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Arrest made in poaching of super bull on Super Bowl Sunday

Decapitated elk Antlers found in closet of E. Helenan
2012-03-12T00:00:00Z Arrest made in poaching of super bull on Super Bowl SundayBy EVE BYRON Independent Record Helena Independent Record
March 12, 2012 12:00 am  • 

An East Helena resident has been arrested in connection with the poaching of a super bull on Super Bowl Sunday.

Game wardens from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks took Christopher D. Dolan, 24, into custody Sunday morning after a search of his Mariah Drive residence turned up a set of trophy-size 6-by-7 elk antlers. The set matches photographs taken of the dead elk that Sgt. Dave Loewen believes were taken only 20 minutes before the animal was shot Feb. 5, about the time of day when the Super Bowl aired.

The bull’s carcass was left at the scene of the crime near the intersection of McClellan Creek and Sawmill roads, but the head and antlers had been cut off and taken.

“People were pretty up in arms over this case,” Loewen said. “We have gotten a lot of inquiries on whether we were making progress; there was even talk of collecting money to up the reward.”

He said a lot of people were able to provide little tips to law enforcement that pointed to Dolan, who was jailed on felony charges of unlawful possession of a game animal or game animal parts.

“Without those citizens I don’t know if we would have sold this case,” Loewen said. “TIP-MONT was a key component too.”

Loewen said that a photographer had been in the area on Feb. 5 taking pictures of the elk herd, and this particular bull, along with two others, stood out in the crowd. He notice a Jeep passing through the area and thought it seemed suspicious.

“When he saw the story in the paper about the elk that was poached, he called in and told us what he had seen,” Loewen said. “We passed the information to other law enforcement officials, but unfortunately, a lot of people have a Jeep, and it was hard to find the needle in the haystack.”

But they also had a description of the suspect, and a deputy spotted the two together recently. However, they still didn’t have enough evidence for a search warrant, Loewen said.

“He was just a person of interest, but then we developed more information that could link him with the crime scene,” Loewen said. “We obtained a couple of search warrants — one for his residence and one for the vehicle — and executed them this morning. We located the antlers in a closet; they’re a very unique set and were kind of tough to hide because they’re so large.”

Loewen said Dolan, who moved to Montana from Washington about a year ago, claimed the rack was from an elk lawfully harvested during the hunting season last fall.

Since it is categorized as a trophy elk, if convicted of the felony charge Dolan faces restitution of up to $8,000 and the loss of hunting privileges, as well as a possible jail sentence. Loewen said Dolan faces additional charges involving hunting during a closed season in Jefferson County, which is where the crime occurred. He also faces a misdemeanor charge in Lewis and Clark County for allegedly failing to appear in a driving under the influence case.

Dolan is set to appear in court in Helena today.


Reporter Eve Byron: 447-4076 or

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(17) Comments

  1. YourCrazy
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    YourCrazy - March 15, 2012 9:38 am
    john smart said: "I was hoping this guy could kill more elk...just think..running over a girl while you talk on a cell phone is less of a crime than poaching a stinking rodent..he poached an elk..big deal..I am laughing at the fwp for a big score"

    I would be happy to legally go on your property and shoot on of your cows during hunting season or a damage hunt if they are such an issue. BUT I would be willing to bet that you won't let anyone hunt your land. Then you complain about the situation. Request damage hunts if you are having issues. The Bulls are not the issue thin the cows and less calfs are born.
  2. farside
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    farside - March 13, 2012 1:20 pm
    sorry dolphind3, that was not what was meant. I agree that something needs to done with the poacher absolutely but somehow to his point,,,, a guy gets off on a $100 fine for almost killing a 13 year old girl. She was injured but just one nano second difference and she could on been killed. The guy here should be dealt with severely,but again, my point is that justice seems so far apart from a human life-NO? And who was it when he hit the girl,,,,, "everyone makes mistakes" rrrrrrrright!
  3. john smart
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    john smart - March 13, 2012 11:56 am
    I was hoping this guy could kill more elk...just think..running over a girl while you talk on a cell phone is less of a crime than poaching a stinking rodent..he poached an elk..big deal..I am laughing at the fwp for a big score
  4. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - March 13, 2012 10:04 am

    Here is Johnsmart. The IR needs to turn his IP into the FWP so they can look into him. He thinks he is safe
  5. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - March 13, 2012 10:01 am
    @Farside, Are you serious??? John smart was th one on the first thread about this that was saying thathe hoped they did not catch the guy and that they should pay him for getting rid of the elk. Way to back the moron.
    As for get a clue...... Living somewhere for a year may make them a legal resident but most of us don't really care. They still have their big city attitudes and all I can say is if you don't like it here don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. I usually hate it when someone says that but this is a serious crime and needs to be taken seriously
  6. farside
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    farside - March 13, 2012 7:23 am
    Ok- john smart,,,,,this is a first finding where someone posted almost my,,, going to-be wording!!! I was going to just add that the fine for the running the girl over was $100 though. But yeah, we really have our priorities in the right direction here!!!!!!
  7. john smart
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    john smart - March 12, 2012 8:48 pm
    wow..the poorly run mess of a state agency caught a poacher..big deal..go to the east side of canyon ferry and you can see hundreds of these stinking rodents running over grass and wheat of farmers and ranchers...great management plan from a bunch of incompetant state they caught a poacher who will see more jail time or fines than the guy who ran over that girl while talking on his cell phone and all over a stinking a poacher..big deal
  8. getaclue
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    getaclue - March 12, 2012 6:27 pm
    Curmudgeon said: "Somebody should find out WHERE in Washington the alleged perp is from, and send this news story to his hometown newspaper.I wonder if the alleged perp thought possession of the antlers would prove to his Good Ol' Boys and Bubbas drinking buddies that he is "macho"? I have news for him:He's not."


    To the three so far who are obviously making the statement that he is an out of stater, he is not. He moved there a year ago, that makes him a resident does it not? Most people in Montana are not originally born there, just like I was.
    The worst hunters ethically I have ever seen, or hunted with were in fact.............Montana residents, many of whom consider themsleves Native born.
    On the flipside, some of the best were from Montana as well.
    I have hunted all over these states, even Alaska. But the worst by far in number, were right in your back yard. I have met in the feild, many a Warden, and thank them on site for the work they do. We need more of them taking punks like this poacher to justice.
    TIP-it woeks, use it. If I see you doing anything illegal or unethical, I am calling you in. I am a non resident who used to be a resident and I feel absolultely no different than when I lived there.
    I wonder where the three in question are really from?

  9. encmsw
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    encmsw - March 12, 2012 11:45 am
    I couldn't agree more with DEK. There has been way too much poaching going on and part of it has to be because they do not fear what will happen to them if they get caught. I just wish we could deport him back to Washington too! THANK YOU FWP!
  10. Curmudgeon
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    Curmudgeon - March 12, 2012 10:43 am
    Somebody should find out WHERE in Washington the alleged perp is from, and send this news story to his hometown newspaper.

    I wonder if the alleged perp thought possession of the antlers would prove to his Good Ol' Boys and Bubbas drinking buddies that he is "macho"? I have news for him:

    He's not.
  11. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - March 12, 2012 9:55 am
    I really hope they nail his butt to the wall
  12. steeline
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    steeline - March 12, 2012 9:24 am
    Good job FWP, now lets get those who shot elk near Canyon Creek.
  13. MichaelS
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    MichaelS - March 12, 2012 8:45 am
    good job. he should lose his hunting and fishing privileges in montana for a life-time, period. the fine should be doubled along with the jail time as his behavior is outrageous.
  14. MTCITY
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    MTCITY - March 12, 2012 7:53 am
    Good job FWP.
  15. DeltaEpsilonKappa
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    DeltaEpsilonKappa - March 12, 2012 7:48 am
    If found guilty - loss of all firearms - loss of vehicle used to transport the elk - loss of all hunting priviledges for the rest of his life and 1000 hours of community service (plus fines and jail time).

    We need to send the signal that if you're caught poaching - it's going to hurt and hurt big time.
  16. vernjr
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    vernjr - March 12, 2012 7:20 am
    Great job to the WARDENS of FWP and the citizen who made the call to FWP regarding the jeep description. Cases like these are tough to solve, its also the people who live in the great State of Montana who are the eyes and ears to help game wardens solve these crimes. Hats off to Mr. Loewen and the other wardens who worked numerous hours on this investigation to bring justice. Well done !!
  17. Bluebird43
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    Bluebird43 - March 12, 2012 6:44 am
    I say bag him , tag him and SEND HIM BACK TO WASHINGTON! Im so glad he got caught ! I hope they put his picture on the news ( Hint Hint Helena IR) !

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