October 21, 2023
A resident of Powell, Wyoming has been charged with a slew of criminal charges alleging he committed numerous wildlife-related violations dating back two decades. Grant L. Cadwallader has been accused of illegally killing multiple grizzly bears—to include a sow and two cubs—and collecting their claws, as well possessing wildlife parts to include bighorn sheep skulls, golden eagle feathers and talons.
The Park County Attorney’s Office filed a suit against Cadwallader in late August. He appeared in front of the judge earlier this month, pleading not guilty to all charges. A trial is set for March of 2024.
Although he is accused of violations dating back more than 20 years, the investigation didn’t begin until 2019 when Cadwallader’s ex-wife tipped off local Wyoming Game & Fish Department officers. Both Wyoming and federal wildlife agents swiftly launched an investigation, obtaining a search warrant for his home. There they found illegal wildlife parts according to WGFD officer Travis Crane.
During interviews with Mr. Cadwallader, investigators have been told that he and another man were charged by a bear while shed hunting and both men shot it. They never reported the shooting to authorities.
In a separate incident in roughly the same area, Cadwallader allegedly shot a female grizzly after it charged him while shed hunting. He claims he fired a single shot from his large-caliber revolver, but the charge continued. As she closed in, he fired two more shots before she disappeared. This is when her two cubs stood up and he shot and killed both cubs, according to the affidavit.
He and another man tracked the female and found her carcass in a deep ravine, where his shed-hunting companion watched him remove her claws. According to the agent’s affidavit, “Cadwallader never reported the shooting because he was scared of being prosecuted and going to jail.”
If convicted, Cadwallader could face a year in prison and/or a $10,000 fine, plus $25,000 in restitution to the state for each charge of killing a grizzly bear. The other 16 charges come with penalties that include thousands of dollars in fines, loss of hunting privileges, and potential prison time.