A rancher south of Augusta was charged Dec. 17 with failing to report that he killed a grizzly bear on Father's Day weekend (June 16-17) in 2012.
Under federal law, it is legal to kill a grizzly bear in self defense or defense of others, but the killing must be reported within five days and it is illegal to “possess, deliver, carry or transport” it.
Donald Converse had called for help in June 2013 (a year after the alleged killing of the bear) from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for a bear problem. While the FWP bear biologist was at the ranch, he discovered the remains of a grizzly bear and reported it to a game warden.
The Montana game warden called the Converse ranch and, according to the affidavit in the case, he went to visit the scene at about 8 p.m. June 17, 2013.
According to the affidavit, Converse admitted to shooting and killing the bear a year earlier near his pigpen. After killing it, he said, he dragged the carcass about 20 yards away and concealed it behind a cottonwood tree.
Converse told the investigator the bear was standing under a cottonwood tree about 75 feet from his pigpen when he shot it. Converse said his grandchildren were playing in the pigpen at the time and the bear was moving toward the pigpen. Converse said he was alerted to the bear by his grandchildren, who started yelling. Converse said he shot the bear dead with one shot from about 100 yards.
When asked why he hadn’t reported the incident, Converse reportedly said he "just did not.”