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Two cited in local poaching case

by Eric Mullens

WALSENBURG- Two men were cited by the Colorado Division of Wildlife Friday, Oct. 14 for charges related to the illegal taking of two bull elks on private property.
Huerfano County Deputy Sheriff Sgt. Craig Lessar said Ron McWillis of the Cuchara area and Billy Palmer of Oklahoma both were cited by DOW Officer Jeremy Gallegos following the investigation by the sheriff’s office.
According to Lessar the citations involved two counts of illegally shooting the elk on private property the pair did not have permission to hunt on; a safety clothing violation and trespassing. Lessar said McWillis’ ticket was just under $24,000 while Palmer’s was about $130. The animals killed both came under the Samson Law, a law enforcement enhancer concerning the illegal taking of trophy animals.
Both men can decide to fight the tickets in court or to pay the fine.
Lessar said he and Sgt. Harold Martin responded to the location near mile marker 59 off of I-25 on an initial shots fired call. They contacted the two men and conducted the investigation and t hen called in the DOW.
Lessar said the men were supposed to be hunting on property located about three and one-half miles north of where they were.
The investigation showed McWillis had fired multiple shots and killed one elk outright and fatally wounded the other.
Both animals were confiscated by DOW as evidence.