March 6, 2007
Jeff Coldwell, 43, of Firestone, Colorado recently pled guilty
to poaching charges
In May of 2006, Jeff Coldwell pleaded guilty to illegal possession of three or
more deer in Weld County. In addition to the loss of the illegally taken
wildlife, he forfeited his muzzleloader and the court fined him $7,500 with 36
months probation. Coldwell also pled guilty to abuse of public records in Adams
County and received a 2 year deferred sentence for false statements made
regarding a bear license. The courts donated a portion of his fine to Operation
The abuses also led the Colorado Wildlife Commission to suspend Coldwell’s
privilege of applying for, purchasing, or exercising the benefits conferred by
all DOW licenses for 20 years. His license privileges are also suspended in 22
Wildlife Violator Compact states.
It all began with a hunch. Wildlife Officer Windi Padia contacted Jeff Coldwell
while on ATV patrol in Game Management Unit 20 during the 2005 muzzleloader
season. Coldwell had a muzzleloader, but no hunting license in his possession.
Noticing a clump of deer hair near his truck, Padia inquired further, but
Coldwell denied taking a deer. Coldwell was visibly nervous throughout the
contact and told Padia he had been hunting with a family member who had a deer
license for GMU 18, about seven miles to the west and over the Continental
Divide. After checking the records for Coldwell’s license, Officer Padia found
that it was valid for GMU 20 only.
Additional Wildlife Officers, Aimee Ryel and John Koehler, were engaged to
conduct interviews in Coldwell’s hometown, whereupon he admitted he had taken a
large mule deer buck illegally in GMU 18 and had already transported the cape
out of the unit by backpack. Another deer was shot by the licensed family member
and both animals were left to rot. Officers hiked to the kill site and located
the trophy-quality skinned buck, as well as a quartered buck. The meat was only
salvageable on one of the animals.
Now, the full arm of the law reached in--a search warrant was obtained for
Coldwell’s residence yielding evidence that Coldwell used another family
member's license to tag a buck in 2000. Padia seized Coldwell’s computer and
found further evidence of a wildlife violation--emails from Coldwell showed that
he had gone bear hunting in 2005 and finding that people were camped near his
hunting spot, promptly told a representative from the DOW that he was not able
to go on his bear hunt due to medical issues. Six bear preference points were
reinstated to Coldwell based on his statements. This fraudulent activity led
Officer Padia to charge him with abuse of public records. After disposition of
the case in Adams County, his bear preference points were revoked.
In connection with the case, two members of Jeff Coldwell’s family have received
citations for wildlife violations and have chosen to pay their fines.
One poaching leads to proof of another
Evidence also seized from Coldwell’s computer revealed information from a 2003
Trophy Hunter magazine article depicting Coldwell in Fox Park, also in GMU 18,
with a harvested buck. This evidence prompted Officer Padia to obtain another
search warrant for his residence. The buck in question was seized and it was
determined that Coldwell poached it in 2003 in GMU 18 during muzzleloader
season. He did not have a license for GMU 18 that year.
“Transferring licenses, a form of ‘party hunting’, has severely negative impacts
on our wildlife,” said Officer Windi Padia. “Hunting opportunities are regulated
for a reason—any additional opportunity created by a poacher is one less
opportunity for an ethical hunter. Everyone who values our wildlife should know
that poaching doesn’t pay.”
You can help stop poaching. If you see a poaching incident, report it. Poaching
is a crime against you, your neighbor, and everyone else in the state of
Colorado. Call 1-877-COLO-OGT toll-free or Verizon cell phone users can just
dial #OGT. If you'd like, you can e-mail us at