Minnesota Man Gets 15 Months In Jail For Killing Bear Illegally On Reservation

Brett Stimac was arrested after posting images of the bruin he poached to social media

Minnesota federal Judge Susan Nelson sentenced Brett James Stimac, 39, to 15 months in prison followed by a year of supervised released and a $9,500 fine for trespassing on the Red Lake reservation and killing a 700-pound black bear, according to CBS Minnesota.

Stimac used a bow to kill the bear near the reservation’s garbage dump on Sept. 1, but could not move the bear due to its size. He returned Sept. 2 with his girlfriend, posing for photos with the dead bear and posting them to social media, boasting the bear weighed over 700 pounds.

Stimac tried to remove the bear hide, but failed. Instead he sawed off the bear’s head and paws, took about 71 pounds of meat, and left the rest of the carcass, according to case files. Stimac took the bear’s head to a taxidermist in Ironton, Minnesota, to be mounted.

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Brian Toder, Stimac’s attorney, said Stimac originally lied about shooting the bear, alleging the bruin already was dead when he found it.

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Native Americans does not permit non-Native Americans to hunt bears on its reservation land. The Red Lake tribe attributes special cultural and spiritual importance to bears, one of seven animals that are so revered.