ZIMMERMAN, Minn. (WCCO) — If you’ve ever wondered what comes of all the gear taken away from game and fish violators, you’re about to find out.
On Saturday at Hiller Auction Service in Zimmerman, it’s all being sold to the highest bidder. Violators who’ve had their gear confiscated should take special note. Chances are they will find that gun or hunting bow laid out on Hiller’s auction tables.
“I would say our main violation is these were confiscated from baiting cases,” DNR Enforcement Lt. Co. Greg Salo said.
Every few years, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources puts confiscated property up for sale. Lt. Col. Salo says it’s aimed at changing illegal behavior.
“We’re finding that’s making more impact on that group of people. You take away a firearm, you take away hunting privileges, it makes them pay attention. We’re trying to get that compliance because most people we get voluntary compliance from,” Salo said.
Everything from pricey hunting rifles to the not-so-well cared for shotguns – there are some 400 guns and 100 bows on the auction block. Each item will be sold to the highest bidder.
“We go at a pretty brisk pace. One firearm a minute or 60 an hour and we’ve got a good sized catalogue so it will be a long day,” Auctioneer Kevin Hiller said.
From Browning’s to Benelli’s, each firearm is neatly inventoried, stacked and labeled. There are also crossbows, game cameras, rods and reels, along with raw whitetail antlers and expensive and impressive shoulder mounts.
These are the spoils from law-breakers which will soon be made available to law abiders, at prices which could beat any retail store.
“We don’t have to look too hard to find people to work it. There’s a lot of people there, it’s a really fun auction to do. I really enjoy it,” Hiller said.
And yes, game violators are welcomed to buy back what had been theirs, says Hiller.
With a smile, Hiller adds, “They’re going to pay like anybody else, and the highest bidder wins.”
Saturday’s sale is slightly larger than past confiscation auctions and is expected to raise between $150,000 and $200,000 for the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund.
Bidding gets underway at 9 a.m. sharp Saturday at Hiller Auction Service, just east of Zimmerman.