Wall of Shame

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In an effort to draw attention to the impact of poaching, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has developed a "Wall of Shame" display of various wildlife mounts that were confiscated as a result of arrests for violations of Minnesota Game Laws. The display will be unveiled during the Wildlife Heritage Association's Minnesota Deer Classic March 15-17 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights.

"This display includes examples of the many animals that were seized by Minnesota conservation officers from persons involved in illegal hunting activities in Minnesota," said Col. Bill Bernhjelm, DNR Enforcement Division chief. "People who take wildlife illegally are not sportsmen. They are criminals."

The Wall of Shame is modeled after a Wall of Shame that has made a strong impression on visitors to the Northern Wisconsin Deer Classic and Sports Show in Eau Claire.

The Minnesota Wall of Shame includes a deer taken illegally in Fillmore County in 1997. The party paid a $3,000 fine, lost their hunting privileges for three years, lost their hunting equipment, and were required to attend a DNR advanced hunter education class. The deer scored 199-3/8 on the Boone & Crockett scale, which would have qualified it for the all-time record book.

Another mount is a deer that was shot in Houston County in 1999. The party shot the deer while bowhunting and then called a friend in Hastings to come down and tag it. The shooter had already used his tag. The shooter paid $1,150 in fines and restitution, received a three-year loss of his big game privileges, and lost his PSE Compound Bow. The deer officially scored at 171-3/8 on the Boone & Crockett scale, which would have qualified it for the all-time record book.

Also displayed is a black bear illegally killed during closed season. The bear was taken to a taxidermist, who knew the bear was illegal, but agreed to mount the bear anyway. The bear was displayed as a trophy animal. The local conservation officer was contacted, who completed the investigation and made the arrest.

"Anyone who takes wildlife out of season, through illegal methods or over the lawful limit, is stealing from the rest of the citizens of this state," Bernhjelm said. "These poachers cast a dark shadow on those who hunt through lawful and ethical means."

In calendar year 2001, Minnesota conservation officers issued 11,124 summons and 13,224 warnings for violations of state game laws. In addition, 111 angling, 81 big game and 35 small game letters of license revocation were sent to violators. Game and fish fines totaled $210,298, and restitution totaled $83,156.