Brainerd Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Black Bear on Indian Land
RED LAKE -- A Brainerd man has pleaded guilty to killing a black bear on a Minnesota Indian Reservation.
The United States Attorney says 41-year-old Brett Stimac pleaded guilty to wildlife trafficking and trespassing on Indian land after removing the head of the 700 pound bear on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.
According to court documents on the evening of September 1st of 2019 Stimac entered the reservation for the purposes of hunting a bear. The government says he used a compound bow, shot and killed the bear near a garbage dump. The next day Stimac returned to the dump to find the carcass. He posed for photographs with the bear and because of the bear's large size he was unable to move the bear, so instead, he used a saw to remove the head. He brought the head to a taxidermist in Ironton and left the remainder of the carcass to spoil.
Stimac's attorney, Brian Toder, contends that though Stimac originally lied about shooting the bear, the animal was already dead when his client found it.
The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians does not permit non-Indians to hunt bear due to the bear's spiritual importance to them.