Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hunter says Palmer illegally chasing deer on Barnesville property

By: Ashley Bishop

BARNESVILLE, MINN (Valley News Live) A hunter near Barnesville, Minnesota wants action taken after she says people were chasing deer with vehicles and keeping them on the property of Walter Palmer.

Palmer is the Minnesota dentist that killed Cecil the lion earlier this year in Africa. He was cleared in the subsequent investigation by African officials.

Palmer owns property in Clay County west of Barnesville and hunters in that area say they saw deer chased by vehicles several times this past weekend during the deer season opener.

"When you are hunting, you need a fair chase and they are just restricting that from happening," said hunter Leah Thompson.

Thompson hunts on property next to Palmers. She says hunting is more than a sport, its family time.
"It is the one time of the year we all get together and you have someone like this who wants to stop it," said Thompson.

Thompson says she saw two trucks loop the roads multiple times both Saturday and Sunday near Palmer's property.

"I noticed the white Chevy pick-up and navy Chevy pick-up driving back and forth on that property. I mean they gone through several times, I am talking 20 to 30 times, they'll drive down that gravel road," explained Thompson.

Thompson took multiple photos over the two days she was hunting. She says she saw deer getting ready to move closer to the property she was on when they were chased.

It's illegal in Minnesota to chase or heard deer with a motor vehicle.

"He wasn't driving, when you’re driving in a gravel road you moving, you're going to where you need to go. He just slowed way up and the next thing I know the deer turned around and back into his field," stated Thompson.

Thompson says her family has been hunting on land next to Palmer's for about ten years. She says this isn't the first time he has chased deer and says others have complained about Palmer before. Other people nearby have also said they seen similar things.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed they received complaints and are investigating activities in the area near Palmer's address from this past weekend's deer opener. The investigation is ongoing.

In a voicemail message left for Thompson, a DNR officer says they plan to "see what we can do with this deal, it's been going on long enough."

"They really want to see what they can do, they understand there has been multiple people calling in having issues with this," said Thompson.

Valley News Live reached out to Walter Palmer; we tried calling his dentist office in Bloomington, Minnesota, but only got voicemail. We also tried knocking on the door of his Barnesville property,
All along the property is posted private property signs. We reached out to the name and number on them, it was a Mr. Wilm. He told us, he just manages the land for Mr. Palmer, and doesn't know anything about a deer chase this past weekend and had no other comment.

As for Thompson, she is trying to teach her nephew about sportsmanship and says this situation has been a valuable lesson.

"You don't want to teach this to a 9-year-old, he is going to hunt and carry a gun next year," said Thompson.

The Minnesota DNR says there are penalties for those found guilty of chasing deer with a motor vehicle. You can face a $200 fine and if you get two violations within three years; hunting privileges could be revoked for one year.


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