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Photo courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

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Editor's note: The title of this story previously said the men plead guilty to poaching elk and pronghorn. This has been changed to reflect that the animals kill were deer and pronghorn.

Two Florida men have pleaded guilty to poaching at least three mule deer and six pronghorn in Elbert and Lincoln counties, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said.

Timothy Daper, 31, was arrested in March when Parks and Wildlife officials found DNA evidence in his truck that they confiscated from the Colorado Springs Airport parking lot, a news release said.

He pleaded guilty in October to illegal possession of three or more big game animals. Draper forfeited all weapons and equipment used in the killing of the animals.

Lawrence Cowart, 29, was taken into custody about the same time when authorities found evidence of poaching in his Limon apartment.

The men, both from Bunnell, Fla., surrendered the trophy heads of the illegally harvested deer and pronghorn, according to the news release.

“As the agency responsible for perpetuating the wildlife resources of the state, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will not tolerate poaching,” said Frank McGee, Parks and Wildlife’s Area Wildlife Manager for the Pikes Peak region. “These men are not hunters by any definition. In the eyes of CPW, and the law, they are criminals who were engaged in illegal killing of wildlife.”

McGee said more arrests and misdemeanor citations are expected as the investigation continues.

The information that led to the arrest came from an anonymous tip from the public.

“We have a limited staff. It’s critical we get help from the public to stop crimes against wildlife,” McGee said. “This is a great example that when people call, we respond.”

Anyone who has information about a possible wildlife crime is encouraged to call the operation game thief by calling, toll free, 1-877-265-6648. Verizon cellphone users can dial #OGT. Or send an email to CPW at game.thief@state.co.us.

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 $100 for fishing and small game cases.

Rewards are paid for information that leads to an arrest or a citation being issued.

Twitter: @lizmforster Phone: 636-0193

Twitter: @lizmforster

Phone: 636-0193

Liz Forster is a general assignment reporter with a focus on environment and public safety. She is a Colorado College graduate, avid hiker and skier, and sweet potato enthusiast. Liz joined The Gazette in June 2017.

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