MONTROSE, Colo. — A western Colorado man who pleaded guilty in late June to illegally killing big game will pay $10,000 in fines and could lose his hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 47 other states, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has announced.
Hayden Barnard, 23, of Olathe, pleaded guilty to a variety of wildlife crimes in Montrose district court in late June, admitting that he illegally killed several deer dating back to 2006 and a bear; he was also complicit in a poaching incident that involved his cousin.
“Thanks to a tip by a member of the public to Operation Game Thief, we’ve removed a serial poacher from Colorado,” said Natalie Renneker, a district wildlife manager for CPW in Montrose. “Poachers are criminals and rob the public and hunters of the opportunity to see and hunt Colorado’s wildlife.”
The break in the case occurred on Jan. 22 when CPW received a tip that a deer was killed near the Transfer Road on the Uncompahgre Plateau west of Montrose. Wildlife officers responded that evening and discovered a dead mule deer buck with only its antlers removed.
Based on information provided through the OGT tip, CPW officers, with the assistance of Montrose County Sheriff’s deputies and Olathe Police Department officers, served search warrants at Barnard’s residence in February. During the subsequent investigation, Barnard admitted to killing the buck. He also admitted to illegally killing another buck in 2006, two additional bucks, and a black bear from 2017 through 2019. The antlers from all the deer and a bear skull were confiscated from Barnard during the investigation.
On June 24, Barnard pleaded guilty to felony destruction of wildlife for the poaching last January of the buck deer. He also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of