by Dalton Carver
There aren’t any new developments stemming from a court appearance by a West Virginia man in a poaching accusation earlier this month, but the case is scheduled to continue Jan. 17 at 11 a.m. in Ouray. Michael Hylton is charged with hunting without permission, illegal possession of wildlife and aggravated illegal possession of wildlife.
All of those charges are unclassified misdemeanors. Hylton was arrested Nov. 4 and appeared by phone at his first court hearing Nov. 29. That was continued to Dec. 13 and was subsequently pushed forward again to Jan. 17.
On Nov. 3, Colorado Wildlife Officer Kelly Crane received an anonymous call detailing an ongoing hunter trespassing issue on the Sawtooth Ranch in Ouray County. Allegedly, Hylton had shot two elk on the ranch without permission and was attempting to drag the animals to public land. Crane subsequently contacted Preston Leslie, the Sawtooth Ranch manager and investigated the allegation.
After meeting with Hylton near the Nate Creek trailhead, Crane decided enough evidence was present to suspect Hylton had illegally killed the elk on the ranch and she seized the meat and antlers. After searching the ranch property, Leslie located an elk carcass about 400 yards into the property and said there were several human footprints around the remains, as well as to and from the adjacent public land.
“Leslie (said) he wanted to press charges against all the hunters who had come onto the Sawtooth Ranch without his permission,” wrote Crane in an arrest affidavit detailing the allegations against Hylton.