State and Federal Laws Clash in Montana

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A Montana rancher shot at and killed one of two grizzly bears that were attacking his livestock. One died, and the other bear ran off. Rick Christy of Fairfield saw the bears attacking his sheep in May, they were 150 feet away from his house, and at one point only 10 feet away from Christy himself. Christy used his .308 caliber rifle and killed one. Christy lost 9 sheep from the bear attacks, a loss estimated at $2000.

Christy is now being fined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. It is illegal to kill an endangered animal unless it is in self defense. According to Montana law, it is legal to kill a predator, if one is protecting their livestock. Christy's fine is $2,000 for violating the endangered species act, a misdemeanor violation. From


BikerRN's picture

State VS Federal

When federal and state law are at odds with one another the state should supercede the federal whims and desires.

That's how it should be but not how it is. 


GooseHunter Jr's picture

Wow I find it hard to beleive

Wow I find it hard to beleive that the state of Montana would be in the topic line of that articile...sounds more like something Colorado would pull.  I cannot understand how they can fine him when he is pretty much defending his lively hood.  Would that kinda be along the same lines of the "make my day law" where if someone attack you and your family in your home or property you have the right to defend yourselves with whatever means nessacsary.  Hopefully this will all work out for the rancher and they can all come to some sort of agreement.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

200,000 pennies, love that

200,000 pennies, love that idea Arrow!!!! lol

As you mentioned, they say his fine will be $2000, but he lost $2000 worth of sheep to those grizzly bears.  Maybe he should send a bill to the federal government for that.

I think it's only fair.  If they take away the ability of the farmers to protect their livelyhood, then there should be some program in place to reimburse them for what they lose.  The bigger problem is that once the bears realize that the sheep are an easy to access food supply, they will keep coming back for more.

I know that if there are "problem bears" that are bothering people, or becomming use to getting food from them, they will not hesitate to relocate them, or in some cases even put them down.  Why is it any different with grizzlies?  Because they are "endangered" (debatable).

At the very least I hope some good samaritans step forward and helo this guy pay his fine.

arrowflipper's picture

Here we go again....

Here we go again, big brother stepping in and being totally stupid. These idiots are totally out of touch with reality. If a grizzly was attacking a child and the father shot the bear, these brainless federal agents could and probably would use the same argument.... It was not "SELF DEFENSE"

The federal government has once again gone too far. If the state doesn't step up and support this guy, fellow sportsmen should. They should chip in and help him pay this ridiculous fine. And maybe they should dump 200,000 pennies on some jerks desk. Or better yet, dump them on the big desk in the white house.

Or maybe this rancher should sue the federal government for letting one of THEIR bears destroy his livelihood? I'm sure that over the next few years those ten sheep would have multiplied to a huge flock, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Feds should be responsible for taking care of damage done by one of their own.

When will states wake up and see that someone wants to control everyone from one central location?? I guess I have a bad attitude about the Washington on the other side of the nation from this one.

hunter25's picture

This is a case of the man

This is a case of the man using his rights under state law but breaking fedral law as a result. It will be interesting to see how the state reacts to the situation and whether they will support him. The fine is only 2,000 dollars which is not much considering that the bears could have caused far more damage over a short time as it looks like sheep had become one of thier favorite meals. But there could be other long term penalties form breaking the federal laws as well that I'm not sure of. It does not say if he had asked for help with the problem or not and that could probably make a big difference in his defense. I hope it all works out for him and it will be interesting to see how it ends up.

deerhunter30's picture

This is not right at all if

This is not right at all if you would ask my opinion. I think fish and wildlife is going a little to far with this one. It's not like he was doing it for fun or trying to make money off of it. he was just protecting his way of life. What was he suppose to do just let the bear take away his income and the way he lives.

  I think there should be a little bit of a grey area in situations like this. It is a big help to have fish and wildlife out there but come on these guys must really be looking for some action if they want to give someone a fine for protecting there property.

 Pretty sure this guy will be getting off. Don't think fish and wildlife will have a chance fighting federal law on this one.