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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 Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked small game, snowmobile, and angling enforcement. Enforcement action included angle with unattended/extra lines, angle without license in possession, transport dressed walleye, and possess filleted walleye on special management waters.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette West) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement during the week.  Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines and possession of fillets on Lake of the Woods.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) continued to monitor area outdoor activities.  The local sheriff’s office was assisted with a domestic disturbance and an incidentally snared deer complaint was investigated.  Area ATV riders are reminded that they are not allowed on the Grant in Aid snowmobile trails, even when using tracks rather than wheels.  Enforcement action included angle with extra line, no snowmobile registration, excessive speed on snowmobile, fail to stop at roadway on snowmobile, and multiple instances of allowing juveniles to operate a snowmobile illegally.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working angling and snowmobiling activity throughout the week.  Time was spent investigating complaints of litter left on lakes and issuing car killed deer possession permits.  Enforcement action included no angling license, snowmobile/ATV registration, and snowmobile speeding violations. 

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports working angling and snowmobile enforcement this week. A detail on Upper Red Lake was worked with several other officers. Enforcement actions included take fish without license, angle with extra lines, angle with unattended lines, and operate unregistered snowmobile. Assistance was provided to the sheriff’s office with a reported assault on Upper Red Lake.

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) focused primarily on angling enforcement over the course of the week. Time was spent working a detail on both Upper Red Lake and Lake of the Woods. Multiple anglers were checked and enforcement action was taken for various angling related offenses.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Karlstad - vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 - vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending most of this week working out of the area in the Grand Marais station.  Winter lake trout anglers and snowmobile activity was worked with several other officers.  Several contacts were made during this annual winter lake trout opener.  Time was also spent contacting ATV operators and assisting with fur registration.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) concentrated on snowmobile, angling, and ATV activities.  Permanent shelters are beginning to leave lakes as anglers tire dealing with increasing slush. He also assisted other law enforcement and spoke of laws and ethics at snowmobile safety classes. Again, thank you to volunteer instructors and the snowmobile clubs that make the program a success.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked snowmobilers and ice anglers.  Several were checked while angling for trout during the trout opener.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes.  Time was spent patrolling snowmobile trails and talking to a group of kids at a snowmobile safety class regarding laws and safe riding. 

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) worked angling and snowmobiling in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. Time was also spent working in Itasca State Park and following up on incidents. Snowmobile trails are in good condition throughout the area.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports snowmobile trails are in pretty good shape and ice conditions have improved but there are still areas of slush on some lakes. Fishing has slowed. Several accidentally taken fisher were surrendered by trappers and sold.  CO Vinton assisted with fur registration day in Wadena. Enforcement action was taken for failure to mark shelters, no license in possession, angling without a license, and failure to display nonresident trail permits.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training, worked snowmobile enforcement, and followed up on ongoing complaints.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen and snowmobilers.  Time was also spent assisting with the Fergus Falls snowmobile youth safety class.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling activity on area lakes.  Anglers are reporting a slow bite on most lakes. Trails and lakes were worked for snowmobile and ATV activity.  CO Warren responded to a snowmobile crash.  Complaints of dogs chasing deer were received.  Fur registration was attended with wildlife staff.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobile activity in the Moorhead and Pelican stations. With slightly better ice conditions, anglers are getting out more. The officer still encourages anglers to use caution as two people fell through the ice on Lake Fifteen this week. The officer would also like to remind anglers that their shelter tag and identification numbers must be visible from the outside of the fish house. A large number of fish houses were found to be in violation this week. The officer taught the law and ethics portion of the Barnesville snowmobile safety class to 17 students and attended the Hawley Boy Scouts meeting to talk about the duties of a conservation officer. Possession permits for car struck deer were also issued. Enforcement action was taken for improper identification on a fish house, no shelter license displayed, angling without a license in possession, and illegally importing hunter-harvested cervidae.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports there is enough snow in the area for groomed snowmobile trails and limiting vehicle travel on lakes.  Shelter and angling violations continue to be the most prevalent during this time of year.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) registered otter and bobcat and handled trespass complaints on coyote hunters. Fishing and snowmobile activity was monitored and a car killed deer permit was issued.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked fishermen/fish houses and worked snowmobilers on area trails.  CO Nelson met with a safety instructor who taught both snowmobile safety and firearm safety for a combined total of 85 years!  Aeration inspections were completed as well as answering questions from the public regarding cold temperatures effect on wildlife.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATV’s, and snowmobiles.  Over limit complaints were investigated along with coyote hunters trespassing south of Battle Lake.  A snowmobile safety class in Fergus Falls was taught along with CO Gary Forsberg. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued to work angling and snowmobiling activity on area lakes and trails.  Snowmobile activity has risen sharply with trails being groomed and warmer temperatures.  Fishing activity remains strong in the Alexandria area with lots of fishermen checked over the weekend.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work angling and spearing activity on area waterways. Snowmobile activity has picked up and the Osakis snowmobile safety class was completed with 23 students certified. Trapping and predator hunting activity was monitored and deer season investigations continue to be closed out.

CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working sport fishing, coyote hunting, and snowmobile activity.  Minnow transportation permits were issued.  Requests from the public for information were returned.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts checking ice fishermen/fish houses and snowmobile activity.  CO Anderson was part of a work crew in the Glenwood area primarily on Lake Minnewaska.  Complaints were received regarding persons chasing coyotes with snowmobiles.  Waters restoration orders were checked for completion and questions from the public were handled and phone calls returned.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts included checking fishermen, ATV, and snowmobile operators.  CO Baumbarger had a work crew on Lake Minnewaska with lots of anglers checked. Additional time was spent checking predator hunters.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) reported snowmobilers were out in force enjoying the trails and warmer temperatures.  Enforcement action was taken for numerous registration issues, shelter license violations, and angling without a license. 
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check snowmobiles and anglers.  Activity in the area was higher with the warm up in the weather.  A deer taken out of season complaint was investigated.  Enforcement action was taken for over limit of northern pike, extra lines and unattended lines, no fish house license, and expired snowmobile registration.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring fishing, trapping, and snowmobiling activity.  Anglers continue to report limited success.  Area snowmobile trails are in decent shape.  Colder weather limited recreational activity during the week.  CO Broughten followed up with cases from the 2016 deer season.
CO Chelsey Best (Remer) assisted the Cass County Sheriff’s Department with an intoxicated person call in the city of Remer. CO Best also investigated a TIP call regarding an over-limit of squirrels, for which enforcement action was taken.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports recent cold weather has kept most people inside, however with warmer weather over the weekend more people ventured outside.  Fishing success on Rainy Lake was slow, typical January, and snowmobile trail conditions are improving as the groomers are out in full force.  Enforcement action included operate motor vehicle on snowmobile trail.  

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports improving ice conditions and a reprieve from the frigid weather snowmobile riding, ice fishing, and cross country skiing activity saw an increase this week. Officer Slatinski assisted other officers with the execution of search warrants and evidence collection. He also assisted with freeing a vehicle stuck as a result of slush on Rainy Lake. Enforcement activities included driving conduct on snowmobiles and various fishing and fish house related violations.

CO Colleen Adam (Ray) assisted with ongoing investigation and reports and also checked ice fishing and trapping activity.  The Parks and Trails staff have been busy trying to set up/groom the state trails and local clubs are keeping spur trails in good shape for access to services.  Ice conditions are variable and many areas with flooding and slush.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes for angling activity.  Trout angling was monitored with little activity.  Area snowmobile trails were monitored with a slight increase in activity. 

CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked snowmobilers and anglers this past week.  CO Velsvaag also followed up on a snaring complaint. 

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) assisted with search warrants and trapping case.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and trout angling activity.  Otter and bobcat were also registered.  A considerable amount of time was spent working with other conservation officers on search warrants in the Hibbing station.

 CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time checking anglers on area lakes and snowmobilers on area trails. Area snowmobile trails are in good shape where they have been groomed, where the groomer has not run over the trail it is noticeably rougher. CO Frericks assisted other conservation officers in serving a search warrant. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) assisted other officers with the execution of search warrants and assisted with a trapping case.  Fishermen on local trout lakes were checked and some Lake and Rainbow Trout are being caught.  Violations of expired ATV and snowmobile registration were found along with no MN angling license and no fish house shelter license.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports he assisted officers on Upper Red Lake and Lake of the Woods as part of a work detail. Temperatures ranged from the -30’s with almost zero visibility to just above freezing over the four day assignment. Violations included angling without a license, possession of marijuana, and possessing unmeasurable fish.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) found the weekend to be very busy for snowmobilers and fishermen.  The weather was nice so it seemed everyone was out enjoying the lakes and trails.  Trout fishermen were generally doing okay, while some were doing very well.  There are areas of slush on the lakes, but nothing too significant yet.   

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked with several officers for the trout opener.  It was a glorious weekend as the weather and ice conditions couldn’t have been better for mid-January.  It was a weekend that trout anglers dream of all summer long.   The fish also cooperated.  Fishing and snowmobile violations were encountered.

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) attended Tribal Court in Cloquet on a case from moose season.  The officer worked a busy trout opener in the Ely and Grand Marais areas.  One angler contacted had not bothered to register his snowmobile for many years, figuring the odds were good he would not be caught.  While working snowmobiles on GIA trail, the officer happened upon a gentleman stripping off his clothes; fortunately he stopped before baring more than his chest to the passersby. His buddies had a good laugh as he was clearly not expecting to have his snowmobile registration checked by the conservation officer while he was half clothed.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a very busy trout opener.  Lots of snowmobiles were out enjoying the good conditions as well.  Time was also spent on trapping cases.  Enforcement action for the week included fishing trout in closed hours, no trout stamp, unmarked fish houses, no shelter tag, expired snowmobile registration, no safety training, and fail to transfer ownership.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) checked area anglers on a very busy trout opener.  Nice temperatures, but slow fishing all week.  Snowmobile activity was also monitored as well.  Very high volume of snowmobiles in the area.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent time checking anglers during the trout opener.  The snowmobile trails are shaping up nicely and a lot of people were out riding them. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked the winter trout opener in the Grand Marais station and worked on a trapping complaint. Fishing success varied greatly from lake to lake but anglers were thankful for the warmer weather arriving for the weekend. Area snowmobile trails were in excellent shape but lake conditions were drifted and extremely rough.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, assisted with a trapping case, and patrolled area snowmobile trails.  Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speed and fail to display current snowmobile registration.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked small game, big game, snowmobile, and fishing enforcement.  He also issued road kill deer permits.   Violations included fail to display snowmobile registration and operate snowmobiles on the roadway.  Snowmobilers are reminded they need to operate in the bottom or outside ditch of the roadway.  Trails in his area are in good shape and snowmobile clubs are continuing to maintain them. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails, and assisted the county with locating a suspect that fled into the woods. Angler success was good this week. The area snowmobile trails are in good shape. Enforcement action was taken for registration issues and license issues.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked anglers this past week.  She also checked snowmobiling and cross country ski activity.  Trout opener was fair for catching depending on where anglers went.  Enforcement action was taken for not having angling and trout stamps in possession.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked anglers and snowmobiling activity.  CO Sutherland took enforcement action for angling without a license, possessing a fisher out of season, and unregistered snowmobiles.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobiles, trails, and shelters.  He also worked on a trapping case during the week.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) focused on angling and snowmobile enforcement.  CO Van Asch participated in a work detail that covered Upper Red Lake and Lake of the Woods. Anglers were reporting moderate success on both big lakes.  Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession, taking fish without a license, possession dressed fillets, angle with extra lines, and over limits of walleye.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Brookston) spent time during the week assisting with a trapping investigation, monitoring angling activity, and patrolling area snowmobile trails.  Area trails were found to be in good shape with many riders out enjoying the warmer temps.  Anglers were out as well but having limited success.  Violations for the week included no license in possession, fail to display registration, fail to validate site tags, and fail to renew registration.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the majority of the week working on a trapping investigation.  Time was also spent working on theft of several traps and a snowmobile trespass complaint.  CO Duncan worked the opening of winter trout fishing in the Grand Marais area.  Many people were checked over the weekend and plenty of nice fish were seen.  Snowmobile activity was also worked.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers along the North Shore, including areas near McQuade and Knife River as well as anglers on Island Lake.

Lake Superior Unit - vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked snowmobilers and fishermen.  Officer Hunter checked on an abandoned snowmobile and attended fur registration in Park Rapids. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd 2) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement this week.  Anglers and spear fishermen were checked and success varied.  Officer Guida saw a large increase in snowmobile traffic to the lakes area.  Assistance was given to the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office with a snowmobile that burned up on the trail.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, spearing, and snowmobile enforcement.  An enforcement contact was made with one spearer who had two muskrats.  Assistance was also given to Aitkin Wildlife staff with fur registration. 

CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) spent time checking anglers and monitoring snowmobile activity. Warmer weather brought out lots of snowmobilers and also seemed to boost angler success. Good catches of crappies and walleye were seen.  Enforcement activity included unmarked fish houses, no shelter tags, ATV youth passengers without helmets, snowmobile speeding, no reflectors on fish houses, and expired ATV and snowmobile registrations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for angling and snowmobile activity throughout the week.  Snowmobiles were out enjoying excellent trail conditions.  Enforcement action was taken for numerous snowmobile and angling violations. 

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports focusing on the winter trout season opener in the Cuyuna Country State Recreational Area.   Great weather over the opener brought high numbers of trout anglers and pike spearers out on the mine pit lakes, and the trout cooperated for many.  High weekend snowmobile traffic was also patrolled, and cross country ski trails were checked. Numerous enforcement contacts were made for violations including snowmobile and ATV operation and registration, no trout stamps, fishing with more than one line on designated trout lakes, and over limit of lake trout. 

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement this past week.  The ice anglers are out in full force and report the walleye bite is fair. Violations observed were no license and unattended lines.   Ice pressure ridges continue to grow on area lakes.  Reports of fish house damage and gear left out unattended overnight was investigated.  Complaints of unlicensed and no identification on fish houses were reported.  He also worked on complaints of careless snowmobile operators.  Violations observed were speed and trespass on agriculture land.  

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails.  It was a busy weekend with a snowmobile event around the Big Sandy area and several anglers out as well.  The trails that were open were in pretty good shape and several snowmobilers were enjoying the change in the weather.  Several anglers were contacted.  One group was contacted after CO Ladd observed several tip-ups near some fish houses but no one was around.  There was a flag up with no one attending to it.  After some time the anglers saw her and came out stating that they had just gone inside to watch the rest of a sporting event. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) observed large amounts of snowmobiling in the Walker area and fishing pressure continues to be strong on Leech Lake.  Anglers are having mixed results with walleye and perch success on Leech.  CO Sullivan completed tasks for leaving the Walker station and transferring to Pequot Lakes. 

Cuyuna SRA - vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angler activity and the motor vehicle they used to get there.  Snowmobile trails were in good condition and bringing a lot of sleds out for the first time this year.  Operators need to have registrations affixed before hitting the trails.  CO Verkuilen also dealt with fishing contest concerns and addressed a trespassing complaint. 
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) attended a work detail for Upper Red Lake and Lake of the Woods in the bitter cold. The very cold yet brief temperatures slowed fishing down for a bit, but fish were still biting.  Recreation vehicles that were traveling on the lakes were checked as well. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, unmeasurable fish, possessing fillets on special regulation lakes, and over limits of fish.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen with most having some luck at catching fish.  The officer monitored snowmobile traffic with quite a few sleds out but the trails were showing wear after the busy weekend.   CO Fitzgerald fielded calls regarding collector snowmobile permits and also car kill deer permits were issued.  A call of someone dumping fish on an area lake and a call of an abandoned snowmobile were investigated.  Enforcement action included various ATV, snowmobile, and fishing violations. 
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked ice fishing activity and found walleyes to be biting very well. Anglers should use extreme caution on Lake Mille Lacs, as high winds and variable temperatures have caused ice ridges to open up and become unsafe. CO Starr assisted with upcoming safety class preparation and fielded questions from the public related to snowmobile trails.  A reminder to snowmobile sellers/buyers that ownership must be transferred upon sale or purchase of snowmobile.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) checked trout anglers for the trout opener on Minnesota’s inland lakes.  Mild weather conditions brought out more trout anglers than usual causing trout lakes to be very busy.  The calm winds and clear skies did not help with catching fish as many trout anglers that were checked were able to find fish but struggled getting them to bite.  There was also some snowmobiling activity on area lakes and a handful of sled owners dealt with  needed to renew their registration.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week checking anglers in the Pine City area.  He took calls on nuisance animal questions, safety class questions, and questions on shelter licensing.  Ice on area waters had varied depths with 13" being found in most locations.  Pan fish are the majority of fish seen in angler's buckets.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) assisted the area snowmobile club with some trail maintenance in the Wealthwood State Forest.  A logger cutting in the area was very helpful using a harvester to clear the trail from storm damage occurring during the summer.  Another reminder to look at registration before heading out on ATV and snowmobiles and respect private property lines.  Enforcement action taken on fishing and recreational vehicle violations.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports the “warm up” in weekend weather definitely increased the number of people enjoying outdoor recreation.  Snowmobilers took advantage of the snow, while it is still there; trail crossings are well worn.  Anglers enjoyed being out, whether they had success or not.  Coyote hunters were out.  Incidents of dogs chasing deer and running on landowner’s property are increasing.   

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on continuing investigations and evidence related to those cases.  The officer checked anglers and snowmobile activity in the area.  Phone calls regarding fishing and fishing shelters were handled as well.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked snowmobilers, anglers, and coyote hunters.  Time was spent working follow up from the deer season with one violation found for lend and borrow of a deer tag.  Nice weekend weather had many people out enjoying the new snow on snowmobile.  Enforcement action included expired snowmobile and ATV registration, lend borrow deer tag, no license in possession, and no identification on fish house.  Injured animal calls were handled.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers, snowmobiles, and ATVs. CO Mies also worked on complaints in Stearns and Wright counties.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) reports while checking anglers on an area lake she encountered three kids (none wearing helmets) in a class two side by side ATV with no parent and the driver being twelve years old.  A parent was contacted and found to not be home and the youth did not have permission to take out the ATV.  CO Kuske dealt with a fishing license fraud case involving illegal purchases of husband/wife combination angling licenses.  A snowmobiler was observed by CO Kuske leaving the marked trail and trespassing onto private property.  The snowmobiler was quickly educated about trespass and being respectful of other people’s land.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) patrolled area snowmobile trails, conditions are improving. CO Kuske provided a law presentation at a snowmobile safety class. He worked the trout opener in the Crosby area mine pits. He also handled several car killed deer permits and a call about a three legged deer at a person’s bird feeder.

St. Cloud – vacant.

Sauk Centre – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week.   All lakes are being driven on by most types of vehicles.   Fishing success has varied with some pan fish being caught.  

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked snowmobile, ice fishing activity, and a deer investigation. Snowmobilers got some much needed snow and many hit the trails.  Several anglers reported unattended lines on an area lake.  While reeling in a walleye, one of the anglers noticed another fishing line tangled in his line. After pulling his fish in, the angler pulled up the other line to find a walleye hooked on the line that had been left unattended in a nearby fish house.  Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, unattended lines, extra lines, careless driving, and numerous snowmobile violations.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked area ice fishermen and snowmobilers this week. With the new snow the snowmobilers finally were able to use the groomed trails in the area. Ice fishermen have been having some success with the pan fish and northerns, but walleyes are still being elusive in the area.  

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers. Violations were found for no angling license, no snowmobile registration, and no snowmobile safety certificate. A trespass complaint was received on a predator hunter and follow up was done on an illegal lend/borrow deer case.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked snowmobilers on area trails. He issued written warnings and summons for trespassing, no registration, failure to display registration, and failure to transfer ownership. He met with the county attorney on a big game case. He assisted a Wyoming Game Warden on a possible violation and responded to a number of injured swans.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) has been working snowmobile enforcement and ice fishing predominantly.  The bite varies from lake to lake, but some over limits have been discovered.  Snowmobile violations have been noted, mostly registration issues.  Underage drinking has been an issue over the holiday weekend.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked anglers on West Metro district area lakes. He met with staff from Vietnamese Social Services and the Karen Organization of Minnesota to discuss outreach activities and recruitment. He worked the 2017 winter trout opener in Carver County. Enforcement action was taken for taking trout in closed season, angling with extra line, no trout stamp validation, and no angling license in possession.

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) had a busy week checking anglers, snowmobilers, and ATV operators. Snowmobilers enjoyed the fresh snowfall and with temperatures staying cool they were able to take advantage of some trail and ditch riding. CO Leuthardt also worked with neighboring officers during the winter trout opener. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, over limit of trout, underage drinking, various snowmobile and ATV violations, and several ice shelter licensing violations.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked snowmobiling and fishing activities on the metro area lakes and trails.  He attended a meeting in central office regarding outreach to the Asian community on hunting, fishing, and career information with the DNR.  He also received calls on animal complaints and firearm safety classes.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking fishermen and monitoring snowmobile activity.  CO Grewe gave a presentation at Hennepin County Water Patrol about fishing enforcement and also attended a fishing event with a local Cub Scout group.  Violations this week included no fishing license in possession and angling with extra lines. 

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) conducted snowmobile patrol on area trails and lakes. It was discovered that there was thin ice on Lake Sarah where the trail connects on the northwest side of the lake. The local snowmobile club was aware and arranged to have the trail routed around the thin ice. Time was also spent on the trout opener. Enforcement action was taken for expired snowmobile registration, fishing in a closed season, and no license in possession.

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent most of the week checking ice houses for proper identification and licensing. A reminder to anglers leaving their houses overnight, two square inches of reflection is needed on each side of the shelter for the safety of people traveling on the lake at nighttime. Fishing has been slow, reports have been of small perch biting throughout the metro.

Bloomington - vacant.

Ft. Snelling - vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked trout ice anglers over the weekend. He worked snowmobile and ATV enforcement on area lakes and trails. He also investigated a complaint of a possible small game violation in Ramsey County and assisted with the Wall of Shame TIP trailer.

CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) had a busy week with many people out enjoying the winter weather.  With the good ice conditions there were many anglers out, and with the added snow the snowmobile trails have vastly improved.  CO Willis also spoke with a Minnesota Studies class at North St. Paul High School about the career path of a conservation officer.  Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, no fishing license, too many lines, fishing prior to legal hours on a designated trout lake, fail to display ATV registration, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring snowmobile and ATV activity.  He worked the fur registration station at Carlos Avery.  CO Arntzen also spent time doing follow up on deer cases and handled a nuisance animal call.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) continued assisting with an ongoing investigation in Anoka County and attended meetings in St. Paul. CO Salzer also worked the trout opener at Cenaiko Lake. Several violations were observed and enforcement action was taken.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the weekend monitoring trout angling in the south metro. Success was fair with anglers catching some fish. He also patrolled on snowmobile and did equipment maintenance. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession, no angling license, and possession of controlled substance.

White Bear Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer - vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) spent time checking ice anglers, coyote hunters, and monitoring snowmobile activity.  Enforcement action included fishing with extra lines, and snowmobile registration violations. 

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ATV, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and predator hunting activity.  This officer continues to pick up litter left by ice anglers.  Angling violations were encountered.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports that many people are taking to area lakes in permanent houses.  The crappie fishermen appear to be catching the most fish on LQP.  Many calls were received about ice conditions.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports normal winter outdoor activities continues to be worked. Ice fishing success has slowed a little from last week but some nice numbers of walleye, perch, and crappie are still being caught. Fish shelter owners are reminded that any fishing shelter left on the ice overnight/unattended needs to be registered. Snowmobile and coyote hunting activity continues to increase thanks to a few inches of new snow.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) concentrated this last week’s enforcement efforts on angling activity and litter violations. Officer Gutzwiller has received numerous complaints from the public related to the amount of litter on area lakes. Local officers continue to monitor this issue. A meeting was held with local volunteer Firearm Safety, ATV and Snowmobile Safety instructors. Thank you to those who continue to volunteer their time to these programs.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports checking ice fishermen on area lakes and talking with numerous families who were encountered during the “Take a Kid ice fishing” weekend. Many families took to area lakes to enjoy the warmer weather while ice fishing. Fishermen reported moderate success on area lakes but were out in relatively large numbers over the weekend.  Enforcement action included angling with extra lines and ATV registration violations.
Marshall 2 – vacant.

Worthington - vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) checked anglers and snowmobilers.  He followed up on a trespassing complaint related to predator hunting.  CO Denz also spoke at a snowmobile safety class.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) patrolled area lakes for ice angling activity.  He spent time on Glacier Lakes Trail and surrounding trails during a busy snowmobile weekend.  CO Vernier assisted the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office with a medical. He also assisted a local business with ginseng certification.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent most of the week checking anglers and had the trout opener over the weekend with lots of anglers out to try their luck. There was lots of snowmobile activity in the area over the weekend. Some snowmobilers had to be reminded to make sure their snowmobile registration is current. An aeration inspection was completed and a wetland restoration meeting was attended as well.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson-West) worked angling enforcement during the week.  Fish houses were checked for proper identification.  CO Mueller and another officer worked the area trails by snowmobile checking snowmobile operation and registration.  She also spoke at two snowmobile safety classes. 

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson-East) checked snowmobilers out enjoying the little bit of new snow on the ground.  Good compliance was observed overall.  Enforcement action was taken for failure to stop at a road crossing and registration issues.  Trapping enforcement was also worked and a new area fish bite has started.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) mainly worked fishing and snowmobile activities.  The Nicollet County Trails Association held its annual snowmobile radar run over the weekend.  Despite the lack of snow, the run was well attended and the weather was otherwise perfect.  Anglers continue to catch a few walleyes, perch, northern pike, and sunfish, but there was no “hot bite” anywhere in the station.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) taught the law and ethics portion to a snowmobile safety class in St. James.  A restoration order was served this past week in response to a public waters violation.  Other public water complaints were investigated.  Enforcement efforts focused on sport fishing and violations continue to be observed related to ice house licensing and littering issues.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) reports that he worked ATV’s, ice anglers, coyote hunters, and completed his radio program with KKOJ.  He also taught the law portion of the snowmobile class held in Jackson and assisted with the ride portion as well.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted inspections on anglers, shelters, and ATV’s on lakes.  Ice continues to climb in thickness with an average of 16”.  Investigations of taking pheasants out of season was performed.  Anglers continue to leave trash and small fish upon the ice.   Anglers are reminded that enforcement action will be taken in these cases.

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week focusing on fishing, ATV and snowmobile activity. Officer Ihnen also patrolled for litter on lakes and public accesses. Predator hunters were also checked.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked angling activity, conducted aeration inspections on area lakes, and gave a school presentation in St. Peter.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) focused on ATV and fishing activity. Plenty of people are using the lakes even though fishing hasn’t been the best. CO VanThuyne also checked predator hunters and aeration systems.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) reports checking ice anglers and predator hunters around the area.  Several ATV’s were checked for registration.  The officer also attended a radar run in Nicollet County.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, hunters, trappers, and snowmobile & ATV operators during the week.  The officer also gave a laws & rules presentation at a snowmobile safety class in Mantorville.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling snowmobile trails in Hutchinson with CO Mueller.  Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, no license in possession, and feeding deer during a feeding ban.  CO Fogarty also took a call of a sick owl.  The owl center in Houston assisted in taking the juvenile owl in for much needed medical attention. 

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) checked anglers in Goodhue, Rice, Wabasha, and Dakota Counties. A nighttime walleye bite has anglers excited on Lake Byllesby while the crappies on Lake Zumbro have been keeping anglers guessing. Enforcement action for the week included no fishing license in possession, over limit of crappies, and fishing with an extra line.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers and snowmobiles.  Fishing success was slower overall, but some areas were doing well.  CO Heyn also handled other calls and worked on equipment. 

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working ice fishermen on the backwater of the Mississippi River, snowmobiles on area trails, and deer hunters in the CWD zone.  Fishing has slowed down a little with smaller fish still being active but the nicer fish being a little harder to find.  The new snow has stayed in the valleys and created a little snowmobile activity in the area.  The deer hunters are still finding a few deer in the CWD zone. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports very heavy snowmobile activity on marginal condition trails.  He followed up on complaints involving trespass, deer feeding, and an ATV on the snowmobile trail.  CO Hemker also continues to get nuisance animal calls and complaints including a question about someone wanting to possess a monkey.

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week checking area ice fishermen. Anglers were reporting a decent fish bite and many families were seen out for the beginning of Take-a-Kid fishing weekend. The officer also spent time patrolling for snowmobile activity but due to the lack of snow, little activity was observed. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester 2) spent the majority of the week patrolling for sport fishing and CWD zone enforcement. CO Seamans also handled various wildlife complaints. Enforcement action included burning prohibited materials, operating an ATV in a WMA, and failing to register an otter within 48 hours of the season close. CO Seamans investigated the mysterious death of an owl and responded to a possible bobcat track in Rochester. The tracks belonged to a rabbit.

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) attended to administrative matters and flew a wolf telemetry flight in the Arrowhead Region. 

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) helped complete the annual northeast moose survey. Snow conditions were excellent across the range of plots.  Good numbers of cow/calf pairs and a few pairs of twin calves were observed.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew all week on the helicopter moose survey finishing on Saturday afternoon. Good work by both helicopter crews completed the work in some challenging conditions.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of flying wolf pack counts. Pilot Jensen also positioned aircraft for ski install and was called to assist with a pursuit of a stolen vehicle in Motley.

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying several wolf telemetry flights as well as flights related to aircraft maintenance and tailwheel proficiency.  Ground training tasks were completed as well.

Enforcement Education

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

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

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

Reminder---anyone born after December 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:


NW RTO Greg Oldakowski (Acting) reports giving an instructor clinic for snowmobile and ATV instructors.  A youth snowmobile safety class was given, as well as attending a Regional Training Officer meeting.  Deer possession permits were issued and enforcement action was taken for failing to register furbearers.


West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports working on instructor background checks, planning for upcoming volunteer instructor certification training and informational forums, and completing recertification training for an area Hunter Education/Firearm Safety instructor.  Wednesday he attended a RTO meeting at Camp Ripley.  Saturday he spoke to a youth snowmobile safety class in Ogilvie. Instructor training presentations were also reviewed and updated.
Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week at meetings and training.  A RTO meeting was attended at Camp Ripley.  HEFAS Instructor Training was conducted at Blue Earth and an instructor forum was attended in Montevideo.

SW Metro RTO Kevin Neitzke attended a meeting at Camp Ripley.  He returned emails and calls regarding volunteer instructor forums and instructor training classes.  RTO Neitzke assisted with an instructor forum at Carlos Avery WMA.  He also worked on developing and updating training materials.

Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence attended a Regional Training Officer meeting at Camp Ripley.  RTO Lawrence, along with RTO Neitzke, hosted an instructor forum at Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area Headquarters.  RTO Lawrence also conducted Snowmobile Safety Instructor Training at Carlos Avery WMA for a group of Boy Scout leaders and worked on finalizing ATV safety instructor updates.  He patrolled northern Chisago and Isanti County area snowmobile trails for activity and registration enforcement and participated in an interview with the MN News Network on snowmobile trails and snowmobile laws.

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
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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