The hunter was fined $4,537 and lost the trophy, but because he was being guided and the violation was not license-related, he was allowed to continue hunting and eventually filled his auction tag elsewhere. Sandmeier, on the other hand, was facing a $25,000 penalty because the ram was larger than ½-curl and therefore subject to stiffer penalties. Instead, he worked out a plea bargain agreement that allowed him to pay only $4,558 in fines and $5,442 to Operation Game Thief.
When we initially reported on the incident, Sandmeier said that the Colorado Division of Wildlife had made several errors in assessing the situation, including the kind of charges issued against him. He said he had agreed to the plea bargain simply to be done with the matter but wished he had fought the charges in court. Eventually, he did just that and contacted us at press time with news that he has been cleared of the main count he was charged with. Sandmeier has also contested two other related counts.
Sandmeier sent us a copy of an order from the State of Colorado Office of Administrative Courts dismissing him of Count I with prejudice, meaning he cannot be recharged with this offense in this particular incident. In his note to us regarding this, he writes: "On November 18,........(continued)