Oklahoma men accused of illegally killing captive

Wednesday, December 1st 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHAMA, N.M. (AP) -- Two Oklahoma men who had no luck hunting in Colorado are accused of illegally killing two record-book-size captive bull elk in a pen near Chama. A state police report accuses Bill R. Martin and John D. Hall of slipping onto the former Chama Land and Cattle Co. Ranch in September and slaughtering the elk with bows and arrows.

The report said the men allegedly made a deal to pay Chama resident Michael Rivas $200 each "for his services." Prosecutor John Grubesic said he will present all three cases to a Rio Arriba grand jury on Friday. He said the men could face such charges as felony transportation of stolen livestock, which carries a prison sentence of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $5,000. "It's almost like they went into a zoo and shot these things," Grubesic said.

The three men could not be reached for comment. The bulls, used for breeding, were bought for $30,000 each four years ago, said Frank Simms, president of the corporation that handles the property. One had nine points, or branches, on each antler, and the other had antlers of seven and eight points. They were in a 1-acre pen when they were killed.

The state police report said Martin and Hall had been hunting in Colorado and camping at night near Chama. On the night of Sept. 4, they stopped at a Chama bar, met Rivas and began talking about hunting. The report said he later asked the pair if they were serious about killing an elk. Hall told investigators he and Martin continued to hunt inColorado until Sept. 10. That night, Rivas came to their camp and asked them once again if they wanted to kill elk, and the men made arrangements to meet the next morning, the report said.

The trio allegedly slipped onto the ranch and Rivas herded the two elk in the pen toward the hunters, the report said. Each man shot an elk, then took the antlers and choice cuts of meat, the report said. Hall and Martin told the same story, but Rivas initially denied being involved, the report said. However, when he was shown Hall's affidavit, he said what Hall wrote was true, police said.

The ranch, purchased by the Jicarilla Apache Tribe in 1995, has two 5-mile-square enclosures where hunters pay to shoot an elk. The corporation that handles the property also sells hunting trips for free-ranging elk on ranchland outside the enclosures.