Thief River Falls area wildlife

Minnesota map showing Thief River Falls location

246 125th Ave. NE
Thief River Falls, MN 56701
[email protected]

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

Area Supervisor Doug Franke and a full-time staff of two assistant wildlife managers oversee an area that includes 1.15 million acres of public and private land. This includes 29 Wildlife Management Areas totaling more than 70,000 acres. Franke and his staff also help coordinate wildlife management on more than 20,000 acres of state forest-administered lands.

This work area is known for excelLicense Dollars At Worklent hunting and trapping opportunities, including prairie chicken, sandhill crane, sharp-tailed grouse, elk, bear, wild turkey, woodcock, ruffed grouse, deer and a variety of furbearing species.

What we do


At work for you

Open brushland habitat in the Thief River Falls area.

Open brushland habitat in the Thief River Falls area.

  • Planning annual controlled burns on over 3,000 acres of WMAs to rejuvenate prairie and brush land habitats for prairie grouse, deer, bear and many other open landscape species.
  • Mechanically treating (shearing or mowing) brush land habitat to improve winter deer yard habitat, breeding and wintering habitat for sharp-tailed grouse and maintain young habitat for many other wildlife species.
  • Enhancing 75 to 100 acres of non-native grasslands each year on various WMAs to improve nesting and brood rearing habitat for many grassland nesting birds.
  • Managing four waterfowl impoundments covering 7,160 acres for duck and goose production and public hunting opportunities.
  • Providing educational talks to local libraries, schools and sportsman's clubs on numerous wildlife topics. Respond to nuisance wildlife calls including bear, elk, deer, goose and crane depredations on crops and stored animal forage.
  • Maintaining user facilities (26 parking lots, 9 campgrounds, 12 gates, 13 miles walking trails, etc.).