Brett Stimac sentenced: Brainerd, MN hunter gets 15 months jail for beheading 700 pound black bear on Red Lake Indian Reservation. History of infractions.
Brett Stimac, from Brainerd, MN, posed with pictures of the carcass on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in 2019.
Stimac, 41, was sentenced to 15 months jail by a federal judge on Wednesday, along with a year of supervised release. He was also handed a $9,500 fine.
In September 2020, Stimac pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of animal trafficking and trespassing on Indian land. The plea came after having previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.
However, his lawyer alleges that only half of the federal government’s case is accurate. He said Stimac originally lied about killing the bear after he posted pictures with it on Facebook, and that it was already dead when Stimac found it.
Beheaded bear’s head for trophy
Prosecutors said that Stimac killed the bear with a compound bow near the reservation’s garbage dump, and came back later to remove the bear’s head as a trophy, along with other parts of its body.
Those who are not members of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians are not permitted by them to hunt bear on the reservation’s land.
Bears are a clan animal and possess a great spiritual significance to the Band, and Stimac is not an enrolled member of the tribe.
Authorities accused Stimac of killing the bear on September 1, 2019, and returning to the reservation with his girlfriend.
There, they say he posed for photos with the bear’s carcass and posted the pictures to Facebook, along with a message claiming the bears weighed over 700 pounds.
Because of its size, he was unable to move the bear. He went back to the reservation on September 3 and attempted to remove the bear’s hide.
When he failed to do that, he used a saw to remove the bear’s head and paws, and took around 71 pounds of meat, the court documents – seen by CBS Minnesota – allege, with the charges saying he left the carcass and at least one paw behind.
According to the Duluth News Tribune, Stimac has a long criminal history in the state of Minnesota – including the illegal transportation of big game in 2008.
The Tribune found he also had convictions for criminal damage to property in 2014, a possession of a firearm felony in 2011, received stolen property in 2009 and 2000, second-degree felony assault with a dangerous weapon in 2008, and disorderly conduct in 1999.