Four U.S. residents and a Minaki-area lodge have been fined a total of $13,050 after an investigation into hunting and fishing activities at the remote tourist resort.
Edward Henn of Zimmerman, Minnesota, an owner of Tetu Island Lodge, pleaded guilty and was fined $1,000 for providing false information to a conservation officer, $1,000 for licence issuing violations, $2,750 for angling without a licence, and $500 for failing to keep funds in trust. Tetu Island Lodge was fined $500 for possessing illegally killed wildlife. Zeke Thompson of North Branch, Minnesota, pleaded guilty and was fined $2,000 for unlawfully hunting black bear within 400 metres of a waste disposal site, $1,500 for hunting black bear without a licence, and $1,500 for making a false statement to a conservation officer. Thompson is also prohibited from hunting for one year. Steven Devick of Oakbrook, Illinois, pleaded guilty and was fined $1,000 for unlawfully hunting black bear within 400 metres of a waste disposal site and $500 for abandoning flesh suitable for human consumption. John Kugler of Sargent, Nebraska, pleaded guilty and was fined $800 for failing to fully validate a non-resident bear hunting licence.
Upon investigation, conservation officers discovered the pelt, head and claws of a large black bear in the Tetu Island Lodge. The investigation determined that Thompson and Devick had attended the Minaki waste disposal site on September 4, 2013, where Devick used a crossbow to shoot a large bear. Thompson skinned the bear at the landfill and left the carcass behind. Thompson and Devick returned to Tetu Island Lodge, where the parts of the bear retained were placed in a freezer.
During their investigation, officers also found irregularities in the lodge’s hunting and fishing licence issuance system and determined that between September 20, 2012, and September 30, 2012, Henn had issued temporary Outdoors Cards to several guests but failed to issue fishing licences even though a valid fishing licence was included in the cost of their stay. As a result, several guests fished without licences. Officers later determined that Henn also failed to remit funds for issuing licences for 2013.
The ministry reminds the public that hunting regulations are in place to maintain sustainable resources so that hunters may enjoy them in the future.