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Outdoors Notebook: Minnesota DNR begins to fill vacancies

Regional offices across the state also are hiring chronic wasting disease management technicians to help manage the brain disease that’s fatal to deer, elk and moose.

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DNR begins to fill vacancies

BEMIDJI – Slowly but surely, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is beginning to fill vacancies after the state lifted a hiring freeze implemented during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s a welcome turn of events, said Blane Klemek, acting Northwest Region wildlife manager for the DNR in Bemidji.

“Hiring has ramped up, and many of our vacancies in the Section of Wildlife have been filled in the field offices,” Klemek said.

The officers have a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Some are veterans, while others left jobs as police officers to join the DNR. Others worked as firefighters or dispatchers. Some had no previous law enforcement experience.

That includes everything from area and assistant area wildlife supervisors to technicians, general labor positions and seasonal employees, Klemek said.

The DNR recently hired Telesha Karish as the new assistant wildlife supervisor in Baudette, and Kyle Point as the new assistant manager at Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area near Middle River, Minn., Klemek said.


A Pennsylvania native, Karish has a doctorate degree and previously worked on mule deer in Kansas. She joins Scott Laudenslager, the area wildlife manager in Baudette.

A Michigan native, Point’s previous work experience includes a position with Ducks Unlimited, and he has a “solid background” in waterfowl management, Klemek said. He joins Kyle Arola, manager of Thief Lake WMA.

“You could hardly find a better fit there,” Klemek said. “(Point) lives and breathes waterfowl.”

Area wildlife managers in Karlstad and Red Lake Wildlife Management Area at Norris Camp also are working to fill assistant wildlife manager and technician vacancies, respectively, Klemek said.

“As much interest as we get for positions all over the state, we do find it difficult to attract a large pool of candidates interested in the far, far northwest,” Klemek said. “That’s not to say we don’t get any, but in some cases, it’s a little more difficult. Housing is a real issue in the far northwest.”

Regional research manager and operations manager positions also will soon be filled after being vacant “for a long, long time,” Klemek said.

“Region 1 is starting to look pretty darn good as far as getting those vacancies filled,” he said, adding a similar trend is unfolding statewide. “That’s a big morale booster for our staff that, frankly, have had too much on their plate with not enough staff to do the work. And it’s going to be good news for the public that we serve.”

Regional offices across the state also are hiring chronic wasting disease management technicians to help manage the brain disease that’s fatal to deer, elk and moose, Klemek said.


“It’s been tough getting through the pandemic for all kinds of reasons,” Klemek said. “But to see the staff working so hard with less but doing more, it’s nice to finally get them the help that they need.”

– Brad Dokken

NDGF: Keep fish from deep water

BISMARCK – Anglers fishing North Dakota waters should keep fish caught from depths of more than 25 feet, rather than practice catch-and-release, fisheries personnel from the Game and Fish Department said.

Walleye fishing this summer on Lake Sakakawea has been exceptional, enticing many anglers to the big lake, said Dave Fryda, Missouri River System supervisor. Walleyes in Sakakawea tend to go deeper this time of year, and it’s important for anglers to know that fish reeled in from deep water will likely die if released, Fryda said.

“When the bite first started, anglers were catching fish in shallow water,” Fryda said. “As the summer progressed, fish moved into deeper water and are now being caught at depths where barotrauma is a concern.”

Barotrauma results from a change in water pressure, which in turn causes a fish’s swim bladder to expand. When that happens, fish can no longer control balance. In addition, other internal injuries are likely, such as ruptured blood vessels or damaged internal organs. Because of these other internal injuries, Game and Fish biologists also discourage fizzing, the practice of deflating the swim bladder.

Barotrauma injury can happen in any deep water body, but it is especially noteworthy this time of year in Lake Sakakawea.

Before fishing at least 25 feet deep on Sakakawea or other North Dakota waters, anglers should make the decision to keep what they catch and honor that commitment, Game and Fish said in a news release.


– Herald staff report

Did you know?

  • Worthington and Nobles County in southwest Minnesota will host the 2022 Governor’s Pheasant Opener, Explore Minnesota Tourism announced this week. This year’s event is set for Friday, Oct. 14 and Saturday, Oct. 15. In addition to Explore Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Worthington Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau and Nobles County Pheasants Forever are coordinating the event.
  • Pheasants Forever marked its 40th anniversary Friday, Aug. 5, the conservation group said this week. Quail Forever, founded in 2005, marks its 17th anniversary this year. According to Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, Pheasants Forever today has over 400 employees nationwide and employs more wildlife biologists than any organization in the country except the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The conservation groups have 754 chapters across North America and have dedicated more than $1 billion to 567,500 habitat projects — benefiting 22 million acres and contributing 220,000 acres of public land, Vincent said.
  • As it does every year about this time, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding migratory bird hunters of all ages to register with the federal Harvest Information Program before hunting ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, doves and woodcock. Hunters must register in each state for which they are licensed to hunt the migratory birds. In North Dakota, hunters can HIP certify when buying a license on the Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov . Hunters who registered to hunt during the spring light goose conservation order in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required only once per year.

– Herald staff report

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