Two Men Cited in Tribal Court for Shooting Trumpeter Swan

By Beacon Staff

Two local men were cited in tribal court and temporarily lost their hunting and recreational privileges on tribal lands after illegally shooting a trumpeter swan on the Flathead Reservation earlier this year.

According to Germaine White with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Leroy Charles and Timothy Brantner were charged with multiple citations in Tribal Court in Pablo related to the incident. According to the CSKT, the two men shot numerous rounds from a high-powered rifle in a campground near the Flathead River and illegally killed the swan.

Tribal game wardens received a call Jan. 21 that a dead swan was discovered near Buffalo Bridge, and the 3-year-old swan was found shot by a high-powered rifle.

An investigation led by Tribal Conservation Officer and Investigator Mike McElderry and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Warden Ron Howell was launched. Information provided by the public helped identify Charles and Brantner as the suspects.

Charles was cited with three counts: negligent discharging of a firearm; taking a species closed to hunting; hunting by a non- tribal member out of season. According to CSKT officials, Charles admitted to all of the charges. He was fined $500 for each count plus an additional $1,500 fine was imposed for restitution. Additionally, Tribal Chief Judge Winona Tanner suspended Charles’ bird hunting, fishing and recreational privileges on tribal lands for five years.

Brantner did not appear in tribal court and was given a default judgment. He was cited for recreating on tribal land without a valid permit, and for negligent discharge of a firearm. He was fined $100 on the first charge, and $500 on the second charge. His privileges to bird hunt, fish and recreate on tribal lands were suspended for one year.

“Judge Tanner on behalf of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes imposed the maximum penalty under the law because this was such a senseless act,” stated tribal attorney Larry Ginnings, who served as prosecutor for the case.

Tribal and state officials thanked the public for reporting information that led to the successful prosecution of this incident, including through the TIP-MONT hotline. To report anonymously report violations, call one of the following phone number, 1-800-TIP-MONT or 675-4700.

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