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$4,536 in fines for 2 men illegally shining deer in Town of Otter Creek

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  A Wheeler man and an Osseo man charged with the illegal shining of deer in the Town of Otter Creek have been fined $4,536 all together.

Dylan Rice, 20, of Wheeler and Brett Kolstad, 19, of Osseo, appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court February 5 for a plea hearing and a sentencing hearing.

Both men were charged with illegally shining deer and obstructing an officer in connection with 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.

Judge Rod Smeltzer dismissed the charges of obstructing an officer.

Both men pleaded no contest to the charge of illegally shining deer. Judge Smeltzer accepted their pleas and found them guilty.

Rice and Kolstad each were fined $2,268 along with a three-year revocation of Department of Natural Resources privileges.

DNR privileges include hunting licenses, fishing licenses, boat licenses as well as access to snowmobile trails, state parks and state hiking trails.

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. 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.

After changing their stories several times in separate interviews, Rice and Kolstad both said a small deer had been standing in the road several weeks earlier, 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).

The complaint states: “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 (November 6) and even had it out to shoot a deer; however, they feared they would be caught, so they put it away.”