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High reward offered for deer stands

Bill Holzgrave displays the reward money along with Google map shots of his 80 acres in Shell River Township. Three deer stands were stolen. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

By Sarah Smith

An angry Wadena County casual hunter is offering a $2,000 reward for the return and prosecution of thieves who took only about $300 of tip-up deer stands.

Shell River Township resident Bill Holzgrave’s remote 80 acres could only have been known by a few.

“It’s not about the money,” he repeatedly said. It’s about nabbing the guys who did it and putting a stop to it.

Sometime between August and Oct. 9 thieves pilfered three deer stands. Holzgrave is more concerned about the black plastic Blynd that belonged to a friend. That costs around $1,200.

What made Holzgrave even madder is that, after notifying the Wadena County Sheriff’s Department, he launched his own investigation.

“Everybody I talked to had a story!” he said in amazement, wondering if there is no more honor among hunters, sure there is no honor among thieves.

“I heard from others it’s widespread,” he said of thievery.

There are no access roads to his property, he said, and only minimal visits from outsiders. Some loggers were harvesting wood on adjacent property and a potato farmer was clearing that same land to plant in the spring, but as far as Holzgrave knows, that suspect list should be widened.

“I want to give away that money,” Holzgrave insists, waving the $2,000 in $100 bills in the air.

It gripes him that the stands didn’t look abandoned. Like most hunters, he left them over the summer to be re-positioned and set up again this hunting season.

The Blynd was sitting on the ground near the stand it formerly occupied.

Never suspecting he’d be the victim of a crime, Holzgrave said the stands are likely non-identifiable, with no markings to prove they’re his. The stands left on the property, about a dozen, are now well marked.

If you have any information, call the Wadena County Sheriff at 218-631-7600.

Sarah Smith

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

(218) 732-3364