Skip to main content

SE Minn. woman pleads not guilty to gopher feet theft

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A Preston, Minn. woman is going to trial after being accused of stealing frozen gopher feet worth thousands of dollars.

The Rochester Post Bulletin reports 37-year-old Tina Marie Garrison and her 18-year-old son, Junior Lee Dillon, were charged for allegedly swiping evidence of the pests, which are known for damaging cropland, from a gopher trapper in Fillmore County. Gopher feet sell for about $3 per pair.

The newspaper reports the owner contacted local townships that offer bounties for gophers. He found that Dillon and Garrison turned in nearly $5,000 in gopher feet last November and December.

The complaint states that Dillon, who was a frequent visitor at the owner's home, denied taking them.

Garrison claimed that she received the feet from her oldest son who said he got them from a friend. Garrison told investigators that she was asked to collect the reward money because her son and his friend had to work and were unable turn them in.

Dillon is awaiting an omnibus hearing on July 29.

Gopher hunting has been a long-standing tradition in southeast Minnesota. The 139th Annual Gopher Count, which originated with local farmers competing to collect the most gopher feet, begins Thursday in Viola, Minn.

The practice is also a way to make a living in some areas.

“Old, retired guys hunt for them and collect the bounty and live off the money. It’s what they do," a Gopher Count event spokesperson said in a 2008 report.

Next Up


Minnesota Board of Pharmacy files lawsuit against 3 THC edible retailers

The board has received 46 complaints in the past four months regarding the products.

Screen Shot 2022-12-05 at 2.53.55 PM

ATF now investigating fire at Lyndale Avenue apartment building

It was the second fire at a vacant building owned by the same landlord that was being used by squatters in the past few months.


Let the good times roll

Minnesota Roller Derby is back!


Beloved restaurant in southeastern MN to close after 40 years

A final night of celebrations is scheduled for Dec. 17.


MN town shelves ordinance allowing residents to sue abortion providers

Attorney General Keith Ellison advised the town to not go forward with the ordinance.

Spring Street Tavern

Man shot dead inside Minneapolis tavern is identified

The suspect is being held on probable cause murder.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes to play U.S. Bank Stadium in 2023

The Strokes will provide support along with King Princess.

Mall of America exterior Tyler Vigen Wikimedia COmmons

Settlement reached between MOA, family of boy thrown from balcony

The boy suffered multiple injuries that required several surgeries.

Pixabay - police crime tape do not cross stock

Body found in burned out car near Bird Island

The Renville County Sheriff's Office is investigating.


Man pleads not guilty in dog-kicking case

A 27-year-old Rochester man pleaded not guilty Friday to two counts of mistreating animals, one for torture and the other for cruelty, in Olmsted County District Court. Jarek Moen is accused of kicking the dog of his girlfriend, who is a Rochester police officer. The dog died. A September trial date was set, although a settlement is being sought.

Violent SE Minn. storm knocks out power, starts fires

A thunderstorm shook southeastern Minnesota early Wednesday morning that whipped up large hail and 60- to 75-mph winds in some areas and littered streets with debris. Lightning sparked at least one house fire in Rochester, where utility crews scrambled to restore power amid scattered outages.