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MN Conservation Officer Tales - October

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Conservation Officer (CO) Brent Speldrich (McGregor) encountered a bear hunter busy checking his bait. After locating the hunter’s firearm, which was near Speldrich and away from the hunter, he let out a soft growl. The wide-eyed hunter, stood up at the speed of light, and started to grasp at anything he could find to defend himself. The only object he found was a loaf of what appeared to be French bread. After the hunter realized it was an officer, not a bear, both had a hearty chuckle.

I’M BATMAN! crazy.gif

While getting fuel at a gas station, a woman asked CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) for some nuisance wildlife assistance. She owned the business across the street, and said a bat had taken its daily nap in broad daylight clinging to the brick building about three inches from the door handle. She didn’t want to open the door and let the bat inside, or grab the door with a bat that close. The bat was removed and it flew away unharmed.


CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) received a call from a homeowner who said they found bones that appeared to be large and “dinosaur in nature.” The bones, including the head, were inspected and determined to be a horse.


CO Brian Buria (Bigfork) reported bear hunters are becoming so competitive over their favorite bear bait sight, that they are installing cameras, hoping to catch the hunter that beat them to their favorite spot.


CO Dustie Heaton (Willow River) received a phone call from a hunter who had a question about a bear hunting license. At the end of the conversation the hunter said, “Good bye, I love you.” The hunter then stammered out, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I always say that to my girlfriend at the end of a phone call.” The officer thought he was just happy with the answer to his question.


CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) reported some anglers had found fishing slow and smoked marijuana to pass the time. One angler was found smoking marijuana out of an empty pop can while another had a marijuana pipe on his tackle box when the officer approached.


CO Alex Gutierrez (metro rec specialist) assisted several COs, including K-9 Hunter, on a Turn-In-Poachers call where an angler was apparently leaving the state with an over limit of fish. The suspect was intercepted at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. With the assistance of airport police, the suspect’s luggage was recovered. K-9 Hunter picked up the scent of fish or game in suitcase and alerted the officers. The suspect had an over limit of sunfish and several northern pike fillets.


CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) handled a Turn-In-Poachers call involving two people hunting small game in a wildlife management area. When Kruse found the individuals, who were dressed in full camouflage and carrying .22’s with scopes, one ducked into the woods. He came back out when Kruse ordered him to. Asked why he went into the woods, he said to go to the bathroom. After searching the wooded area, Kruse found a dead squirrel in a bag that the individuals later admitted to shooting. When Kruse asked them if they knew when the small game season opened, they both replied, “Yep, next weekend.”


A homeowner called CO Neil Freborg (Lake George) wanting him to come and pick up an eagle that had flown into her house and died. Upon arrival, the homeowner handed over a plastic bag containing the bird, which was identified as a ruffed grouse. Freborg advised the homeowner that grouse are very good eating. She was not interested and sent Freborg on his way with the grouse in hand. It was subsequently cleaned and donated to a family in Laporte.


CO Gary Sommers (Walker) received a complaint of an archery deer hunter who was using bait (corn) near his deer stand. He attempted to locate the suspect and the bait. The camouflaged hunter spotted Sommers and was able to elude him, slipping out of the woods and into his vehicle. Sommers eventually located the vehicle at a remote cabin. When questioned, the suspect admitted to placing 15 pounds of corn on the site. Several bags of corn, stacked on and around an ATV, were located in a garage near the cabin. The suspect said the corn was not his, but rather it belonged to a family member. Enforcement action was taken and advice given to inform the family member about deer baiting regulations.


CO Mike Martin (International Falls) assisted the city of Big Falls with a complaint where two hunters field dressed and butchered a bear on a picnic table in the city park. The hunters then deposited the entrails in the park’s outhouse. The city was concerned as this is an area to stay overnight while trail riding and horses are often spooked by the smell of a bear. The hunters were located and agreed to have the outhouse and picnic table cleaned.


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reported a grouse hunter had three youth passengers on his ATV (all under 7-years-old) with another youth driving a second ATV with a shotgun. The problem was none of them had helmets, there were too many passengers, one ATV was unregistered and the youth was too young to drive. Not a good way to introduce youth into grouse hunting. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) received a complaint of illegal deer baiting. The complaint was investigated and the bait pile located. Unfortunately, two archery hunters were above it. The baiters stated that they placed the corn there to attract deer to the game camera and didn’t think that there was any left. Photographs and samples were taken of four visible bait piles consisting of corn, cracked corn, and apples.


CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) reported on the first day of archery deer season came the first violation for none other than hunting deer over bait. A citation was issued at 6:45 a.m., and the bow was seized. Kuske also responded to a hunter harassment complaint, which was really more a neighborly feud. He talked to each party involved in an attempt to get them to see the brighter side of life.

RAISING BAIL frown.gif

CO Pat Znajda (Karlstad) and CO Troy Richards (Roseau) watched as two minors attempted to steal a road sign. The theft didn’t quite work out for the two. Both were in possession of alcohol and one was in possession of drug paraphernalia. One of the minors also had an outstanding warrant for similar activities. The rest of their camping party was less than excited about having to come up with bail money to keep their friend from spending the night in jail.

TOSS HIM A COLD ONE shocked.gif

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) received a complaint from an angler on Leech Lake that while he was fishing, a boat with four occupants traveling at a high rate of speed, came very close to hitting his boat. The boat was going too fast for the angler to get a registration number. However, the speeding boat was so close to his boat, that one of the occupants tossed a beer can into his boat.


CO Rob Haberman (St. Cloud) responded to an unusual call in Morrison County. While grouse hunting, a man was trapped in a tree near Little Falls for two hours as a mother bear and her cubs surrounded him. As the bears approached, the man fired a shot into the air. The shot had no effect in scaring the bears away. Haberman and three Morrison County deputies safely recovered the hunter from the tree and escorted the man out of the woods. The family of bears is still at large. grin.gif


A boater who was getting ready to launch his boat into Medicine Lake when CO Todd Kanieski (Osseo) asked if he knew the laws relating to transporting aquatic plants. He said he did and always checks his trailer before leaving any lake access. He was then directed to look at his trailer. To his surprise, a large and very obvious clump of milfoil was found hanging from the axle. He was issued a citation.

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I love reading those in the "Outdoor News"! grin.gif

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