Talk about unusual: A bobcat recently slipped through a garage "doggie door'' in Littlefork, Minn., and killed the small dog inside.

"I've been doing this for 30 years, and that was a first,'' said Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Lloyd Steen, who responded along with two sheriff's deputies. The homeowner blocked the cat's exit with some bags and called authorities. After hearing a report earlier about a bobcat in Littlefork that showed little fear of humans, the officers decided to kill the animal. They couldn't see it when they peered through a garage window, so Steen, armed with his .40 caliber Glock handgun, stepped inside.

"I shined my flashlight under a four-wheeler and saw two green eyes,'' Steen said. "I could tell it was a bobcat. I shot between the tires and hit it between the eyes; it died right there. It was about a 30-pound female bobcat.''

The cat had killed and partially eaten the homeowner's 20-pound dog.

Steen skinned the cat to check its condition. "In my opinion, it was starving," he said. "There wasn't a speck of fat on it.''

It's fairly common for Steen to get calls about wolves killing dogs. "This is the first time I've ever had a dog killed by a bobcat,'' he said.

Hunt for vets

The idea was to do something special for veterans returning from Iraq.

"We thought, why not a pheasant hunt?'' said Mike Polehna, an avid hunter and Stillwater City Council member. So he and Chuck Haas, a Hugo City Council member, launched a "Welcome Home Red Bulls Pheasant Hunt'' for members of the Army National Guard's 34th Infantry Division, the "Red Bulls,'' headquartered in Rosemount.

The pair was hoping to treat 50 soldiers to a pheasant hunt and sporting clays shoot March 14 at Wild Wings Hunting Club in Hugo. Eighty have signed up, and donations have rolled in to help pay for the event, which will include a wild game dinner.

"The response from the public has been incredible,'' Polehna said. "We've raised over $16,000. But we need another $3,000 to $4,000.''

Polehna is hoping the dollars will come so another dozen or so soldiers can be added to the list. The vets will get four birds apiece to hunt, plus shells and a volunteer guide with a dog. For more information, or to donate, contact Polehna at 651-439-8952 or polehna@usfamily.net or Haas at 651-247-0354 or charles.haas@ci.hugo.mn.us.

Another veterans hunt

The Scott County Chapter of Pheasants Forever is holding its second annual Operation: Upland Pheasant Hunt on March 27 for vets who have served abroad. Last year's event was a big hit. This year, up to 50 vets will get a free pheasant hunt, lunch and sporting clays shoot at the Caribou Gun Club and Hunting Preserve in Le Sueur. The chapter is taking registrations and is accepting donations to help pay for the event. Contact Stacy Dvorak at 612-202-6119 or ouph@scottcountypf.org.

Waterfowl symposium

The Minnesota Waterfowl Association's annual waterfowl symposium is free this year. It's 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at the at the Ramada Mall of America in Bloomington. It will feature presentations by leading waterfowl and wetlands experts. The group's awards banquet is at 5 p.m., and it will induct people into its newly created Minnesota Waterfowl Hall of Fame. For information, call 952-767-0320 or see www.mnwaterfowl.com. The Minnesota Decoy Collectors Annual Decoy Show also will be in the same hotel.

Did you know?

• The DNR is down to three candidates for fisheries chief; a fourth has dropped out. Current DNR employees Dirk Peterson, Jason Moeckel and Tim Schlagenhaft will be interviewed Feb. 11. Stephen Perry, fisheries chief with the New Hampshire Game and Fish Department, has withdrawn.

• Conservation officer Dan Staff of Tower encountered a wolf recently that showed little fear of man. The wolf came out to an open field toward Starr's parked truck and stood 40 yards away. Starr got out of his truck, but the wolf didn't leave until the officer started walking toward it.

• Conservation officer Jackie Glaser of Mound worked the trout opener on Courthouse Lake in Chaska. More than 200 anglers were on the lake, and everyone she checked had caught at least one trout.

• Some lakes near Marshall have up to 2 feet of slush.

• Anglers on Upper Red Lake are reporting a good afternoon bite, and anglers on Lake of the Woods are reporting good fishing near Rocky Point and Long Point, according to conservation officer Robert Gorecki.

Doug Smith • dsmith@startribune.com