Conservation Officer Report
Weekly Conservation Officer Report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Enforcement
15011 Highway 115 (Camp Ripley)
Little Falls, MN 56345-4173
LTC Greg Salo, Assistant Director, 651-259-5045
Report Fish & Game Violations
Call T.I.P. at 1-800-652-9093 or Cell #TIP
Minnesota CONSERVATION OFFICER REPORT
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) presented at the Roseau School Careers Day. Duck hunters were checked on Thief Lake, Roseau River WMA, and other small bodies of water. Upland game hunters were checked in the Skime area in Beltrami Island State Forest and Red Lake WMA. Duck hunting continues to be good, and the first large flocks of bluebills are being reported. Enforcement contacts for the week included two parties of hunters being cited for failing to make any effort to retrieve migratory game birds. CO Huener also testified in an arson case.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked angling, ATV, and hunting enforcement. Both angling and grouse hunting continues to improve throughout the area. It is unlawful for any ATV operator or passenger under the age of 18 to operate or ride without wearing an approved helmet. This applies to both Class 1 and Class 2 ATVs, even while hunting. Enforcement action was taken for possess over-limit of walleye and possess fish unlawfully taken in Canada.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) investigated a litter complaint where a deer carcass and other garbage was dumped on private land. A ride-along was hosted, numerous car struck deer permits were issued, and a WMA violation was investigated where shooting lanes and food plots were established. Enforcement action for the week included unplugged shotguns, transport loaded firearm in motor vehicle, no PFD’s in duck boat, no federal waterfowl stamp, take non-game migratory birds, open alcohol container in motor vehicle, and ATV registration violations.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking duck hunters, grouse hunters, and anglers on special regulation lakes. Grouse hunters saw an improvement in success as leaf cover has fallen. Duck hunters reported seeing low numbers of ducks in general with mixed bags to include mallards, teal, ring-necks, pintail and gadwall. Time was spent issuing car killed deer possession permits and looking into trespassing complaints. Enforcement action for the week included hunting license violations and ATV violations.
CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports a busy week checking anglers, small game, archery deer, and bear hunters. Grouse hunters have been reporting mixed success. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession, transport walleye without patch of skin, walleye over-limit, and driving after revocation.
CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) spent the week checking anglers and boaters on the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods. Time was also spent checking small game, archery deer, and late season bear hunters.
Baudette West – vacant.
Warroad South – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
Thief River Falls East – vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time checking waterfowl hunters and archery deer hunters. Time was also spent contacting anglers, small game hunters, and bear hunters. Possession permits for deer were issued and commercial minnow activity was monitored.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked waterfowl and bow hunters. He also took a trespass and litter complaint.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. CO Vollbrecht checked several limits of walleye and observed a good crappie bite on small area lakes. Officer Vollbrecht checked grouse and waterfowl hunters seeing mixed results. The woods were busy over the weekend with people preparing for the upcoming firearms deer season. Time was also spent working a detail on Leech Lake.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) worked big and small game hunting during the week. CO Holt checked recreational vehicle activity in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. Time was also spent following up on complaints involving hunter harassment and trespassing.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended a firearm safety class and spoke to kids about laws and ethics. He also checked small game hunters and followed up on complaints of wolf damage and shining.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) spent time on small game and waterfowl hunting activity. Hunters reported more diving ducks and better visibility in the woods. Archery hunting activity was worked. Pheasant opener was worked with most hunters finding a bird or two. Follow up on open cases continued. A car kill deer permit was issued. Angling and boating activity was worked. AIS compliance was also worked and water fowlers are reminded to clean their watercraft.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring waterfowl hunting, pheasant hunting, deer baiting, and angling in the Pelican Rapids and Moorhead stations. Assistance was given to a neighboring officer with an interview and a search warrant. Calls from the public included requests for wildlife possession permits, nuisance beaver problems, and other miscellaneous wildlife calls. Pheasant hunters were out in full force on opening weekend with most everyone at least seeing a rooster or two, though the officer saw very few birds in hunter’s bags. Pheasant hunting should improve later in the year as there are still a lot of standing crops. Enforcement action was taken for hunting pheasants without a small game license.
Fosston – vacant.
Pelican Rapids – vacant.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) spent the week working primarily waterfowl enforcement and pheasant opener. Multiple hunting complaints were worked as well as assisting in a search warrant in Ottertail County.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent the week working waterfowl complaints. Fall fishermen were having some success throughout the area. CO Plautz turned in a completed background investigation and handled trespass calls. An injured hawk was taken care of as well. CO Plautz also participated in serving a search warrant in Ottertail County.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl, pheasant, and bow hunters. Nuisance beaver complaints were received and looked into with all of them waiting until the beaver trapping season begins. CO Osborne assisted with a search warrant on waterfowl hunting violations.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) focused efforts on responding to calls in both the Alex and Osakis stations. Fishermen and hunters were checked as waterfowl and pheasant seasons are now in full swing. A citizen complaint on a dumped deer carcass resulted in a citation for unregistered deer. CO Lawler observed an angler off a public pier using two poles for walleyes. He had no idea when asked about the number of lines legal to fish with; two was his best guess. A citation was issued.
CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working sport fishing, small game, migratory waterfowl, and deer hunting. Time was also spent working a busy pheasant opener. Pheasants were hard to come by as most of the corn harvest in the area has yet to begin. Waterfowl hunters had much better success as canvasbacks, ring-necks, and a few redheads are showing up in game bags. Violations encountered were transporting a loaded firearm, no state waterfowl stamp, and no HIP certification.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on the opening weekend of pheasant season, waterfowl hunting complaints, and fall angling activity. Pheasant hunters checked reported spotty success with all the corn still out in the fields. A request to speak at the upcoming Morris Snowmobile Safety class was received. Calls were fielded from the public regarding deer hunting, WMA use, registrations on duck boats, and waterfowl hunting questions.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts were focused on checking fishermen, ATV operators, bow hunters, waterfowl hunters, and small game hunters. Pheasant hunters had a tough time finding birds over the opener with 99% of the corn crop still standing around the area. Calls were handled regarding nuisance animals, beaver problems, and an escaped deer from a deer farm.
Osakis – vacant.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) finalized two wetland violation cases. CO Parthun checked waterfowl hunters, archery deer hunters, and worked a special youth hunt in Itasca State Park.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked waterfowl hunters, grouse hunters, and anglers. Walleye fishing has been picking up on area lakes. A hunter safety class was taught in Cass Lake. Deer investigations continue. Enforcement action was taken for timber theft and fishing in a closed area.
CO Chelsey Best (Remer) assisted with a wolf call and a separate wounded bear call, both in the Crosslake station. CO Best also worked several ongoing baiting cases. Enforcement action was taken for numerous ATV violations and hunting deer over bait. CO Best is putting together an ATV/Snowmobile instructor certification course in the coming weeks. If you are interested in becoming an instructor for either of those courses, please call CO Best at 218-553-1638.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling, boating, AIS, hunting, and ATV activity. Anglers reported good success this week. Grouse and duck hunters are still having a hard time finding birds. CO Broughten also investigated fishing and hunting violations.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) attended Old Wadena Conservation Days for Staples 5th graders. CO Halverson is investigating a wanton waste case where a large number of shot/uncleaned waterfowl were dumped in the Lyons State Forest. The waterfowl were contained in bags marked with the names Greg, Jeff and Conrad. Anyone with info should call Turn In Poachers (TIP). Duck, bear, grouse hunters, and fishermen were checked.
Walker – vacant.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports time spent checking grouse hunters, fishermen on the Rainy River, and ATV enthusiasts. A few more grouse are being found in hunter’s bag but nothing to brag about. A few nuisance animal complaints were handled.
CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports successful fishing reports from area waterways continue to be heard. Grouse hunting has seen an uptick in participation with more birds being seen and in the bag. Several questions in regards to the upcoming deer seasons were fielded. CO Slatinski met with the Forestry Division in regards to illegal stands and excessive shooting lanes being maintained. Follow up was done on ongoing cases.
CO Colleen Adam (Ray) reports grouse hunting is improving with diminishing forest canopy. Many deer hunters are out also prepping camps/cabins for the upcoming firearms deer season. ATV registration and juvenile operations were handled over the weekend.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and hunting activities. ATV use and public access sites continue to be monitored and decorative tree sales were checked. Grouse hunting remains poor and few ducks in the area.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports with cooler weather and leaves dropping, the officer observed more grouse this week. The officer worked an illegal firearm transport case. There were a few bear complaints called in and hazing efforts seemed to have worked to solve the problem. An individual was cited for illegally destroying a beaver dam, causing a loud explosion and disturbing the neighbors.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked on-going hunting seasons, anglers, ATV’s, investigated a deer taken out of season, investigated forest product theft complaints, wrapped up a bear taking case, and taught a Firearms Safety Class in Hibbing. More grouse are starting to show up on the ground and in the hunter’s bag, as most trees have defoliated. A trio of duck hunters with numerous violations were aimed in at two trumpeter swans, but the swans didn’t continue on the flight path. Enforcement action was taken on possess toxic shot, unsigned federal duck stamp, discharge firearm within 500’ of occupied dwelling, no PFD’s, no HIP certification, uncased firearm in city limits, and numerous ATV violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) checked a few grouse and duck hunters and one final bear hunter. Most people have been spending time getting their deer stands ready for the upcoming season. Complaints of beaver activity continue to come in. Few trappers have expressed interest in trapping them once the season opens near the end of the month. Several truckloads of litter were dumped off a forest road north of Buhl. Several pieces of mail were found in the pile making finding the people who placed it that much easier.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked grouse hunters and some designated trout lake anglers. The CO saw lots of grouse during the week as the underbrush leaves have dropped. The sunshine also helped out as many birds were out picking grit and catching a few rays. Fall walleye fishing has been excellent also. It is time to start thinking about sighting in deer rifles instead of waiting until the last minute.
CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) participated in an ATV work detail on the North Shore checking grouse hunters, ATV operators, and anglers. The officer also handled nuisance bear calls, took a report of a legally taken moose, and assisted Cook County with a firearms complaint at a cabin.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) coordinated and worked an area saturation of conservation officers focusing on small game and waterfowl hunting, as well as ATV activity in the area. CO Schottenbauer was also asked to investigate a headless moose dumped in the woods. CO Schottenbauer checked the area to find a horse carcass.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) monitored grouse hunting, waterfowl hunting, and ATV activity. The officer assisted in a work detail in Lake and Cook Counties. Enforcement action was taken for ATV, small game, and firearm violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked small game, archery deer, and the close of the bear season over the weekend. Hunters are finding the grouse are easier to spot with fall colors steadily dropping along the Northshore. Fall fishing remains good for those that have not put the boat away yet for the season. CO Murray answered several calls with hunting questions and took reports of nuisance bear and beaver activity.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked an ATV detail on the North Shore, checked anglers, responded to TIP complaints, and handled wildlife calls. A few new ducks flew into the area this week. Waterfowl and small game hunter success was on the low side this week. Enforcement action was taken for transport loaded firearm, illegal transport of game birds, and fail to display valid registration on ATV.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) worked fall activities. Small game and archery deer hunters were checked. Balsam bough harvesters were inspected. The nice weather brought many people out into the woods. She took various enforcement actions and continued investigations into ongoing cases.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked archery deer, waterfowl, and late season anglers. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines and not having navigational lights on after sunset on a watercraft. Roadkill deer calls have gone up exponentially and the deer are on the move. Be careful while driving in low light conditions.
Pengilly – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) followed up on numerous nuisance bear complaints along with other various animal complaints. A hunter harassment complaint was investigated and trespassing complaints were handled. Baiting complaints have begun along with shining issues. ATV use permits were issued and questions about the upcoming deer season were handled. TIP complaints regarding illegal waterfowl were investigated.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) investigated trespass complaints and checked small game, waterfowl, and deer hunters. Officer Duncan also spent time working with the area DNR Hydrologist on a waters complaint.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked the TIP Wall of Shame display at an outdoors expo in Moose Lake. K9 Schody was used to help check a DNR building where the door was open and it was believed to be a possible break in. The building was cleared and re-secured after nobody was found inside. Lots of hunting and recreational vehicle activity to report over this past week with enforcement action taken for hunting bear in the wrong zone, operating in closed area, and ATV and OHM registration violations. Patrols continue in Jay Cooke State Park with the busy fall season. Numerous enforcement contacts were made for no vehicle permits and having dogs off leash. A trespass complaint was received and is currently under investigation
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) responded to a late shooting complaint on Caribou Lake. Three hunters checked with multiple violations were located, resulting in a very good educational opportunity for young waterfowl hunters. Questions were fielded on FAS classes and field days scheduled before firearms deer season begins. Bird hunters were checked and walleye fishing has picked up on area lakes, both providing good opportunities.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and small game hunters on another beautiful fall weekend. ATVs were out in force and grouse hunters found decent success with birds presenting many opportunities. Unfortunately, some hunters also chose to mix vehicles, loaded firearms, and open containers of alcohol on an all-too-frequent basis. Enforcement action was taken for ATV, small game, angling, alcohol, and watercraft violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) investigated a report of a subject transporting water from an area lake. The subject was located and cited for failure to drain water related equipment. CO Sullivan also investigated big game violations and assisted with area firearms and ATV training.
CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) checked fall anglers where many nice walleyes were seen, monitored AIS issues at boat landings, checked many grouse hunters, and worked areas of deer shining complaints. Assistance was also given at a multi-vehicle accident.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) worked shining and baiting complaints, checked fishermen, small game, turkey, waterfowl, and archery deer hunters, assisted local law enforcement, responded to nuisance bear and beaver issues, CWD feeding ban issues, and numerous questions, complaints, and permitting associated with the upcoming firearms deer season.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) contacted several waterfowl hunters this week as well as anglers. She patrolled ATV activity and had contact with several juveniles who were not wearing helmets, did not have ATV safety, or were operating in areas they were not permitted to be. CO Ladd also received reports of ATVs on sections of snowmobile trails.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for angling and waterfowl hunting throughout the week. Waterfowl hunters are reporting very limited success with the warmer temperatures. Enforcement action was taken for numerous fishing and waterfowl hunting violations.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked waterfowl, grouse, and archery deer hunters. A deer baiting case is under investigation. Time was also spent training.
Cuyuna SRA – vacant.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked hunting activity which started to pick up as the weather cools off and leaves are coming down. Anglers were still out and some may be doing too well with their fall bite. CO Verkuilen also issued car kill tags and monitored ATV complaint areas.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working small and big game hunters. A few grouse hunters were having some luck but most reported a lot of cover yet for the birds. A few waterfowl hunters were out and some birds were seen in the area. Patrol was done in the Solana State Forest for ATV and hunting activity and many outdoor law related questions were fielded throughout the week. Watercraft were monitored for AIS as many parties were pulling their boats out of the water for the season. A call was received of a dead eagle and the bird was picked up and transported to the Garrison Vet Clinic so it could be transferred to Rapture Center. The Officer also assisted a local agency with a call for service.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) spent the week checking small game hunters. She received a call of a bow killed deer that was left to rot on state property without any of the meat being harvested. CO Speldrich completed a trespass investigation where gravel was taken from state property and a litter/dumping investigation. She answered many questions regarding feeding deer, hunting over bait and what is considered bait. Just because a store sells it, doesn’t mean it’s legal to hunt over it. Please read the ingredient list on all deer feed.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on small game, fishing, and deer season items. Assistance was given on a shining case and a reported dead wolf was investigated that turned out to be a dog. Beaver complaints continue to come in with high water levels. Hunters were found to be prepping their stands for the upcoming deer firearms season.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) checked hunters during the final days of bear season. Several cases were finished up with enforcement action taken for hunting over unregistered bear baits, unsigned bear baits, transporting untagged bear, and failing to validate site tag. Waterfowl hunters were also checked along with large numbers of small game hunters that were out looking for squirrels and grouse.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent time answering questions about trespassing and baiting deer. He followed up on WMA complaints and assisted the Pine County Sheriff's department on traffic stops and a complaint of dogs being stolen from local residents.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked small game, waterfowl, and archery deer hunters. A few more hunters were seen chasing grouse with fair success. Time was also spent checking ATV riders on the Soo Line trail system.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) made contact with a hunter dog training on a WMA. The hunter was warned that the rules are that dogs must be kept under control of the hunter and it is illegal to allow them to run on private neighboring property. A duck hunter was educated about the baiting laws for waterfowl hunting on the pond in their back field. All feed must be gone ten days prior to hunting the area to be legal. CO Kuske is finding a number of ATV operators ages 18 to 28 that have not taken ATV safety training. Then when they do take the training they fail to complete the certification process where they have to pay and print their certificate.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time checking waterfowl and pheasant hunters. A district meeting was attended and a background investigation was completed. A few new ducks have moved into the area but few hunters were seen. The pheasant opener was worked but few hunters and even fewer birds were seen.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked pheasant opener in Stearns County. Action was slow as far as birds in the bag. Time was spent working deer hunters, anglers, and duck hunters. Hunter harassment complaints were taken as well as trespass issues. Deer shining activity was monitored in complaint areas.
CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports investigating trespass complaints and a case involving taking protected species. Pheasant and waterfowl hunters were also checked in the Annandale and St. Cloud stations. Numerous calls regarding regulation questions were also taken.
Long Prairie – vacant.
Pierz – vacant.
Paynesville – vacant.
Annandale – vacant.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked hunters, anglers, and ATV’s. Several calls were taken on law clarification, trespassing, and early shooting. Enforcement action was taken on license violations and possession of drugs.
CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked hunting activity. Many duck hunters reported little to no ducks flying this week. Enforcement action was taken for unplugged shotgun and possession of toxic shot while duck hunting, no PFDs, and leaving a tree stand overnight in a WMA.
CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week checking duck hunters and small game hunters. CO Krauel also followed up on a deer hunting complaint. CO Krauel also attended a training meeting with several other officers. Enforcement action was taken for shooting waterfowl late, no life jacket, no small game license, possession of marijuana, and possession toxic shot while migratory waterfowl hunting.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers, hunters, and ATV’s. Violations were found for no ATV registration, transport loaded firearms, and unlawful transportation of game birds. Two trespass complaints were received and investigated.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) worked waterfowl hunters and small game hunters. Grouse numbers are low but hunters are reporting decent pockets of woodcock. Pheasant hunters found a few birds but overall population is down in the area. Damage at an area WMA was investigated and interviews were conducted. Enforcement action was taken on damage to property and trespass.
CO Reller (Buffalo) assisted with a work crew in the Lake County area over the weekend checking ATV activity and grouse hunters. Overall law compliance was very good. Several minor licensing and ATV registration violations were handled with enforcement action taken. A follow up investigation was completed with a hunter that was hunting ducks out of season last week
Big Lake – vacant.
District 13 - West Metro area
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) reports a busy week checking anglers and hunters. CO Leuthardt responded to a TIP call regarding a closed season goose hunter and a goose being shot. The suspect claimed to be crow hunting and claimed he never shot a goose. CO Siems was contacted to bring her dog to the area to search for a downed goose. A wounded, but alive, goose was located. The suspect finally admitted to hunting in a closed season once he was presented with the goose. Enforcement action was taken on hunting in a closed season, hunting waterfowl with an unplugged gun, no HIP certification, hunting in closed hours, no small game license, and operating a motor vehicle in a prohibited area.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked small game and duck hunters in the metro area. He delivered an award to a firearm instructor in Brooklyn Park and responded to animal complaints in Minneapolis. Officer Lee also answered questions to the Asian community on big game and small game hunting regulations, and enforcement action was taken for hunting small game without blaze orange.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled Fort Snelling State Park for park use and district areas for angling and fishing activities. He responded to numerous calls, (including TIP calls) for hunting regulation questions, dead trumpeter swan, and the deer/venison donation program. He took enforcement action for angling with extra lines, hunting small game after hours, firearm hunting for small game in restricted areas, and no vehicle permit while in the State Park. He worked with Acting RTO Phil George and a Karen Firearm instructor to complete/certify the First All-Karen Students Firearm Safety Class in Minnesota, all ten (10) students passed the course after 18 hours of classroom and Field Day/Range Day and Final Exam.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) continues to focus on waterfowl hunting. Cooler weather appears to have pushed the diving ducks into central Minnesota and hunters are harvesting a very wide variety of ducks. A complaint of off highway motorcycles on the Luce Line Trail was investigated; the riders left blatantly obvious tracks all the way back to their residence. Rainy weather kept most pheasant hunters out of the fields for the opener. Enforcement action was taken for no small game license, no stamps, and motorized vehicles on a state trail.
CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) is investigating a public waters violation. Enforcement action was taken for zebra mussel violations on Lake Minnetonka. The Luce Line State Trail was patrolled by ATV, no violations were found.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) spent the week working waterfowl hunters and small game hunters. CO Maass also investigated a TIP call where two Trumpeter Swans were shot. Enforcement action was taken for illegal take of non-game birds, possession of toxic shot, and unplugged shotgun.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week patrolling waterfowl hunters, archery hunters, and training with K9 Shelby. CO Grewe also did a K9 demonstration at a local middle school and assisted Hennepin County water patrol with recovery efforts involving a plane crash in the Mississippi river.
Bloomington – vacant.
Ft. Snelling – vacant.
District 14 - East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking waterfowl, small game, and archery deer hunters. He also worked an ATV detail along the north shore. Violations for the week included no small game license, registration issues, and transporting loaded firearms.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the weekend working waterfowl and pheasant hunters. He responded to a capsized boat in the river, lost hunters in the Hampton Woods WMA, and assisted getting a bald eagle to rehab. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession and possess lead shot for waterfowl.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked waterfowl hunters over the second season opener weekend. Small game, bow hunters, and anglers were also checked during the week. CO Pril also spoke to a firearms safety class in Apple Valley regarding hunting rules and regulations.
White Bear Lake – vacant.
Metro Officer – vacant.
Eagan – vacant.
District 15 - Marshall area
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports spotted success for pheasant opener. An anonymous Tip call resulted in multiple people being cited for angling with an extra line. The Hwy 40 fishing pier was shut down due to flood waters breaking it in half. Other violations encountered included fail to remove vegetation from duck boat, fail to register deer, loaded firearm, no license, no pheasant stamp, and no life jacket.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) completed a background investigation and assisted with the Governor’s Pheasant Opener. The majority of hunters contacted found pheasant and duck hunting to be tough. Many believed this may be due to the fact a large amount of the agricultural crops have not been harvested in area fields and continue to hold water in many places. A variety of violations were encountered including license issues and transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports the Governor’s Pheasant Opener was busy with a great turnout for all the events. As anticipated, pheasant hunting success was down with fall harvest just getting underway. With the southern zone waterfowl season reopen, waterfowl hunters continue to wait for a northern push of ducks. A few hunting groups were able to have some good shooting for teal, wood ducks, mallards, shovelers, and widgeon. Fishermen are having good success for walleye, especially working the shorelines at sunrise and sunset.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports checking hunters and anglers during the week. Pheasant opener brought many hunters to the area who reported moderate success. Many hunters reported seeing roosters on the edge of cropland but with wet conditions contributing to a later harvest, it was difficult to get a good shot on many birds. Enforcement action included license violations.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers and working deer investigations. Pheasant opener fielded fewer hunters than most years but most public lands were still walked by hopeful sportsmen and their dogs. Pheasant success was only fair as virtually all the crops are still in the fields and many still display standing water. Duck numbers seem only slightly better than during the first season. Enforcement action was taken on trespass, no sex ID, and license/stamp violations.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) focused enforcement efforts on angling, archery deer hunting, pheasant hunting, and waterfowl hunting. Pheasant hunters had mixed success amongst the groups checked. Hunting and license violations were encountered.
CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) checked pheasant hunters for opening weekend. There was a lot of hunting activity but hunters were having limited success due to the amount of corn remaining in the fields.
Lake Benton – vacant.
Worthington – vacant.
District 16 - New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) worked the pheasant opener and noted some success but overall few birds in the bag. He checked anglers and worked on commercial investigations. Time was also spent on nuisance beaver complaints.
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) worked pheasant hunting activity over the opening weekend. He also continued work with a busy fall fish bite and waterfowl activity. CO Vernier took calls including a deer stand left on WMA property overnight, deer dumping complaint, and a fish over-limit complaint. Several calls pertaining to hunting and public land regulations were also answered.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked pheasant hunters over a busy opening weekend. Lots of hunters were out on Saturday but very little success was observed. Most hunters said it was great to be out and the dogs were having a great time with the wonderful weather. CO Klehr also checked duck hunters who seemed to be having more success. ATV enforcement, wetland conservation, and big game hunters were also worked during the week.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) observed an above normal hunter turnout for the pheasant hunting opener. Pheasant hunting success on opening morning appeared to be around one pheasant per every two hunters. Waterfowl hunters enjoyed good success hunting flooded fields and river backwaters.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) taught the law and ethics portion to a local FAS class. CO Miller focused patrol efforts on the re-opening of duck season and pheasant opener. Groups reported difficult outings for pheasants because of poor weather on Saturday and standing crops. Public access points were patrolled and contact was made with a party in possession of a felony amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Enforcement action was taken for possession of over-limit of walleye and transport fish without a patch of skin.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled his area checking activity relating to waterfowl, angling, archery deer, pheasant, and other small game activity. A few anglers are catching northern and walleye. A few rooster pheasant were found in the bag. Waterfowl hunting was good over the weekend as well. After having received an overabundance of rain recently many public hunting areas had water standing on them, limiting areas that could be walked by pheasant hunters.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked small game, waterfowl, deer, and dove hunters. Waterfowl and pheasant numbers observed shot were very low. Angling activity was monitored. Cases were made for over-limit and extra line violations.
Hutchinson East – vacant.
Hutchinson West – vacant.
District 17 - Mankato area
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked hunters, anglers, boaters, ATV operators, and monitored AIS activity during the week. The officer observed someone litter in the river; upon contact the subject had a can of spray paint and two burritos tucked in his pants. The subject admitted to huffing paint and littering. The officer stopped off highway motorcycles for operating on public road right of way and one operator had a suspended driver’s license and a warrant for his arrest. Enforcement action was taken for those violations and others that were encountered. Most waterfowl hunters were able to harvest a few ducks or a goose. The officer also attended the Turn in Poachers Banquet in Rochester.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) focused on angling and archery hunting this week. Pheasant hunters reported a slow start to the season. Complaints of trespassing and hunter harassment were investigated.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, ATV, waterfowl, and pheasant enforcement this week. Duck hunters had some success this weekend with the duck season re-opening. Wet weather put a damper on Saturday’s pheasant opener, but some birds were seen in the bags of morning hunters who went out before the afternoon rain.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked archery deer, small game, and waterfowl hunters this week. There are birds in the area, but there is so much surface water that the birds are very spread out. Multiple waterfowl violations were detected.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) worked this past week checking anglers who seem to be finding success with the cooler weather. The pheasant opener was slow but the officer reports the re-opening of the waterfowl season proved to be successful for most hunters.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) reports a good amount of waterfowl hunters were observed for the re-opener in the south zone. Success varied greatly from group to group. Pheasant hunters reported extremely low success. Fall harvest has been at a standstill for over a week due to rain. Enforcement action was taken for multiple license/stamp violations as well as leaving stands overnight on public hunting land.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking deer and small game hunters. Additional time was spent patrolling for fishing and boating activity, as well as monitoring AIS compliance at area PWAs. ATV activity was also encountered, and a number of questions from the public were answered relating to deer and waterfowl hunting.
Spring Valley – vacant.
District 18 - Rochester area
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working a busy second opener of the waterfowl season on the Mississippi River. The high water really spread out the ducks and made Saturday less successful than previous years. Hunters had better success in non-traditional spots that the birds are using during the high water. Fishing was also negatively affected by the high water with success down from earlier this fall. Deer hunters were finding the deer a little more active with the cooler temperatures but most were still waiting for the rut to kick in. Enforcement this week involves license, stamps, permits, equipment, and method violations.
CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports that the cold weather has brought in a new batch of waterfowl with geese, green wing teal, mallards, wood ducks, ring-necks, widgeon, and northern shoveler’s seen in the bag. Even though a fair number of ducks are in the area, rusty shooting lead to about 1 to 2 birds in the bag per hunter. Multiple pheasant hunters and fishermen were checked with little success. CO Hill was working shining activity when he observed a car driving slowly down a dirt road more than two hours past sunset. A spotlight exited the passenger window and illuminated all of CO Hill’s truck. The vehicle then sped off at a high rate of speed. CO Hill stopped the vehicle. When asked what they were doing, the subjects stated, “we were shining for deer and we knew we had messed up when we shined your truck.” Citations were issued. One of the subjects had received a shining citation less than a year earlier and told CO Hill that he knew better.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a good second duck opener with high number of successful hunters. There were some specie limits checked and a good variety of ducks. The river was high which put ducks in untraditional areas. The fishing has slowed with the high and fast water. There has been some reported deer archery success. CO Hemker also spoke about the CO career and fish and game laws at the local high school.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week investigating various complaints which included multiple trespass issues. Time was also spent working the southern zone waterfowl reopener and patrolling the river for fall fishing activity. Many of the hunters and fishermen that were contacted reported having decent success. Contact was made with an individual who was target shooting in part of a state forest that is closed to target shooting. While talking with the individual, it was discovered that they had an outstanding warrant for their arrest with Goodhue County. The officer placed the individual under arrest and transferred custody to a local officer for transport to the jail. Enforcement action for the week included target shoot in an area closed to target shooting, no license in possession, drive over closed forest road, fail to have legal lifesaving device on watercraft, no federal stamp in possession, and unsigned federal stamp.
CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) spent the week checking waterfowl and archery hunters. Additional efforts were spent checking anglers and following up on ginseng cases. Archery hunters continued to have low success but reported seeing deer. Many migrant geese are moving into the area with the colder weather. Enforcement action for the week included possessing toxic shot while duck hunting, operating a watercraft with expired registration, and failing to submit ginseng dealer records.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly duck hunters over the weekend. Hunters had plenty of shooting and some did very well. CO Heyn also attended a border water fisheries meeting.
CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) checked waterfowl hunters and anglers on the Mississippi backwaters. Good numbers of ducks were seen on the water and in the bag. Several limits were seen. Enforcement action was taken on no license in possession, no federal stamp, and short walleye.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports investigating a baiting complaint. Time was also spent on multiple trespass calls. Hunters out over the second waterfowl opener did well and reported good numbers of birds. CO Boyum checked out a few trout anglers. Fishing was good and compliance was high. A public waters violation was investigated as well.
Rochester #1 – vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew WCA and waterfowl recon flights. Pilot Geving also attended to training and maintenance tasks.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) finished aerial fish stocking for the year. Pilot Jensen flew a station flight for a field officer and gave surveillance for possible baiting sites. He also flew a night currency flight and returned an aircraft to service after an annual inspection.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter projects and attended fire bucket training with forestry personnel at Pillsbury State Forest. Some areas that were prepped for planting next year were set on fire for the pilots to put out with the aircraft and water bucket. Great training in basic fire movement.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew Forest Assessment for aspen regeneration photos and gave an annual low level wavier ride and flight review. Pilot Heineman also flew fire bucket training in the helicopter.
CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports completing the first week of a Northern Minnesota aerial waterfowl survey. A pre-season big game mission was flown as was training and check ride flights.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week focusing efforts on hunting and fishing activity. Time was spent monitoring the movement and transport of water related equipment and watercraft. Assistance was given on car kill deer permits. APM, WCA and PW cases were worked on.
WREO Mike Scott (NE) attended an Honor Guard meeting at Camp Ripley. Officer Scott finalized the background investigation for the new hires next spring. Small game hunters were checked in the Duluth and Isabella area. Hunters were out enjoying the nice weather, but not many birds were taken.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on wetland and PW cases. WREO Haberman also assisted a hunter who was unable to get out of his stand because four wolves were hanging around the deer stand. WREO Haberman and CO Best went out to the hunter’s stand to get him down. The wolves left after hearing the CO’s approaching. WREO Haberman also checked small game hunters and waterfowl hunters.
WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week conducting follow-up on wetland violations and checking LSPs. An investigation was completed with a citation being issued to a minnow dealer for trapping suckers in a WMA using untagged equipment. Duck and pheasant hunters were checked with most everyone having poor success.
WREO Larry Hanson (SW) assisted with WCA and PW cases and worked an AIS saturation in Laq Qui Parle County. Pheasant, duck, and bow hunters were checked in vacant stations. CO Hanson followed-up on a trespass complaint and enforcement action was taken for fishing license violation.
WREO Julie Siems (SE) addressed trespass complaints and ATV violations. K9 Brady was also utilized in a search for a goose that was shot out of season. He successfully found the injured goose several hours after the hunter had left.
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 31, 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 31, 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 1, 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.
SCHEDULED INSTRUCTOR TRAINING SESSIONS
If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador or one of the Advanced Hunter programs, contact your local Conservation Officer or Regional Safety Training officer. Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR Website.
NW RTO Greg Oldakowski (acting) gave several college students a Firearms Safety Instructor Clinic this week. The students will be assistant instructors at an upcoming youth field day event. A youth firearms class was given as well, with the law and ethics portion of the class being given. Calls from the public were received with general questions regarding the upcoming firearms deer season.
NE RTO Mike Lee attended training at Camp Ripley with other members of the newly formed Honor Guard. Officers went over polices, training, and uniforms for this unit. Officer Lee answered numerous phone calls on firearm safety for youth along with adult requirements. Officer Lee attended a meeting on planning for the Governor’s Deer Opener that will be held in Grand Rapids.
South Metro RTO Phil George (acting) completed the first ever FAS Class for the Karen Community with instructor KuTha Tee and assisted the Amish Community with FAS Field Day. Officer George checked shore anglers and small game hunters and answered several questions regarding the deer season and CWD issues.
North Metro RTO Brett Oberg (acting) worked the opening of the Minnesota pheasant season this week. CO Oberg also worked waterfowl hunters and walleye anglers. Waterfowl hunters had good success, especially those who hunted flooded agricultural fields. Enforcement action was taken for recreation trespass, unplugged shotgun, and for allowing illegal youth hunting. A case was also handled where a swan was shot.
Southern RTO Jen Mueller (acting) worked the busy pheasant opener. Some hunters found success, but the wet conditions and abundance of crop made it difficult for most to find roosters. She also took a call of duck hunters hunting within the state game refuge around Hutchinson. She was able to locate them and address the issue with the help of some local fishermen. She also checked anglers finding some good fall fishing in the area.
Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence, along with Camp Ripley staff, hosted a meeting and training session at Camp Ripley for grant managers involved with the Trail Ambassador Program. RTO Lawrence attended a meeting in St. Paul with the off-highway motorcycle group (ARMCA) along with DNR staff from Parks and Trails. Topics included trail conditions, concerns, and new trail development and mapping opportunities. RTO Lawrence worked on firearms safety lesson plans for future instructor development and implementation.
RTO PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
NE RTO Mike Lee 218-821-9747 email@example.com
NW RTO Greg Oldakowski 218-631-5972 firstname.lastname@example.org
North Metro RTO Brett Oberg 320-234-3741 email@example.com
Southern RTO Jennifer Mueller 320-234-3499 firstname.lastname@example.org
South Metro RTO Phil George 507-775-2006 email@example.com
Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence 763-267-8534 firstname.lastname@example.org
Curriculum Specialist: Vacant
Education Specialist: Vacant
Curriculum Coordinator: Vacant