Two accused of illegally snaring wolves, bear

Published 7:33 am Thursday, May 3, 2018

By Kirsti Marohn

MPR News/90.1 FM

Two trappers have been charged in Itasca County with illegally setting snares and failing to check them, catching and killing wolves, bear and deer.

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Stephen G. Bemboom, 60, and Bradley A. Dumonceaux, 43, both of Foley, could face thousands of dollars in fines and restitution and possible jail time if they’re convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, an Itasca County forester found two wolves in snares on public land south of Alvwood in April 2015. One was dead, and the other was alive but extremely skinny. Its teeth had been damaged from biting the snare.

Additional snares were still set, each with a loop larger than 10 inches, which violates state law. Conservation officers also found a bait site with bones from what appeared to be more than 30 butchered whitetail deer, the complaint states.

Officers returned to the site over the next two years and found more snares and the remains of wolves, black bears and deer, the complaint states. They used surveillance cameras to document the suspects resetting the snares.

Dumonceaux has a cabin less than a mile from the bait site. He and Bemboom had registered gray wolves in 2012 and 2013, when there was a legal wolf trapping season, that were harvested near the snare site.

The complaint states that a total of seven gray wolves, two whitetail deer and two black bears were illegally harvested.

State regulations require that wildlife traps that don’t immediately kill the animal be checked every day so the animal doesn’t suffer, said Lt. Col. Greg Salo, assistant director of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ enforcement division.

“Snares are used as a means of taking animals, but there’s tight restrictions on them — how they’re set, how big the opening can be,” Salo said. “All these things are done to prevent catching animals you don’t intend on catching, whether it be deer, bear, wolves. Most of those rules were not followed by these two suspects.”