Larry C. Losch of Idaho Springs was sentenced Dec. 17 for his role in the illegal hunting of a large elk in Evergreen on Sept. 13, 2007.
Losch, 27, one of four men arrested in the case, had 15 points taken from his hunting license and was ordered to pay a $10,000 penalty for aggravated illegal possession of wildlife. “Laws are not arbitrarily created. When laws are violated, our task is to investigate and prosecute,” said Pam Russell, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County district attorney’s office. Losch and three other hunters, John Keith Johnson and Kim and Anthony Shrout, were arrested by officers from the Division of Wildlife on Sept. 14, 2007, after a report that a bull elk had been found dead. Officers located the carcass and waited for the hunters to return. According to case records, the men appeared, cleaned and butchered the carcass, and were then arrested and fined $10,000 each. The total amount of fines and fees assessed in the case was more than $45,000. Of that, $40,000 in fines was for violating “Samson’s Law” and was earmarked for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Samson’s Law was passed in 1998 in Colorado after Samson, a beloved bull elk in Estes Park, was killed by a poacher, who was then fined several hundred dollars. Many felt that penalties for illegally killing wildlife should be raised.
Samson’s Law adds mandatory fines for killing trophy game animals ranging from $4,000 for a trophy-size antelope to $25,000 for a bighorn sheep, according to the Division of Wildlife. The Division of Wildlife encourages citizens to report poaching by contacting local law enforcement or by calling 877-COLO-OGT. “Colorado is a hunting state — there’s no doubt about it,” Russell said. “There are acres and acres of land controlled by the Division of Wildlife, and hunting information is easily available to the public through the Division of Wildlife.”