Two Maryland Men Pleaded Guilty In Colorado Elk Poaching Investigation
The August 6 forfeiture of a 6×6 bull elk shoulder mount brings to a close the joint investigation by the Maryland Natural Resources Police, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
The investigation began in April of 2007 when Maryland Natural Resources Police received information that Dennis A. Reid Jr., 33, of Vienna, killed a bull elk on the Fooks’ ranch near Gunnison, Colo. without obtaining a Colorado elk permit. The investigation revealed that Daniel J. Mastronardi Sr., 45, of Preston allegedly used his Colorado elk hunting permit to tag an elk shot by Reid, who did not possess an elk permit.
Elk permits for this specific Game Management Unit in Colorado are secured by a lottery type drawing and can take years to obtain.
Reid and Mastronardi were charged by the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Gunnison District Attorney’s Office subsequently reached a plea agreement with both defendants.
Reid entered a guilty plea for the illegal possession of wildlife and was sentenced to pay $1,396 in fine and court cost, as well as donate $3,500 to the Colorado Division of Wildlife Feeding Fund.
Mastronardi entered a guilty plea for the unlawful transfer of a hunting license and was sentenced to pay a $300 fine along with making a donation of $1,500 to Colorado’s Operation Game Thief. In addition, suspension points were assessed against their privileges to hunt in Colorado and 28 other states including Maryland. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement transferred the elk mount to NRP for an educational display.