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Hunter, landowner charged for incident recorded in viral duck hunting video

Jeffrey Erman, Bismarck, was charged with trading in special influence, disorderly conduct-obscenity and interfering with rights of hunters and trappers, court records show. Dustin Wolf of West Fargo was charged with criminal trespass

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This screen shot from a YouTube video shows the encounter that resulted between a landowner and a group of duck hunters during a dispute on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, in North Dakota's Eddy County.
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EDDY COUNTY, N.D. – A Bismarck man and a hunter from West Fargo, N.D., have been charged for their roles in a hunting dispute that was recorded on video and subsequently went viral .

Jeffrey Erman, 69, Bismarck, was charged with trading in special influence, disorderly conduct-obscenity and interfering with rights of hunters and trappers, court records show. Trading in special influence is a Class A misdemeanor, and the other two charges are Class B misdemeanors.

Dustin Wolf, 23, of West Fargo was charged with criminal trespass, a Class B misdemeanor, according to court records.

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The charges result from an incident that occurred Friday, Oct. 21, when Erman confronted Wolf and a group of hunting partners who were set up on the property line of a neighboring field.

According to court records, Wolf had gotten permission to hunt the harvested bean field but was told not to go near Jeffrey Erman’s land without Erman’s permission.

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When Wolf and five others set up on the boundary line of the field — an area they weren’t supposed to hunt — Erman drove up in a side-by-side ATV and said they were touching his harvested corn field and had spoiled his hunting plans for the morning.

A heated confrontation ensued, and Erman called James Myhre, district game warden for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, who arrived on the scene about 8 a.m.

Jacob Sweere of Madison Lake, Minnesota, who was part of Wolf’s hunting crew, recorded the confrontation and posted it on his YouTube hunting and fishing channel, where it went viral and had been viewed more than 1.7 million times as of Thursday morning.

In the video, Erman can be heard shouting obscenities at the hunters and at one point approached their hunting blind to say he would call off his “friend” the game warden and let them hunt if they gave him $300, an amount he twice tried to get them to pay, court records show.

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As of Thursday morning, Oct. 27, the 31-minute video, titled “Crazy Hunter Harassment Duck Hunting in North Dakota (Game Warden Involved!),” had been viewed nearly 466,000 times on YouTube and was spreading like wildfire.

They politely declined.

In his report on the incident, Myhre wrote that while Ermer wanted the hunters ticketed for trespassing, the boundary line between the cornfield and the soybean field was “not a legally justifiable boundary to determine legal trespass.”

However, since Wolf was specifically told not to go near Ermer’s property line and did, there was probable cause to charge him with criminal trespass, Myhre wrote.

At the same time, Erman’s profanity-laced language, his repeated offer to let them hunt on his land and call off his “friend” the game warden if they paid him, along with his recorded effort to physically scare away ducks the crew was hunting justified the three charges against him, court records show.

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“Knowing the hunters were attempting to hunt ducks (Erman) waited until several were landing within shooting distance of the hunters, drove his Ranger quickly up to the property line, jumped out and yelled, ‘YAHOO! We’re hunting ducks!’” court records indicate. “Knowing his loudness scared away the birds, he then looked at the hunters and said, ‘sure would have been easier to get along, wouldn’t it boys?’”

Erman and Wolf both have initial court appearances set for 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in New Rockford, N.D., court records show.

Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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