DNR Abuse Stories

  • avatarwaagoshquay
    Posts: 1

    I am researching for stories, incidents that have occurred in the past several years of DNR abuse. Infringement of constitutional 4th amendment rights. If you have any incidents or know of any in the past several years, I would like to hear them/ read them. With our getting preachy here, but with ground swell organizations forming to present to legislature on the over-power of zealous DNR Officers we need your input, stories and incidents. you may email them to [email protected]. We will reply – thank you.

    Profile photo of James HolstJames Holst
    SE Minnesota
    Posts: 16,283

    I’ve been lucky… I’ve never had anything but fantastic interactions with the DNR. And I really don’t know of anyone personally that has had any issues. You hear stories… but you know how accurate 2nd and 3rd hand info can be.

    Posts: 2,013

    Nothing but good things from any C.O. I’ve ever met.

    Profile photo of btomlinbtomlin
    Albia, IA
    Posts: 182

    I’ve never had a problem with the DNR. I think it is prob. one of the most thankless jobs you can do. I’m friends with most of the DNR guys that are local to my area. I’m sure it wouldn’t matter friends or not if I was into breaking the established game laws.

    Posts: 2,294

    Welcome to IDO!

    Interesting first post. Why don’t you tell us more about these ground swell organiztions? I’ve never heard of any groups like that, at least not looking into those things you are asking us about. Have you been a victim?

    Profile photo of chompschomps
    Sioux City IA
    Posts: 3,513

    boy! nothing but positive here, even some MNDNR people help get you on a hot bite or get you an update on how the bite is on a particular lake. My guess, just a guess, those doing the complaining were breaking the law to begin with??? Duh!

    Profile photo of big_gbig_g
    St. Cloud / Isle, MN
    Posts: 15,959

    I have had several interactions with the DNR on the fishing side, Snowmobiling, Hunting, ATV’ing and not once did they act in an unprofessional manner or would I categorize as harassing. They are doing a job and I think the only people that have issues with them, are the ones that are getting busted. I say keep up the good work MN DNR

    big G

    Profile photo of pickeral_boypickeral_boy
    Posts: 161

    Thanks for joining IDO. I see this is your first post Mr. Waagoshquay. There is most likely some real stories out there for people to share with you. I would suggest that you identify yourself. Real name, real phone number, and a verified email address for this type of request from IDO members. It would be better optics for your very personal request, which you may present to government one day. You may be entirely legit. Or you may be a 14 year old kid in his basement pulling pranks.

    Posts: 4,475

    Our local CO is a class act. Going by the initials D.K.!! I see him all the time on the water. He is dilligent with his job even though we know each other and see each other often on the ice or water. He treats my customers and myself with respect. Yet he has the capability of performing the duty of his position!! Trust me I haven’t always had the same experiences with others, but DK is a model CO for all to follow!! Doubt he follows these threads, but if he does Keep up the good work. Put the down on the bad guys, and keep doing the great job protecting our resource!!

    Profile photo of dan-larsondan-larson
    Cedar, Min-E-So-Ta
    Posts: 1,499

    One time up at North Garrison I had a run in with one of the creel survey interns. She was around 20, khaki shorts, DNR windbreaker, clipboard, pen, blonde hair, blue eyes, nice spring tan… She only asked to see my fish, I was shattered.

    Wait a minute, what was this thread about again?

    Profile photo of Ralph WiggumRalph Wiggum
    Maple Grove, MN
    Posts: 6,216

    You’ve got to be kidding me. While I have encountered a CO having a bad day once or twice, for the most part, the COs I have dealt with are great people. I’m not gonna fault someone or “start a movement” for having a bad day.

    They’re out there doing a tough job. Keep within the laws and you’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about.

    Profile photo of Josh RunksmeierJosh Runksmeier
    Pequot Lakes, MN
    Posts: 241

    Nothing but good from the DNR for me. They all have been helpfull.

    Central MN
    Posts: 3,821

    There are two sides to every story!

    Profile photo of gary_wellmangary_wellman
    West Metro
    Posts: 6,061

    It is a thankless job.
    Nobody wants to do it either, atleast nobody here on this site out of 10,000 members.

    Cops are there to protect and serve the people.
    COs are there to protect and serve the resource, and every encouter they have in the field is with a citizen who is ARMED!

    Profile photo of cougareyecougareye
    Hudson, WI
    Posts: 3,638

    I get stopped on the St. Croix by patrol boats from 5 different agencies (Coast Guard, State Park, WI, MN, and Washington County). I have had ALL positive experiences with them.


    Posts: 9

    I find it amazing that only people who havent been messed with think everything is just great, and that people who HAVE been messed with are some kind of “anti-govenment” violaters who are just angry they got caught. A simple way to start a conversation such as this would be to google the 4th amendment, especially the phrase “probable cause”. Please consider this before you post!!!
    As my screen name would imply, I am not of the “hook and bullet” crowd, but am an avid outdoorsman.
    I spend allot of time in the outdoors, both local and abroad. My biggest challenge is to get away from people, and find places of peace and solitude. I consider fishing, of which I do allot of, a good exscuse to be out on a lake.
    If I am not breaking a law, or endangering myself or others, or somehow denying others use and enjoyment of public and private property, there should be no reason for contact with LE. ( Law Enforcement). I will elaborate in further posts. Until then, dont mind getting your boat searched, after all, if you have nothing to hide, you should not mind these minor infringements on your privacy. And if they damage your property? Hey, its all good. After all, its all to keep us safe, and to protect the resource!
    And besides, you MUST have done something wrong to get this unwanted attention. Maybe you didnt salute the Game Warden at the boat launch, maybe it was the bumper sticker on your truck. Or, maybe a certain LE entity has a budget that allows for officers to spend time harrassing people, rather than fullfilling the goals and mission statement of the Dept of public service of in which they work for. This will only get worse, because now, they get money from HomeLand Security, and actually have a branch closely affiliated with that agency. Believe in States rights to govern themselves? Get ready for the Federal Boater Picture ID. Another reason for LE to approach you, and thus begin a fishing expedition of thier own. Wisconsin is one of the FEW states “VOLUNTARILY” adopting this legislation.

    Profile photo of big_gbig_g
    St. Cloud / Isle, MN
    Posts: 15,959

    This comes up once a year… I don’t have to open my livewell…. anytime I have been checked, they have asked politely to see my fish, and you know what, I have no problem showing them, because I won’t keep illegal/over the limit of fish. Do I have to let them see them, no… do I think it is silly to not let them see them, if I am not doing anything wrong, because “I DON’T HAVE TO” ??? Yes, but everybody has that right. If you are getting harassed, then use the legal channels, pretty simple. You don’t have to post on a forum, looking for more stories, take care of your own. Painting the DNR with a broad brush, is covering something up that it shouldn’t. This post is a form of “trolling” to me….

    big G

    Profile photo of Ralph WiggumRalph Wiggum
    Maple Grove, MN
    Posts: 6,216

    Hmmm, might Treehugger be the same dude as the original poster?

    Profile photo of James HolstJames Holst
    SE Minnesota
    Posts: 16,283

    I know all too well how the 4th amendment protects me and how it applies to interactions with CO’s. I have absolutely no issue with showing the DNR officer my fish, fishing license or safety equipment.

    I will tell you this… the CO’s I run into always ask “can I see your fish?” I have the opportunity to decline but I would never do so. I actually enjoy the interaction and often spend additional time talking with the officer if his workload allows. To be honest I would like to see many, many more CO’s on the water on patrol keeping tabs on those utilizing the resource and would pay more for a fishing license if I knew that money would go directly towards enforcement personnel.

    You have an axe to grind and it chaps you when other anglers don’t see things your way. We get that. I hope you can accept that fact that your opinion of the DNR is NOT shared by the majority of anglers and boaters. But I do respect your right to your opinion and your campaign to try and change how the CO’s operate on the water. That’s how democracy works. Best of luck to you.

    Profile photo of James HolstJames Holst
    SE Minnesota
    Posts: 16,283


    I will elaborate in further posts. Until then, dont mind getting your boat searched, after all, if you have nothing to hide, you should not mind these minor infringements on your privacy.

    You’re not “educating” us to anything we don’t already know. This has been discussed annually and in circles. You can do a site search for past discussions but I can save you the effort. Based on the previous interactions I feel it safe to say that people here actually like to see the CO’s on the water and don’t have issue with the interactions. Some crazy guys, like me, actually enjoy it.

    Posts: 2,294

    Another first time poster, welcome to IDO!

    We sure are getting a lot of new members today!

    We as outdoorsmen respect and accept the jobs these CO’s are asked to do. We also accept and understand the need for them to be able to search boats, autos, or anything else in order to fulfill their sworn duty, even if without warrant in hand. In fish and game enforcement, if you refuse to allow the officer to inspect your harvest, or lack there of, you are by refusing them, providing them with the probable cause needed to effect that search.

    That is the way most every true outdoorsman wants it done.

    Posts: 4,184

    Right on, big G.

    I have had nothing but positive interactions with the DNR or other agencies who are interested in protecting the resource AND those who enjoy it.

    You know what I do when I am contacted by a warden or similar?

    I reel up my lines.
    I greet them in a professional manner…I am a professional, just as they are.
    I have my license and boat registration in hand, ready to give to them. My guests or clients do the same.
    I display my PFDs (usually worn), show them my throwable and my extinguisher.
    I show them any fish I have in possession, and I measure them on my ruler for them.
    I politely, truthfully, and professionally answer any questions I am asked.
    And meer moments later, I wish them well and get back to fishing.

    If you choose to make things difficult for an officer, they can certainly make things difficult for you. If your goal is to enjoy a day on the water or in the field with friends or family, then make your interaction with a warden a positive experience, rather than an adversarial one. It’s ALWAYS worked for me, and I interact with them all the time.

    Posts: 262

    I once read that being a CO is the most dangerous law enforcement job that there is.That being said,you’d think that their job would get the best of them now and then and you’d run into a crabpatch or two umongst them.Maybe they’re out there but,my experiences with them have been at worst case,polite but short and to the point to,very friendly and helpful,quite willing to share their knowledge with you.Nothing but good things to say about every CO I’ve ever met.

    Posts: 1,968

    There are bad wardens out there, just the same as bad cops, bad teachers, bad doctors, and bad people in general etc…… Most of my interactions have been decent, and I can honestly say that I have earned most of the hassles I have had…….

    On the other hand, I have had more negatve experiences with federal park rangers than positive…… Not sure why, but in VNP, the Apostle Islands, and Isle Royale, I have had some run-ins with the rangers that resulted in no tickets or warnings, where I felt like the ranger was a real [censored]. Not all rangers were like this, but there have been a couple(especially at IR)…..and repeated interactions with the same rangers yielded the same results….. So yes – I have a pretty dim view of them in general, but a generally positive view of wardens.


    Profile photo of Randy WielandRandy Wieland
    Lebanon. WI
    Posts: 7,397

    I have a few things that came to mind as I read this.

    First and foremost, WI DNR -David W. (local warden to my area) is by far the best representative of the DNR that a sportsman can ask for. He has gone well above and beyond the call to do a great job!

    Where are you located? I see you don’t have it in your profile. Is this local to a certain state?

    Though there may be a few individual wardens that abuse their power, I would hate to see the MANY great individuals get slammed because of this

    Profile photo of Brian KlawitterBrian Klawitter
    Lakeland, MN
    Posts: 44,452

    I have a complaint about the DNR!

    It’s taking to long to get the bullhead law passed!

    If you’re going to raise cane with them about that…I’m on your side!!

    Posts: 2,013


    Hmmm, might Treehugger be the same dude as the original poster?

    Ralph that NEVER happens here!

    I was going to go into tree hugger,about a few things, but it’s almost Friday an I really don’t feel the need to get worked up over this.

    Holmen, WI
    Posts: 2,808

    Until last fall it had been a very long time since I had been stopped or checked by a CO. I was checked three different times last fall at the Trempealeau, WI boat landing. Everytime was quick and painless. Most conversations started after I had loaded the boat up and was draining the water out of my motors. The CO asked a few simply questions.

    1. How was the fishing?

    2. Did you use any live bait?

    3. Did you see anything that you feel should be brought to my attention.

    Once they asked to see my livewell.

    I honestly can’t remember a rude encounter. Other times they have approached my boat while anchored or trolling and have allowed me to continue fishing. Only to ask how the fishing was going. Asked us to show them out licenses, throwable, and extinguisher.

    I too agree that having a more visible presence could be in the best interest of all outdoors people.


    Posts: 471

    “Our local CO is a class act. Going by the initials D.K.!!”

    Rainydaze, you have another one with the initials L.S. that’s a real jerk, too.

    By and large most of the DNR is doing their job well, but there’s a few buttheads in the mix that are over-zealous, possibly perceived as abusive, as well as a few more that are plain lazy. Kinda like any other profession…

    Posts: 9

    James!! If you seek interaction ( and enjoy it) with CO’s, that is your deal. I dont seek that sort of attention. You make your living on the water, I dont. Again, read the 4th!!! I dont drive 4 hours, and portage a kayak a mile through brush to find a hidden Lake, to have a lovely conversation with an armed Warden, over something he has no jurisdiction ( unless you consent)
    The amendment gurantees your right to privacy, even in public, unless ” the facts and circumstances within the arresting officers knowledge are sufficient to warrent a prudent person to believe that a suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime”
    When there are grounds for suspicion that a person has committed a crime, AND PUBLIC JUSTICE AND THE GOOD OF THE COMMUNITY require that the matter should be examined, there is said to be “probable cause”
    Again, if you are not doing anything to be endangering “public justice, and the good of the community”, you should be left secure in your persons, houses, papers and effects, as guranteed by the constritution.
    A CO doing his job out on the water, or in the woods is certainly entitled to approach you and check your credentials that permit any kind of consumptive activety that you might be doing that require a permit or liscense.
    That contact does not give them an open door to check everything else NOT related to activety related to the resource. That, is changing, thanks to the influx of new money, and peoples attitudes who are willing to go along with it!!
    I need to elaborate that my negative contact with LE hasent always been with CO’s.
    Forest Rangers have the same expanded powers that CO’s do, and the same tendancy to abuse them.
    Ever do any camping in Public Parks or Forests?
    Would you feel comfortable if someone was watching you with night vision goggels as you sit around a campfire?
    How about if you and your 20 y/o boys went camping, and you allowed the boy to drink a few beers around the fire. You go to another campsite to visit with other people and come back to find the boys in hand cuffs, with breathalyzers hanging out of thier mouths. You later learn in court that they were video taped, from the bushes. Even with that evidence, the boys were never observed drinking. Instead, the Rangers set up a sting ( in less than an hour) Raided the site, and contended a pile of beer cans( yours)and the smell of alchohol on them( from the beer that you, legally, as guardian, allowed them to drink earlier) constituted underage drinking. Of course, the boys tried to defend the allegation, and resisted ( another charge)
    By that time, another Squad arrives with a Canine unit, and proceeds to rip not only the “offenders” camping gear apart, but an adults ( mine), who had been gone no more than an hour and a half.
    It cost me the weekend, some gear, allot of stress, and $1,500 in legal fees to get them to dismiss an allegation that was not even illegal.
    The only reason this happened is that the Rangers went out of thier way to observe law abiding citizens. They used exspensive techology to do so, and did it not because anyone was endangering public justice or the good of the community, they did it because they can. And they can, because of people like you, and those who are willing to consent to the dissolution of the 4th amendment.
    And this elaboration is just one of many similiar encounters with LE within the DNR, and NONE of them involve fish and game conservation.

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