Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of north-central Minnesota for Monday, Sept. 27:
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked grouse hunters in the Beltrami Island State Forest. Enforcement action was taken with an individual who dumped multiple bags of garbage and two large televisions in the state forest. A report was investigated of a bear in a trap.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) assisted local volunteers with firearms safety field days, attended training at Camp Ripley, checked anglers on the Rainy River and checked duck hunters during opening weekend. Enforcement action was taken for violations including possessing/using shot other than non-toxic while waterfowl hunting, a crappie overlimit at the U.S. Port of Entry, operating an OHM (off-highway motorcycle) on public roadways and allowing youth/minors to violate fish and game law.
CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) worked mainly the waterfowl opener and small-game enforcement this past week. He reports hunters had decent success with there being fewer birds than recent years. Brown wants to remind hunters that safety equipment like personal flotation devices are still required in your duck boats.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) worked the waterfowl opener in the Thief Lake area, seeing very good success. Area grouse hunters saw much less success than waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action for the week included no small-game license, no state waterfowl validation, no federal waterfowl stamp, transporting dressed game birds, no helmet on juvenile ATV passengers and ATV-registration violations.
- Read more hunting stories in Northland Outdoors
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CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) patrolled the station for big-game-hunting activity during the week, and worked the waterfowl opener this weekend. Waterfowl hunting success was excellent for most. Limits to near-limits were observed for most parties checked, with teal and widgeon making up the majority of the bag and a few geese added to the mix. Crane-hunting success continues to be good, as well. Elwell took enforcement action for waterfowl-hunting and ATV-related violations.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working bear, archery deer, small-game and the waterfowl-hunting opening weekend. Regas reports opening morning of the waterfowl season many hunters had good success with a variety of ducks harvested. Time was spent investigating TIP information, reports of burning violations and issuing permits for car-killed game. Violations encountered and addressed this past week included taking waterfowl in open water, unplugged shotgun and hunting and angling license violations.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports hunters have taken to the woods in many capacities. Archery deer, small game and now waterfowl hunters have joined the mix. Time was spent working big- and small-game hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for hunting migratory waterfowl without a license and hunting waterfowl with an unplugged shotgun.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking duck, goose, archery deer and prairie chicken hunters this week. Time was also spent checking anglers on area lakes. Various hunting/license-related violations were encountered.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) attended first aid training.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked a busy opening weekend to the waterfowl season. Area lakes were patrolled, and time was spent working Leech Lake with CO McGowan.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) had a busy week working anglers and small game and duck hunters. Many duck hunters were checked this week and most were successful in finding ducks. Swedberg also followed up on a TIP complaint regarding a couple fishing multiple days in a row on the same lake. No overlimits were found, but the couple did have illegal-length northern pike. Swedberg also assisted the area DNR hydrologist with several site visits.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, small game hunting and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent working the waterfowl and prairie chicken openers over the weekend. Waterfowl hunter participation was high. Most groups checked were having pretty good success. Game bags included a variety of ducks with ring necks, widgeon and teal most commonly found. Enforcement action was taken for unplugged shotguns, operating a motorized boat on a WMA/WPA and various licensing violations.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling and boating activity. A complaint of goose hunting out of season was investigated. Patrol for ATV and off-road vehicle activity was done. Waterfowl opening weekend was worked with hunters having mixed success and the law and ethics portion of firearms safety class was taught near Lengby.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week working on a background investigation and checking waterfowl and prairie chicken hunters. Scouting was the key for opener this year, and those who put in time found good success. A surprising number of typical late-season birds such as pintails, widgeon and northern shovelers was observed in hunters’ bags. Prairie chicken hunters are finding birds, but getting a shot that is within range has been the tricky part. Enforcement action was taken for camping on a WPA and hunting without a license in possession.
Bemidji #2 – vacant.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) attended required annual training at Camp Ripley during the week. Duck hunting on the opener was poor to fair for most hunters checked. Green-winged teal appeared to be the species that was most prevalent. Other midseason migrant ducks were also observed. Fishing continues to get better, with overlimit complaints worked.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked several waterfowl hunters over the opening weekend. They had minimal success. One hunter had an experience when a goose flew into him, hitting him in the back and shoulder area. No injuries were reported. Plautz assisted with an ATV safety class in Henning certifying over 20 youth. Plautz continues to work on a background investigation for a potential new employee. Archery hunters are having a good success to the start of the season.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports working the regular waterfowl hunting opener and fall angling over the weekend. Waterfowl success was limited to those who found the remaining local teal and wood ducks. Warm, calm weather dispersed hunters early, with few taking advantage to the extended season hours. Waterfowl hunting regulation compliance was down from earlier seasons. Violations consisted of no license and stamps, transporting loaded firearms and an unplugged gun with lead shot. Enforcement action was also taken for ATV violations.
CO Shane Osbourne (Evansville) checked anglers, boaters, waterfowl hunters and ATV riders. It was beautiful weather for the duck opener with a mixed bag found throughout the weekend. A public land-blocking complaint was received, investigated and handled. It turned out to be a civil issue, not a criminal one.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time this week monitoring fall angling activity, as well as several groups of waterfowl hunters. Compliance overall was very good, with only a few instances of enforcement action necessary. Lots of boats are being taken off the water for the season, and lakeshore owners are encouraged to remove all AIS from docks and lifts before transporting them to another location. Assistance was given to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with helping remove a horse that became stuck in a swamp while trail riding.
CO Hannah Wood (Wheaton) spent the past week working on a background investigation for an applicant to the CO Prep program. She took calls from people with questions regarding the waterfowl season and also assisted a couple days with the TIP line.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked small game hunting and recreational vehicle activity. Time was also spent working the opening weekend of duck hunting. Holt followed up on TIP complaints and continued working on a background investigation.
CO Dan Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, bowhunters and waterfowl hunters. Record-low numbers of waterfowl and hunters were observed around the area for duck opener. He saw more anglers than hunters. Baumbarger observed fewer than two dozen birds harvested over the weekend. Additional time was spent training at Camp Ripley during the week.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked a variety of activity during the week including boating, fishing, big-game hunting, and waterfowl hunting. Hunters saw very few ducks in the area on the waterfowl opener. Water levels have increased lately, which is making access to some area lakes easier.
CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked Cass County lakes for waterfowl hunting activity, with hunters reporting varying success. Enforcement action was taken for waterfowl stamp violations, unplugged guns, toxic shot violations and boating violations.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking waterfowl hunters over the opening weekend. The majority of the hunters found success in the morning hunts. Enforcement action was taken for various violations. Small game hunters were also checked throughout the week. Kunst also assisted Cass County with a search for a missing person.
CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for angling and hunting activity. He found varied success among hunters during the waterfowl opener, but found several successful anglers. Baum took enforcement action on various activities, ranging from waterfowl violations to an off-highway motorcycle violation.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and small-game hunters. Anglers were finding some perch and walleyes, while the duck hunters had moderate success finding ducks. Complaints related to bear and duck hunting were investigated. Mathy also assisted with a driving complaint. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of perch, unplugged shotgun, possessing toxic shot while waterfowl hunting, no federal waterfowl stamp and boating violations.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked hunting activity. She also assisted in the search for a missing person. Violations included hunting without a license, no duck stamps, and no plug in a shotgun.
CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports continuing work on background investigations and checking anglers, small-game hunters, waterfowl hunters and archery deer hunters. He reports calls from the public regarding nuisance beavers and several hunting related questions. Some of the enforcement action he took consisted of no small-game license, no state stamp, no license in possession, keeping smallmouth bass during the catch-and-release-only season, and boating related violations.