Billings Man Convicted in Bighorn Sheep SuperTag Case
HAVRE, Mont. –-(AmmoLand.com)- A Billings man who won the coveted bighorn sheep permit in the state’s 2008 SuperTag Lottery, trespassed to take an animal, and then misrepresented where he shot a trophy ram has been sentenced on related criminal charges.
Shawn Hall, 33, pleaded guilty in Havre’s Hill County Justice Court to a misdemeanor count of making a false statement to authorities for lying about where he killed the ram in the fall of 2008. Hall also posted bond on an additional misdemeanor charge of hunting without landowner permission that was filed in connection with the case in Chouteau County’s Hunting District 680.
Hill County Justice of the Peace Terry Stoppa fined Hall $585 on the false statement charge, and Chouteau County Justice of the Peace Susan Spencer fined him $135 on the charge of hunting without landowner permission. Hall was sentenced to 180 days in jail with all but one day suspended with credit for time served and forfeited his privileges to hunt, fish and trap in Montana for two years. In addition, Hall lost the privilege to apply for any special hunting permits and must obey all other laws.
The annual SuperTag Lottery allows hunters to purchase unlimited $5 chances to win special licenses to hunt moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, antelope, elk, deer, bison, and mountain lion in any legal hunting district in Montana—including the state’s legendary trophy districts. Revenue from the sales is used to enhance hunting access and boost enforcement efforts by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP).
FWP Region 6 Warden Sgt. Shane Reno said Shawn Hall and his party were hunting in the Missouri River Breaks when the illegal activities occurred on Oct. 2, 2008. Hall and the other members of his party had located a large, 9-1/2 year-old ram in an area not accessible to hunting without landowner permission. With the help of members of his hunting party, Hall killed the ram.
After Hall’s ram was killed, Reno said the group packed the animal out to their all-terrain vehicles across the private land, again without permission, and left for Havre to report Hall’s bighorn harvest to state authorities, as is required.
Reno and then-FWP Biologist Al Rosgaard checked the sheep when the group arrived in Havre. During the process, Reno said Hall gave them a false harvest location that was in an area seven miles from the true location of the kill. An ensuing investigation revealed the exact place where the ram was killed.
“It’s very unfortunate that this ram was taken this way,” Reno said. “There are excellent opportunities for permit holders to harvest a once-in-a-lifetime bighorn sheep in the Missouri River Breaks and be totally within the scope of the law when doing so.
For those who take the time to make a few arrangements with private landowners and contact public land agencies and area wildlife officials, taking a bighorn sheep legally and ethically is well within the grasp of any hunter who is fortunate enough to get a permit.”