Duck hunter drowns in northern Becker County lake
The body of a 60-year-old Minneapolis man was recovered near Rat Lake Tuesday afternoon by members of the Becker County Sheriff's Department Dive Team.
Charles Vernon Wright would have been 61 on Sunday. He apparently drowned after his boat overturned while he was duck hunting. An autopsy will be performed to confirm the cause of death.
Rat Lake is in Eagle View Township in north central Becker County.
Authorities mounted a search shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday, after White Earth tribal police officers investigated a vehicle parked near Rat Lake that appeared to be abandoned.
The tribal conservation office was called in to do a shoreline search, which revealed a small aluminum duck boat that had overturned.
Divers found the man's body about 3 p.m. in water less than 10 feet deep. "It appears the duck boat overturned, submerging the victim," Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon said in a news release.
Family members of the victim told investigators he had been in Becker County since Nov. 6 and was in the Rat Lake area specifically to hunt ducks.
A family that lives in the area had noticed the man's minivan and campsite on Saturday, according to Judy Libby, who lives about three miles from the site.
She said her husband, Jerry, and son Dennis, came across the minivan and small campsite while looking for firewood on Saturday.
The man's campsite was at the end of a three-mile trail that is difficult to traverse without a pickup truck, she said.
"It looked like he was going to camp a day or two out there. He had a little fire prepared," she said. "They didn't think nothing of it until they went back out there Monday. They noticed everything was the same -- no fire or anything."
Jerry called the tribal police department about 2 p.m. and an officer arrived about 5 p.m.
"He said they couldn't do nothing until morning," 'she said. "My husband had a hard time sleeping Monday night -- there was no way someone would leave their van sitting there like that -- we figured somebody was out there, hurt or maybe dead."