Minnesota Conservation Officer Tales - December 2007
(Editor’s note: Minnesota Conservation Officer Tales is produced monthly by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - Division of Enforcement.)
RARE, BUT NOT UNHEARD OF
Conservation Officer (CO) Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) was able to see a rare but not unheard of sight of a female deer with antlers.
CO Jason Jensen (Forest Lake) noted an illegal fire that was extinguished by the landowner. The landowner put the charred pile in his truck and drove off down the road. Unfortunately, the fire re-ignited and the truck caught fire. The truck was a total loss.
THE ENDLESS USES FOR DUCT TAPE
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) responded to a TIP call by an ELS agent that an individual registered two antlerless deer, but pulled away with a doe and buck in their trailer. Upon arriving at the suspect’s home, Kruse found two does on a trailer and one of the does had antlers duct taped to its head! The owner of the deer stated that his friends wanted him to feel better about the results of his hunt.
INSANITY, THEY SAY, IS DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reported an individual caught three years ago after shooting a deer at night on posted private property was caught again doing the same thing in the exact same place. This time a 10-point buck was killed after dark within 150 feet of where the poacher killed a doe at night in the fall of 2004. This time the poacher also shot directly at an occupied residence with a high power rifle.
A hunter contacted CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) after seeing someone walking the ditch of a state highway with a gun and no blaze orange clothing. The person was located and found to be over twice the legal limit for alcohol. He was relieved of his rifle and upon conviction will be relieved of his hunting privileges for five years. In the second case, a hunter was found using a pickup box as a portable deer stand. He thought it was OK to shoot a deer from it as long as the truck wasn’t moving.
VENTURING INTO THE UNKNOWN
CO Brent Speldrich (McGregor) ventured into the unknown when dealing with five illegal immigrant hunters from Mexico. Upon checking a campsite, Speldrich found a respectable nine-point buck without a site tag. The shooter was located after a two-mile walk through hills and swamps. The hunter did not have any ID on him and offered to return to the camp. He produced a Mexican ID and stated that he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. His license, firearm and deer were seized. He was also found to be hunting on a Minnesota resident firearms deer license. As his fellow hunters returned to camp, they too were found not to be U.S. citizens. Immigration officials were contacted.
BLAZE ORANGE FOR MAN’S BEST FRIEND
CO Brandon McGaw (Babbitt) said after explaining the safety value of orange clothing to an individual, the hunter immediately went to town to buy some blaze orange. A short time later, McGaw observed the hunter laughing. He was dressed in blaze orange, and walking his dog, who was also outfitted in blaze orange.
A TEMPORARY MEMORY LAPSE
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) and CO Gene Wynn (Pine City) watched three individuals in a mini-van shine a spotlight at some deer in a field late one night. A young man carrying a spotlight and loaded, high powered rifle, got out of the van and started walking into the field. When officers approached, the poacher dropped the rifle and spotlight, pretended to relieve himself, and asked what the problem was. The two individuals who stayed in the van claimed to not understand English. They eventually remembered they could speak English and told Grundmeier that they “seen a critter in the field and were wondering what it was.”
THEY KNEW THEY WERE WRONG
CO Stacey Sharp (Bemidji), assisted by CO Hruza, CO Freborg and DNR Pilot Heineman, answered a TIP call that resulted in the arrest of multiple hunters and the seizure of seven deer. DNR aircraft guided the officers to the stands the hunters were in. Once there, the officers observed corn, sunflower seeds and alfalfa pellets spread on the ground near each stand. The hunters knew the deer baiting law and knew they were in violation.
PATIENCE PAYS OFF FOR CONSERVATION OFFICER
CO Dustie Heaton (Willow River) was parked along a country road contemplating whether or not she had picked an effective spot to work shiners. Several minutes later she saw a vehicle coming toward her. In somewhat disbelief she observed the vehicle shine the fields with the headlights. She waited. The vehicle backed up and shined the field again. She slowly moved toward the suspect vehicle with her vehicle’s lights out. The night silence was broken by a single rifle shot. Heaton was behind the suspect in a matter of seconds. He exited the vehicle with his hands in the air. He was later asked why he did it. He replied, “I haven’t had time to go hunting yet.” His vehicle, rifle and the deer were seized and he was transported to jail.
AN INTERESTING INVESTIGATION
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) was called to investigate a buck fawn deer that had three ears. There was an extra small ear behind the left ear.
UNLOADED RIFLES DISCOVERED IN CRASH
CO Dan Starr (Tower) was the first on scene of a motor vehicle crash that involved one vehicle and three young adult hunters. One of the hunters was ejected from the vehicle along with a couple of cased, but loaded rifles. Once the dust settled, the driver, who was not injured, was cited for the infraction.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) took a call from a young hunter who was confronted by another, who said the young hunter was in a deer stand that he had built. The hunter replied that since the stand was on public land, anybody could use it. The other hunter left, came back with a chain saw, and advised the hunter to get out of the stand or he would cut the stand down. The hunter got down and the stand was cut down shortly thereafter. Enforcement action was taken on the hunter who thought he “owned” the stand.
SURPRISE ON A DUSTY ROAD
A landowner complained to CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) that he wanted all hunting stopped because he was sick of seeing pickups speeding down the dirt roads and sliding sideways around the corners at intersections. Two hunters, whose deer stand was the front seat of an extended cab pickup truck, were in luck when the two deer they tried to get around on, turned south and were out of gun range. When the cloud of dust from the gravel road cleared, the hunters were very surprised to see a DNR Enforcement truck parked 20 yards behind them. Enforcement action was taken.
BEAR STRUCK DOWN SOUTH
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) reported it’s odd to see a bear this far south, but recently a male black bear decided to wake up from his winter slumber and grab a bite to eat. He got a rude awakening when a car between St. Joseph and Sartell struck him. The bear’s hide will be tanned and used in educational presentations.
A CO WITH FOUR LEGS
CO Todd Kanieski (Osseo) along with his K9 partner Saber investigated a report of a large nine-point deer shot illegally. K9 Saber’s skills were put to use by determining where the poacher and the buck were standing when the deer was shot. Saber located two expended shotgun shells from the suspect’s gun. Saber also helped pinpoint where the buck was standing based on a search for trace blood evidence. The suspect was charged for shooting from the road right of way. The shotgun and deer were seized.
CO Tony Salzer (Eagan) observed two hunters walking through a chopped cornfield. One of the hunters saw Salzer watching from the road, put his gun down in the grass and walked the opposite direction through the woods. Salzer later made contact with the hunter and it was discovered that the hunter was using someone else’s license. The hunter’s brother attempted to obstruct the investigation by giving the wrong name of his brother. Enforcement action was taken for both offenses.