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Minn. man pleads guilty to poaching black bear on Red Lake reservation

By Paul Walsh, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in News & Features

MINNEAPOLIS - A Brainerd man pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally killing a 700-pound black bear while trespassing on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

Brett James Stimac, 41, entered the plea to misdemeanor wildlife trafficking and trespassing on Indian land after removing the head of the bear, according to the U.S. Attorney's office for the District of Minnesota.

Stimac shot the bear with a compound bow near a trash bin on Sept. 1, 2019. The bear ran away, but when Stimac found it the next day, he sawed off its head and paws to keep as trophies, the complaint said.

Charges said Stimac couldn't move the bear, so he first tried to take its hide. When that didn't work, he cut off the bear's head, paws and 71 pounds of meat, leaving it on the reservation.

Stimac later posted a photo of himself with the bear on Facebook with the caption saying he "got it done last night with an absolute giant over 700 pounds."

 

The image circulated among online hunting groups, drawing outrage from some who condemned the poaching. The Red Lake Band considers the bear a spiritual animal and does not permit nontribal members to hunt bears.

Stimac is free on a $25,000 bond. The plea does not come with an agreement on his sentence.

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