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Fishy calls: Minnesota 911 operators have a special request for ice anglers

Beltrami County, Minnesota - One county sheriff's office is reminding anglers to be careful where they put their phones.

Ice fishers need to be careful where they put their phones while angling (stock image).
Ice fishers need to be careful where they put their phones while angling (stock image).  © 123rf/wwwarjag

We've all made an accidental phone call, but one small township in Minnesota has been dealing with a big spike in pocket and butt dials.

On the weekend of December 5, when anglers flocked to Upper Red Lake in northern Minnesota, local law enforcement didn't just have to manage more traffic. They also had to deal with more 911 calls.

These calls weren't about any ongoing emergencies. Rather, they were "butt calls" from people ice fishing on the frozen lake, according to Fox 9.

There were so many unintentional 911 calls that the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office wrote a Facebook post on December 5 warning people to be careful about the emergency activation on their cell phones.

They wrote, "Our 911 center has been taking a large number of pocket and 'butt dial' 911 calls today... especially on Upper Red Lake."

Be careful when crouching over an ice hole

A simple button combination will start a 911 call on many smartphones (stock image).
A simple button combination will start a 911 call on many smartphones (stock image).  © 123RF/tashka2000

According to the Facebook post, anglers should be particularly careful when "[crouching] over an ice hole," as the "phone in your pocket can press the magic call 911 buttons."

Accidental emergency calls from cell phones and other smart devices aren't unheard of. In fact, these butt dials and pocket calls can happen pretty easily. For example, by holding the volume and power buttons, an iPhone will start a short countdown and dial 911 automatically, according to Business Insider.

So, if an angler puts their phone in their pocket and those buttons get pushed, they might end up starting the accidental countdown to call 911! And if they're busy pulling a fish out of the ice, they might not even notice it.

Luckily, the Sheriff's Office was good-humored about the increased call volume and noted they didn't mind hearing about how the fish were biting: "We don't mind the fishing reports, but let's reserve 911 for emergencies."

So next time you're out fishing, make sure you don't end up calling 911 operators to help bring in your catch of the day!

Cover photo: 123rf/wwwarjag

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