By William Wilcoxen
A northwestern Minnesota man is charged with more than a dozen counts of poaching bear and deer.
WCCO reports the Department of Natural Resources filed the charges against Keith Slick, 32, of Baudette, a self-professed bear hunting guide. According to the report, Slick made conflicting statements to a conservation officer who approached him at his bear bait station.
The DNR says a subsequent search of Slick’s home turned up many bear skulls and capes and six sets of deer antlers. The agency says Slick has not registered an animal with the DNR in the last ten years.
KARE-11′s story lists 16 charges against Slick and says other suspected offenses are not being prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired. If he’s convicted, the DNR says Slick could lose his hunting privileges for three years and be charged up to $4,500 in fines.
Minnesota’s bear hunting regulations limit hunters to one animal and require that all bears and bait stations be registered.
In other parts of the world – particularly Asian countries – bear poaching has been tied to a black market for certain body parts that are used in folk medicines. But a Minnesota DNR biologist told National Geographic a few years ago the problem is miniscule in North America.
In Minnesota a non-profit group called Turn In Poachers operates a 24-hour tip line (1-800-652-9093) and provides reward money to those who report violations.