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Kansas man pleads guilty to poaching moose in Teller County; Public helped bring him to justice


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – After a nearly two-year investigation, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said they were able to finally confront a poacher who illegally killed and left a bull moose to rot in Teller County. According to CPW, 33-year-old Steven Samuelson was confronted on July 10 at his job in Oakley, Kan.

WARNING: CPW did provide images of the bull moose that was killed. That image is shown at the end of this article, viewer discretion is advised.

Investigators with CPW drove to Kansas where they worked with members of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to confront Samuelson and execute a search warrant to gather valuable evidence at Samuelson’s Oakley home.

Officers collected physical evidence from the site including photos and video from the reporting party’s game cameras which pinpointed the time of the incident and provided photos of the suspect, according to CPW

CPW said Samuelson pleaded guilty in Teller County to willful destruction of wildlife, a felony, as well as misdemeanor charges of hunting without a proper and valid big game license, aggravated illegal possession of wildlife, failure to prepare wildlife for human consumption, hunting in a careless manner and illegal take of wildlife.


Samuelson received a two-year deferred jail sentence, meaning it will be waived if he meets the terms of the plea agreement and two years unsupervised probation, according to CPW.

In addition, CPW said Samuelson was fined nearly $20,000 and surrendered the bow he used to poach the moose as well as other property that contained evidence of the crime including his cell phone.

According to a press release provided by CPW, the investigation began in September 2021 when CPW’s office in Colorado Springs received a report that someone had illegally shot a bull moose with an arrow in the woods north of Divide.

CPW said officers Aaron Berscheid, Travis Sauder, and Ben Meier responded to the area to investigate and were led to the remains of the bull moose by the reporting parties.

Investigators said they concluded that Samuelson had shot the moose and then tried beheading the animal. When he was unsuccessful, CPW said Samuelson laid tree branches and sticks across the carcass in an attempt to hide it.

“This moose was treated unethically and that is something we take very seriously,” said Travis Sauder, assistant area wildlife manager for the Pikes Peak region in a press release. “We are fortunate members of the public share our passion for wildlife and helped us catch the poacher.

To report a possible crime against wildlife, call CPW, or report it anonymously to ​Operation Game Thief (OGT). Reach OGT by calling, toll-free, 1-877-COLO-OGT (or 877-265-6648). Verizon users can dial #OGT. Or email CPW at​​.

A $500 reward is offered for information on cases involving big game or endangered species. A $250 reward is offered for information on turkey, and a $100 reward for fishing and small game cases.

To learn more about Operation Game Thief, click here.

Below is an image of the bull moose that Samuelson illegally killed and then left to rot.

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Barbara Fox

Barbara is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about her here.


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