A Sanders County man has pleaded guilty to nine misdemeanor hunting violations, including the unlawful hunting of black bears over bait and unlawfully killing an elk out of season.
Alfred (Toby) Bridges pleaded guilty on Oct. 18, 2021, in Sanders County Justice Court. He must pay $9,605 in fines and restitution, and has lost his hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges for 54 months.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) notes Montana is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact and as a result, his privileges are suspended in all 47 member states.
Bridges pleaded not guilty to two additional charges related to a third black bear shot over bait. A news release from FWP notes Bridges has failed to appear on these two charges and multiple warrants have been issued for his arrest.
According to FWP, the charges stemmed from a year-long investigation into Bridges’ hunting activities by Game Warden Morgan Post and FWP Investigator Tom Chianelli.
The primary focus of the investigation was the unlawful hunting of black bears over bait, but other hunting violations were discovered during the investigation. FWP says Bridges used a variety of human foods, including barbecue sauce, to bait bears into his hunting area. It is unlawful to hunt black bears over bait in Montana.
Bridges pleaded guilty to two counts of killing black bears over bait, two counts of unlawful possession of those two black bears, one count of killing a cow elk after the general elk season ended, one count of unlawful 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.
Anyone with possible information about crimes involving fish and wildlife resources and FWP sites is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). Callers may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to a conviction.