GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) -- A Whitehall taxidermist who authorities say illegally filmed bighorn sheep hunts on public land has pleaded not guilty in federal court.

The Independent Record reports that 50-year-old John Edward Lewton made the plea Thursday in Great Falls.

Lewton was charged last month with two misdemeanor counts of engaging in commercial activity for financial gain on public land without a license. Authorities say Lewton illegally filmed hunts in 2008 in the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument and on national forest land in lower Rock Creek near Clinton.

Last year juries in Jefferson and Chouteau counties acquitted Lewton of illegal outfitting, possession of a game animal and trespassing, charges stemming from an undercover Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks investigation.

During the sting operation, an undercover game warden shot a huge bighorn sheep.

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Information from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com

Copyright 2011 The AP.

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