Article from New Rockford newspaper.
January 23, 2023
Last October, a group of hunters descended upon a harvested bean field for an early-morning duck hunt in eastern Eddy County, but the hunt was ruined soon after due to an altercation with a nearby landowner.
The confrontation was caught on video and uploaded to YouTube by one of the hunters, and has since been watched more than 2.5 million times.
The video shows Jeffrey Erman approaching the hunters, who had set up along his property line. He then interrupts the ongoing hunt and begins berating them, arguing they were touching his property and that they’d ruined his hunting plans for that morning.
Erman now faces multiple charges stemming from the incident, including trading in special influence, a Class A misdemeanor, as well as disorderly conduct and interference with rights of hunters, both Class B misdemeanors.
Erman wasn’t the only individual to face charges, however, as Dustin Wolf of West Fargo, one of the hunters, was charged with criminal trespass, a Class B misdemeanor.
After originally pleading not guilty to the trespassing charge, Wolf has since reached a plea agreement and changed his plea to guilty.
According to the criminal complaint filed against him, Wolf had received permission to hunt on the harvested bean field from an authorized agent for the landowner, but was told not to hunt near the property line unless also given permission by Erman.
In the plea agreement, Wolf states, “I am pleading guilty because on or about October 21, 2022 … I was hunting on land on which I had permission to hunt. I had been provided notice to avoid hunting on a specific patch of land within that larger piece of land. Before placing my blind, I had not determined with certainty that I was not on that patch of land; It turned out that I was on that patch of land.”
Wolf has now been assessed $250 in various fees and fines, and according to his plea agreement, must also pay $200 to the North Dakota Game & Fish Report All Poachers Program.
The plea agreement also stipulates that, after 180 days, “the guilty plea in this case will be withdrawn, the guilty verdict will be set aside, the case will be dismissed, and the file will be sealed by the court.”
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Erman has entered not guilty pleas for the three charges filed against him, and a jury trial has been scheduled for Thursday, April 6. However, Eddy County State’s Attorney, Ashley Lies, has told the Transcript that negotiations on a potential plea agreement are still ongoing.