Minnesota Poacher Who Killed 700-Pound Bear Charged With Trespassing and Wildlife Trafficking

Poacher removed the head of a 700-pound bear and left the rest behind.

Almost a year after a notorious poaching incident, a Minnesota man has pleaded guilty to counts of trespassing and wildlife trafficking on a Native American Reservation. The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the news stemming from a September 2019 poaching incident in a press release.

According to the release, 41-year-old Brett James Stimac pleaded guilty to the misdemeanors on September 17 in U.S. District Court in St. Paul.

Authorities say that last September, Stimac sneaked onto the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians Reservation with permission and ended up poaching the gargantuan bruin with a bow.

Bears have a deep spiritual importance to the Chippewa, which is why the tribe does not allow non-tribal members to hunt the animals. Authorities say Stimac shot the animal while it was hanging out near a garbage dump on the reservation. Because of the bear's massive size, he was unable to remove it from the crime scene. Instead, Stimac allegedly cut off the head with a saw and left the rest of the bear's body to rot.

Stimac shot the bear on September 1, 2019 and returned the next day to take the head and take photos of the animal, which he then shared on his social media channels. He later took the bear's head to a taxidermist.

The poacher was hit with the charges in December 2019 after an investigation by the Red Lake DNR, Minnesota DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

As often seems to happen with these cases, it turns out this is not Simac's first run-in with the law. The Duluth News Tribune did a dive into Simac's background and found a bevy of other convictions dating back to 1999. He was charged with illegal transportation of big game in 2008. He has also been convicted for disorderly conduct, second degree felony assault, receiving stolen property, felon in possession of a firearm, and criminal damage to property.

The press release did not state what punishments were forthcoming in this latest case.

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