MT: Blackfeet Men Plead Guilty to Wildlife Charges
March 6, 2013
By Matt Volz, FlatHeadBeacon.com
HELENA – Three former Blackfeet tribal leaders pleaded guilty
Tuesday to charges they held illegal big-game hunts for country
musicians participating in an outdoors television show on the
northwestern Montana reservation.
Jay St. Goddard, Jay Wells
and Gayle Skunkcap Jr. admitted to holding four hunts between 2010
and 2011 without obtaining the limited and expensive hunting
licenses for non-tribal members to shoot elk, moose, deer and a
black bear. The three men also admitted to using tribal funds and
personnel to outfit and guide the musicians, television show hosts
and a fly fishing expert.
The men are not accused of
personally profiting from the hunts. Rather, they exchanged them for
free concerts by country artists that included Josh Thompson, Justin
Moore and Mark Cooke, and for exposure on a satellite television
show called "Sovereign Sportsman" they estimated was worth $150,000.
St. Goddard and Wells are former members of the Blackfeet
Tribal Business Council, the tribe's governing body, while Skunkcap
was the tribe's Fish and Game director.
The sale of illegal
wildlife charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison
and a $250,000 fine, while the theft charge carries a 10-year
maximum prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.
Attorney said prosecutors also are likely to ask for restitution to
the tribe of up to $70,000.
Fair Use Notice: This document may contain copyrighted material
whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owners. We believe
that this not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes
a fair use of the copyrighted material (as provided for in section
107 of the US Copyright Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted
material for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must
obtain permission from the copyright owner.