Montana poaching probe leads to law officers

Kalispell, Montana (AP) September 2010

An investigation into the apparent illegal shooting of a moose in northwestern Montana has brought to light possible hunting violations by Lake County law enforcement officers, state Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said.

Jesse Jacobs was charged Aug. 3 with two counts of unlawful possession of a game animal. He made a brief appearance last week before District Judge Ted Lympus in Kalispell.

Prosecutors allege Jacobs shot a moose in 2005 and then asked a Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal member for his permit. Officials say Jacobs gave the tribal member the meat while he kept the head and antlers for a wall mount, the Daily Inter Lake reports.

Jacobs was briefly in the Lake County sheriff’s office reserve training program at the time.

FWP Warden Capt. Lee Anderson said the case against Jacobs “brought light” to possible violations committed by Lake County law officers.

“We’ve got an investigation going on into alleged illegal hunting activities in Lake County involving law enforcement,” Anderson said. He would not comment on how many people might be involved.

Court records say an anonymous tip received last March led to the investigation of Jacobs. Interviews with his ex-wife and a man who helped him retrieve the moose led to the charges.

A Montana assistant attorney general is prosecuting the case.

Lake County Sheriff Lucky Larson said Jacobs had only been in the department’s reserve training program for a few weeks when he left. Larson said he could not comment on why Jacobs left.

Larson said he is aware of the larger investigation.