Colorado's wildlife is a little safer now that Andrew Pashley of Evergreen has pleaded guilty in Jefferson County District Court to the illegal sale of big game wildlife and illegally possessing a mountain lion. Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced the plea on December 27, noting that Pashley will serve two years of supervised probation and cannot hunt, fish or trap animals in Colorado.
Pashley is also banned from owning a firearm or other weapon and must forfeit the truck he used for his illegal outfitting business, cash that was paid to him for an illegal mountain lion hunt, and 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,” says CPW wildlife officer Joe Nicholson, who worked the case, in a statement. “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."
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Pashley had never been a registered outfitter in Colorado and was the subject of CPW investigations for years. The case broke in January 2017, when a hunter presented a mountain lion for mandatory harvest inspection to CPW staff. The hunter's statements "aroused the suspicions of Nicholson," who is the wildlife officer assigned to the Evergreen district. Investigations by Nicholson and Conifer wildlife officer Scott Murdoch revealed that the hunter had lied to CPW staff regarding the details of his mountain lion hunt and association with Pashley.
In February 2017, wildlife officers searched Pashley's Evergreen home and seized illegally possessed wildlife, cash that Pashley had accepted for providing illegal outfitter services to hunter, his truck and other evidence. "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," according to CPW.
The hunter pleaded guilty to hunting on private property without permission, illegal possession of a mountain lion and utilizing an illegal method of hunting. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to testify against Pashley at trial.
Pashley's conviction makes him eligible for a lifetime suspension of all hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in Colorado and the other 47 states in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which helps law enforcement keep track of people who violate wildlife and resource laws outside their state.