Full Statute Name:  West's Montana Code Annotated - Title 87. Fish and Wildlife - Chapter 6. Fish and Wildlife Criminal Provisions - Part 2. General Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping Offenses

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Primary Citation:  MCA 87-6-202 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  February, 2018 Alternate Citation:  MT ST 87-6-202 (formerly MT ST 87-3-111) Date Adopted:  1917
Summary:

Under Montana State law, it is unlawful to buy, sell, or possess, or offer to buy, sell or possess any migratory game bird, game fish, or game animal.  The exceptions include the possession and transportation of legally taken game animals, the sale or purchase of hides, heads or mounts of legally acquired game animals, and the possession of naturally shed antlers of game animals, among other exceptions.

87-6-202. Unlawful possession, shipping, or transportation of game fish, bird, game animal, or fur-bearing animal

(1) A person may not possess, ship, or transport all or part of any game fish, bird, game animal, or fur-bearing animal that was unlawfully killed, captured, or taken, whether killed, captured, or taken in Montana or outside of Montana.

(2) This section does not prohibit the possession, shipping, or transportation of:

(a) hides, heads, or mounts of lawfully killed, captured, or taken game fish, birds, game animals, or fur-bearing animals, except that the sale or purchase of a hide, head, or mount of a grizzly bear is prohibited, except as provided by federal law;

(b) naturally shed antlers or the antlers with a skull or portion of a skull attached from a game animal that has died from natural causes and that has not been unlawfully killed, captured, or taken or accidentally killed;

(c) the bones of an elk, antelope, moose, or deer that has died from natural causes and that has not been unlawfully killed, captured, or taken or accidentally killed;

(d) paddlefish roe as caviar under the provisions of 87-4-601;

(e) captive-reared migratory waterfowl; or

(f) salvaged antelope, deer, elk, or moose subject to 87-3-145.

(3) A person may not possess, ship, or transport live fish away from the body of water in which the fish were taken except:

(a) as provided in Title 87,   chapter 4, part 6, or as specifically permitted by the laws of this state;

(b) fish species approved by the commission for use as live bait and subject to any restrictions imposed by the commission; or

(c) within the boundaries of the eastern Montana fishing district, as established by commission regulations.

(4) The possession of all or part of a dead game fish, bird, game animal, or fur-bearing animal is prima facie evidence that the person or persons in whose possession the fish, bird, or animal is found killed, captured, or took the fish, bird, or animal.

(5) The value of a game fish, bird, game animal, or fur-bearing animal that is unlawfully possessed, shipped, or transported must be determined from the schedules of restitution values in 87-6-906 and 87-6-907. The value of game fish, birds, game animals, or fur-bearing animals that are unlawfully possessed, shipped, or transported pursuant to a common scheme, as defined in 45-2-101, or as part of the same transaction, as defined in 46-1-202, may be aggregated in determining the value.

(6) The following penalties apply for a violation of this section:

(a) If a person is convicted or forfeits bond or bail after being charged with unlawful possession, shipping, or transportation of a game fish or bird and if the value of all or part of the game fish or bird or combination thereof does not exceed $1,000, the person shall be fined not less than $50 or more than $1,000 or be imprisoned in the county detention center for not more than 6 months, or both. In addition, the person may be subject to forfeiture of any current hunting, fishing, or trapping license issued by this state and the privilege to hunt, fish, or trap in this state or to use state lands, as defined in 77-1-101, for recreational purposes for a period of time set by the court.

(b) If a person is convicted or forfeits bond or bail after being charged with unlawful possession or transportation of a mountain sheep, moose, wild buffalo, caribou, mountain goat, black bear, or grizzly bear or any part of these animals and if the value of all or part of the animal or combination thereof does not exceed $1,000, the person shall be fined not less than $500 or more than $2,000 or be imprisoned in the county detention center for not more than 6 months, or both. In addition, the person shall forfeit any current hunting, fishing, recreational use, or trapping license issued by this state and the privilege to hunt, fish, or trap in this state for 30 months from the date of conviction or forfeiture unless the court imposes a longer period.

(c) If a person is convicted or forfeits bond or bail after being charged with unlawful possession or transportation of a deer, antelope, elk, or mountain lion or any part of these animals and if the value of all or part of the animal or combination thereof does not exceed $1,000, the person shall be fined not less than $300 or more than $1,000 or be imprisoned in the county detention center for not more than 6 months, or both. In addition, the person shall forfeit any current hunting, fishing, or trapping license issued by this state and the privilege to hunt, fish, or trap in this state for 24 months from the date of conviction or forfeiture unless the court imposes a longer period.

(d) If a person is convicted or forfeits bond or bail after being charged with unlawful shipping of a mountain sheep, moose, wild buffalo, caribou, mountain goat, black bear, grizzly bear, deer, antelope, elk, or mountain lion or any part of these animals and if the value of all or part of the animal or combination thereof does not exceed $1,000, the person shall be fined not less than $50 or more than $1,000 or be imprisoned in the county detention center for not more than 6 months, or both. In addition, the person may be subject to forfeiture of any current hunting, fishing, or trapping license issued by this state and the privilege to hunt, fish, or trap in this state or to use state lands, as defined in 77-1-101, for recreational purposes for a period of time set by the court.

(e) If a person is convicted or forfeits bond or bail after being charged with unlawful possession, shipping, or transportation of a fur-bearing animal or pelt of a fur-bearing animal and if the value of all or part of the animal or combination thereof does not exceed $1,000, the person shall be fined not less than $100 or more than $1,000 or be imprisoned in the county detention center for not more than 6 months, or both. In addition, the person shall forfeit any current hunting, fishing, or trapping license issued by this state and the privilege to hunt, fish, or trap in this state for 24 months from the date of conviction or forfeiture unless the court imposes a longer period, and any pelts possessed unlawfully must be confiscated.

(f) If a person is convicted under this section or forfeits bond or bail after being charged with a violation of this section and if the value of all or part of the game fish, bird, game animal, or fur-bearing animal or combination thereof exceeds $1,000, the person shall be fined not more than $50,000 or be imprisoned in the state prison for a term not to exceed 5 years, or both. In addition, the person shall forfeit any current hunting, fishing, or trapping license or permit issued by this state and the privilege to hunt, fish, or trap in this state for not less than 3 years up to a revocation for life from the date of conviction.

(7) A person convicted of unlawful possession of more than double the legal bag limit may be subject to the additional penalties provided in 87-6-901.

(8) As used in this section:

(a) “lawfully killed, captured, or taken” means killed, captured, or taken in conformance with this title, the regulations adopted by the commission, and the rules adopted by the department under authority of this title; and

(b) “unlawfully killed, captured, or taken” means not lawfully killed, captured, or taken.

(9) A violation of this section may also result in an order to pay restitution pursuant to 87-6-905 through 87-6-907.

Credits
Enacted by Laws 2011, ch. 258, § 123, eff. Oct. 1, 2011. Amended by Laws 2013, ch. 137, § 3, eff. Oct. 1, 2013.

 
 
 
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