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Conservation Officer Report
Compiled By Richard Sprouse, Minnesota DNR, 800-366-8917, Ext 2511
Weekly Conservation Officer Report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Division of Enforcement
15011 Highway 115 (Camp Ripley)
Little Falls, MN 56345-4173

Report Fish & Game Violations
Call T.I.P. at 1-800-652-9093 or Cell #TIP



District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) attended firearms qualification at Camp Ripley. Multiple illegal fires were investigated. Charges were discussed with the county attorney regarding a fishing in closed season case. Instruction was given to new recruits at Camp Ripley. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked ATV, OHM, angling and boat and water safety enforcement. On the west side of the lake, anglers were out in full swing enjoying the weather and giving mixed reports on the bite. Most that were able to get their limit had to work for it all day. There have been numerous complaints in and around Warroad regarding juveniles on OHMs and ATVs. Parents, please read the regulations so that you are aware of what your children can or cannot do on these vehicles, if you have questions feel free to call. Enforcement action taken: fail to display ATV registration, operate ATV without safety certificate, operate unregistered OHM, allow illegal operation of an OHM by a juvenile, illegal operation of an OHM on public road right of way and fail to stop at controlled intersection on an ATV.

CO Hannah Mishler (Warroad) assisted with a 4th Grade field trip to Norris Camp and helped teach the students about safety in the woods. Training was attended at Camp Ripley and time was spent checking anglers and boaters on Upper Red Lake. Assistance was also given to a motorist who was hauling another truck on a trailer, when the ruck fell off on the highway. The operator was thankful for the help even after he was issued a citation for driving after suspension. Other violations encountered in the week included: possession of walleye over limit, illegal length walleye, riding on gunwale of watercraft, no angling license in possession,  transport loaded firearm, no helmet on child under 18 on ATV, operate ATV without safety training, and no throwable PFD.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports a busy week around Lake of the Woods. Boating Safety and Angling Enforcement were worked as well as ATV activity. CO Prachar arrested an individual for operating an ATV under the influence of alcohol. Enforcement action was taken on multiple Personal Floatation Device violations including insufficient number of lifejackets on boats and children under 10 without lifejackets on. Before venturing out on the water be sure to double check that you have all of your safety equipment in the boat. It does no good on shore.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working angling, boating, AIS and ATV/OHV activity throughout the week. A TIP call regarding over limit of walleye on Upper Red Lake was received and the subsequent investigation by officers resulted with enforcement action taken for the over limit violation. Time was spent at Camp Ripley for division firearms training, investigating nuisance bear and wolf depredation complaints and issuing car killed deer possession permits. Enforcement action for the week included angling license violations, operating watercraft after sunset without navigation lighting, no throwable life-saving device, registration violations and failure to remove drain plugs while transporting watercraft.  

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck) worked with CO Mishler a couple days on Upper Red Lake this week. The bite has picked up and not many people struggled to get their limit of walleye. The hot bite tempted several people to take more than their daily limit. The officers received a TIP call of a group of anglers possibly taking an over limit of walleyes. The officers were able to locate the group of anglers and ended up seizing 28 walleyes for over limit violations. The officers ended up with 6 other over limit cases throughout the week and assisted local COs with several other over limit cases coming off of Upper Red. In total 67 illegal walleyes were seized. Enforcement actions for the week included: the over limit cases, several other fishing violations, and ATV violations. A special thanks to the TIP caller, without your assistance who knows how many illegal walleyes the group would have taken home. Anyone who thinks they may have information on illegal fish or game activity is encouraged to call the Turn in Poachers hotline at: 800-652-9093.

Baudette #2 -vacant.

Blackduck #2 - vacant.

Karlstad - vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 - vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area


CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on illegal hunting related cases. Time was also spent working AIS enforcement. Anglers and watercraft operators were also checked. Various boating and fishing violations were encountered.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked angling, boating, ATVs and fire. He completed mandatory online training and had multiple animal calls. He also participated in a radio talk show, firearms safety class and Law Enforcement Memorial event. Fire detection flights located a state land trespass that included a wetland violation and an unlawful bridge.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) helped out with a qualification shoots at Camp Ripley. He also assisted the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office with putting on two ATV safety classes. CO Gray also checked some walleye and bass fishermen.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes and checked boaters at accesses for AIS compliance. CO Vollbrecht attended annual firearm’s qualification and training in DWI detection techniques at Camp Ripley. Officer assisted with training at the academy during scenario day. A detail was worked with CO McGowan on Upper Red Lake where several people were cited for taking over limits of walleye.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked anglers and boat and water safety during the week. Time was spent checking AIS compliance in and around Itasca State Park.  ATV activity was monitored and two nuisance beaver permits were issued. The officer also investigated a fire a spent a day training at Camp Ripley.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports responding in the middle of the night to a rural New York Mills address at the request of an Otter Tail Co. deputy. A resident had shot a bear in their yard that was in a large dumpster and acting aggressively. The resident was aware of the two bear attacks in recent weeks and was afraid of what the bear might do. His quick reporting of the shooting though allowed for the bear to be salvaged. CO Vinton also attended division training and received a call of a possible violation of altering a lakeshore. 

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted with academy and in-service training and followed up on ongoing cases.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports that fishing improved with the warmer weather. Many fishermen were out over the weekend. Time was also spent following up on waters, aquatic plant removal complaints. A calf depredation complaint was investigated and a report of a party with a bobcat was investigated.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling and boating activity on area lakes. Anglers and boaters are reminded to take some time to go through their watercraft and make sure they have all required safety equipment on board while on the water. CO Warren closed out cases involving Items left on public access, false application for license and stocking fish without permit.  Areas were patrolled for ATV and off road vehicle activity. AIS inspections were performed and time was spent speaking with area AIS inspectors. Complaints of nuisance bears continue to be received as well as a complaint of a possible cougar in the area. s Time was spent at Camp Ripley for training and firearm qualifications.  \CO Warren also assisted county deputies with an ATV accident.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling activity, boat and water safety, ATV activity, and commercial trapping activity in the Moorhead station. Calls from the public included questions about turkey licenses, ATV questions, goose depredation permits, and baby coyotes. The officer assisted the Red River Riders with an ATV safety class in Moorhead and addressed the media regarding the importance of youth taking and ATV safety course and wearing their helmet. The officer investigated complaints of trespassing; a deer caught in a snare, a deer head in a dumpster, beaver complaints, and nuisance bear complaints. Callers reporting bear complaints were advised to remove garbage and bird food from their homes. The officer also worked a prescribed burn that lost containment and burned into Buffalo River State Park.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area


CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) worked with District 1 Conservation Officers during the past week. Richards fielded questions on various topics and continues to work on complaints of over limit fish in his station. Turkey hunting questions continue to be common.  Additional reports of people leaving dead rough fish in ditches and near public accesses continue to be a problem. Dead snapping turtles are being observed along the sides of roads. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) attended annual training at Camp Ripley and focused attention on fishing, boating and aquatic vegetation throughout the week. Another ATV class is scheduled and this officer worked with local schools getting youth registered.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement efforts checking fishermen, boaters AIS enforcement and complaints of fishermen keeping bass early. Additional complaints were handled regarding people shooting geese, ATV issues and beaver depredation complaints.   In-service training was attended at Camp Ripley, a beaver depredation permit was issued and a complaint of fishermen keeping bass early was investigated. An interview with a high school student was completed for a student who wants to be a Conservation Officer someday.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, boaters, ATVs and OHMs. A complaint of a captive bobcat was investigated with CO Forsberg. The owner is providing proper paper work to the COs. A common issue that Osborne is seeing is the lack of life jackets in watercraft. This still surprises Osborne as life jackets have been mandatory for many years.   A talk to a 5th grade campout was given along the banks of the Chippewa River south of Evansville.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent most of the week investigating separate cases of farmers killing geese on agricultural fields. Both instances were witnessed by concerned citizens who called the TIP line about what they observed. After considerable time investigating both and conducting several interviews, suspects from each case admitted to the violations. They both expressed frustration about the damage families of geese cause to planted fields, but were informed of the appropriate way to handle the problem. Anglers were out in force as well with great temps throughout the week.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on AIS enforcement, boating activity and fishermen. Officer Baumbarger was assisted with information on a possible over limit complaint involving both Stevens and Pope County areas. Annual firearms re-certification training was attended at Camp Ripley. Officers remind citizens to leave ducklings alone while they are young. Law research questions were handled as well as calls from the public regarding boating safety certificates, fishing license questions, goose depredation permits and small animal rescue requests.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, boaters, and monitoring AIS compliance. Baumbarger attended training at Camp Ripley and spoke at a kid’s safety day event in Starbuck. Additional time was spent investigating overlimit complaints, and complaints of carp being dumped in road ditches. 

Wheaton - vacant.

District 4 - Walker area


CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked anglers and off road vehicles. Assistance was given to the Wildlife Division, a training session was attended, and instruction was given to a Firearms Safety class.

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) spent time providing firearms training for field officers.  Two “Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs” fishing programs were also attended assisting 4th grade classes with their fishing day. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Walker) continued working on fishing, boating safety and invasive species violations. During a fishing check, CO Sullivan contacted two anglers who stated they did not have any fish in possession. CO Sullivan observed a stringer in the water connected to the watercraft and confronted the anglers once CO Sullivan observed the stringer move and small ripples on the surface. The subject was found to be in possession of a largemouth bass out of season and was angling with two lines. Enforcement action was taken on the angling violations. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers, boaters, and AIS. Training was attended at Camp Ripley. Time was also spent preparing a deer baiting case for trial and testifying in court; the defendants were found guilty. Other calls included a fire, injured eagle, and a car killed bear. Enforcement action was taken for slot limit walleye, not enough life jackets on a watercraft, unregistered boat, marijuana possession, and AIS violations.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling, ATV, and boating activity. Angling success remained moderate. High winds on the weekend limited angling activity. CO Broughten responded to several wildfires and worked TIP calls. Training at Camp Ripley was attended. Enforcement action included: no angling license in possession, no burning permit, operate OHM within road right of way, no OHM registration, operate ATV on roadway, no ATV safety, and allow illegal ATV operation of an ATV by a juvenile.

CO Colleen Adam (NW Region OHV Recreation Officer) worked checking shore anglers as well as patrolling area forest roads and trails. Interviews were completed and reports processed related to investigations. Nuisance bear and road kill bear issues were addressed.

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen and ATVs. Officer Hunter attended training at Camp Ripley. CO Hunter responded to a grass fire that was getting out of control, received a nuisance bear report and took a call of a baby deer located with no mother around.  Reminder: please do not pick up baby animals in the wild.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) attended training at Camp Ripley. Much of the officer’s time was spent on Vermilion checking anglers. The bite was good early, but with the hot weather and calm conditions it slowed slightly as the week progressed. The warm weekend resulted in a large number of people taking advantage of the good conditions. Reminder to everyone be safe out on the water, wear your life jackets, and don’t boat while intoxicated.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling, boating, invasive species, and ATV activity and attended training at Camp Ripley. The officer gave a talk to 90, 5th graders from a Hibbing Elementary School, about the duties of a Conservation Officer. A boater operating without navigation lights over an hour after sunset and having no life jackets on board, nearly hit a pontoon operating in front of him. The officer stopped the boater and took enforcement action to the cheers of the pontoon occupants who came by to exchange words of unhappiness to the boater. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, angling without a license in possession and numerous boating and ATV violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) is investigating the report of a person who dumped the contents of their waste tank from their RV into the ditch off of a county road. Reports for ATV activity were prepared for court. Equipment maintenance was worked on.

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports lots of people out fishing on Rainy Lake and Lake Kabetogama however the fish were are not cooperating. Youth ATV Safety Classes rounded out the week with approximately thirty kids receiving there certificates. Youth under the age of 18 are reminded that they are required to wear an approved helmet.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports an increase in angling activities resulting in a number of angling violations being dealt  with. Beaver complaints and related permits were issued. A  BWCA patrol was conducted. A firearms safety range day was attended with the law presentation given. Commercial baiting trapping and trespass questions were answered.

CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked anglers this past week. Fishing was slow but several limits were seen. CO Velsvaag also followed up several ongoing cases.

Cook - vacant.

International Falls #2  - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area


CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports he assisted the St. Louis County Rescue and the U.S. Forest Service after strong winds and warm temperatures put homes and cabins in danger near the Foss Lake Fire north west of Burntside Lake. Although evacuations were not ordered, residents were put on alert in case weather and fire conditions changed. Violations included: failure to display valid watercraft registration, operating a watercraft without navigational lights, and angling with no license in possession.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked fishing activity and attended training at Ripley.  Stage worked in the area of the fire in Ely in case assistance might be needed. There is so much dry and dead standing balsam in the area that any fire could turn into the next big one.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) talk to a group of youngsters about ATV laws and safety for the classroom portion of the ATV training certification. He also did remote patrols by ATV and patrolled lakes by boat.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) assisted volunteer instructors and members of the Cook County Sherriff’s Office teach ATV safety class in Grand Marais. Officer Manning checked anglers and ATVers, helped with annual firearms qualification for the division, helped teach at the CO Academy and took reports of a mangy wolf in Hovland and bears on the prowl.   

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked anglers and boaters in and out of the BWCA. The BWCA was busy while other lakes had lesser participation. Enforcement action included unregistered watercraft, insufficient PFDs, and no license in possession. Firearms qualification was attended at Camp Ripley. Security was worked for the Foss Lake fire.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity. Time was spent at the Silver Bay ATV Safety class. CO Schottenbauer also spent time working on station equipment.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, ATV riders and AIS. The Officer patrolled a few days in the BWCAW where the compliance with registered canoes was very low. Wildlife calls were returned and handled. Wahlstrom assisted in teaching an ATV class in Silver Bay. Enforcement action was taken for angling and watercraft violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked boating and invasive species enforcement efforts on Lake Superior during the week. Fishing success was slow but the weather was perfect. Boaters are reminded to make sure their watercraft is prepared with all required safety equipment before headed out on the lake. Enforcement action was taken for no valid watercraft registration displayed, no license in possession, and insufficient number of PFDs.


District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers and boaters, patrolled for illegal ATV activity, handled nuisance animal complaints, and attended training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action taken for overlimits of walleyes, operating ATV’s on public roadways, transporting aquatic vegetation, and failure to remove watercraft plugs.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked ATV, sport fishing, boating, AIS, and with firearms qualifications and training at Camp Ripley. He patrolled state park areas, state forests, and public water accesses. Violations included no license in possession, transporting aquatic macrophytes,  unregistered ATV, unregistered watercraft, fail to transfer ownership, and ATV on the roadway.  He also answered wildlife calls. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity, investigated a possible arson fire and worked AIS. CO Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also attended the officer down 5K in Aitkin where they assisted in a K9 demo. Enforcement action was taken for operate OHV on roadway and license issues.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked an active week of fishing opener with enforcement action taken for bass out of season, walleyes overlimit, not having an angling license and enough lifesaving devices on a watercraft.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, watercraft, ATV’s, state parks and campgrounds.  He also completed division training during the week.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) reports working angling, boating, and AIS activities throughout the surrounding areas. Many anglers and boaters were checked enjoying the nice weather. Most anglers were seen having success targeting both walleye and crappie over the weekend. CO Van Asch also spent time handling several nuisance animal complaints.
Enforcement action was taken for failure to remove boat plug, fail to display valid boat registration, insufficient number of PFDs, no angling license in possession, and illegal length walleye.

District 8 - Duluth area


CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked area lakes and rivers for angling activity and aquatic invasive species was worked at landings. Schmidt attended annual in-service training and a district meeting.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) participated in annual training at Camp Ripley. Many hours were spent working area lakes for fishing, boating and AIS enforcement. Several complaints were investigated involving illegal fishing. Several violations for not having navigation lights were encountered. Life jacket compliance over the first week of fishing has been the best CO Duncan has seen during his career. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked anglers, boaters, turkey hunters and worked OHV, AIS and fire enforcement during the week. Anglers fared much better than on opener with good catches seen and reported. Several calls and complaints were received which included nuisance animals, boating and OHV operation, public water access and wetland concerns, Tribal netting and illegal burning. CO Humphrey attended an area district meeting and completed squad maintenance. Angling, boating, burning, recreational vehicle and AIS violations were encountered.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a district meeting and checked several anglers in the area. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, angle without license in possession and using game fish as bait. Extra patrols for ATVs in the area resulted in enforcement action being taken for no safety certificate, operating without valid registration, moving, and equipment violations. Extra patrols were also conducted in area state parks where contacts were made for being in the park after hours and permit violations. One stop of a vehicle resulted in the driver being cited for DAR and the passenger going to jail on a warrant

Lake Superior Marine Unit


CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked area lakes around Duluth for AIS and fishing enforcement, the warming weather had many out and about enjoying the water. Fishing has been decent with nice bags of crappies and walleyes seen. Shore anglers along the North shore are still fishing kamloops in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. Water temps on the Minnesota side of Lake Superior are slowly warming and a decent salmon bite is expected. Enforcement actions taken for fishing and boating violations.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters for AIS compliance. ATV problem areas were checked, and a district meeting was attended. Warmer weather has anglers out enjoying an improving bite.  Enforcement action taken for AIS violations.

Lake Superior Unit - vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) spent time teaching at the conservation officer cadet academy throughout the week. CO McGowan also patrolled Upper Red Lake for fishing activity. Numerous anglers were cited for over limit of walleyes. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing enforcement. Numerous anglers were checked and most had required safety equipment. Enforcement action was taken on watercrafts entering public water accesses with zebra mussels attached to their watercraft resulting in a $250 fine. One boater informed the watercraft inspector that he didn’t have time to clean all of the zebra mussels off and had lived on Gull Lake for 40 years and was grandfathered in.  Even with a watercraft decontamination station was up and running a few miles up the road, the boater backed in to the lake going against the inspector’s direction.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking fishing activity, patrolling the Cuyuna Country State Recreational Area, working an ongoing case from last deer season, investigating complaints of suspicious fishing activity, shoreline work, illegal dumping, and responding to miscellaneous wildlife issues. Charges were filed against an individual for dumping a large amount of garbage in the CCSRA, the violator will have to appear in court and pay a strong fine and clean-up costs. Other enforcement action was taken for shooting protected songbirds, ironically at the exact same residence where 22 years ago a man was arrested for shooting an osprey, and a sunfish over limit case was made on an individual with a long history of game and fish violations including past over limit convictions. The majority of the sunfish seized in the case were quality to trophy size, resulting in a much high restitution costs to the violator, who stated at one point in the contact that he went to school to be a game warden.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) attended training and assisted Aitkin Fisheries staff with Rippleside 4th grade fishing education day. Complaints of fish over limits, dogs chasing deer and ATV noise were handled. AIS, angling and boating activity was worked.

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement this past week.  The bite is slow; the most cooperative fish have been the pan fish. Violations he found were no license, not enough life jackets and fishing in a closed area. He worked on complaints of shoreline violations. He worked with neighboring CO Tim Collette on AIS violations. Some of the violations observed were plugs in the boat while transporting them on the road and transporting zebra mussels. Complaints of ATV’s on closed trails in the Pillsbury Forest were investigated and found.

Cuyuna SRA - vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area


CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working the laser shot at the Aitkin Community Event.   Area Lakes were checked for fishing and boating activity. Assistance was given to the local sheriff’s office in regards to an unmarked rock pile and also a log that was a navigational hazard. An investigation into a wolf depredation complaint was completed and the Officer attended annual Spring training at Camp Ripley. Several nuisance beaver permits were issued during the week and ATV activity was monitored throughout the Malmo Station. The Officer also gave a boat and water safety presentation at the annual Rippleside Elementary School fishing day. Two different calls of parties burning illegal materials were investigated and many outdoor law related questions were fielded during the week and weekend. A TIP complaint on a possible wetland violation was investigated and a litter complaint at a public access was looked into.  

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) received a call of construction debris in a local river. She also received a report of a flowage from lake being plugged. Both issues are being investigated. Boaters and angers were checked throughout the week. She received reports of nuisance bear, porcupine and beaver. Several grass fires occurred throughout the week and weekend.  Responsible parties in these fires will face fines and suppression costs. 

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent time at Camp Ripley completing annual firearms qualification and instructing for the current Conservation Officer Academy. Warm weather caused lake temperatures to increase and anglers checked throughout the Hinckley area had pretty good luck catching pan fish and walleye. Several nuisance bear calls were taken that involved black bear getting into bird feeders and garbage cans. A complaint of wolves killing cattle was investigated and evidence was found indicating that a month old calf had likely been attacked and killed by wolves.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week checking anglers and boaters in the Pine City area. He assisted the Pine County Sheriff's Department with the Pokegama Lake Association Freshwater Fair speaking to area 5th graders about Watercraft Safety. He also spent a day talking to members of the public who attended the Pine County Sheriff's Department Safety Day at the Pine County Courthouse. Area anglers are having luck catching panfish and a few walleyes around the Pine City area. Fire danger has increased lately with the lack of precipitation. Numerous fires were reported and enforcement action was taken for failing to control permit fires. 

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled Mille Lacs Lake and area lakes. Walleye and small mouth bass bite remains strong on Mille Lacs. Panfish bite has been slower but warmer temperatures should help. Assistance was given to the local sheriff’s department on an ATV accident. The individual involved in the accident decided to climb an embankment causing the ATV to roll back onto him. The individual was treated for possible back and neck injuries. Time was also spent investigating a fire in the East Bethel area and training was attended at Camp Ripley.

District 11 - St. Cloud area


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and bow fishing activity. A suspected drunk driver was turned over to local authorities. The officer also worked on vehicle maintenance.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers. CO Mies checked turkey hunters along with attending training at Camp Ripley.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked boaters, anglers, ATVs and turkey hunters.  Time was spent assisting with the CO academy. Warm weekend weather had many out enjoying the lakes. Thesing spoke at a high school class and a second grade class about the job of a Conservation Officer. Enforcement action for the week included bass out of season, expired ATV registration, no PFD and other boating violations.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) had two ATV Trail Ambassadors encounter a wildfire while patrolling the Pine Center Trail. The fire was burning on county forest land and threatened to get into a pine plantation. Their quick actions to contact DNR Forestry and some fire suppression on their own prevented the situation from becoming a much bigger, serious fire. CO Kuske responded to TIP calls of bass out of season, a wetland violation, injured animals and a garbage burning complaint. The weekend brought high recreational activity, the lakes were very busy with boating and fishermen, area public highways had a large amount of illegal ATV traffic.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) assisted with academy training and attended annual certification training at Camp Ripley. CO Kuske assisted road authorities with special beaver permits and other wildlife permits. A garbage burning complaint was investigated where the homeowner had burned a large pile of press board cabinets, carpet, mattresses, wiring, insulation, household garbage, furniture, and ceiling tiles. Enforcement action was taken. A local game farmer had five elk escape with four rounded back up into the fence. One cow elk is still on the loose south of Randall. If seen please contact CO Joyce Kuske.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week assisting with in-service and academy training at Camp Ripley. A nuisance beaver complaint was fielded and preparations for an upcoming firearms safety class were completed. A ride along was also provided to an area high school student.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) participated in training at Camp Ripley. More nuisance beaver permits were issued. Anglers had some success catching crappies. An injured eagle complaint was handled. Turned out to be a juvenile eagle fallen from the nest, not yet able to fly. Parents are taking care of it.

District 12 - Princeton area


CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked fishing, boating and turkey hunting activity. Several TIP calls were investigated. Boaters are reminded to ensure they have enough lifejackets for the occupants on their watercraft prior to launching. Enforcement action was taken on fishing and boating violations.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers, turkey hunters, and boaters. Several nuisance animal calls were received. Complaints received included a PWC violation and a trapping issue.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and boaters on area lakes. He took enforcement on a number of violations. He followed up on a criminal damage to property and operating motor vehicles in a closed area charges are pending for numerous violators. He also took enforcement action for possession of drug paraphernalia and small amount of marijuana in a motor vehicle.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked anglers and boating activity on area lakes. In-service training was attended at Camp Ripley. Time was also spent working on a waters complaint.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers/boaters, instructed a “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” shooting class, and took complaints of the public keeping baby wild animals. Officer Londgren also attended annual training at Camp Ripley and spoke at Isanti Conservation Day for area 6th grade students.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week. Fishing success improved with the warmer weather. Turkey hunters were finding it tougher going with less active birds. Time was also spent at Camp Ripley instructing firearms qualifications. Enforcement action was taken on no license in possession and various life preserver violations.
Princeton - vacant.

District 13 - West Metro area


CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and following up with complaints. CO Grewe attended training at Camp Ripley and served a restoration order. Violations included a sunfish overlimit and taking bass out of season.

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent the week following up on zebra mussel violations on Lake Minnetonka. A TIP call was investigated regarding over limit on a local Carver County lake. CO Weyandt spent a day at Camp Ripley for spring qualifications on her firearms. Anglers and boaters were checked by CO Weyandt and CO Leuthardt on Prior Lake.

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) saw an increase in boaters and anglers throughout Scott County; likely due to the beautiful weather over the weekend. Leuthardt worked with a neighboring CO and Scott County deputies during the week and weekend patrolling area lakes and the Minnesota River. Many anglers were having success catching pan fish but the walleye bite was slow. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, no boat registration, no legal life saving device aboard a watercraft and various other violations.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked fishing and boating activities in the west metro area lakes. He continued to follow up on AIS violations in Hennepin County and took care of equipment maintenance. Questions on fishing and state park regulations were answered to the Asian community.

Bloomington - vacant.

Ft. Snelling - vacant.

Osseo - vacant

Waconia - vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area


CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer also patrolled the St. Croix River for angling and boating activity. Several violations were found on the St Croix River and enforcement action was taken.

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) attended a day of annual training at Camp Ripley. She worked an AIS check station with neighboring officers, handled TIP calls and worked boating and fishing enforcement on area lakes. CO Kruse continued working on aquatic vegetation cases, handled injured and nuisance animal calls and worked on a litter complaint.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent time checking anglers, boaters and doing AIS enforcement. He also attended firearms training at Camp Ripley, issued a nuisance beaver permit and handled numerous TIP calls. Violations for the week included failure to remove drain plug and registration issues. 

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked anglers around the metro area lakes and rivers and participated in an AIS work detail in Saint Paul Park. He responded to a fishing TIP complaint and handled injured animal calls. CO Pril also worked at “Take Aim at Summer” event at the DNR regional headquarters in St. Paul where he showed kids how to handle and shoot laser shot firearms properly and safely.

Maplewood - vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area


CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) spent time checking anglers, and turkey hunters. Catfish activity is picking back up with several limits observed over the weekend. Enforcement action included angling without a fishing license. CO also spent time at Camp Ripley completing division training, and assisting with the Morgan firearms safety training field day.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring aquatic invasives compliance. Lake Sarah is giving up large numbers of small walleyes to anglers from across the region. A 92 boat tournament on Lake Shetek reported about half a walleye per boat average. Enforcement action was taken for transport live fish; fail to drain fish containers, and license violations.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored AIS, boating, fishing, and off-highway vehicle activity during the week. The officer talked about ATV and boating safety on the Minn-Dak Outdoor’s radio show on KDIO Radio in Ortonville. ATV riders are reminded that: Anyone born after July 1, 1987, who is 12 or older, must have a valid ATV Safety Certificate to operate on public lands, trails, frozen waters, and when a road right-of-way. Angling, ATV, and boating violations were encountered during the week.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports fishing activity picked up with nice weather. Anglers are finding good luck catching crappie, walleye, white bass, northern, and drum on LqP. CO Picht assisted with the local “Take a Kid fishing” tournament where over 30 fish were caught and all kids received a fishing pole and tackle.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time working anglers and following up on wildlife complaints. Enforcement action was taken with anglers for illegal length walleyes, license issues, and improper navigational lights. Officer also completed training at Camp Ripley. 
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH Radio. The officer is assisting the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office with a grass fire investigation. The fire occurred near Dudley slough near Marshall. Fishing on area lakes has been good.

Benson - vacant.

Worthington - vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area


CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) checked anglers and boaters. He educated lake users about AIS laws. Time was also spent on TIP calls related to keeping bass during the closed season.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time checking boaters and anglers on area lakes. Action was taken on boat safety equipment and no angling license violations. Vernier also completed division training at Camp Ripley.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) worked with the Wright County Soil and Water Conservation District on a possible wetland violation and stopped the tiling of a wetland. Time was also spent working night anglers that were having a little success with the nice weather. While Klehr was working with a neighboring CO they took a driving complain that just passed them and once the vehicle was stopped it turned out to be a DUI arrest. Klehr also assisted Meeker County in an effort to find a missing child; the child was found unharmed.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked anglers and boaters during the week. Kids were rewarded with ice cream for wearing lifejackets while in the boats. She took a call of an OHV/ATV mud group ride along the Minnesota River near Franklin. The caller was concerned with damage to WMAs and township roads along the river. 

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) checked anglers with a little more success. Anglers were catching some nice eating size walleye and panfish in the area. Oberg also worked on a TIP case where some coots were shot out of season. Oberg also instructed officers at Camp Ripley for firearms qualifications.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) attended training at Camp Ripley. He worked fishing, boating, invasive species, and ATV enforcement. He observed good fishing success for multiple species.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) continued to patrol angling activity and found great compliance amongst boaters related to AIS laws. Enforcement activity for the week involved numerous license issues. Miller fielded questions related to the ongoing turkey season and hunters are continuing to have success despite the late season. Miller also fielded complaints regarding pheasants being taken out of season and ongoing litter issues at public access points. 
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) reports that he has been working angling, invasive species, and boat and water enforcement. The walleye, crappie, white bass bite has been good in the area.  Complaints of bass out of season and extra lines resulted in enforcement action. Gruhlke also investigated a complaint of dumping bow shot fish on private property.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) responded and investigated TIP calls regarding over-limit violations. Boating and AIS inspections and education were performed. The majority of questions fielded were regarding minnow buckets and how to dispose of minnows when there is no garbage or assigned area to dispose of them at. Contact information was relayed to the appropriate division and recommendations were given. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

District 17 - Mankato area


CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, turkey hunting, and ATV activity. Time was spent monitoring public access sites for boating and AIS violations.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week patrolling for fishermen, boaters, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent monitoring AIS compliance and responding to burning complaints. Officer Ihnen also represented the division’s pistol team by competing in two pistol matches.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) focused enforcement efforts on checking anglers, boaters, turkey hunters, and ATV operators during the week. Many anglers are having success catching walleyes and panfish. Multiple angling violations were encountered during the week.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked angling, ATV, and AIS enforcement.

District 18 - Rochester area


CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking state forest areas for illegal ATV use. Time was also spent checking anglers on area streams. Compliance was good. Success was fair. A few turkey hunters are back out. Hunters reporting birds are still gobbling but not responding very well to calling. CO Boyum attended firearms training as well.

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week enforcing AIS laws, checking ATV activity at complaint areas, training at Camp Ripley and checking angling activity. Fishing success on the river has picked up a little.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) assisted teaching at the academy at Ripley during the week and had training. Heyn also worked anglers and ATVs. Turkey hunters were out as well, but things were quieter with the heat. 

CO Phil George (Rochester) checked ATV operators, anglers, and watercraft operators.  He took complaints of a manure spill, obstruction in a trout stream, and off-road vehicles operating in a river bottom. He issued a nuisance beaver permit and located an injured deer. Enforcement action was taken for water related issues.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working another busy week on the big river, as well as attending in-service firearms training and handling numerous calls and complaints. Fishing has been good on both the river as well as area lakes and limits and over limits were found. Other enforcement action included license, registration, and safety equipment violations. 

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) spent the majority of the week patrolling for sport fishing and boat/water safety enforcement. Additional efforts were put towards invasive species enforcement and miscellaneous wildlife complaints. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, no life jackets onboard a watercraft, and taking an overlimit of crappies. A special beaver permit was also issued.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports many people out fishing while turkey hunters are harder to find. He did talk to turkey hunters having success with the new late season second chance option. Hemker received several wildlife calls including calls on a roaming bear and a found fawn that was reported to have two heads.

Zumbrota - vacant.

Training Section


Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) flew statewide wetland inventory flights and conducted several enforcement photo flights of suspected violations.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) finished up the nesting waterfowl survey. Geving also conducted several officer request station flights, wetland violation photos, and training flights. 

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports some rotary training followed by some telemetry flights and Leech Lake survey flights. Jensen also flew a WCA photo flight and a requested ATV damage flight in east central Minnesota. Along the route of this flight, two other potential Waters violations were spotted and documented for follow up. In service training was also attended at Camp Ripley.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed the NW Sandhill Crane survey, and continued with helicopter training for two pilots. He also worked on helicopter maintenance and administrative tasks.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew multiple Leech Lake surveys and Forest Assessment Wetland photos.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on WCA and PW cases. Several site visits were conducted.  Fishing and boating activity was checked. AIS law compliance was worked at area access points. An injured eagle call was handled. Time was spent teaching Use Of Force at the academy.

WREO Mike Scott (NE) attended training at Camp Ripley. WREO Scott also conducted watercraft inspector training at the Boulder Lake ELC. WREO Scott also worked AIS/Fishing details on Leech and Lake Winnie.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on wetland cases and site visits throughout the week. WREO Haberman also conducted AIS enforcement around the Brainerd area. WREO Haberman also assisted the aviation unit with projects and handled miscellaneous wildlife calls.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week conducting follow-up on wetland cases and serving restoration orders. A commercial minnow investigation was also completed yielding violations for failing to tend minnow traps, insufficient identification on minnow traps, and no minnow dealer AIS training. Citations were also issued for no boat registration and take bass in closed season.

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) attended firearms training at Camp Ripley. Officer Hanson also taught an AIS class for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department in Alexandria. Officer Hanson worked on PW and WCA cases and checked boats and trailers for AIS violations.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) instructed alcohol enforcement at the academy.  Multiple site inspections were conducted for WCA or Public Waters violations.  A check station for AIS compliance was also conducted.  Many fish were checked in boats as well.

Enforcement Education


Please check the DNR WEB SITE at www.mndnr.gov for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Education Courses and instructor training sessions
If you missed a fall class and are over 18, check on-line for the Online course information, also located at www.mndnr.gov.

Please check the DNR WEB SITE www.mndnr.gov  for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Youth and Adult Snowmobile Safety Courses and instructor training sessions.

Please direct questions to 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR

Reminder---anyone born after December 31st, 1979 cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate.  In addition many states have even more stringent mandatory Hunter Education requirements.  Check before you go!!! 

Reminder---Any resident born after December 31st, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota, must possess a snowmobile certificate.  Two options are available to complete certification. Ages 11 and older can take the online course and hands-on day or attend the traditional youth course.  Those 16 or older can take the online course.

Reminder---Anyone born after July 1st, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota, must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training online course.  Persons under age 16 must complete the ATV online Course and riding component before riding on public lands. Please direct questions to 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.


If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador, contact your local Conservation Officer or Regional Safety Training officer.  Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR Website.

See Also:


NE RTO Shelly Patten worked at Camp Ripley for CO qualifications and annual training.  Patten completed background checks on new instructors. Patten taught an ATV safety youth class and ATV instructor training in Silver Bay. Fourteen students were certified and 10 new instructors were certified. Thanks for the extra help from CO’s Schottenbauer and Wahlstrom. Patten also handled a few nuisance animal calls while local officers were at Ripley training. One involved a bear and a bee farm and another involved a beaver dam on state land affecting private property.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports assisting with Officer Use of Force Training at Camp Ripley and working on plans for upcoming Use of Force Training. Planning was also done for upcoming volunteer instructor appreciation banquets. ATV instructor recertification training was done with an area instructor and instructor background checks completed.
Thursday RTO Rezac facilitated a volunteer instructor forum in North Branch.  Saturday RTO Rezac helped facilitate a women’s/youth Hunter Education/Firearms Safety Field Day at Carlos Avery.

SW Metro Kevin Neitzke assisted with conservation officer firearms qualifications at Camp Ripley. He worked on instructor training materials. RTO Neitzke worked on instructor backgrounds checks. He also returned emails and phone calls regarding instructor training class registrations and safety program questions.

Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent three days at Camp Ripley assisting with spring qualification shoots. HEFAS instructor training was conducted at Morristown. Time was also spent on instructor backgrounds.

NW RTO Jeff Halverson assisted the Staples PD and Fire Dept. with taking all Staples Motley 4th Graders to “Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs”. Halverson gave a safety /law talk and helped with the fishing. Most of the kids caught fish on a great day on Lake Shamineau.  Many bear complaints coming in with bear taking down bird feeders, tipping over trash cans and dumpsters. This spring many bears are visiting residence and don’t seem to be afraid of humans. Halverson assisted with annual training at Camp Ripley. Halverson gave law talk and assisted with driving course at the Staples ATV Class.

Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence assisted with spring in-service conservation officer training at Camp Ripley. The in-service training involved use of taser training and firearms qualifications. RTO Lawrence assisted with a women’s only firearms safety field day at the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area headquarters. RTO Lawrence responded to questions on ATV operation on roads and registration of off-road vehicles.  RTO Lawrence participated with a nationwide conference call on snowmobile safety with several northern states and Canada. 

RTO                                                               PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
NE RTO Shelly Patten                                   218-553-1678       
West Central RTO Frank Rezac                     320-552-3948   frank.rezac@state.mn.us
Southern RTO Dan McBroom                        507-251-0041    daniel.mcbroom@state.mn.us
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke                               651-463-3168    kevin.neitzke@state.mn.us
Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence     763-267-8534    bruce.lawrence@state.mn.us

Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant

Education Specialist:  Vacant

Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant




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