Deer feeding ban is a tough lesson learned - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Deer feeding ban is a tough lesson learned

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- There's no doubt there are many rules and regulations to get familiarized with while deer hunting.  But one law doesn't affect just hunters as one Rochester woman found out the hard way.

Jackie Letourneau has a friendly reminder to all those wildlife enthusiasts in four southeast Minnesota counties. 

"There is a feeding ban of wildlife deer in our county as well as the other three," said Letourneau. "And it prohibits you to feed deer at any time."

And neither Letourneau or her friend had known about the law while hunting near Rochester. 

"Shortly after the sun rose I was approached by a DNR officer who went up to the tree stand and said 'please unload your gun and hand it down to me'," said Letourneau.  

According to Letourneau, the conservation officer found her friend to be hunting near a deer feeder that he had left there since spring. "But there is definitely no feed in it," she relayed.  "The battery is dead. You can check it."

The friend and the conservation officer went to investigate.

"The feeder was empty and the battery was dead like he said," said Letourneau. "But he said that even feeding the deer in the spring is illegal."

A feeding ban for deer and elk was put in place in Olmsted, Goodhue, Dodge and Wabasha Counties on Feb. 14, 2011 and still continues today.

Those who are found in violation of the law can wind up paying the price.

In this case, "One year his hunting license is revoked. His gun was confiscated and as far as we know it will be auctioned off somewhere up north, the feeder was confiscated which also was auctioned off. And a $300 fine. $80 court cost so far," said Letourneau.

This bust affected Letourneau as well.

"Actually it was my gun that he was using," she said. "It was purchased two years ago. I'm new to hunting. This is my second year."

Letourneau admitted the two failed to read the new 2012 hunting regulations manual and said the violation was out of ignorance, not defiance.

As far as which violation weighed more heavily, being near the feeder while hunting or feeding deer in general or a combination of both, is unclear.

The base line fine for hunting over bait is $300 plus court fees, but each case is different.

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