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September 18, 2019

7/21/2019 3:13:00 PM
Successful rescue saves Woman Lake loon
By Kathleen Scharmer and Sue Meyer

On July 12th, in the late night hours on Woman Lake, a heroic effort was successful in rescuing a distressed loon and releasing her of fishing line that was wrapped around her bill and neck, hampering her ability to dive and feed herself and her two chicks.

The impaired loon was first spotted by Laura Mellum who took its picture and forwarded it to the Child, Girl, Woman Lakes Area Association Facebook page. This was brought to the attention of Kathy Scharmer, the Association Facebook Administrator and Loon advocate, who in turn posted the picture on the lake association Facebook page as well as a the Larry's Loon Lovers loon information page and started making calls. Using all of the information that the Facebook group and lake association members suggested, Kathy was able to reach out to a DNR non-game wildlife specialist who in turn contacted Lori Naumann, Promotions and Permits Officer with the Minnesota DNR Non Game Wildlife Program, who was willing to coordiate a rescue group.

Lori needed a boat and driver to make this DNR sanctioned rescue possible. Sue Meyer, a loon monitor on Girl Lake and the Association Girl Lake Representative, coordinated access to a rescue boat and Jon Stevenson, the Association V.P., offered the use of his boat and volunteered as driver.

Lori and a private trained volunteer met Jon at his home at 11:00 p.m. and proceeded out onto Woman Lake. It took them several hours to locate the loon, capture and safely remove the fishing line before returning her to the lake where she re-joined her family.

This dangerous process was DNR sanctioned and done by trained people. It is illegal to capture and possess wildlife even if your desire is to help them.

We were fortunate to have reached Lori and that she was willing to assist. This is the type of situation that the DNR nongame wildlife program utilizes for their funding. 80% of their program is funded by donations and you can help by using the nongame donation line on your tax form and/or donating on their website:

Search nongame wildlife program, and then go to "make a donation".

We appreciate all the Facebook responses and concerns which played an integral part in giving this the attention needed to make this a successful DNR rescue mission

We are grateful to Lori Naumann and to all the volunteers that made this rescue happen. Lori also volunteers as an information resource for our non-game wildlife questions. She can be reached at:

You may also contact Kathy Scharmer at:


or Sue Meyer at:


The fishing line that was removed did not have a sinker or hook attached. If the loon ingested a sinker and it was a lead sinker, she will not survive. It only takes a minimal parts per million of lead to cause death. We advocate recycling your fishing line and do not advocate using lead sinkers. A fishing line recycle tube is available at all of the Child, Girl, Woman Lakes Area Association boat launches. Please use them.

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