Jury trial set for landowner charged in hunting case
As of early February, the 31-minute video of the encounter had been viewed more than 2.7 million times on YouTube.
NEW ROCKFORD, N.D. – An April jury trial has been set for a Bismarck man charged in connection with an October duck hunting incident that was recorded in a video that later went viral.
Jeffrey Erman, Bismarck, was charged with trading in special influence, disorderly conduct-obscenity and interfering with the rights of hunters and trappers, court records show.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges in November, and a jury trial is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday, April 6, in the Eddy County Courthouse in New Rockford, online court documents show.
Trading in special influence is a Class A misdemeanor, and the other two charges are Class B misdemeanors.
The charges result from an Oct. 21, 2022, incident in Eddy County, in which Erman confronted a group of waterfowl hunters who were set up on the property line of a neighboring field. The hunters had permission to hunt where they were – a harvested bean field – but had been told by the landowner not to go near Erman’s land without his permission.
One of the hunters, Dustin Wolf of West Fargo, pleaded guilty to criminal trespass, a Class B misdemeanor, in late December in connection with the incident and was ordered to pay $250 in fines and surcharges, court records show.
As previously reported, when Wolf and five hunting partners set up on the boundary line of the field, where they’d been told not to hunt, Erman drove up in a side-by-side Polaris Ranger and said they were touching his harvested cornfield and had ruined his hunting plans for the morning.
Erman called district game warden James Myhre during a heated confrontation that was captured on video by Jacob Sweere, another member of the hunting crew. Sweere, of Madison Lake, Minnesota, posted the video to his YouTube hunting and fishing channel. As of last week, the 31-minute video had been viewed more than 2.7 million times.
The video shows Erman shouting obscenities at the hunters and at one point approaching their blind to say he would call off his “friend” the game warden and let them hunt if they gave him $300. According to court records, Erman twice tried to get the hunters to pay him the $300.
“As they continued to hunt, (Erman) continually drove his Ranger past them, stopping several times to scream profanity-laced statements,” court records show. “One hunter calmly asked him to stop as he was just trying to enjoy his hunt with his grandpa.”
Two of Sweere’s follow-up videos related to the incident were viewed 745,000 and 385,000 times, respectively.