Bozeman Area Men Sentenced in Mountain Lion Killings
A Bozeman man and a Manhattan, MT man have been sentenced for the illegal killing of two mountain lions in early January in Meagher County.
A third wounded lion was never found but is presumed dead, said Fish, Wildlife and Parks Game Warden John Lesofski of White Sulphur Springs.
According to MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks:
Dwain E. Robertson, 54, of Bozeman, pleaded guilty February 3 and was fined $3,075 by Meagher County Justice of the Peace Paula Wildman for attempting to take an over limit of mountain lions, unlawful possession of a lion, hunting during a closed season, and two counts of trespass. Robertson was also ordered to pay $1,000 restitution and had his hunting, trapping and fishing privileges revoked for 4 years.
Douglas L. Smith, 65, of Manhattan, pleaded guilty and was fined $605 by Wildman for two counts of criminal trespass, and driving off established roads. Smith pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of a mountain lion. No trial date has been scheduled yet. If found guilty, Smith could be fined $535 and lose his hunting, trapping and fishing privileges for two years.
The case started January 1 when Lesofski received a tip that Smith and Robertson were trespassing on the Brewer and Miller ranches south of Ringling and had a dead juvenile lion. A juvenile lion is about a year old. The area is part of mountain lion hunting district 391, which was closed.
The next day Lesofski and landowner Rod Brewer found a blood site on a ranch road, and followed it. They discovered a dead adult female lion and blood in the tracks of another juvenile lion that had wandered off but was never found because of severe winter conditions.
After obtaining a search warrant from District Court Judge John Brown of Bozeman, FWP game wardens from Regions 3 and 4 searched Smith’s and Robertson’s homes, yielding the evidence for the convictions.
In my 20 plus years as a game warden, this is the first time I have ever dealt with someone shooting a group of lions; that happens more often with elk and deer. This case was solved because of landowner and sportsman cooperation