A Minnesota man was sentenced to prison for beheading a black bear on Native American land.
A Minnesota man has been sentenced to prison for beheading a 700-pound black bear while trespassing on Native American grounds and then posting images of the carcass online.
After the incident on September 1, 2019, at the Red Lake reservation in northwestern Minnesota, Brett James Stimac, 41, of Brainerd, was sentenced to 15 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release. In addition, he was fined $9,500.
According to court documents, Stimac, who is not an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, wilfully, knowingly and without authorization or permission entered the reservation that evening for the purposes of hunting a bear.
Prosecutors said Stimac shot and killed a huge American black bear near the reservation’s garbage dump using a compound bow.
Stimac arrived the next day and discovered the bear’s bloody remains. He took pictures with the carcass and then shared the photos on social media.
Because of its size, Stimac was unable to remove the bear off the reservation. Instead, he took the bear’s head with a saw and kept it as a trophy.
Stimac, according to court filings, took the bear’s head to an Ironton taxidermist and left the rest of the carcass to rot.
The Minnesota District Attorney’s Office said in a statement that “the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians does not permit non-Indians to hunt bear, one of the Band’s seven clan animals, within the boundaries of the Red Lake Indian Reservation, due to the bear’s cultural and spiritual importance to the Band.”
In September 2020, Stimac pleaded guilty to wildlife trafficking and trespassing on Native American grounds.
Stimac’s lawyer, Brian Toder, claims the animal was already dead when he discovered it.
“That doesn’t make him not guilty of violating the charges, but the facts are considerably different than when this was first brought to everyone’s attention,” Toder told the Associated Press last September.
“My client came upon a dead bear, is what happened. It had been dead for a while, actually. He did make up a story about how he shot the bear, but he never did. It was just a story.”
Stimac was handed the prison sentence at a federal court by Judge Susan Richard Nelson.
The case against him followed an. This is a brief summary.