A Montana man has been found guilty on three misdemeanor criminal charges in a Blaine County trapping case.

In November 2011, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wardens Dirk Paulsen of Chinook and Mike Lee of Malta received a call concerning a bobcat that was trapped before the season opened. The officers determined that the trap belonged to Lewistown resident Doug Foster. They also documented off-road vehicle tracks in a restricted area.

The wardens then waited for Foster, 30, to report the harvest.  Montana trapping regulations say that a trapper must report a bobcat harvest within 24 hours via a toll-free telephone line and also personally present the pelt to a FWP employee within 10 days of harvest.

The location of the harvested animal must also be reported, as well as the date the animal was killed. Foster, however, did not report the animal and was charged with four misdemeanor counts. Last May he was found guilty on all of the charges in Blaine County Justice Court. But Foster appealed the ruling and asked for a District Court trial.

On Nov. 15, Montana 17th Judicial Court Judge John McKeon of Malta found Foster guilty on three of the four charges: Failure to report a bobcat harvest within 24 hours; unlawful use of a vehicle while hunting; and unlawful possession/transport of the animal.

McKeon ordered Foster to pay $700 in fines, $105 in court surcharges, and $300 in restitution for the pelt. Court records show Foster also lost his Montana trapping privileges for 24 months.

Image courtesy Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks

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