Hunting and Outfitter Guide Sentenced for Illegally Killing and Transporting Wildlife
For Immediate Release
November 21, 2014
DENVER- Hunting outfitter and guide Christopher W. Loncarich, 56, of Mack, Colorado was sentenced to 27 months in prison, and 3 years’ probation for conspiring to violate the Lacey Act, a federal wildlife protection law. During his probation he is prohibited from hunting or fishing. The conspiracy involved felony interstate transportation and sale of unlawfully taken wildlife, and felony creation of false records concerning wildlife that was sold in interstate commerce. The sentence was the result of a joint investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
On January 7, 2014, a Grand Jury in the District of Colorado returned a 17-count indictment charging Loncarich and Nicholaus Rodgers, one of Loncarich’s assistants, with illegally capturing and maiming mountain lions and bobcats in order to make taking the cats easier for their paying clients. The investigation uncovered approximately 18 clients, since 2004, who had taken part in the illegal killing of more than 30 mountain lions and bobcats.
Loncarich and his assistants committed numerous state and federal violations during the 2007 to 2010 hunting seasons. The group devised a scheme in which mountain lions and bobcats would be located prior to a client’s arrival and then “hindered” or “shortened up” to make it easier and quicker for their clients to kill the animals when they arrived. Methods of "shortening" the illegal take included trapping and holding the cats in cages prior to the arrival of the client and then releasing the animals when the client was present, as well as shooting the cats in the paws, stomach, and/or legs or attaching leg-hold traps to them prior to the client arriving on scene.
“Many of the violations committed by Mr. Loncarich appear to be the result of greed, unlawfully killing and maiming wildlife to increase his profits. The dedication and expertise of the state and federal investigators and prosecuting attorneys in bringing these persons to justice was outstanding. These convictions, and those to follow, send a clear message that unlawful commercialization of wildlife will not be tolerated," said Special Agent in Charge, Steve Oberholtzer, who oversees U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement operations in the Mountain-Prairie region.