Jefferson County man receives felony conviction for illegal outfitting activities
DENVER - A Colorado Parks and Wildlife investigation into illegal hunting and outfitting reports over the course of several years led to a felony conviction of a Jefferson County man thanks to the persistence of wildlife officers.
Andrew Pashley, 35, of Evergreen, pled guilty to the illegal sale of big game wildlife, a Class 6 felony, as well as illegal possession of a mountain lion on Nov. 8 in Jefferson County District Court.
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, even for hunting purposes. Pashley’s 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, to be determined by CPW’s suspension hearing examiner at a later date.
As part of the adjudication of the criminal and civil cases in this investigation, Pashley was 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, as well as 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 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.
“Illegal and unethical actions like what Mr. Pashley participated in put a black eye on hunters, outfitters and houndsmen. Pashley’s actions are those of a poacher, not a hunter, and it is good to bring somebody like Pashley to justice.”
CPW wildlife officers have investigated reports of illegal hunting and illegal outfitting activity by Pashley for years. Pashley has never been registered as an outfitter by the state of Colorado.
The case on Pashley broke in January 2017 when a hunter presented a mountain lion for mandatory harvest inspection to CPW staff. Statements made by the hunter to CPW staff aroused the suspicions of Nicholson, wildlife officer assigned to the Evergreen district. Officer Nicholson enlisted the assistance of Scott Murdoch, wildlife officer assigned to the Conifer district. Nicholson and Murdoch located the kill site for the mountain lion and interviewed the hunter, confirming suspicions that the hunter lied to CPW staff regarding details of his mountain lion hunt and association with Pashley.
In February 2017, wildlife officers continued its investigation by executing a search warrant on Pashley’s Evergreen home. They seized illegally possessed wildlife, cash that Pashley accepted for providing illegal outfitter services to hunters, Pashley’s truck and additional evidence of Pashley’s illegal outfitting activities. Wildlife officers conducted follow-up interviews and sorted through evidence to piece together the details of Pashley’s illegal outfitting operating, documenting numerous felony and misdemeanor wildlife crimes in Colorado.
Nicholson’s investigation proved that in January of 2017, Pashley knowingly and unlawfully accepted $3,000 cash from another Colorado man in exchange for providing unregistered illegal outfitting services.
The hunter in the case pled guilty to hunting on private property without permission, illegal possession of a mountain lion and an illegal method of hunting, all misdemeanor charges. As part of his plea agreement, the hunter signed a cooperative agreement to testify against Pashley at trial. A Jefferson County judge sentenced the hunter to one year of supervised probation, which includes a court-ordered suspension of all hunting, fishing and trapping activities in Colorado for one year.
The hunter is eligible for an additional suspension of his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in Colorado and 47 additional states following a hearing with the CPW suspension hearing examiner.
“At the end of the day, without the cooperation and support of local prosecutors, the hard work that wildlife officers do to bring poachers to justice would go unanswered,” Nicholson said. “I’d really like to thank the Jefferson County district attorney’s office for their support, they were really diligent in prosecuting this case.
“Deputy District Attorney Tim McCormack worked tirelessly to prosecute this case, and I want to commend his efforts. 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.”
Above: Andrew Pashley holding an illegally killed mountain lion.
Below: The truck Mr. Pashley used for his illegal outfitting business that was forfeited to state.
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW's work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.