Felony Conviction Handed Down

Felony Given For Wisconsin Bear Hunting Violation

Barren News, Bear Hunting Magazine

Because he provided false information to a federal agent, a Minnesota man now has a felony conviction on his record. Walt Palmer of Eden Prairie was sentenced in federal court last week for his involvement in killing a 550 pound black bear in Price County.

Palmer who was a client on a guided bear hunt, also paid a $3,038 fine along with Chad Barth and Trent Waggoner who were charged with misdemeanors and fined $305 each. The men were part of group of about 10 hunters using dogs that harvested the bear about 70 miles outside of their authorized hunting zone during the fall of 2006. According to Brian Knepper, the Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden who investigated the case, the group conspired to use a story that the bear was shot in Washburn County where the bear permit would have been valid.

Knepper said the case was sent to federal court in Madison because Palmer knew the bear was harvested illegally and took it across state lines from Wisconsin to Minnesota. Bringing animals harvested illegally across state lines is a violation of the Lacey Act, a federal offense. Warden Knepper and US Fish and Wildlife Agent Gary Jagodzinski were the lead investigators in the case and received assistance from other Wisconsin wardens, a Minnesota warden, and an Iowa Warden. Knepper learned of the activity through a confidential tip.

"We all have made poor decisions in our lives no matter how big or small, but the true lesson in all of this is to tell the truth and take responsibilities for your own actions," Knepper said.

This concludes a case Knepper has worked on for nearly two years prior to his leaving his post at Spooner. He was recently promoted to an Environmental Warden working out of the Eau Claire office. The bear is considered a trophy animal and will be mounted and displayed at the Spooner DNR service center.

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