Two men in Minnesota face a number of charges stemming from an extensive Department of Natural Resources investigation that is said to be the largest poaching/trapping case ever in the state.
Minnesota DNR officers accused Douglas Anthony Marana, 70, and Roderick Robert Kottom, 68, both of Chisholm, Minn., of setting 638 illegal snares and poaching a variety of animals, according to the Duluth News Tribune. (Read more here)
The newspaper said the men were charged Monday in State District Court in Duluth with four counts of illegal trapping activities, along with a number of misdemeanors, including illegal possession of several animals, such as pine marten, otter, fisher or wolverine, according to the newspaper report. Other charges included failure to check snares daily and using snares too large.
Chisholm is located in northern Minnesota to the northwest of Duluth and Lake Superior.
Officers also seized 17 foxes, 5 snowshoe hares, 2 fishers, and 1 deer, presumably taken illegally by the suspected poachers.
The charges came after a long investigation by conservation officers, which started in 2014 when the DNR was called to a report of a wolf caught in a snare. That led to the discovery of other snares nearby, then eventually to all of them.
"That [638 snares] is such a number that it's unheard of," DNR spokesman Tom Provost said. "This number of sets has not been surpassed in Minnesota before. Our average for fail-to-attend traps or snares would be one to 10. Ten would be a big number in any other case."
The men face a maximum of 1 year in prison and fines up to $3,000.