Minnesota bear poacher gets 15-month prison sentence

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A Minnesota man has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for wildlife trafficking and illegally killing a 700-pound black bear while trespassing on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

Brett James Stimac, 41, of Brainerd, was sentenced Wednesday in St. Paul by Judge Susan Richard Nelson. Stimac, who removed the bear’s head and left the carcass to rot, also was fined $9,500, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Court documents show that Stimac, on Sept. 1, 2019, trespassed onto the reservation and shot the bear near a trash dump with archery gear.

He returned the next day and captured an image showing himself posing with the carcass, which he shared via social media. (Click here to view the image.)

Stimac then removed the bear’s head, which he delivered to a taxidermist outside Brainerd.

Black bears have cultural significance to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. Hunting by non-Indians is not permitted.

The investigation was conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Red Lake Department of Public Safety, the Red Lake Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

–Black bear image atop this post is generic