Authorities arrested and jailed a man from the small central Montana town of Roundup on two felony and 19 misdemeanor charges from two August incidents that left three trophy bull elk dead in Musselshell County.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens arrested Earl Russell Benes, 23, on a $10,000 warrant. He since posted bond and is out of jail.
Wardens say someone killed two bulls from a vehicle along U.S. Highway 12 about 10 miles east of Roundup at night during closed hunting season. Three days later, someone shot the other bull along Dean Creek southwest of Roundup.
Benes faces two felony charges:
- Criminal endangerment, for discharging a handgun in close proximity to another individual.
- Aggravated cruelty to an animal, for shooting one bull elk in the neck with a handgun, then leaving it to suffer for an extended time before it died.
He also faces 19 misdemeanor charges:
- Two counts of hunting without a license.
- Three counts of killing more than a limit of elk.
- Two counts of hunting with artificial light.
- Two counts of hunting during a closed season.
- One count of shooting from a public highway.
- One count of shooting from inside a vehicle.
- Three counts of waste of game.
- Three counts of theft of game.
- Two counts of hunting while his hunting privileges were suspended. In April 2018, authorities revoked his hunting privileges for four years after his conviction of running down antelope with his vehicle and killing them north of Roundup.
Find more information here.
(Photo source: Musselshell County Sheriff’s Department)