Conservation Officer

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked deer-hunting activity, including trespassing issues, baited areas, and illegal access on public lands. After last weekend’s thaw, waterfowl hunters were back to dealing with thin ice and slush. Some small-game hunters were checked, and they appreciated the snow cover, lack of leaves and moderate temperatures.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked deer-hunting activities and found overall compliance good. Deer were moving mostly at night. An overlimit of buck deer was found, along with illegal party hunting. ATV operation during closed hours and expired ATV registration were also found. Starr would like to remind hunters to register their animals within the law requirements as lack of registration seems to be an ongoing problem.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent a majority of the past week dealing with deer-hunting complaints and violations. Some trappers were also out attempting to catch otters, mink and beavers. Hunters placing bait to attract deer continued to be a problem. One deer hunter was found set up next to several piles of corn and sunflower seeds. As Grundmeier approached, the hunter’s ground blind and identified himself as a game warden, the first words heard from the hunting blind were “Oh, no.”

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) primarily worked firearms deer-hunting activity this past week. Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms, juvenile ATV passengers without helmets on, operating an ATV during restricted hours, failure to register deer, directing/allowing a juvenile to violate game and fish laws, and hunting deer without a license. Calls were fielded regarding ATV/snowmobile use during the firearms deer season and aging a bear.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time this past week continuing to check deer hunters. ATV violations were addressed. Remember, when calling in a complaint try to get a vehicle license plate, vehicle description and suspect description, along with other pertinent information. This will help officers find the suspect(s). Voluntary CWD sampling numbers are very low in the area. Please go online and find a voluntary CWD sampling site. If you are in the Pine City area, there is a drop-off location at the Pine City National Guard Armory located in the city of Pine City. There is also a drop-off location on State Highway 70 by the Wisconsin border. If you have a trophy deer, you can have the deer caped or mounted at a taxidermist and they will collect the lymph nodes to deliver to the state. Please go to the MN DNR website to find drop-off locations, taxidermist and instructions (www.dnr.state.mn.us/cwd/east-central-cwd-surveillance-area.html). Your voluntary compliance is appreciated.

Isle – vacant.

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