Court affirms former outfitter’s sentence, poacher remains in prison

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By Mike Porras
Special to The SUN

Convicted poacher and former outfitter Dennis Eugene Rodebaugh, 73, of Meeker, Colo., learned on Tuesday that his appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has failed, affirming the 41-month prison sentence and fines the former outfitter received in early 2013 for illegally baiting deer and elk with salt.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigators, between 2002 and 2007, Rodebaugh and an associate used large quantities of salt to attract elk and mule deer to an area in the White River National Forest, where he had installed tree stands, enabling their clients to easily kill the animals.

In September 2012, a jury in Denver found Rodebaugh guilty of six felony violations of the Lacey Act, a federal law that prohibits the transportation of illegally taken wildlife across state lines, applicable because most of his clients came from out of state.

“Our investigation was thorough and accurate and the original sentence was fair and equal to the crimes committed by this individual,” said district wildlife manager Bailey Franklin, of Meeker, who led the investigation. “We believe the court made the right decision on the appeal.”

Officials said Rodebaugh earned approximately $250,000 from the illegal hunts over the five-year period of the investigation; however, authorities believe he may have earned much more from his illegal activity over the approximately 20 years he operated his now-dissolved outfitting business, D&S Guide and Outfitters.

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