Page brothers sentenced for elk poaching

Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Shawn Briggs displays elk racks, part of the poaching case against the Page brothers. Photo courtesy of FWP

According to the Fergus County Attorney’s office, two brothers accused of poaching trophy bull elk from a Central Montana ranch have reached a deal with prosecutors that calls for them to lose their hunting privileges and pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.

James Stephen Page, 32, of Garneill, pleaded guilty to 10 misdemeanors related to the poaching of five trophy bulls from the 3 Bar Ranch. James Page agreed to forfeit his Montana hunting and fishing privileges for 13 years, to pay $4,410 in fines and surcharges, and to pay $40,000 in restitution.

James Page also was sentenced to 36 months in jail, but all of that time was suspended upon the conditions that he pay his fines, fees, and restitution, and that he not commit any new crimes.

Fergus County Attorney Kent Sipe agreed to defer prosecuting James Page for two felony counts of Tampering with Evidence for a period of five years. If James Page pays all of his fines and restitution and does not commit any new crimes, Sipe will dismiss the Tampering charges. If James Page does not meet those conditions, Sipe could reinstitute prosecution of the two felonies.

William Thomas Page, also 32, of McKinleyville, California, pleaded guilty to five misdemeanors related to the poaching of two bulls from the 3 Bar Ranch. William Page agreed to forfeit his hunting and fishing privileges for 12.5 years, to pay $2,635 in fines and surcharges, and to pay $9,000 in restitution.

William Page also was sentenced to 30 months in jail, but all of that time was suspended upon the conditions that he pay his fines, fees, and restitution, and that he not commit any new crimes.

“Under Montana statute, game animals belong to all citizens of the State,” Sipe said. “My goal in this case was to get restitution for those unlawfully harvested animals. That was more important than having felony convictions on their records.”

The total of $49,000 in restitution for seven poached elk will go to the State of Montana. The fines and surcharges will be divided between the State and Fergus County.

An investigation by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks wardens Shawn Briggs and Trey Gacke and Investigator Bryan Golie showed the Pages hunted on the 3 Bar Ranch without permission and without proper licenses between 2006 and 2016.

Category:

Poll

What is your favorite part of the Fair?