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Large Lake of the Woods walleye bust adds twist to deer season opener for DNR officers in Baudette

Four anglers were found to be 48 walleye/sauger over their possession limit. The individuals will be charged for possessing over the limit of walleye/sauger, along with restitution for the 48 fish.

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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. 8:

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) prepared for and worked the Firearms Deer opener in the Roseau and Lake of the Woods County areas. Hunter success varied, with more deer generally being seen in the agricultural areas. Violations for the week include shining, hunting with the aid of bait, wanton waste of a deer, fail to register deer and assistance was given to CO Sura with a large over limit of walleyes and saugers.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) spent the weekend working a Minnesota unofficial holiday – firearms deer season! Although the weather was excellent, the hunting success was relatively slow for an opening weekend. However, this was not the case for the fishing on Lake of the Woods. Sura decided to take a quick break from the deer hunting action to check a few anglers. In doing so, he contacted a group of four anglers who were found to be 48 walleye/sauger over their possession limit. The individuals will be charged for possessing over the limit of walleye/sauger, along with restitution for the 48 fish. Other violations handled over the weekend include hunting deer with aid/use of bait and transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle.

CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) reports working small game, angling and big game enforcement prior to the opener. He saw a very successful deer opener for hunters with several nice-sized deer being harvested in the area. It was good to see families outdoors enjoying this Minnesota tradition.

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CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) worked the firearms deer opener. Mild temps in the area kept deer movement down but increased hunter participation. Enforcement action for the week included transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, unlawful party hunting, open bottle violations and unlawfully importing deer into state from another state.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) worked a busy firearms deer season opener. Warm weather kept deer movement slow, but some hunters found success this weekend. Trespassing and hunter harassment complaints were handled. Violations encountered included transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, insufficient blaze orange, ATV violations, WMA violations and littering.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working the busy Firearms Deer Season Opener. Hunters enjoyed mild weather, which may have accounted for the slow start to the deer season for many. Time was also spent checking small game hunters, monitoring trapping activity and working an ongoing deer hunting case from 2020 this past week. Violations encountered and addressed included hunting deer with the aid of bait, transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles, untagged deer and hunting license violations.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports a busy firearms opener. Time was spent working deer hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, allowing a juvenile to hunt illegally and transporting a loaded firearm. Numerous trespass calls were fielded. Please make sure to follow the state guidelines found in the hunting regulations when posting your property.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working a busy firearms deer opener. Many hunter contacts were made during the weekend. Time was also spent checking archery deer hunters and addressing trespass related complaints. Enforcement action was taken for various hunting violations.

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CO Tim Gray (Bagley) handled the usual Firearms Deer Season complaints, including shoot from the road, wanton waste, and trespass along with checking a few fishermen.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked a busy weekend of firearms deer opener. Individuals were contacted regarding hunting deer over bait.

Bemidji #2 - Vacant.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling the Perham station for trapping activity, waterfowl hunting and area WMAs for early stands placed before the beginning for the state’s general rifle season. TIPs (Turn in Poachers) calls were investigated for trespassing and possible deer shining activity. CO Vinton addressed the MN Darkhouse and Angling Association meeting in New York Mills. The opening weekend of deer season’s weather was mild with lots of deer moving. Many hunters were contacted. TIPs of hunter harassment and trespassing were investigated. Enforcement action was taken for stands left on WMAs, trespass, transport loaded firearms and hunting deer without a license.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking anglers, small game hunters, and bow hunters trying to get their deer before the firearm season started. CO Swedberg checked many hunters over the weekend, with most following all the laws. Many fishermen were seen throughout the weekend as well, with fishing reports being fairly good. Enforcement action for the week included deer license violations, ATV violations, and hunting over bait. CO Swedberg also assisted White Earth Conservation Officers with some trespassing issues.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked deer hunters over the opening weekend. Hunters reported bucks were moving, despite the warm weekend. Peterson worked trespass, baiting and unlicensed hunter calls; additional violations of baiting and tagging/validating were handled, as well.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working small game, ATV and waterfowl enforcement. Time was also spent working the firearms deer hunting opener. Hunter participation appeared to be good. The unseasonably warm weather may have been a factor in the low number of harvested deer checked.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on open illegal activity in WMA cases. Angling activity was monitored. CO Warren worked with a wildlife manager, investigating nuisance bears that were taken by landowner due to depredation issues. Assistance was provided to the State Patrol with securing a perimeter, after an individual fled on foot. Station patrol was conducted for shining activity. The opening firearm deer season was worked, and complaints of baiting, trespass and ATV usage on a WMA were received. Disability permits, trespass, baiting and permit area questions were answered.

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CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring deer hunting activity. Many hunters reported bucks chasing does, and success rates appeared to be good during the mornings, when the temperatures were colder. Calls from the public included requests for car-kill deer/bear permits, questions about trespassing, and questions about deer limits. ATV operators are reminded that it is illegal to operate an ATV within any state park; several were contacted over the weekend and citations were issued. Tagging issues were the primary violation found among deer hunters, and hunters are reminded it is their responsibility to make sure they are following the rules. CO Landmark encourages all hunters to grab a free regulation book when they purchase their license to refresh their memory on the laws. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, hunting small game without a license, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, operating an ATV within a state park, operating a motor vehicle on a WPA and numerous tagging violations.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) handled several calls prior to season on licenses, trespass, boundary lines, etc. Plautz found several hunters having good success over the opening weekend. A disoriented 10-point buck was acting very strange in the area and created a lot of attention. Violations encountered were untagged big game animals, transport loaded firearms, fail to validate license, fail to register prior to cutting up deer, deer stands left on public lands, and hunter harassment calls were handled.

CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) checked a fair number of firearms deer hunters over the weekend. Mild weather kept hunters in their stands longer, and they reported high levels of deer activity. Numerous TIPs, questions and complaints were handled throughout the week and continue to be investigated. Additional time was spent checking waterfowl and pheasant hunters. Hunters are asked to please obey WMA rules and regulations as many vehicle tracks and elevated stands being left overnight are being reported.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl, pheasant and deer hunters. The weather was warm over the weekend, and many people commented on the unusual weather patterns. Several license violations are being investigated from the weekend.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked a busy firearms deer opener, with lots of hunters contacted and some nice deer harvested. Citations were issued for various deer hunting and license violations. Hunters were interviewed for shooting from the roadway and trespassing complaints, as well as lending and borrowing licenses and using invalid bonus permits.

Osakis – vacant.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) took several phone calls throughout the week from people gearing up for the weekend. She spent the busy weekend assisting in State Patrol dispatch with DNR-related calls. Several deer possession permits were issued for car-killed deer.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports working deer hunting and recreational activity. Enforcement action taken included transporting loaded firearms, shooting at big game from a roadway, operating an ATV on a state highway and operating an ATV with juvenile passengers without helmets on. Multiple trespass and road hunting complaints were taken. Unfortunately, a nice buck was shot illegally northwest of Chokio that ultimately was wasted and left to rot. Douvier also took a report of a slug that had been shot through someone’s home and passed through two hallways before coming to a stop; luckily, no one was hurt in the incident.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking deer hunters, fishermen and pheasant hunters. Additional time was focused on checking waterfowl hunters and following up on littering complaints. CO Baumbarger investigated complaints of road hunting and shooting from the road complaints. Deer hunters are reminded to dispose of deer carcasses properly, not in the road ditch, as this makes all deer hunters look like slobs.

Fergus Falls – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) had a busy week with training and the firearms deer hunting opener. A fair amount of deer were taken. Enforcement action was taken for various violations.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports preparing for the rifle deer season. Mild temperatures allowed hunters to sit longer and many had harvested deer. He reports fielding numerous calls from the public in regards to the deer season, trespass and miscellaneous complaints. Enforcement action consisted of WMA violations, validation/tagging violations, vehicle trespass and operating ATVs during closed hours. He would like to remind public land hunters to pack out all trash and to not litter.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for recreational vehicle, small game and big game Hunting Activity. CO Baum observed varied success with Firearm Deer Hunting opener. CO Baum investigated multiple hunt with aid of bait cases. CO Baum also responded to multiple TIP calls. CO Baum took enforcement action for hunt with aid of bait, small amount of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, fail to validate deer tag, untagged deer and fail to display ATV registration.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked small game hunting, archery hunting and the regular firearm deer season opener. There were many hunters out with the mild temps over opener. Hunters reported mixed success. Enforcement action was taken for numerous ATV violations and big game violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked a busy firearms deer opener in Cass County. Hunters reported mixed success over the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked deer hunters. Many reported not seeing many deer. Some grouse hunters and anglers were checked. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking multiple deer hunters over the opening weekend. The warm weather seemed to reflect negatively on the success of hunters harvesting deer. Various violations were found and enforcement action was taken on multiple big game violations.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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