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A Colorado Parks and Wildlife investigation into illegal hunting and trapping activities recently led to a felony conviction of a Park County man.

Jeff Bodnar, 46, of Hartsel was arrested and charged with 22 crimes stemming from the investigation, according to a press release.

Bodnar pleaded guilty May 7 to possession of a weapon by a previous offender, a Class 6 felony, and unlawful possession of two black bears and a mountain lion.

Bodnar was fined $4,593.50 and sentenced to 10 days in jail, which has been suspended pending successful completion of probation.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission at its June meeting approved a lifetime suspension of Bodnar’s hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in Colorado and the other 48 states in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

With the lifetime suspension, he would face fines ranging from $1,000-10,000 and up to 90 days in jail if he is detected in any hunting, fishing or trapping activity in the future.

Bodnar’s hunting, fishing and trapping privileges have been suspended twice previously.

“Mr. Bodnar appears to possess a complete disregard for Colorado’s hunting laws and a total indifference for wildlife,” wildlife officer Ian Petkash said. “We take these investigations seriously because of the toll someone like this can take on local wildlife populations.

“The illegal exploitation of wildlife will not be tolerated, and we will continue to aggressively investigate wildlife crimes in this state. It is important to note that these types of actions are those of a poacher, not a hunter, and it is good to bring somebody like this to justice.”

Wildlife officers have investigated reports of illegal hunting and trapping activity by Bodnar for years. In 2008, he was convicted in federal court of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, a federal felony for attempting to sell illegally taken bobcats across state lines. He received 27 months in federal prison for the 2008 case.

The most recent investigation broke in 2014 when a report was received that Bodnar had resumed hunting and trapping while under his suspension. Wildlife officers initiated a multi-year investigation that led to his arrest.

(1) comment

Kathleen Poole

It took five years to charge him? What took them so long?

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