HELENA — Montana wildlife officials have cited six people after a group of about 100 hunters shot into a herd of elk and killed about 50 of them.
The shootings on Sunday took place on block management land, according to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.
Four of the hunters were cited for shooting from the road, one was cited for failure to validate a license and another was cited for using a license from another district, said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Greg Lemon.
The state wildlife department did not provide the names of those cited to the Independent Record.
The newspaper’s calls to the Meagher County Courthouse went to voicemail on Wednesday.
State wildlife officials said there is evidence other elk were injured during the incident, but they were not found.
“We didn’t write as many tickets as you’d think,” Lemon said. “Hunters were fortunate that no more elk were injured.”
Meagher County Undersheriff Jerami West said one of the hunters in the group later died from a heart complication that was unrelated to the incident. The person’s name was not immediately released.
Lemon said hunting safety and ethics were not followed during the incident.
“Unethical hunting, even if it’s strictly speaking legal, makes all hunters look bad,” Lemon said. “It kind of gives hunting as a whole a bit of a black eye.”
Still, the wildlife department determined that most of the hunters involved in the incident did not break the law.
A killed elk went unclaimed and two killed elks were confiscated from hunters who were cited. The three were donated to a local food bank.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.