Minnesota Game Wardens have provided over 125 years of service to the state and its citizens with the protection of our Natural Resources and Public Safety. The appointment of the first Game Warden occurred on March 20th 1887.
Game Wardens provide public safety, resource and recreation protection including game & fish, wildlife, recreational vehicle recreation, commercial, water and wetlands, environmental crimes, state parks and trails.
On July 1st 1967, the title of Game Warden was changed to Conservation Officer to reflect expanded work responsibilities. In 1969, the Department of Conservation was changed to the Department of Natural Resources. Since its inception, the duties of a Conservation Officer have grown from basic fish & game enforcement to include wetland & shoreline protection, commercial game operations and recreational vehicle enforcement. With the onset of terrorism threats against the U.S. since September 2001, CO’s have also been given many responsibilities relating to public safety and homeland security.
Most recently, the Division of Enforcement and Conservation Officers have increased enforcement efforts on slowing the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). The division has added several Zebra Mussel detection dogs, enhancing its K9 program. Our supportive state legislature has approved AIS check stations in collaboration with Ecological Services Watercraft Inspectors and Decontamination Units to assist in the fight of AIS.
The Minnesota Conservation Officers Association was started in 1948. The association is made up of an Executive Board – MCOA President Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais), Vice President Matt Miller (Marine Unit), Treasurer Bob Mlynar (Aitkin), and Secretary Shane Osborne (Evansville). The association also has 18 District Representatives, 2 Specialty Unit Representatives, several Legislative Liaisons, and Contract Negotiations team members. The MCOA also belongs to the Minnesota Law Enforcement Association (MLEA) and the Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Association (MPPOA).