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Ashton men sentenced for unlawful killing of grizzly bear

ASHTON, Idaho (KIFI) - Jared and Rex Baum of Ashton were sentenced this April for the unlawful killing of a grizzly bear on March 16, 2021 in Fremont County, Idaho.

As part of a plea deal, Jared Baum pleaded guilty to a felony and was sentenced to 30 consecutive days in the Fremont County jail, three years of probation, two years fixed, and three years indeterminate sentence suspended, $2,500 in fines plus court costs, $10,000 in civil penalties, and a lifetime hunting revocation.

Rex Baum pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to a 180 days jail, 177 suspended, 3 days to serve in the Fremont County jail, $1,000 in fines plus court costs, $400 civil penalty, and a 10 year hunting revocation. Additionally, Idaho is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact, therefore Jared Baum’s hunting license will be revoked for life, and Rex Baum’s hunting license will be revoked for 10 years in all 48 member states.  

The dead grizzly sow shot by Jared and Rex Baum was originally discovered on April 9, 2021 after Fish and Game Officers and staff accompanied by a Fremont County Deputy responded to a mortality signal emanating from the radio collar of a research grizzly bear.

The signal from the collar led investigators to a location on the Little Warm River in Fremont County where they discovered the bear’s carcass half submerged in the water. Initial examination determined that bear had not died of natural causes and a bullet was retrieved from the rib cage.

The bear’s carcass was then removed for further examination where x-rays of the sow grizzly’s remains revealed 12 bullets and one bullet fragment. Fish and Game staff also visited the sow’s known den site where they discovered a deceased male grizzly cub that perished as a result of the sow’s failure to return.

On Nov. 8, 2021 Fish and Game Officers interviewed Jared Baum at his residence where he admitted to shooting the bear, but said it was a case of mistaken identity, and that he thought it was a black bear, although no black bear season was open in the area at the time. Jared then told officers that he had tracked the bear and thought he had shot it 40 times as it was running downstream towards the Little Warm River. After Jared saw that it was a grizzly, he said he realized he had shot her too many times and she was going to die, so he finished her.

Eventually Jared also admitted that he was not alone in shooting the bear and was accompanied by his father, Rex Baum. After seeing a Fish and Game press release searching for information on the deceased grizzly, and realizing that the grizzly bear was collared, Jared told officers he disposed of the two Ruger-57 handguns he and his father Rex had used to commit the crime by tossing them in a pond. With the help of the Bonneville County Search and Rescue Dive Team a search of the pond was conducted but no firearms were recovered. 

The Idaho Fish and Game would like to thank all those involved in the success of this case: Fremont County Sherriff’s Department, the Bonneville County Search and Rescue Dive Team, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service were all instrumental in this collaborative effort to protect our wildlife resources.

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