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Conservation Officer Report
Weekly Conservation Officer Report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Enforcement
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

Joe Albert, Enforcement Division communications coordinator, 651-259-5060

Report Fish & Game Violations
Call T.I.P. at 1-800-652-9093 or Cell #TIP



District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked ATV riders and anglers on Lake of the Woods. Training was attended at Camp Ripley.

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked angling, aquatic invasive species and off-highway vehicle enforcement. Anxious anglers made their way to the river this weekend and most spent hours in line waiting to launch and to trailer their boats. The colder weather caused ice to reform in areas and floating sheets of ice to lock into place in others, thus making access to the water at the Birchdale and Frontier access sites quite challenging. A reminder to anglers that the walleye/sauger season is open through Saturday, April 14, and will be closed from that point on until the opener on May 12.  

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) attended a regional Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association meeting, where he spoke on enforcement efforts and answered questions. A complaint of dogs running down and killing a deer was investigated and resulted in civil citations to two dog owners. Other time was spent on equipment maintenance, a law and ethics talk for Lancaster’s firearms safety class, and picking up an injured eagle.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking anglers on special regulation lakes throughout the week. Time was spent attending training at Camp Ripley and working the TIP trailer at the Bemidji Jaycees Home Sport and Travel Show. Regas investigated the cause and origin of a small grass fire. Enforcement action was taken for failure to extinguish a fire. 

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports focusing on AIS and ATV enforcement this past week. Training at Camp Ripley was attended as was a Safety Committee meeting. Enforcement actions were taken for failure to remove drain plugs.

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) checked fishermen who were angling both through the ice and on open water. Boat and water safety was a focus for those checked on the Rainy River. Mishler assisted with judging the Region 12 K9 Narcotics Detection Trial in Wright County.

Warroad South – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports assisting with a firearms safety class in Bemidji. Time was also spent at a training session at Camp Ripley and checking anglers on area lakes. An injured eagle was taken to a rehabilitator.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) assisted at a Camp Ripley training for all conservation officers related to new holsters and at a firearms safety class for young shooters at the Bemidji field day.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked anglers on area lakes. He worked the TIP booth at the Bemidji Jaycees Home Sport and Travel Show and assisted with a firearms safety field day. Complaints of dogs chasing deer were taken. Owners are reminded they are responsible for the actions of their dogs. 

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports conducting commercial minnow retailer inspections. He found very good compliance. Vinton also attended new holster and range training at Camp Ripley and assisted with an all-day field day for students who completed their online firearms safety training. Though ice conditions remain good, fishing has been very slow. Oxygen levels are beginning to be a bit of a concern for some area lakes, according to DNR Fisheries.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted with a firearms safety field day in Bemidji and worked on ongoing cases.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing and ATV enforcement. Chihak attended the Minnesota State Community and Technical College Criminal Justice career event. MSCTC students were given the opportunity to speak with and ask questions of local law enforcement professionals about careers within their respective agencies. Time was also spent assisting other District 2 officers with a firearms safety field day in Bemidji.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) checked anglers on area lakes. They reported fair-to-good catch rates. Case follow up on ice houses left on lakes after the removal date was conducted. Snowmobile activity was worked with trails in fair-to-good condition in wooded areas. Warren attended training at Camp Ripley and completed online coursework. Calls of dogs chasing deer, a deer stuck in a pond, and a request for a car kill deer permit were received. Warren attended and provided instruction at an all-day field day firearms safety class.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring angling activity. Anglers are still finding decent ice conditions and a slowly improving panfish bite. The officer attended training at Camp Ripley and attended the Fergus Falls Game and Fish Club meeting to introduce himself and talk about the career of a conservation officer. Landmark taught the law and ethics portion of the Pelican Rapids firearms safety class and assisted other District 2 officers with a firearms safety field day in Bemidji.

Detroit Lakes – vacant.

Fosston – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) checked very few fishermen during the week. Most anglers say they are waiting for nicer weather and are tired of winter. Richards did speak with some anglers on the Otter Tail River who were catching under-utilized fish for a research project for North Dakota State University. Richards was impressed with data already collected and some of the ages of native buffalo fish. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked area fishermen, who were finding some tullibees. Plautz responded to a report of an injured deer, took calls about the upcoming turkey hunting season, and answered beaver trapping questions. ATV activity was monitored and online training was completed.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen and ATV riders and fielded trespassing complaints. A fishing overlimit complaint was worked in Douglas County. Panfish action has been slow on area lakes.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued to organize a firearms safety range day upcoming in mid-May with volunteer instructors. Anglers are few and far between with bitterly cold weather, wind and more fresh snow. Equipment was maintained and calls were answered regarding injured animals and possible cougar sightings. A citation was issued for an unregistered ATV.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) monitored anglers and ice shelters throughout the week. A firearms safety class was held in Osakis and the officer spent time training at Camp Ripley. A complaint was received regarding coyote hunters trespassing. The investigation is ongoing.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, ATV riders and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent training at Camp Ripley, speaking at the annual Donnelly Rod and Gun Club meeting, and assisting the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office with a search for a missing person.

Elbow Lake – vacant.

Morris – vacant.

Wheaton – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Randy Posner (Staples) reports working on litter complaints. He continued to investigate blocks of wood and garbage left on the ice by anglers after they removed their fish house. A few panfish anglers have been out trying their luck with mixed results. He worked on a complaint of an excavator on Lake Shamineau moving rocks and possibly altering the shoreline. Posner spent enforcement time patrolling and checking snowmobilers around Pillager and Staples. A report of garbage and prohibited material burning was also received.

CO Colleen Adam (Park Rapids) reports snowmobile trails are in poor condition; recreational riding is likely over for the year. Crappie and sunfish action is slow and interest appears to be waning. Adam also continued investigation on open cases.  

CO Chelsey Best (Remer) enforced fishing, ATV, snowmobile and trapping laws. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing licenses. Most trails are currently closed so do some research before you ride.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring fishing activity. Anglers continue to report limited success. Many fishermen are waiting for spring to arrive so they can fish open water. With the current weather and the forecast, anglers may be waiting a while. Broughten answered questions regarding spring beaver trapping and assisted with a complaint of timber trespass.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check ice anglers as winter refuses to say goodbye. Ice on large area lakes continues to show little, if any, deterioration. Fishing from boats on area lakes for fishing opener appears to be in serious jeopardy at this point. Mathy also answered many questions while working the TIP booth at the Bemidji Jaycees Home Sport and Travel Show. 

Lake George – vacant.

Walker – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports fishing activity on the Rainy River picked up over the weekend. But the cold weather caused the river to freeze over again in areas, making it difficult to fish. The fish have not been cooperative either. Other activities for the week included attending training at Camp Ripley, attending a DNR Commissioner’s Awards and Listening Session, and assisting the International Falls Police Department with a barricaded suicidal suspect in a house. Enforcement for the week included boat safety violations, invasive species, and license violations. 

CO John Slatinski (Ray) attended division training at Camp Ripley. Most activity in the area right now is centered on the Rainy River. Anglers have fought the cold and inclement weather, but most did not have very good success. Low water levels have also caused hazards to pop up and the ice that forms overnight is hard on equipment. Slatinski checked on water-related projects in the area and assisted local agencies with calls for service.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes, public access sites and local forest roads. Equipment work was completed.

CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked anglers and a few snowmobilers on area lakes. Fishing has been slow and snowmobiling has been tough on machines. Velsvaag also checked beaver trapping activity and looked for litter left after fish house removal.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers and an ATV group ride in the Virginia station, followed up on fish house and fish house litter violations, and attended training in the metro and at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for several ATV violations, failure to display snowmobile registration, no driver’s license, expired driver’s license, unmarked fish house and littering.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) attended annual firearms qualification at Camp Ripley and the DNR commissioner’s listening session in International Falls. Frericks spoke at two firearms safety classes and checked ice fishermen. Ice conditions on Virginia-area lakes have not deteriorated much at all and there is even snow covering most lakes. The Quad Cities ATV club hosted an annual spring ride over the weekend. The vast majority of riders rode in a responsible manner. Of the riders who didn’t, several were cited with registration violations. Frericks stopped one rider who earlier was cited for a registration violation after he was seen operating his ATV in the middle of the opposite lane of traffic on a county road. The rider was again cited.   

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) attended training at Camp Ripley, a commissioner’s awards and listening session in International falls, and a seminar in the Twin Cities. Fredin also investigated a report of a homeowner who shot what was thought to be a wolverine that was frightening his horses. The animal later was determined to be a fisher.

International Falls #2 – vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports activity was slow as winter continues to hang on in the Ely area. Very little fresh snow has fallen but there were several nights of subzero temperatures. Crappie anglers continue to be somewhat active but reports on success are only fair.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked with a conservation officer from Ontario along the border lakes. Anglers and snowmobilers were checked. He also attended training at Camp Ripley.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) helped officers with new equipment and handgun qualifications at Camp Ripley. She checked area lakes and Lake Superior tributaries. There’s no shortage of ice. Manning has also been working with volunteer safety instructors to prepare for upcoming ATV and firearms safety/hunter education classes.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked anglers inside and outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, attended training at Camp Ripley, and spent time on a wildlife complaint. Enforcement action included possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, expired ATV registration, failure to transfer snowmobile ownership and loud exhaust.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity. He also spent time on new equipment training at Camp Ripley this week as well.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) checked Lake Superior shore fishermen and followed up on littering complaints. Ice conditions continue to be holding on without any signs of spring melting yet. Murray also took a call of an injured deer and attended division training at Camp Ripley.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) attended training at Camp Ripley. He also checked anglers on area lakes, fielded a call about a sick moose and worked ongoing cases. Patten handled numerous calls about injured or car killed deer. The animals are feeding heavily on exposed vegetation along the roadway. He also received several calls about a “dead moose” that was actually a Jersey cow.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked snowmobile and ATV activity, fishing and small game enforcement, and answered miscellaneous wildlife calls. He also patrolled area lakes for anglers and assisted with an investigation.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked birch pole complaints, and monitored OHV activity. He attended training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and trespass.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and litter complaints. Two different groups of individuals decided to either dump all their household garbage on public land or dump the contents of their vehicle on the side of the roadway. Both individuals were contacted and enforcement action was taken. While speaking to one individual about his littering issue, it was discovered that he had an active warrant. He was arrested and brought to jail.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling, ATV, and trapping enforcement. A wolf depredation was investigated and a big-game case was completed. Van Asch also attended division training held at Camp Ripley and assisted neighboring officers with an ongoing investigation.

Hill City – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jake Willis (Brookston) answered calls regarding the upcoming fishing season and dealt with two separate calls about dogs chasing deer. Owners of the dogs were advised of the possible penalty for their dogs’ behavior. Assistance was also provided to local agencies. 

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent much of the week working ice and shore anglers along Lake Superior. ATV complaints on closed grant-in-aid trails were investigated and general ATV patrol was conducted. Nuisance animal complaints were handled. Schmidt also attended division training at Camp Ripley.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked ice fishing activity on area lakes during the week. He also spent a day at Camp Ripley training and worked shore fishermen along Lake Superior. Duncan was a guest speaker at a banquet in Hermantown and an injured bald eagle was picked up and brought to Wildwoods for rehab.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling and OHV enforcement throughout the week. He also took calls related to nuisance animals and conducted patrols in area state parks. Humphrey attended division training at Camp Ripley and completed seasonal equipment maintenance and changeover.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended firearms training at Camp Ripley. A K9 talk and demo was done for a group of local residents that meet monthly in Carlton County. A K9 meet and greet with K9 Schody was also conducted at the Safari Club International annual banquet in Hinckley over the weekend and assistance was provided in certifying detection dogs in St. Michael. A complaint of nuisance wolves was investigated where a pet dog was severely injured in the Cloquet area.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended training at Camp Ripley. Preparations were made for the upcoming CO Academy and shore anglers were checked along Lake Superior. The rivers are still frozen but anxious anglers are sure to descend once the ice is gone. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) checked fishing and cross-country skiing activity, investigated complaints of wolves killing cattle and damage/vandalism at a grant-in-aid cross-country ski trailhead, and responded to miscellaneous injured wildlife issues. Hadrits also hosted the DNR’s laser shot simulated shooting system for youth at the Cuyuna Range Whitetails Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association’s annual fund-raising event. The extended cold weather and snow conditions have been great for cross-country skiers, who are enjoying a longer-than-usual season and great area trail conditions thanks to ongoing grooming efforts by the Brainerd Nordic Ski Club and the Crow Wing County Land Department. 

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) assisted with new holster rollout at Camp Ripley. She also checked area lakes and worked spring ATV activity.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for late-season ice angling activity. McGowan also attended division training and followed up on trespass complaints. Enforcement action was taken for angling and narcotics violations. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports patrolling for illegal ATV activity after several complaints came in. Area lakes were checked for late-season panfishermen and many outdoor law-related questions were answered. A call of dogs chasing deer was fielded and the officer attended handgun qualification training at Camp Ripley. The state recreation area was also patrolled for park violations and illegal vehicle use in closed areas. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) checked anglers who were targeting panfish and tullibees. Anglers reported catch rates have been low. Sullivan contacted a few anglers who had not purchased their 2018 angling license. Enforcement action was taken. He also investigated illegal deer baiting and a report of dogs chasing deer. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd #2) worked sport fishing and ATV enforcement. Anglers are starting to catch some panfish on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration and all-terrain vehicle violations. A volunteer snowmobile instructor was presented with a 30-year instructor award.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling activity. Training was attended and complaints of litter and a suspicious dead deer were also investigated.

CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) monitored angling activity, some late-season snowmobile riders, and some early season ATV riders. A reminder that all grant-in-aid snowmobile trails are closed and most ATV trails are closed until after spring thaw. Other activities included putting away some winter equipment and dealing with an individual who decided to remove all the cattails in front of his lake home but did not bother getting the necessary permits first.

Brainerd #1 – vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) reports panfish anglers keep looking for the spring bite but haven’t found it yet. He also spoke at a local community meeting, checked trapping activity, and attended firearms training.  

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) attended division training at Camp Ripley. She also handled calls of injured deer and nuisance beaver.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) attended training at Camp Ripley and answered informational calls from the public. A couple trapping issues were addressed. Starr coached a group of coyote hunters on proper parking on roadways. He gave the law and ethics talk at a firearms safety class and made plans for instructor awards. A few people were observed riding snowmobiles.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found a few ice anglers out searching for bluegills and crappie. Ice conditions continued to hold up due to the unseasonably cold weather. With most ice still at least 2 feet thick, open-water fishing seems like a long way out. Grundmeier fielded a handful of calls from livestock owners who were concerned about wolves hanging around the cows during calving season.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) attended training at Camp Ripley and received his first report of a bear seen in the area prior to the new snowfall. He also received a call about a snowmobile rider who was driving up and down the Snake River between Pokegama and Cross Lake. The ice in this area is very unsafe with open water plainly visible in many places. Snowmobiler riders are encouraged to stick to the main lakes and are not advised to ride on the river. Grant-in-aid snowmobile trails going across private property closed on April 1.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area states and wildlife management areas. A few people were out fishing but for the most part it has been fairly slow. Most people with whom the officer has been talking are wishing for an end to the winter.

Isle – vacant.

Malmo – vacant.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) talked to dog owners about dogs chasing deer, a landowner with a sick owl, and a teacher picking up a road kill mink. Two landowners were educated about the deer feeding ban in Morrison County. Both landowners had feeders up that were full of shelled corn. A high school student job shadowed Kuske. She also issued permits for car killed deer.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week investigating calls of trespassing and migratory bird hunting complaints. Assistance was provided during a division training event and coyote hunting activity was monitored in the station. Time was also spent preparing for an upcoming firearms safety class.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on educational efforts with a firearms class attended and a snowmobile operator displaying 2015 registration. The officer also attended a youth ATV class to discuss the dangers of ATV operation and laws related to them. Administrative tasks continue to take up part of the officer’s time.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers. Ice conditions remain very good. Handgun training was attended at Camp Ripley. TIP calls were investigated. Enforcement action for the week included leaving a fish house overnight after the deadline.

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports helping facilitate and teach a youth firearms safety field day for online students in St. Cloud. Use of Force training was attended and ice fishermen and ATV activity were monitored. Enforcement contacts were made for angling without an angling license.

Pierz – vacant.

Annandale – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent time patrolling for angling activity. Krauel also checked snowmobile riders and helped put on a firearms safety field day. 
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and snowmobile riders. Violations were found for no registration, failure to transfer title, and no snowmobile safety training certification. Follow up was done on a small-game investigation.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling for snowmobilers. Additional efforts were spent presenting at firearms safety classes and investigating a possible wetland-related violation. Enforcement action was taken for an individual targeting walleyes during the closed season. Seamans would like to remind snowmobile riders that grant-in-aid trails closed April 1.

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) attended training at Camp Ripley. Several firearms safety classes were attended. The ice has cleared from the St. Croix River below Taylors Falls. Anglers are reminded to check their boats to ensure they have the proper safety equipment prior to heading out. The St. Croix River opener is April 28.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week. He also spent time at Carlos Avery WMA for training three new firearms safety instructors and 57 youth who attended the field day training. The best part of the weekend was getting a high-five from a student who had some trouble with shooting at first but finished the session with five bullseyes! She had a huge smile on her face and proudly showed off her target.  
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) assisted with a firearms safety field day in St. Cloud. A Resource Protection Notification was also issued on a possible wetland fill violation. Angling activity is very slow in the area. 

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) assisted with a youth firearms safety field day, attended training at Camp Ripley, and presented volunteer awards to local firearms safety instructors. Londgren patrolled local lakes, rivers and WMAs and checked closed trails.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on checking anglers on area lakes during the week. The officer attended training and answered questions regarding coyotes and injured geese. The officer and a neighboring officer responded to a report of dead deer piled in front of a trail camera on city property. With the assistance of the South Lake Minnetonka Police Department, the camera’s owner was located and enforcement action was taken.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) attended training at Camp Ripley this past week. A complaint of a wetlands violation was taken. Follow up on a deer-hunting and waterfowl case were conducted. Anglers are still venturing onto the ice. Remember to be very cautious this time of year!

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) continued to work anglers on area lakes and rivers. Time was also spent doing firearms training at Camp Ripley. Maass gave a law and ethics talk to 58 students at the Delano Sportsmen’s Club. Time was also spent answering questions about the new northern pike regulations.

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) patrolled area lakes for angling activity. Some people were observed driving full size trucks out on the ice. Fogarty advises anglers to use caution as vehicles such as ATVs have been reported going through the ice already this spring. Enforcement action was taken for violation of trespass laws, damage to property, and illegal possession of wild game. Fogarty also attended training at Camp Ripley.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking fishermen and following up on complaints. Grewe also attended a city council meeting talking about hydro jets and attended training at Camp Ripley.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked anglers and snowmobilers in the metro area. He investigated a mute swan complaint in Bloomington and assisted a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer with an elk case in Minneapolis. He also answered questions from the Asian community on trout fishing regulations and firearms safety classes.

Bloomington – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers throughout the area. He attended training at Camp Ripley and spoke at firearms safety classes. Enforcement action for the week included license violations.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked anglers and boaters on the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. He patrolled for off-road vehicles in the area and checked on a couple of complaints of leaf dumping in a wetland and litter on the ice. Pril also spent time on equipment maintenance and responded to calls.

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) attended training at Camp Ripley and instructed a firearms safety course in North St. Paul. Wildlife possession permits were issued. Follow up on taxidermy inspections were also conducted.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (White Bear Lake) spent time checking anglers and monitoring snowmobile activity following the recent April snowstorm. Many people took advantage of the late-season snowfall to get back out on their snowmobiles. Leuthardt also attended new holster training at Camp Ripley and assisted with an all-female volunteer instructor training at the Carlos Avery WMA. She also worked with area youth seeking their firearms safety certificate during a day-long firearms safety field day. 
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports teaching the law and ethics portion to a firearms safety class in Marine on St Croix. He continued patrolling WMAs, checking anglers and conducting recreational vehicle enforcement. Arntzen also responded to TIP calls, handled nuisance animal complaints and did equipment maintenance.

Ham Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) Checked anglers and ATV riders and completed commercial inspections throughout the week. The officer also attended training at Camp Ripley. 

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ATVs and light goose hunters. Repeated snow and ensuing melts have hampered most goose hunters’ efforts. Freezing temperatures and weekly snow storms are making “A” season turkey hunters nervous.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ice fishing and OHV activity during the week. Miska assisted multiple agencies in Stevens County with attempting to locate a missing person. Firearms training was attended at Camp Ripley.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports spring goose hunting, ice fishing, and ATV activity were the main enforcement focuses. Most of the questions received during the week dealt with the upcoming stream trout and border water openers. DNR Fisheries is going to delay the stocking of trout in the Redwood River by Camden State Park until after the April 14 opener due to high river levels.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time working angling and snowmobile activity. Gutzwiller fielded a call involving a Cooper’s hawk that was caught in a foothold trap. Time was spent following up on multiple complaints of shining and shooting. Commercial minnow dealer and taxidermy inspections were conducted throughout the week. 

Redwood Falls - vacant.

Lake Benton – vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) followed up on animal complaints. He also worked on investigations and attended division training.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked anglers during the week and worked snowmobile enforcement with the fresh snowfall. Other time was spent training at Camp Ripley and checking coyote hunters. The latter were taking advantage of the fresh snow to track coyotes with their dogs.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) represented the Enforcement Division at a career fair and assisted at a youth firearms safety field day. He attended firearms and other training, and also worked fishing and ATV activity.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) presented natural resource information and conservation officer duties to fourth graders at the Windom Middle School. Miller attended training at Camp Ripley this past week. Miller also monitored light goose hunting activity as smaller groups were observed migrating through the area.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) monitored activity relating to fishing, small game, and ATVs. Gruhlke completed his radio program and discussed topics of ice safety and the light goose conservation order. The rivers and streams are flowing and lakes with aeration have holes that are opening wider.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) attended training at Camp Ripley and a local county AIS taskforce meeting. Topics included were last year’s activities and this year’s proposal for the prevention of AIS in our lakes. Angling and light goose activity remains low.

Hutchinson East – vacant.

Hutchinson West – vacant.

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, trappers, and ATV operators. The officer completed an aeration inspection and patrolled WMAs and waterfowl production areas. Davis gave the law and ethics presentation at firearms safety classes in Leroy and New Richland. He also encountered someone who burned household furniture in a brush pile and started the fire with oil.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato #1) focused on ATV and angling activity. VanThuyne also completed aeration inspections and responded to injured animal complaints.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers as well as ATV and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent investigating illegal burning and wetland violations. Ihnen also attended firearms training at Camp Ripley.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) attended division training at Camp Ripley. Henke also checked a few people who were out fishing, as well as local aeration systems. He worked on ongoing investigations from the fall.

Faribault – vacant.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) continued work on ongoing cases. He also attended training and an awards ceremony in Olmsted County. 

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) followed up on a trespass complaint and assisted the Red Wing Police Department with a shooting complaint. Division training was attended at Camp Ripley and preparation began for area firearms safety classes.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) worked fishing enforcement on the backwaters and open water of the Mississippi River. Backwater ice fishing is limited but some nice panfish are still being taken. Open water is also giving up some sauger and perch, along with a few walleyes. Some divisional training was also attended and many calls and complaints were answered. Enforcement action for the week included ATV problems on state land and trails, as well as fishing license and equipment issues.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a large number of birds migrating through the area brought many bird viewers along the river and many injured raptor calls. He also spent time checking a game farm complaint, snowmobile trespass calls, and litter complaints. Hemker checked on a sick deer call that was found to be a tame deer that was illegally raised. 

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports monitoring fishing activity throughout the area. Trout stream water level has been consistently low, but water visibility remains relatively clear. Hill contacted multiple people fishing without a fishing license. One subject cited for no license stated he thought he could “pull a fast one” on Hill by ditching a fishing pole when he saw the officer approaching to check his license. A complaint of illegal deer feeding in the CWD zone was investigated and burning violations were handled.

Rochester #2 – vacant.

LaCrescent – vacant.

Training Section

Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying a mission related to late-season anglers in Voyageurs National Park and attending training at Camp Ripley. He also completed aviation ground training.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf telemetry flights and attended to administrative tasks.

NR Pilot Brad Maas continued working on the aerial fish stocking tank plans and bid process. He also worked on online fire training and helicopter maintenance scheduling.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) attended training at Camp Ripley and saw to other administrative tasks due to inclement weather. 

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying more wolf telemetry while there is still sufficient snow to see the animals. Jensen also landed and checked ice anglers in various vacant stations with one citation issued for no angling license. Conditions on many lakes in north-central Minnesota are perfect for ski planes. Jensen attended training at Camp Ripley.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week assisting with training at Camp Ripley. He also attended a meeting and lake service provider AIS training.

WREO Michael Scott (NE) attended the Arrowhead Home and Builder Show, where he educated the public on AIS issues with the Minnesota Sea Grant. Scott also attended trainings at Camp Ripley and St. Paul.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) spent the week working on open cases. Upcoming training was scheduled and time was spent at Camp Ripley for training.

WREO Leah Weyandt (Central) attended a day of firearms training. Wetland violation cases were followed up on in Carver County. A call was received from another law enforcement agency about two deer possibly killed out of season. The deer were found to have been hit by a vehicle.

WREO Luke Belgard (SW) investigated new wetland complaints. Ongoing cases were followed up on and TEP meetings attended. The officer conducted AIS training in Slayton.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) attended training at Camp Ripley and addressed an injured hawk complaint. Anglers were out having success both on ice and open water. 

Enforcement Education

Please check the DNR website 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 online for the online course information. (It’s also at www.mndnr.gov.)

Please check the DNR website 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. People 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 assisted officers with firearms and holster training throughout the week. He also set up and held a youth firearms safety field.

North Metro RTO Brett Oberg (Acting) reports hosting a firearms safety instructor clinic and field day for Becoming an Outdoors Woman at Carlos Avery WMA. The newly certified instructors did a great help with teaching the youth during their field day. The newly certified students did an excellent job and all were active participants in the class. Congratulations goes out to them all. Multiple officers helped make the event a success.  

Southern RTO Jen Mueller (Acting) spent the week reviewing materials for upcoming instructor clinics. She also finished yearly online training. Mueller continued to take in registrations for youth firearms safety classes and worked on lesson plans for the upcoming Academy.

South Metro RTO Phil George (Acting) taught the law and ethics portion of a firearms safety class, spent time at Camp Riley for new holster training, and prepared for upcoming instructor clinics.

Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence along with other DNR staff from Enforcement and Parks and Trails hosted a Trail Ambassador meeting in Little Falls. Topics covered included annual safety factors and risk management for trail monitoring. Lawrence also worked on revisions and changes to training materials for the upcoming Trail Ambassador training sessions in late April. Lawrence assisted other Use of Force team members in training conservation officers at Camp Ripley on new firearms-related equipment.    


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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