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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2005

Soudan trapper pleads guilty

Jim Romsaas
Mesabi Daily News
Last Updated: Saturday, June 18th, 2005 12:01:37 AM

VIRGINIA — A 49-year-old Soudan man plead guilty to two counts of trapping violations Friday and must pay $5,660 in restitution, a District Court official said.

Fred Paul Precht plead guilty to being over the limit of pine marten and over the limit of fisher. Five other similar counts were dismissed.

On both counts, Precht was sentenced concurrently to one year in the County Jail and a $3,000 fine, which were both stayed for one year of probation and a $900 fine. The probation goes to unsupervised release once the fine and restitution (to the Department of Natural Resources) are paid off.

Defense attorney Bruce Williams said he also lost his small game and trapping privileges for five years.

Williams said he and his client were hoping for a better result, but he respects the court’s ruling.

For Precht, Williams said it was a practical matter to plead guilty and cut his losses.

As part of the plea agreement, Precht admitted that he was over the limit on both pine marten and fisher, Williams said.

He added there were a lot of people out there that wanted the case continued, but Precht made the decision to take responsibility.

The charges stem from a case last December near Isabella.

According to the criminal complaint, Precht was in possession of 36 pine marten, 12 mink, seven otter, and 13 fisher. A further search of the kitchen refrigerator/freezer of the Precht house resulted in the following animals seized: one otter, two muskrat, and five pine marten.

The limits for the wild animals, according to the 2004 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations, are as follows:

• Pine marten and fisher, 5 combined.

• Otter, 4.

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