Timber wolf, more than a dozen ducks found dead in Morrison County, DNR investigating

Timber wolf, more than a dozen ducks found dead in Morrison County, DNR investigating

Timber wolf, more than a dozen ducks found dead in Morrison County, DNR investigating

Officers from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are investigating incidents where a timber wolf was found shot dead and more than a dozen dead ducks were found on the side of the road in Morrison County.

A Facebook post from DNR officials said the wolf was killed near Buckman while the remains of the ducks were found dumped on the side of the road in Little Falls.

DNR officials said in the post “This behavior is not only illegal, it gives all hunters a bad name.”

Some of the ducks were reportedly found fully intact while others were only partially cleaned.

Shooting wolves is illegal in Minnesota due to their federally protected status, meaning they can only be killed when defending human life.

Lead investigator for the two cases, Conservation Officer Stephen Westby, says while they’ve taken a few steps in the investigation, they’d like anyone who can help to reach out.

“I can’t get into much detail on what all we have coming up, but we don’t have a lot of information,” Westby said.

He was the one who first found the wolf and ducks after the calls came in.

“I got out there and I got very frustrated, I saw that someone just shot and left that animal lie and let it waste,” Westby said, adding: “That’s when not only myself but all my partners we get very frustrated, very angry.”

The DNR was made aware of both cases from a phone call, something people have been able to do for decades. More recently, a phone app was rolled out to allow for a more convenient way to report suspicious activity.

The app, created by DNR partner Turn in Poachers is called ‘MN TIP’ – it’s free, and state numbers show more and more people are using it.

The app launched in April 2022, and through the rest of that year, about 22% of poaching tips were made on the app. So far this year, that’s climbed to nearly 30% and the fall hunting season is only just beginning.

“The technology that we have makes this world a really small place, and it allows us to be vigilant in what we do,” Kris Lambke, president of Turn in Poachers, said.

Lambke calls the app a “game changer” and said he just used it last month to report several hunting violations.

“I had a phone call within a couple of hours, and they were already investigating it, which is really neat,” Lambke said, adding it eventually led to a fine, gear getting confiscated, and a year-long hunting license suspension.

For Westby, he’ll appreciate any kind of tip to help make sense of the cases involving the timber wolf and ducks.

“When we have this type of stuff, it’s taking and stealing from the state,” Westby said. “It’s emotional it can be. And we can do everything we possibly can to continue to investigate this and go down the roads and go down different paths and see where this ends up.”

Anyone with information on either of these incidents is asked to contact the Turn In Poachers hotline at (800) 652-9093 or via the MNTip app. Callers can remain anonymous.

Information on poachers can also be turned in by submitting an anonymous tip.

More information on turning in poachers can be found here.