Published February 17, 2013, 07:01 AM

Talkin’ with Dokken

Q. A friend lent me “Tales of a Game Warden,” by John Walker. Are there any local books or publications on the same topic of warden tales?

By: Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald

Q. A friend lent me “Tales of a Game Warden,” by John Walker. Are there any local books or publications on the same topic of warden tales?

A. You’re in luck. I know of four books by two former game wardens — or conservation officers, as they’re now called in Minnesota — that have hit the market in the past decade. All of the books focus on efforts to keep hunters and anglers on the straight and narrow in northern Minnesota.

“Poachers Caught” and “More Poachers Caught,” by Tom Chapin, highlight the pursuits of the Minnesota conservation officer who retired in July 2001 after 29 years with the Department of Natural Resources.

Chapin’s first book came out in 2003 and features 35 stories about his run-ins with fish and game poachers in the Grand Rapids, Minn., area. He released the sequel two years later, and like the first book, “More Poachers Caught” is filled with tales in which the bad guys usually get what’s coming to them in the end.

Two books published more recently are “They Used to Call Us Game Wardens,” released in 2006, and “They Used to Call Us Game Wardens Volume 2,” which came out in 2007.

Bill Callies, whose 20 years as a state game warden from 1960 to 1980 included work on Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake, penned the stories with the caveat they not be published until after his death. After reading the books, the request is understandable, as Callies rarely minces words about superiors and others with whom he didn’t always see eye to eye.

Callies’ books are, perhaps, a bit rougher around the edges than Chapin’s two volumes, but his stories are equally compelling, and all four books should be required reading at every hunting camp and lake cabin in the Northland.

The books are available at amazon.com and also can be found at various retail outlets, gift shops and resorts across northern Minnesota.


If you have a question for Talkin’ with Dokken, call (701) 780-1148 or send an email to bdokken@gfherald.com.

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