This is a busier time than usual for the Minnesota DNR Division of Enforcement.
Each week, DNR Enforcement compiles and releases the weekly Conservation Officers Report. And the latest release, encompassing the first week of the Minnesota firearms deer hunting opener, is a doozy. Released Monday, it’s 20 pages, which is about as bulky as you’ll see it. And the content can be eye-opening.
Of the 120-plus conservation officers across 18 districts who contributed to the report, all mention dealings with deer hunting violations. And, in most of the CO’s reports, the violations were numerous and even severe (including felons in possession of firearms; there also were reports of several hunting-related fatalities).
Yes, there are upward of a half-million hunters in the field for this Minnesota firearms season, so even 20 pages of such reports is a small representation of the negative. But consider the following excerpts from COs as they appeared in the report:
- Chris Vinton (Perham) … A vehicle stop, after a shooting from the motor vehicle, resulted in passenger being cited for shooting from the vehicle and transporting a loaded firearm and the driver getting arrested for an outstanding warrant, driving while revoked and DUI.
- Matt Frericks (Virginia) … A rural landowner called CO Frericks to report his van that was parked in his driveway was struck by a bullet. CO Frericks arrived and eventually found the bullet after it had struck the frame of the van. A search of the area revealed a deer stand and a fresh deer kill immediately to the south of the residence where the van was struck.
- Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) … Cited a deer hunter for hunting over bait and seized his rifle that the hunter’s father had given him the day before. That rifle had been passed down to the hunter’s father from his grandfather. Some people continue to bait and believe increasing their chance for a deer is worth taking the risk of losing a family heirloom.
- Paul Kuske (Pierz) … A complaint was received about people hunting in a WMA shooting towards a nearby residence. A road hunter, shooting off the road at a deer on private property, sent bullets flying toward a residence. The same vehicle was reported doing the same at other locations
And one CO was particularly busy with the craziness that is opening day/week:
- CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) … Received a TIP call of guy that went into the gas station, purchased his deer license and walked outside and tagged the deer that was in the trailer in the parking lot on opening weekend. The “hunter” was tracked down and was cited for hunting without a license. CO Kuske ran into a hunter on a wildlife management area that was in blaze orange, carrying a rifle and had his pit bull on a leash. When asked what he was doing he said deer hunting and that he had shot a doe that he needed to track and he was going to use the dog to track it (illegal to use dogs). The hunter also was found to not have a doe permit and he was hunting in a lottery area. CO Kuske talked to a local butcher shop and the owner was amazed at the number of hunters that brought in deer but had not registered them. Kuske was thankful that the butcher shop owner had the people register the deer on the spot.
Yes, still a lot of good people out there, too.