Brainerd man gets 15 months in prison for poaching black bear

ST. PAUL — A Brainerd, Minn., man will spend 15 months in prison after illegally killing a huge black bear on the Red Lake Reservation in 2019.

Brett Stimac, 41, was sentenced Wednesday, June 9, in federal court in St. Paul. He also was sentenced to a year of supervised release after his prison time and a $9,500 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Stimac pleaded guilty in September to misdemeanor charges of wildlife trafficking and trespassing on Indian land. Prosecutors said Stimac killed the bear, estimated at 700 pounds — nearly triple the average size of a Minnesota black bear — with a compound bow near the reservation’s garbage dump.

Stimac shot the bear Sept. 1, 2019, and returned to the dump the next day and posed for photographs with the carcass. He later shared the photographs on social media.

Because of the bear’s large size, Stimac was not able to move the bear from the reservation. Instead, he used a saw to cut off the bear’s head for a trophy — bringing the head to a taxidermist in Ironton, Minn., and leaving the rest of the carcass to spoil.

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