Jon Bedard, Published December 20 2009
Conduct of DNR officer raises serious questionsOn Nov. 24, I was on my way to work in Drayton, N.D. I travel from Lancaster, Minn., a 37-mile ride with an abundance of deer along the way. I hit a deer. I had a half-hour to get to work, so I checked my pickup for damage and looked in the ditch for the deer, but it had run off. So I went to work.
The next morning, a couple of buddies and I went back and found the deer, which was lying in someone’s farm yard, maybe 100 feet from their house and about 150 feet from where I hit it. The deer was a large 10-point buck with a magnificent rack. I called the Sheriff’s Department and reported it. I asked if I could keep the deer and they said yes and that they would mail a permit. Then, someone called the Department of Natural Resources about the deer and they sent an agent from the Stephen, Minn., office.
This officer bragged about the 22 years in law enforcement. He came to my house and looked at the deer, which I had skinned out and hung. My buddy had removed the head and taken it to Strandquist, Minn. The officer checked the body of the deer and found crushed bones on one side of it. He found a hole in the leg where a broken bone had poked through and accused me of shooting the deer. So, I went to Strandquist and got the head and he went to where the deer was hit, about five miles from Drayton. He still found no evidence of the deer being shot.
He waited on a crossing about five miles west of Karlstad. When I arrived, he walked straight to my truck and took the head. He told me he was keeping the head with the spectacular rack and would not write a permit. But he told me I could have the meat.
If he believed I shot the deer, he should have kept the complete deer for evidence and written me a ticket. So my question is: Does the DNR collect trophy antlers, or did the DNR officer just steal my rack to sell for extra Christmas money?