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MN: Penalty for overlimit stings man who was shooting deer for city of Burnsville

Penalty for over-limit stings man who was shooting deer for city of Burnsville

The owner of a deer-removal firm is sentenced for shooting 13 deer in a refuge. He was authorized to hunt in an adjacent park.

February 4, 2011

The owner of a Bethel nuisance animal-control company that was culling deer for the city of Burnsville has been ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution for illegally killing 13 deer in a national wildlife refuge.

Mercer I. Englund, 66, owner of First Choice Wildlife Control, has pleaded guilty to a charge of exceeding a hunting limit for wild animals, a gross misdemeanor. He was sentenced last week to two years' probation. He also forfeited two of his rifles and his hunting privileges were revoked for three years.

Englund said he properly notified a Burnsville city official, who has since changed jobs, of where he was hunting. He was authorized to shoot in Cliff Fen Park but also was in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge next to it, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"It wasn't what the charges are," Englund said Thursday. "The city official knew exactly where I was working, but it's one of those deals that you don't get to fight."

Englund said it was his word against that of the former Burnsville animal control officer. Englund said he pleaded guilty to one charge in order to get two others dropped and to cancel a Feb. 15 jury trial.

A call to the Turn In Poachers (TIP) Hotline a year ago lead state conservation officer Tony Salzer to the refuge. Englund was permitted to hunt in the adjacent park only, and he had charged the city for harvesting 22 deer at the park.

Englund and another man had been seen carrying loaded rifles into the refuge. The DNR said Salzer, of Eagan, was patrolling when he heard three shots fired and found a dead deer and trail of blood.

Englund told Salzer that he shot nine deer in the park, the DNR said.

"I explained to Mr. Englund that I knew he had reported shooting 22 deer out of Cliff Fen Park and that if he had really shot nine deer in the park, he had shot 13 in the refuge," Salzer said.

Englund agreed and admitted he knew he wasn't to shoot deer outside of the park, the DNR said.

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