Baudette hunting guide admits to years of bear and deer poaching

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 22, 2014 - 8:49 PM

Keith Slick of Baudette was sentenced to 90 days in jail, community service and $2,000 in fines.

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.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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