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Montana Poaching Cases Doubled Over Last Two Decades

dead elk
Musselshell County Sheriff's Office
The Musselshell County Sheriff's Office is investigating four bull elk killings.

Poaching in Montana has doubled over the past 20 years, according to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. Montana FWP investigates about 40 new cases of poaching each year.

FWP District 5 spokesperson Bob Gibson called a rash of poaching cases this year, especially bull elk killings, “egregious.”

"When you poach an animal you break wildlife laws in the state," says John Sullivan, board chair of the Montana chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. "You’re removing an opportunity from other hunters. We need to first call out other hunters in the ranks, who consider themselves hunters but become poachers. They’re not hunters anymore they’re poachers."

FWP announced Sunday BHA and Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife matched the original $1,000 for information on four bull elk found killed in Musselshell County last month, making the reward $3,000.

Most recently, state game wardens retrieved about a dozen dead pelicans along the Bighorn River on Monday. FWP is offering a reward of as much as $1,000 for information on the shooting of the pelicans.

A week prior, two antelope bucks were run down and killed by a vehicle near Moccasin in central Montana.

Anyone with information about poaching is asked to call 1-800-TIP-MONT, FWP’s 24-hour poaching hotline. Callers may remain anonymous.