Montana man arrested, charged with felonies for elk poaching

Montana man arrested, charged with felonies for elk poaching

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A Montana man is facing 19 misdemeanor and two felony charges for killing three bull elk in a three-day stretch in August. 

Wildlife officials say 23-year-old Earl Russel Benes shot two bull elk near a public highway during closed hunting season on Aug. 17 and another on Aug. 20. Benes had previously had his hunting license suspended in 2018 for killing multiple antelope. 

After rewards were offered for information, officials received a tip that lead to Benes' arrest. 

He was charged with felony criminal endangerment and animal cruelty in addition to more than a dozen illegal hunting-related misdemeanors. The criminal endangerment means he faces up to 10 years in jail or a $50,000 fine. 

Game Wardens in the area say they received overwhelming support from all over in the world in this cae. 

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