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DNR officers report busy weekend during spotty deer opener in northwest Minnesota

Enforcement action for the weekend included transport loaded firearm, shoot from roadway at big game, take wild animal from motor vehicle, recreational trespass, untagged big game and take deer with the aid of bait.

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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, Nov. 7.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked deer hunters over the busy opening weekend. Overall, deer hunting success was hit-or-miss. Several contacts were made with deer hunters using bait. Other violations included feed during the feed ban, erecting a permanent blind on state forest, fail to register deer, transport loaded rifles, no blaze orange, allow juvenile to violate game laws, fail to validate deer tag, hunt deer without license and trespass.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) investigated multiple complaints of baited stands leading up to and during the firearms deer season opener. Overall hunter numbers and success seemed to be lower than in recent years for the Lake of the Woods area. Violations encountered include hunting over bait, hunting after revocation and failure to register deer.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) worked the firearms deer opener, seeing moderate success. Enforcement action for the weekend included transport loaded firearm, shoot from roadway at big game, take wild animal from motor vehicle, recreational trespass, untagged big game and take deer with the aid of bait.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports preparing for and working the opening weekend of the firearms deer hunting season. Regas reports making many contacts with many hunters who were excited for the season. He received reports of fair success, with some holding out for the big buck knowing there is a lot of the season remaining. Regas noted that a number of the successful hunters had harvested nice bucks. Violations encountered and addressed included, hunting deer with the aid of bait, CWD feeding ban violations, allowing juveniles to violate game laws, transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, untagged deer and fail to validate site tag.


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 Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports a busy start to the 2022 firearms deer season. Many hunters had successful hunts. Enforcement action was taken for numerous license violations and for hunting over bait.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working a busy deer season opener. Time was also spent following up on bear-related cases and checking anglers. Various deer hunting-related violations were encountered.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked a busy opening weekend of the deer season. Things slowed down Sunday as the weather conditions got worse and wind gusts neared 40 mph. Time was spent responding to complaints of trespassing and hunting over bait.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports preparing for the deer season and checking area WMAs for stands and bait. Vinton received calls of dogs possibly chasing deer and issued car-killed deer permits. The opening weekend of deer season was a mix of nice weather and terribly windy conditions. Few deer or hunters were observed on the second day. Vinton contacted an Amish family who had a small fire rekindle several days after they had burned a few old hay bales. They were able to extinguish the fire before the very strong winds caused a bigger fire.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) worked alongside COC Jesse Drown preparing for the opening weekend of firearms deer season. Deer movement was noticeably slow, and weather Sunday seemed to keep people indoors. Harvest numbers seemed low. Enforcement action was taken on a past bear case, baiting deer and ATV registration violations.


CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked deer hunters and worked complaints of baiting, trespass, dogs chasing deer, litter and theft. Overall, the hunter feedback showed low deer numbers during opening weekend of the firearms season.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week focusing on small game, migratory waterfowl and deer hunting enforcement. The weekend saw plenty of hunters afield for the firearms deer season opener. Unfortunately, the violations encountered were numerous and varied. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, allowing a juvenile to violate fish and game laws and illegal party hunting. The weekend concluded with a report of a cow having been shot and killed near Twin Valley. Anyone with information is asked to call the TIP line at (800) 652-9093 or the Norman County Sheriff’s Office.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked WMA and WPA (waterfowl production area) activity. Complaints of baiting and shining were received. The opening of firearm deer season was worked, with most hunters checked having low success rates. Warren assisted local police and sheriff’s offices with a medical and an injury accident. Time was spent with tribal game wardens on possible trespass issues.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week preparing for the deer season opener and checking waterfowl hunters. Over opening weekend, some diving ducks moved into the area and provided the few diehard duck hunters left with some shooting. Deer hunting success as well as the number of hunters was down throughout the station. Many hunters reported it’s the fewest deer they have seen and fewest shots they have heard in a very long time. Officer Landmark also followed up with a complaint of a wetland violation. Calls from the public included questions about deer season limits, trespassing complaints and reports of shooting prior to season. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, hunting without a deer license, possessing and shooting a deer rifle within five days of season and trespassing.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports checking a fair number of deer hunters the opening weekend of the firearms season. Sunday’s wind event slowed things down but a few still toughed it out and bagged a deer. Goodman saw a slight increase in waterfowl numbers late in the week, while pheasants remained hidden. Enforcement action was typical of deer opener, with transporting loaded firearms and bait issues being addressed.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) and COC Ryan Christenson spent time checking archery and firearm hunters. Officers responded to trespass/hunter harassment complaints. Enforcement action was taken for loaded firearms in motor vehicles, failing to validate deer tags, hunting over bait and hunting with no license. Deer firearms opener success was mixed, with some hunters shooting deer and others not seeing any.


CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) reports checking small game hunters as well deer hunters this weekend. Deer hunting success was extremely mild this weekend, with few deer being harvested. Follow up on trespass complaints were conducted. ATV activity was also worked, with a few violations addressed.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked deer and pheasant hunters. Trespassing complaints were received and investigated. Landowners should take the time ahead of the deer season and properly post their property. Please see the Hunting Regulations booklet for proper posting requirements.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports heavy deer hunting pressure during opening weekend throughout Douglas and Todd counties. Deer harvest success was limited and sporadic. Heavy winds on Sunday shut down most deer movement completely. Numerous hunters were issued citations after operating their ATVs with loaded long guns onboard, which is illegal on public roads as well as private property. Other enforcement action was taken for various tagging/validating violations and illegal drug possession as well as using extra lines by some late-season anglers.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent this past week preparing for the firearms deer season. Several cases were worked over the weekend and lots of contacts were made. Some small game and angling activity was also worked.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports helping assist dispatch and the TIP line with DNR-related questions and calls over the opening weekend of deer season. Assistance was also provided with various region and district tasks.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and pheasant and deer hunters. Additional time was spent checking trappers and waterfowl hunters. A lot of deer hunters were out for opening weekend, but weather conditions limited hunter success. Complaints of trespass and shooting from the road were the most common complaints over the weekend.

Osakis – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports deer hunters having some success despite difficult weather conditions on Sunday. Big game investigations consisted of hunt with aid or use of bait, shoot/shine big game from roadway and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Calls from the public also included deer possession permits, trespass complaints, neighbor disputes related to hunting and property being stored at an SNA.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) working the opener of the firearms deer season. A lot of hunters were out, but those in the Huntersville and Badoura state forests reported seeing few deer. Enforcement action included take deer over bait, trespass, fail to validate deer tag, timber trespass and various WMA violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass and Hubbard counties for deer hunting activity. Area lakes were also worked for waterfowl hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) worked a busy deer hunting opener weekend. Hunting success appeared to be lower than normal. A few grouse hunters were out who continue to find some birds. Enforcement action was taken for deer hunting violations.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) primarily focused on big game hunting and small game hunting. Cross saw decent success for small game and deer hunters over the weekend. Cross reminds hunters to be aware of where they are hunting. An example of this would be game refuges: Please refer to Page 107 of the hunting regulations. Enforcement action was taken numerous hunting violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked deer and small game hunters. Enforcement action was taken on damage to public property, no small game license and various deer hunting violations.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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