CO: Man in possession of 6 big game animals was hunting illegally in Colorado for years, according to CPW

https://www.9news.com/article/news/crime/georgia-man-fined-41000-colorado-hunting-license-fraud/73-20dc8bf4-f66f-4a5d-8cf7-9699a6c98380

05/18/2021

 A Georgia man who fraudulently obtained hunting licenses and illegally possessed wildlife will pay $41,735.50 in fines after agreeing to a plea deal, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said on Tuesday.

Douglas R. Crookston, 41, of Duluth was charged with 42 misdemeanors for wildlife violations including illegal possession of six big game animals, CPW said.

CPW said the investigation began in 2019 after an officer received information suggesting he was obtaining licenses as a Colorado resident while living in Georgia.

Investigators discovered that Crookston sold all his Colorado property and gave up his residence in February 2017, but he continued to buy and use Colorado hunting licenses for several years, CPW said.

> Above video: 2020 9NEWS story about CPW looking for ways to help declining elk population.

Crookston pleaded guilty to the follow charges on April in a Adams County Court, according to CPW:

  • 10 counts of making a false statement in the purchase of a hunting license
  • Three counts of hunting without a valid license
  • Two counts of illegal possession (one trophy mule deer and one trophy bull elk)

Crookston was also ordered to make a $500 donation to Colorado Operation Game Thief.

He must forfeit all wildlife seized in the investigation:

  • One bull elk
  • One bear
  • Two mule deer
  • Two pronghorn.

The bull elk and a mule deer met the minimum size required to meet the “Samson” trophy designation, which adds additional mandatory surcharges of $10,000 each.

CPW said a judge sentenced Crookston to two years of supervised probation and a court-ordered suspension of all hunting, fishing and trapping related activities.

RELATED: 3-county poacher pleads guilty, loses hunting license for life

Under the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, Crookston is eligible for a suspension of all hunting, fishing, and trapping privilege’s for up to five years in all states except Hawaii.

CPW said a suspension hearing examiner will make a decision on a possible suspension at a later date.

“While license fraud cases are not the typical ‘poacher’ case, CPW takes these cases very seriously,” said Wildlife Officer Scott Murdoch, who worked the case. “Colorado residents are entitled to certain privileges that out of state residents are not. This comes in the form of license prices, license draw odds and license allocations. When non-residents claim Colorado residency fraudulently, all wildlife taken become illegal. They are essentially stealing money from CPW and opportunity from lawful residents that may have been able to acquire the fraudulently obtained license.”

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