Cumberland Times-News

January 19, 2014

Cougar hunting guides indicted


Cumberland Times-News

— DENVER — Federal authorities on Jan. 7

indicted two big-game hunting guides for the

illegally trapping — and, in some cases,

maiming — of mountain lions and bobcats to

make hunting easier for their clients in Utah

and Colorado, according to an article by Kate

Gibbons in The Denver Post.

Outfitter and hunting guide Christopher

Loncarich of Mack and his assistant guide,

Nicholaus Rodgers of Medford, Ore., are

accused of trapping the cats in cages before

hunts and releasing them once their clients

were nearby. The hunts took place in the Book

Cliffs mountain range along the Colorado-

Utah border.

Loncarich, Rodgers and other guides would

sometimes shoot the cats in the paws or legs

or put leg-hold snares on them , according to

a Justice Department news release. Loncarich

and Rodgers would then transport the

dead animals from Utah back to Colorado and

provide false records to obtain Colorado

state-inspection seals for the hides, the

release said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife requires every

harvested lion to be presented to its office for

inspection within five days to manage wildlife

populations. According to wildlife officials, 467

lions and 1,850 bobcats were killed last season.

It wasn’t clear how many animals Loncarich

and Rodgers were accused of illegally

killing.

The 17-count indictment, based on the

pair’s activities between 2007 and 2010,

includes charges of felony transportation of

unlawfully taken wildlife, creation of false

records and conspiracy to violate the Lacey

Act, which protects wildlife. In March 2012,

federal wildlife agents searched Loncarich’s

home in connection to similar charges

brought against another guide, Marvin Ellis.

To date, four assistant guides have pleaded

guilty to conspiracy offenses.

The indictment also alleges Loncarich and

Rodgers knowingly allowed clients to hunt in

Utah without proper licenses.

Mountain lion and bobcat hunting season

stretches from November to March, when

snow is likely to be on the ground and when

the pursuit can be labor-intensive for hunters.