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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) checked duck hunters on the southwest side of Lake of the Woods, Thief Lake, and Roseau River WMA Pools 1 and 3.  Assistance was given in the recovery of a deceased hunter’s body from Thief Lake.  Violations for the week included hunters transporting loaded firearms, shooting protected cormorants, hunting ducks without required stamps, and an encounter with a parent allowing her seven year old to operate an off-highway motorcycle down a township road and state highway. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked big game, small game, migratory waterfowl, and ATV enforcement. This year’s youth deer hunt proved to be a successful one for most. Lots of excited young hunters were contacted throughout the area over the long MEA weekend with many of them proud to report that they had harvested their deer. Enforcement action was taken for possess lead shot while hunting migratory waterfowl, take a non-game protected species, and operate an ATV with a passenger under the age of 18 without a helmet.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports an increase of fishing activity on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River.  CO Prachar worked game hunting activity and monitored angling activity as well.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) assisted the sheriff’s office in a search for a missing duck hunter, monitored waterfowl hunting activity, and patrolled during the youth firearms deer season.  Waterfowl success has tapered off a bit while hunters await migrating birds and area grouse hunters are still finding it hard to harvest good numbers of birds.  Enforcement action for the week included federal stamp violations, transport dressed game birds, no blaze orange, target shoot in WMA, and OHM and ATV registration violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking waterfowl hunters, grouse hunters, archery deer hunters, and patrolled shining complaint areas throughout the week.  Time was spent investigating reports of hunter trespassing, tribal member’s deer hunting during closed season off the reservation, issuing special use ATV permits, and handling assorted wildlife calls.  A shining detail was worked with CO Holt.  Enforcement actions for the week included unattended decoys and transportation of game birds without feathered wing attached. 

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck #2) reports working small game, trapping, waterfowl, big game, ATV, and AIS enforcement this week. Time was spent in the Beltrami Island State Forest. A complaint of possibly illegal trapping activity was followed up on and a deer that was shot and left on private property was investigated. Enforcement actions for the week included fail to remove drain plug, fail to extinguish fire, fail to register bear bait, and operate an unregistered ATV.

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette #2) focused on waterfowl and small game hunting enforcement, as well as ATV enforcement. Time was also spent on the early youth deer season. Enforcement action included fail to transfer ATV ownership, operate unregistered ATV, no helmet for passenger under 18 on ATV, speeding, and transporting a loaded firearm.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Karlstad - vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 - vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at a youth deer hunting orientation at Rydell National Wildlife Refuge.  Time was also spent checking waterfowl and archery deer hunters.  A bear hunting case investigation was worked on.  Youth deer hunters were contacted during this October youth deer hunt.  Various big game and waterfowl related violations were encountered.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) answered multiples wildlife complaints and taught laws and ethics at a firearm safety class.  The reminder of the week was spent on hunting, boating, ATV activities, along with AIS efforts.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked hunters and anglers. He also answered questions about firearms deer season.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked waterfowl and grouse hunting activity and patrolled area forest roads and trails for ATV activity.  CO Vollbrecht worked with CO Mathy at Bemidji State University during mock interview day.  The conservation officers met with criminal justice seniors and were able to talk with them about a career as a conservation officer and job opportunities.  CO Vollbrecht spoke with the Bemidji Lions Club regarding CO responsibilities and 2016 deer regulations.  Officer Vollbrecht assisted the division of non-game by responding to a complaint of an injured eagle.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) worked small game and archery deer hunting during the week. Time was also spent checking ATV’s and investigating a TIP complaint. CO Holt assisted a neighboring officer and a deputy from the local sheriff’s office with an ATV safety class. Enforcement activity included ATV safety violations.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports issuing several deer possession permits, an amended aquatic plant management restoration plan, and checking archery deer, grouse and waterfowl hunters.  A complaint of someone camping on a WMA was investigated and an injured deer was dispatched.  CO Vinton is also investigating a possible swan that had been shot.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked hunters, conducted follow-up on on-going cases and handled nuisance beaver and deer possession permit requests.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports spending the week working duck and pheasant hunters.  Duck hunting was slow with few new birds arriving.  Pheasant hunters are also finding conditions tough with a lot of corn still standing.  Time was also spent following up on a trespass complaint.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked small game and waterfowl hunting activity. Complaints of possible deer baiting, shinning activity, and wetland violations were investigated.  ATV activity was worked on area trails.  Late season angling and boating activity was worked.  Miscellaneous injured wildlife calls were handled.  WMAs were monitored and the public is reminded they are not to leave property, including deer stands, in WMA’s overnight.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring pheasant hunting and deer hunting activity in the Moorhead area. Time was spent following up on cases and answering questions about the upcoming deer season. A complaint of two youth harassing geese was addressed as well as a complaint of a dead swan. Trespassing issues were also addressed and car kill deer permits were issued.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time checking on possible baited areas, checked archery hunters, and scouted for small game hunters.  Officer Plautz also followed up with a complaint in an area state park and received late shooting complaints.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked fishermen, waterfowl hunters and pheasant hunters.  Complaints of people dumping fish and duck carcasses and decoys left out overnight were handled.  AIS enforcement was worked and duck hunters are reminded to remove vegetation from their equipment.  Officer Nelson met with firearm safety instructors along with online training completed.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl, pheasant and bow hunters.  A goose carcass dumping complaint was investigated along with a deer baiting investigation. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked waterfowl, pheasant, and archery deer hunting activity.  Some diver ducks are starting to be harvested on area sloughs, but overall success is still very limited.  A wetland filling issue was investigated and questions were answered related to deer hunting, nuisance animal, and FAS topics.  Citations were issued this week for transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) finished up Step 3 FTO with a COC. The officers worked hunting enforcement including waterfowl, pheasant, small game, and archery deer. Trapping activity was monitored and follow up was completed on open investigations regarding litter and a possible wetland impact. ATV and fire violations were handled. Fishing, boating, and AIS activity remains steady.  Officer Johanson estimates there were over 100 boats fishing Lake Osakis on Saturday alone this past weekend.

CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working sport fishing, migratory waterfowl enforcement, and small game hunting.  Pheasant hunter participation throughout the week continued to be average or below.  Most groups checked had an increased number of birds in their game bags compared to last weekend.  Officer Chihak met with Breckenridge Elementary School Studio 5 students to review their invasive species projects designed to help educate their community about the adverse effects and what we all can do to prevent the spread of invasive species.  Great job Studio 5!

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on waterfowl season, shining complaints, fall angling activity, and AIS law compliance.  Officer Anderson received and investigated several complaints about possible deer poaching and reported shooting after dark, as well as a personal property left on a WPA.  Officers Anderson and Nelson participated in a work crew in Pope County focusing on deer shining complaints. Calls from the public were fielded regarding firearms safety certificates, a question about handicapped WMA/WPA use, ATV park use, and waterfowl hunting questions.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, waterfowl, and pheasant hunters.  Additional time was spent investigating complaints of motors being used on feeding and resting areas.  Calls were fielded about deer season questions and an aquaculture inspection was performed. 

District 4 - Walker area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) handled cases involving taking big game out of season, shooting from a motor vehicle and shooting from a roadway.  Trespassing and wolf complaints were addressed, small game hunters and archery deer hunters were checked. Charges are pending for numerous big game violations.  Officer Parthun also taught an ATV course. 
CO Eric Sullivan (Walker) contacted small game hunters that were having success with squirrel hunting.  CO Sullivan observed steady angling activity on Leech Lake with anglers harvesting perch and walleye.  CO Sullivan also spent time investigating illegal big game hunting activity.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports a busy weekend where hunters and anglers alike enjoyed the nice fall weather outdoors.  The duck hunting and angling success however was relatively slow.    CO Mathy also presented information to Bemidji State University law enforcement students.   A report of an injured bear was received and a deer complaint was worked with CO Parthun.   Violations found included shooting from a motor vehicle, shooting from the roadway, take deer without a license, and take deer out of season.  Enforcement action was also taken for waterfowl hunting, boating, and deer hunting violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring ATV, angling, and fall hunting activity.  Anglers reported moderate success where hunters reported poor success.  Waterfowl numbers appear low.  CO Broughten observed a high amount of ATV traffic over the weekend. CO Broughten also investigated a TIP call.  Enforcement action included operate ATV on roadway, fail to display ATV registration, allow illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, transported loaded firearm, unsigned stamps, no license in possession, and multiple waterfowl hunting violations.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked duck and deer hunters and a dogs chasing deer complaint was handled.  Trespass complaints coming in with new deer stands being built on or near property lines.  Fall fishing is picking up on area lakes.
CO Chelsey Best (Remer) worked a busy MEA weekend with lots of small game hunters as well as people getting deer hunting spots ready for the rifle opener. The most common violations still involve dangerous ATV activity; roadway operation and no helmets on juvenile operators/passengers. Enforcement action was taken for those violations as well as no small game license, no PFDs and boats left on public property. Nuisance animal complaints were also handled.

District 5 - Eveleth area

No report.

International Falls #2 - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports grouse hunting continues to improve with good reports from many hunters over the busy MEA weekend. ATV activity was also up over the weekend and compliance was very high. Violations included hunting small game without a license, and no lifesaving device on board a watercraft.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) checked hunters and some ATV users and found many people enjoying the weather.  Fall is well underway and soon deer season will be just another memory.  It’s that time when we begin finding the deer baits hidden around the area.  The fines and penalties are harsh and the neighbors don’t appreciate it.  If anyone finds illegal deer feeding activity, please don’t hesitate to call.  As always, we keep any information confidential.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) encountered a married couple just driving around, smoking some dope and road hunting for grouse while their children were left back in a motel room.  In the driver’s haste to cover up the marijuana smell, she reached towards a compartment to spray a cologne cover scent.  In that compartment was a loaded handgun that she’d forgotten about. When asked if there were any other loaded handguns in the car, they also forgot about the second loaded handgun they had.  They both received citations.  Enforcement action was also taken for ATV violations and failing to remove bear bait stations after the season.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports plenty of people were out enjoying the MEA weekend. Time was spent on ongoing big game cases, checking grouse hunters, a BWCA patrol, and waterfowl enforcement.  Enforcement action for the week included unplugged gun, no federal stamp, toxic shot violation, no HIP certification, can food container in the BWCA, no license in possession, and passing in a no passing zone.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area ATV and hunting activity in the remote areas north of Finland, and Isabella.  Time was spent armoring division handguns, and training this week in Duluth as well.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked bear baiting and ATV activity during the week. Hints of fall approaching are becoming visible as leaves are slowly starting to change colors in the northland. A commercial bait retailer was inspected and a nuisance beaver call was handled. Enforcement action was taken for ATV licensing violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked small game, waterfowl, boating, ATV, and fishing enforcement.  Violations included operate unregistered ATV, transport loaded firearm, cut balsam boughs w/o permit, ATV’s on roadway, youth w/o helmet on ATV.  Various wildlife calls were also answered. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, waterfowl hunters, archery deer hunters, investigated a deer shot from the road, investigated an over limit of crappie complaint, and assisted the county with a K9 search for a handgun and pursuit. Enforcement action was taken for no HIP certification and hunt migratory waterfowl without license.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked small game hunters in the area with many grouse in the bag.  It seems that with the leaves off more hunters are getting out and the success rate is up.  Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV without registration and operating an ATV with a juvenile without a helmet.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATV’s, bough cutters, small game, waterfowl and archery deer hunters.  He also handled several hunting and trespass complaints during the week.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) monitored big game, small game, angling, and ATV activities throughout the Hill City area.  The unusually warm weather brought a large number of hunters and ATV riders out to enjoy the weekend.  Late season fishing has produced some nice results for the anglers targeting pan fish.  Waterfowl hunters are reporting poor numbers and few birds in the bag.  Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms, possession of drug paraphernalia, insufficient number of PFD’s, no small game/angling license in possession, operating an ATV on a State HWY, and ATV passengers under 18 without helmet.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Brookston) spent time during the week patrolling the station for small game hunters.  Time was also spent working big game activity and following up on timber trespass issues.  Violations for the week included allow illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and fail to display ATV registration.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked a TIP complaint relating to theft of spruce tree tops.  Time was spent working small game hunters and archery deer hunters.  Officer Schmidt also worked an ATV detail in the Nemadji State Forest.  Nuisance animal complaints were handled.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent time following up on call for service and several ATV permits for the upcoming deer season were issued.  Small game hunters were checked throughout the week, ATV enforcement was worked, and complaints were investigated and follow-up work will continue.  Some examples of cases investigated during the week include an illegal tree top cutting, deer baiting, trespass waterfowl hunting, wetlands, and continued work on a conservation easement violation. 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) gave a talk on the K9 unit and gave a short demo to two area schools. A complaint on a waters violation was looked into and is still under investigation where work was being done in a protected stream. Complaints of hunting activity in Jay Cooke State Park were investigated and are still being followed up on. Grouse hunting activity was checked in the area with good success being reported. Several birds were seen on area trails and in hunter’s bags. OHV violations were encountered while on patrol with enforcement action being taken for equipment, operation, and registration violations being encountered. Several deer possession permits were handed out from car deer accidents.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) and COC conducted a basic outdoor recreation safety presentation for the Marine Safety Unit at the Duluth Federal Building. An incidentally trapped wolf was released successfully north of Two Harbors. Time was spent on ATV enforcement in the Nemadji State Forest during the busy MEA weekend. Several small game hunters were also checked. Time was also spent on the St Louis River checking for waterfowl hunters.

Lake Superior Unit - vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) worked with area townships with beaver flooding road problems, and checked small game hunters and recreational ATV riders. Transporting loaded firearms on ATVs continues to be a problem. The officer also responded to a call of an injured swan that had a broken leg and wing.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked archery and waterfowl hunting activity during the week.  A call on a dead cow was also investigated.  

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement this past week.  The anglers are out and the fall bite has slowed.  He checked grouse hunters and the report was poor.  AIS complaints were reported and received some enforcement time along with violations of duck hunters not removing plugs and aquatic vegetation.  Late shooting by duck hunters were reported and worked on.   The archery hunters report that deer hunting is getting better and the deer are on the move searching for food.  He worked on complaints of ATVs driving carelessly in the city of Pillager.  He also checked fall turkey hunters and they report seeing lots of turkeys with some success.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) investigated reports of hunter trespass, illegal dumping of deer carcasses and large amount of garbage, hunters not retrieving wounded waterfowl, theft of snowmobile trail signs, and a fire that was started illegally, then left unattended and nearly burned out of control through the woods and into dwellings and cabins had it not been for concerned neighbors who put the fire out.   Other activity included checking waterfowl and bow deer hunting activity, monitoring a crappie bite on an area lake, and issuing permits for disabled hunters, target ranges, nuisance beaver, and car kill deer.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) began final training with a COC. The officers worked the Red Wing area and checked many waterfowl hunters throughout the week. Hunters reported not seeing much for ducks but some still managed to have success. The officers also spent time checking anglers as the walleyes and saugers were biting. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession, unsigned federal duck stamp, unplugged shotgun, taking a protected species, transportation of a loaded firearm, operate an unlicensed watercraft, take fish without a license, and fail to display registration.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd #2) investigated a shooting complaint involving an individual shooting at dogs chasing deer through his back yard.  The individual was advised of the current law regarding dogs chasing deer and the individual was advised to contact animal control.  CO Guida patrolled the area in search of the nuisance at large dogs chasing deer but was unable to locate them.  Officer Guida also spent time monitoring a fall walleye bite and also prepared some equipment for winter storage.

Cuyuna SRA - vacant.

Crosslake – vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) prepared for the upcoming deer season by checking complaint areas from past season and following up on suspicious activity.  Some anglers were still on the water with several commenting, “last trip before ice”.  With most of the leaves off the trees, small game hunters were also out. 
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked anglers on Mille Lacs Lake and other area lakes. Small game hunters were checked with hunters having varying success. Questions regarding deer hunting and trapping were answered. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working small and big game hunters throughout the week and weekend.  Some waterfowl hunters were also out and a few were able to bag some nice birds.  A call of an illegal stand on state property was taken and many outdoor law related questions were answered.  The officer gave a deer season law related presentation to the local township association and many questions were answered about the upcoming deer season.  A call of a cow taken by wolf was investigated and the APHIS trappers were contacted.  ATV activity was monitored and a few fishermen were checked on area lakes.   Officer Fitzgerald also received several nuisance beaver related complaints and permits were issued.  A TIP compliant of some illegal road hunting was investigated and still being followed up on and a car-kill deer road permit was also issued during the week.    Enforcement action was taken for various ATV related violations.  Assistance was also given to a local Law Enforcement agency on a call for service. 
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked small game hunters. Many grouse were seen and hunters reported increasing success as foliage falls.  She received baiting complaints and state forest trail questions.  Officer Speldrich also followed up on ongoing investigations.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) fielded numerous informational and road kill animal calls this week.    A fire in a state forest area was investigated.  Assistance was given to the Sheriff’s Department on an ATV crash and vehicle driving complaints.  Deer stands were checked for bait, along with some ATV violations found.   
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) fielded dozens of calls and questions about the upcoming firearms deer season.  Most questions involved what site tags could be used in different hunting areas and how to legally post property boundaries.  Hunters were urged to review the 2016 hunting regulation book which explains, in detail, Minnesota’s trespassing law and licensing options.   The cool, fall weather also caused an increase in deer movement and created plenty of car versus deer problems.   
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week checking hunters and anglers in the Pine City area.  He answered numerous questions regarding hunting licensing, firearm safety, and nuisance animals.  He assisted CO Bret Grundmeier with complaints in the Hinckley area and began winterizing equipment.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked small game hunters and a few waterfowl hunters in the area.  A few hunters are having success with grouse but duck hunters reported very low numbers.  A nuisance beaver complaint was handled and illegal structures on state forest land was investigated.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and hunting activity this week.  Deer and waterfowl hunting questions were handled.  Transition for summer to winter equipment maintenance has keep the officer busy as well.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) started field training with COC.  Officers checked anglers, small game, and archery deer hunters.  Officers also worked the Camp Ripley archery deer hunt, where they assisted in searching for a lost hunter.  Enforcement action was taken in relation to operating a watercraft without navigation lights. 

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports low activity in the field.  Telephone calls are picking up as hunting seasons increase, with various questions and complaints.  Trespass complaints are under investigation. 

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) worked the Camp Ripley archery hunt with violations encountered of uncased bows, alcohol being brought down range, and untagged deer.  Thirty-four deer were taken over the two day hunt with an eleven point buck taken that was 185 pounds and the heaviest buck was an eight pointer coming in at 218 pounds.  Camp Ripley personnel and DNR conservation officers spent one evening during the hunt searching for a lost hunter.   The hunter didn’t show up when he was supposed to and he had no cell phone or GPS.  The hunter had tripped, fallen, and lost his sense of direction coming out from his stand and ended up walking for two hours until he came out to a road and one of the search parties found him.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this week. CO Mies worked on trespass complaints along with checking waterfowl hunters. CO Mies also attended a meeting for Sugar Lake fishing regulations.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) investigated a report of a headless buck found on a property and thought to have been poached. It turned out to be a car killed deer that someone dumped. Two juvenile boys were found operating an ATV and OHM illegally; their parents were out of town so the kids decided to exercise their freedom. They were returned to their residence with several warnings of violation and handed over to a responsible adult. A complaint of persons hunting ducks from open water was addressed on the Mississippi River. A person was issued a burning permit to burn four piles of brush; calls and complaints started coming in of a very large fire. The person had lit more than 20 piles all at once.  A citation was issued for exceeding permit conditions. A TIP call generated an investigation that resulted in locating a person that, while archery hunting, shot a buck but failed to register it. Officer Kuske also handled a trespass complaint. With the nice fall weather many folks are taking advantage of some good fall fishing on area lakes.

Sauk Centre—vacant.

St. Cloud – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fisherman, small game, deer, and waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action was taken and charges are pending on a number of violations. He followed up on a deer shot illegally, the investigation is ongoing. He assisted on a bald eagle hit on the road and the rehabilitation person was notified. He wants all waterfowl hunters to know that rallying waterfowl is illegal. You cannot chase birds up on a lake just to get them to fly and then return to your blinds to hunt them; that is illegal. Waterfowl hunters can retrieve ducks on open water but the boat motor needs to be shut off and the boat cannot be moving in a forward motion before you shoot the duck or goose. Also the gun needs to be unloaded until the boat motor is off.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked hunters and anglers, took complaints of ATV damage, and checked baited areas for archery hunters. Complaints were taken on trespass, early shooting, and nuisance animals.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) spent most of this week checking waterfowl hunters and archery deer hunters. Waterfowl hunters had spotty success this week, with some lakes holding good numbers of divers. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, using motorized watercraft in WMA, and leaving deer stands up in WMA.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) spent the majority of time checking small game and waterfowl hunters.  Many report seeing good numbers of grouse and some woodcock but duck hunters are not having much success.  Pheasant numbers appear to be low but some are finding birds in certain pockets.  Enforcement action was taken on ATV related violations.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) assisted with the Camp Ripley archery deer hunt. Hunters and anglers were checked. Violations were found for untagged deer and fail to validate deer licenses.

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week checking pheasant and waterfowl hunters.  Upland bird hunters are finding moderate to good success in the field.  CO Krauel also spent time following up on numerous TIP complaints.  CO Krauel worked on a fire investigation with a neighboring officer in a state forest.  It was discovered that the fire was most likely started by an unattended campfire.   CO Krauel also took a call about two eagles that were locked together in the woods.  He discovered the eagles were not injured and were just too stubborn to release each other until they felt threatened by the officer.  Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, taking a protected non-game species, and transporting a loaded firearm.

Princeton - vacant.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking fisherman, waterfowl hunters, and following up on complaints.   Violations this week included no fishing license and angling with extra lines.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) followed up on AIS violations, and worked duck and pheasant hunters in the west metro area.  He checked fishermen in the metro area lakes and took calls on animal complaints.  Officer Lee also answered questions to the Asian community on firearm safety classes, big game and small game hunting regulations.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked hunters in the Waconia station and anglers on the Minneapolis lakes. He returned calls for service included trespassing, hunting in the wildlife sanctuary, and waterfowl hunting during closed hours. He also issued a possession tag for a car killed deer.

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent the week dealing with numerous nuisance wildlife complaints. As animals acclimate to the metropolitan areas, they become more aggressive with domestic pets and proximity to people. CO Weyandt would like to remind residents not to leave food outside and always monitor small pets when they are outdoors. A possible deer poaching case was reported in Carver County. After examination of the dead deer, it was determined that it was killed by an arrow and not a firearm. CO Weyandt spoke to local residents and it was concluded that the deer was shot and was most likely unable to be tracked to the location it expired. Further interviews are being conducted.

Bloomington - vacant.

Ft. Snelling - vacant.

Osseo - vacant

Waconia - vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked waterfowl, small game and big game enforcement. Shore anglers were checked on some metro lakes and rivers. CO Pril also answered miscellaneous animal calls and performed some equipment maintenance.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers, waterfowl and small game hunters.  He handled late shooting complaints, nuisance animal calls and fielded many questions about the upcoming firearms deer season.  Violations for the week included being in a WMA during closed hours and no navigational lights on a watercraft. 

CO Anthony Salzer (Ham Lake) and COC focused on waterfowl hunting and recreational activity within Carlos Avery WMA.  Violations encountered ranged from hunting while intoxicated to angling without a license.  Duck hunters having limited success and the bite reported by anglers appears to remain slow.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent a busy week working waterfowl and fishing enforcement in the area. He responded with another officer to a TIP call of a group shooting cormorants; they were located and enforcement action was taken. Other enforcement action for the week included hunter harassment, angling with extra lines, and no licenses or stamps for waterfowl hunting.

White Bear Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer - vacant.

Maplewood - vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers and pheasant hunters.  Pheasant hunters are still hampered by warm temperatures and standing corn fields. Duck hunters continue to await northern ducks.  The Pipestone Pheasants Forever Chapter sponsored a youth pheasant hunt.  Ethics and basic law topics were discussed with the youthful hunters.  Enforcement action was taken trespass and license/stamp violations.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reported most duck hunters are reporting that they need a weather event up in Canada to bring more birds down.  Pheasant hunters are having mixed results with most saying that the birds are jumping up too far ahead of them. A youth day for Pheasants Forever was attended.  Thank you to the volunteers who work hard to put these days together for the kids. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession. 
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent the week working waterfowl and pheasant hunters in the area. Hunters found moderate success both waterfowl and pheasant hunting. Waterfowl hunters continue to wait for cooler temperatures to bring new birds into the area. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, unattended lines, and collecting firewood in LQP State Park without a permit.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored angling, archery deer hunting, pheasant hunting, and waterfowl hunting during the week.  Officer Miska was also the featured guest on the MinnDak Outdoors radio show on KDIO Radio in Ortonville. 

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) worked archery, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters throughout the week.  Hunters report they are seeing and bagging more pheasants as the corn harvest progresses.  Enforcement action for the week included stamp and small game license violations. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reported that pheasant, duck, and archery deer hunting activity continued to be high thanks to MEA weekend and nice weather. A lot of the WMA and WIA lands had at least one vehicle parked at the designated parking areas over MEA.  Due to some milder weather and lack of a north wind, no new influx of ducks have been seen. Fall walleye and perch fishermen continue to see spotty success.

Lake Benton – vacant.

Benson - vacant.

Worthington - vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) checked anglers, pheasant hunters, and waterfowl hunters.  He educated lake users about AIS laws.  Officer Denz continued to receive complaints about beaver activity creating high water.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) spent time talking with anglers, waterfowl hunters, and archery hunters.  He also spent time in the field with many pheasant hunters.  Officer Vernier responded to complaints including trespass, a hunter harvested deer located at a lake access, and a possible waterfowl over limit.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) took a call during the week about a deer that got stuck in a fence.  Officer Klehr was able to release the deer and it ran away.  Archery deer hunters hunting over baited areas were investigated and trespassing complaints still need to be followed up on. Other time during the week was spent checking pheasant and duck hunters.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson-West) and COC followed up with a case from last week of waterfowl hunting in the closed south season, 21 ducks were seized as a result of this case.  Officer Mueller also took a complaint during the week from a landowner who had pellets from pheasant hunters fall on his barn.  Officer Mueller also checked waterfowl and pheasant hunters during the week. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked waterfowl, archery deer, and small game hunting, as well as boating and fishing enforcement this week.  Waterfowl and fishing success were down somewhat from last week.  Officer Nelson came across an elated college student, home on break, who took a nice buck with her bow.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports that pheasant hunters have begun to see more success as harvest continues in the area.  Anglers are finding a good fall bite locally on numerous lakes.  Issues continue to arise with hunters leaving stands in WMAs’ overnight.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) reports that he worked pheasant, duck, archery deer, and small game hunters.  He also checked anglers and ATV operators.  Officer Gruhlke also attended the 2nd annual Kilen Woods State Park youth deer hunt.  Six kids participated and as of noon Saturday, two deer had been harvested.  He also reports that the corn harvest is progressing quite well.  A few more Canada geese were observed in the area and a limited amount of field hunting relating to geese.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked hunters and anglers.  Possible over-limit violations were investigated.  Watercraft were inspected at accesses and on the water.  Numerous questions were answered regarding upcoming deer hunts. 

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) checked pheasant, waterfowl, and bow hunters this week. Officer VanThuyne also continued to work on several investigations and handled some public lands violations.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports checking small game and waterfowl hunters this week. Corn is being harvested at a rapid pace, which should help the pheasant hunters. A few folks were out for the opening of fox and raccoon seasons, some more folks were eager for the water trapping season to start in the Southern Zone. An ATV class was conducted in St. Peter, with another group of young people earning their ATV safety certificates.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, migratory waterfowl hunters, small game, and archery deer hunters.  Boaters, AIS activity, and ATV operators were also checked during the week.  A whitetail deer decided to wrap his antlers and head in an electric fence completely snaring himself, the buck was set free by CO Davis, CO Belgard, and Steele County Deputy Helget.  The Law & Ethics presentation was given at firearm safety classes in Dodge Center and Medford.  A presentation was also given at the Byron Sportsmen and Conservation Club.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, waterfowl hunting, pheasant hunting, and archery deer activity this week.  Waterfowl activity continues to be good with most hunters managing to find a variety of species.  Pheasant activity also seems to have picked up with more crops coming out of the fields.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) reports working small game, big game, waterfowl and boating enforcement this week. CO Henke responded to a call of a boat in distress on Albert Lea Lake. CO Henke gave a presentation to a local ATV safety class. Enforcement action included take waterfowl over bait, unplugged firearms, license violations as well as trespass. CO Henke reminds all hunters to ask permission prior to hunting any private property.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) worked waterfowl, pheasant and deer hunting activity this past week.  The officer also checked fall anglers on area lakes and rivers.  Wildlife Management Areas were patrolled for activity.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent monitoring public accesses for AIS compliance. Deer and pheasant hunting activity was also monitored.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy early youth season. Many hunters were out during the youth season as well as the early antlerless season. Trespass seemed to be the main complaint. Time was also spent answering numerous calls over the weekend regarding the youth season, early antlerless season, and the upcoming firearm season. Few trappers were seen on the opener as fur prices are poor. Pheasant hunters are doing okay in areas where the corn has been harvested.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester 2) spent the majority of the week patrolling for big and small game hunters. A busy youth firearm deer season was worked. Several hunters were not wearing adequate blaze orange during the youth season. Enforcement action was taken for hunting waterfowl with an unplugged shotgun, failing to comply with burning permit regulations, and allowing a juvenile to violate game laws. Miscellaneous wildlife and burning complaints were also taken.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly waterfowl and deer hunters during the week.  Lots of kids were out for MEA and excited about their duck and deer hunts.  Duck hunting success has been slower but many violations were encountered.

CO Phil George (Rochester 1) worked small game and duck hunters. Enforcement action was taken for various waterfowl violations.  Officer George handled a trespass complaint and other big game questions.

Zumbrota – vacant.

LaCrescent – vacant.

Red Wing – 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 Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew officer station reconnaissance missions preparing for the upcoming deer season.  Pilot Geving also attended to training tasks and aircraft maintenance. 

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf telemetry, the Thief Lake duck survey, and an instrument training flight.  Pilot Heineman also gave two low level waiver check rides and flight reviews to CO Pilots.  Annual fire extinguisher training was attended.

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying animal telemetry and deer baiting flights.  Several training flights were also conducted with a waiver check ride completed.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued helicopter training with one pilot, and worked on maintenance and administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of continued rotary training.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

CO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week focusing efforts on fishing and hunting activity. Time was spent working with CO’s and LGU’s on both old and new cases for PW, WCA and APM. A WREO phone conference was attended.  RMS work and research was conducted.

WREO Mike Scott (NE) completed several WCA cases with conservation officers, and issued an extension for another one with local CO. Officer Scott checked anglers on area lakes and Lake Superior. Fishing has been picking up with Loopers being seen along with Coho’s. Reports of Lake trout and steelhead also being caught. Inland lakes were seeing more activity, enforcement action was taken for possession fish under the slot limit for an area lake. Officer Scott also worked deer shining in Duluth area, all quiet in those areas worked, and assisted St. Louis County Sheriff’s department with dog bite case at McQuade access where a person received a bite from a stray dog that was injured.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on WCA cases and prepared new RO orders for a new WCA case in Mille Lacs Co. WREO Haberman also responded to watercraft inspector calls with individuals with aquatic plants on watercraft. WREO Haberman also worked over the MEA weekend checking hunters and recreational ATV/OHM activity. WREO Haberman also checked on two litter cases in area officer’s stations.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week conducting follow-up on wetland cases.  A public waters CDO and restoration order were issued.  A TIP call was taken where a fisherman was cited for taking an over limit of walleyes

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) attended a K-9 demonstration in Ottertail County with K-9 Reggie with 90 youths from the 4-H Club. WCA and PW cases were work with a PW case closed out. Pheasant and duck hunters were checked with fair success.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) provided a K9 demonstration and answered questions about AIS for the Upper Mississippi River Invasive Species Conference. 

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 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.

See Also:


NW RTO Greg Oldakowski reports doing background checks on potential instructors and organizing more classes for Firearms Safety Instructors in the future.  Assistance was provided to other CO’s with a deer shot call, which turned out to be likely hit by a car.  A call was received on vandalism at a WMA.  A shining complaint was received as well and enforcement action was taken for shining deer a couple of nights later.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports scheduling ATV/Snowmobile Instructor Certification Training and working on instructor backgrounds.  He also took registration and planned for upcoming Hunter Education/Firearm Safety Instructor Certification Training.  Saturday he assisted a new instructor group with the field day for their first Youth Hunter Education/Firearm Safety Class.  Calls during the week were taken for hunting regulation questions and a car-kill deer possession permit was issued.  Enforcement contacts were made for youth ATV violations.

Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence attended a meeting in St. Paul with Parks and Trails Staff with the MN 4-wheel drive off-road group to discuss trails funding and enforcement activities and future events for off-road groups. RTO Lawrence conducted Snowmobile Safety Instructor Training in Two Harbors, which was hosted by the MN United Snowmobilers Association.  RTO Lawrence gave presentations and assisted with Parks and Trails with a roundtable discussion from MNUSA members.

Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week working on instructor backgrounds and upcoming instructor training classes. A HEFAS Instructor Class was conducted in Rochester.  Time was also spent preparing for shotgun rollout this next week.


RTO                                                               PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
NE RTO Mike Lee                                         218-963-7343   mike.lee@state.mn.us                       
NW RTO Greg Oldakowski                           218-631-5972   gregory.oldakowski@state.mn.us
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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