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Poacher pays for his actions

A trophy size deer poached in 2006 is now on display at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park thanks to the Turn-In-Poachers (TIP) hotline.

Joshua R. Lincoln, 20, of Hillman, was recently ordered to pay $1,500 in fines and restitution for shooting an eight-point buck in the park in November 2006. He also served five days in jail and had his big game hunting privileges suspended for three years.

State Conservation Officer Paul Kuske of Pierz received a call from the TIP hotline that Lincoln had the poached deer in the back of his pickup. Kruse discovered an untagged buck and the head of a tagged buck under some tires in the bed of Lincoln's truck.

Lincoln initially told Kuske the tagged deer was being processed and the untagged deer belonged to a hunting partner who had forgotten to register the animal. He later changed his story.

"While returning home after work around 10:30 at night, Lincoln said he saw what he described as 'the biggest buck he had ever seen,'" Kuske said. "Using a spotlight and 30-30 rifle, Lincoln shot the deer, drove into the park and retrieved it. He tried to get a friend to tag the deer, but the friend wanted no part of any illegal activity."

A portion of the restitution amount was used to mount the deer, which is now on display at the interpretive center.

"It was a beautiful buck that likely spent its days in the state park," Kuske said. "It only seems appropriate that it be mounted and shared with those who visit Kathio. It's about the only positive way to look at this poaching case."

People who witness a game or fish violation in Minnesota can report the incident to the state's TIP hotline at 1-800-652-9093.