Teenage Hunter Gets $20,000 Fine for Killing Moose

April 17, 2019 Updated: April 17, 2019

A teenage hunter in Colorado was fined $20,000 for illegally killing a moose.

Callan Hyatt, 19, pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor violations, including hunting in a careless manner, failing to locate wounded game, and hunting without a license, according to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife agency.

Along with the fine of $20,000, Hyatt could have his hunting and fishing privileges suspended for five years, pending a decision by the state Parks and Wildlife Hearings Examiner.

After another hunter found the dead moose, District Wildlife Officer Jeff Behncke responded and found footprints in the snow in addition to a .270-caliber bullet from the carcass. He began searching nearby hunting camps and at one, found the boots that matched the prints. They were Hyatt’s boots. The officer also learned that Hyatt had a .270-caliber rifle in his possession.

A Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer found Callan Hyatt, 19, after matching bootprints found in the snow, in addition to matching a bullet found in the moose to a rifle that the teen possessed. (Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

When Behncke confronted Hyatt, the teen admitted that while he was hunting elk, he saw movement in the trees and fired his weapon, subsequently wounding the animal despite not having a moose license. He didn’t pursue the moose as required by law, choosing to abandon it.

Officials said that Hyatt could have faced a lesser penalty if he had tracked and field-dressed the moose and reported the incident.

“We understand hunting mistakes and accidents will happen, but we expect sportsmen and women to take immediate responsibility for their actions,” said Behncke in a statement.

“Thankfully the vast majority of hunters are ethical and do the right thing in cases like this; unfortunately, there are a few that may prefer to try and evade authorities. We offer everyone this advice; if you accidentally kill the wrong species, you should call us right away and field dress the animal immediately so that it does not spoil.”

If Hyatt had done so, he may have received only a $70.50 fine, Behncke said.

“We thank Colorado Parks and Wildlife for their detailed investigation that resulted in the successful discovery and prosecution of the defendant,” said Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Dowdell of the 14th Judicial District in a statement. “A hunter has the absolute responsibility to confirm their target and ethically harvest a legal animal. This case represents one of the worst illegal killings and waste of a bull moose in Grand County in recent years. Those who seek to illegally kill wildlife will be held responsible for wasting this valuable resource of the State of Colorado.”

a mature bull moose
A mature bull moose begins to stand up in a forest at Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Alaska, on Oct. 2, 2018. (Dan Joling, File)

Hunter Shoots Pure White ‘Turkey of a Lifetime’

Tennessee hunter Cameron Bond found and killed a snow white turkey in Rutherford County. A picture of the hunter holding the white-feathered trophy was uploaded to Twitter by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency on April 13.

The agency stated that the bird had leucism: a rare condition that causes the animal to lose its pigmentation—not to be confused with albinism.

It is common to see white domesticated turkeys, but not wild ones, according to USA Today.

In addition to the unusual color, Bond’s turkey weighed 20 pounds and carried a nine-inch beard.

Nearly a month prior, Hunter Waltman of Kiln, Mississippi, also harvested a wild white turkey, also believed to have leucism. Waltman’s turkey weighed two to three pounds less that Bond’s, and its beard was outmatched by the white bird of Tennessee.

Waltman told USA Today that he made the kill on March 16, one day after turkey season opened. The hunter had heard of a black-bearded turkey with white spurs, nails, and feathers in the past.

“I’ve been having him on camera all year since back in October,” said Waltman. “My neighbor told me about him.”

Waltman that his neighbor had seen the nearly-20-pound bird “hanging around for three years.”

Reporter Miguel Moreno contributed to this report.

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