It's being called the largest poaching of bear in Montana history, and the alleged ringleader has been slapped with an indictment of five felonies.
The Ravalli (Mont.) Republic reports
that 61-year-old James Harrison of Darby is charged with a scheme that included the killing of nine bears, in addition to tampering with a witness, photographic evidence and public records.
According to game wardens, Harrison admitted to using bait to attract bears, which is illegal in Montana.
Two other male suspects have also been charged and each faces the possibility of thousands of dollars in restitution and fines for their misdemeanors.
Harrison's court date is set for Monday, Dec. 15. He has already been convicted on other bear-baiting charges and illegal hunting activities in Beaverhead County this past August.