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Dennis Anderson

Star Tribune

DNR names Rodmen Smith new enforcement chief

Lt. Col. Rodmen Smith, DNR assistant enforcement division director and 19-year veteran of the department, will be the agency’s new enforcement chief.

Smith, 44, will oversee a $38 million annual budget and a staff of 250, including more than 200 conservation officers. The division enforces game, fish, lands, water and recreation laws, among others.

Smith began as a conservation officer in 1997, patrolling central and northern Minnesota. Subsequently he was promoted to district supervisor, regional enforcement director and operations manager. In 2011 he became assistant director, overseeing budgeting and policy, and serving as legislative liaison.

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and speech communication from St. Cloud State University and a master’s in public administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Smith is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command, the Harvard Kennedy School of Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies program and the National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Leadership Academy.

“Rodmen brings a wealth of on-the-job knowledge and experience to the position, and understands first-hand the challenges facing natural resources law enforcement,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “I’m looking forward to working with Rodmen to enhance the division’s communications and public outreach and accelerate our efforts to diversify the department and solidify our reputation as a top-shelf natural resources agency.”

Said Smith:

“I see three immediate priorities for the division. We need to continue to improve our service to Minnesota citizens. We need to recruit and hire new officers who not only exceed our high standards, but more accurately reflect the diverse community we serve. And we need to continue to provide field staff with the best training and tools to do their job safely, effectively and efficiently.”

Smith assumes the position immediately, replacing Col. Ken Soring, who retired in December after more than 35 years with the DNR.

Smith and his wife Kimberly have two daughters: Kenley (11), Gracie (7) and a yellow lab named Finn.

DNR announces new rules for spring turkey hunting



The 2016 Minnesota turkey stamp by Nicholas Markell

The DNR on Monday morning announced changes to next spring's Minnesota turkey hunting season. Upshot of the changes is that most state hunters will have more time to chase toms in the spring.

According to a DNR press release:

• Turkey hunting time periods will be longer, all will include weekends and more time periods will be available to each hunter. Five one-week time periods will be followed by one longer time period ending on Tuesday, May 31. Previously, there were eight time periods, and not all included weekends. The bag limit will remain one bearded turkey.

“A significant change will be that hunters who don’t bag a turkey during their first time period will also be able to hunt the last time period using their original license,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife populations program manager. “This will make the experience more relaxing, as snow or rain storms that could ruin an entire hunt will not be as much of a problem.”  

• Hunters who hunt a second time during the last time period will need to hunt in the same zone that they hunted in during their first hunt period, Merchant said.

• Firearms hunters who want to hunt either of the first two time periods will need to enter into a lottery to participate. In past years there were lottery drawings for the first three time periods. People can apply to the lottery starting Monday, Dec. 14, and the deadline to apply is Friday, Jan. 22.

• Also, archers will be able to hunt the entire season and in any zone from when the first time period begins on Wednesday, April 13, through May 31. Hunters must choose between a firearms or archery turkey hunting license.

“The changes that begin this spring will provide more opportunity for hunters, but we are aware that some hunters are concerned that these changes will lead to crowding, negatively impacting hunt quality,” Merchant said. “For that reason, we remain committed to measuring hunter satisfaction and hunt quality so adjustments can be made in the future if necessary.”

Each year, the season will begin on the Wednesday closest to April 15, and each time period will start on a Wednesday. This year, the first time period begins April 13. Each year, the final time period will end on May 31. More information on turkey hunting is available at

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