the rest of that are a bad name. Glad he was dumb enough to get caught.

Will S. - posted 3 months ago on 12-30-2019 01:15:43 pm

RE: Tim A
There is a reciprocity agreement between most states on hunting license privilege suspension or loss called the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. There are 48 states in all that signed this agreement with Hawaii and Massachusetts abstaining. So, he will lose hunting privileges in most of the country.

Eric C. - posted 3 months ago on 12-29-2019 05:57:02 am

He probably will never pay and still gets to hunt after 2 years. Someone with this complete disregard for wildlife should never be aloud to hunt in the US. Start setting examples and people might think twice. Us as hunters can’t afford to have a person like this call themselves a hunter.

Tim A. - posted 3 months ago on 12-28-2019 08:42:24 am
Alexandria, VA

I'd like to see a larger fine, figure the cost of hunting those animals on private land (probably guided, cost of license and or buying years of points). 2 years also seems pretty low for his hunting rights removal, I'd like to see at least 10 years with it crossing state lines. The biggest thing I'd like is for news outlets to strike the word "hunter" from their terminology when addressing the suspect. He's a poacher and we should call him one! Thanks for sharing goHunt!

jamie v. - posted 3 months ago on 12-27-2019 03:45:54 pm
Maynard Ia

All the laws and fines will not stop people from poaching .

Adam H. - posted 3 months ago on 12-27-2019 12:32:34 pm

$53,000 seems fitting. I think he should have lost his hunting privileges for a longer period but I don’t think this guy got off easy at all.

Michael B. - posted 3 months ago on 12-27-2019 11:43:27 am

i think he should of lost his hunt privileges for atleast 10 years

Albert L. - posted 3 months ago on 12-27-2019 09:42:21 am

Not even remotely fits the crime. He should’ve done jail time, a much larger fine and no hunting privileges EVER!

KC T. - posted 3 months ago on 12-27-2019 09:34:52 am
Pleasant View, UT

Should have lost his hunting privileges for life.