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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



District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on the Roseau River and snowmobile riders in the area. He also patrolled the Lost River State Forest and the Thief Lake and Roseau River wildlife management areas.

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. Enforcement action included angling with extra lines, angling license violations, failure to stop prior to a road crossing on a snowmobile and a snowmobile exceeding the speed limit.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette West), who worked a detail with COs Hill and Klehr, reports slow fishing on Lake of the Woods. Prachar worked angling and snowmobile activity. He took enforcement action for possession of fillets on special regulation waters, possession of marijuana, snowmobile registration violations and snowmobile headlight violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) monitored snowmobile trail activity and checked anglers on special regulation lakes throughout the week. He also spent time preparing for a spring firearms safety class and field day. Enforcement action for the week included no shelter license/identification, spearing without a license, angling license violations and ATV/snowmobile registration violations.  

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports focusing on angling and snowmobile enforcement this past week. Enforcement action for the week included angling with extra lines, taking fish with unattended lines, and possession of dressed walleye fillets on special management waters. He also investigated a TIP call about a possible walleye overlimit.

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers in the area. She handled a TIP complaint about overlimits of walleyes being taken from Upper Red Lake, and followed up on another angling violation in which an illegal-length northern pike was taken.

Warroad South – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time last week in the Grand Marais area on a work detail. Trout anglers and snowmobile operators were contacted throughout the holiday weekend. Various angling and snowmobile violations were encountered.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored snowmobile trails and angling activity on area lakes. He also worked a detail on Lake of the Woods and took calls about dogs chasing deer.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking anglers and snowmobilers. He assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office when a very intoxicated angler called 911 and complained he’d lost heat and power and that the other angler with him had taken his vehicle key. After a search of the lake, and with the help of the angler’s friend, Vinton and the deputy located the angler in his dark fish house. The temperature in the shelter was well into the 80s. CO Vinton was also asked to assist the DNR Enforcement air wing with an investigation and the Detroit Lakes Police Department and Becker County Sheriff’s Office with the annual Polar Fest festival. Enforcement action was taken for minor license and registration violations.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, coyote hunting and snowmobile activity. He also spent time preparing for upcoming firearms safety classes and responding to TIP calls.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) reports performing angling checks on area lakes. Anglers reported a slow bite. She also worked trails and waters for ATV and snowmobile activity, and provided information about licensing and regulations. Warren discussed an open case from the firearms deer season with the Becker County attorney and continued with aeration inspection activity.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobile activity. Anglers are still doing well spearing pike, but panfish and walleye activity has slowed.

Fosston – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports snow conditions are too poor for trail riding. Ice fishing continues to be the most popular outdoor activity, though some folks have switched gears and are looking for shed antlers. Richards spoke to a group of scouts in Breckenridge and described some of the work activities of a conservation officer. He spent most of his time checking fishermen and ice shelters, with some violations encountered.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) continues to work ice fishing activity and assisted a neighboring officer with a large ice fishing tournament. Violations encountered included no license in possession, extra lines, unattended lines, and an unregistered ATV. Plautz took a current college student in the natural resources program at the University of Minnesota Crookston on a ride-along. A fire destroyed a fish house on an area lake, but no one was injured.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATVs and fish houses. A fish overlimit complaint was received and investigated. The number of fish houses on area lakes has been declining over the past week.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports mild temperatures led to a significant loss of snow in the area last week, making snowmobiling all but nonexistent. Anglers enjoyed varied success throughout the station, mostly on panfish and pike. Several cases were made resulting in citations for extra lines, unattended lines and expired recreational vehicle registrations. Lawler assisted CO Osborne with a case involving an overlimit of northern pike.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) spent the week checking angling and recreational vehicle activity throughout the area. He also monitored coyote hunting and trapping activity. Along with neighboring officers, Holt worked a fishing contest that drew a large crowd on Smith Lake. Enforcement activity included angling license violations, angling with extra lines, angling with unattended lines and illegal length walleyes.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) reports working fishermen and coyote hunters during the week. Additional time was spent participating in a snowmobile work crew in Grand Marais and the BWCA over the holiday weekend with CO Baumbarger.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking fishermen and snowmobile operators. Baumbarger participated in a work crew in Grand Marais and the BWCA over the holiday weekend. 

Elbow Lake – vacant.

Wheaton – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked anglers and snowmobile riders. Angling success remained limited and snowmobile trails improved with the recent snowfall. Time was spent working on a public water case file. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, unattended lines, illegal-length walleyes and fish house violations.

CO Chelsey Best (Remer) checked fishermen and snowmobile riders. Activity remained slow but the fresh snow improved trail conditions quite a bit. Enforcement action was taken for registration issues in the vacant Park Rapids station. Incidental fur was again collected.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobile activity. Anglers continue to report limited success. Snowmobile trails could use more snow. Fishermen are reminded to check ice shelter removal dates and plan accordingly. Vehicles on snowmobile trails continue to be a problem. Enforcement action included no angling license in possession, angling with an unattended line, operating a motor vehicle on a snowmobile trail, failure to display snowmobile registration and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Park Rapids – vacant.

Staples – vacant.

Wadena – vacant.

Walker – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports snowmobile activity in the area was high over the long weekend with lots of families enjoying the sport. The International Voyageurs Snowmobile Club held its annual Falls International Speed Run Against Cancer on Rainy Lake. Kittelson assisted Voyageurs National Park with a snowmobile enforcement detail, the Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office with a snowmobile accident, and also handled several nuisance animal complaints.

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports the long holiday weekend and radar run brought increased traffic to the area. Registration issues and snowmobile driving conduct was addressed. He followed up on a TIP complaint and monitored an area where there’s an ongoing snowmobile trespass complaint. Slatinski also assisted an individual who is attempting to resolve an ATV ownership dispute. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports continuing to monitor area lakes and snowmobile trails. He encountered numerous angling and snowmobiling violations. Fondie checked forest roads and public access sites, and notes angling success remains limited.

CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked snowmobilers this past week and followed up on a small-game complaint. Trail conditions improved a lot over the past couple of days for snowmobilers. Velsvaag fielded multiple questions about snowmobile registration and how to display it.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobile riders and a fishing tournament, and responded to a call about a fight. He did a presentation on ice fishing laws at the Laurentian Environmental Learning Center for new ice anglers. Bozovsky checked an angler at a tournament and discovered he was unlawfully using artificial lights to attract fish. The angler was cited for fishing violations three years ago during a tournament on the same lake. Enforcement action for the week included angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, using an artificial light to lure or attract fish, and a number of snowmobile violations.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked anglers on area trout lakes and found some anglers catching lake trout and rainbow trout. He worked Lake Vermilion and checked anglers coming off lakes in the BWCA. There’s lots of new snow in the area and trails are in good shape.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports heavy snowmobile activity in the Ely area over the week, and that was before nearly a foot of snow fell Sunday afternoon. Fishing activity was also up as anglers took advantage of relatively warm weather and a decent trout bite. Violations included operating a snowmobile on a public roadway and an unmarked fish house.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement. There were a lot of snowmobiles out during the recent warmer weather. Enjoy the snowy conditions because there isn't much winter left.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) participated in a work detail with other officers in the Gunflint Trail area. They checked snowmobilers and trout anglers.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling and snowmobile enforcement. One day of 45-degree heat took a toll on the trail conditions but weekend snowmobile traffic was extremely high anyway. Enforcement action was taken for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, extra lines, fishing without a license, unmarked fish houses, unregistered snowmobiles, failure to transfer snowmobile ownership, and snowmobile speed, including a couple going more than 80 miles per hour. Casework on a felony drug case was completed and submitted for charges, and time was spent on several other cases as well.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area trail activity and responded to a snowmobile accident north of Finland. He also spent time walking area trout lakes.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked area trout lakes for angling activity. Snowmobile trails are busy with people out enjoying the fresh snow. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity during the week. Area trails are in need of some additional snow to smooth out things, but they are still in fair condition. Lake Superior ice fishing continues with some areas losing ice due to high winds. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area snowmobile trails, checked anglers, and worked ongoing cases. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display snowmobile registration, not stopping at a road crossing, fishing with extra lines, and no angling license in possession.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked snowmobile activity and fishing enforcement. He checked area lakes and patrolled area snowmobile trails. Snowmobile trails were good again this week, and with 12 to 20 inches of new snow in the area, they should be good for a while. Violations included spearing without a license, angling without a valid license, failure to stop at a road crossing on snowmobile, no snowmobile safety certification, snowmobiles on the roadway, and no license in possession. One snowmobile operator was found to be over the legal limit of alcohol in his system. If snowmobile riders are not members of a snowmobile club, Hansen advises them to join one in the area where they live or like to ride. Clubs are responsible for clearing and grooming trails and are having trouble getting the funding needed to do so. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked a snowmobile enforcement detail, checked anglers and issued road kill possession permits. The area trails are in good shape after the recent snowfall. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, angling with extra lines and snowmobile registration issues.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked angling and snowmobiling activity this past week. Trails have improved with the recent snowfall. Area lakes have been impacted by the snowfall as well, making it difficult for many people to get out on them. She reminds license holders that angling licenses expire at the end of the month. Also, shelter removal dates are fast approaching. Have a plan in place to get the shelter off the lake before the deadline.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobile and angling activity. With the new snow, an influx of snowmobilers hit the local trails, conditions on which have vastly improved. He worked complaints of trespassing and dogs chasing deer.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) monitored area snowmobiling and angling activity, and worked a snowmobile enforcement detail with neighboring officers. Anglers are reporting steady success on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for various angling and snowmobile violations.

Pengilly – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) attended a winter water rescue and survival course put on by the U.S. Coast Guard. He worked winter angling and snowmobile enforcement and assisted with staffing the Turn In Poachers Wall of Shame at the Duluth Deer Classic. 
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked ice angling activity on area lakes and worked snowmobile enforcement. Anglers reported mixed results on panfish and pike. A number of fish houses were being removed. Humphrey, along with other officers, assisted TIP at the Duluth Boat, Sports, Travel and RV Show/Northland Outdoors Duluth Deer Classic at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Angling, license, and snowmobile violations were encountered.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) answered several questions while working the TIP booth at the Duluth Boat, Sports, Travel and RV Show/Northland Outdoors Duluth Deer Classic. He spent time checking anglers and fish houses in the area. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and information was taken on fish houses that did not have proper identification on them. Patrols were conducted in area state parks, where enforcement action was taken for having dogs off their leash.

Brookston – vacant.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended ice rescue training with the U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard. The focus was self-rescue techniques for those working alone in remote locations.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked snowmobilers on area trails as more snow finally fell. As a result of high winds, ice has left many of the fishable areas of Lake Superior. Any remaining opportunities will be in sheltered areas. Miller worked the TIP Wall of Shame booth at the Duluth Boat, Sports, Travel and RV Show/Northland Outdoors Duluth Deer Classic. He took enforcement action for snowmobile violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and snowmobile activity. Assistance was given to the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with a kids’ ice fishing day. One individual was contacted regarding the deer feeding ban.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd 2) worked sport fishing and miscellaneous nuisance animal complaints this week. Guida discussed some litter and public nuisance concerns with an event coordinator of an area fishing tournament. A couple of animal possession permits were issued for road killed deer.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) continued checking anglers and observed an increase in snowmobile activity in the Cass County area. CO Sullivan also received TIP reports of illegal length walleyes being kept and an angler double-tripping and keeping over the limit. Enforcement action included angling with extra lines, possession of a controlled substance, no shelter license and illegal deer feeding. 

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports patrolling snowmobile and ski trails, checking fishing activity, and monitoring the Cuyuna Country State Recreational Area. Numerous enforcement contacts were made for violations including no trout stamps, licenses and stamps not in possession, ATV registration, operating an ATV on a grant-in-aid snowmobile trail and within a state recreational area, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and consuming alcohol in a state recreational area. 

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports working on fishing enforcement this past week. Ice anglers are out but many are starting to remove permanent houses because of poor ice conditions and a slow bite. Complaints of garbage and wood blocks left behind were reported and investigated. Some of the fishing violations observed included unattended lines. He checked numerous aeration permits on area lakes and snowmobilers on the lake, and assisted one rider who lost part of his hood while driving across the lake.   

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked on trapping and deer hunting cases from this past fall and winter. McGowan also spent time presenting snowmobile and ATV laws to local law enforcement officers, and patrolling for snowmobile and angling activity. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working area lakes for fishing activity throughout the week and weekend. Some nice northern pike and panfish were seen, along with some trout. Fitzgerald patrolled area snowmobile trails, which were pretty rough with the lack of snow and warm weather. He saw a few people out riding. He fielded a call about a dead owl found in a backyard and answered many outdoor law-related questions. He patrolled the CCSRA park and saw quite a few bikers out enjoying the nice weather and trails. Fitzgerald assisted a local agency with several calls for service and spent time at the Aitkin Rippleside School Fishing Day at a local lake where around 70 kids came out to ice fish. Some panfish and northern pike were caught and many of the kids enjoyed trying ice fishing. Enforcement action for the week included various fishing and SRA rule violations.

CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) checked anglers and snowmobilers, appeared in court on a case from last summer, and assisted on a work detail for the Fishing for Ducks event in Garrison.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angler activity including the Ducks Unlimited fishing contest on Garrison Bay. Marginal snowfall continues to coax out snowmobile riders, whether their machines are registered or not.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) spent the week checking anglers. She saw some crappies and a few perch. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession. Speldrich investigated a TIP call of leaving a portable ice shelter up overnight without a shelter tag. The shelter tag was present but was faded by the sun. Littering still remains an issue on the lakes. Several deer possession tags were issued and a nuisance beaver call was handled. Snowmobile trails are in nice condition after the recent snowfall.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked fishing, snowmobile and ATV activities. He made plans for firearms safety, snowmobile safety and ATV safety classes. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, unattended lines, no fishing license, failing to display snowmobile registration, and expired ATV registration. Starr also started gathering GPS data on fish houses with possible removal issues and possible litter cases if the owners are not attentive.  

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent most of the week checking ice anglers. Warmer weather and good ice conditions had high numbers of people out on the lakes. One angler was removed from his fish house and brought to jail due to a warrant for past DWI charges. Extra time was also spent patrolling a few lakes that had problems with anglers leaving their garbage behind that resulted in some enforcement action taken for littering. Other activity included citations for snowmobiling over the speed limit.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) took calls about nuisance animals and questions about ATV operation in state forests. He checked anglers throughout the Pine City area during the week. Anglers reported a slow bite.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) worked area state forests, checking timber permits and looking for fuel wood theft. The Fishing for Ducks tournament was Saturday near Garrison, with good numbers of anglers participating in the event. A fair number of fishermen around the lake were preparing to have houses removed before upcoming weather makes it more difficult. Fish house owners are reminded to remove all blocking under their houses so area residents don’t have to do shore clean-up. Croatt arrested an individual who had several outstanding warrants. The man stated it would have been nice if the Croatt would have been a few minutes later because he was packing up to leave.

Malmo – vacant.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) received calls regarding a trespass complaint of people pulling fish houses onto a private lake. But the neighbors were allowing access through their property, so there was no trespass. Kuske is still finding many fish houses with no shelter license or no identification on them. She also investigated a TIP call of a contractor doing work in a wetland. The work being done was legal, but the contractor had failed to file the required liability form with the local soil and water conservation district office. It was the sixth time the contractor had been cited for the same violation.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time monitoring angling activity. He also gave a presentation at Melrose High School for career day. Silgjord fielded and investigated a small game hunting complaint that resulted in a wanton waste violation. He also conducted follow up on a big-game investigation that resulted in the discovery of multiple violations, including taking a deer without a license.

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports checking ice fishermen and following up on a possible deer hunting license violation. Enforcement contacts during the week were made for angling without an angling license, litter and failure to display ice shelter identification.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers. Enforcement action for the week included no angling license, extra lines, no snowmobile registration, no trapping license and using an aeration system on a public water without a permit. He also conducted a game farm inspection.

Pierz – vacant.

Paynesville – vacant.

Annandale – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers on local lakes. One angler who was cited for an illegal length northern pike claimed the fish grew in size overnight outside his shelter. Londgren investigated a complaint of working within a wetland/river bed and responded to calls about injured animals.

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) focused on trapping and fishing activity, which remains very high in the area. He handled calls about trespass issues and dogs chasing deer. Enforcement action was taken for fishing, ATV and snowmobile violations.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week. Shelters are slowly being removed from local lakes and fishing success has slowed. Enforcement action was taken for driving an ATV while revoked and operating an off-road motorcycle on the roadway.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked anglers in Wright and Stearns counties this week. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, no angling license and no shelter license. Reller assisted the Wright County Sheriff’s Office on an individual allegedly using poison to kill starlings on his property.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) spent the week checking ice anglers and following up on various cases. Fishing success in the area continues to be hit or miss, with most anglers reporting small panfish. Seamans responded to a call involving two dead great horned owls. The owls were found in the snow underneath a powerline locked together by their talons. During the week, enforcement action was taken for angling with unattended lines, using extra lines and fishing without a license.

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week checking anglers and following up on big-game violations. He took enforcement action for several violations.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and ice fishing shelters. He found violations for angling with extra lines and no shelter ID/licenses. Follow up was done regarding an ongoing big-game case.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking fishermen, patrolling snowmobile trails and training with K9 Shelby. Grewe took a complaint of a stolen portable fish house on Lake Minnetonka. Violations included license possession violations and an ATV passenger under the age of 18 not wearing a helmet.  

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) investigated a complaint that involved the illegal filling of a public water and wetland in Hennepin County. He also spent time working ice anglers and ATV and snowmobile riders on area lakes and trails. Maass also attended an information sharing meeting on current trapping trends.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) has been busy on local lakes with warming weather. Enforcement action for the week included fishing without a license, extra lines, and possession of paraphernalia. 

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked snowmobiling and fishing activities on the metro-area lakes and trails. He assisted a Colorado Parks & Wildlife officer with a big-game case in Minneapolis and patrolled a state park. Officer Lee also returned phone calls to the Asian community on firearms safety classes and fishing regulations.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked anglers in the Bloomington station and Fort Snelling State Park. He provided a ride along to a state parks volunteer who is a POST eligible/National Guard- Blackhawk helicopter pilot. He took enforcement action for no angling license in possession, fishing with extra lines and unattended lines. Le also returned calls about injured animals.

Mound – vacant.

Bloomington – vacant.

Prior Lake – vacant.

Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week checking ice anglers in the area. Many people were out but very few fish were caught. A few snowmobilers braved the tough trail conditions. Enforcement action for the week included angling, license, and trespass violations.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked snowmobile and angling enforcement in Dakota and Scott counties. He checked on a complaint regarding possible big-game violations and followed up on an unlicensed fish house case. Pril also attended the Rasmussen College Advisory Board meeting in Eagan.

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (White Bear Lake) reports checking anglers as well as ATV and snowmobile riders. With higher temperatures, area snowmobile trails have dwindled significantly. Leuthardt also attended a boat and water meeting. Angling pressure has stayed pretty consistent, but fishing success has been limited on most area lakes.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports teaching the laws and ethics portion of a firearms safety class in Forest Lake. He issued a wildlife possession permit, did aeration inspections and handled a call about a nuisance animal. CO Arntzen also continued working ATV, fishing and snowmobile enforcement.

Ham Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working snowmobiles and checking ice anglers. Snowmobile trails have deteriorated greatly. Angling success has been fair with some area lakes producing good crappie bites. Many fishing shelters came off the lakes Saturday night and Sunday. 

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time working angling activity. Enforcement action was taken for license issues. He also attended a Fur Committee meeting and taught the law and ethics portion of a firearms safety class in Clara City.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) spent time working anglers and coyote hunters throughout the week. He also responded to a vehicle that went through the ice on Lac qui Parle Lake. Enforcement action was taken for angling license and fish house license violations.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) conducted investigations and checked ice anglers during the week. He worked a snowmobile enforcement detail with fellow COs in the Arrowhead Region of Minnesota. Angling and snowmobile violations were encountered.

CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent time checking anglers, snowmobile riders and coyote hunters throughout the week. Snowmobilers hit the trails hard over the weekend with the excellent riding conditions.

Lake Benton – vacant.

Redwood Falls - vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) followed up on TIP calls and spent time on commercial activity. He also checked angling and spearing activity.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) spent time on area lakes checking ice angling and ATV activity. He completed aeration inspections and collected an incidentally caught fisher. Vernier also worked trapping and coyote hunting activity.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent most of the week working fishing activity. While fishing has been generally slow in the area, an overlimit case was made on two individuals with extra crappies. Klehr spent the weekend at Lake of the Woods working with another officer and a local officer. While fishing activity was slow on the lake, there was enforcement action taken for violations including no license in possession, possessing fillets, no snowmobile registration and failure to display registration.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) conducted aeration system inspections over the past week. There continues to be plenty of sport fishing and snowmobile activity. Heavy winds resulted in an ice shelter and its contents being blown across Kansas Lake in Watonwan County. The shelter, which had been on the lake for some time, had no identification or shelter license. To obtain possession of the shelter, the owner should contact Miller. Miller continues finding numerous fish houses that are left unattended and don’t have a shelter license placed visibly outside of the shelter.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) checked activity relating to ATVs, fishing and snowmobiles. Gruhlke worked snowmobile riders at Kilen Woods State Park, the Des Moines River, and area trails in the road right of ways. Angling activity continues on area lakes with some walleyes, crappies and northern being caught.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked anglers and shelters, inspected ATVs and snowmobiles, and investigated trapping violations.

Hutchinson East – vacant.

Hutchinson West – vacant.

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent time checking anglers, completing aeration inspections and investigating trapping/ fur registration complaints last week. Enforcement action was taken for drug and extra line violations. Henke spent time talking with numerous younger anglers out on the ice this week, many of whom had success icing a few fish and some of whom needed some tips. Henke also assisted local law enforcement with calls, and issued citations for no park passes in state parks.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked anglers and ATV operators this week. Anglers are reminded to pick up all of their trash when removing their shelters, and that shelters may not be stored at public accesses.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking fishermen and ATV and snowmobile operators. He spent additional time patrolling for litter violations on area lakes and public water accesses. As the shelter removal date approaches, anglers should make sure to take all garbage or debris off the ice with them when they remove their shelters.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) checked fishing and snowmobile activity this week. VanThuyne also responded to numerous complaints of injured animals and checked fish houses for litter.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) worked area lakes, including an ice fishing contest, and patrolled for litter issues. He offers a friendly reminder to help clear the ice of garbage before leaving the lake. Aeration inspections were conducted. The officer also assisted a neighboring county with an attempt-to-locate issue.

Faribault – vacant.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) checked fishing activity as well as small game and predator hunters. He found two squirrel hunters using high top football cleats to navigate the snowy bluffs. Hemker has been getting help from landowners where deer had been shot at night.

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week checking ice anglers. She also spent time assisting local agencies with various calls, attending a Red Wing Wildlife League meeting, and giving a presentation along with CO Kylan Hill to the Cannon Falls Triad group. She also completed station aeration inspections. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working ice fishing on Lake Pepin and the backwaters of the Mississippi River. Fishing has been spotty, but some nice saugers were found on the ice along with some limits of bluegills and a few pike. Both snowmobile and ATV riders were contacted throughout the week with some registration issues addressed. Prodzinski also provided the county attorney’s office with additional documentation and information in preparation for some upcoming hearings. 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking trout anglers who were out during the warmup. Success and compliance were good. He also spent time returning calls about the upcoming spring turkey hunt. Shed hunters are active and having success.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers and snowmobile riders during the week. Some anglers are using their boats; fishing success was mixed. Heyn also attended meetings and handled other calls. 

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports working a heavy week of snowmobile and ice fishing enforcement with other officers on Lake of the Woods. Walleyes, saugers, and a few decent-sized pike were seen in the bucket. Hill was happy to see anglers from multiple states enjoying their fishing. Violations included no license in possession and possessing dressed fillets. There was lots of snowmobile activity around Lake of the Woods with multiple unregistered sleds contacted. Other violations included no headlight and failure to display registration.

Rochester #1 – vacant.

Rochester #2 – vacant.

LaCrescent – 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

Standby NR Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) continued training with CO Pilot Jensen out of Brainerd.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of wolf and bear telemetry flights. Jensen also continued flight training for another pilot trainee.

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying flights related to maintenance and proficiency. He attended a training seminar with other divisional partners.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a bear telemetry flight to locate hibernating bears so wildlife managers can visit the dens to get vitals such as weight and change their transmitter battery. Heineman also flew a wolf pack count.

CO Pilot Bob Geving spent the week at Thief River Falls flying census surveys of the state’s elk herds. 

NR pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance and administrative projects. He also researched future articles for pilot training. 

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week attending various meetings. Work was done on ongoing waters, APM and AIS cases. Correspondence was conducted with local government units, hydrologists and field officers regarding case status and progress. RMS cases were updated and tracked. Time was spent talking to fishermen and calls to LSP were answered. Trainings regarding AIS are being set up.

WREO Mike Scott (NE) spent the week working at the Duluth Boat, Sports, Travel and RV Show at a booth with Minnesota Sea Grant talking to people about AIS issues and concerns. He also spent time at the Wall of Shame booth talking to folks about TIP and answering questions related to hunting and fishing. He also worked public waters cases.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued to work on RMS cases and older pre-RMS cases. Haberman also covered duty days for officers and checked fishermen on local lakes.

WREO Leah Weyandt (Central) attended a TEP meeting in Todd County to go over open violations and applications. She also attended a Watercraft Inspector Program meeting and talked about plans for the 2019 budget year. Weyandt received a call about an abandoned fish house that a teenager brought back to his house for safe keeping. The fish house was returned to the owner with no enforcement action taken.

WREO Luke Belgard (SW) worked trapping, coyote hunting, and snowmobile activity. He conducted follow up on ongoing wetland and public waters cases, and attended a technical evaluation panel.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) checked ice anglers. She also investigated a TIP complaint of trapping in a park; it’s a good reminder to not tamper with other people’s traps. Siems also addressed possession of drug paraphernalia.

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.


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:


NE RTO Mike Lee completed work on firearms safety instructor backgrounds. Lee also assisted at the Duluth Boat, Sports, Travel and RV Show/Northland Outdoors Duluth Deer Classic at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. He also attended meetings and planned for the upcoming Academy.

North Metro RTO Brett Oberg (Acting) focused on scheduling online field day locations and staffing for the spring. Oberg also helped answer questions safety instructors had. Supplies and props were picked up for field days and backgrounds were completed.

Southern RTO Jen Mueller (Acting) spoke on a professional panel for law enforcement students at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Topics covered were hiring processes, backgrounds, interviews and other general law enforcement questions from the students. She did a radio interview with the local radio station KDUZ on snowmobile safety and attended media training in Zimmerman. 

South Metro RTO Phil George (Acting) spoke at a firearms safety all day range and field day, organized an instructor course and spoke with instructors about upcoming courses. He checked anglers and snowmobile operators, and took enforcement action for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence attended meetings with off-highway recreational user groups and other DNR staff. Discussions were about youth safety training and accident data from 2017. Lawrence answered questions on snowmobile safety and registration and cleared out evidence from a firearms deer season case. 


RTO                                                                                       E-MAIL:
NE RTO Mike Lee                                                                 mike.lee@state.mn.us
NW RTO Greg Oldakowski                                                   gregory.oldakowski@state.mn.us
North Metro RTO Brett Oberg                                               brett.oberg@state.mn.us
Southern RTO Jennifer Mueller                                              jennifer.mueller@state.mn.us
South Metro RTO Phil George                                               philip.george@state.mn.us                 
Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence                             bruce.lawrence@state.mn.us

Curriculum Specialist: Vacant

Education Specialist: Vacant

Curriculum Coordinator: Vacant



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