Wolf opponents convicted of hunting crimes |  Local News

Wolf opponents convicted of hunting crimes | Local News

A Sanders County man who led an anti-wolf campaign has been convicted of nine misdemeanor hunting violations.

Alfred “Toby” Bridges faces multiple warrants for his arrest due to his failure to appear in court for two additional charges of illegally shooting a black bear over bait, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesman Dillon Tabish. Bridges was the subject of a year-long investigation by FWP game wardens.

Bridges pleaded guilty on Oct. 18, 2021 to two counts of killing black bears over bait, two counts of possession of those two black bears, one count of killing a cow elk after the general elk season ended, one count of possession of that elk, one count of loan and transfer of a license for a white-tailed buck he shot using another individual’s license, and one count of taking an overlimit for the buck as he had already shot a buck during the 2020 general hunting season, according to a FWP release on Thursday .

He was ordered to pay $9,605 in fines and restitution, and lost his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for 54 months. That ban applies to Montana and 47 other states that are part of the Wildlife Violator Compact.

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Bridges ran a website called Lobo Watch where he advocated for removing federal Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves and claimed wolves were ruining big game hunting. In 2014, Bridges claimed on social media that he had killed two wolves with his vehicle on Lookout Pass, but was never charged with an offense because investigators couldn’t find any evidence he actually did it.

In 2010, during federal court hearings on the wolf ESA status, Bridges posted comments about using Xylitol artificial sweetener to poison wolves, writing “Wolf control now as a new, until now secret, weapon … there’s going to be a whole lot of very sweet gut piles and wolf-killed carcasses dotting the landscape this fall. Along with some supplemental feeding of wolf pups come next spring.”

Xylitol is poisonous to wolves and domestic dogs, and using it or any other poison to kill wildlife is illegal in Montana.

Anyone with possible information about crimes involving fish and wildlife resources and Montana Fish, Life & Parks sites is Wilds are encouraged to call FWP’ 24-hour hotline, 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). Callers may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000 for information that leads to a conviction.

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