A Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks warden confiscated a bull elk from a Minnesotan hunter for not tagging the bull immediately.
Jim Latvala, a fishing guide from Two Harbors, Minnesota shot and killed the 6-point bull on opening morning 35 miles northeast of Bozeman, Mont. Less than a half hour after the shot, a warden with the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks issued Latvala a $135 citation and confiscated the elk.
Montana regulations stipulate that the license must be validated and the elk must be tagged immediately, preventing hunters from being able to save the tag for a different animal. Joe Knarr, Montana FWP’s Region 3 warden sergeant, stated that he and the warden clocked the time between the shot and when the elk was tagged at 20-25 minutes. Latvala and his brother claim they were trying to figure out how to get across the water to the bull where it ran into a swamp.
Following the warden, a cameraman for the television show, “Wardens” recorded the encounter. The Latvala brothers believe the warden was pressured to issue a citation for the show.
President and executive producer of “Wardens,” Mitch Petrie, responded, “There’s no pressure to produce anything,” and that the accusation is understandable but wrong.
The acting county attorney ultimately dismissed the charge, as Latvala had tagged the animal before the warden approached. Latvala was notified he could pick up the elk head, but the meat was donated to a food bank.
Latvala stated, “I don’t trophy hunt…to have this fall apart makes me nauseated.” He also mentioned that the meat would have lasted him two years.
Latvala and his brother Warren have contacted state representatives, the Montana FWP director, and local Fish and Wildlife commissioner to state his disappointment and seek compensation for the $2,000 he spent on a license and trip.