Thief Lake WMA

Minnesota map showing Thief Lake WMA location

42280 240th Ave. NE
Middle River, MN 56737
[email protected]

Hunters, trappers and wildlife watchers in the Beltrami, Marshall and Roseau county areas benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Thief Lake area wildlife staff.

Acting Area Supervisor Kyle Arola along with two full-time staff oversee an area that includes more than 400,000 acres of private and public land. This includes six Wildlife Management Areas totaling more than 116,000 acres.

For Arola and his staff, this work includes maintaining four large water control structures on four large marshes that cover 10,700 acres These are some of northwest Minnesota?s most state?s most favored waterfowl hunting locations. They also monitor and maintain nine smaller managed wetlands to provide breeding, nesting, brood rearing and migration habitat for waterfowl.

License Dollars At WorkHuener's office also helps manage the state's elk population. About 160 elk live in northwestern Minnesota, including some that move back and forth into Manitoba. Of these, one herd - about two dozen animals - live in and around the Thief Lake, Grygla and Wapiti WMAs.

What we do


At work for you

Image of shearing project at Theif Lake WMA

A shearing proejct is being conducted at Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area in partnership with the American Bird Conservancy to enhance golden-winged warbler habitat.

  • Managing 1-3 mechanical brush treatment projects covering 500-1,500 acres to set back succession in brush lands for sharp-tailed grouse and other brush land-dependent species.
  • Farming up to 300-plus acres of WMA food plots annually to provide food for various species of wildlife and to provide hunting opportunities.
  • Monitoring for and treating infestations of invasive and noxious weeds on state lands within the work area.
  • Developing, maintaining or improving 65 user facilities (parking lots, gates, trails, etc.); maintaining 21 miles of access road; maintaining 21.8 miles of hunter walking trails; maintaining 400 miles of boundary on WMAs in Beltrami, Marshall and Roseau counties to allow for public use.
  • Coordinating and administering goose banding activities and elk, non-game, waterfowl, woodcock, grouse and predator surveys throughout the work area so that population levels of these species are known.
  • Annually performing registration services for black bear, elk and deer hunts; providing area-wide fur registration service; and conducting waterfowl bag checks at six sites throughout the work area to monitor harvest of these species.