Grand Junction, CO, United States (AHN Sports) – A hunting guide from Grand Junction accused of caging mountain lions in order for paying clients to shoot the animals has been charged for conducting illegal hunts in Colorado and Utah.
Marvin Ellis was charged Tuesday in federal court in Denver for allegedly conspiring to conduct illegal mountain lion hunts in the two states.
According to documents, Ellis worked for a hunting guide located in Mack, west of Grand Junction.
Ellis worked with four other hunting guides to track and trap mountain lions and bobcats days prior to bringing paying clients in to kill the animals, according to documents which cite incidents beginning in December 2007 and ending in February 2010.
In the court filling, Ellis and the other guides he worked with used leg-hold snares in trapping mountain lions in two occasions to ensure that the animal could not escape before a paying client could be brought in.
It also indicated that in one of those instances a mountain lion had to be shot by a guide in order to keep it from fleeing.
In three other instances, Ellis and his co-accused allegedly caged bobcats and a mountain lion before releasing them for staged hunts. In another instance, a carcass of a mountain lion illegally hunted in Utah was being secretly transported by Ellis and his group back into Colorado.
Under Colorado and Utah laws, animals treed or trapped must be killed immediately or released. The use of leg-hold traps on public land is prohibited under Colorado law.
Mountain lions and bobcats can be hunted in both states provided the proper license is secured, but Ellis and the four other guides allegedly took clients on such hunts without the proper licenses
Ellis is charged specifically with conspiring to violate the Lacey Act, a conservation law in the United States. Under the said Act, which was most recently amended as of May 22, 2008, it is a criminal offense to transport across state lines any animal hunted in violation of the originating state’s law.
If convicted, Ellis faces up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. On Thursday, Ellis through his attorney, filed a “notice of disposition,” indicating an intention to plead guilty.