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Entries in Grizzly bear management (9)


Bigfork man fined, but avoids prison for grizzly shooting 

(MISSOULA)- A Bigfork man who said he shot three young grizzlies to protect his family won't be going to prison for killing the bears. 

However, he will have to pay thousands of dollars in fines and be on probation for 3-years. 

Dan Calvert Wallen was charged with three counts of Taking a Threatened Species in January, with prosecutors accusing him of killing the bears that came on his property last year with a 22-caliber rifle. Wallen had said the bears broke into his chicken coop and kept coming back while his family was in the yard. 

Tuesday, defense attorney John Rhodes argued Wallen was a "high quality individual who found himself in a bad situation", arguing against prison time or fines, saying the "bears got themselves into the situation."

Judge Lynch decided to order Wallen to serve three years probation, with 60-days in a federal pre-release center, in addition to paying $15-thousand dollars in restitution. 

The judge said he hoped the sentence "would show to the general public", and to Wallen, "this conduct won't be tolerated." 


Bigfork man facing charges of shooting bears 

Dennis Bragg file photo(MISSOULA)- A Bigfork man is scheduled to appear in federal court later this month on charges that he killed three grizzlies who were feasting on his chickens. 

Dan Calvert Wallen is facing three charges of Unlawful Taking of a Threatened Species after federal prosecutors say he shot the bears last May. Formal charges were filed a few days ago.

Prosecutors say Wallen shot all three bears within minutes of each other. The first bear had been shot and injured and was later put down by a neighbor. The carcass of the second grizzly was found the following day by a Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist as he attempted to set a trap for the remaining bears in the area. 

The third bear was found on June 4th by a neighbor near her home. 

Wallen had told authorities he shot at the bears with a .22 caliber rifle after they had broken into his chicken coop the night before and then repeatedly came back the following day, including when the family was playing baseball in the yard. Wallen said he had chased the bears off with his truck, but then shot at them with the small rifle in an effort to scare them off. 

Wallen has been ordered to appear in U.S. District Court to answer to the charges on January 27th. 


Browning man to be tried for grizzly kill 

GREAT FALLS)- A Browning man is rejecting a plea deal offered by attorneys, and will now face trial for killing three grizzlies that he says were endangering his grandchildren. 

Everett Skunkcap is facing three charges of Unlawful Taking of an Endangered Species for killing the bears on a ranch outside Browning last August. 

Skunkcap told Blackfeet game wardens he had initially fired a warning shot at the grizzlies as they walked along a creek where the three children were playing. But he said the bears kept coming, although the children were able to run back to the house and were never chased by the bears. 

Prosecutors say Skunkcap shot the mother grizzly as she was standing on all four paws, and the second bear as it was nearby. The third bear ran off but returned later, and Skunkcap said he shot that bear because he was afraid of the damage it would cause later that night. 

Skunkcap had been set to accept a plea deal Friday, but changed his mind about pleading guilty to one of the charges. That sets the stage for him to be tried by a federal judge in Great Falls. 


Another grizzly moved to the Flathead

(HUNGRY HORSE)- Biologists with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have moved another problem grizzly into the Flathead backcountry, with hopes of keep him out of trouble.

The Daily Interlake reports the male grizzly had recently killed a couple of lambs from a private sheep herd in the Flescher Pass area outside of Lincoln in Lewis and Clark County. FWP trapped the bear and released it east of Hungry Horse in the Baptiste Creek drainage with hopes it will revert back to eating natural food sources. 

It was the first time this particular bear had killed livestock. 



Grizzly trapped and moved on Rocky Mt. Front

(AUGUSTA)- Agents with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have trapped and relocated a bear that killed a calf near Augusta, moving the bear a few dozen miles away.

KRTV reports the adult female grizzly was trapped on a map southwest of Augusta and was in very poor condition. Biologists believe she'd had a litter recently, but was no on her own. They aren't sure why she killed the calf. 

Because it's the first time the bear had caused problems, FWP decided to just move her about 45-miles away to the Blackfeet Wildlife management area.