BAUDETTE, Minn. - A northern Minnesota hunting guide faces dozens of criminal counts and thousands in fines in connection with the poaching of numerous bear and deer.
During Minnesota's fall bear hunting season state conservation officer Robert Gorecki of Baudette located an active bear bait station belonging to 32-year-old alleged bear guide Keith R. Slick of Baudette.
Conflicting statements made to the conservation officer led to a search of Slick's home where numerous bear capes and skulls, as well as deer antler sets were seized.
"There were no possession or registration tags found with any of the bears. The bears did not have any cuts in their ears that would indicate that a site tag was attached at any time in the past," Gorecki said.
A check of DNR records indicated that Slick had not registered an adult male deer or bear in the past 10 years.
A cell phone seized during the investigation also contained pictures of Slick with a dead bear. Numerous text messages were also found with Slick telling people about the bear he had shot. Other text messages from Slick stated that he had shot seven bears in his life.
The DNR says only two of the six antler sets recovered had site tags on them, but from individuals other than Slick.
"Mr. Slick had multiple unexplainable deer racks," Gorecki said. "A third set of antlers were from an unregistered road-killed deer, and he was unsure where the remaining sets of antlers came from."
Slick was charged Nov. 1 in Lake of the Woods County Court with two counts of possessing an over limit of bear, three instances of unlawful possession of deer, two gross misdemeanor charges of unlawfully transporting a bear (mandatory court appearance), failure to register a second bear, failure to tag a second bear, illegal possession of a car-killed deer, untagged big game animal (bear), no bear outfitter/guides license, unlawful transfer/lend or borrow of license, failure to register bear bait stations, hunting within 100 yards of an unregistered bear bait station, and placing bait for bear without a license.
There were additional violations committed but the statute of limitations had expired on them.
Slick faces nearly $4,500 in fines and restitution. A firearm and bow were also seized during the investigation. If convicted Slick's hunting privileges could be revoked for three years.
Slick is scheduled to appear in Lake of the Woods County Court in December.
Anyone witnessing a fish or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the 24-hour, toll-free Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093. Cell phone users can dial #TIP.
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