Killing of a Grizzly Bear Near Charlo Leads to Federal Charge
If you've ever wondered just how much data can be obtained from collared wildlife, this case might be an eye-opener for you.
And it played a part in the investigation of the unlawful taking of a threatened species. The seriousness of the offense can be measured by the involvement of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the federal charges they are pressing in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney's Office. The following details of the case are from the USFW charging document.
The case involves a disturbing killing several years ago of a female grizzly bear in the Charlo, Montana area. Kevin Moll is the man not only accused of killing the bear, but removing its collar and relocating the animal. While no motive was explained in the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service charging documents, fear and panic appear to be key factors.
The charging document details the discovery of a grizzly bear's collar going to "zero," indicating death. Law enforcement traced the collar to its last known location, and found the deceased bear on a bone pile near a Charlo dairy. But, by the time authorities arrived, the collar and ear tag had been cut off the grizzly.
The accused had some major explaining to do. Mr. Moll admitted that he shot the bear twice from his vehicle. He knew it was a grizzly, and as he walked up to it, saw the collar. He used a front-end loader to drop the bear on the bone pile, then cut off the collar and ear tag, tossing them in a nearby creek.
Following up on Mr. Moll's confession, law enforcement did find the collar. Its data indicated it had been transported for 22 minutes after removal from the bear. When Moll realized that authorities were in the area investigating, he admitted killing the bear and moving it to the bone pile. He also acknowledged knowing grizzlies are a protected species, and obviously he had no permit to harvest one.
Mr. Moll said he wanted to tell law enforcement what he had done, but was scared of going to jail. We will wait and see if those fears come to fruition.
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