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Quick actions rescue three waterfowl hunters in Wright County

Published 9:01am Tuesday, November 12, 2013 Updated 12:03pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Quick actions by a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officer and a lakeshore owner may have saved the lives of three duck hunters recently.

Conservation Officer Rick Reller of Buffalo was on routine patrol checking waterfowl hunters on Swartout Lake in Wright County, Sunday, Nov. 3.

“I observed with my binoculars three duck hunters picking up their decoys getting ready to leave the small island on Swartout Lake they were hunting,” Reller said. “I decided to wait on shore to do a license and game check when they came ashore.”

Reller went to check what was taking the three men so long in getting across the lake.

“Once again I used my binoculars to look out on to the lake and observed the three hunters now in the water and out of their swamped Jon boat holding onto three filled decoy bags,” he said. “The wind was blowing at over 20 miles per hour and with the cold water temps I knew they were in life threatening situation.”

Reller rushed to the residence of Barry Faber, a lakeshore owner who he knew would have a boat on shore. With Faber’s assistance, Reller was able to aid the three hunters in the cold water.

“We were able to pull all three of the hunters on to the boat,” Reller said.

The actions by Reller and Faber saved three lives.

“It’s very apparent that this event would have turned tragic if Officer Reller and Mr. Faber had not been there,” said Capt. Greg Salo, DNR enforcement central region manager.

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