A Brainerd man illegally shot and killed a 700-pound black bear on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, then sawed off the animal’s head and paws for a trophy while leaving most of its carcass behind, according to a criminal complaint filed with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota on Friday.
Brett James Stimac, 40, faces federal misdemeanor charges for illegal wildlife tracking and trespassing on Indian lands for allegedly shooting the bear with a compound bow near a dumpster on the reservation on Sept. 1.
The bear ran away, and Stimac and his girlfriend found it the next day.
“Got it done lastnight [sic] with an absolute giant over 700 lbs.,” Stimac wrote on Facebook alongside a photo of him posing with the bear’s carcass, according to charges. The photo circulated among some online hunting groups.
Charges say Stimac couldn’t move the dead bear, so he tried to take its hide, but failed.
Instead he used a saw to cut off its head, paws and 71 pounds of meat, according to the charges.
Stimac left the rest of the carcass and at least one dismembered bear paw on the reservation.
The Red Lake Band considers the bear a spiritual animal and does not permit nontribal members to hunt them.
On Sept. 16, law enforcement seized the bear’s head from a taxidermist, where Stimac had taken it. Officers also recovered the bear meat from Stimac’s home.
Stimac, who could not be reached for comment, has a lengthy history of illegal hunting. Past convictions include illegally transporting big game, hunting deer over bait and several counts of hunting without a proper license.
Stimac will appear in front of a federal magistrate.
Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036