What is Illegal Sale of Wildlife? Guides and Outfitters May Face Steep Fines and Felony Charges for Breaking Hunting and Outfitting Laws with Their Clients

Colorado is world renowned for its hunting and fishing opportunities.  For many non-resident and resident hunters, the best option to take advantage of those opportunities may mean contracting with and hiring an outfitter service.  Outfitters in Colorado are part of a highly regulated industry overseen by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) in order to protect the integrity of the profession.  With these regulations come penalties, and for outfitters who fail to register or conduct illegal hunts, those penalties can be severe.

Illegal sale of wildlife, under C.R.S. 33-6-113, is the “illegal hunting or taking of wildlife for the purposes of monetary or commercial gain or profit.”  For outfitters, this means conducting illegal hunts for clients.  Illegal hunting can be applied broadly, from not having permission to hunt on property that you outfit on, to illegally acquiring Colorado landowner tags, to taking clients on hunts out of season.  However, the statute does require that the individual accused of illegal sale of wildlife commit the crime “knowingly.”  The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that not only did you commit the act of illegal sale of wildlife, but that you did so knowingly and with the intent to do so.

Additionally, outfitters who fail to register with DORA as legal outfitters can be charged with illegal sale of wildlife.  DORA has very specific and lengthy requirements for outfitters to comply with if they want to provide outfitting services in Colorado.  If you would like to consult with a Colorado attorney on these requirements, or learn more about your obligations, Click Here.

Illegal sale of wildlife with regard to big game is a class 5 felony in Colorado.  Felonies are a life-changing charge that can have drastic impacts not only on your hunting and fishing privileges, but also your right to own a firearm, hold a job, or receive state benefits.  Additionally, the penalty for illegal sale of wildlife carries a possibility of a lifetime suspension of hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado. With regard to small game, fish, and all other types of game besides big game, illegal sale of wildlife is a misdemeanor punishable by a max of $1,000 and twenty license suspension points.

If you are charged with illegal sale of wildlife, whether the felony or misdemeanor provision, it is imperative that you consult with a Colorado Hunting Violation Attorney.  Pleading guilty or paying the ticket associated with your charges could have an impact on your ability to provide guiding or outfitting services in the future.  Colorado Hunting Violation Lawyer Nathaniel Gilbert has consulted with and defended guides and outfitters in Colorado, as well as worked with those individuals on matters with DORA and licensing agencies.  Click here to consult with Nathaniel Gilbert.