Idaho Man Charged With Killing Grizzly - UPDATE

Bear Hunting Magazine

UPDATE 9/8/2011
Prosecutors released a statement yesterday that they have dropped a misdemeanor charge filed against the Idaho man accused of illegally shooting and killing a male grizzly at his home in May 2011. As part of a deal, Hill agreed his actions violated a regulation of the Endangered Species Act and paid a $1,000 fine. Investigators stated they were unable to determine the location of the children at the time the bears were first seen in their yard.

A man charged with unlawfully shooting and killing a male grizzly bear had so many supporters at his arraignment earlier this week, the judge moved the hearing to a larger courtroom.

The 33 year-old man pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to the misdemeanor charges of killing the animal with a rifle on his 20-acre property near Porthill, Idaho. His trial is set to begin October 4th.

The man's lawyer stated that he plans to defend him on the basis of self-defense and protection of family. He claims he was concerned for the safety of his children playing outside (five of which where home at the time) when three grizzlies wandered onto their property on May 8, 2011.

The man shot one of the bears, then called authorities to notify them about it. The other two bears ran off. His lawyer plans to make sure everyone realizes that he could have just buried the animal and not said anything to law enforcement, but is being penalized for coming forward regarding the incident.

State Sen. Shawn Keough attended the hearing in full support of having the charges dropped. She predicted that punishing someone who reported killing a grizzly will damage government efforts to protect the animals. “The charges are simply unjust,” she stated following the hearing. “Hopefully common sense will prevail. It’s clearly an issue of protecting the family.”

The Boundary County commissioners earlier this week stated that they are standing beside the man on the charges and will be seeking help from Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and the states congressional delegation to get the charge dismissed. They released a statement saying that he had “not only the right, but the obligation to protect his children and his family.”

The charge of killing a threatened species is punishable by up to a year in prison, a maximum fine of $50,000, and up to one year of supervised release.

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