Posted on Sat, Jun. 18, 2005
BY MARK STODGHILL
NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
A Soudan man, whose attorney says is "too good a trapper for his own
good," pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of small-game gross
Fred Paul Precht, 50, admitted in St. Louis County District Court in
Virginia that he took more than his legal limit of pine marten and
Under the terms of a plea agreement negotiated by Eveleth defense
attorney Bruce Williams, five other counts of small-game gross
overlimits and a count of failure to comply with game and fish laws were
Judge James Florey ordered Precht to pay $5,660 in restitution to the
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and a $900 fine to the St.
Louis County court administrator.
Precht also loses his hunting and trapping privileges for five years.
"That will have a significant impact on Mr. Precht's life," Williams
said. "Mr. Precht has no prior record, he is remorseful and accepts
responsibility for his actions."
The charges resulted from a December investigation into Precht's
trapping activities near Isabella, Minn., according to DNR. DNR
conservation officers Marty Stage of Babbitt and Kipp Duncan of Two
Harbors encountered Precht in the woods near Isabella checking traps.
Upon discovering that he had more traps out than he initially
acknowledged, they followed Precht to his home in Soudan and obtained a
search warrant to check for furs.
The officers found 44 pine martens, 13 fishers, eight otters, 12
mink, 85 packages of beaver (some with more than one beaver), 31
muskrats and two raccoons, the DNR said. A trapper may take only five
pine martens and fishers combined in one season. The limit on otters is
four. There is no limit on beavers, muskrats, mink or raccoons.
"Fred's going fishing this weekend, and he doesn't want me to tell
anyone where," Williams said and laughed.
MARK STODGHILL reports on legal affairs and public safety. He can be
reached weekdays at (218) 723-5333 or by e-mail at