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MN/MT: Inver Grove Heights family cited for Montana hunting violations

May 19, 2010

Inver Grove Heights family cited for Montana hunting violations Guilty pleas entered in big-game case

Montana is cracking down on Minnesota hunters who resort to shady tactics to bag big game.

Members of an Inver Grove Heights family have been ordered to pay the state of Montana $50,000 in restitution and fines for leading illegal elk hunts on a ranch they own. The Blue Ridge Ranch, which is next to a wildlife refuge near the Canadian border, drew some 40 hunters a year, all of them friends and business associates of the ranch owner.

The charges state that to herd elk, the Minnesota family used baited traps, hunting radios and trail cameras, all of which are illegal.

Ranch owner Albert "Will" Carlson, 67, and son Todd Anthony Carlson, 41, pleaded guilty May 3 to multiple misdemeanor charges in Phillips County Justice Court, according to a statement from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The Carlsons run Custom Drywall Inc. of St. Paul.

The two Carlsons are barred from hunting, fishing and trapping in Montana for three years. Prosecutors agreed to defer charges against two other members of the Carlson family provided they abide by similar rules. Albert Carlson's son, Troy Albert Carlson, 45, and Albert Carlson's wife, Sandra Pearl Carlson, 49, of Inver Grove Heights, will not be allowed to hunt in Montana for three years.

Montana State Game Warden Dirk Paulsen described the Carlson case as one of the most egregious examples of "party hunting" he'd come across, with the family's guests sometimes trading licenses to cover their lack of credentials.

...

Charges have been filed against 11 out-of-state residents and are pending against the outfitter, who has not been named. The statement from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks reads: "Information and evidence collected during the search led to dozens of other nonresident suspects in Minnesota and Wisconsin.".

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