The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

January 30, 2014

DNR issues poaching citations

BAUDETTE (AP) — About two dozen people are expected to be cited after conservation officers executed search warrants as part of a poaching investigation in a popular fishing spot in far northern Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources officials said.

DNR enforcement chief, Col. Ken Soring, said many of the cases at the Lake of the Woods involve "double tripping."

"They'd take a limit of fish, come in, eat those fish or store them, then go back out and take more fish that day," Soring said.

State law says any fish that are caught, eaten or frozen, must count as part of an angler's catch limit.

About 40 conservation officers descended on Lake of the Woods last week to execute the warrants. Some fishing guides and businesses participated in poaching and even encouraged anglers to violate the law, Soring told the Star Tribune.

"While the investigation showed that many operations were doing the right thing and encouraging their guests to comply with regulations, some were violating the laws and encouraging others to do the same," Soring said. "Those are the ones we'll be charging."

Conservation officers are completing reports and compiling evidence in preparation for charges, which are expected to be filed in the next week or two, Soring said. Most charges likely will be misdemeanors, he said.

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