A 75 year-old man was ordered by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to pay $30,000 in restitution for killing three grizzly bears.
Everett Skunkcap, of Browning, Montana pled guilty to one count of Taking a Threatened Species, and was sentenced to six months in jail. The jail sentence would be suspended, “on the condition that Skunkcap timely pay all restitution,” according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife press release.
Grizzly bears are listed as a federally-threatened species, though they were briefly delisted between 2007 and 2009.
Skunkcap said he saw the three bears, grabbed his .300 Winchester rifle, and shot two of them immediately. The third bear ran away but returned an hour later. Skunkcap told a Fish and Wildlife investigator that he “figured this grizzly was going to ‘raise hell’ later that night’” and he “’might as well do away with it as well.”
Investigators concluded that one of the bears was a female around 17 years old, and the other two bears were her year-and-a-half-old cubs.
Skunkcap asserts that he shot another grizzly the previous year, and that he would shoot any other bears that wandered onto his property. After Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Technicians instructed him to call the office if there were any further bear sightings, Skunkcap said he would just shoot the bears anyway.
He also asked investigators if he could get the grizzlies back when the investigation was over, saying he was going to “tan them and put them on the wall [as a] souvenir for what [he] did.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service stated that all restitution payments, including Skunkcap’s hefty fine, are used in the support, investigation and prosecution of crimes against wildlife.