This case took a few twists and turns that slowed the process down a bit, but in the end Montana FWP was pleased to see a conviction.

And they asked that we pass along the update. A Belgrade man has been sentenced after pleading guilty to killing a bighorn sheep illegally earlier this year. He also lied about how he acquired the animal. Matthew DeWit pleaded guilty to hunting during a closed season and unlawful possession, shipping or transportation of a game animal. He was sentenced in Blaine County Justice Court. His sentence includes $4,000 in fines and restitution and a 10-year suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in 49 states.

Back In May of this year, DeWit shot the ram in the Missouri River Breaks during a closed season. He then took the head to the Bozeman office of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to get the mandatory plug for bighorn sheep, claiming he’d found the animal dead. The ram was estimated to be about 8½ years old. FWP game wardens in southwest and northeast Montana collaborated on the investigation, with help from administrative and wildlife staff and the Blaine County Attorney’s Office. The investigation eventually led to a confession from Mr. DeWit as to what really happened.

Montana FWP Game Warden Haden Hussey put it very succinctly: “Poaching is stealing from the public wildlife resources treasured by the people of Montana. We’re pleased to see a successful conviction in this case.”

FWP relies on tips from the public while investigating wildlife crimes. Informants can remain anonymous and may be eligible for monetary rewards. To report a wildlife crime, please call Montana’s 24-hour poaching hotline: 1-800-TIP-MONT (847-6668).