Jefferson County man convicted after illegally hunting, selling mountain lion

Posted at 1:55 PM, Dec 27, 2018

DENVER — A Colorado Parks and Wildlife multi-year investigation led to the felony conviction of a Jefferson County man, who had illegally hunted and sold a mountain lion to a hunter.

On Nov. 8, Andrew Pashley, 35, of Evergreen, pleaded guilty in Jefferson County District Court to the illegal sale of big game wildlife, which is a Class 6 felony, plus the illegal possession of a mountain lion. He was convicted that day. CPW announced the conviction on Thursday.

A Jefferson County judge sentenced Pashley to two years of supervised probation and a court-ordered suspension of all hunting-, fishing- and trapping-related activities in Colorado. Pursuant to his felony conviction, Pashley is restricted from possessing a firearm or other weapon, including any for hunting purposes.

This conviction makes him eligible for up to a lifetime suspension of all hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in Colorado and the other 47 states in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. That will be determined at a later date.

Pashley was also ordered to forfeit the truck that he used for his illegal outfitting business, cash that was paid to him for the illegal mountain lion hunt, and all the hunting equipment he owned for his hounds.

“We investigate crimes like this both to protect the wildlife of the state, but also to protect the interests of legal and ethical hunters and outfitters in the state,” said CPW Wildlife Officer Joe Nicholson, who worked on the case. “That is really important. We have a strong heritage in Colorado of hunting, fishing and trapping. That is what pays for wildlife conservation, but only when it is done right."

He said Pashley’s actions — which is that of a poacher, not a hunter — put a black eye on hunters and outfitters.

CPW wildlife officers have investigated reports of Pashley’s illegal hunting and illegal outfitting activity for years, CPW said. The man has never been registered as an outfitter in Colorado.

Nicholson first grew suspicious something bigger was at hand when a hunter presented a mountain lion for mandatory harvest inspection to CPW staff in January 2017. Some of the hunter’s comments raised red flags for Nicholson, and he asked for Scott Murdoch, wildlife officer assigned to the Conifer district, to help him get to the bottom of it. They located the kill site for the mountain lion and interviewed the hunter. In that process, they confirmed the hunter had lied about the details of the hunt and his association with Pashley.

Wildlife officers continued the investigation into the following month, executing a search warrant on Pashley’s home in Evergreen. They seized illegally possessed wildlife, cash that Pashley accepted for providing illegal outfitter services to hunters, Pashley’s truck and additional evidence of illegal outfitting activities.

Officers conducted follow-up interviews and sorted through evidence to piece together the details of Pashley’s operation. They documented numerous felony and misdemeanor wildlife crimes in Colorado.

The investigation proved that in January 2017, Pashley had knowingly accepted $3,000 in cash from another Colorado man in exchange for providing unregistered illegal outfitting services. The other Colorado man pleaded guilty to hunting on private property without permission, illegal possession of a mountain lion and an illegal method of hunting, all of which are misdemeanor charges. As part of his plea agreement, the hunter signed a cooperative agreement to testify against Pashley. The man was sentenced to one year of supervised probation, which includes a court-ordered suspension of all hunting, fishing and trapping activities in the state for a year.

“This sends a clear message that wildlife crimes are not going to be tolerated in Jefferson County and that the district attorney’s office is working with CPW to protect wildlife, and to protect the interests of legal sportsmen and women of Colorado,” Nicholson said.