Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Minnesota hosts national CO rendezvous this week

By Mike
Kallok
Staff Writer

St. Paul – Coinciding with its 120th anniversary of natural
resource law enforcement, Minnesota played host this week to the
annual North American Wildlife Enforcement Officer Association
conference.

All licensed conservation officers in the state of Minnesota are
members of the NAWEOA, according to Rich Sprouse, DNR information
officer.

The event, which is being held at the Crown Plaza St. Paul
Riverfront Hotel, offers, ‘a powerful learning experience that
gives participants from across the U.S. and Canada the opportunity
to network with peers facing similar challenges,’ said Conservation
Officer Dean Olson, president of the Minnesota Conservation
Officers Association.

Along with roughly 600 of their peers from across North America,
the state’s 204 licensed COs from Minnesota are scheduled to attend
the event, according to Sprouse.

They will rotate through the conference to ensure that someone
is still minding the woods and waters, Sprouse said.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Kevin Gilmartin, a 20-year veteran of
law enforcement who will outline ways for officers to survive the
emotional rigors of their work without alienating family and
friends.

A number of educational presentations will be made including one
by Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht, also known as Dr. Freeze or Professor
Popsicle.

Dr. Giesbrecht is a leading researcher on ‘cold stress
physiology.’ He has conducted hundreds of cold-water immersion
studies and much of the time he has been the subject in his own
tests.

Giesbrecht will discusses cold-water immersion, cold shock and
how to survive a winter night outside after cold weather
immersion.

He has used his research to film survival videos on subjects
including how to escape submerged vehicles and how to survive a
fall through the ice.

Local presentations from Minnesota DNR enforcement and the
Chisago County Sheriff’s Office will outline the effective drowning
victim recovery system they have developed.

The Minnesota DNR will also give presentations on its aircraft
enforcement support program, defensive tactics for officers, and
hunter and ATV safety education.

Working as a CO in wolf country will be discussed along with how
livestock depredation issues will be dealt with in light of the
western Great Lakes population of gray wolves recent removal from
the federal list of endangered species.

Visitors also will have the opportunity to see how the Minnesota
DNR works with organizations like Duck Unlimited. Jon Schneider
will discuss the Shallow Lakes Initiative in Minnesota along with
the western shift at the northern end of the Mississippi
Flyway.

Other seminars include crime scene reconstruction, interviewing
techniques, GPS technology, and strontium research in wildlife
investigations.

Minnesota was chosen to host this year’s event, in part, Sprouse
said, because it coincided with a milestone for Minnesota natural
resource law enforcement.

In 1887, the Minnesota Legislature appointed W.F. Zwickey as the
first state game warden, according to information from the DNR.

Zwickey was responsible for enforcing game and fish laws across
the entire state, but the lack of pay and support staff led him to
quit and the Legislature turned wildlife law enforcement back over
to local sheriffs.

In 1891, the position of game warden was re-established. Since
the inception of the DNR’s division of enforcement, 19 officers
have died in the line of duty.

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