We know how stories like these rankle Montana hunters, the vast majority of which do things the right way.

This is not "deer hunting in Montana." And while Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will do what they can to try to identify those responsible for this waste of Montana wildlife and total disregard for hunting ethics, they will also rely heavily on the public to come forward with any valuable information that could lead to a conviction.

Montana FWP game wardens are seeking information on three deer found shot and wasted in the Swan River north of the Montana 209 bridge in Ferndale, Montana, in Flathead County. Yes, they were IN the river.

Sometime in late January, wardens were contacted by a neighboring landowner who reported hearing shots fired. The wardens responded and investigated the approximate area where the neighbor said they heard the shots.

Three whitetail deer were found in the river, dead from the gunshot wounds. The guess here is that if authorities are able to do a deep dive and actually find those who did it, they would also find a person or persons who not only hunted illegally, they were unlicensed and just off on a malicious spree. And then the debate invariably begins over whether the fines and revoked hunting privileges are severe enough. We know what most Montana hunters think about those.

We will let you know if those responsible are tracked down. Anyone with possible information is asked to call the Montana FWP violation reporting hot line at 1-800-TIP-MONT. Callers may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

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Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

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