The state Department of Natural Resources on Friday appealed a judge’s ruling from earlier in the week that invalidated a major deer poaching bust in Lac qui Parle County.
County Attorney Richard Stulz said in papers filed with the Minnesota Court of Appeals that his office wants to resume the prosecution of Joshua Dwight Liebl of Dawson on 13 gross-misdemeanor and misdemeanor counts of state fish and game violations. Those charges were dismissed Monday under a district court ruling that said DNR agents needed more than a tracking order to secretly attach a GPS tracking device to the underside of Liebl’s pickup truck.
The GPS device was instrumental to Liebl’s arrest in October 2014. When conservation officers stopped him, Liebl’s pickup contained a whitetail buck shot with a rifle even though gun season had not opened and Liebl only had an archery license.
While Liebl was stopped, other officers arrived at his home with a search warrant. They confiscated the head-and-shoulder mounts, or racks, of 37 dead deer along with 37 guns, an intact piebald white-tailed fawn and other wildlife. It was the DNR’s highest-profile deer poaching bust in recent memory and it played a role in Gov. Mark Dayton’s decision to push for a new state law on felony poaching.