Brainerd man sentenced to more than a year in prison for illegal bear kill on Red Lake Reservation

Featured photo: Stimac poses with the bear shot at the Red Lake Reservation’s garbage dump

A federal judge sentenced a Brainerd man to more than a year in prison and a $9,500 fine for wildlife trafficking and trespassing.

On Sept. 1, 2019, 39-year-old Brett Stimac shot a 700-pound black bear near the Red Lake Reservation’s garbage dump with a compound bow.

He returned a day later and located the carcass and took pictures with it. Because of the bear’s massive size, he used a saw to cut off the bear’s head.

Stimac then brought the bear’s head to a taxidermist in Ironton to be turned into a trophy.

The Red Lake Nation does not permit non-Indians to hunt bear within their reservation.

The “makwa,” or black bear, is one of seven clan animals of the Red Lake Band and has cultural and spiritual significance.

In addition to 15 months of prison time and a fine, Stimac will spend one year on supervised release and was also banned from the Red Lake Reservation.


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 son Logan, daughter Brigid, and pets Vincent and Piper. She also loves reading, Star Trek, and gardening... badly.


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