Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has released the names of the hunters cited during an incident in Meagher County that officials deemed unethical.
Game wardens say that on opening weekend, about 100 hunters convened where a large herd of elk was easily visible on a ranch enrolled in the Block Management Program. Hunters reportedly fired into the herd, killing roughly 50 elk. One elk remained unclaimed and two were confiscated from hunters who were cited. Those three elk were donated to a local food bank.
Officials believe some additional animals were wounded but not recovered.
During the incident, Chad Elliot and Jackie Hines of Garden City, Kansas, and James Zeigler of Ringling were cited for unlawful hunting from a public highway. Zeigler was also cited for hunting without a valid license. Alfred Clayton of Billings received a written warning for unlawful hunting from a public highway.
The two Kansas hunters were fined $300 each and lost their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for two years and had two days in jail suspended. FWP did not have an update on the other citations.
The vast majority of hunters were within the law, said FWP spokesman Greg Lemon, but hunting ethics and safety guidelines were not followed by many who were involved.
"Unethical hunting, even if it's strictly speaking legal, makes all hunters look bad," he said in a previous interview. "It kind of gives hunting as a whole a bit of a black eye."
Lemon was specifically referring to hunting safety rules such as being sure of your target and beyond, ensuring that a shot on an animal isn't overly obscured, and generally not firing in the general direction of other people.
FWP had initially reported that six hunters were cited as a result of the incident. That number was incorrect as FWP has now confirmed that three hunters were cited with one receiving two citations, and another received a written warning.
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