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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) continued working the firearms deer season.  Court was attended on a gross misdemeanor deer shiner/DWI that was arrested.  Case follow-up and paperwork was completed from cases the previous week.  Assistance was given to officers in the Blackduck area with illegal shining activity, and charges are pending for shining/transport loaded firearm, as well as operating an unregistered/uninsured vehicle. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked big game, angling, and ATV enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for operate an ATV during restricted hours and operate an unregistered ATV.

CO Nick Prachar (Baudette West) reports that hunter numbers have dropped since the second weekend.  Ice is forming on Lake of the Woods and resorts are getting geared up for the upcoming ice season.  Enforcement action was taken for possession of slot limit northern.  There is no such thing as spear and release.  Make certain that you know you are about to kill a legal length fish before you throw a spear through it.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) continued to monitor firearm deer hunting activity along with early ice angling.  Early ice proved to be fruitful for local anglers and mild temperatures kept deer hunters afield.  Enforcement action included transport loaded firearm, untagged big game animal, shoot from the road at big game, fail to register big game, take in wrong zone, allow juvenile to commit game violation, take deer over bait, and store ice shelter on public water access.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking deer hunters throughout the week.  Time was spent investigating TIP calls of hunters trespassing, shooting from the road, and shooting from vehicles.  A report of stolen traps was forwarded to the sheriff’s office.  Work details with neighboring officers were worked with enforcement action taken for shooting from the roadway, shooting from a motor vehicle, and trespassing.

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports focusing time on deer season and checking ice anglers on Upper Red Lake. Ice conditions continue to vary with several unsafe areas even for foot travel. An ATV went through this weekend and a search was conducted for a group of anglers that were on foot and became lost after dark. Enforcement action for the week included walleye over-limit, angling without a license, shining after legal hours, and small amount of marijuana.

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) spent the week focusing on rifle deer hunting and ice fishing activity. Many eager anglers made it out on Upper Red Lake over the weekend, despite the lake still having spots of open water. Multiple anglers were checked and enforcement action was taken for over-limit of walleye, angling without a license, and no ATV registration. A detail was worked with other district officers. Charges are currently pending for no insurance, no driver’s license in possession, no registration on motor vehicle, transport loaded firearm, and using artificial light to locate animals.

Warroad South – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time working on deer season related cases and following up with deer hunters concerning past violations.   An accidentally caught fisher was seized.  Car-kill deer permits were issued.  Deer carcass import violations were addressed.  Some anglers have been seen out on area lakes.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) followed up on cases from the first week of deer season and assisted as TFO in a shining flight.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued to work firearms deer hunting activity.  Several individuals were checked during the season and reported mixed success.  Individuals were cited for shooting from the roadway and no blaze orange.  CO Vollbrecht responded to a trespass complaint where an individual shot a deer on an agricultural field after being told by the landowner they could not hunt the property.  Enforcement action was taken for the violation. He also testified in a case regarding geese being taken out of season.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) spent the week checking deer hunting, small game, and trapping activity. Time was also spent monitoring rec vehicle activity in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. CO Holt followed up on complaints and worked several details with other officers in high complaint areas. Violations encountered included hunting license violations, shooting from the road, and trespassing.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports anglers have begun venturing out on area lakes. Ice thickness reports vary and anglers should be reminded if they plan on going out on the ice they should have the necessary equipment should they go through the ice.  CO Vinton also continued with post deer season investigations and began a background investigation of a potential new conservation officer.  

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked on reports and follow-ups from the rifle deer season.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent a majority of the week following up on open cases from the firearms deer season.  Two Hawley high school students were given an opportunity to ride along with the officer for a day.  CO Chihak also attended a training event in Fargo.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) spent time on follow up and complaints from the firearm deer season.  Complaints of illegal dumping of deer carcasses were received.  The public is reminded to dispose of the remainder of processed deer in a proper manner.  Area ice anglers have begun to venture out on the ice and angling activity was monitored. 

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) followed up on trespass complaints that happened during deer season.  He also handled several nuisance wildlife calls.
Fosston – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports working on follow-up investigations after the firearms deer season.  Waterfowl hunters were checked with large concentrations of geese throughout the area.  Most hunters report the geese are well educated and tough to finish in the decoys.  Ice fishing has begun on some lakes but most are not safe yet.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) was called to rescue an injured loon that was on a county road. CO Plautz retrieved the loon and released it into some open water. The officer also responded to an injured swan, where the swan was rescued and transported to an animal hospital for rehabilitation. CO Plautz continues to receive complaints from deer season and is following up. Several car hit deer permits were issued and some ice fishermen were finding success on an area lake. Larger lakes are still wide open so please use caution. A snowmobile safety class talk was given on the laws and ethics of riding.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl and small game hunters.  Follow-up from the deer season was completed along with paperwork.  Waterfowl numbers in the past week have declined with lakes starting to ice over.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) kept busy this week with follow-up work from the firearms deer season.  Several people were found failing to register their deer, either forgetting or thinking they didn’t have to.  Late season Muskie fishermen were monitored; a few having some good success.  A TIP from a local firearms safety instructor led officers to an illegally harvested deer shot over bait during an illegal party hunt.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on firearms deer season follow-up and deer season complaints.  The officer spoke at the Steven’s County snowmobile safety class in Morris.  Calls/complaints from the public were received about deer carcasses dumped in road right of ways and questions were answered regarding waterfowl hunting, antlerless deer permits, legal access to public water, and trespass. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking pheasant hunters, trappers, and ATV operators.  Additional time was spent checking ice fishermen, answering questions about upcoming muzzleloader season, and water access rules. 

Elbow Lake – vacant.

Osakis – vacant.

Wheaton – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Chelsey Best (Remer) finished up the last week of the regular firearms deer season taking enforcement action for some license and registration issues as well as a deer over-limit case. An adult wolf was also successfully released from a snare set in the Crosslake station.

CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) followed up on deer season cases.  A large nearly 500 lb black bear was hit by a car outside of Staples.

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) followed up on additional deer hunting information from the rifle deer season.  Officer Hunter received information of an untagged deer which resulted in an over- limit of deer.  CO Hunter also took a call of a possible hunting over bait issue.

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) worked another week focusing mostly on firearms deer hunting issues.  Trespassing complaints, over-limits of deer, taking big game without a license, and failure to tag big game were included. CO Parthun checked the first ice fishing shelters of the season, as many lakes were frozen over.  

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring hunting and trapping activity. Deer hunters reported limited success for the closing week of firearm deer season. CO Broughten investigated complaints of hunter harassment and illegal party hunting.  CO Broughten investigated multiple complaints of dead deer.  In most cases, it appeared hunters did a poor job of tracking. CO Broughten also observed his first ice fishermen of the season, however recent weather has reopened some of the smaller lakes.  Larger bodies of water are still open.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to work deer hunting investigations.  Time was also spent working on a background investigation for a conservation officer applicant.

Wadena – vacant.

Walker – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports end of deer season ended relatively slow with minimal success by hunters.  People are reminded to dispose of deer carcasses in the legal manner, instead of dumping them along the public roads.  Enforcement action for the week included operate ATV during closed hours, fail to validate tag, and burning prohibited materials.

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports the second week of the firearms deer season in the northern part of the state saw much less activity than the previous week, with many hunting camps found to be empty. Carcass dumping complaints continue to be heard. Calls were fielded in regards to nuisance animals, and possession permits requested for car killed deer. CO Slatinski encountered his first ice anglers for the year who were happy to be on the ice despite lack of cooperation from the fish. An assist request to help locate a missing hunter had a happy ending with the individual located safe and unharmed. The site of a prohibited materials burning complaint was visited with the responsible party contacted.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports a quiet end to the deer season. Complaint areas were monitored. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s office. Hunting camps were visited and concerns expressed about the lack of deer. Early fisher/pine marten trapping areas were monitored.

CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked deer hunters this past week and followed up on several hunting complaints.  He also took multiple phone calls on deer regulations and checked some trapping activity.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports the final week of deer season was fairly busy and the officer was still seeing deer being harvested.  The officer assisted deputies and BIA officers with a suicidal female that was hiding in the woods.  She was found with some minor injuries and was transported by ambulance.  The officer assisted the county and state patrol with a lost hunter. The hunter had been missing since sunset, five hours earlier.  The hunter finally was able to find a trail out in the early morning hours.  The hunter was extremely exhausted but otherwise unharmed.  The officer also assisted CO Velsvaag and CO Frericks with a case involving the theft of 80 plus hides from donation boxes.  The individual is facing charges.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked a busy final week of deer season and a number of complaints.  Deer baiting and shooting from the roadway dominated the list including a case where a couple hunted over bait, failed to register one of the two deer shot over it, and failed to properly tag one deer.  Unlawful party hunting was also handled.  The officer found a spruce top theft in progress on state land, followed by the suspect fleeing from the officer on a snowmobile. The suspect was tracked by the officer and then fled on foot.  He was arrested when he was found hiding in the brush.  Enforcement action was taken on attempt to take over-limit of deer, unlawful party hunting, borrow a license, hunt over bait, fail to validate site tag, fail to register deer, shoot deer from the roadway, operate ATV during the closed hours, flee an officer in a motor vehicle, flee on foot, transport decorative materials without a permit, theft, and trespass.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) wrapped up the final week of the firearms deer season by checking hunters. Violations of hunting deer over a baited area, transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, and taking deer from the roadway were addressed. Almost all area lakes have frozen over and some ice anglers have ventured out onto the lakes.  

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) wrapped up the hunting season with violations of trespass shooting within 500 feet of a residence, shoot from roadway, fail to register, and no license in possession. CO Fredin noted hunter numbers down from week one. Most report seeing lots of does and fawns and some bucks were harvested.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports cool weather and more snowfall contributed to slowing deer hunting pressure over the last week of the regular season. However, more hunters were checked trying their luck inside the BWCA, with some success.  Complaints of trespass and deer being shot from the roadway continued to come in and are being investigated.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) found the last weekend of the deer season to be relatively quiet with very few shots being heard.  Trespass issues and shooting from the road continued to be a common complaint.  The warm weather days really damaged the ice that had formed on rivers and lakes, so keep that in mind as it refreezes and be very careful with early ice this year.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports a fairly busy week.  While following up on an investigation of whitefish nets being allowed to freeze into an area lake, he stopped by a residence to find an untagged buck.  Upon further investigation, it was determined the buck was shot over bait from the resident’s deck.  The .22 rifle (which is not a legal caliber for deer) used to shoot the deer was seized along with the eight point buck.  Snowmobilers out ditch banging were also checked.  Ice conditions are not safe for the most part.  Checking the ice thickness frequently, ice picks, and a wearing floatation device is highly recommended if one choses to venture out.

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) investigated a call about a hunter taking a deer from a county roadway; the shot was legally taken, although it was close to a residence and on public lands.  One member of the hunting party was unhappy that the warden had been called.  He was told to expect to see us if they continue to drive the roads for deer rather than the woods. CO Manning also wrapped up a couple cases from bear season and followed up on wolf cases.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the final week of the firearms deer season.  Several complaints were worked.  Enforcement action included litter and no license in possession.  Many dumped deer carcasses are showing up.  No one wants to see birds, legs, rib cages, etc. on or near the roads.  Please use proper disposal options.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked are hunting activity again this week.  CO Schottenbauer assisted the Silver Bay PD with a hunting complaint in city limits.  Time was also spent working an angling complaint and started looking into a background for hire.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking deer hunters and investigating hunting complaints. Trespass calls were followed up on and wildlife calls were handled.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a cold final weekend of the firearms deer season. Many hunters reported seeing deer and most camps had at least one deer hanging on the camp pole. Ice anglers are beginning to venture out on area lakes with some shallow lakes having as much as 6-8 inches of ice already, but lakes vary greatly this time of year and must be approached with caution and common sense. Enforcement action was taken for licensing and baiting violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked deer hunters and handled calls associated with deer season.  CO Patten also assisted the Sheriff’s office with several calls.  Enforcement action was taken for wanton waste, take antlerless deer without a permit, hunt without a license, and possess firearm when prohibited.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked deer hunting activity seeing less hunters out with the colder weather. Enforcement action was taken for deer over-limit, baiting, failing to register a deer, hunting without a deer license, and illegal party hunting.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked deer hunters this past week. She took calls about trespass issues. Enforcement action was taken for multiple violations and she continues to work on cases from the deer season.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) reports working big game, ATV, and small game enforcement. CO Van Asch fielded and handled complaints regarding road hunting and trespassing. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer without a license, failing to validate a site tag, operating an ATV during closed hours, and operating an ATV with too many passengers.

Pengilly – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) continued to work deer hunters through the last week of season.  Baiting complaints, trespassing issues, shooting from roadway, and deer dumping complaints were handled.  Poor weather during the week kept hunters at bay, but some deer were seen.  Enforcement action was taken for illegal party hunting, various tagging issues, blaze orange, and shooting from roadway.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the week working the firearm deer season.  This included responding to several calls for service and following up on deer hunting related complaints.  CO Duncan checked many hunters throughout the deer season and with the exception of a few, people were happy and having fun.  Several nights were worked in areas where deer shining activity has happened in the past.  Some of the violations that were encountered during the week included unlawful party hunting, lending and borrowing licenses, trespass, deer shining, and shooting from within the road right-a-way.  
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued with firearms deer season work which resulted in enforcement action for unlawful party hunting, lending license, failing to register deer, illegal transportation, transporting loaded firearms, and other license related violations.  Baiting issues continued to be addressed.  Hunter numbers thinned out the last week of the season.  CO Humphrey assisted Lt. Speldrich with a commercial forest product theft case.  Phone calls continued with questions and concerns dealing with various topics including unethical and un-sportsmanlike action and behavior from other hunters.  Some hard water anglers were venturing out on thin ice this weekend.  Caution is highly advised.  

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports seeing several successful deer hunters over the firearms deer season. This past week complaints of shining deer and trespassing were investigated. Advice was given on calls of a dead deer found in someone’s yard and a deer seen with a broken leg. A complaint of deer parts that were dumped on private property was investigated. Some time was spent patrolling area state parks. Enforcement contacts were made for shining deer, ATV violations, and no vehicle permit in a state park.

Brookston – vacant.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked the final week of firearms deer season in the vacant Brookston station.  The hunting seemed to quiet down with very few bucks seen during daylight hours, many camps reported the big bucks moving nocturnally. CO Olson attended an ice rescue meeting with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and other agencies in the Duluth area, preparing for the ice emergency season. Ice has formed in some back bays of area lakes, but few have ventured out on it. He assisted Gnesen Twp. FD in removing a hunter from the woods north of Duluth that suffered a stroke while in deer camp; the hunter was airlifted to a Duluth hospital. Commercial records for Lake Superior operators were inspected for end of the season requirements.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked deer hunters, early ice anglers, and commercial herring nets.  Ice conditions vary by lake, but the smaller lakes had some activity from tip-up anglers.  Follow-up was completed on deer cases.  Enforcement action taken for big game and angling violations.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd 2) worked big game hunting activity, sport fishing enforcement, and background investigations.  Officer Guida cautioned anglers that were fishing on thin ice and reminded them that no fish is worth drowning for or worth risking the safety of the public/responders in a rescue attempt.  The firearms deer season was worked in Aitkin County with numerous hunters checked and assistance was given on a trespassing complaint.  Road hunting complaints were fielded.  Officer Guida also started work on a background investigation on a conservation officer applicant.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked firearms deer and related ATV activity.  Trespass and hunter harassment calls were also addressed.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) reports continued work on big game cases finding untagged deer and unregistered deer amongst other violations.  She also observed a couple of anglers testing out the ice in various locations.  The ice is thin and many areas are still open. 

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) reports working waterfowl and big game hunters throughout the week.  Deer hunters reported fair success as waterfowl hunters reported little success as numerous lakes started to freeze over.  Enforcement action was taken for failure to validate/tag deer, illegal party hunting, and hunt in a closed area.  Assistance was also given to local law enforcement agencies with calls for service.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) continued big game investigations and completed paperwork on big game cases.  Reports of hunters shooting from the road, hunter harassment, and deer carcasses being dumped also came in.  CO Sullivan also attended court on an impaired operation of an ATV and fleeing case in Cass County. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Cuyuna SRA) reports working the last week and weekend of the 100 series firearms deer season.  Calls regarding trespassing, hunting during closed season, and car kill deer permits were fielded.  Patrol was done in the SRA for dumping and illegal ATV use.  A call regarding drug paraphernalia being dumped in the SRA was taken and many outdoor law related questions were fielded.  Assistance was given to a local agency on a kayak floating on an area lake and calls regarding dumped deer carcasses were taken. 

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked the final week of deer season where people tried to cut corners including loaded guns in motor vehicles and lack of ATV registration.  Smaller and shallower lakes are iced over and muskrat trappers were out making use of it before chopping becomes too much work.  A few ice anglers were also checked at the shore when they came in. 

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) reports that a couple of the southern bays of Mille Lacs Lake have ice in them, but would not consider any of it safe. People have the itch to ice fish but it is recommended that they wait until there is a consistent cold snap. Deer hunters were checked throughout the area and reports were good. Many people passed on deer waiting for big bucks but did see deer.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) completed an investigation on a shoot from a motor vehicle/trespass/illegally take antlerless deer case with the help of a WI warden.  The suspect’s rifle was seized and charges are pending.   She also investigated a baiting/trespassing complaint.  Over the final weekend of firearms deer season, several citations were issued for loaded firearms in motor vehicles.  Enforcement action was also taking for under 18 passengers on ATVs without helmet, ATV registration issues, and operating an ATV without the required equipment.  Information regarding lending/borrowing licenses was also documented.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked a very quiet last week of deer season and monitored trapping activity.    A trespass situation was dealt with and assistance was given to the local sheriff’s office on DNR related laws. Ice is just beginning to form, so use caution and have a backup plan if you venture out.  A reminder to folks about proper deer carcass disposal, as caresses do not belong in view of the public.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) worked the final week of the deer season and had an increase in trespass calls and an increase in road hunting complaints.   One of the more unfortunate problems throughout the firearms deer season was the number of dead or injured deer found and reported by landowners and hunters.  A few of the found deer were tracked back to where they were likely shot and further investigation determined that there was likely a lack of tracking effort.  A handful of hunters were talked to about the ethical obligation and importance of ‘giving it everything you got’ when it comes time to recover a deer.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) continued with deer season by checking hunters and following up on complaints.  He spent time working shining activity and areas of concern about ATV operation and trespassing.  He also followed up on a trapping complaint and checked area WMAs for activity.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked hunters during the week and weekend.  A number of complaints were investigated as hunters grew more desperate to harvest a deer.  Hunter numbers were definitely smaller over the final weekend.

Malmo – vacant.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) worked two dogs chasing deer complaints with a citation issued.  Both dog owners had been previously warned to keep their dogs locked up when they were not home as dogs will run.  With the popularity of game cameras more dogs are being seen running.  CO Kuske spoke at the Upsala snowmobile safety class, handled an incidental fisher caught in a raccoon trap, consulted with the county attorney’s office on a hunter harassment case from waterfowl season, and started investigation into deer season license cases.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) completed investigations from firearms deer season, encountered small game hunters, and worked on a pre-employment background. Officer Silgjord also completed mandatory training.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked duck, pheasant, and bow hunters. Time was spent following up on some gun deer season investigations. Enforcement action for the week included transport loaded gun in motor boat, no state duck stamp, fail to register deer, and use vehicle to pursue game. Car kill deer permits were also issued.

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports investigating cases involving untagged deer, fail to register deer, trespass, and illegal deer possession.   Follow-up investigation was also completed on deer hunting cases generated the previous week.

Long Prairie – vacant.

Pierz – vacant.

Paynesville – vacant.

Annandale – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) received numerous complaints of carcass dumping; please make sure to dispose of them properly. Several deer hunting cases are still being investigated, and a background investigation has started on a conservation officer applicant. Calls were also handled on trapper trespassing, cutting of cattails, car kill deer, and injured animals.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked deer hunters, small game hunters, and trappers. Violations were found for transport loaded firearms, illegal lend/borrow deer licenses, fail to tag deer, and over-limit of deer. Numerous calls were received for illegal dumping of deer carcasses.

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week checking deer hunters and following up on several deer cases.  CO Krauel also took calls about hunters trespassing and also handled several TIP calls.  CO Krauel would like to thank all of the TIP operators for their hard work this deer season and all of the individuals who called TIP to report violations.  Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms, shooting deer after hours, failure to validate tags, failure to register deer, and shooting deer in closed hours.  

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a presentation to a snowmobile safety class in Monticello. The waterfowl hunters are having a tough go this week with most of the shallow lakes freezing over which has greatly decreased the waterfowl in the area. Many complaints of deer carcasses thrown out on public land and ditches have been taken.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked deer hunters during the week.   Hunter success was typically lower the second week.   Crops still in the fields hampered harvest.   Enforcement action was taken on transporting a loaded firearm, take during closed hours, and lend/ borrow deer license.  

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) followed up on several deer cases.  Assistance was provided to the National Park Service investigating a wolf that was killed by a deer hunter.  A traffic stop was conducted that resulted in a DWI arrest by Lakes Area Police.
Big Lake – vacant.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) received a call about an emu loose in Chaska. The emu escaped from a farm approximately two months ago in Laketown Township. Enforcement action was taken for hunting out of season and trespassing in Independence.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week patrolling deer hunters, small game hunters, and following up with complaints.  CO Grewe also assisted with a wetlands complaint and traveled to Pine County over the weekend for the St. Croix State Park deer hunt. 

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) had a busy reopener of the “B” season.  A hunter self-reported an antler point restriction violation.  Several littering complaints were taken in regards to dumped deer carcasses.  A report was taken of geese frozen to a local lake.  CO Birdsall attended a boat and water enforcement meeting with many different agencies in the metro area.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) spent time investigating several violations reported during the firearm deer season including a trespassing complaint, hunting over bait, shooting after hours, and illegal take. Time was also spent investigating a Public Waters violation. CO Maass also attended a meeting where parking and trespassing concerns were addressed regarding the Lake Robina WMA.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked hunting activity in Scott County and fishing activity on Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. He assisted a background investigator with work on a candidate in the Southeast Asian community. He met with staff at Fort Snelling State Park on reports of vehicle break-ins and illegal use of a motorized vehicle on state trail.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked the 3B deer opener and followed up on a deer case in north Minneapolis.  He also investigated a complaint in Edina regarding an individual pumping water from the pond behind his house.  Officer Lee also answered calls from the Asian community on small game and big game hunting regulations.

Prior Lake – vacant.

Bloomington – vacant.

Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (White Bear Lake) started work in her new station and spent time familiarizing herself with the White Bear Lake area. She looks forward to getting to know the area and the people she will be working with. CO Leuthardt responded to a call regarding a suspiciously dumped deer in a WMA and answered questions regarding litter as it pertains to dead animals. She also investigated reports of unregistered deer and illegal possession. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register a big game animal, transporting a bow in a motor vehicle, and possessing a firearm in a state park.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) spent the week checking waterfowl, small game, and deer hunters. He responded to trespass complaint calls and other TIP complaints during the week.  CO Pril also made arrangements for an upcoming career presentation at Lakeville High School.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports checking waterfowl hunters and deer hunters.  He also spent time responding to TIP calls and following up on cases from the archery and firearms deer season.  Violations for the week included hunting deer without a license, hunting deer over bait, hunting deer with firearms during the closed season, failure to register, hunting big game on an invalid license, and illegally possessing an unlawful taken deer.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week working waterfowl hunters and B season deer hunters throughout the area. He responded to reports of late shooting and vehicles stuck in a WMA. Enforcement action for the week included fail to remove boat plug, recreational vehicle trespass, and no federal waterfowl stamp.

CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) worked ongoing big game cases this week in addition to taking new TIP calls.  Trespass issues with hunters continue to occur, and hunters are encouraged to always know where property lines are.  Enforcement action was taken for trespassing and railroad trespass.

Metro Officer – vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

Ham Lake – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) reports time was spent conducting investigations from firearms deer season and checking pheasant hunters.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time working waterfowl/archery deer hunters and continuing to follow up with open investigations from the firearms deer season. Enforcement action was taken for license and stamp issues.  Commercial minnow inspections were completed.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) assisted in several big game details with South Dakota Game and Fish and CO’s in southeast Minnesota.  Waterfowl hunters were having success in the fields.  Most lakes and ponds opened up with high winds and warmer temps.  Please use caution when venturing out on early ice.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking hunters and conducting investigations.  A great many pheasant hunters hit the field this weekend and most had only fair success.  Most area lakes have re-opened.  Enforcement action was taken for fail to validate deer tag.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) checked pheasant hunters throughout the week. The officer saw many pheasant hunters return to the field after the end of the firearms slug season in the area. The officer received several questions regarding scopes on muzzleloaders as hunters begin to gear up for the muzzleloader season.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked anglers and pheasant hunters during the week.   Cases from the firearms deer season were followed up on.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week checking waterfowl, pheasant, and archery deer hunters. Time was also spent working on follow-up investigation from the firearms deer season. A few larger groups of northern mallards are hanging around which is resulting in some good field hunts for those hunters following the feeding paths. Most of the larger sloughs and lakes have reopened due to windy conditions and above freezing temperatures. 

Lake Benton – vacant.

Worthington – vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) continued follow-up from the deer season.  He received calls about trespass and hunter harassment.  
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) spent time on several TIP calls received during the firearms deer season.  Work was completed with an ongoing investigation of deer shot after hours from the road.  CO Vernier also spoke at a snowmobile safety class.  Other calls included land use questions, trespass, and wildlife possession permits. 

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked pheasant hunters and archery deer hunters during the week after the firearms deer season. TIP reports are coming in of deer being taken without license, over-limit of deer, and lending/borrowing of license violations. The public is encouraged to report violations or suspicious activity. Time was also spent talking with the Kingston Lions Club at their regular meeting where CO Klehr introduced himself and explained the duties of a conservation officer. Many questions were answered about the fall hunting seasons and upcoming winter season as well.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) investigated trespassing and carcass dumping complaints.  He also worked waterfowl, pheasant, and archery deer hunting activity, as well as boating activity.  CO Nelson found a set of keys left on the dock at the south Swan Lake (Nicollet Bay) public access on the morning of 11/19.  Please contact CO Nelson at thor.nelson@state.mn.us if they belong to you.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) continued to follow up on deer hunting cases and complaints from the prior firearms season.  Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited items.  Trespass complaints continue to be fielded and questions related to the upcoming muzzleloader season are being fielded.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled his area checking activity relating to trapping, waterfowl, archery deer, pheasant, and other small game activity.  CO Gruhlke noted more activity relating to pheasant hunting, with some success being had.  He also completed a radio program discussing topics including waterfowl field hunting and legal shooting hours related to waterfowl vs. big game.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) continued with deer hunting investigations over the firearms deer season.  Small game and waterfowl hunters were checked along with a few trappers.  Angling activity continues to be slow as many await ice. 

Hutchinson East – vacant.

Hutchinson West – vacant.

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) followed up on cases from deer season this week. CO VanThuyne also investigated a shoot at big game animal from road right-of-way complaint and addressed complaints of tree stands being left overnight on WMAs.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent a good portion of the week completing follow-up in regards to ongoing investigations. CO Henke also assisted with the “B” season deer opener in southeast Minnesota. Few ducks are left in the area and even fewer duck hunters. Trespass complaints on pheasant hunters seem to be getting more common; ask permission before entering any private property.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent most of the week checking deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent checking ATV operators. Officer Ihnen also responded to a number of hunting related calls and completed follow up investigations from the firearms deer season.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) spent time following up on cases from the deer season.  The officer continued to work state property for pheasant hunting activity.  Some anglers were checked and seem to be finding some fish.  Assistance was also given to officers in southeast Minnesota checking hunters in the “B” season.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) responded to calls related to deer hunting after the close of deer season this week. Other calls were answered related to waterfowl hunting.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked ATV, hunting, and trapping enforcement this week.  A number of pheasant hunters made it to the field during this weekend’s nice weather.  The officer checked 3-B deer hunters and followed up on ongoing investigations.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked hunters and ATV operators during the week.  Several big game cases were investigated and multiple violations detected.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working a busy beginning to the 3-B deer season with many family groups out and most having some success driving deer.  A few nice bucks were checked again this weekend.  Duck hunting this week was hot and cold with near limits checked early and much slower later in the week.  Enforcement activity included some license, some APR, and trespass calls.  Over-limit investigations were also concluded with charges filed.

 CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports finishing multiple cases stemming from the firearms “A” deer season. Multiple dead deer found near roadways were investigated throughout the station, all of which had bullet holes. A small game hunter was found with squirrels, rabbits, opossums, and northern flickers (protected nongame bird) in the bag. The hunter was cited for possessing the northern flickers. Multiple hunters were seen during the opening weekend of the firearms “B” season with above average success seen. Violations included take deer not meeting antler point restrictions, fail to register, use wrong tag, and possess a small amount of marijuana.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) spent the week patrolling for big game and waterfowl hunters. CO Seamans also followed up on complaints/questions from the public. Enforcement action was taken for failing to register a deer, possessing drug paraphernalia, hunting waterfowl with an unplugged shotgun, and hunting waterfowl while in possession of toxic shot. CO Seamans would like to remind hunters to check licenses carefully prior to hunting and tagging an animal.

CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) was busy checking firearms deer hunters.  The weather was good for the opening of the “B” season.  Hunters were seen conducting drives.  Enforcement action was taken on APR deer and fail to display registration on an ATV.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a lot of deer hunters but success observed was slow.  Duck hunters had some real good days where they shot limits of ducks and other days there were hunters without any ducks.  He attempted to find a person about trapping trespass and illegal sets but was not able to find the person at his residence.  Several days later he located the trapper on a different trespass complaint where he was deer hunting in a state park.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly duck and deer hunters during the week.  Lots of ducks in the area, but hunting was slower.  Not as many deer hunters were out during the “B” season, but some did well and various violations were detected.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy “B” season opener. Hunter numbers seemed low. Hunters that were out reported seeing deer and added that most of the corn has been harvested which has helped. Violations encountered were untagged deer, fail to validate tag, illegal camping on a WMA, and hunting without license.

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week following up on various complaints. A fairly busy “B” season opener was worked as well. Assistance was given to Frontenac State Park staff with various campground violations. Assistance was also given to Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office and Prairie Island Police with a suspect who had fled in a vehicle and then on foot when a deputy attempted to make contact. Enforcement action for the week included operate vehicle in closed area and take deer not meeting antler point restriction.

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 Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports working on maintenance/repair issues, including transporting an engine to a repair facility for installation.  Time was also spent assisting with interviews in St. Paul.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of rotary training and enforcement big game and WCA flights.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew big game enforcement support flights.  Pilot Geving also worked on maintenance and training issues. 

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued flight training with one pilot and worked on maintenance issues. He also attempted to complete the annual trout stream beaver dam surveys near Two Harbors. This fall’s unsettled weather continues to be difficult. Forecasted icing and low ceilings turned the aircraft back to Brainerd from Cloquet.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week following up on complaints and work from firearm deer season. Time was spent catching up on APM and WCA complaints and cases. Fishermen were checked and talked to about ice safety and dangers of early ice.  Waterfowl hunters were checked.  PW water cases were reviewed.

WREO Robert Haberman (NE) spent the week working deer hunters in Zone 100. WMA violations and transporting loaded firearms was addressed. WREO Haberman also responded to calls for service and TIP calls. WCA violations were followed up on.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week conducting follow-up from deer season.  Several wetland cases were also closed.  A few fishermen and trappers were checked.

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) updated WCA and PW files. Officer Hanson also checked hunters in vacant stations.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) checked hunters during the late “B” season.  K9 Brady sniffed water related equipment along high risk shorelines for zebra mussels.  K9 Brady also assisted other officers in searches related to hunting violations.

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 finishing up deer season cases and calls after the season.  Several instructors and instructor groups were contacted regarding upcoming safety instructor clinics.  Meetings were attended as well regarding updating training software and systems.

NE RTO Mike Lee assisted fellow officers with the last week of the firearms deer season. CO Lee received a report of hunting over bait. The information was confirmed and further investigation is continuing. He took various calls from trespassing to violations for fail to validate tags.  CO Lee also completed backgrounds on new firearm safety instructors.

South Metro RTO Phil George (acting) worked “B” season deer hunting issues and detail in District 18. He also attended a meeting at Camp Ripley and registered an instructor course.

North Metro RTO Brett Oberg (acting) followed up on a few cases from the deer season this week.  CO Oberg attended a meeting on the Hunter Education and Firearm Safety Program.  He also trained in eleven new Hunter Education and Firearms Safety Instructors at Minnesota Firearms facility this week.  Pheasant hunters were also checked in the area with minimal success on bagging birds.

Southern RTO Jen Mueller (acting) worked a shoot from the road poached deer case all week. She also spoke at a youth FAS class at Cedar Mills and attended two meetings at Camp Ripley.

Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence attended a meeting at Camp Ripley to review a new software program to aid in data collection for safety training.  RTO Lawrence also assisted with firearms deer season in parts of the metro area. RTO Lawrence worked alongside CO Arntzen with a TIP call of taking a deer out of season and enforcement action was taken and firearms seized. RTO Lawrence worked on Trail Ambassador Program updates and communication newsletter for the end of season wrap-up.  RTO Lawrence continues to work with the staff from the National Park Service on hunting related violations that took place on federal lands.


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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