MISSOULA – A 49-year-old Kalispell man accused of illegally shooting and killing a wolf has pleaded guilty to violating the Endangered Species Act.
Robert E. Patton appeared in federal court in Missoula on Tuesday and is free on special conditions.
Prosecutors say he reported killing a wolf that was approaching him while he was hunting deer between Kalispell and Libby on Oct. 31, 2008.
But a veterinary medical examiner with the National Wildlife Forensics Lab in Ashland, Ore., determined that the wolf was shot in the back left side.
Patton faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. No sentencing date has been set.
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