A man accused of shooting at fellow hunters near Bigfork on the opening day of duck season has pleaded not guilty.
Brad Bell submitted the not-guilty plea to felony criminal endangerment on Wednesday.
According to court documents, Flathead County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched at 7 a.m. Oct. 3, just hours after duck season opened, because of a disturbance involving a firearm near Sportsman’s Bridge on Montana 82.
The deputies found two men who said that they were traveling up the Flathead River by boat near Fennon Slough and had gone through another hunter’s decoys.
Bell, who was identified as the other hunter, allegedly yelled at the men. Fifteen seconds later, Bell allegedly shot at the men, who were 100 feet away.
The men were struck by shotgun pellets and their boat was damaged.
When deputies interviewed Bell, he claimed that he had seen a duck and shot at it.
Bell’s hunting partner, however, could not verify that Bell had fired at a duck.
A jury trial was set for April 25. Bell is facing up to 10 years in jail and a $50,000 fine if convicted. He is out on his own recognizance.
Reporter Megan Strickland can be reached at 758-4459 or email@example.com.