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Cold, and snow put a damper on northwest Minnesota turkey opener, DNR officers say

In the Pelican Rapids area, ice fishing on area lakes is officially over for the year. Rain has made any ice unstable and soft.

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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 18:

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked turkey hunters in Marshall County. A nonresident deer hunter was cited for purchasing and filling a resident deer tag in the fall of 2021. Other enforcement contacts included hunting without a license in possession and failing to validate a turkey before removing it from the place of kill.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) attended training at Camp Ripley.

CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) continued to monitor ATV and fishing activity in the area. Turkey opener was also worked, but hunters reported it was very slow due to Mother Nature bringing us yet another spring snow storm.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) taught the law and ethics portions of firearms safety classes in Hallock and Oslo. He also checked turkey hunters during the “A” season, finding little success among those who braved the unseasonably cold weather and snow storms.


The Northwest Region includes some of the state’s premier walleye fisheries, including Lake of the Woods, Upper Red, Cass and Leech lakes, along with the Red and Red Lake rivers, to name just a few.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) monitored ATV activity and checked a few turkey hunters braving the snow during the first week of the turkey season. An injured-owl call was handled, as well as a car-killed bear.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time this week checking angling activity and turkey hunters. Various wildlife-related calls were received.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes and attended training at Camp Ripley.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling the station south of U.S. Highway 10 for ATVs in the ditches. Vinton continues to receive complaints of their operation. Vinton continued to monitor water levels in area creeks for the upcoming fish run. All area lakes still have ice but water levels in the creeks and rivers have come up as the snow melts. At the request of the local water resource enforcement officer, Vinton followed up with area lake service providers who had let their permits expire. All who were expired had left the business and were no longer required to possess a permit.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week assisting the county with calls for service and catching up on paperwork from ongoing cases. Swedberg also attended training.


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

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 Glyndon.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) monitored forest trails for activity. ATV and off-road vehicle patrol was conducted. Wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas were patrolled. Lakes and rivers were checked for angling and the spring fish run.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) reports ice fishing on area lakes is officially over for the year. Rain has made any ice unstable and soft. Landmark followed up with local soil and water conservation districts on ongoing wetland violations. Reports of incidentally caught otters and an injured eagle were also handled.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports his primary focus for the week was spring turkey hunting and ATV enforcement. Wintry weather slowed activity for the first season of spring turkey hunting, but some hunters tagged out in the opening days. Calls regarding trespassing, spring beaver trapping and sick/injured wildlife were handled. A few ATV riders have been contacted riding in county highway ditches for recreational purposes. Goodman would like to remind folks: “You may not drive an ATV within the right-of-way (ditch) of a state or county road from April 1 to August 1 in the agricultural zone. This does not apply to ATVs licensed and used for agricultural purposes.”

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked area turkey hunters, worked on wetland case follow up, and conducted some equipment maintenance. Plautz checked area streams and rivers for fish-run activity and fielded some license-issue questions.


CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked turkey hunters and turkey activity. Turkey hunting activity was low in the Douglas County area with the latest snow storms and wind. Firearms safety class presentation was scheduled with firearms safety instructors.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time training at Camp Ripley. Anglers are non-existent on treacherous ice conditions, and first-season turkey hunters are sparse with recent high winds and snowfalls.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the week focused on angling enforcement. Few turkey hunters braved the weather to get out this week. Wood assisted local agencies and issued minnow permits. Lake levels continue to rise. With the high water and cool weather, angling success still seems to be low.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports working small-game, fishing and recreational vehicle activity. Nuisance-animal calls were fielded and Division training was also attended.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, ATV operators, turkey hunters, and spring beaver trappers. Additional time was spent preparing equipment for upcoming training and performing maintenance on station equipment.

Osakis – vacant.

Elbow Lake – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) attended training at Camp Ripley and spent time taking various calls.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) attended training and checked turkey hunters.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for angling and ATV activity. Baum patrolled the woods for the beginning of the turkey season, but found very few hunters out with the snow and cold. Baum took enforcement action for various ATV violations. Baum received an anonymous TIP complaint that resulted in enforcement action for various angling violations. Baum reminds people that with the changing weather, they must check the ice frequently if they plan to head out.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) investigated an off-highway motorcycle and dog-chasing-deer complaint. She also assisted the county on a theft case.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) completed normal seasonal duties.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County lakes for angling activity throughout the week. He also completed follow up from TIP calls and attended training at Camp Ripley.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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