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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS: > 2003

GAME FARM ILLEGALLY ALLOWED HUNTING

By JENNIFER McKEE

Gazette State Bureau

17 December 2003

HELENA - Fish, Wildlife and Parks agents served three citations last week against a central Montana game farm operator for illegally accepting money from people who shot captive animals on his ranch, agency records show.

Charles Taylor of Moore, owner of Taylor's Big Sky Elk Ranch, faces three misdemeanor citations for violating provisions of Initiative-143, a 2000 voter-passed ban that prohibits game farmers from collecting money for arranged hunts of their captive deer and elk.

The initiative also bans new game farms from opening.

Taylor was scheduled to appear in Fergus County Justice Court on Friday before Judge Jack Shields in Lewistown. However, Shields is expected to be in a trial all day Friday, Fergus County records show, so Taylor's first appearance will be re-scheduled.

The citations stem from three separate occasions this fall and winter in which Taylor allowed people to shoot captive elk on his ranch for a fee - in violation of I-143, according to Ron Aasheim, of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The citations were served on Dec. 12.

If convicted, Taylor faces a maximum fine of $1,000, a year in the Fergus County jail or both.

He could also lose his game farm license, said Bob Lane, a lawyer for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. By law, the agency may revoke game farm license for up to five years and require its own administrative fine of up to $5,000.

Before any of those penalties could come about, however, the agency would first have to launch its own investigation and defend its charges in a separate administrative case.

Lane said that the agency has not launched such an investigation and has not alerted Taylor of any intentions to do so.

"But we are going to look at this," Lane said. "Now that he's been cited, we have an obligation to look at it."

Taylor has been an opponent of I-143. During the 2003 Legislature, his son Mark Taylor, a Helena lawyer, worked to pass House Bill 379, which would have repealed parts of I-143.

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