- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A Montana man has pleaded not guilty to charges that he killed three protected grizzly bears.

Dan Calvert Wallen, of Bigfork, entered his pleas to three counts of knowingly and unlawfully taking a grizzly bear this past week during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Missoula.

Each count of unlawful taking of a threatened species carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $25,000 fine.

His trial is scheduled for March 10.

A spokeswoman with the U.S. District Attorney’s office said Wallen has been released without bail.

Authorities accuse Wallen of shooting the bears last May near his residence.

Grizzlies are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

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