Brainerd man pleads guilty to wildlife trafficking, trespassing on Red Lake Reservation

Featured photo: Brett Stimac poses with a black bear carcass. The photograph was obtained from social media. 

A Brainerd man entered a guilty plea in the federal court Thursday to wildlife trafficking and trespassing on Indian Land.

According to a release, Brett James Stimac, 41, removed the head of a 700 pound black bear on the Red Lake Reservation.

Stimac was charged on Dec. 6, 2019, and, according to the plea and documents filed in court, used a compound bow to shoot and kill a large American black bear near the reservation’s garbage dump around Sept. 1, 2019.

Stimac is not an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band, and did not have authorization or permission to hunt there.

Because of the bear’s large size, Stimac was unable to remove the bear, and used a saw to remove the bear’s head for a trophy. Stimac posed for photographs with the bear’s carcass and shared the photos on social media.

Stimac brought the head to a taxidermist in Ironton and left the remainder of the carcass to spoil.

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians does not permit non-Indians to hunt bear, a clan animal, within the boundaries of the Red Lake Indian Reservation, due to the bear’s spiritual importance to the Band.

Both of Stimac’s charges are misdemeanors.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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