A look into the past of Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, killer of Cecil the Lion

A Minnesota dentist reportedly paid more than $50,000 to kill one of the most beloved lions in Africa with a bow and arrow, found skinned and beheaded after being lured out of a national park. But this isn't the first time Walter Palmer has been in trouble while hunting. 

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Palmer has been registered with hunting and fishing licenses in Minnesota, Alaska and Florida. He was found guilty in connection with misleading a federal agent in the hunt of a black bear in Wisconsin in 2008 -- he was fined $3,000 and served probation.

According to the charges, “in interviews with a special agent of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Palmer falsely stated that he believed he had shot the bear off Taylor Road, and falsely stated that he thought the bear had been killed legally.”

In 2003, he was also fined for fishing without a license.

With protesters on his street and the international media watching, that is the life of Palmer now. But only weeks ago, he was a soft-spoken dentist in Bloomington, Minn. -- that dental practice abruptly closed for the week, with shades drawn tight amid the firestorm.

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Palmer was also well known for his dedication to the gym at the Eden Prairie Lifetime Fitness and his passion for big-game hunting.

He was featured in the New York Times in 2009, explaining his dedication to hunting, saying "I don't have a golf game." But sometimes that expensive hobby got him into trouble.

“As the 2009 season approached, Walter J. Palmer, a dentist in his late 40s from Eden Prairie, Minn., paid $45,000 for a tag at an auction to finance preservation of the elk habitat,” the New York Times wrote. “Palmer, said to be capable of skewering a playing card from 100 yards with his compound bow, has cultivated a purist’s reputation for his disinclination to carry firearms as backup. Learning to shoot at age 5, he has slain all but one of the animals recognized by Pope and Young.”

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At his dental office, he has mostly clean record with the exception of a 2009 complaint for sexual harassment, which he denied but settled for more than $127,000 in an agreement with the Board of Dentistry.


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