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Wheeler and Osseo men charged with obstructing an officer and illegal shining of deer

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  You know how it goes.

The story starts out with two men suspected of poaching one deer, and the next thing you know, it is six  individuals who have poached 20 deer.

And such is the case with a story that has been floating around Colfax.

According to Wayne Flak, a conservation law enforcement officer with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, as far as Dunn County and DNR law enforcement officers know, only two individuals are involved in a case of deer poaching in the Town of Otter Creek.

The Colfax Messenger obtained a copy of the criminal complaint filed in Dunn County, and Flak assured the Messenger that the complaint contains all of the information known to Dunn County and DNR law enforcement officers.

The people named in the complaint are Dylan Rice, 20, of Wheeler and Brett Kolstad, 19, of Osseo, who have both been charged in Dunn County with misdemeanor counts of obstructing an officer and illegally shining deer related to an incident in the Town of Otter Creek November 6.

Rice and Kolstad also are charged with DNR violations of hunting game before or after hours, failure to validate or attach a deer carcass tag, and failure to properly register a deer.

According to the complaint, Dunn County deputies were dispatched at about 2 a.m. November 6 to respond to a complaint about shining deer after hours.

The person who complained said he had found a headless deer in the area and believed that the people shining for deer were poaching deer.

Two Dunn County deputies responded, Sergeant Travis Mayer and Deputy Mike Spenle. One deputy traveled county Highway N and one traveled county Highway W.

The complainant advised that the suspects were driving a 1994 Ford pickup truck and were staying near some bucks in a field.

Sergeant Mayer caught up to a vehicle in the vicinity of 1020th Avenue that was shining both sides of the road and then conducted a stop on the vehicle.

The occupants were identified as Rice and Kolstad, and both said they thought they could shine deer any time except during gun deer season and that they had been watching some bucks for the last 45 minutes.

According to the complaint, an arrow shaft with dried blood on it was discovered in the truck, and Kolstad at first said it was from a deer he had a shot a month ago as they were coming out of the woods at a time that was still within hunting hours and that they had never found the deer. Kolstad later changed the story to say they had shot the deer after dark, had found it, did not tag it and had cut it up and ate it.

Kolstad said it was a small buck fawn, and he had been the one to shoot it.

Rice at first denied any knowledge of the deer then said they did not find the deer and that it had been shot during normal bow hunting hours.

According to the complaint, Sergeant Mayer told Kolstad he did not believe the arrow was from that long ago because an arrow rolling around on the floor of the truck with blood on it would start to flake off.

Kolstad changed his story and said that at the time they shot the deer, it was after hunting hours, and they had gone to Rice’s parents house. When they were leaving about 10 p.m. three or four weeks earlier, they saw the deer in the road, and Kolstad got out of the truck with his bow and shot the deer. Kolstad and Rice loaded the deer into the truck and took it back to Rice’s house, where they cut it up, according to the complaint.

Rice continued to deny to Sergeant Mayer that he was involved with killing the deer.

After Sergeant Mayer placed Rice under arrest for obstructing an officer, he said he was willing to answer questions.

Rice confirmed Kolstad’s story that a small deer had been standing in the road, that Kolstad had gotten out with his bow, had killed the deer, that they took it back to Rice’s house and had cut it up.

According to Rice, Kolstad disposed of the scraps along the road to the Colfax waste collection site (810th Street).

According to the complaint, “Sergeant Mayer advised that, as he spoke with Rice, he appeared to get very close to talking about additional deer that they shot, but then he would stop. Rice did go on to say they did have Kolstad’s bow with them that night and even had it out to shoot a deer; however, they feared they would be caught, so they put it away. When the truck of the complainant came up behind them, they drove back to Rice’s house and put the bow in a green car parked in his yard. He stated that, when they shot the previous deer, it was on a dead end road, and they did not fear being caught.”

Rice and Kolstad made an initial appearance in Dunn County Circuit Court on December 8 and are scheduled for another court hearing February 5.

As is always the case, if people see or hear anything that may be related to poaching, Flak says they are encouraged to call the sheriff’s department or to contact the DNR.