Montana Man Guilty of Unlawful Black Bear Hunting Wanted on More Charges

by Madison Miller

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks division spent an entire year investigating the unlawful hunting of black bears. Now, the investigation has come to a close.

A Montana man named Alfred “Toby” Bridges from Sanders County pled guilty to nine misdemeanor hunting violations on October 18, 2021. The man also is guilty of killing an elk out of season too.

According to MFPW, the man unlawfully hunted black bears using human bait, which is illegal in Montana. He used “a variety of human foods, including barbecue sauce, to bait bears.” He even posted his kill to Facebook, which just made him easier to track down and charge. Bridges boasted about the kill, commenting, “The local biologist told me today that the bear he checked in for me was likely the best bear checked in all of Sanders County this spring season.”

Last fall Bridges pled guilty to one count of killing a cow elk after the general elk season ended, two counts of killing black bears over bait, two counts of unlawful possession of two black bears, one count of unlawful possession of an elk, one count of loan and transfer of a license for a whitetail buck that was shot while using someone else’s license, one count of taking an overlimit for the buck, and one count of unlawful possession of that buck.

Further Black Bear Hunting Charges

It’s certainly a long list of charges. He also pled not guilty to two charges for a third black bear supposedly killed over bait. However, he has failed to appear in court on December 15 for a pre-trial hearing. Now, he has two arrest warrants for failing to appear. Outdoor Life reports he has apparently moved to the Midwest.

In total, he’s looking at fines totaling $9,605. He also no longer has his fishing, trapping, and hunting rights for the next 54 months. He paid most of the fees, but still owes $305 as of March 11.

Sadly, other states cannot act on these warrants. He would have to return to Montana to face these charges.

“Please do not worry about me ‘Not Having Places To Hunt’ when I head back to the Midwest. … I will actually get in a lot more hunting than I have since making the move to Montana. One thing is for certain … there in the heart of the Midwest, I have a lot more quality private land to hunt than I have while living amongst the Rockies,” Bridges wrote on Facebook after pleading guilty to the charges. As of February, Bridges was looking for a home in Arkansas or Missouri.

Bridges is also a former guide and outdoor writer.