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Outdoors Notebook: New Minnesota DNR conservation officers complete training

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.

CO Academy Graduates, credit Minnesota DNR, contact Maggie Snyder for caption.jpg
DNR staff and Conservation Officer Academy graduates gathered for a photo Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, at Camp Ripley. Pictured are Assistant DNR Commissioner Bob Meier (front row, from left), DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen, Choua Khang, Cassie Rice, Violet Ohnstad, Ryan Christenson, Dustin Roemeling, Andrew Ladzinski, Benjamin Ulrich, Matthew Paavola, Mason Bulthuis and Col. Rodmen Smith. Pictured in the back row are Brett Fox (from left), Trent Anderson, Jesse Drown, Felicia Znajda, Coby Fontes, Anthony Hams, Hudson Ledeen, Adam Stennett and Dallas Cornell.<br/><br/><br/>
Contributed/Minnesota DNR
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New DNR officers complete training

CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. – Eighteen new conservation officers graduated Tuesday, Sept. 13, from the 21st Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Academy, after training for 16 weeks in all aspects of their new careers. The graduates already have spread out across the state and will spend the next several months field training with experienced conservation officers before assuming their assigned stations.

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, coming to the DNR via the Conservation Officer Prep program, which provides a pathway for people with at least a two-year college degree to become a conservation officer.

“Each of the officers brings a unique background and experiences, but the common thread that joins them all is a commitment to protecting Minnesota’s people and natural resources and a desire to ensure future generations have the same opportunities we have today,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division.

Upon conclusion of field training, the officers will work in the following field stations: Baudette #1, Baudette #2, Cambridge, Cook, Madison, Malmo, Montevideo, Ortonville, Osakis, Osseo, Pine River, Rochester #2, Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud, White Bear Lake, Warroad #1, Warroad #2 and Worthington.

ECP grants fund eligible activities that restore or enhance forests, wetlands, prairies or habitat for fish, game and wildlife on public lands and waters in Minnesota.

Each of the graduates was chosen from among hundreds of applicants and underwent rigorous examinations, psychological profiles and background checks before beginning at the academy.


– Herald staff report

Fall clay target league season begins

EAGAN, Minn. – More than 13,200 student athletes are participating in the fall season of the USA Clay Target League, league officials said this week in a press release. The 13,214 student athletes are competing on 761 high school, college and homeschool teams nationwide.

“The League continues to break records each year,” John Nelson, president of the USACTL, said in a statement. “The high demand for outdoor activities that are an alternative to traditional sports proves that young people want to get outside and enjoy safe and fun activities with their peers. Thanks to the efforts of volunteer coaches and parents, these teams are possible.”

The students’ six-week season began Sunday, Sept. 18, with a practice week to get them warmed up and to record reserve scores in case of weather or other issues. Weekly competition begins Sunday, Sept. 25, and top scoring teams and athletes will be recognized at the completion of fall competition in October.

The USA College Clay Target League National Championship will be held the first week in November, after the conclusion of the college league’s fall season. Tournaments and championships for high school league participants are held in early summer.

– Herald staff report

DNR offers Take a Kid Hunting Weekend

ST. PAUL – Minnesota’s Take a Kid Hunting Weekend is Saturday, Sept. 24, and Sunday, Sept. 25, the DNR said. During the weekend, adult Minnesota residents accompanied by a youth under age 16 may hunt small game such as squirrels and rabbits without a license, although they must comply with open seasons, limits and other regulations.

Hunting small game is a great way to introduce kids to hunting. Kids learn how to search for game sign, properly handle firearms and access hunting land – all without spending too much time sitting still and being quiet, the DNR said.


– Herald staff report

DNR extends deadline for committee applicants

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota DNR is recruiting new members to serve on key advisory groups related to the Game and Fish Fund, wildlife management and fisheries management, and has extended the application deadline to Friday, Sept. 30.

Interested people can learn more about the committees and how to apply on the Engage with DNR website at engage.dnr.state.mn.us/advisory-group-appointment-opportunities .

– Herald staff report

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