CARLTON, Minn. - A Cloquet man recently found himself behind bars after using his brother's fishing license.
A Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officer (CO) asked Andrew Swenson to see his fishing license while Swenson was fishing on the St. Louis River in Cloquet.
The officer became suspicious when Swenson couldn't answer questions about his height, weight and his address.
A check on the Minnesota driver's and vehicle services website pulled up a picture of a person who looked different than the person who was fishing.
"I asked him to look at the photo on my computer screen and asked him who that was a picture of," said CO Scott Staples of Carlton. "He said it was his brother."
Swenson was arrested, and admitted to the officer that his own application for a license had been rejected because he failed to pay a fine for fishing with extra lines the previous year.
While Swenson was booked into the Carlton County Jail, Staples called Swenson's brother, Chayse J. Swenson, 20, of Duluth, who said he was aware that his brother had his license.
"He stated that he did not think it was that big of a deal," Staples said. "I informed him that it was not legal to lend another person a game or fish license and that I would be mailing him a citation for that violation."
Andrew Swenson was charged with a gross misdemeanor for giving false information to a peace officer, angling without a license, and lending, borrowing or transferring a license. The maximum fine for a gross misdemeanor is $3,000. Angling without a license carries a $50 fine. Lending, borrowing, or transferring a license is a $100 fine.
Chayse Swenson was charged with lending, borrowing or transferring a license. He pleaded guilty and paid the fine.
Col. Ken Soring, DNR enforcement director, says angling without a license is among the most common fishing violations in Minnesota. State statute states anglers age 16 or older must have the appropriate license in their possession when fishing.
"Well, 'I don't have one' or 'I just forgot to bring it with me' is an excuse that conservation officers wish they'd hear less often than they do," Soring said. He also said it's an excuse that's easily corrected.
Anyone witnessing a fish or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the DNR's 24 hour toll-free Turn-In-Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093. Cell phone users can dial #TIP.
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