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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
7-17-17

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked OHV, AIS, boat/water safety, and angling enforcement. Several nuisance bear and wolf depredation calls were handled. Please do not intentionally feed bears, especially when you have neighbors within close proximity that do not share your enthusiasm for getting “up close and personal” with one. The act of feeding bears has a potential of putting them at risk as they begin to associate humans with food and become less cautious in their encounters with them. Enforcement action was taken for transporting walleye fillets with no patch of skin and passenger under the age of 18 on an ATV without a helmet.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working ATV, AIS enforcement, boating and angling activity on special regulation lakes throughout the week.  Time was spent handling reports of nuisance bears, attending training at Camp Ripley, and investigating TIP information.  Follow up investigation was done on an ongoing wildfire arson case. Enforcement action for the week included over limit of largemouth bass and no skin patches on dress fillets.

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports working angling, AIS, and ATV enforcement this past week. Anglers were checked on Upper Red Lake and most reported highest success rates pulling spinners in shallow water. The officer also assisted the county with a call of several shots being fired.

Baudette West – vacant.

Warroad South – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking anglers and boaters this week.  Time was also spent working AIS enforcement.  Wetland and fire cases were followed up on.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and boaters.  He also took bear complaints, an injured owl complaint, and a sick bald eagle was handled.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling and boating activity on area lakes.  Anglers continue to enjoy a good pan fish bite on most area lakes.  CO Vollbrecht attended a meeting at Camp Ripley regarding armoring division issued M4s.  Area ATV trails and forest roads were patrolled.    

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) worked angling and recreational vehicle activity. Time was spent on ATV patrol in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest with a deputy from the local sheriff’s office. CO Holt followed up on several TIP complaints and assisted other officers with an over limit case. Enforcement activity included ATV and angling violations.  

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked boaters/anglers, followed up on an over limit TIP, and commercial enforcement.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) patrolled area trails for ATV activity.  Angling and fishing activity was worked.  Boats and access activity was monitored for AIS compliance and open zebra mussel cases.  CO Warren spoke at the Island Lake Association meeting in Mahnomen County.  Calls of an injured fawn, possible aquatic vegetation violation, ATV activity in an AMA, and bear questions were answered.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week working commercial leeching, angling, AIS, and ATV activity in the Moorhead station. Time was spent following up on cases and the officer participated in a TV interview with KVRR regarding invasive species laws. The officer also staffed the TIP trailer at the Clay County fair and attended a lake association meeting where he spoke about PWC and ATV laws. Enforcement action was taken for operating a PWC within 150 feet of shore and fail to display valid registration numbers on a watercraft.

Pelican Rapids – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports typical summer activity in the area.  Special beaver permits were issued for critters plugging outlets.  Enforcement action was taken for AIS, angling, and boating violations.  Time was also spent assisting other law enforcement agencies on calls for service.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) continues to work on wetland violation complaints along with AIS enforcement, fishing, and boating.  CO Plautz assisted with multiple interviews on an ongoing case and issued nuisance beaver permits. ATV complaints were investigated and response to multiple dead birds found in a yard were checked into as well.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked fishermen, boaters, and worked AIS enforcement.  Complaints were investigated regarding fishermen keeping illegal length bass and several calls were taken of skunks and raccoons in people’s yards.  An injured hawk was picked up and delivered to wildlife officials.  Calls about upcoming hunting seasons are beginning as well.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATV’s, and AIS compliance.  The officer worked with a DNR APM specialist performing aquatic plant inspections on area lakes in which violations were found with people running Aqua Thrusters excavating the lake bed, spraying cattails with herbicides, operating weed rollers without permits, and mechanically controlling aquatic plants without permits.  Enforcement action is being taken on the violations.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the week working fishing, boating, AIS, and litter on and around area lakes and rivers.  Additional time was spent training at Camp Ripley and investigating APM violations of individuals removing bulrush from area lakes without permits.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued working primarily fishing, boating, and AIS enforcement on and around area waterways. Follow up was completed on APM and waters cases, and time was spent working ATV and fire activity. Calls were received and investigated regarding a fish kill and beaver issues. Several days were spent at Camp Ripley armoring division firearms and training new background investigators.

CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working sport fishing, AIS, and ATV enforcement.  Time was also spent at Camp Ripley for training.  Minnow transportation permits were issued.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on AIS enforcement, fishing, ATV, and boating activity.  Several AIS checks this week found overall good compliance.  CO Anderson and DNR hydrology staff worked on a waters violation along with a restoration order that has not been completed yet.  The officer worked at the Appleton ATV Park and assisted the Morris PD with calls for service.  Calls from the public were handled regarding questions about PFD’s, ATV operation, and fishing questions.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking fishermen and boaters for boat and water safety compliance.  Additional time was spent training at Camp Ripley and dealing with nuisance beaver issues.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling, boating, AIS, and ATV activity.  CO Broughten investigated complaints of destroying aquatic vegetation, waters violations, and angling with unattended lines. CO Broughten also assisted with a fish over limit investigation; fish were seized and charges are pending.  Other enforcement action included OHM and ATV violations.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) handled bear and wolf calls this week.   Two wolves were caught after killing a calf at a local ranch. 
Walker – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports time was spent monitoring public access use along with fishing and ATV activity. Areas of litter complaints were also checked. Shore fishing has seen an increase with many individuals finding success. One angler was excited to have to release two walleyes caught on the same day from a fishing pier because they were within the protected length limit. Significant time was spent on complaints of burning prohibited materials. Not only is it illegal but it is also unhealthy for both persons and the environment. At one location a partially burned plastic bag of dirty diapers was located with the responsible party not around. This complaint will continue to be monitored. 

CO Colleen Adam (Ray) responded to calls from the public regarding fish limits and fish slot restrictions. Officer Adam assisted other divisions with investigations in the Voyager National Park. Fishing has been good.  Enforcement contacts were made for watercraft registration and operation issues.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and boating activities.  Fishing reports remain poor. Forest roads were monitored. Public access site issues continue to be dealt with.

CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked anglers this past week.  Fishing has been slow.  CO Velsvaag received multiple nuisance animal complaints and questions about work in protected waters.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) received another complaint of a refusal of a boat inspection for Aquatic Invasive species.  There were a couple of injured animal calls, including an eagle and a wolf.  The officer is also looking into illegal activity on public land. 

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) mainly worked boaters, anglers, ATV’s, invasive species, state park enforcement, and handled complaints of PWC speed, and large amounts of litter.  The officer stopped a vehicle that was reportedly part of a possible child abduction, which turned out to be unfounded.  A person dumping garbage resulted in nearly a $1,000 civil citation for litter. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, no angling license in possession, no state park permit, driving after revocation, and a number of boating, PWC, and ATV violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent a majority of time on area lakes checking anglers and boaters. While there are some fish still being caught, the bite has slowed down on most lakes. Most traffic on lakes was recreational. Enforcement action was taken for insufficient PFDs. Boaters are reminded that PFDs are required on all watercraft, kayaks and paddleboards included.

 

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked anglers throughout the week and most reported slow fishing.  Assistance was given to the local PD on a missing elderly woman with dementia; she was found safe. 

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports rain continued to fall over the week and lake levels remained high for mid-July.   Nuisance beaver complaints were handled all over the Ely area as driveways and roadways began to flood because of their activity.  Violations included illegal length northern, no PFD on a watercraft, and possess unmeasurable fish on a special regulation lake.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) checked fishermen in the area.  Fishing has picked up and it has stopped raining for two days in a row, so lots of people were out on the lakes enjoying the sunshine. There were quite a few people with “throwable” square seat cushions in place of wearable PFDs.  These have not been legal PFDs for decades.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports a very slow week with not many people out in the woods and waters.  He did check a few anglers that were competing with the bug hatch and not winning with the fish.  Anglers were able to keep busy though with applying bug spray, bailing rainwater out of their boats, and drying out wet gear.  The officer did find another nice lake map that blew out of someone’s boat, but this one didn’t contain secret fishing spots. 

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) noted a lack of concern by boaters for their own personal safety.  In two instances groups of young boaters embarked without any life jackets in their boats.  Minnesota is having a record year for boating fatalities and small boats have been involved in many of these.  Angling licenses were also a problem for some.  One young man who didn’t have his with him asked if the officer could “just look it up,” will  be receiving his citation in the mail after the officer returned to the office and found that he had failed to actually buy a license for the fishing trip he was on.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) focused on AIS, watercraft, and angling enforcement.  Time was also spent on a couple ongoing investigations.  Enforcement action included angle without a license, transport watercraft with the drain plug in place, fail to display watercraft registration, PFDs, and litter violations. 

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and ATV activity over the weekend. Fishing seemed to improve this week with most anglers checked having fish. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations and a nuisance wildlife complaint was taken.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled for illegal ATV activity, checked anglers and boaters, enforced AIS laws for water related equipment transportation, attended training, worked ongoing cases, and handled a trespass call.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked ATV activity, boating, AIS, and sport fishing. He patrolled state park areas, state forests, answered questions and took complaints on various wildlife issues, and checked public water accesses.  Violations included ATV’s on roadway, ATV equipment, and expired tabs. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked boat and water, attended a district meeting, and investigated a boating complaint.  Muskie anglers had good success this week. Enforcement action was taken for no navigation lights after sunset, insufficient PFD's, and fail to display watercraft registration.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked boating and angling activity this past week.  She assisted other officers with an over limit case.  Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

CO Tom Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked fishing, boating and ATV enforcement. Enforcement was taken for illegal length walleyes, no PFDs on boats, and PWC violations. Time was spent responding to injured nuisance wildlife issues.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) focused on angling, boating, ATV, PWC, and AIS enforcement. The walleye bite has begun to improve this past week.  CO Van Asch completed work on open investigations, followed up on PWC complaints, and fielded several nuisance animal calls. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, no angling license in possession, and ATV youth passengers under 18 without seatbelts. 

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Nick Prachar (Brookston) reports an increase in ATV activity with the increase of temperature.  CO Prachar patrolled for ATV activity near local celebrations and in high traffic areas.  Enforcement action was taken for multiple violations including alcohol related arrests.
 
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the majority of the week working fishing and boating enforcement. Time was also spent working on a waters complaints and calls were answered throughout the week with general questions.  Officer Duncan also spent time with office work and paperwork for an intern student that completed the required hours of the internship.  ATV enforcement was also worked in past complaint areas. 
 
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked OHV, boating, and AIS enforcement over the week.  Anglers reported fair to good catches on various species.  Calls/complaints on vandalism, injured/orphaned hawk, trespass, and boating regulations were received.  CO Humphrey also attended a division armorers meeting at Camp Ripley.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent extra time patrolling area state parks where enforcement action was taken for being in the park after hours and no vehicle permit.  Animal complaints were received and advice was given with complaints that involved bears and beavers.  ATV patrols were done in the area and enforcement actions were taken for equipment, safety certificate issues, and operating in public water.   K9 assistance was given to a local PD after a person fled from a vehicle accident. Ultimately the driver that fled was found and arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident and miscellaneous drug charges.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked Lake Superior in the Duluth to Two Harbors area, the fishing has slowed over the course of the week with some lake trout being caught. Area lakes north of Duluth were also worked for boating safety equipment and angling, the warmer weather had many enjoying the water.  CO Olson handled calls on bears getting into garbage - just a reminder to keep things tidy prior to your garbage service pick-up.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Wild rice growth was checked on area lakes and ATV violations were addressed regarding trespass and juveniles not wearing helmets. Enforcement actions were taken for ATV violations.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, AIS, and ATV activity.  The officer will be trying to locate an individual who left an infested waters access being monitored by an AIS inspector.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) assisted with an AIS check station where several contacts were made.  She had a firearm safety class at the Long Lake Conservation Center and completed equipment inspections.  CO Ladd also checked several boaters and anglers this week.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for ATV and boating activity throughout the week.  CO McGowan also assisted other officers in a big game case.  Enforcement action was taken for traffic violations and numerous boating violations. 

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked ATV’s, boaters, and fishermen.  A reminder that when operating an ATV in the road right of way, the open container rule applies to all motor vehicles, including ATV’s.  Officer Hunter received a call of boaters operating under the influence on a local lake which ended up with one individual being arrested.

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reported that he spent most of his time this week on boat and water enforcement.  Violations he observed were not enough life saving devices and expired registration.  He checked anglers and the catching has slowed likely due to the high water from all the recent rain.  He worked with a Cass County Deputy on no boat light violations after sunset on Gull Lake.  Enforcement time was also spent on AIS complaints generated by AIS inspectors. Reports of folks failing to submit to inspection, transporting zebra mussels, and failing to drain water from their boats were received.

CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) testified in a deer baiting case from last fall, followed up on a call of multiple deer crossing a roadway to go to a neighborhood feeder causing a traffic concern, and assisted the Sheriff’s Office with a BWI arrest.  The officer responded to a complaint of a very loud boat and after a citation was issued, the operator told the officer that he may as well come back every weekend and give him a ticket because he had no intention of fixing the boat exhaust. CO Collette also found a couple of youths doing donuts on ATVs in the parking lot of the local baseball field. After discussing the issue with the kids and their responsible adults, it was decided that the youths would return the next day to fix the damage by hand.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) attended background investigator training at Camp Ripley. Background investigations for next year’s academy will be starting in the near future.

Cuyuna SRA – vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen and boaters during the week and weekend.  The officer assisted a local agency with a water rescue call and many outdoor law related questions were fielded.  CO Fitzgerald assisted with an AIS check station and AIS activity was also monitored throughout the Malmo area.  A call regarding nuisance beaver was taken and a permit was issued.  Questions regarding a possible nuisance wolf were answered and patrol was done for ATV activity.  Several nuisance bear complaints were also fielded.   
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) received bear complaints and nuisance beaver questions.  She worked fishing enforcement and patrolled problem areas for ATV violations.  CO Speldrich and the LEMA Caisson team assisted in the funeral for Marine Sgt. James Joseph Hubert. Sgt. Hubert was MIA after the battle of Tarawa in World War II. Nearly 75 years later, his remains were located and brought home to Duluth.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on two fire cases in which prohibited materials were burnt.    Fishing activity was worked with smallmouth bass providing some action.  ATV activity was found to be moderate, with good compliance overall.  Violations for no fishing license and failing to display ATV registration were found.  Some bear calls were handled and advice given on visiting bear that were not being a nuisance.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent most of the week patrolling area lakes and rivers.  Fishing pressure was not quite as heavy with warming lake temperatures but lakes were extremely busy with waterskiing, tubing, and jet skis.  Violations dealt with included jet skiers operating too fast near shore and near anchored boats, operating unregistered boats, and fishing without licenses.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) took numerous calls on nuisance animals during the week.  He issued nuisance beaver permits and gave advice for nuisance bear and geese problems.  CO Wynn assisted the Pine County Sheriff’s Department with several calls including a foot pursuit, domestic disturbances, and suicidal threats.  He answered questions about concerns with no wake buoys in the Pine City area and spent time checking areas in the Chengwatana and St. Croix State Forests.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area state forest and WMA’s for ATV activity.   Time was spent training at Camp Ripley and teaching law/ethics to a firearms safety class.  Assistance was given to the local sheriff’s office on a disturbance call at a local gas station.  Assistance was also given on a search and rescue on Mille Lacs when a Jet-Ski rider was thrown from the craft and unable to retrieve it due to wind conditions.  He was found some distance from the craft and about two miles from shore attempting to swim back.  This is definitely a case where the life jacket saved his life.  Party was pulled from the water and returned to the resort.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) conducted weed roller permit compliance checks on area lakes and received a call of a dead bald eagle on Highway 10.  CO Kuske located the dead bird and identified it as a turkey vulture.   A TIP call of a homeowner shooting pileated woodpeckers was investigated and confirmed to be unfounded and a garbage dumping investigation with the garbage owners located.  A TIP call of a weird smell in a creek with some dead minnows led CO Kuske and CO Bertram upstream to a fire scene of a hay barn that had burned with the water from the fire running into the creek and causing the problems.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time monitoring angling activity and attended back- ground investigator training.  Assistance was also provided to a local sheriff’s department on a domestic call.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, boaters, and shoreline issues.  Time was spent dealing with hydraulic jets used by homeowners to control weeds at their dock.  Some of these were causing the lake bottom to erode.  Enforcement action was taken on the illegal use.  Calls of loons with fishing line were taken as well as stolen turtle traps.

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports checking fishermen and boaters on St. Cloud area lakes and the Mississippi River.  Enforcement contacts were made for expired boat registration, no fishing license in possession, and PFD violations.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) checked angling, watercraft, AIS, and OHV activities.  Much time was spent on aquatic vegetation violation investigations. 

St. Cloud – vacant.

Pierz – vacant.

Paynesville – vacant.

Annandale – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) patrolled area lakes and rivers this week with several violations of angling without a license and angling with extra lines. Several nuisance beaver and muskrat calls were taken also. Follow up work was taken on waters violations.

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked fishing activity.  CO Mohs observed two males fishing from a boat with no registration. After the males noticed the CO was watching them they headed for shore.  One of the males denied fishing even though he was observed making several casts with a fishing pole.  The male became uncooperative and argumentative with the officer and stated he didn’t even have a fishing pole.  Officers utilized a canoe and located the fishing rod the male was fishing with lying just under the surface of the water on a weed bed in the lake.  The male was cited for fishing without a license and several other violations.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week.  Fishing success was slow. Warm water has increased boating activity along with personal watercraft use.  Enforcement action was taken on transportation of water.   

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and boaters on area lakes and rivers. He issued summons and written warnings for the following violations; failure to display watercraft registration, wake violations, failure to display PWC operation stickers, no life jacket on a paddle board, and no  angling license in possession.  A nuisance beaver permit was issued.  He followed up on a dumping violation; charges pending.  CO Sladek also answered a number of nuisance animal calls.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) worked boating, angling, and ATV enforcement. Violations were found for no angling license, extra lines, no PFD’s, and no watercraft registration. A complaint of ATV’s illegally operating below the OHM of a public waters was investigated and several animal complaints were handled.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked anglers and boaters on the metro area lakes.  He checked on an injured goose complaint in Eden Prairie and other animal complaints in Minneapolis.  CO Lee also returned calls on firearm safety classes and Pioneer Public Television on Hmong fishermen in southwestern Minnesota.

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent time earlier in the week on several public water and aquatic plant violations. Enforcement action was taken for altering the lake bottom and illegal removal of aquatic plants. CO Weyandt also attended a two-day training to become a backgrounder for the next group of conservation officer candidates. Academy is slated to start sometime in 2018.

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) reports a busy week on the water. The nice weather brought many people to the water throughout the week and into the weekend for the annual Lakefront Festival on Prior Lake.  CO Leuthardt worked with Scott County and neighboring CO’s during the festival. Enforcement action was taken on gunwale riding, operating without navigational lights, children under 10 without a life vest, and various other boating violations.  

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) assisted with a big game investigation. Time was also spent at area lakes doing AIS enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for fishing while revoked, no lifejacket, and fishing without a license.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week patrolling fishermen and checking boats with his K9 partner Shelby.   CO Grewe followed up with a nuisance animal complaint and assisted the Sheriff’s office with a threats complaint on Medicine Lake.

Bloomington – vacant.

Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and doing AIS enforcement.  He also spent time working on a big game investigation and responding to TIP calls.  Violations for the week included insufficient PFD’s and no license in possession.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked boating and water safety enforcement on area lakes. Anglers were checked throughout the week. CO Pril also spent time on AIS enforcement at area lake boat accesses and responded to complaints of possible permit violations and small game violations.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling and boating activity. CO Salzer also assisted with interviews involving an ongoing investigation and patrolled Hennepin County with CO Maass over the weekend. The officers arrested an angler who had a warrant, had given the officers a fictitious name, and was fishing while his angling privileges were revoked. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week working boating enforcement on area lakes and rivers. He assisted with the Lakefront Festival in Prior Lake that saw a large number of violations. He also spent a day at Camp Ripley armoring firearms. Enforcement action for the week included riding on the gunwales, not enough PFD’s, navigation light issues, and no fishing licenses.

White Bear Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked AIS, angling, boating, and commercial minnow activity during the week.  

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports a weekly radio interview was done with KLOH Radio in Pipestone. Normal summer activity continues to be worked with boating, personal watercraft, fishing, and ATV the main enforcement focuses. A WMA land dedication event was attended in honor of a 91 year old Marshall resident who was one of the original 12 area game managers hired by the MN Dept. of Conservation in the late 1940’s, now known as MN DNR. Enforcement division training was attended at Camp Ripley.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers, working boating safety, and enforcing invasive species laws.  Firearm armorer training was attended.  Some small lakes have begun producing decent bites.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) patrolled area lakes for boating and angling activity.  Enforcement action was taken for littering and assistance was given at an injury motorcycle accident.

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) focused time working boating, angling, and ATV enforcement throughout the week.   Time was also spent at Camp Ripley attending training for background investigators. 

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time completing background investigation training at Camp Ripley. A complaint of a person removing vegetation on a WMA was fielded. Enforcement action was taken. Officer Gutzwiller responded and assisted with an accident involving injuries in Lac qui Parle County.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) worked primarily angling and boat and water activity. The officer reports seeing smaller numbers of people out on area lakes and rivers and anglers reported a slower bite. Enforcement action was taken for fishing license violations, allow illegal juvenile operation of an ATV, and fail to display ATV registration.

Lake Benton – vacant.

Worthington – vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) spoke at a firearms safety class.  He issued a nuisance beaver permit and also spent time on commercial activity.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) spent time working area lakes for angling and boating activity.  He worked ATV and Glacial Lakes State Trail use.  Follow up was completed on AIS violations submitted by AIS inspectors.  CO Vernier also attended division training at Camp Ripley.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time at Camp Ripley for training during the week. Other time was spent investigating complaints of work done in public waters. CO Klehr assisted the Meeker County Sheriff’s office on a report of a vehicle in the lake. Other time was spent checking people out boating over the hot weekend and checking on complaints of PWC’s operating after hours.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) spent a portion of the week at Camp Ripley attending background investigator training in preparation of the upcoming academy.  CO Miller investigated several potential public water and wetland violations.  A PWC complaint was addressed and enforcement activity for the week was related to a channel catfish over limit and an over limit of over length catfish.  CO Miller reports seeing numerous groups of pheasant chicks and turkey poults over the past week.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled his area checking activity relating to boat and water safety, angling, ATV, and AIS.  CO Gruhlke also completed a radio program discussing topics including watercraft registration and PFD requirement for kayaks and paddleboards.  He also attended training put on by the Jackson and Cottonwood County Attorneys and the State Patrol.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked anglers and watercraft on area lakes.  Complaints of shore land violations were investigated.  A public waters restoration order was served. 

Hutchinson West – vacant.

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, boaters, ATV operators, and monitored AIS activity during the week.  The officer assisted with staffing a Turn in Poachers (TIP) Trailer at an area county fair and also located a missing child while at the fair.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, boating, and recreational vehicle enforcement this week.  Time was also spent monitoring public access sites for AIS violations.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) worked area rivers for boating and fishing activity.  Assistance was given to a local agency on arresting individuals with warrants.  ATV and AIS activity were worked as well.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent monitoring AIS compliance at area public water accesses. Officer Ihnen also assisted TIP in displaying and staffing a “Wall of Shame” trailer at a local county fair.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked angling and ATV enforcement, fishing success has dropped considerably with the warm temps. CO Henke responded to a wetlands complaint of a person building a race track in a wetland area, investigation continues.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) focused primarily on angling, boating safety, and AIS. Officer VanThuyne assisted a local agency with several arrests. Lakes were busy this weekend with a lot of recreational boating.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports investigating a public waters violation. A Resource Protection Notice was issued. Time was also spent checking anglers and campers on state forest land. Violations encountered were litter, possession of drug paraphernalia, and illegal operation of ATV’s. A tuber on the Root River was reported missing that was later located on the Mississippi. A subject boating by gave them a lift to shore.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers and boaters during the week.  Fishing success was mixed, but trout anglers did better than anglers on the Miss.  CO Heyn also assisted other officers with follow up to deer cases.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a continued busy river of boating and fishing.  While checking a boat, the boat operator advised the officers he was not drunk but he surely could not pass sobriety tests.  CO Hemker followed up on a deer case and attended a firearms safety class.  He received several animal calls including several rattlesnakes and a call of a sugar glider.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) spent the majority of the week patrolling for sport fishing and boat/water safety. Additional time was spent patrolling for ATV enforcement and performing a taxidermy inspection. Enforcement action was taken for possessing drug paraphernalia, fishing without a license, and failing to have a non-resident ATV trail pass. CO Seamans assisted Olmsted County Sherriff’s Office on a call involving an uncooperative subject carrying a firearm. The subject was on foot in a densely vegetated area and evaded law enforcement for over an hour. Eventually the subject was apprehended with the assistance of a helicopter and a drone.

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week checking fishing activity along the Mississippi River. Assistance was given to multiple agencies throughout the week for various calls. A taxidermy inspection was also completed. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession and fail to have legal life saving device on watercraft.

CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) spent time at Camp Ripley participating in background investigator training.  Time was spent on the Mississippi River pools 7, 8 & 9.  CO Fogarty fielded a bear complaint near Hokah.  The complainant was advised to remove all food sources from their yard and wait a few days for the bear to move on. 

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) monitored fishing activity on Lake Zumbro and the Cannon River. Trolling has seen the most success for crappies, but shore anglers have found luck with the traditional hook and worm set up. A stop was made on a vehicle for transporting a boat with the drain plug in. Although the driver stated multiple times that they did not like the law, they did understand the benefits of having the law in place. A detail was worked on the St. Croix River to help keep boat wake at a minimum during the construction of the new bridge.

Rochester #1 – 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 wetland, aquatic plant, and logging violation patrol flights.  Pilot Geving also gave a talk to Civil Air Patrol students about the conservation officer career.   

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports assisting with equipment at an aerial application training conducted in Brainerd and conducted a flight related to an easement issue before being grounded due to a maintenance issues.  A training/currency flight was also conducted for Forestry in their aircraft.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) met with wildlife roving crew members who came from around the state and met in Brainerd to test the spray equipment that will be used for the removal of cattails on state lands in the future.  Safety briefings were given on all the spray equipment and helicopter.  He also worked on administrative tasks and calibration of the spray unit.  Pilot Maas also participated in a flight to help remove deer from the inside of the airport property.  Every year, deer cause many accidents to civilian aircraft around the country during the takeoff and landing phase.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew sketch mapping and attended to maintenance on 605NR.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports working Lake of the Woods from the seaplane along with local officers. Good catch rates were noted.  Pilot Jensen also worked on some future remote lake flight assignments and rotary operations.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Mike Scott (NE) attended a TEP meeting in Carlton County with LGU and others and spent a day at Camp Ripley armoring Division firearms for Academy as well as officers. Officer Scott attended a district meeting in Grand Rapids and discussed AIS and WCA issues with officers. Officer Scott also worked an AIS check station in Aitkin County where 45 boats were checked and enforcement action was taken for transporting aquatic vegetation, fail to remove drain plug, and transport water.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked AIS enforcement around his assigned work area. WREO Haberman worked with officers at an AIS check station near Big Sandy Lake. He also worked ATV enforcement and checked anglers on Leech Lake.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week working on wetland cases.  Enforcement action was taken for fishing and ATV violations.  Public waters complaints were also handled. 

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) followed-up on and closed out several PW and WCA cases in several counties.  He also checked fishermen and continued to check AIS issues with water related equipment. Officer Hanson and K-9 Reggie assisted local PD with a search for a suspect that attempted to elude law enforcement.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) worked angling and boating enforcement.  Instruction was given to train new background investigators.  A site visit on a public waters violation was also attended.  A check station was also worked with K9 Brady.

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 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.

See Also:

STAFF NOTES:

NE RTO Mike Lee attended a division armors’ meeting held at Camp Ripley. Officers planned for the upcoming officer in-service held in August when all officer duty weapons will be inspected.  Officer Lee also attended a meeting planning for the upcoming Academy in 2018.  He assisted with an AIS check point held on Highway 65 along Big Sandy Lake in the McGregor station. Officers encountered violations for fail to remove plugs, transporting water, and transporting aquatic macrophytes.  Officer Lee also attended a district meeting and gave officers information on the new ATV Safety Training guidelines and info for answering questions for safety instructors in their areas.

Southern RTO Jen Mueller (acting) attended a meeting at Camp Ripley.  She certified eight high school Ag teachers as volunteer FAS instructors during their summer workshop.  She also met with a professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato to work on certifying a group of college students as volunteer FAS instructors.

Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence attended a meeting at Camp Ripley to review safety education project revisions.  RTO Lawrence worked on Trail Ambassador reporting guideline revisions with Parks and Trails Off-Highway Vehicle staff.  He also attended a meeting with the Off-Highway Motorcycle group.    RTO Lawrence assisted with patrolling area fishing locations and public access sites in Washington County.  

RTO                                                               PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
NE RTO Mike Lee                                         218-821-9747   mike.lee@state.mn.us
NW RTO Greg Oldakowski                           218-631-5972   gregory.oldakowski@state.mn.us
North Metro RTO (Vacant)                           
Southern RTO Jennifer Mueller                      320-234-3499    jennifer.mueller@state.mn.us
South Metro RTO Phil George                       507-775-2006    philip.george@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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