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Goodhue County hunter who shot trophy buck faces poaching charges

In this photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, conservation officer Tyler Quant holds a confiscated deer rack on Thursday in Goodhue County, Minn., with the Mississippi River in the background. Court records say Troy Alan Reinke shot the deer on Halloween while hunting on private land. The state Department of Natural Resources believes the buck has the largest set of eight-point antlers ever measured. (AP Photo/Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)

ST. PAUL - Troy Reinke may have killed a record-setting buck last month in southeastern Minnesota, but Goodhue County prosecutors on Thursday said that his actions amounted to poaching.

The Cannon Falls man was charged with 13 counts, including gross over-limits of wild animals, after allegedly shooting the deer without a license or tags. The charges carry a maximum penalty of more than five years in a jail and a $19,000 fine.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Tyler Quandt said the eight-pointer had a gross score of 190 and five-eighths inches. He said the net score was an even 185 inches, 5 inches larger than the next-closest eight-pointer on record.

"In the world of antlers, that's tremendous," Quandt said.

Hunters at first were excited after Internet rumors spread of a world-record buck being taken in Minnesota, Quandt said.

That didn't last long.

"As quickly as they found out it was illegal, their feelings turned to being quite angry," he said.

Quandt began investigating Reinke following several anonymous tips, some gleaned once tales and photos of the deer went online.

According to a criminal complaint, Reinke, 32, told DNR investigators on Nov. 5 that he shot three deer in October on private land, including the trophy buck.

But since his license only allowed him to shoot one deer, authorities said it should have gone toward a doe, the first deer Reinke said he shot.

The other two - a smaller eight-pointer and the trophy buck - were taken illegally, prosecutors allege.

Reinke allegedly admitted to shooting the first two without tagging or registering them. Prosecutors say he waited to fill the tag until after shooting the trophy buck, which Reinke said he killed Oct. 31 in rural Cannon Falls.

Mike Longaecker is a reporter at The Republican Eagle in Red Wing, Minn., which is owned by Forum Communications Co.