Pitkin County Landfill’s enticing environment for black bears might have proved too enticing for a tandem of Indiana hunters.
Dan Roe and his son Alex are due in Pitkin County District Court on June 19 to face charges associated with what authorities say was the illegal killing of a black bear at the landfill, a popular feeding spot for area bruins.
Details are limited on what actually transpired at the landfill Sept. 13, the day the two allegedly killed the bear. The agency that ticketed the two, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, did not have information readily available Tuesday.
Both Roes face charges of willful destruction of big game, a Class 5 felony, and misdemeanor counts of failure to dress or care for wildlife, illegal possession of wildlife and hunting on private property. The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed the charges May 9.
In a statement issued to local media Tuesday, the District Attorney’s Office said: “The charges are based upon allegations that the accused persons entered private lands, an area near the Pitkin County Landfill, in order to hunt for a bear. Upon killing a black bear on private lands, the accused persons are alleged to have intentionally abandoned the bear’s carcass and edible portions of it, keeping only the bear’s hide and head.”
The landfill’s assistant solid waste manager, Jed Miller, said Tuesday the bear’s carcass was found on the property.
“Basically, they snuck in at night, shot the bear, skinned the bear and left the bear covered up with trash,” Miller said.
Colorado law requires hunters who kill bears to present the animal’s pelt and carcass to a parks and wildlife official within five days of the kill.
The bear was fully grown, Miller said, noting Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials contacted the landfill after “they became suspicious of these gentlemen’s story. They only had the bear skin versus the whole carcass. They found that very fishy and started their investigation.”
Bear hunting is allowed in Colorado in September, October and November with various restrictions enforced in different parts of the state. Rifles, muzzleloaders and archery is permitted among license holders.
The Roes have yet to make a court appearance or enter a plea, said their attorney, Richard Nedlin of Aspen.
“All I can tell you is that these are two people who have been hunting for a long time, and they have no criminal history, from what I know,” Nedlin said. “This was a special father-and-son trip, and being hunters, they would never intentionally violate that law or be on property on which they didn’t know they were not allowed to be on or didn’t have permission to be on.”
Deputy District Attorney Sarah Oszczakiewicz said the near eight-month gap between the date of the alleged offense and the filing of charges was because “that’s how long it took to connect all the dots and to be able to allow the investigation to unfold.”
The landfill, located 9 miles west of Aspen off Highway 82, has become a well-visited feeding ground for black bears.
In 2012, a Pitkin County Landfill employee was terminated for killing a bear on the facility’s property, using a bow and arrow. The county also at one time considered opening the landfill to bear hunting, but that idea failed to gain traction.