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DNR officers report slow deer hunting in many areas of northwest Minnesota

The bays of Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River have developed ice over the week, but much of the ice is very poor and cloudy due to mixed precipitation in the area.

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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. 14.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked deer hunters in Roseau, Kittson, Marshall, Beltrami and Lake of the Woods counties. Violations for the week included transporting a loaded firearm, shooting from the road, leaving a camper unattended on a wildlife management area campground, hunting from a permanent scaffold on a WMA and trespass.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) investigated several deer hunting-related complaints, including shining, shooting from the roadway, trespassing and carcass dumping. Other violations encountered throughout the week included transporting loaded firearms, open container and burning garbage. The bays of Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River have developed ice over the week, but much of the ice is very poor and cloudy due to mixed precipitation in the area. With cool weather continuing, Sura expects to see folks out spearing in the bays during the coming days. Please remember to keep ice and cold water safety in mind as we roll into the hard water season.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) continued monitoring firearms deer season activities this past week. Snowy weather limited hunter success in the area. Enforcement action for the week included shooting from the road at big game, recreational trespass, no blaze orange, open alcohol container, untagged and unregistered big game and numerous transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working deer hunting and trapping activities this past week. Time was spent investigating TIP information and handling an injured-eagle call. The eagle was transported to a rehabber for treatment of a broken wing. He also assisted Wildlife staff with locating and recovering an ill deer, which Wildlife staff wanted for diagnostic testing. Regas worked a deer hunting enforcement detail with CO Vollbrecht, with many violations encountered. Violations encountered this past week included shooting from a motor vehicle, shooting at deer from the roadway, transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, failure to register deer harvest, taking deer with the aid of artificial light, casual trespass on public lands and violations of the CWD feeding ban.


CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports slow hunting success with the changing weather patterns. Enforcement action was taken for hunting from the roadway and no license in possession.

In the Blackduck area, new snow improved trail conditions, and snowmobilers were out on the trails despite the mercury dropping below zero over the weekend.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) patrolled with COC Matt Paavola for deer hunting activity. Hunters were having success the final weekend after poor weather subsided. Enforcement action for the week included transporting untagged deer, failure to validate a deer tag and attractant ban violations.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored firearms deer season activity. Deer camps were visited and area trails were patrolled.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a very slow conclusion of the deer season. The weather was rainy before changing to ice and snow. Many hunters lamented the lack of deer. A few complaints of dogs running in the woods, hunters shooting from the road and trespassing were taken. A complaint of someone shining a field before shooting hours was also taken. Enforcement action was taken for no pheasant stamp and stands left in a WMA. Several deer-possession permits were also issued.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking deer hunters and duck hunters. Area deer hunters struggled to find deer, while battling some tough conditions in the woods. There was a big push of ducks and geese this week, but most duck hunters were unable to attract the big flocks and were left watching them fly over their blinds. Swedberg worked several big game cases involving deer being shot off of roads and trespassing, and those investigations remain ongoing.


CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked deer hunters and followed up on complaints and other ongoing cases. Most hunters reported a slower-than-normal deer season with fewer shots heard. Violations of unregistered deer, trespass, no license in possession and operating unregistered snowmobiles were handled.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working small game, migratory waterfowl and deer hunting enforcement. The end of the firearms deer season saw very few deer hunters afield and even fewer deer harvested. Violations included trespassing, failure to validate a site tag and hunting in a scientific and natural area.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) focused on firearms deer hunting activity, with hunters reporting fair success. WMAs and WPAs were patrolled for activity. Complaints of deer stands and driving in WMAs and shooting from the road were received. Warren assisted local police with a medical call.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) began field training Conservation Officer Candidate Brett Fox. Over the past week, time has been spent focusing on deer hunting activity and violations. Smaller lakes have been freezing over, forcing ducks and geese to either move to larger bodies of water or to head south. There were significantly fewer deer hunters out in the field during the closing weekend of the season than there have been in past years. A successful investigation was carried out this week in conjunction with a North Dakota Game and Fish Department warden involving a nonresident shooting a deer in Minnesota without a license. Enforcement action was taken for violations such as transportation of a loaded firearm and failure to register a deer within 48 hours.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) continued working deer hunting and related activities throughout a wild week of weather fronts. Late week and into the weekend produced a significant increase in waterfowl presence and deer activity. Multiple baiting cases were investigated and citations issued. The people risking their hunting privileges, bagged game and implements of take were in the minority, as many great contacts were made with law-abiding outdoor enthusiasts.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) finalized another deer season with hunters having mixed success through the area. Several hunter-harassment issues and dogs-running-at-large complaints were handled through the week. She observed that hunter activity/success seemed to decrease as the weather turned cold and wet later in the week. Road hunting and trespass complaints were addressed. Some late-season anglers were out exploring the open water before ice closes in on the lakes.


CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) reports seeing deer hunting success improve through the week, going into the weekend. Several deer hunting-related violations were addressed and enforcement action was taken, including hunting with the aid or use of bait and hunting with an invalid license. He also continued to monitor ATV and small game hunting throughout the week.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked deer hunters and ATV riders. Deer hunting activity picked up for the last weekend. Deer baiting, failure to register, no blaze orange, using full metal jacket rounds, driving while intoxicated and hunting while intoxicated violations were encountered over the past week.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) began field training COC Trent Anderson from the recent DNR Academy. They worked Douglas and Todd counties, focusing on busy deer hunting activity. Many hunters were afield with various levels of success. Enforcement action for the week included hunting deer with the aid of bait, transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, unvalidated and untagged deer, and various ATV-related violations. Lawler and Anderson noted that it was disappointing to find multiple dumped deer carcasses littering public lands. The practice gives a black eye to all hunters.

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

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the week focused on big game enforcement. Investigations were conducted, cases were made and enforcement action was taken.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were focused on checking deer, pheasant and waterfowl hunters. Recent wind and cold weather have pushed more waterfowl into the area, but cold nights have started creating ice on the majority of small water bodies. Baumbarger saw deer hunters having more success over the last weekend compared to earlier in the season.

Osakis – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) started field training COC Znajda. They continued to see many bucks and does taken by hunters. Hunting without licenses, shooting big game from the roadway and instances of dog chasing deer were investigated, with various enforcement action taken.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports seeing fewer hunters and fewer harvested deer as the firearms deer season concluded. Some enforcement action for the week consisted of failure to validate a deer license/tag, failure to meet blaze orange requirements, failure to register deer as required, transporting a loaded firearm and failure to display ATV registration. He also received numerous calls and complaints from people regarding trespassing, injured wildlife and miscellaneous concerns. He also reports assisting DNR Forestry and local fire departments with a wildfire.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked deer and small game hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for no federal duck stamp.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for big game and waterfowl hunting activity. Hunters are reporting mixed success throughout the area. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of violations.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) continued working a busy firearms deer season. Cross saw mixed success throughout the area. Enforcement action was taken for big game violations, ATV violations and DWI.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked deer hunters. Several deer hunters were looking for deer on the roadways, which isn’t the right place to be looking. Two separate TIP calls led to enforcement action taken in both incidents for shooting a deer from a roadway.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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