New CO is eager to learn — and teach

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New Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Trent Seamans talks with anglers Andy Mensink and Taylor Bestor, both of Rochester, at the Chester Woods Park reservoir east of Rochester.

There's a whole new outdoors world in southern Olmsted County for Trent Seamans to learn, explore, understand — and patrol.

He's the new Department of Natural Resources conservation officer whose basic area is the southern part of Olmsted; he will team with veteran CO Phil George, who handles the north side. They will also go outside the county for other jobs, such as working Mississippi River backwaters or going up north.

Seamans, 23, began working in Olmsted County about two weeks ago, filling a new slot. Previously, Olmsted had only one officer, but because of its growing population, the DNR has added another position.

He said he never knew the blufflands existed until he came down here and he got a chance to see the Whitewater Valley, which is very different from the Lake Minnetonka area where he grew up.

He said he loves fishing and hunting, but that wasn't why he became a conservation officer. And he didn't go to school for law enforcement. Rather, Seamans said his majors at the University of Minnesota were fisheries and wildlife, and recreation resource management.


He was working in resources management at Itasca State Park when he found out about the DNR's conservation officer preparation program. It's designed to attract people from different disciplines, not just law enforcement, into the ranks of COs, Seamans said.

Though his route is different, his passion for the outdoors in the same. He traces that to a duck hunting trip he took near Appleton when he was 13 or 14.

It was the first time he got to go out in a boat, and he loved watching the sun rise from a marsh. Better yet, "There were ducks everywhere," he said. "We couldn't hit them" but they eventually got a few, burning through a few boxes of shells. "After that I was just hooked on hunting," he said.

When he was asked where he wanted to be stationed, he chose Rochester because of Dean Olson, who would be his boss for only about a month before retiring. Still, Seamans wanted to be down here. "Dean is a legend" because he loves to teach young officers, Seamans said. "He has such a good reputation."

One of his jobs is to help people on the reservoirs and river know and follow the laws. Laws can be confusing at times, and part of his job is to enforce them but also explain to anglers and hunters why they're in place, he said.

His college majors will help him, because part of his job is enforcing laws about draining wetlands and other resource issues, Seamans said.

Now that he's here, he's getting to know the local reservoirs and the rivers. "It's crazy trying to figure out everything," he said. He's meeting new people daily, both in and outside the DNR. "It's fun, I like learning new things," he said.

He's also hearing a lot about the outdoors pursuits that are available in the blufflands and hopes to begin pursuing them soon. "For sure, turkey hunting and trout fishing," he said.

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