The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Marc Kloker

Resident Juvenile, Non-Resident Charged for Poached Bull Elk Near Big Sandy


FWP / For The Courier

The recovered elk mount, brought back to Montana from Oregon.

Zachary Morgan (29) of Prineville, Ore., and a juvenile (17) of Harlem were separately charged in an incident involving a poached elk in Choteau County.

On Sept. 28, 2014, the juvenile illegally shot and killed a bull elk east of Big Sandy on Coal Mine Road. The juvenile did not have a license and initially left the area without taking the elk.

When the juvenile returned to the site of the kill, Morgan, who possessed a state issued special permit for hunting district 680, had tagged the elk and was butchering it. Morgan took the elk head and meat back to Oregon.

Montana game wardens, working several cases in the Northwest, interviewed Morgan at his home in Oregon. With the assistance of the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division, wardens eventually recovered the elk and returned it to Montana.

The juvenile was charged with hunting without a license and pleaded guilty in Chouteau County Justice Court. He was fined $535 for the violation and paid $1,000 in restitution for the elk.

Morgan was charged with a violation of Commission Rules and Regulations for unlawful possession of a bull elk that was illegally harvested and pleaded guilty in Chouteau County Justice Court. He was fined $135 and lost possession of the elk.

"This was a tremendous effort between Montana Game Wardens and the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division to return an illegally killed bull elk to Montana," said Warden Andy Matakis, who was one of the Montana wardens who worked on the case. "We especially would like to extend our gratitude to the Oregon officers for their assistance in this case."

Anyone with information about crimes involving fish, wildlife or park regulations is encouraged to call FWP's 24-hour wildlife tip line at 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000 for providing information that leads to a conviction.


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