A Minnesota game warden?s hair-raising tales from his 25-year career have been woven into a book by a local author.
?Border Warden,? written by Murray Mills, recounts warden Lloyd Steen?s true stories.
Mills said the book was about 10 years in the making.
?I write by inspiration and I?m not inspired real often,? Mills joked.
This is his first book. He has had a varied career that included owning Coast to Coast in Elk River from 1968?1984 and owning the Eagle Wing Resort on Lake Kabetogama in northern Minnesota from 1984?1993. He also has a tree farm near Zimmerman and is a pilot.
Millsis married to Carol, who is the retired president and CEO of Guardian Angels.
He met Warden Steen while running the resort and over the years they became friends.
Mills said he has always been fascinated by wardens, and originally planned to locate wardens whenever he and his wife were traveling, interview them, and compile their stories into a book. He did some of that, interviewing wardens in Canada, Montana, Minnesota and South Dakota, but said it was like pulling teeth. ?It just didn?t work,? he said.
Then he realized that Steen had a treasure trove of his own stories to tell. Mills broached the idea of turning them into a book, and Steen agreed.
Mills wrote the first story, ?Diabetic Walleyes,? in about 1993. It turned out to be one of his favorites.
It?s the story about how Steen caught an elderly couple who had stashed their illegal catch of walleye in a cooler the woman claimed was being used for her diabetic husband?s insulin.
Another of his favorites is ?Bitten Twice,? which recounts the saga of Steen trying to free a wolf caught in a trap. He eventually did, but only after a long ordeal that included the wolf biting him in the leg.
?That tells you a lot about Lloyd, what he?s like,? Mills said of the wolf story. ?He could have shot that wolf and dragged him off in the woods and nobody would have known the difference. But, no, he?s not supposed to do that so he risks his neck to release that thing.?
Steen, a native of the International Falls area, is a game warden in the Kabetogama/Namakan lakes district in northern Minnesota near the Canadian border.
Mills described Steen as a congenial person who typically has a smile on his face. But he is dedicated to his profession and protecting the resource.
All of the stories are true, although names have been changed and photographs have the faces blurred to protect people?s identities.