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Local outfitter arrested, charged on 21 counts Outfitter alleged to have charged hunters $3,000 each for hunt

TRINIDAD — A lengthy investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife law enforcement officials has resulted in the arrest of outfitter James Hirschboeck, 53, of Trinidad. Hirschboeck has been charged with 13 counts of providing unregistered outfitting services for big game wildlife, two counts of providing an illegal hunt for big game wildlife for profit, one count of menacing with a deadly weapon, four counts of hunting on private property without permission, and one count of unlawfully taking and possessing a 5×6 bull elk. Assistance in the investigation was provided by the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. CPW officers arrested Hirschboeck at his home on October 30. According to investigators, Hirschboeck was not registered with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. DORA is the state agency that licenses and regulates outfitting services. He allegedly charged hunters nearly $3,000 each for outfitted hunt. Local wildlife officers received numerous complaints from more than 15 out-of-state hunters and four Las Animas County landowners in 2014 and earlier this year regarding

Hirschboeck and his company, Colorado Elk Adventures. CPW officially opened its investigation in February this year. During the 2015 second rifle season, CPW investigators went undercover and booked outfitted hunts with Hirschboeck’s company. On Oct. 17, the investigators met Hirschboeck in the local Wal-Mart parking lot in Trinidad, and followed him to his lodge where there were 12 other hunters who had also paid Hirschboeck for guided hunts. Upon arrival, the investigators observed that Hirschboeck’s property was strewn with alfalfa hay; a practice typically used for baiting deer and elk. The investigators spent three days under the guise of hunting while documenting evidence, and speaking with the guides and other hunters. “It was obvious that many of the hunters were not happy with the services Hirschboeck provided as they were not as described in advertisements or conversations with Mr. Hirschboeck,” said Bob Holder, CPW lead investigator for the arrest. “These sportsmen and women complained to me or took other avenues to vent their frustrations. Those other options included contact with legal counsel. At least ten hunters left early and only two received refunds on their hunts, to my knowledge.” Investigators also witnessed Hirschboeck threaten a third hunter with two hammers and a mace after he had confronted Hirschboeck about illegally hunting on private land and asked for a refund. The investigators also received first-hand accounts of how a bull elk was killed by one of the hunters on private property, then dragged to the area Hirschboeck had leased. The investigators finished their undercover work on October 20. Search and arrest warrants were issued and CPW, USFWS and the sheriff’s office made the arrest. Hirschboeck is facing thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time according to a CPW press release. “The vast majority of hunters and legal outfitters are excellent stewards of our state’s natural resources,” Holder said. “Cases like these rob every one of those resources, and CPW will not tolerate anyone who takes advantage of our hunters and fishermen, or those who disrespect our wildlife.”