As the days turn cooler and hunting seasons kick off, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ K9 Unit’s five teams are preparing to shift their focus to the field.
The three dogs trained to sniff zebra mussels will continue working to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species as long as there’s open water. However, all the handlers and their dogs will begin spending even more time on seasonal aspects of their work, such as locating lost hunters or other individuals, recovering evidence like spent rifle cartridges or shotgun shells, and detecting potentially illegally taken wildlife. They’ll also continue to assist the Minnesota DNR Enforcement Division’s law enforcement partners throughout the state.
This hunting season will be the first for K9s Bolt (whose partner is Conservation Officer Mike Krauel) and Jet (whose partner is CO Adam Seifermann). Those teams, as well as longtime handler CO Mike Fairbanks and his new K9 Fennec, all graduated from the St. Paul Police Department’s K9 School this past May.
“Each of our five teams is highly trained and, in most cases, the dogs can locate items or individuals far more quickly than humans could – if they could even locate them at all,” said Lt. Phil Mohs, who leads the K9 Unit. “The dogs are absolutely invaluable in our work to protect Minnesota’s people and natural resources.”
For more information, visit the K9 Unit webpage on the Minnesota DNR website.