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Sheep "Sting" Operation

From left, James Reed, Blake Trangmoe and John Lewton pose after Warden Justin Gibson shot this Missouri River Breaks bighorn ram during an undercover sting operation.

Montana Shooting Sports Association

Montana Shooting Sports Association

Missoula, MT --(Ammoland.com)- In 2008, one or more game wardens working for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) conducted what they describe as a “sting” operation to catch some poachers theoretically intending to poach a record ram in the Missouri Breaks of north-central Montana.

The warden involved as an “undercover” agent was the person who actually shot the ram, and three other non-FWP individuals accompanying the warden were charged with a plethora of fish and game violations.

All of the individuals charged have been acquitted in jury trials, or charges have been dismissed by prosecutors.

Read the latest news story about this in the Billings Gazette ( HERE).

Since all prosecutions over this incident are reported to be at an end, I wrote a letter to FWP Director Joe Maurier asking a series of possibly-embarrassing questions about the operation, such as did the warden have a license for the ram he killed, if not, why wasn’t the warden also prosecuted, what state crimes are wardens exempt from for prosecution, and more. You can read my letter to Director Maurier (HERE ).

The chief attorney for FWP has responded with a predictably lame letter saying they really can’t comment on this because they’re not certain they’re done prosecuting all of those involved (despite three acquittals and a dismissal). You may read FWP’s response ( HERE – .pdf file).

Clearly, there are some issues involved that need to be explored, especially including what crimes FWP personnel are excused for committing, crimes for which FWP would prosecute any of the rest of us unmercifully.

Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association
www.mtssa.org
author, Gun Laws of Montana
www.mtpublish.com

About Montana Shooting Sports Association:
MSSA is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners. Visit: www.mtssa.org

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