Weather Forecast


Man charged with threatening hunters

Stephen Donald Battin Sr.

A Big Lake man convicted in a poaching and pot-growing operation one year ago is now charged with threatening the hunters who made the initial complaint.

Stephen Donald Battin Sr., 61, appeared in Hubbard County District Court Nov. 14 on charges of first degree witness tampering, trespass and hunter harassment.

Battin and Donald Cook, 61, of Bloomington, were convicted of the crimes last year when DNR Conservation Officers, acting on a tip of deer baiting, found the illegal taking of a deer and a marijuana growing operation on Potlatch Forest land leased by Battin for hunting.

Cook pled to a charge of illegal hunting. Battin pled to a 3rd Degree Drug charge and Hunter Harassment. He was evicted from the Potlatch land and ordered not to come back.

But he and his son did, according to the latest criminal complaint.

Battin and his son, Donald Jr., trespassed on the Potlatch land and retrieved a deer stand, the complaint stated. Then the two allegedly made threats to the hunters who reported them in 2010.

Battin Sr. served 75 days of electronic home monitoring, paid a $1,000 fine and was placed on five years probation, during which time he was forbidden to possess a firearm.

Cook received two years probation, during which he lost his hunting privileges and paid a $135 fine.

Both men received a break in sentencing when their attorney asserted they were disabled veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, a result of their service in Vietnam.

In the latest charge, the Witness Tampering charge carries a maximum of 5 years and/or a $10,000 fine; the Trespass charge is punishable by a maximum of 1 year and/or a $3,000 fine and the Hunter Harassment charge carries a maximum penalty of 90 days and/or a $1,000 fine upon conviction.

Battin's next appearance is set for Nov. 28. His son has not been charged in the incident.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

(218) 732-3364