MISSOULA - A Lake County man who admitted to illegally killing a grizzly bear in 2018 was ordered to pay $5,000 restitution and sentenced to two years of federal probation on Friday.
U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich announced in a news release that Kevin Moll, 31, of Charlo, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with unlawful taking of a threatened species.
Government prosecutors alleged in court documents that an investigation began on Sept. 26, 2018, when a sow grizzly bear’s collar went to “zero,” indicting the grizzly bear was dead.
Law enforcement located the dead grizzly bear on a bone pile at the Perry Dairy near Charlo and found that the bear’s collar and ear tag had been removed.
Moll admitted he shot the grizzly bear from his vehicle and knew it was a grizzly before taking the shot, a news release states. Moll shot the bear a second time in the neck. After walking up to the bear, Moll saw it had a collar. Moll used a front-end loader to pick up the grizzly and drop it on the bone pile.
Approximately two days later, Moll saw biologists searching for the grizzly bear from a helicopter. He admitted he returned to the grizzly bear he’d killed, cut off the collar and ear tag and threw the items into Crow Creek.
Law enforcement recovered the bear’s collar. Moll acknowledged he knew grizzlies were protected before pulling the trigger, and that he did not have a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to kill the grizzly bear.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided over the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the U.S. FWS.