Colorado outfitter accused of maiming mountain lions, bobcats before hunts

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A 55-year-old man accused of illegally hunting and maiming mountain lions and bobcats before letting clients shoot them has denied several charges.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1e8G4UV ) Christopher Loncarich, a big game outfitter from Mack, appeared in federal court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to a 17-count complaint, which includes felony charges and violations of the Lacey Act. The act protects big game animals from poachers.

Prosecutors say Loncarich and another defendant, 30-year-old Nicholaus Rodgers, of Medford, Ore., devised a scheme between 2007 and 2010 in western Colorado and on the Utah border to trap cats in cages and release them when clients were nearby. Loncarich and others are accused of sometimes shooting the animals in the paws or legs, or attaching leg holds to the animals to make the hunts easier.