Gov. Butch Otter has penned a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in defense of Jeremy M. Hill, the Boundary County man who shot a grizzly bear that had entered his yard while his young children were out playing and who now faces federal charges.
“I recognize the federal jurisdiction under the Endangered Species Act, but I strongly support the right of individuals to defend themselves and others in such situations,” Otter wrote. “Many, including me, feel Mr. Hill did what a concerned parent would do.”
The governor wrote, “No one disputes that Jeremy Hill killed a grizzly bear. The dispute appears to be over the reason for shooting the bear. I would sincerely appreciate your looking into this case and assisting in any way you can.”
Hill pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges of illegally taking a protected species, a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, he could face up to a year in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
A jury trial is scheduled for Oct. 4.