Brainerd man pleads not guilty to illegal hunting in Red Lake

During a Wednesday federal court appearance in Duluth, a Brainerd man entered a not guilty plea to a charge of illegally killing a 700-pound black bear.

According to the federal complaint, 40-year-old Brett James Stimac was trespassing on the Red Lake Indian Reservation when he shot the bear with a compound bow Sept. 1. 

Non-Indians cannot hunt bear on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, according to tribal law.

The bear–or makwa, in Ojibwe–is a clan animal and has spiritual significance to the Band.

The animal ran away, but when Stimac found it the next day, he cut off the head and paws to keep as trophies. 

He later posted a picture of himself with the bear on Facebook, shown in this article. 

If convicted, he could spend a year in prison and pay a fine. 


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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