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The latest curious conservation officer reports from the Minnesota DNR

Gravel thieves, raucous campers and some quick thinking that backfired.

Every week, the Minnesota DNR publishes a list of reports from the dozens of conservation officers that patrol the state. While most are fairly run-of-the-mill – citations for fishing without a license, for example – some are curious, unusual or downright delightful. Here's a look at some of the stories that stood out from this week's CO reports.

Don't toss that fish!

An angler in the Long Prairie area noticed CO Keith Bertram approaching his boat - and quickly tossed an illegal fish into the water. The problem? "Unfortunately for the angler, the fish was dead. Bertram retrieved it off the water and issued the angler a citation for the violation."

The license wasn't enough

CO Amber Ladd in Aitkin came across an angler whose quick thinking, similar to the report above, didn't quite save them. The angler earlier that day had been cited by a different CO for fishing without a license. Ten minutes before Ladd then approached, the angler had purchased a license to continue fishing.

But when Ladd checked the angler's stringer, she found a largemouth bass - resulting in enforcement action.

Excessively raucous camping

In the Hinckley area, CO Bret Grundmeier found some campers had celebrated the good weather "to a level of excess." The group's antics left behind a torched picnic table, ripped up fire rings, and the "general destruction of a campsite."

Grubby gravel thieves

Wrote CO Mary Manning of Hovland: "Gravel is a hot commodity this season. Many folks mistakenly think they can just pull up to a state-owned pit and load up without getting a permit. This is theft and violators can expect to be charged." 

Now you know.

Angry angler's revenge

A report of angler harassment from CO Shane Zavodnik in Virginia. The complaint? One angler's fishing line had been purposely run over by another boat operator. 

A snagged kayaker

A kayaker caught on a snag in the Ottertail River needed help to escape. COs Chris Vinton and Greg Oldakowski assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office and Perham Fire with the rescue. The kayaker had tolled and become wedged under a snag in swift water.

The kayaker, fortunately, was not injured, but needed help to get to shore. The kayak was recovered by the fire department.

Hide and seek

CO Brice Vollbrecht was asked to help arrest a suspect who had fled after a traffic pursuit in the Bemidji area. The individual was found, with the help of a K-9, hiding from officers in a a partially blown-down tree.

A rough start

In Detroit Lakes, CO Jake Swedberg offered some assistance when a group saw their motor start on fire while trying to launch their boat. Fortunately, the fire was quickly snuffed and nobody was hurt. 

Don't drink and drive

A couple of incidents in southeastern Minnesota of boaters having a few too many. CO Annette Kyllo in Rochester watched someone try to back a third boat trailer into a two-trailer access. "The individual jackknifed his vehicle and trailer, nearly backed the pickup into the lake and just missed hitting another vehicle."  They were arrested for DUI.

And in Zumbrota, CO Derek Schneider reported the arrest of an intoxicated driver whom he observed "having extreme difficulty backing a boat trailer into Lake Zumbro."


And we end on a more fun note in Duluth, where CO Andy Schmidt noted very warm weather and - for the first time in his career - kids swimming in the lake the weekend of the fishing opener.

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