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
CONSERVATION OFFICER REPORT
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) followed up on cases from the rifle deer season. Muzzleloader hunters and trappers were checked over the weekend. Violations included wanton waste of a deer, failure to register deer, illegal party hunting, and killing a deer that was caught in a trap.
CO Hannah Mishler (Warroad) spent the week checking trappers, small game hunters and muzzleloader deer hunters. An investigation was started on two illegally taken deer. TIP complaints of deer being shot at night were also handled.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) worked trapping and fishing activity. Enforcement action was also taken for failure to register a deer.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored trapping activity for the bobcat and fisher season opener as well as checked muzzleloader deer hunters for that opener as well. CO Woinarowicz trained a Conservation Officer Candidate (COC) for a couple days; conducting follow-up from the deer season and teaching the law and ethics portion of the snowmobile safety class in Warren. A complaint of taking a deer out of season and non-residents purchasing resident licenses were investigated.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports monitoring trapping, as well as small game hunting and muzzleloader hunting throughout the week. Time was spent assisting neighboring officers with the execution of a search warrant, issuing possession permits for car killed deer permits and following up on investigations from the firearms deer hunting season. Many lakes in the area have skimmed over with ice and conditions very greatly; caution should be taken when venturing out on the ice. Enforcement action for the week included transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles.
Baudette #2 -vacant.
Blackduck #2 - vacant.
Karlstad - vacant.
Thief River Falls #2 - vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports time was spent assisting with a search warrant in the Bemidji area. Issues from the past deer season were followed up on. Ice conditions are still unsafe.
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports assisting several neighboring officers with a taxidermy inspection in the Bemidji area. Time was also spent checking muzzleloader hunters during the opening weekend. Trapping enforcement was worked on area creeks. A possible wetland violation was also found.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) monitored hunting, AIS, ATVs, and ice conditions. A car kill deer permit was issued. WMA areas had unlawful stands left and a farmer requested searching a WMA for almost 30 escaped cattle. People continue to ask questions about what license is needed to take coyote. They are unprotected and may be hunted without any type of license.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked muzzleloader and trappers.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) assisted the county with interviews for a new boat and water deputy. Officer Vollbrecht assisted CO Holt with a continued investigation regarding a taxidermy inspection.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) prepared for the muzzleloader deer season and participated in a work detail. Time was spent answering questions on the muzzleloader deer season and a trapping complaint was received. CO Holt continued working on a background investigation on a candidate for the next conservation officer academy.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting with a search warrant along with other D2 officers, taking TIP calls about trespass, dogs chasing deer and baiting. CO Vinton answered several calls from people with questions ranging from license needs, concealed weapon permits and trapping. A permit was issued to a hunter that found the buck they’d shot during the rifle season. The deer had been fed upon but the hunter wished to keep the antlers.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked the muzzleloader deer season, trappers and followed up on pending cases. Ice anglers were starting to venture out on some smaller lakes.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked ice angling activity. Recent colder temperatures have started to make ice but the public is reminded that ice thickness can vary and warmer temperatures can change ice thickness please take care when venturing out on area waters. CO Warren assisted with a search warrant in regards to illegal hunting activity. Opening weekend of muzzleloader deer season was worked. Deer permits for car hit deer were issued. A complaint of dog chasing deer was received. A complaint of netting activity by a tribal member was received and forwarded to the White Earth game wardens.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) worked muzzleloader and pheasant hunting activity in the Moorhead station. A work detail was also worked with several district officers. The officer continued to follow up with deer season cases and received several new complaints as well. Several people are getting the itch to ice fish and there are several reports of 3 inches of ice. The officer would like to encourage everyone to be safe as no fish is worth drowning for. A call of an injured deer on a local WMA slough was taken and with proper safety equipment the officer was able to drag the doe off the ice to safety. A deer with an infection was also reported to the officer. Upon investigation it was determined the infections were a result of a bullet wound and predator attacks. Numerous calls from the public included an injured pelican, injured swan, fence line disputes, trespassing complaints, and ATV complaints.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) checked waterfowl hunters and trappers. Complaints of wanton waste were received. Questions were answered about trapping and the muzzleloader season.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time on follow up deer season complaints. Vehicles operating on WMAs have been a popular complaint. Incidentally taken fisher and bobcat were seized and donated to Minnesota Trappers Association. Ice is forming on area lakes but is very thin as of now.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked trappers and deer hunters. Complaints were handled regarding on nuisance beaver and dogs feeding on deer carcasses. A waters complaint was determined to be the county’s and turned over to them. Nelson assisted setting up a snowmobile safety class.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked deer hunters, waterfowl hunters and trappers. Numerous calls were taken including injured animals, trespass, car killed deer, and license questions. Osborne observed ice fishermen out on small lakes in the area. A TIP complaint of a swan being shot was handled by Osborne as well.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time working muzzleloader hunting activity as well as late season open water fishing. A few complaints came in regarding lending/borrowing of deer licenses as well as illegal party hunting. Several illegal tree stands were found on WMA property. Several cases of angling with extra lines were worked with multiple citations issued.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work on deer cases and investigations with some closed out and others just starting. Muzzleloader and archery deer hunters were checked, as well as waterfowl and pheasant hunters. Several trappers were checked in the area and reminded that they need to wear blaze orange when out during the muzzleloader deer season. Fishermen were checked, both on the water and on the ice. A wetland complaint was followed up on and investigated. Johanson is working with the Todd County Sheriff’s Office on an investigation involving a serious motor vehicle accident with injuries that started with a suspected deer poaching incident.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on the opening weekend of muzzleloader deer season, pheasant hunters, early ice anglers and late season waterfowl hunting activity. Freeze up is almost complete on most area lakes. Anderson checked a very dark smoke permit fire and found creosote treated timbers in a fire. The Morris Fire Department was called to extinguish the blaze and a person faces charges for burning a large amount of prohibited materials. Anderson handed off a case for prosecution to the USFWS regarding equipment and placing bait on a local WPA. Deer season cases were wrapped up for the most part and calls were fielded from the public regarding waterfowl hunting, muzzleloader deer season and angling questions.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking muzzleloader hunters, pheasant hunters, waterfowl hunters, and the first ice fishermen of the season. Fishermen should use caution as ice conditions vary greatly from lake to lake, with the majority of area lakes still free of ice. Complaints were received about altering lakeshore/bed, shooting from the road, and trespass.
Wheaton - vacant.
District 4 - Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) worked the muzzle loader deer season opener and the opening of the bobcat, fisher and pine marten trapping season. Archery deer hunters are still out in numbers. Enforcement action was taken for a big game tagging violation.
CO Samantha Hunter (Park Rapids) checked for deer hunters using muzzleloaders and archery. Officer Hunter checked for trapping activity as the fisher, pine martin and bobcat season got underway. Officer Hunter received a call of a dispute over a deer that had gone onto a neighboring property.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) reports finding more deer stands in Wildlife Management Areas. Several stands were seized and others were marked for removal. Anglers are getting ready for the ice season. Caution is advised on the early ice as thicknesses may vary substantially, even on the same body of water.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked trapping activity. A few deer hunters were out looking for late season success. Ice is beginning to form on all the lakes. The ice is very thin and dangerous right now. Investigations were initiated on a deer dumping case.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week following up on cases from the 2015 Firearm Deer Season. CO Broughten observed few muzzleloader deer hunter over the opening weekend. CO Broughten spent time checking trapping activity. Trapping activity appears to be lower than usual which is likely due to poor fur prices. Smaller lakes in the area started to skim over with ice; however, anglers are going to have to wait until ice conditions improve. CO Broughten also processed evidence and submitted reports to the county attorney.
CO Colleen Adam (Rec Specialist) spent the week working on reports and following up on open cases. A handful of muzzleloader hunters were checked during the opening morning.
Remer - vacant.
Walker - vacant.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports continued follow-up investigations from the end of the firearms deer season. This past weekend brought the opening of muzzleloader deer season and trapping season for pine marten and fisher. Enforcement actions for the week included allow the illegal operation of an ATV by youth and failure to wear blaze orange.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (International Falls) spent the week monitoring the big game, small game, and trapping activities throughout the Littlefork, Big Falls, and Kabetogama areas. The officer contacted very few muzzleloader hunters over the weekend with the season opening on Saturday. Most of the weekend contacts consisted of trappers trying their luck with the pine marten and fisher opener. Trappers are reporting a slower start to the season then they had hoped for. Enforcement action was taken for varies trapping and forestry violations.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the muzzleloader deer hunting, and fisher, marten and bobcat trapping openers. Anglers began venturing onto the ice on a couple of lakes in the area. Persistence paid off as an archery deer hunter finally showed up on his baited site after 3 weeks of the officer checking. His 50 pounds of corn earned him a citation for hunting over bait and for no blaze orange, while his bow was seized. A snared dog complaint was received and investigated. Further investigation is ongoing. A large amount of litter case was investigated, aided with a receipt in the litter. The receipt was matched up with video from the store in which the purchase was made and showed the owner of the garbage. That person then fingered the culprits who dumped it. Enforcement action was taken and they cleaned up the garbage. Two calls of road killed wolves did not materialize as one was a dog and the other report involved no dead animal.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) prepared reports stemming from investigations from deer season. Equipment was stored for the winter and maintenance was done on that equipment. Thin ice has formed on most area lakes. A report of dogs chasing deer was looked into and the owner of the dog was advised of the possible outcome.
Cook - vacant.
Ray - vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports in spite of thin and sometimes poor quality ice the first ice anglers have been seen on area lakes. Ice conditions have changed daily with the recent warm and cold snaps and many of the larger lakes are now ice covered with only portions still open. Violations included trapping with insufficient blaze orange and no fishing license in possession.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked the opening fisher/pine marten/ deer muzzleloader season and found a very few people out and about. The fur price expectations are dismal and the marten/fisher season is very short, so there wasn’t a lot of participation anticipated here. Ice fishermen are venturing out again, so we stress wearing a PFD and checking the ice with a bar instead of trusting the other guy’s tracks.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) took care of seasonal equipment issues during the week. Follow up on ongoing cases was also attended to. Phone calls on muzzleloader season and trapping were also taken care of.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) completed office work wrapping up the firearms deer season and following up on open cases. Officer Manning also patrolled state and federal forests checking marten and fisher traps.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the marten trapping opener and muzzleloader deer opener. Trappers were out, and there is lots of marten sign. Wolf tracks are everywhere. The weather has stayed warm, but fish-able ice has formed on some areas, while some lakes are still open. Deer hunters need to do their part to present a positive image of hunters and not place their deer carcasses near roadways. Enforcement action was taken for dumping deer carcasses, insufficient blaze orange, unlawful trap set and no license in possession.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked on a background investigation. Time was spent working the trapping activity in the area. CO Schottenbauer was happy to run into a family out trapping this past weekend. He mentioned how much he likes to follow all the kid’s footsteps in the snow, and wished he saw them more often, as rare as moose tracks are becoming.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking deer hunters, trappers and small game hunters. The officer answered calls regarding ice fishing and muzzleloader hunting. Enforcement action was taken for big game, firearms and ATV violations
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) followed up on trespass and trapping complaints during the week. Ice continues to form on area lakes but is far from safe in most areas for travel. Murray also assisted volunteer instructors with teaching a youth snowmobile safety class.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) worked on cases from the deer season and checked trappers. Enforcement action taken for shooting within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling and tampering with a legally set trap.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked trapping complaints, checked waterfowl hunters and assisted the county with locating a suspect that fled into the woods. Area lakes have started to freeze over. Enforcement action was taken for license issues.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time checking trappers and muzzle loader hunters this past weekend. Ice conditions are improving and anglers have been getting out on the ice. She continues to work on investigations from the rifle deer season. She completed a wetlands site inspection where no violation was found.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked trapping and muzzleloader activity over the past week with some deer being taken by hunters during the opening weekend of muzzleloader season. Some small lakes are freezing up and caution is advised when venturing out on these bodies of water during first ice.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked trappers and ATVs. The muzzle loader deer hunting season was worked. He also worked a couple of shining complaints during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working big and small game activity. CO Wichmann investigated a trespass and shooting from a roadway TIP call. He also handled car kill deer possession permits.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) and a COC completed reports and other paperwork from the deer season. Nuisance wildlife complaints were also handled. The officers patrolled problem trapping areas and worked the last day of the waterfowl season.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent some time following up with complaints from the firearm deer season. Several calls were returned with a few requiring investigations for 2016 firearm deer opener. Several traps were checked and trappers were checked in the field. Complaints of trespass were also fielded involving archery deer and trapping activity.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued follow up and interviews on firearms deer season cases and complaints throughout the week. A report of baiting during the muzzleloader deer opener is under investigation, a complaint of illegal deer stands on state land was received, car kill deer permits were issued and unlawful party hunting (lending/borrowing) big game license violations were found.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked on K9 training with K9 Schody and also followed up on cases from deer season. Once these cases are finished up, enforcement action will be taken for transporting untagged deer, leave stand out in WMA, and knowingly direct minor to violate the game and fish laws.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked hunters on the opening day of muzzleloader season and fielded questions on deer registration questions; regarding time requirements. A reminder that ice on area smaller lakes are still unsafe to venture out.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Unit) checked trappers out on opening weekend and a few shore anglers looking for rainbows. A few nice loopers and steelhead are being caught from shore near river mouths. An individual was found with a deer that he shot two weeks prior, but had not validated his tag nor registered his deer. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and big game violations.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked muzzleloader hunters this past week with slow success being reported. Officer Lee also spoke with small game hunters that were also reporting very slow activity. Follow up on open cases from the firearms deer season continued. Officer Lee completed investigation into a trapping and trespassing case that occurred before the firearms deer season. Citations were issued to parties for trespassing, and trapping violations.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for muzzleloader deer hunters over the weekend. CO McGowan also wrapped up some case work from the regular firearms deer season.
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) saw signs of people ice fishing small lakes, but the ice is very thin yet, so caution is urged. The officer checked muzzle loader deer hunters, trappers, and worked a complaint of dogs chasing deer. The Officer also assisted DNR Forestry with an investigation into possible arson in a recent grass fire.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked migratory waterfowl, trapping, and big game enforcement for the start of muzzleloader season. A complaint of an individual rallying ducks on the Mississippi River was handled. Enforcement action was also taken on a littering incident.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked muzzle loader deer hunting opener. Violations of trespass, untagged deer were found. Complaints of vehicles on closed trails in the Pillsbury forest were investigated. A complaint of road hunters in the Pillager area was investigated. Ice angers were out and are catching some fish. The ice conditions are poor and inconsistent and dangerous. Reports of double trippers and anglers using extra lines received enforcement time.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) followed up on additional tips of baiting deer as we move into muzzleloader and continue archery season. She spent time checking trapping activity in her area and some small game hunters.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) continued work on firearms deer cases. Illegal posting, off-highway vehicle and shooting from roadway complaints were also worked.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking some muzzleloader hunters and also some late season small game hunters over the weekend. Several areas of a WMA were walked in regards to a complaint of stands left overnight in it. Trapping activity was monitored throughout the Malmo station and many trapping related law questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend. The Officer also checked for late season waterfowl hunters and found most area smaller water was already frozen over. Some fishermen were checked around the Mille Lacs Lake area who were trying their hand at some late season fishing. A call from the local sheriff’s office about a deer found in a vehicle they had seized was investigated and found to be a legally shot deer. The Officer also took a call of an injured loon up in the McGregor area. The loon was picked up and transported to the Garrison Vet Clinic. Lots of muzzleloader, trapping, fishing and ATV related law questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on deer season investigations. She received calls regarding dumped deer carcasses, nuisance beaver issues, car kill bear and harvesting of firewood in state forests. She also worked on a background investigation for a potential new hire. Anglers are reporting a good early ice bite on area lakes. Please take extra precautions regarding ice safety and wear your PFDs.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on deer season issues that still lingered. Ice fishing has started with some small pike and panfish showing up. Ice fishermen were a little too eager to get out in CO Starr’s opinion, with 3 inches of ice near open flowing water. Duck hunters are complaining about muskie fisherman ruining their hunt. Muzzleloader is under way, with very few hunters observed out. An illegal fire was also looked into.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) and a Conservation Officer Candidate (COC) followed up on investigations from deer season relating to ATV’s in a WMA. CO Grundmeier and the COC began to find trapping activity and took enforcement action involving illegal snaring equipment and untagged traps. Trappers were reminded the importance of measuring your snares to ensure incidental catches of non-targeted species does not occur. Comments were heard from a handful of deer hunters that thought registering a deer was not important or not required. Deer registration information is important and registering a harvested deer within 48 hours is required by law. Deer hunters are reminded for the upcoming muzzleloader season to have proper licenses on their person and to register harvested deer within 48 hours.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent time answering questions about trapping, deer season, and concerns with trespassing neighbors. He checked state forest areas, WMAs and public accesses throughout the area for activity. Cold weather has brought the first signs of ice on local lakes. Anglers are urged to wait for more cold weather before venturing on ice in the Pine City area.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked trapping activity and investigated a dog chasing deer complaint. A few hunters were contacted on opener of the muzzleloader season. Most reported seeing few deer. Some smaller lakes are freezing over and it is important to remember that early ice is dangerous so use caution.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) reports continuing step two field training with a COC. Officers worked big game hunters, small game hunters, trappers, and investigated TIP complaints. Officers reported a slow opener to the muzzleloader season in Albany area. Violations included; fail to tend minnow traps, fail to extinguish permit fire, fail to validate deer tag, illegal transport of car killed deer, lend/barrow deer tag, and hunting over bait. Officers would like to thank the public for TIP calls this deer season which have led to many cases investigated, and solved.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring pheasant hunting activity. Activity is still slow but more birds are being seen now that the crops are mostly out. Muzzleloader season opener was worked with some sots being heard. Big game complaints were worked and follow up was conducted on pending cases.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) concentrated on chronic shining complaint areas. Muzzleloader season began smoothly. Investigation continued on miscellaneous open cases.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on follow up phone messages and final paper work with a COC. Other administrative tasks were handled as well as vehicle maintenance.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) conducted follow-up interviews and checks from deer season cases and investigations. Several calls of “poached deer” were handled, which turned out to be dumped carcasses from regular season.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this week. CO Mies trained a new COC for the week. CO Mies and COC checked trappers and hunters. CO Mies and COC assisted neighboring officers with cases and complaints.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) received a call of a person burning garbage and found the person had a large pile of household garbage, books, and carpeting burning in their front yard as they were cleaning out the house. CO Kuske explained it would have been a lot cheaper for them to haul the garbage to the landfill. Investigations continue from firearms deer season with a number of cases being made of hunters not registering the deer they shot even though it’s easier now than ever to register your deer with online, by phone or at a big game registration station.
St. Cloud - vacant.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked waterfowl hunters issued summons and written warnings for hunting waterfowl with unplugged gun, possession of toxic shot, no federal stamp. He checked muzzleloader hunters. He answered a number of waterfowl hunting questions.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) reported that the end of the duck season in the central zone ended quietly with the cold weather freezing up many of the swallow lakes in the area. Three duck hunters had a scare on Pelican Lake when their overloaded 14 foot boat took on water and overturned in the frigid water. Luckily two other hunters were in the area to help them out of a life threating situation. The three hunters were treated at a local hospital for hypothermia and released. After bringing the wet hunters to the access, the good Samaritans were also able to save all the equipment that was floating around the area including the guns that were cased in floating cases. The boat was righted and towed back to the access also. A thank you goes out to those hunters.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) and a Conservation Officer Candidate (COC) worked small game, trapping and ATV activities in Kanabec and Mille Lacs counties. A stranded motorist was assisted to safety near the Mille Lacs WMA. As a safety reminder always check your fuel gauge before departing on your hunting trips. Several TIP complaints were received following the firearm deer season; investigations are ongoing.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked muzzleloader hunters over the opening weekend, patrolled local lakes/rivers/fields for waterfowl hunters and public hunting areas for small game hunters. Calls were taken on trespassing complaints, shooting after hours, and injured animals. Officer Londgren spoke to a law enforcement group at the Cambridge Isanti high school about a career as a conservation officer.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) received numerous calls of deer carcasses being illegally dumped. TIP calls regarding trespassing were investigated. Several animal complaints were called in and car killed deer permits were issued. He checked muzzleloader hunters this past weekend.
Princeton - vacant.
District 13 - West Metro area
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking duck hunters and following up with complaints. CO Grewe urges hunters to be very cautious of the newly forming ice. Violations included no state duck stamp and no lifejacket in boat while waterfowl hunting.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) worked deer hunting, waterfowl and angling enforcement around Scott County. With the holiday fewer people were out but Leuthardt encountered a few groups getting in a hunt before heading home to the Thanksgiving turkey. Leuthardt took calls and answered emails from citizens about hunting and trapping questions. Enforcement action was taken on no small game license in possession, no federal stamp in possession, failing to sign federal stamp, no HIP certification, no firearm deer license in possession, and failing to validate deer tag.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked deer and duck hunters in Carver County. He checked anglers and investigated a TIP complaint of a wetland violation in Plymouth. He also took calls on nuisance animal complaints and answered questions on small game hunting regulations.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked the muzzleloader opener in Carver County. He checked duck hunters and found most of the lakes in the patrol areas are already frozen. He returned calls for hunting questions and injured animals. He continued to work on a background assignment.
Bloomington - vacant.
Mound - vacant.
Waconia - vacant.
District 14 - East Metro area
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for waterfowl hunting activity. Hunting activity has slowed down with the ice beginning to form on lakes now. CO Salzer also patrolled for muzzleloader hunters over the following weekend. Salzer had the privilege to be with a family of trappers as they were checking their beaver traps and setting fisher traps over the weekend. The two youngsters in the family were having a good time as dad pulled two large beaver from their sets on the dam.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) worked on a trapping case in Ramsey County and handled various TIP calls. She worked on a few litter cases of deer carcasses being dumped and took calls of injured or nuisance animals. CO Kruse worked waterfowl enforcement on the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes and WMAs in the area. She met with two Century College students that are interested in becoming a CO and that she is mentoring.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) responded to an injured owl call and brought it to the Raptor Center. He also worked the muzzleloader deer opener and continued checking waterfowl, small game and archery deer hunters. Violations for the week included no blaze orange and no license in possession.
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he checked deer hunters on the muzzleloader opener. He also checked on late season 601 hunters in Dakota County with CO Neitzke. CO Johnson investigated an illegal dumping violation at the Lake Demontreville Access. He checked small game, and goose hunters at the Bayport WMA. CO Johnson assisted CO Arntzen with an illegal possession of a great horned owl case. The injured bird was transported to The Raptor Center.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) monitored hunters throughout the area. Many duck hunters were out with success varying greatly. Many pheasant hunters were checked with no birds seen in the bag. Enforcement action for the week included waterfowl violations, trespass, and possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked muzzleloader hunters in Washington and Dakota counties. He continued to check pheasant and squirrel hunters around WMAs. CO Pril also responded to injured animal calls and other complaints.
Eagan - vacant.
Metro Officer - vacant.
District 15 - Marshall area
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working pheasant, waterfowl, and deer hunters. Muzzleloader Season opened rather slowly as hunters seemed to struggle finding bucks. Good numbers of Canada geese have moved into the area. Ice on area lakes is treacherously thin. Enforcement action was taken for no blaze orange, no small game license, failure to register deer, and unregistered ATV.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked deer hunters, pheasant hunters and waterfowl hunters during the week. Ice is forming on local water bodies and anglers are asked to use caution when venturing out. Hunting license violations were encountered.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) worked the opening weekend of muzzleloader season. Also, time was spent working with waterfowl hunters as goose numbers have increased. Officers spent time with fall fisherman and fielding questions about hunting WMAs. Officers conducted numerous deer investigations.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reported that nice weather brought out a lot of hunters over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend which included the muzzleloader deer opener. The ratio of deer hunters to pheasant hunters seemed to be about 50/50 during the weekend. Time was also spent checking trappers and working ATV activity. Waterfowl hunters struggled with most sloughs and lakes froze up. Archery deer and pheasant hunters are reminded that they need to follow the firearms deer season blaze orange requirements during the muzzleloader deer season. Big game investigations continue to be worked.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH Radio. Nice weather over the week end brought out many hunters. Enforcement action was taken for: blaze orange violations, walk in area violations, and driving on a WMA. The Officer also assisted South Dakota hunters with retrieving a buck deer that ran into Minnesota. The hunters wanted to use a drone to locate the animal but that idea was quickly dismissed by the Officer. The hunter was advised use of drones to take wild animals illegal.
Benson - vacant.
Madison - vacant.
Redwood Falls - vacant.
Worthington - vacant.
District 16 - New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) checked muzzleloader hunters and followed up on deer hunting complaints. He checked ice anglers and pheasant hunters. Denz also followed up on trespassing complaints.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent most of the week checking pheasant hunter, with enforcement action taken for some hunters not having required licenses and stamps. Time was also spent trying to follow up on possible wanton waste cases and deer dumping cases. Klehr also spent time following up on baited stands with the opening of muzzleloader hunting.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) continued working on a pre-employment background investigation.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) and a COC worked hunter trespassing cases and issued numerous car killed deer possession permits. Field goose hunters and pheasant hunters were checked with enforcement action taken for unsigned federal duck stamps and insufficient blaze orange during the deer season. COs worked muzzleloader deer season opener and found low success with the hunt but high compliance rates. An investigation was done on a TIP call involving a goose hunter trespassing and shooting three geese. Appropriate enforcement action was taken.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) was called to rescue a stranded boater on Swan Lake. He also received calls regarding road hunting deer and a trapping complaint. Questions regarding licenses and antlerless permits were also answered.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked sport fishing, small game hunting, archery deer seasons, and field hunting of ducks and geese. Some brave folks have already ventured out on area lakes to kick off the ice fishing season while there continues to be open water fishing as well.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked hunters and anglers. Ice coverage on lakes is almost complete. Waterfowl hunters are still having a hard time with geese as there is no patterning to them and duck numbers are poor to non-existent. Muzzleloader hunters along with small game hunters were checked. Enforcement action was taken for blaze orange, stamp and refuge violations.
Willmar #1 - vacant.
Windom - vacant.
District 17 - Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked areas for trapping activity and worked the opening weekend of muzzleloader season. The officer continues to train a new officer who spoke about laws and ethics to a youth snowmobile class. Anglers were checked in open water and a warrant arrest was made.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent much of the week on deer hunting enforcement. Muzzleloader activity was moderate, with hunters reporting seeing few deer. CO Howe also spoke to a Snowmobile Safety class on laws and ethics, as well as assisting neighboring officers on a trespass case.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent checking anglers and monitoring trapping activity. A number of TIP and other calls from the public were investigated relating to trespassing and other deer hunting related violations.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) trained with a COC. Hunting, fishing, and recreational vehicle enforcement was worked. The opening weekend to muzzleloader deer season was busy, but hunter success was limited. Time was spent following up on deer cases.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working the late southeast B firearms season. Time was also spent working the beginning weekend of the muzzleloader season. Violations included trespassing, shooting from the roadway, and taking deer not meeting the antler point restriction.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, ATV operators, trappers, waterfowl, small game, and deer hunters during the week. Several complaints of illegal deer hunting activity were received.
Albert Lea - vacant.
Mankato #1 - vacant.
District 18 - Rochester area
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports duck hunters had some success this past week. Most of the backwaters had a thin covering of ice. Walleye and sauger continue to bite well. Deer hunters had spotty success. Enforcement included antler point violation, trespass and no firearm deer license.
CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the week checking waterfowl and deer hunters. He took many phone calls about license issues and trespass. Deer carcasses in the road ditch were a common complaint. Enforcement action was for taking deer from the roadway and hunting with an invalid license.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a good second deer season with low pressure but good success. There was heavy duck pressure with mixed success. On some days limits were checked while on other days very few ducks were observed. He followed up on trespass, shoot from road, and hunting in closed areas complaints. Hemker also caught a person cutting branches off a spruce tree at a city campground for his Christmas decorations.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly deer and waterfowl hunters during the week. Deer hunting was slow overall and really didn’t improve for muzzleloader hunters. Duck hunting success on the river also seemed to get worse as the week progressed.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports continuing step 2 of the field training process with one of the COCs. Most of the time this past week and weekend was spent working deer hunting activity for the B season and muzzle loader opening weekend. Numerous hunters commented on the lack of hunting pressure and inability to get the deer moving and were wondering when the DNR was going to get rid of the split deer season in zone 3. A couple of very large flocks of ducks were seen on Lake Pepin but most of the duck hunters we contacted in the area were having a hard time getting any birds. Fishing pressure on the river remains low. A detail was worked in the district in conjunction with one of the division pilots. Some deer hunting violations were detected.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working a busy last week of the 3-B deer season and the opening weekend of the muzzleloader season. Waterfowl hunters were also checked on the Mississippi River. Success varied with both the deer and the ducks with some nice buck checked and some limits of birds early in the week. Violation included illegal party hunting, lend/borrow of a deer license, failure to register a deer, hunt deer without a license, hunt ducks without a license, along stamp, registration and trespass issues.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working the 3B season and the muzzleloader opener. Violations encountered were shooting at big game from road right of way, untagged big game animal and multiple trespass complaints. Transport loaded firearm was also a violation that was encountered. A few waterfowl hunters were checked having limited results.
Rochester #2 - vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports a quiet holiday week. A wolf telemetry flight was flown and equipment and maintenance tasks were completed.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of working on background investigations. Pilot Jensen flew two wildlife telemetry flights and also continued rotary training. Upon returning to Brainerd on one flight, the first ice anglers of the season were found on a small pond. Two shelters were seen and information relayed to the local officer as this was not an area noted for angling activity. Judging by the shape of the lakes in the area, it is safe to assume that any activity on the ice so far is not recommended.
CO Pilot Robert Geving (New Ulm) flew a station orientation flight for a newly hired officer and enforcement air support flights for the southeast 3B deer season.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew marten and wolf telemetry flights and worked on maintenance and administrative issues.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued helicopter flight training with two pilots and worked on administrative tasks.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week focusing efforts on open WCA, APM and PW cases. Several cases were cleaned up and heading towards closure. Time was spent returning calls for ice fishing and muzzleloader deer season. Also, AIS training for local law enforcement is being planned.
WREO Mike Scott (NE) worked on background investigations traveling to the Twin Cities and southeast Minnesota. Several wetland violations and public waters violations were closed out and some older cases were updated making contact with local government folks as well as the folks with the violations.
WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week conducting follow-up on wetland cases. Assistance was given to a neighboring officer with a shining complaint and a failing to tend leech traps case.
WREO Larry Hanson (SW) checked fishermen and hunters in empty stations. Enforcement action was taken for license violations. Follow-up was completed on WCA and PW cases.
WREO Julie Siems (SE) worked the busy 3B season and Muzzleloader opener. Complaints on waters violations and not filing a contractor responsibility form were also addressed. Violations included multiple unregistered deer, lend/borrow violations, and illegally dumping deer.
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.
Youth ATV Courses (12 to 15 years old) class postings for around the state are posted on the web site at www.mndnr.gov. Students are reminded that they must complete the online portion of the course before attending the classroom portion of the course. See www.mndnr.gov for details.
Please direct questions to 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR
Reminder---anyone born after December 31st, 1979 cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate. In addition many states have even more stringent mandatory Hunter Education requirements. Check before you go!!!
Reminder---Any resident born after December 31st, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota, must possess a snowmobile certificate. Two options are available to complete certification. Ages 11 and older can attend the traditional youth course. Those 16 or older can take the at home CD course.
Reminder---Anyone born after July 1st, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota, must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training online course. Persons under age 16 must complete the ATV online Course and riding component before riding on public lands. Please direct questions to 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.
SCHEDULED INSTRUCTOR TRAINING SESSIONS
If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador, contact your local Conservation Officer or Regional Safety Training officer. Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR Website.
NE RTO Shelly Patten provided materials, graphics and video to ATV online vendor for updates to ATV Safety course. Patten worked on scheduling forums and topic and format ideas. Patten reviewed VIP updates and PowerPoint for forum. Patten worked on instructor backgrounds.
West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports updating material for upcoming volunteer snowmobile and ATV Instructor certification training. He also planned for upcoming instructor forums in his area and worked on updates/changes to the volunteer instructor procedures manual. Planning was also done for a hunter education/firearms safety instructor clinic in January.
Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence attended meeting with the Off Highway Vehicle advisory council meeting at DNR Central office. RTO Lawrence also attended meeting with region 8 Minnesota United snowmobilers association. RTO Lawrence received questions on firearms deer season and youth safety training options for snowmobile safety. RTO Lawrence worked on updates to the law enforcement PowerPoint related to snowmobile safety and enforcement and finalized paperwork for volunteer safety instructor backgrounds.
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke returned calls and emails regarding volunteer instructor clinics. He put on a volunteer snowmobile safety instructor clinic in Rockford. RTO Neitzke worked on volunteer instructor background checks. He also worked on instructor training materials.
Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent most of the week assisting with the B Deer Season. Time was also spent working on setting up safety instructor forums.
RTO PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
NE RTO Shelly Patten 218-244-8051
West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-230-8549 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rec Veh Coord Bruce Lawrence 651-674-6184 email@example.com
Southern RTO Dan McBroom 507-843-2032 firstname.lastname@example.org
SW Metro RTO Kevin Neitzke 651-463-3168 email@example.com
NW RTO Jeff Halverson 218-894-3577 firstname.lastname@example.org
Curriculum Specialist: Vacant
Education Specialist: Vacant
Curriculum Coordinator: Vacant