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Haverkamp charged with illegal hunting

A Becker County deputy faces three misdemeanor charges for alleged illegal hunting.

Tim Haverkamp was charged in Becker County District Court Tuesday with using artificial light to locate animals; using a hunting license issued to another person; and hunting deer without a license.

He was also charged initially with obstructing the legal process, but that charge was crossed off the complaint. "No probable cause was found for this offense," read a handwritten note on the court complaint.

In a summons signed by District Judge Barbara Hanson, Haverkamp was ordered to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. April 9.

On the morning of Oct. 20, DNR conservation officer Al Peterson was dispatched to 14208 County Road 15, Frazee, on a poaching complaint, according to court records.

A property owner reported that he had found the dead body of a buck on land owned by a neighbor, and since there were no broken bones in the animal, he believed it had been shot by a poacher rather than hit by a car.

The DNR officer examined the animal and found a bullet hole and drops of blood, indicating the deer had been shot.

The officer took the deer and arranged with the property owner to return after midnight to conduct surveillance of the site, hoping to catch the shooter.

He went back shortly after midnight, blacking out his vehicle "in order to see if anybody came for the buck," according to court records.

About 1 a.m. a vehicle drove by to the north of the site, then slowed down and shone a spotlight on the site, apparently looking for the deer.

The DNR officer approached the car, which turned out to be a marked patrol vehicle driven by Deputy Haverkamp, who was on duty, according to court records.

The DNR officer spoke to Haverkamp, who told him he was responding to a complaint of a suspicious vehicle.

The DNR officer had been listening to his police radio scanner and had not heard any such call. He asked who called. since the property owner and neighbor had given him permission to be there that night.

Haverkamp told him the caller was anonymous, and that he had learned about it from a cell phone call from a Clay County deputy at 12:28 a.m.

When contacted, the Clay County deputy allegedly told the DNR officer that he had not made a cell phone call, but Haverkamp had called to ask him to lie about it to the DNR officer.

The Clay County deputy said he did not want to get pulled into the situation and wanted to talk to the DNR officer in person to "clear the air," according to court records.

As part of his investigation, DNR Officer Peterson talked to a local taxidermist who had worked on a buck mount for Haverkamp. The deputy had allegedly provided the taxidermist with a DNR number and ELS number for the buck that belonged to Haverkamp's son-in-law.

The son-in-law allegedly told the DNR officer in an interview that he hunts only with a rifle, never a muzzleloader, yet the documentation for Haverkamp's trophy buck indicated the license was purchased on Nov. 25, after rifle season and during muzzleloader season, according to court records.

Haverkamp had an all-season hunting license that allowed him to take two does in 2006, but the complaint alleges that he took three -- one on Dec. 4 and two on Dec. 5, all during muzzleloader season.

In an interview with Peterson at his home Oct. 25, Haverkamp allegedly said he had only shot six deer in the last five years, five of them "nice bucks," according to the complaint.

Haverkamp told Peterson that he had been on duty on Oct. 19 and into the early morning hours of Oct. 20. He said he had hosted a "ride-along," his son-in-law, that evening, but dropped him off at home about 11 p.m.

He allegedly admitted shining deer in the area of County Road 115 and Highway 87 on the night in question. He said he shines three to six times a night to avoid hitting deer.

He allegedly admitted lying about the "suspicious vehicle" call because he thought he might be in trouble for shining deer.

Haverkamp has been on paid administrative leave since Oct. 31, pending the results of the DNR investigation and a parallel internal investigation by the sheriff's department.

Placing an officer on paid administrative leave is standard practice during an investigation, Sheriff Tim Gordon said.

Haverkamp is no longer on paid administrative leave, yet he is not yet back at work, leaving his exact status unclear.

"At this time I can't comment because of data privacy and labor laws specific to that," Gordon said.

"The criminal issues stem from the DNR investigation and are separate from the internal procedures," he added. "I'm hoping to have resolution of the procedural issues within 30 days ... It's a due process issue as part of the internal investigation."

Haverkamp joined the sheriff's department as a part-timer in April of 2001 and has been a full-time deputy since August of 2001.