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Ask a conservation officer: Officers can enter private land

Q: I was fishing on a private lake with no public access and surrounded by posted land, and a conservation officer arrived on a snowmobile to check my license and my fish. Is that legal since it was private land?A: Yes. In Minnesota, conservation...

Q: I was fishing on a private lake with no public access and surrounded by posted land, and a conservation officer arrived on a snowmobile to check my license and my fish. Is that legal since it was private land?
A: Yes. In Minnesota, conservation officers (COs) are empowered to “enter any land to carry out their duties” as specified in state law. Because our wildlife populations are mobile and do not recognize land-ownership boundaries, and resource-impacting activities happen across these boundaries, it is important that COs are able to access these types of lakes to perform their enforcement functions. In many instances, officers in these situations find very few violations and are told that an officer has never (or very rarely) been to that lake. Either way, don’t be too surprised if a CO shows up where you are fishing, and don’t forget to say “Hi!”

Matthew S. Miller is a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer with the Lake Superior Marine Unit. Send your questions to outdoors@duluthnews.com .

Related Topics: FISHINGHUNTING
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