A North Idaho man killed a grizzly bear that was threatening his family. Now he could face jail time if the Obama administration has its way.
Rachel Hill looked out her bedroom window on the evening of Mother’s Day and saw three grizzly bears attacking the children’s 4H club pigs’ pen. The Hill children had been outside practicing basketball a half hour earlier, so seeing the bears concerned her and her husband, Jeremy Hill. After calling for his kids and hearing no response, Jeremy grabbed his daughter’s rifle. After once more calling for the kids, fearing they were in danger, he shot at the closest grizzly bear, which was about 120 feet away.
The other two grizzlies fled while the wounded bear began to run off in the same direction, but then turned and came towards the house. Hill shot the bear a final time due to the danger a severely wounded grizzly bear posed to his family and others. Hill called two officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. They came out, investigated, and unsuccessfully tried to capture the other two grizzly bears by placing bear traps on the property.
Regardless of the danger to Hill’s family, grizzly bears are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, thus the federal government is prosecuting him. If convicted, Hill could face up to one year in prison and a $50,000 fine.
The charge is sparking outrage throughout the state of Idaho. Rocky Barker of the Idaho Statesman notes, “Usually, congressmen try to stay out of a case while it’s in court.” On this issue, however, the state’s entire congressional delegation as well as Governor Butch Otter (R-ID) have publicly weighed in on Hill’s behalf.
The Boundary County prosecutor also came out on Hill’s behalf, noting the Idaho Department of Fish and Game hadn’t contacted his office to indicate the law had been violated and had reportedly told Hill there shouldn’t be any issue as he was acting in defense of his family. The Boundary County Commission unanimously sided with Hill and noted the animals were five miles away from the nearest recovery zone for grizzly bears.