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Moorhead man claims he was trying to herd deer to shelter

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – A Moorhead man who faces possible charges in the drowning death of a buck on Tulaby Lake told the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources he wasn't trying to harm the deer.

Steven William Timm, 55, of Moorhead is accused by witnesses of using a friend's pontoon to circle the big buck and prevent it from getting to shore.

Angry witnesses said Timm harassed the deer until it drowned of exhaustion, but Timm told the DNR he was trying to turn the deer back to shore.

One witness, David Kvidt, told DNR investigator Angela Warren that he noticed the buck swimming in the lake the morning of Sunday, Sept. 6, a few hundred yards from shore.

Kvidt said Timm was in a white pontoon fishing before he headed towards the deer and drove the boat between it and the shore.

The frightened deer started swimming further out into the lake and Timm, at one point, circled around the deer, preventing it from heading towards the public landing, Kvidt said.

Kvidt said it looked like Timm sped up and was following behind the deer. Kvidt had never seen a deer swim that fast before, he said.

Kvidt said he got into his pontoon and went out to try to get Timm to stop, but when he got there, the deer was floating belly up.

He asked Timm why he was between the deer and the shore and Timm replied, "What do you think I am, a deer killer?" according to Kvidt.

Kvidt said they were both angry, and to avoid any trouble he went back to his residence.

Timm told the DNR investigator he had been fishing in a pontoon belonging to his friend and that he'd noticed something swimming and drove the pontoon out to see what it was.

When he got near the deer, it began swimming further out in the lake, he said.

Timm told the DNR that he drove between the deer and shore while trying to get around the front of it to turn it back to shore, staying 50 yards away from the deer.

He confirmed that another boater confronted him about the deer and was angry.

Another witness, Ken Bauman, who also lives on the lake, said the pontoon driver appeared to harass the deer to its death.

Bauman's wife, child and grandkids were also present and witnessed the incident.

Baumann told the DNR investigator that he saw something swimming quite a ways out in the lake and he wasn't sure what it was until he looked at it through binoculars.

The deer was swimming towards shore and appeared to be swimming fine, but as it got closer to a pontoon, turned and swam towards the public access, Bauman said.

Timm then started his pontoon and drove between the deer and shore, then drove in front of the deer, which caused it to swim out into the lake, according to Bauman.

Shortly after that, the deer drowned.

The interaction between the pontoon and deer lasted approximately five minutes, maybe longer, Bauman said.

The Minnesota DNR has wrapped up its investigation into the incident, which occurred on the Mahnomen County side of Tulaby Lake.

Timm faces a possible misdemeanor charge of using a motor vehicle to intentionally drive or chase a wild animal.

The Mahnomen County Attorney's Office has assigned the case to an attorney, who will look over the evidence and is expected to make a charging decision this week.