State and Flyway: Views From The Field and Beyond

An article from WWA’s Words From The Wardens.

This article originally appeared in Wisconsin Waterfowl Association’s April 2020 eNewsletter.

By Lt. Tyler Strelow, Supervisor of the DNR’s Mississippi River Warden Team

As a “waterfowl cop” I often get asked by hunters: “Is everybody behaving themselves today?”

Most often, the answer to that question is: “Yes!”

Hunters and other outdoor users generally are law-abiding folks. However, the DNR conservation wardens also deal with that small percentage of folks who are not like the other 98%.

What do these few do? Usually, the wrong choices are made, include hunting with an unplugged firearm, hunting during the closed season or outside of legal shooting hours, hunting without a license/stamp and/or hunting with toxic shot.


Activities and actions also are tracked at the Mississippi Flyway level – which includes 14 states. The Mississippi Flyway is unique in the fact that we are the only flyway that has a law enforcement (LE) technical section. The LE tech section is used as a sounding board for the biologists, recognizes natural resource officers for their outstanding work with an annual award, and tracks/ monitors activities and actions across the flyway.


Speaking of outstanding work, we also do education to help bring up the next generation of waterfowl enthusiasts. One excellent example of this dedication to waterfowl education is Warden Brad Peterson, who keeps an eye on the Mississippi River from his Pierce County base. Last year, Warden Brad worked with Delta Waterfowl to help their members work with students who were building about 60 wood duck boxes.

He didn’t stop with the building of those boxes. After the students were finished, Warden Brad stayed with the project and helped teach the class about how and where to place their boxes.

So, at the end of the day, the view of a ‘waterfowl cop’ can be on the water with many law-abiding folks, with the Mississippi Flyway group looking at regional topics or in a classroom with the next generation.

Never boring!

If you have information regarding natural resource violations, you may confidentially report by calling or texting: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay reported information to conservation wardens.