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McFeely: No charges in deer-herding case, but Clay County hunter hopeful Palmer gets the message

Leah Thompson will be ready next time Walter Palmer or his associates herd deer to keep them on his Clay County property and away from other hunters, as she alleged they did in November. She'll be in full Inspector Gadget mode.

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Walter Palmer arrives at the River Bluff Dental clinic in Bloomington, Minnesota, September 8, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Miller
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Leah Thompson will be ready next time Walter Palmer or his associates herd deer to keep them on his Clay County property and away from other hunters, as she alleged they did in November. She'll be in full Inspector Gadget mode. "I'll be taking video, photos with a big old lens. I'll zoom in on their license plates, take some close-ups of the drivers," she said, laughing. "Maybe I'll even get a drone to fly over them to take some action video. That's what I should've asked for in my Christmas stocking, a drone." She cackled at that joke, even though the Barnesville, Minn., resident learned Thursday the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, after consulting with the Clay County Attorney Brian Melton, had decided to not press charges or issue warnings in a case that garnered statewide attention. More Walter Palmer coverage
"I'm not real surprised nothing was done," Thompson said. "I knew it was a long shot." Palmer, you'll recall, is the infamous Twin Cities dentist who made international headlines after he was accused of killing Cecil the Lion, a beloved research animal in Zimbabwe, earlier this year. It was a modern media and social media furor of almost unprecedented proportion. Palmer's practice in Bloomington was shut down for a time and a home he owns in Florida was vandalized. Zimbabwe officials later said they would not charge Palmer with a crime. He was back in the news after the opening day of Minnesota's firearms deer season in early November. Thompson told authorities two pickups were blocking deer from leaving Palmer's property between Barnesville and Pelican Rapids. She claimed it was herding deer, a practice that is illegal, and Palmer and his associates had been doing it for "10-plus years" to keep other hunters in the area from shooting deer that spent most of their time on Palmer's land. A representative of Palmer released a statement at the time denying the claim and accusing Thompson as having "a history of personal animosity toward Dr. Palmer. This is just another example of people trying to attack an innocent man." The DNR spent the last couple of months investigating and issued a statement Thursday morning saying: "Both the DNR and the county attorney have concluded there is not enough evidence or facts to support any charges or warnings in the case. The DNR took the allegations of the witnesses seriously. However, after interviewing witnesses, they were unable to provide us with specific information that would help identify a suspect. "Our investigators were unable to identify the owner or the driver of the vehicle involved. Our investigators had no license plate information and the vehicle description did not match any of the vehicles owned by the landowner in question or his land manager.' Neither Palmer nor his land manager agreed to give statements and did not provide any information about the alleged incident. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2234138","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"233","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"349"}}]]"The case is closed," the DNR statement said. In the eyes of the law, Palmer is cleared. In the eyes of Thompson, not so much. She, and others I've talked with in the area, insist Palmer is incredibly possessive about deer that reside on his property. Thompson's brother, Jason Stetz, told the StarTribune newspaper of Minneapolis that he and Palmer had wrangled over property lines, tree stands and blood trails. Stetz said Palmer is quick with accusations of trespassing. DNR officials I've talked with said disputes between locals and Palmer have been ongoing for years. Thompson is hoping this can be turned into a positive. "After talking with the DNR people, I knew there wasn't much chance anything was going to happen and I knew we didn't have some information they needed," Thompson said. "My thing was just to say, 'Hey, I'm making this public and I want you to stop.' " Given what we know about Palmer, it seems he is less than willing to be cooperative. He hired a crisis-management expert to distribute a dry-eyed, unapologetic statement after the Cecil story blew up. This is not somebody who appears to channel much energy toward introspection. But today is the first day of 2016 and Thompson chooses to believe that might be reason for hope. "Maybe he learned something," she said. "Maybe for the new year he can change his ways. Maybe something good will come from this."Leah Thompson will be ready next time Walter Palmer or his associates herd deer to keep them on his Clay County property and away from other hunters, as she alleged they did in November. She'll be in full Inspector Gadget mode. "I'll be taking video, photos with a big old lens. I'll zoom in on their license plates, take some close-ups of the drivers," she said, laughing. "Maybe I'll even get a drone to fly over them to take some action video. That's what I should've asked for in my Christmas stocking, a drone." She cackled at that joke, even though the Barnesville, Minn., resident learned Thursday the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, after consulting with the Clay County Attorney Brian Melton, had decided to not press charges or issue warnings in a case that garnered statewide attention. More Walter Palmer coverage [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"2234139","attributes":{"alt":"Mike McFeely","class":"media-image","height":"180","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"180"}}]]"I'm not real surprised nothing was done," Thompson said. "I knew it was a long shot." Palmer, you'll recall, is the infamous Twin Cities dentist who made international headlines after he was accused of killing Cecil the Lion, a beloved research animal in Zimbabwe, earlier this year. It was a modern media and social media furor of almost unprecedented proportion. Palmer's practice in Bloomington was shut down for a time and a home he owns in Florida was vandalized. Zimbabwe officials later said they would not charge Palmer with a crime. He was back in the news after the opening day of Minnesota's firearms deer season in early November. Thompson told authorities two pickups were blocking deer from leaving Palmer's property between Barnesville and Pelican Rapids. She claimed it was herding deer, a practice that is illegal, and Palmer and his associates had been doing it for "10-plus years" to keep other hunters in the area from shooting deer that spent most of their time on Palmer's land. A representative of Palmer released a statement at the time denying the claim and accusing Thompson as having "a history of personal animosity toward Dr. Palmer. This is just another example of people trying to attack an innocent man." The DNR spent the last couple of months investigating and issued a statement Thursday morning saying: "Both the DNR and the county attorney have concluded there is not enough evidence or facts to support any charges or warnings in the case. The DNR took the allegations of the witnesses seriously. However, after interviewing witnesses, they were unable to provide us with specific information that would help identify a suspect. "Our investigators were unable to identify the owner or the driver of the vehicle involved. Our investigators had no license plate information and the vehicle description did not match any of the vehicles owned by the landowner in question or his land manager.' Neither Palmer nor his land manager agreed to give statements and did not provide any information about the alleged incident.
"The case is closed," the DNR statement said. In the eyes of the law, Palmer is cleared. In the eyes of Thompson, not so much. She, and others I've talked with in the area, insist Palmer is incredibly possessive about deer that reside on his property. Thompson's brother, Jason Stetz, told the StarTribune newspaper of Minneapolis that he and Palmer had wrangled over property lines, tree stands and blood trails. Stetz said Palmer is quick with accusations of trespassing. DNR officials I've talked with said disputes between locals and Palmer have been ongoing for years. Thompson is hoping this can be turned into a positive. "After talking with the DNR people, I knew there wasn't much chance anything was going to happen and I knew we didn't have some information they needed," Thompson said. "My thing was just to say, 'Hey, I'm making this public and I want you to stop.' " Given what we know about Palmer, it seems he is less than willing to be cooperative. He hired a crisis-management expert to distribute a dry-eyed, unapologetic statement after the Cecil story blew up. This is not somebody who appears to channel much energy toward introspection. But today is the first day of 2016 and Thompson chooses to believe that might be reason for hope. "Maybe he learned something," she said. "Maybe for the new year he can change his ways. Maybe something good will come from this."Leah Thompson will be ready next time Walter Palmer or his associates herd deer to keep them on his Clay County property and away from other hunters, as she alleged they did in November. She'll be in full Inspector Gadget mode."I'll be taking video, photos with a big old lens. I'll zoom in on their license plates, take some close-ups of the drivers," she said, laughing. "Maybe I'll even get a drone to fly over them to take some action video. That's what I should've asked for in my Christmas stocking, a drone."She cackled at that joke, even though the Barnesville, Minn., resident learned Thursday the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, after consulting with the Clay County Attorney Brian Melton, had decided to not press charges or issue warnings in a case that garnered statewide attention.More Walter Palmer coverage
"I'm not real surprised nothing was done," Thompson said. "I knew it was a long shot."Palmer, you'll recall, is the infamous Twin Cities dentist who made international headlines after he was accused of killing Cecil the Lion, a beloved research animal in Zimbabwe, earlier this year. It was a modern media and social media furor of almost unprecedented proportion. Palmer's practice in Bloomington was shut down for a time and a home he owns in Florida was vandalized. Zimbabwe officials later said they would not charge Palmer with a crime.He was back in the news after the opening day of Minnesota's firearms deer season in early November. Thompson told authorities two pickups were blocking deer from leaving Palmer's property between Barnesville and Pelican Rapids. She claimed it was herding deer, a practice that is illegal, and Palmer and his associates had been doing it for "10-plus years" to keep other hunters in the area from shooting deer that spent most of their time on Palmer's land.A representative of Palmer released a statement at the time denying the claim and accusing Thompson as having "a history of personal animosity toward Dr. Palmer. This is just another example of people trying to attack an innocent man."The DNR spent the last couple of months investigating and issued a statement Thursday morning saying:"Both the DNR and the county attorney have concluded there is not enough evidence or facts to support any charges or warnings in the case. The DNR took the allegations of the witnesses seriously. However, after interviewing witnesses, they were unable to provide us with specific information that would help identify a suspect."Our investigators were unable to identify the owner or the driver of the vehicle involved. Our investigators had no license plate information and the vehicle description did not match any of the vehicles owned by the landowner in question or his land manager.'Neither Palmer nor his land manager agreed to give statements and did not provide any information about the alleged incident.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2234138","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"233","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"349"}}]]"The case is closed," the DNR statement said.In the eyes of the law, Palmer is cleared.In the eyes of Thompson, not so much.She, and others I've talked with in the area, insist Palmer is incredibly possessive about deer that reside on his property. Thompson's brother, Jason Stetz, told the StarTribune newspaper of Minneapolis that he and Palmer had wrangled over property lines, tree stands and blood trails. Stetz said Palmer is quick with accusations of trespassing.DNR officials I've talked with said disputes between locals and Palmer have been ongoing for years.Thompson is hoping this can be turned into a positive."After talking with the DNR people, I knew there wasn't much chance anything was going to happen and I knew we didn't have some information they needed," Thompson said. "My thing was just to say, 'Hey, I'm making this public and I want you to stop.' "Given what we know about Palmer, it seems he is less than willing to be cooperative. He hired a crisis-management expert to distribute a dry-eyed, unapologetic statement after the Cecil story blew up. This is not somebody who appears to channel much energy toward introspection.But today is the first day of 2016 and Thompson chooses to believe that might be reason for hope."Maybe he learned something," she said. "Maybe for the new year he can change his ways. Maybe something good will come from this."Leah Thompson will be ready next time Walter Palmer or his associates herd deer to keep them on his Clay County property and away from other hunters, as she alleged they did in November. She'll be in full Inspector Gadget mode."I'll be taking video, photos with a big old lens. I'll zoom in on their license plates, take some close-ups of the drivers," she said, laughing. "Maybe I'll even get a drone to fly over them to take some action video. That's what I should've asked for in my Christmas stocking, a drone."She cackled at that joke, even though the Barnesville, Minn., resident learned Thursday the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, after consulting with the Clay County Attorney Brian Melton, had decided to not press charges or issue warnings in a case that garnered statewide attention.More Walter Palmer coverage[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_preview","fid":"2234139","attributes":{"alt":"Mike McFeely","class":"media-image","height":"180","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"180"}}]]"I'm not real surprised nothing was done," Thompson said. "I knew it was a long shot."Palmer, you'll recall, is the infamous Twin Cities dentist who made international headlines after he was accused of killing Cecil the Lion, a beloved research animal in Zimbabwe, earlier this year. It was a modern media and social media furor of almost unprecedented proportion. Palmer's practice in Bloomington was shut down for a time and a home he owns in Florida was vandalized. Zimbabwe officials later said they would not charge Palmer with a crime.He was back in the news after the opening day of Minnesota's firearms deer season in early November. Thompson told authorities two pickups were blocking deer from leaving Palmer's property between Barnesville and Pelican Rapids. She claimed it was herding deer, a practice that is illegal, and Palmer and his associates had been doing it for "10-plus years" to keep other hunters in the area from shooting deer that spent most of their time on Palmer's land.A representative of Palmer released a statement at the time denying the claim and accusing Thompson as having "a history of personal animosity toward Dr. Palmer. This is just another example of people trying to attack an innocent man."The DNR spent the last couple of months investigating and issued a statement Thursday morning saying:"Both the DNR and the county attorney have concluded there is not enough evidence or facts to support any charges or warnings in the case. The DNR took the allegations of the witnesses seriously. However, after interviewing witnesses, they were unable to provide us with specific information that would help identify a suspect."Our investigators were unable to identify the owner or the driver of the vehicle involved. Our investigators had no license plate information and the vehicle description did not match any of the vehicles owned by the landowner in question or his land manager.'Neither Palmer nor his land manager agreed to give statements and did not provide any information about the alleged incident.
"The case is closed," the DNR statement said.In the eyes of the law, Palmer is cleared.In the eyes of Thompson, not so much.She, and others I've talked with in the area, insist Palmer is incredibly possessive about deer that reside on his property. Thompson's brother, Jason Stetz, told the StarTribune newspaper of Minneapolis that he and Palmer had wrangled over property lines, tree stands and blood trails. Stetz said Palmer is quick with accusations of trespassing.DNR officials I've talked with said disputes between locals and Palmer have been ongoing for years.Thompson is hoping this can be turned into a positive."After talking with the DNR people, I knew there wasn't much chance anything was going to happen and I knew we didn't have some information they needed," Thompson said. "My thing was just to say, 'Hey, I'm making this public and I want you to stop.' "Given what we know about Palmer, it seems he is less than willing to be cooperative. He hired a crisis-management expert to distribute a dry-eyed, unapologetic statement after the Cecil story blew up. This is not somebody who appears to channel much energy toward introspection.But today is the first day of 2016 and Thompson chooses to believe that might be reason for hope."Maybe he learned something," she said. "Maybe for the new year he can change his ways. Maybe something good will come from this."

Related Topics: CLAY COUNTYCRIME
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