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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS: > 2004

CUT BANK MAN HIT WITH POACHING FELONY

By Kathleen A. Schultz
Tribune Staff Writer
30 March 2004

A boastful Cut Bank poacher, whose hunting, fishing and trapping privileges already have been suspended for life, now faces a felony charge in District Court, as well as a raft of misdemeanors.

Gary Roger Motarie, 40, is charged with possession of unlawfully taken wildlife, a felony, and 16 misdemeanors: five counts of hunting without a license, five of improperly transferring a license and five of hunting while revoked, and one count of possession of an unlawfully taken black bear.

The felony carries up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Having no licenses, improper transfer and illegal possession of a black bear are punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of $50 to $1,000, restitution and the loss of all hunting, fishing and trapping privileges. Hunting while your license is revoked carries five days to six months in jail and a $500 to $2,000 fine.

Motarie will be arraigned in District Court.

According to the charging affidavit, state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Brian Golie spotted Motarie and Brett McMurphey, 35, 1636 Valeria Way, fishing the Missouri near Cascade with four poles apiece on Feb. 28.

Only one pole each is legal in that area.

McMurphey, who will be tried April 26 in Justice Court for the pole violation and for possessing brown trout under 22 inches, told the warden that Motarie admitted using his girlfriend's license to shoot the bear, an elk and three deer during the 2003 hunting season.

A search of Motarie's Cut Bank home turned up meat from the animals in his freezer.

At the time of this alleged incident, Motarie's game privileges already had been suspended for 20 years for game violations in Lewis and Clark County, where he had illegally shot a trophy elk -- then had his hometown newspaper, the Western Breeze, run a photo of him with the animal.

He was turned in by local residents who suspected he didn't kill it where he claimed and called the FWP hotline.

Investigators proved Motarie killed the big bull the weekend of Nov. 9-10 in the Sun River Wildlife Management Area, nine miles northwest of Augusta. Only cow elk or deer can be taken legally there.

He pleaded guilty in April to hunting during a closed season and illegal possession of a bull elk.

In addition to his loss of privileges, Motarie was fined more than $8,000 for poaching a trophy animal.

He also is serving two six-year suspended sentences, levied in January in Glacier County, for intimidating and tampering with a witness in that case.

A standard condition of the concurrent sentences was that he not break any laws, so he now faces revocation of the suspension, and therefore more possible prison time.

Motarie pleaded guilty March 1 in Justice Court to fishing while his privileges were suspended, fishing with four poles and possession of unlawfully taken trout.

Noting that Motarie "shows no regard for the serious violations he has previously committed or the sentences imposed, and clearly intends to disregard the suspension of his privileges," Justice of the Peace Sam Harris took away his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for life, sent him to jail for 10 days and levied fines and court surcharges in excess of $3,000.

Given the amount of poached game found in his freezer, the Cascade County Attorney's Office then filed the felony and misdemeanor charges.

Schultz can be reached at kschultz@greatfal.gannett.com ,
(406) 791-1474 or (800) 438-6600.

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Originally published Tuesday, March 30, 2004


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