A joint investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has concluded with the convictions and sentencing of eight men for their roles in illegal hunts that took place in the King Mountain area of southern Routt County in Colorado.
Ole Thorson, 35, of Prescott Mich., entered his guilty plea on March 28, bringing the two-and-a-half year joint investigation and prosecution to an end. His brother, Travis Thorson, 40, and their father, 64-year-old Jerome Thorson, all from Prescott, had previously pleaded guilty.
Wildlife officials say the multi-state investigation began when a concerned hunter called to report the three men who were believed to be hunting in Colorado without licenses.
Several other individuals also pleaded guilty for their roles in the case. Tim Oestmann, 49 and Andrew Oestmann, 24 of Bailey, Colo. pleaded guilty to the illegal transfer of a hunting license. Jeffrey Kuhn, 63, of Prescott, Mich. pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a bull elk as did Todd Osier, 42, of Sterling, Mich. Troy Allen, 41 of Jamestown, Indiana also pleaded guilty to transfer of a license.
The defendants also faced separate charges in Michigan, ranging from the importation of illegally taken game from another state; nine counts of capturing whitetail deer from the wild; building and maintaining an illegal deer enclosure without a permit; illegal taking of otter, bobcat, and mink; illegal trapping; possession of an illegal silencer; and animal cruelty to horses in Ogemaw County, Michigan.
Eight Men from Colorado, Michigan and Indiana Wildlife officials remind the public to contact a local District Wildlife Manager or Operation Game Thief toll-free at 877-COLO-OGT (877-265-6648). Callers contacting the tip line remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward if the information leads to a citation. Tips can be e-mailed to email@example.com.
For more information about Operation Game Thief, please visit www.bit.ly/ogtcolorado.
For more information, see the full press release.