Tricounty News

Minnesota deer poachers plead guilty

Two southeastern Minnesota men are facing stiff fines and penalties after pleading guilty to 2007 charges of taking deer by spotlight and taking big game in closed season. John D. Lurken, 19, Owatonna, and Jacob L. Marquette, 20, West Concord, recently pled guilty in Dodge County District Court and had their hunting privileges revoked for three years, placed on probation for two years, and ordered to pay fines/restitution totaling $1,600 each. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Phil George of Mantorville received a call from the Dodge County Sheriff's Office Dec.14, 2007, of a person shooting deer in a field near Claremont, Minn. George also received similar reports from the Minnesota Turn-In-Poachers (TIP) hotline and in the course of his investigation found three dead deer lying in the field. A number of.22 caliber shell casings were found along the roadway near the field. It was reported that more than 40 deer were staying there during this time. At 1 a.m. Dec. 20, 2007, George received a call that a Dodge County deputy had stopped a truck near the field for shining and shooting a deer. The truck was impounded, and two.22 caliber rifles and a spotlight were seized. Lurken, Marquette, and another man, Jon-Erik Meier, 20, also of Owatonna, were transported to the Steele County jail on gross misdemeanor charges of shining. In addition to taking deer by spotlight and taking big game in closed season, Lurken and Marquette were also ordered to complete 30 hours of community service and complete a DNR firearms safety class. Meier was fined $158 in court costs and received a stay of prosecution for one year on terms that he has no same or similar violations. The investigation found that Meier never took part in the shining or shooting of any deer. TIP is an important partner. To report poaching, call TIP hotline number (800-652-9093).