Blackfeet men plead guilty to wildlife charges

HELENA, Mont. — Three former Blackfeet tribal leaders have pleaded guilty to charges they held illegal big-game hunts for country music artists participating in an outdoors television show.

Jay St. Goddard, Jay Wells and Gayle Skunkcap Jr. admitted Tuesday to holding four big-game hunts between 2010 and 2011 without obtaining proper licenses for the visitors and using tribal funds and personnel to outfit and guide them on the reservation.

They exchanged the hunts for free concerts by country artists that included Josh Thompson, Justin Moore and Mark Cooke, and for exposure on a satellite television show called “Sovereign Sportsman.”

Federal prosecutors say that amounted to an illegal sale of the tribe’s wildlife. The men say they were trying to raise the profile and economy of the reservation.

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