A Minnesota man who trespassed on Red Lake Indian Reservation land, illicitly killed a 700-pound black bear, then returned the following day to take photos and saw off the animal's head, will spend more than a year in prison
Brett James Stimac, of Brainerd, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison followed by a year of supervised release, plus a $9,500 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office District of Minnesota. The 41-year-old had pleaded guilty in September of 2020 to wildlife trafficking and trespassing on Indian land.
According to the allegations, Stimac on Sept. 1, 2019, entered the Red Lake Indian Reservation with the goal of hunting a bear.
He is not an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and the band doesn't permit non-members to hunt bear on its land. The bear is one of the seven principle clans of the band, and holds spiritual and cultural significance. (The others are turtle, bullhead, mink, eagle, marten and kingfisher.)
But that day, Stimac - without permission - shot and killed a 700-pound black bear with a compound bow near the garbage dump.
The following day, he came back to the site and took photos with the bear's carcass, which he then shared on social media. He wasn't able to move the bear, so instead, sawed off the bear's head for a trophy. He brought the head to a taxidermist in Ironton, Minnesota, and left the other remains of the bear to rot.
Stimac had previously been convicted of illegally transporting big game in 2008 and deer hunting violations in 2011, according to online court records.