TELLURIDE, Colo. (KREX) — A Texas man triggered some heated debate in the mountain ski town of Telluride last fall after the elk he allegedly shot died on the valley floor. Gerald Sanchez of Shallow Water Texas, recently pleaded guilty to a firearms charge in the case.

Telluride’s Assistant Town Attorney Allie Slaten told KREX they believe Sanchez trespassed through private property first then through town-owned land to reach a a Forest Service parcel situated between Telluride and Mountain Village. Prosecutors tell us they believe while Sanchez may have shot the elk legally on U.S. Forest Service land, it appears the elk ran on to Telluride’s Valley floor and died. Sanchez then allegedly dressed the elk where it fell and removed it.

That’s where Sanchez got into trouble, Slaten tells us. The large stretch of land where Sanchez allegedly dressed the elk is protected by a conservation easement. The town of Telluride recently passed a city ordinance banning all hunting on the town-owned easement. Though officers say they found Sanchez wearing a hunting vest and carrying a rifle, he was neither detained nor arrested.

Instead following an investigation, Slaten says the city charged Sanchez with two charges of criminal trespass and a civil charge of hunting on the valley floor. Sanchez Pleaded guilty to the civil charge and paid a $500.00 fine. In exchange the city agreed to drop the criminal trespass charges against him.

Slaten tells KREX the town takes no issue with hunting, but the town’s close proximity to U.S. Forest Service land can occasionally create issues. Slaten says detailed new apps now help direct hunters to lesser known or used parts of forest land. Sanchez shot the elk in November of 2021 and paid the fine in February of 2022.