MISSOULA—A Marion man who admitted illegally transporting grizzly bear claws to Washington after shooting the bear in the Bob Marshal Wilderness in 2017 was sentenced today to three years of probation and ordered to pay $5,000 restitution to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Bryan Berg, 35, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Jan. 16, 2020, for illegal transportation of grizzly bear claws, a Lacey Act Violation.

The prosecution said in court records that law enforcement received a tip in September 2017 that Berg shot a grizzly bear, which is a threatened species, in the Hart Basin area of the Bob Marshal Wilderness in Montana. Agents flew to the scene and found a dead grizzly bear that was pushed down the mountain. The bear’s front claws had been removed.

In an interview with law enforcement officers in March 2018, Berg said he shot the grizzly bear in self-defense, which the investigation confirmed to be accurate. Berg, however, did not report the grizzly bear shooting as required by law. Berg then removed the claws and took them to Washington. 

Berg cannot legally possess or transport the claws. Berg knew that taking the grizzly bear claws was illegal and turned them over to law enforcement during the interview. Berg also provided law enforcement with photographs and video of him near the grizzly bear after the shooting.