Grand Junction man sentenced for lion poaching
A Grand Junction man was sentenced Tuesday to three months in prison for his role in illegal bobcat and mountain lion hunts in Utah and western Colorado.
Nathan Simms, 31, was sentenced in U.S. Federal Court after pleading guilty in April to eight misdemeanor violations of for illegal game hunting and violations of the federal Lacey Act.
Besides the three month prison sentence, Simms also received six months of home confinement, two years probation, and a $2,000 fine.
Mike Porras with Colorado Parks and Wildlife said the case was one the “most graphic and egregious examples of poaching” he seen in his career.
Christopher Loncarich of Mack, the owner of an outfitting business that employed Simms is now serving a 27-month sentence in federal prison.
The outfitters would capture and maim animals to make it easy for their clients to hunt them. In one case, they placed a leg-hold trap on a mountain lion’s paw to slow it down, and in other cases, they shot the lions in the paw.
According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, hunters, mostly from out-of-state, paid up to $7,500 for the opportunity to participate in a lion hunt.
The lengthy investigation into the case began in 2007 and involved law enforcement officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.