DNR: Trophy buck shot by firearm
RED WING, Minn. - The trophy buck allegedly poached by a Cannon Falls, Minn., man was shot with firearm during bow season, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources official said Monday.
DNR conservation officer Tyler Quandt said lead fragments were found in the deer's hide, indicating it was killed by a gun and not an arrow, as the suspect, Troy Alan Reinke, stated.
Assistant Goodhue County Attorney David Grove said he will review new evidence this week and decide whether to file an amended complaint against Reinke.
"There may not be that many (additional) charges, if any," Grove said Monday.
The 32-year-old was charged earlier this month with 13 poaching-related counts, including two gross misdemeanors. Reinke admitted to shooting three deer during bow season, though his license allowed him to shoot only one deer of either sex.
Authorities said his tag should have gone to one of the first two deer, both reportedly shot in early October. Reinke allegedly waited to fill his tag until killing the trophy buck, shot Oct. 31. Consequently, all three were taken illegally, according to the charges.
Any new charges likely would not reach felony level, Quandt said.
Regardless of the charges, he expected the latest allegations to spark greater outrage among hunters.
"It's a very, very big deal to hunters to know that it was shot with a gun," Quandt said.
DNR investigators confiscated Reinke's bow, two deer racks, the meat from the three deer and the trophy buck's hide.
He said Reinke continued to deny shooting the trophy buck with a firearm.
Quandt said other allegations - including a rumor contradicting Reinke's statement that the big buck was shot on private White Rock, Minn., land - continue to be investigated.
"That is definitely a possibility - that he shot it somewhere else," Quandt said.
If it is confirmed that Reinke shot the deer with a gun, Quandt said he could be in violation of probationary terms stemming from a domestic abuse conviction.
Online court records show Reinke was convicted May 1 of domestic assault, a gross misdemeanor with statutory probation terms that prohibit firearm possession.
Assistant Goodhue County Attorney Chris Schrader, who prosecuted the domestic assault case, said if it is determined Reinke shot the trophy buck with a gun, he could face possible charges carrying a three-year maximum prison sentence.
The case has drawn wide attention - especially in deer hunting circles - due to the size of the buck.
DNR officials said the buck could be the largest known eight-pointer ever killed. Its unofficial rack size is 185, five inches larger than the next-closest eight-pointer, Quandt said.
Quandt said the case remains under investigation.
"We're continuing to get calls on it," he said.
If convicted, Reinke could have his hunting privileges pulled for three years. He would also face $1,500 in restitution costs to the state.
Mike Longaecker is a reporter at The Republican Eagle in Red Wing, Minn., which is owned by Forum Communications Co.