Deer and elk antlers seized in one of the biggest poaching cases in Montana history will be on display at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in Missoula through the end of October. The multi-state investigation was initiated in 2001 when a game warden reported suspicious activity in the Seeley Lake area.
The investigation, conducted by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Pennsylvania Game Department, involved 10 defendants and who lost many years of hunting privileges in Montana and several other states. The case also generated thousands in fines and restitution, including $19,000 paid by defendents Dean and Renita Ruth of Seeley Lake, in restituation to the people of Montana.
The antlers on display represent only a small portion of the wildlife seized in the case. Over 100 mounts from illegally harvested deer, elk, bears, and lions were taken in the investigation, as well as numerous spotlights, rifles and a silencer.
To view the display from now through October, visit the RMEF headquarters at 2291 W. Broadway in Missoula, 8am-6pm Mon-Fri and 9am-6pm Sat. and Sun. The mounts will continue to be available for special events, local organizations and government offices, to be displayed with tags noting their illegal origin and the loss of resources to legal hunters. The display attests to the tremendous amount of public time and money resources used in investigating poaching cases.