Trespassing While Hunting Citation Dropped For State Wildlife Chief
ROUTT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- The citation for trespassing while hunting against the head of Colorado’s wildlife department has been dropped.
Michael King, the Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources, was facing only a $100 fine but he was prepared to fight. It never got that far because the local district attorney dropped the case.
King was cited after allegedly trespassing while hunting on private property with his son in Routt County in September 2013.
“I was inadvertently on property not owned by the ranch that I had permission to hunt,” said King.
The district attorney’s office said it doesn’t have enough evidence to prosecute King.
“I came today prepared to go to trial. The district attorney reviewed my case and determined there was no likelihood of success and dismissed it,” said King.
The DA’s office claimed this was a battle between neighbors with a history of issues and no clear markings of property boundaries.
King was never told by the ranch to stay away from neighboring areas.
“With this high of a profile, the fact that he wasn’t prosecuted is just going to open the flood gates,” said property owner Carl Luppens.
It all happened on Luppens’ property.
“His position is it’s inadvertent, he didn’t know, goes against the long-standing tradition and precedent that hunters have an obligation to know where they are and have permission if they’re on private land,” said Luppens.
Luppens said this case is about private land owners rights and trespassing.
“Hunters that were hunting across the fence line on someone else’s property are now going to say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know.’ That wasn’t an excuse in the past. Now they’ll say, ‘I’m just like Mike King, I didn’t know,’” said Luppens.
When asked if he went out on his property and found King there, Luppens answered, “Yes.”
When asked if he knew who King was at the time, Luppens answered, “No.”
King doesn’t believe his case will set any precedent.
“I think we have such a unique factual circumstance here. I’ve had a hunter’s license since I was nine. I’ve never seen or heard of a factual circumstance like this before,” said King.
When asked if he was ever going to hunt in that area again, King replied, “I hope to.”
King could still face a civil suit for trespassing.