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Bear hunters having a tougher season so far, DNR officers report

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) encountered an escaped captive white-tailed deer running with a wild herd. Efforts to locate the deer and determine where it may have come from continue.

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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 the week of Sept. 5.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked bear, goose and teal hunters as well as boaters and anglers on Lake of the Woods and Lake Bronson. Some bear hunters have had success, but in general, bears are hard to come by with all of the natural foods on the landscape. Violations for the week included waterfowl hunters who shot early, killed wood ducks out of season, killed seagulls and a tern, possessed lead while waterfowl hunting, hunted with an unplugged shotgun and hunted without a small game license and/or state and federal waterfowl stamps.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) spent time patrolling ATV activity, checking anglers and working bear, early teal and early goose hunters. Sura also worked at the DNR booth at the State Fair. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, discharging a firearm from a motorboat while under power, hunting on state park property and exceeding the speed limit. A bear-hunting trespass complaint was investigated.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) spoke at the Thief River Falls Lions club and patrolled during the opening weekend for bear, teal, dove and early goose hunters. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, failure to register bear bait, no sign at bear bait, leaving equipment in a WMA, angling without a license, taking small game without license, no life jackets in watercraft and watercraft and ATV registration violations.

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READ MORE MINNESOTA DNR COVERAGE:
The late-season hunt will open Friday, Dec. 16, and continue through Sunday, Dec. 18. DPAs open to this CWD management hunt are 184, 605, 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649 and 655.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) monitored bear-baiting and hunting activity and worked the teal and early goose openers. Mixed success is reported from teal hunters. Anglers were also checked.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working bear-hunting opener, early teal season and early goose season this past week. Time was spent checking anglers and monitoring boating activity on station lakes through the Labor Day holiday. Regas reports while on patrol he encountered an escaped captive white-tailed deer running with the wild herd. Efforts to locate the deer and determine where it may have come from continue. Violations encountered and addressed this past week include unregistered bear baits and a group of ATV riders operating on a state highway to avoid a muddy section of the designated ATV trail.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports a busy bear season opener. Some lucky hunters filled tags despite the warm weather. Enforcement action was taken for numerous ATV-related violations.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working the early teal and goose seasons. Several groups were contacted during the opening weekend. Time was also spent checking bear hunters and anglers. Various waterfowl-related violations were encountered.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked a busy Labor Day weekend. Bear and goose hunters were checked. Area lakes and ATV trails were patrolled.

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CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports continued work on a CO Prep background investigation and responding to station calls. The dove, early goose and teal opener was relatively quiet due to the warm weather. A couple of groups of goose hunters were contacted as they were picking up and did find some success. Angling activity has slowed. One shore angler was reminded they could not transport their fish live in a bucket of water that was removed from infested water. Vinton coordinated with members of the DNR Enforcement Aviation Unit about flying a location of concern. Calls of bear sightings were taken, and rice beds were monitored for ricing activity.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, dove hunting and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent over the weekend working the early teal and goose seasons. Scouting and getting to your setup spot early was key to success for most hunters participating in the teal season. Goose hunters were finding a few birds, but numbers appear to be down in the area. Violations encountered were not having a small-game license, no federal duck stamps and unplugged shotguns.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) conducted patrol for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Anglers and boaters were checked for regulation compliance. Areas were checked for bear-hunting activity. Wild rice harvest areas were monitored for activity and checks were performed. AIS compliance was worked. Early goose/teal areas were worked.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week continuing follow up with wetland violations and issuing resource protection notifications on new violations discovered. Other time was also spent checking teal hunters, early goose hunters, bear hunters and helping out at the CO Academy. Both teal and bear hunters were happy and had opportunities to harvest animals. Early goose hunters, on the other hand, had poor success. Calls from the public included reports of dogs chasing deer and questions about upcoming hunting seasons. Enforcement action was taken for placing fill in a public water, dogs chasing deer, improperly signed bear baits and no HIP (Harvest Information Program) certification.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports working a busy holiday weekend, with primary efforts focused on waterfowl and boating safety enforcement. A high number of teal hunters were checked with limits the first two days of the season, while early goose hunters checked were nearly skunked. Angling remained slow in the area, but boater numbers rivaled the Fourth of July. Overall regulatory compliance was good with enforcement action taken for license violations and lack of personal flotation devices.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked opening day of the early goose and teal seasons. Hunters were found having some success with doves, and several anglers were observed bringing home limits of fish. A special regulation lake was monitored for overlimits and double-tripping. Plautz handled ATV violations, is working with a local government unit on wetland violations and also spent time teaching trapping techniques for the conservation officer candidates at Camp Ripley.

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CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) reports seeing a decent number of hunters out for the early teal and goose seasons. Most groups he encountered were lucky enough to have harvested their daily limit. He also monitored angling activity in the area, with a few violations observed throughout the week.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, boaters and teal and goose hunters. Violation rates were high for the teal season, including shooting early, unplugged shotguns, no licenses and no stamps. Archery hunting questions were received and answered.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports busy lakes around the Douglas County area over the holiday weekend. Lots of anglers and boaters were checked, with enforcement action taken for angling with no license, minor consumption of alcohol and no navigational lights illuminated. Additionally, early goose and early teal seasons are underway, with several hunters checked.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) attended firearms qualifications and a hunter education/ firearms safety instructor class this week. She also worked on her background investigation and checked hunters participating in the early goose and teal seasons. There were not many hunters out and those who were out had varied success. Angling enforcement was also worked.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports working early teal- and goose-hunting and fishing enforcement. Violations encountered included taking wood ducks out of season, no federal or state waterfowl stamps, no HIP certification, and using unplugged shotguns. A complaint of some dove hunters shooting in city limits was also handled.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, waterfowl hunters and dove hunters. Additional time was spent answering questions about water access and the early teal season.

Osakis – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on a variety of activities during the week. Few duck hunters were seen participating in the early teal season, and even fewer teal were seen in the bag. Unfortunately, ATV violations were far too prevalent, with enforcement action taken for violations including, but not limited to, prohibited operation in the road right-of-way, allowing illegal youthful operation, no youth helmets, failure to display registration, operating an ORV on the roadway, operating an OHM on the roadway, too many passengers and several open alcohol containers.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked off-highway vehicles, angling, recreational boating, early teal and geese and bear hunting. The week was very busy as people came out for Labor Day weekend. Case investigation and background investigation were conducted throughout the week as well. Enforcement action was taken for numerous off-highway vehicle violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports it was a very busy holiday weekend. Bear hunters, ATV riders, anglers, and boaters were primarily checked. Some time was spent working on existing big game and public water alteration cases. Enforcement action was taken for many ATV, boat and angling violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) responded to an ATV crash and a motorcycle crash. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, illegal-length fish, juveniles without helmets on ATVs, expired registration, and transporting aquatic plants.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for boating and hunting activity throughout the week. Numerous early teal hunters were checked. They had limited success, and the fish bite remains slow in the area. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports an influx of visitors to the area for the holiday weekend. He spent time working early teal, early goose, bear hunters and ATV activity/complaints. Enforcement action consisted of a variety of ATV-related offenses. He also reports assisting other agencies and assisting with the ongoing CO Academy at Camp Ripley.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

What to read next
Remember no ice is 100% safe. Have a plan, carry safety equipment and let someone know where you are and when you expect to return. If possible, fish with a partner.
Show hours are noon to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11.
Law enforcement and natural resources agencies such as the DNR all have issued numerous news releases urging people to put safety first on the ice. Unfortunately, you can't legislate common sense.
The ‘Keep It Clean’ campaign started at Lake of the Woods. More recently, Upper and Lower Red Lake, Mille Lacs Lake, Lake Vermilion and the Fairmont Chain of Lakes came on board.