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Bear found dead in tree died from natural causes, DNR officer says

Stubborn weather has deterred ice-out and usual fish runs up to this point in some parts of northwest Minnesota.

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Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Monday, April 24.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) patrolled area streams and ditches during the spring northern pike run. Assistance was given to the Warroad firearms safety class, and other various follow-up investigations were conducted.

CO Tony Hams (Warroad North) spent the week following up on complaints and checking area anglers.

CO Coby Fontes (Warroad South) spent the week following up on miscellaneous cases and responding to calls. Fontes also conducted checks on both hard-water and open-water anglers on Lake of the Woods. He reports ice conditions are deteriorating quickly. Fontes had the honor of paying tribute to fallen Pope County Deputy Josh Owen by attending his funeral on Saturday. Rest easy, Deputy Owen.


CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) taught the law and ethics portion of the firearms safety class in Thief River Falls, attended the Tri-State Border Warden Conference and investigated a turkey hunting complaint. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register a wild turkey.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports monitoring turkey hunting activity and working trapping activity throughout this past week. Time was spent handling multiple reports of incidental catches of various wildlife by spring beaver trappers and patrolling forest roads and trails closed for the spring thaw.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) worked AIS (aquatic invasive species) enforcement and angling activity. Prachar was dispatched to a call of a dead bear in a tree. Upon further investigation, Prachar found the bear died of natural causes.

Baudette East – vacant.

Baudette West – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working turkey hunting and trapping activity. Time was also spent checking anglers. A dogs-chasing-deer complaint was received.


CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked spring beaver-trapping activity. Time was spent patrolling for ATV use and checking rivers/creeks for spring fish-run activity.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting local police departments with boat hull identification number verifications and patrolling the station for ATV and turkey hunting activity. Vinton received a call from a local trapper who accidentally caught an otter. The otter was seized and sold to a local fur buyer. Ice conditions are deteriorating in the area but colder weather has slowed ice-out. Car-injured deer were dispatched.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) attended a conference with South and North Dakota game wardens where officers discussed past cases, trainings, and rule changes in their respective states. Swedberg also spoke at the Frazee firearms safety class and attended the funeral for Pope County Deputy Owen. Other time was spent checking area streams for fish run activity and performing equipment maintenance.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working spring turkey hunting and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent giving a law and ethics presentation to a firearms safety class in Moorhead.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) assisted with Conservation Officer Academy preparations at Camp Ripley. A call of possible nuisance bear was received and questions were answered.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking a few remaining anglers and turkey hunters in the Pelican Rapids station. Ice has deteriorated to the point where access in unsafe and anglers should wait for open water. Landmark spent time training with North and South Dakota officers during a border warden meeting. He also attended the funeral for Pope County Deputy Josh Owen. Landmark spoke to 15 youth at a Pheasants Forever turkey hunting event. The youth were paired with mentors for a hunt and success rates were good, with all hunters having some action. Landmark also handled seasonal equipment maintenance and seized incidentally taken otters.

CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week patrolling for ATV and angling activity. Fox responded to a call concerning an injured swan, which turned out to be healthy. Fox also conducted an investigation into swans that were suspected to have been shot. Violations this week included ATV registration issues.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training and worked trapping enforcement and ongoing cases.


Bagley – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) continued to monitor spring beaver-trapping and turkey hunting activity. Stubborn weather has deterred ice-out and usual fish runs up to this point. Additional time was spent speaking at a firearms safety class and responding to fire complaints.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spoke to two firearms safety classes on laws and ethics. She assisted with a security detail and monitored ice conditions and turkey hunters.

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) checked turkey hunting and ATV activity in the area. He also assisted Pope County during the week and attended the funeral for fallen officer Deputy Owen. Calls regarding nuisance animals and incidentally taken otters were received.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) worked the beginning of the turkey hunting season. Success has been low to due extreme winter weather that has occurred. The laws and ethics talk was given at a firearms safety class in Brandon. Preparation for other firearms safety classes is ongoing.

CO Felicia Znajda (Osakis) reports the cooler weather and wind is holding down the success rate of turkey hunters, but she is still seeing them out there. Znajda provided further assistance to Pope County during the last week and attended the funeral of Deputy Josh Owen. Condolences to all of his family and friends.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the week focused on angling enforcement. Area water levels are still high and roads have been closed periodically in the past week. She attended a border warden meeting with wardens from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Minnow permits were also issued. Wood spent some time this past week working a security detail in Pope County. She also attended the funeral for fallen Pope County Deputy Josh Owen.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were focused on checking ATV operators, turkey hunters, and following up on incidentally trapped otters.


District 4 - Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) checked numerous beaver trappers, conducted equipment maintenance, completed training and handled multiple calls for service. Cross also followed up on and worked on open cases.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent the week preparing equipment for the upcoming ATV and open water seasons. Time was spent completing training and preparing for CO Academy instruction. A turkey hunting related investigation was completed, with enforcement action taken.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County lakes for angling activity. Fishing pressure is very low due to poor ice conditions. McGowan prepared equipment for the upcoming open-water season.

CO Corey Sura (Remer) checked on spring beaver-trapping activity and took reports of incidentally caught otters. Routine equipment maintenance was taken care of. Sura patrolled the Rainy River for sturgeon anglers. Overall angler numbers appeared lower than usual, as was fishing success.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and turkey hunting activity. She also assisted with a vehicle rollover.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports attending training and collecting incidentally taken otters. He also reports investigating an ongoing big-game case.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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