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Some DNR officers report hearing complaints about early teal season during waterfowl opener

It was a busy waterfowl opener at many public accesses, with a mixed bag of ducks being brought in. Waterfowl hunters took mallards, wood ducks, pintails, ring necks and teal.

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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, Sept. 26:

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) conducted field training with COC Hams. They spent time attending a waterfowl identification class, checking bear baits and checking small game and waterfowl hunters. Thief Lake had a good turnout, with hunters having mixed success. Violations encountered included shooting before hours and wanton waste.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) attended annual training at Camp Ripley. Waterfowl hunters were checked over the weekend opener. Sura saw average hunter success over the weekend with typical early season mixed bags, primarily consisting of blue-winged teal. Personal flotation device violations were addressed.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) conducted field training with COC Paavola. They worked waterfowl opening weekend, where moderate to good success was found with multiple hunting parties having mixed bags and some limits. Investigations were conducted on hunting deer over bait and illegal bear-bait stations. Enforcement action was taken for taking deer over bait and establishing bear-bait stations without a valid bear license.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking bear, grouse, archery deer and duck hunters this past week. Regas reports working the duck hunting opener, which started with almost perfect duck hunting conditions opening morning. Regas noted hunters reporting seeing a good number of ducks but also that their shooting skills were a bit rusty. Time was spent assisting with Officer Water Safety training at the State Patrol Academy at Camp Ripley, checking a few late-season anglers on area lakes and investigating a wolf-depredation complaint. Violations encountered and addressed this past week included waterfowl stamp violations.

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READ MORE MINNESOTA DNR COVERAGE:
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.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports a significant amount of small game hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for no small game hunting license in possession and also for shining/shooting from a motor vehicle.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports contacting several waterfowl hunters during the opening weekend. Time was also spent checking bear hunters, archery deer hunters and anglers. Various angling- and hunting-related violations were encountered.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued field training. Time was spent patrolling area ATV trails, lakes and scouting for the waterfowl opener. It was a busy waterfowl opener at many public accesses, with a mixed bag of ducks being brought in. Waterfowl hunters took mallards, wood ducks, pintails, ring necks and teal. Time was also spent preparing and maintaining equipment for the waterfowl season.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking small game hunters and waterfowl hunters. He checked many groups of duck hunters over the weekend, and most groups had some success and almost every group was law-abiding. Teal, wood ducks and ring necks were the most common ducks seen over the weekend, with some redheads and mallards mixed in. Enforcement action for the week included trespass issues on a waterfowl production area, using lead shot on a federal waterfowl production area (WPA) and no plug in a shotgun while hunting migratory waterfowl.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted with in-service training and worked bear and duck hunters. Duck opener was good for most hunters. Almost everyone had ducks and many had their limit. Peterson also responded to a trespass call on a squirrel hunter. The hunter was located and enforcement action was taken for trespass and no license.

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CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) gave a law and ethics presentation to a firearms safety class in Pelican Rapids.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on small game, archery and bear hunting activity. Area WMAs and WPAs were patrolled. Angling activity was worked with a few anglers trying their luck. Opening of waterfowl season was worked with hunters having good success. Follow-up on complaints of personal watercraft operators harassing waterfowl and beaver dam removal was conducted.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports checking a good number of duck hunters during the regular opener, with high regulatory compliance. Opening day produced a good average of ducks for most hunters, followed by a steep decline the second day. Additional time was spent checking anglers and responding to complaints of target shooting on public lands and hunter harassment. Goodman also received a call from a person who had struck a deer in central Stevens County. The person later discovered the deer rode along for the rest of their trip — well into Otter Tail County — in a trailer they were pulling.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) handled complaints of aquatic vegetation illegally destroyed, set up an ATV safety class and worked opening weekend of waterfowl hunting. Several calls were handled regarding the upcoming deer season, youth hunt and trespass. Plautz handled ATV violations encountered this week and worked a potential fishing double-tripping complaint. She responded to a call of a dead deer found in a field, which likely died from collision with a motor vehicle.

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) reports spending most of his enforcement effort on angling and waterfowl/small game hunting activity throughout the week. He observed a lot of hunters out for the opening of waterfowl hunting this weekend. A high percentage of groups he encountered were lucky enough to get their limits. Hunters reported seeing primarily teal, with the occasional mallard or wood duck.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl hunters, anglers and ATV riders. The majority of waterfowl hunters checked were very disappointed in the lack of waterfowl present, with several of them voicing their displeasure about the early teal season. Osborne assisted U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers on a waterfowl-baiting case in Douglas County.

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CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) monitored waterfowl hunters on the busy opening weekend. Lots of groups were checked and almost all of them had very good success. Teal were the most commonly harvested birds around, with several two- and three-hunter limits counted. Muskie anglers were also monitored as the late-season activity picks up. Bowhunters were also checked, with a few having early season success.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the week assisting with training at Camp Ripley and working waterfowl enforcement over the weekend. She also spent time with the Breckenridge fifth-graders speaking about invasive species and how important it is for each person to do their part. On waterfowl opener, Wood took a TIP report about an individual who had shot a pelican. This TIP led to a dead pelican and a citation issued to the individual responsible. Wood appreciates these TIPs coming in and hopes the public continues to call in what they see throughout the busy fall hunting seasons. Angling enforcement was also worked.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports helping training staff with different tasks around Camp Ripley. She also continues to work on a background investigation. Questions and complaints were also fielded over opening of the duck hunting season.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking waterfowl hunters and anglers. Additional time was spent attending training and checking bowhunters. Baumbarger observed waterfowl hunters having some success over opening weekend. Several groups of hunters blamed low success on the early teal season and believed birds were scattered and educated.

Osakis – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) continued field training COC Znajda. Time was spent investigating a deer-dumping incident and checking anglers. Waterfowl hunters were checked over opening weekend. Most hunters had a few ducks in the bag.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) continued training with a new conservation officer candidate. The officers worked Cass County-area lakes and rivers throughout the week. The area has been busy with waterfowl hunting and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for multiple overlimits, boating safety violations, and numerous waterfowl hunting violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked hunting and angling activity. She also responded to a call of an injured eagle. Enforcement action was taken on no license in possession, no HIP certification and an extra fishing line.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked archery deer and bear hunting along with small game hunting throughout the week. The weekend primarily consisted of Cross checking waterfowl hunters and archery deer hunters. None of the waterfowl hunters that Cross checked were skunked on opener. Significant time was also spent on a continuing background investigation.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked waterfowl hunters and anglers. A hunter-harassment call was received and investigated. Time was also spent at training the past week. Enforcement action was taken for waterfowl, angling, and ATV violations.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports a busy start to the waterfowl season. Hunters had success with mixed bags of mallards, teal and wood ducks. He also checked squirrel and grouse hunters in the area. Some enforcement action consisted of insufficient licenses, unplugged shotgun, transporting a loaded firearm, possession of lead shot while waterfowl hunting, insufficient number of life jackets, taking of a nongame migratory bird and miscellaneous recreational vehicle registration issues.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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