As hunting season got underway across Minnesota, conservation officers of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources dealt with a number of issues, including finding a lost hunter, trespassing complaints and illegal deer baiting.
Conservation Officer Mike Krauel, working out of Mora, spent the past week checking deer hunters. Hunters were finding moderate success with the fresh snow and cooler weather. Krauel also assisted local law enforcement with a foot pursuit.
Conservation Officer Bret Grundmeier, working out of Hinckley, said he found a lot of hunters out during the unseasonably warm firearms deer opener. Hunting deer over bait continued to be a problem and corn piles were found under multiple hunters’ stands throughout the area. Piles of shelled corn were found near stands and some hunters flung corn kernels over large areas in hopes it would be less noticeable. Grundmeier said that in one instance, an individual hunting over bait, and without a deer license, tried hiding his rifle behind a tree and claimed to be “just hanging out.”
Conservation Officer Ben Karon, working out of Pine City, said he spent a good deal of time in the week before deer opener preparing. Karon took calls for shooting within five days of the season and other possible poaching complaints. Karon assisted the Pine County Sheriff’s Office with a search and rescue. He said that hunters reported low success opening weekend.
Conservation Officer Dustie Speldrich, working out of Willow River, issued citations and seized deer and firearms for hunting over bait, illegally transporting big-game animals, and failing to tag and validate deer. Speldrich handed several trespassing complaints, along with calls regarding hunting laws and licensing issues. Speldrich also issued a Resource Protection number for a potential Wetland Conservation Act violation.
Conservation Officer Dan Starr, working out of Onamia, worked a busy week of answering questions, marking baited stands, and issuing permits for various animals. Trespass issues continue to be an increasing problem, as does rudely target practicing near deer hunters that are trying to have a peaceful hunt. A shining case with loaded guns continues to be investigated with interpretive services needed.