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Outdoor focus shifts from deer hunting to ice fishing, DNR officers report

The weather has turned a lot of focus onto the ice conditions on Upper Red Lake. The ice is not safe yet and caution should be taken prior to venturing onto any ice.

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The incident occurred the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 23, when Kittson County deputies Alex Rudnik and Dave Thompson spotted what at first glance looked like two bucks standing side by side eating in a field near Hallock, Minn.

Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Monday, Nov. 21.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked deer hunters during the last week of the firearms deer season in the 100-series deer permit areas. Hunter numbers were low with the snow and cold weather. Violations for the week included illegal party hunting, failure to register deer, insufficient blaze orange and operating an unregistered ATV.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) continued work on the firearms deer season, fielding complaints including hunter harassment and shooting after legal shooting hours. Sura anticipates a quick transition to early season ice fishing and wants to remind anglers to keep ice and cold water safety in mind during the upcoming weeks.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) continued to work firearms deer activity in the area and conducted follow up on open recent cases. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, untagged big game animal, allowing a juvenile to unlawfully possess a firearm, feed deer during the feeding ban and operating an unregistered snowmobile.


CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working deer hunting and trapping activity throughout the past week. Time was spent handling a report of an incidentally caught fisher, issuing car-killed deer possession permits and assisting Forestry with the investigation of an unpermitted burning of a structure. Regas also worked a number of deer hunting enforcement details with neighboring officers focusing on road-hunting activities. Violations encountered and addressed included trespassing, shooting from a motor vehicle, shooting from the road right-of-way and blaze orange violations.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports a slow end to the firearms deer season. Cold weather and wind have kept hunters out of the woods. The weather has turned a lot of focus onto the ice conditions on Upper Red Lake. The ice is not safe yet and caution should be taken prior to venturing onto any ice.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) patrolled with COC Matt Paavola, following up on cases from the firearms deer season. Time was also spent fielding calls about trespass complaints and beaver permits. Enforcement action for the week included discharging a firearm from the roadway, untagged big game animal and transporting a loaded firearm.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking several calls from waterfowl hunters asking about public access via road right-of-way, and calls from lake shore owners asking what distances from residences waterfowl hunters must be. The right-of-way issue was explained, and it’s up to the person wishing to access from a particular road to determine whether or not the body of water falls within the right-of-way. DNR Fisheries staff asked if CO Vinton could relay lakes that are beginning to ice over so staff can begin with winter angling surveys. Some smaller and mid-sized lakes in the Perham area are icing over. Anglers are reminded they should use caution and be prepared to rescue themselves if they fall through the ice. Enforcement action was taken for a three-wheeler on a state highway and improper parking at a public water access.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week finishing cases from the deer season. Ice continues to form on area lakes, and a few people attempted to go ice fishing. Ice is very thin, and Swedberg reminds anglers to test ice as they go and be prepared for ice to be thin.


CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working small game, migratory waterfowl and archery deer hunting enforcement. Time was also spent following up on open investigations from the firearms deer season.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on deer season cases. Follow up continued on open TIP complaints.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) continued field training with COC Fox. The officers spent time patrolling the 100-series area for deer hunting activity and following up with cases and potential registration violations from the 200-series deer season. Calls from the public included a complaint of rifle shots after deer season and requests for deer possession tags. Enforcement action was taken for failure to wear sufficient blaze orange for a firearms deer season.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) conducted deer season follow-up investigations and reports this past week. Questions regarding the upcoming muzzleloader season and waterfowl hunting were fielded. Additional time was spent working wetland violation restoration orders and hunting complaints. As smaller bodies of water begin to freeze over, Goodman asks that hunters use extreme caution around water and ice anglers be patient for a few more weeks.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) followed up on deer carcass-dumping complaints and trespass complaints. Lakes were monitored for early ice fishing activity. Several smaller lakes are freezing up nicely. Plautz worked with area volunteer safety instructors setting up snowmobile safety classes for the season.

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) spent time with ongoing investigations for the firearms deer season. Brown also took reports of nuisance animals and shooting from the road. Violations this week included lend and borrow of a license, taking big game without a deer license and unregistered deer.


CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) worked on deer season investigations, reports and follow up. A complaint of people not registering deer was received. Smaller bodies of water have begun to freeze. Please keep safety in mind when venturing out, as ice is never 100% safe.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued field training COC Anderson. They focused on completing deer hunting investigations, waterfowl enforcement and public access concerns. Enforcement action for the week surrounded unplugged shotguns and unsigned federal stamp violations while waterfowl hunting. Area ponds and lakes are showing signs of skim ice. As a reminder, no ice is truly safe, so please use extreme caution.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the week working on follow up from the deer season. Additional calls and complaints were handled.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) spent time helping dispatch and the Info Center and responding to calls and questions regarding the deer season. Various tasks for the district were also completed.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking deer, waterfowl and pheasant hunters. Baumbarger fielded calls from people with questions related to using night vision for predator hunting and the upcoming muzzleloader season. More waterfowl are being seen around the area, but cold weather and ice forming on smaller lakes may push them south.

Osakis – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for big game and waterfowl hunting activity. Hunters reported varying success throughout the area. Enforcement action was taken for numerous waterfowl and big game violations.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked deer hunting, OHV enforcement and small game hunting/trapping. Activity seen was much less this week as the firearms season ended. Enforcement action was taken for big game violations and OHV violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked and investigated big game hunting activity. She also served a restoration order. Enforcement action was taken for an untagged deer.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check deer hunters. Some late-season duck hunters were also checked. They reported slow hunting. A report of an injured swan was received. Some ice is showing up on the lake shorelines and smaller ponds.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports conducting equipment maintenance and follow up from the firearms deer season.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) continued field training COC Znajda. They handled multiple dogs-chasing-deer complaints, with various enforcement action taken. People are reminded, as a safety precaution, that it is a good idea to wear orange when walking in public woods during firearms deer seasons. Enforcement action taken for cutting down vegetation on WMAs.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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