Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ritter Signs Eagle Hunting and Computer-Based Hunting Bans

Gov. Bill Ritter signed Thursday a bill that increases the penalties for poaching eagles in Colorado, as well as a measure that forbids the use of remote computer facilities to assist in hunting.

HB 1304 increases the fine applicable to illegal hunting of a bald eagle to $10,000 to $100,000 and specifies that a person convicted of such poaching will be assessed 20 suspension points against their hunting license.

The measure provides to bald eagles the same level of protection against poaching as exists for golden eagles, American peregrine falcon, desert bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, and Rocky Mountain goat.

The state has 42 breeding pairs of bald eagles. The species was removed from the list of those protected as endangered or threatened under federal law last year.

The new bald eagle protection law was sponsored by Rep. Judy Solano, D-Brighton, and Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village.

Ritter also signed HB 1200, which makes remote hunting by means of a computer a crime. The measure is intended to prevent hunters from killing wildlife without being present in the general physical proximity of their prey.

Rep. John Soper, D-Thornton, and Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, were the sponsors of the remote hunting ban bill.

PHOTO: Gov. Ritter signs House Bill 1304 into law while Sigrid Noll Ueblacker of the Broomfield-based Birds of Prey Foundation, state Rep. Judy Solano (far left), Sen. Gail Schwartz – and an eagle – look on.