A longtime big-game guide in far northern Minnesota is facing jail time after admitting to years of poaching bears and deer, acts that also have cost him his hunting privileges for three years, state conservation officials said Monday.
Keith R. Slick, 33, of Baudette, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Lake of the Woods County District Court to 90 days in jail for various misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, including: transporting a big-game animal, lending/borrowing a bear license, two counts of taking/possessing an over-limit of bear and failing to register a bear.
Along with his jail time, Slick also was sentenced to 120 hours of community service and must pay $2,090 in fines and restitution. Once out of jail, he will be on probation for two years with conditions that he surrender his weapons and agree to random searches.
Slick also was sentenced for felony fleeing in a motor vehicle and gross-misdemeanor second-degree drunken driving for briefly trying to elude a conservation officer. Slick will serve 30 days of electronic home monitoring for fleeing, with that time starting once his incarceration ends.
According to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which investigated the case:
During last fall's bear hunting season, state conservation officer Robert Gorecki spotted an active bear bait station belonging to Slick. A search of his home uncovered numerous bear capes and skulls, as well as sets of deer antlers.
"There were no possession or registration tags found with any of the bears," Gorecki said in a statement released by the DNR. "The bears did not have any cuts in their ears that would indicate that a site tag was attached at any time in the past."
A check of DNR records indicated that Slick never registered a buck or bear taken in the past 10 years, which is as far back as agency records go.
A cellphone seized in the investigation contained pictures of Slick with a dead bear. Numerous text messages were also found where Slick told people about the bear he had shot. Other text messages from Slick said that he had shot seven bears in his life.
Only two of the six antler sets recovered had site tags on them, but they were from people other than Slick.
A rifle and bow that Slick used for poaching will be auctioned by the state.