St. Cloud man sentenced for poaching from refuge
MINNEAPOLIS - A serial poacher faces a hunting ban as part of his sentence Tuesday for transporting wildlife taken in violation of the federal Lacey Act.
William Robert Welsh, 41, of St. Cloud, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge in October.
An anonymous tip led to an investigation that revealed at least a decade of poaching by Welsh in Minnesota, according to a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which investigated the case with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Under a plea agreement, Welsh admitted that in October 2011, he shot and killed a deer in the closed area of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. The following day, he sawed off the antlers and transported them to his residence, the release said. Welsh later transported the antlers and other evidence to another person’s residence and instructed that person to hide the items.
Welsh is barred from hunting big game anywhere in the U.S. for five years, banned from entering the Sherburne refuge for five years and forfeits his seized firearm and hunting equipment, along with trophy deer mounts and antlers from seven illegally taken deer.
Welsh also faces two years of probation and 100 hours of community service, and is banned from hunting small game during that time.