Dokken: Charges pending in incident documented in viral duck hunting video
As of Thursday morning, Oct. 27, the 31-minute video, titled “Crazy Hunter Harassment Duck Hunting in North Dakota (Game Warden Involved!),” had been viewed nearly 466,000 times on YouTube and was spreading like wildfire.
GRAND FORKS — The incident remains under investigation, but a video documenting a confrontation in North Dakota’s Eddy County between a group of waterfowl hunters and a neighboring landowner has gone viral.
As of Thursday morning, Oct. 27, the 31-minute video, titled “Crazy Hunter Harassment Duck Hunting in North Dakota (Game Warden Involved!),” had been viewed nearly 466,000 times on YouTube and was spreading like wildfire. Readers should be aware the video contains extremely strong language.
Jacob Sweere of Madison Lake, Minn., a YouTuber whose hunting and fishing channel now has more than 4,600 subscribers, recorded the confrontation.
His viewership will likely grow even more after this.
Sweere and some hunting partners were set up along the property line of a harvested bean field when the owner of the adjacent land, a harvested corn field, drove up in a side-by-side vehicle. A hunting buddy from Fargo had gotten permission to hunt the land, from what I could gather, and Sweere and another friend had driven from southern Minnesota to North Dakota to join them in the hunt.
Their peaceful morning on the prairie came to an abrupt halt when the owner of the adjacent field pulled up, contending they were touching his property and that the spot where they set up had spoiled his hunting plans for the morning.
The situation pretty much went south from there.
“You are touching my (expletive) corn,” he screamed at one point after the hunters had shot a duck. “You tell the game warden you’re not on my land, and I’ll send him the picture.”
The landowner then called James Myhre, district game warden for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Sheyenne, N.D., demanding he give them tickets. After hanging up, he drives back up to the hunters and says, “Give me half the price of your fine and I’ll call him off, and you can hunt here.”
They politely declined.
Responding to the incident, Myhre is seen on the video explaining to the landowner and the hunters that he would “jot down exactly what happened, the exact location of where everything is at” as part of the investigation.
He definitely was a calming influence.
In a phone interview Wednesday morning, Myhre told the Herald he couldn’t say much about the incident because the investigation is ongoing, other than it happened Friday morning, Oct. 21, in eastern Eddy County.
“It’s being looked into at the moment here, and no charges have been filed yet at this point,” Myhre said. “But there will potentially be something coming in the future.”
Either or both sides could be charged, he said, depending on the outcome of the investigation.
“I don’t know at this point,” he said. “The case is currently being put together and reviewed, and no decisions have been made yet at this time.”
Sweere, who recorded and posted the video, said he preferred not to comment.
As of Wednesday morning, Myhre said he still had an interview to complete before filing his report and turning the case over to Eddy County State’s Attorney Ashley Lies. Any charges resulting from the incident potentially could be filed early next week, he said.
“It will kind of depend on when I can get this report wrapped up, and when she’ll have the opportunity to review everything,” Myhre said.
Regardless of the outcome, responding to heated encounters like the one documented in Sweere's video can be challenging for a game warden to diffuse because emotions are running so high.
“People do things they wouldn’t do,” Myhre said. “It’s just an unfortunate situation. And no matter how this goes or what happens from here, nobody’s going to come out a winner in a situation like this.”