Two men face a slew of charges in what looks to be the largest poaching case in Minnesota's history.
A two-year investigation by the Minnesota DNR, which began as the result of a tip for a wolf caught in a snare, has resulted in poaching charges against two men. The pair are accused of running 638 illegally set snares.
"That is such a number that it's unheard of," said Tom Provost, DNR regional enforcement supervisor in Grand Rapids. "This number of sets has not been surpassed in Minnesota before. Our average for fail-to-attend traps or snares would be one to 10. Ten would be a big number in any other case."
Douglas Anthony Marana, 70, and Roderick Robert Kottom, 68, of Chisholm, northern Minnesota, were charged with gross misdemeanors for illegally taking or possessing pine marten, otter, fisher and wolverine. The pair was also charged for failing to tend snares daily and for making snare loops too large. It is also alleged that the snares weren't properly identified. Officers also seized 17 foxes, five snowshoe hares, two fisher, and one deer that had been taken illegally.
Using technology to their advantage, conservation officers obtained a warrant that allowed them to place a tracking device on Kottom's vehicle. Subsequently, during a search of Marana's residence, a GPS device was found that contained waypoints to traps.
Although Marana has a clean record in relation to wildlife offences, Kottom has previous convictions.
If found guilty, the pair face one year in prison and $3,000 in fines.