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Thieves caught on trail cameras stealing deer stands in Minnesota

The Duluth Police Department provided this trail cam image of two suspects in the theft of three deer stands in Duluth.1 / 2
The Duluth Police Department provided this trail cam image of a suspect in the theft of three deer stands in Duluth.2 / 2

The Duluth Police Department on Tuesday asked for the public's help in identifying at least two individuals allegedly involved in the theft of three deer stands from an area near Observation Road.

The suspects were captured on trail cameras in the area.

The stands were stolen on Sept. 11, but reported to police on Oct. 5 because that was the first time the hunter had gone back to check the trail cams.

Deer stands and trail cameras get stolen every year during the city’s bowhunt for deer, said Phillip Lockett, president of the Arrowhead Bowhunters Alliance, which administers the city hunt. A total of 300 hunters are eligible to take part in this fall’s hunt, which opened on Sept. 16 and continues through Dec. 31.

“We’ve had a half-dozen trail cameras gone this year, and a half-dozen or more stands stolen that I’ve heard about,” Lockett said. “Most of the time it’s just thieves that are opportunists.”

In past years, he never associated the stealing with an anti-hunter sentiment, he said.

“But these people are walking around with handkerchiefs on their faces. Maybe it could be something like that,” Lockett said.

He said the same people appear to have been photographed by hunters’ trail cameras on private land near 40th Avenue West and also near the WDIO-TV station on Observation Hill.

“It seems more organized than just kids out there taking stands,” Lockett said. “They definitely know there are cameras out there because they’re covering their faces. That’s the first time we’ve ever seen anything like that.”

The city hunt has been conducted each fall since 2005. Several stands are stolen each year, Lockett said.

“In previous years, I’m sure we’ve had a dozen or two dozen stolen throughout the season,” he said. “Normally, we never get pictures of anybody. It was unusual to get the pictures (this year).”

Anyone with information on the theft and those responsible is asked to call the Duluth Police Department's Property Crimes Unit at (218) 730-5160.