Two men were recently convicted in two separate poaching cases involving elk, deer and bighorn sheep in the Anaconda and Butte areas in 2012.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) game wardens investigated, and in the first case, uncovered evidence of three illegally taken bull elk, one white-tailed deer and a bighorn sheep at an Anaconda residence.
The investigation began in April of 2013 when FWP wardens received information that Richard Bowen was in possession of a bighorn sheep skull as well as possible illegally taken elk and deer.
Game Wardens served a search warrant at Bowen’s Anaconda residence where they recovered a trophy class bighorn sheep skull as well as other evidence of illegally taken wildlife. During the course of the investigation, wardens discovered several other violations that occurred during the 2012 hunting season.
Bowen pled no contest in District Court on June 11, 2014 to unlawful possession of bighorn sheep and deer and over-limit of elk. Bowen lost his hunting and fishing privileges for ten years, may not accompany anyone in the act of hunting, fishing or trapping during his 18 month suspended jail sentence, and must pay $1,500 in fines and $8,500 in restitution.
“This was blatant disregard for our resources and involved a complete lack of hunting ethics,” said Game Warden Joe Kambic who led the investigation.
Two additional Anaconda men were cited for misdemeanor violations uncovered during the Bowen investigation. A photograph seized during the Bowen investigation also prompted a second case and conviction.
Randy Nicholls of Butte lost hunting and trapping privileges for four years after he was convicted of over limit of elk and transfer of license related to a bull elk he poached on Fleecer Mountain south of Butte in November 2012. His fines total $870 and restitution is $2,000. Nichols was convicted on April 7, 2014.
FWP reminds anyone with information about hunting and fishing violations, or other outdoor crimes to call 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000 for providing information that leads to a conviction.
(Report by Montana FWP)