Former Colorado official pleads guilty to hunting misdemeanor in Routt County |

Former Colorado official pleads guilty to hunting misdemeanor in Routt County

— The former executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources has pleaded guilty to a hunting-related misdemeanor in Routt County.

On Wednesday, a judge signed off on Mike King’s plea of guilty to hunting in a closed area, according to court documents. As part of a plea deal, the hunting out of season charge was dropped.

King did not appear at Wednesday’s hearing. He was allowed to mail in his guilty plea.

King was fined $90 and had to pay $194.50 in other fees. He also could be assessed points on his hunting license.

A message left for King was not immediately returned Wednesday.

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As the head of DNR, King oversaw agencies that guard Colorado’s natural resources, including Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which oversees hunting in the state.

King left DNR in January and took a job as planning director with Denver Water.

King was issued a citation in September 2013 for unlawfully entering private land in south Routt County to hunt.

In February 2014, the Routt County District Attorney's Office filed a motion to dismiss the case 30 minutes before the trial was supposed to begin because it could not prove that King knowingly entered private property to hunt.

When the case was dismissed, Carl Luppens, the owner of the land that King was accused of trespassing on filed a lawsuit against District Attorney Brett Barkey.

Chief 14th Judicial District Judge Michael O’Hara then ordered a special prosecutor from the 9th Judicial District to pursue charges.

"The court finds that the position of the Office of the District Attorney demonstrates that the decision to dismiss those charges was arbitrary and capricious," O'Hara wrote in his Feb. 27 ruling. "The bases for that decision are not supported by Colorado law."

Luppens said Wednesday that if anyone should have know the rules related to hunting, it should have been King because of the position he held at DNR.

Luppens said he was disappointment with the legal process in the King case, and Luppens felt King was given special treatment.

“We feel vindicated overall, but the process is still disappointing,” Luppens said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland