Teenage hunter forced to pay almost $20,000 fine for illegal moose kill

Teenage hunter forced to pay almost $20,000 fine for illegal moose kill

A teenage hunter has been hit with $20,000 in fines for illegally killing a moose and leaving its carcass to rot.

The incident took place in November of last year, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). The CPW discovered the dead animal after they received a tip-off from another hunter who had discovered its carcass.

This is how events unfolded: 

Officials were sent to the scene where they discovered a dead moose that had been shot by a .270 caliber bullet. There were also bootprint tracks in the snow which, alongside the bullet, led to the identification of 19-year-old Callan Hyatt.

A boot print in snow. Credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Hyatt said that he shot the animal, which he did not have permission to hunt, while hunting elk. The 19-year-old explained that he made the mistake because the moose was too far away for its species to be correctly identified.

A hunter standing under a bright blue sky. Credit: Getty

CPW reported that Hyatt pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor violations: hunting in a careless manner, failing to locate wounded game, failing to dress wildlife, illegal possession of wildlife, and hunting without a license.

A moose sitting down. Credit: Pexels

The 19-year-old was handed $10,000 in fines plus an additional $10,000 for killing the moose, which qualified as trophy game, Fox News reports. Hyatt also faces the possibility of being banned from hunting for up to five years in 47 states.

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In a news release, CPW District Wildlife Officer Jeff Behncke said: "We understand hunting mistakes and accidents will happen, but we expect sportsmen and women to take immediate responsibility for their actions."

"Thankfully the vast majority of hunters are ethical and do the right thing in cases like this; unfortunately, there are a few that may prefer to try and evade authorities. We offer everyone this advice; if you accidentally kill the wrong species, you should call us right away and field dress the animal immediately so that it does not spoil."

Rather than pay fines of up to $20,000, Behncke said hunters who make the same mistake and own up to it only have to pay $70.50.