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Two Harbors woman pleads not guilty to poaching trophy bucks

Two Harbors resident Valery Vawn Wright has pleaded not guilty in 6th Judicial District Court in Lake County to charges that she illegally shot and killed two trophy bucks near the Lake View National Golf Course.

Wright is charged with a gross misdemeanor of unlawful transportation of a wild animal, two counts of deer hunting with use of bait, one count of taking a wild animal, and misdemeanors for hunting without a valid deer license and for having deer over her limit.

Wright appeared in court Monday at an uncontested omnibus hearing. In addition to entering a not guilty plea, Wright and public defender John Lind waived her right to a contested omnibus hearing. According to the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, at an omnibus hearing the court determines what evidence may be admitted and whether probable cause exists to proceed to trial. An uncontested omnibus hearing allows the defendant and their attorney to look through the evidence.

The criminal complaint against Wright alleges that she shot two mature bucks last fall near the Lakeview National Golf Course in Two Harbors. Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers Dan Thomasen and Matt Miller responded Nov. 12 to a call to the Lake County Sheriff's Office about someone possibly shooting within city limits in the area of the golf course, according to the complaint.

They followed a path into the woods and found Wright, wearing camouflage clothing, hunting with a firearm on property just outside the city, according to the complaint. Miller found carrots scattered on the ground along the path about 20 yards in front of the stand, the complaint said. A small amount of grain also was visible in the grass.

Hunters had their eyes on the bucks all season, which often were seen grazing and walking around the golf course.

"With the city bow hunt in Two Harbors, there's been a lot of interest in trying to harvest those deer," Thomasen said. "Everyone was eyeing those bucks."

A pretrial for Wright was set for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 13.