After a five year investigation, four Minnesota poachers have been charged with the illegal killing of dozens of big game animals.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) concluded a five-year investigation of a poaching case in western Minnesota with the seizure of 37 guns, 28 sets of deer antlers (mostly trophy caliber), four sets of elk antlers, a set of mule deer antlers, and a fully intact piebald deer in the freezer.
Four men have been charged for the illegal killing of these animals. However, the Lac qui Parle County District Court charged Joshua Liebl, 37, of Dawson, Minnesota with the majority of the counts. Liebl was convicted of illegal shining in South Dakota in 2013 and lost his Minnesota hunting license that year. According to Minnesota’s DNR Lieutenant Gary Nordseth, Liebl has registered only four deer since 2004.
Liebl now faces gross misdemeanor and misdemeanor charges for transporting illegally-taken big game, using artificial light while hunting, hunting at a prohibited time, trespassing, and failure to register deer. If convicted of the charges, Liebl would lose several years of his hunting license privileges and be faced with fines and restitution.
The MDNR’s Captain Cory Palmer stated he’d never seen such an extreme case of poaching in 17 years with the agency.
“This is taking away from hunters and people who just want to watch deer,” said Palmer.
As the confiscations were underway at Liebl’s residence, there was a freshly killed eight-point buck in the back. The buck was seized along with a scoped rifle, a shotgun, rounds of ammunition, a spotlight, and Liebl’s truck.
Dustin Shourds, the regional director for the Minnesota Deer Hunter’s Association in Montevideo, stated,
Everybody heard rumors about [Liebl] at the barbershop and that kind of thing. When it all came down, it was quite a shock.
Three other men were charged with gross misdemeanors or misdemeanors in connection with the case. They include:
Kevin J. Martinson, 58, of Plymouth, MN, accused of illegally lending or borrowing a deer license.
Nathan J. Viessman, 32, of Watson, MN, accused of illegal party hunting, lending or borrowing a deer license, exceeding the limit of deer taken, and failure to register deer.
Daniel J. Lien, 33, of Dawson, MN, a passenger in Liebl’s truck when it was stopped, accused of aiding and abetting unlawful transportation of big game.
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