The hunter is charged with trespassing on a Native American reservation, alongside the poaching of a 700 lb. black bear.
Brett James Stimac, a 41-year-old from Brainerd, has pleaded guilty to several crimes he committed. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Minnesota, Stimac removed the head of the bear before charges were brought. The charges include three misdemeanors: wildlife trafficking, poaching, and trespassing on the Red Lake Band’s land.
Authorities then clarify that Stimac was unable to move the bear himself. As a result, he first tried to take its hide. When he was also incapable of this – he “cut off the bear’s head, paws and 71 pounds of meat, leaving the remains” to rot on the Native American Reservation.
Poaching is Not Hunting
Stimac used a compound bow for the poaching of the black bear, authorities state. The bear was cornered near a trash bin on Sept. 1, 2019. To make matters worse, the location of Stimac’s arrow shows the bear was running away when he shot it. Stimac then reportedly went out looking for the bear the next day. When he found it, he “sawed off its head and paws to keep as trophies”.
While the man is referred to as a “hunter” by sources, the poaching violation and criminal charge will stay on his record. Law-abiding sportsmen do not poach, and actively condemn the act – as any law-abiding citizen should.
Laws on poaching, however, vary by state. In most U.S. states, poaching is a misdemeanor. Only by a third offence is it a poacher charged with a felony.
Black Bear is a Sacred Animal to Native Americans
Luckily for authorities, Stimac follows his crimes with another dumbfounding decision. After the poaching, the criminally-charged man decides to post a photo of himself with the bear on Facebook. His caption reads: “got it done last night with an absolute giant over 700 pounds.”
Once the image began circulating within hunting groups, it would only be a matter of time before he was caught. The photo drew outrage from hunting communities online – with dozens of hunters condemning the poaching and Stimac’s trespassing on Reservation land.
Black bears are sacred to many Native American tribes. The Red Lake Band, in particular, considers the bear a totemic spiritual animal – and does not permit nontribal members to hunt bears.
The poacher is currently free on a $25,000 bond.