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Two Montana men cited for helicopter poaching of wolves

Big Hole Valley, Montana
Posted at 1:53 PM, Apr 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-25 13:53:21-04

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- Two Montana men have been cited for illegally poaching two wolves from a helicopter in the Big Hole Valley.

The Billings Gazette reports that 30-year-old Dalton Thomas Tamcke and 22-year-old Justin Samuel Peterson told wildlife authorities they were hunting coyotes for predatory control action on March 3 and mistakenly took the wolves for coyotes. The men later recovered the carcasses by snowmobile.

Tamcke paid a $425 fine and Peterson paid a $435 fine, according to records from the Beaverhead County Justice Court. Neither man had licenses to hunt wolves, and wolf hunting from helicopters is illegal.

Kerry Wahl, a game warden with Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks, said authorities didn't pursue charges against the helicopter pilot or company that was flying the two men, saying it was the shooters' responsibility for what happened.

The wolves were an adult male and female and have been kept in an evidence freezer at the agency's office in Dillon.