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
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379, which would have repealed parts of I-143.