Sent on MSSA letterhead:

February 21, 2012

Joe Maurier, Director
Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
1420 East Sixth Avenue
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701, and via email to:  "Maurier, Joe" <>

Dear Director Maurier,

I see reports in the news media that the series of FWP prosecutions arising out of the bighorn ram hunting case in the Missouri Breaks in 2008 has finally ended.

While those prosecutions were in progress, a number of questions occurred to me which would probably have been unproductive to ask as long as criminal prosecutions were underway.  Now that those prosecutions are over, I pose a series of questions to you, questions for which I hope you will see that I get prompt and forthright answers.  Thank you in advance for answering these questions.

My questions are:

1.  Since undercover FWP warden Justin Gibson is admitted to be the triggerman who shot the ram that was the nexus for all charges, please tell me whether or not warden Gibson had a legitimate license or tag for this ram, a license or tag that was applied for, paid for and drawn through the process that applies to all other aspiring sheep hunters.

2.  If warden Gibson did not possess a legitimately drawn license or tag for the animal taken, applied and paid for through the usual processes that apply to all others, please tell me what Montana statute explicitly authorizes warden Gibson to be unaccountable under the laws of Montana for having taken this ram without such a license or tag.

3.  Three other persons were cited for or charged with a wide variety of offenses for which the alleged illegal taking of the ram was the nexus.  Please provide me with a list of all offenses cited or charged against the three others in this incident, with a citation to the specific statute allegedly violated for each offense.

4.  Please also provide me with a list of whatever specific Montana statutes are held to exempt warden Gibson from being an accessory to or accountable for each of the offenses for which others were cited or charged in number 3 above.

5.  Please provide me with the names of every FWP employee who knew of this alleged sting operation in advance.

6.  Please provide me with the names and positions of every FWP supervisory person in warden Gibson's chain of command who approved this operation in advance.

7.  Please provide me with the names and positions of every FWP employee who has made any official determination that warden Gibson should not be prosecuted for any offenses associated with this operation for which there are not statutes that explicitly excuse him.

8.  Please also provide me with the names and positions of every FWP employee in warden Gibson's chain of command who has failed to make a determination that warden Gibson should be prosecuted for any of the offenses related to this operation for which warden Gibson is not explicitly excused by Montana statute(s).

9.  Finally, please provide me with a list of all the fish and game-related criminal offenses, and other offenses included in Montana statutes, for which FWP wardens are not accountable if they should commit such offenses.

I encourage you to make your reply to me electronically via email so as to save time.  I will expect that electronic reply no later than close of business, Monday, February 27, 2012.

Thank you for your prompt and full response to these questions.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Marbut

Cc:    John Brenden, Chairman, Senate Fish and Game Committee
    Ted Washburn, Chairman, House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee
    Senator Jim Keane, Chairman, Environmental Quality Council
    Stephen Gannon, Choteau County Attorney
    Winnie Ore, Chair, Montana POST Council
    Jack Morris, Esq.
    Quentin Rhoades, Esq.
    Brett French, Billings Gazette
    MSSA Board of Directors