Yes, jobs still are scarce.

Officials at the Department of Natural Resources expected to receive lots of applications for eight conservation officer jobs they posted this fall.

But they received 800 "qualified'' applications.

"Law enforcement opportunities have dried up a bit,'' said Jim Konrad, DNR enforcement chief. Mostly because of retirements, the DNR has 27 officer vacancies. It plans to fill eight immediately and might hire another 12 to 18 officers later in 2012.

The first hires still must pass a conservation officer academy in March and a one-year probation. Another academy is likely to be held next summer. Though conservation officers are licensed peace officers, Konrad is looking for something more.

"I want people with a passion for natural resources, people who want to be game wardens,'' he said.

Racehorse shot

Jill Houston raises racehorses at her place near Pine River, Minn., and she's never had any trouble with hunters -- until now.

On Dec. 2, she found her 9-month-old colt dead in her pasture, shot apparently by a muzzleloader deer hunter, authorities say. The DNR and Cass County Sheriff's Office are investigating. Officials don't know if it was an errant or intentional shot.

No charges have been filed.

Houston, who races her horses at Canterbury Park, said she can't put a price on the colt. But his sire, Tahkodha Hills, ran in the Belmont Stakes and won more than a half-million dollars over his career, she said.

"This is devastating,'' said Houston, 70, a retired nurse.

Anyone with information can call the TIP line at 1-800-652-9093.

Did you know?

• An occupied fish house exploded on Pomme de Terre Lake when an angler was trying to light a lantern and another was hooking up a battery, causing a spark. Three people were taken to the hospital.

• Ice conditions vary in the Ortonville area, as one angler found out the hard way when his new fish house fell through the ice on Big Stone Lake recently.

• No charges have been filed in the case of a captive 21-point trophy deer killed and stolen from its pen recently in southeastern Minnesota.

• The panfish bit has been good in the Emily and Backus area, with some limits of sunfish and crappies seen.

• Anglers were reporting good success on Upper Red Lake -- sometimes too good. Conservation officer Robert Gorecki of Baudette checked an angler who had 12 walleye fillets. When asked where the carcasses were, the angler admitted to throwing them down his ice hole. The angler later admitted some were of illegal length. The angler is facing numerous charges including overlimit of walleye, illegal length walleye, immeasurable fish on a special regulation lake and littering.

• Pheasants Forever is holding its National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic Feb. 17-19 at the Kansas City Convention Center in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the first time it's been held there.