Conservation Officer

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked hunter activity where cool weather and leaf-free vegetation resulted in an increased rate of harvest. Small lakes are already iced over, making things more difficult for waterfowl hunters and the opening of water trapping. Verkuilen followed up on complaints of illegal stands and deer feeding.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling small-game and big-game enforcement. She also spent time following up on poaching complaints, trespassing complaints, and WMA violations.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) responded to a wetland complaint that ended up not being a violation. She checked WMAs for stands left out overnight. Speldrich answered calls regarding hunting multiple permit areas, shining, when to tag harvested deer and hunting on public lands. Local state forests were patrolled for ATV activity and small-game hunters. A call of a car-killed wolf was handled and multiple deer-possession permits were issued. With the firearms deer season beginning this weekend, make sure to sight in your rifles before the five-day window or take them to a permitted gun range.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) helped out with two state park youth deer hunts and an adult mentored deer hunt. The weather and the deer cooperated, allowing dozens of kids to get their first-ever deer and a handful of adults to also harvest their first deer. There was also an increase in trespassing complaints to deal with due to the high numbers of hunters and beaver and muskrat trappers venturing on private property.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent the past week preparing for the firearms deer opener. Time was also spent on the water checking for anglers and waterfowl hunters. Small-game hunters were checked and reported limited success. Success was reported by a poacher shooting from his truck at a pheasant.

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