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
Minnesota CONSERVATION OFFICER REPORT
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods. A felony drug arrest was made on the ice and multiple over limits were encountered. Other violations included anglers using extra lines, possessing illegal length walleyes, and angling without a license.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked snowmobile and angling enforcement. The weather has been playing with the ice causing heaves in areas and the snowmobile trails are still a bit bumpy, take your time and proceed with caution. The bite has seemed to slow up a bit in most areas which is typical this time of year, however there are still a few spots out there where limits can be had. Enforcement action taken this week included angling with an extra line, angle without license in possession, and illegal transport of fish.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette West) reports a slowdown in fishing success on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken on improperly displayed snowmobile registration, possession of fillets on Lake of the Woods, possession of marijuana, and no fishing license in possession.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) patrolled during the I-500 Cross Country snowmobile race, the Lake Bronson Lions fishing derby, and Thief River Falls Lions fishing derby. Enforcement action for the week included fail to register deer, angle with extra lines, snowmobile and ATV registration violations, allow unlawful operation of snowmobile and ATV by juveniles, and driving after cancellation I.P.S.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking anglers on special regulation lakes and monitoring snowmobiling activity on area trails. Time was spent attending a meeting in St. Paul and working snowmobile enforcement with a neighboring officer as snowmobilers capitalized on the fabulous weather and trail conditions. Enforcement action for the week included angling license violations and wanton waste.
CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports focusing on angling and snowmobile enforcement. The fresh snow made for smooth trails this weekend. A snowmobile safety class was conducted for area youth. Enforcement actions included walleye over limit, extra lines, unattended lines, dressed fillets on special management waters, and several drug related offenses.
Warroad #2 – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
Thief River Falls #2 – vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) attended a meeting in St. Paul, a taxidermy inspection was completed, and time was spent checking snowmobile operators on area GIA trails. Anglers and ATV operators were also checked.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) finished up a case from deer season. He also checked some snowmobilers and ice anglers.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked angling activity on area lakes. Snowmobile trails were busy over the weekend with good weather and riding conditions. CO Vollbrecht also worked a detail on Leech Lake with several angling violations encountered.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) checked anglers and snowmobiles during the week. Time was spent working trapping activity and patrolling snowmobile trails in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. CO Holt also assisted with a volunteer safety instructor forum in Bemidji.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking anglers and beginning to note shelters and litter before the upcoming shelter removal date. Several deer possession permits were issued. CO Vinton received a call from a cabin owner that had a deer with a missing rear leg that was no longer keeping up with other deer and had bedded down under a boat in his yard. The deer was removed. Snowmobile trails in the open areas are again no longer passable. Enforcement action was taken for unmarked shelters, no angling licenses in possession, and failure to display ATV registration.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) responded to reports of an abandoned ice shelter, a wildlife complaint, and followed up on a report of snowmobile trespass.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports spending the week working fishermen, checking aeration systems, handling calls of dogs chasing deer and sick deer. An accidentally taken fisher was tagged and a talk was given to the Rothsay firearms safety class.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) monitored ice angling activity on area waters. Snowmobile and ATV activity was worked. CO Warren received a complaint of car hit turkey’s and feeding deer. Information was provided about legal access to an area lake. Follow up and closure of open cases was completed.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) coordinated with instructors for upcoming firearm safety classes. Calls from the public included questions about ice fishing and possible mountain lion sightings. The deadline for ice house removal is midnight on March 6th, but anglers need to watch the weather with high temperatures in the long term forecast.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports nice weather really brought the people outdoors over the weekend. Fishing activity remains steady with some nice catches observed. Violations continue to be found related to ice fishing activity. With forecasted temperatures being way above average, ice safety might be compromised by next weekend for vehicles and large fish houses. Folks are encouraged to be mindful of the potential danger and prevent unnecessary risks.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) continues to focus on fishing enforcement. Extra lines and unattended lines were found throughout the week. Coyote hunters are still out strong with good success.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) continued to work fishermen, shelters, and ATV activity throughout the week. CO Nelson assisted in setting up a FAS class with local instructors and worked predator hunting activity. Calls were handled on an ATV that broke through the ice and an injured owl and deer.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATV’s, and fish houses. Ice conditions are still good but no snow on the ice is making it very slick on area lakes.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time this week working ice fishing activity despite above average temps. The snow is almost gone but ice conditions continue to hold steady. Numerous contacts ended with enforcement action for no angling license, extra lines, unattended lines, and over limit. Calls regarding an accidentally trapped fisher and injured owls were taken.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work angling and spearing activity on area waterways. Time has been spent in and around popular ice fishing locations monitoring potential litter and abandoned shelter violations. Predator hunters and trappers were checked and area ATV activity was monitored. Informational calls/questions and potential complaints were received from the public.
CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working ice fishing, snowmobile, and ATV enforcement. Miscellaneous wildlife calls were received and minnow transportation permits were issued.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on predator hunting, ATV activity, and ice fishing. Anglers report catching a few more pan fish this week. Anglers are pulling houses off of area lakes with unusually warm weather and rain this weekend. Predator hunters were checked and calls were handled regarding concerns about ice conditions, ice fishing, and predator hunting.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, ATV operators, and follow up on a snowmobile registration issue. CO Baumbarger attended a meeting and fielded calls about upcoming firearm safety class. Warm weather is starting to affect access points on area lakes with numerous anglers seen removing fish houses over the weekend.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked ice fishermen and their shelters, as well as snowmobile activity. Snowmobile trails continue to deteriorate with the warm weather. Enforcement action taken for shelter violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring fishing activity. Angling success still continues to remain poor in the Longville and Leech Lake area. Warm weather and lack of new snow accumulation has taken its toll on local snowmobile trails. CO Broughten fielded calls regarding injured animals and snowmobile trails. He assisted local law enforcement with a suspicious person and also provided a law enforcement college student with an educational ride- along. Enforcement action included several angling violations.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked fishermen and gave a talk to the NR/LE students at Central Lakes College.
Walker – vacant.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports lots of people out on area snowmobile trails as recent snowfall has improved the trail conditions greatly. Ice fishing report on Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake, and Namakan Lake are slow however lots of people were out enjoying the warmer weather. Enforcement action taken were mainly snowmobiling violations.
CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports snowmobile activity has once again increased with the improved snow conditions and area trails are in very good condition. Litter on area lake surfaces and elsewhere continues to be a common complaint heard. A frequent violation being encountered is failing to transfer ownership of snowmobiles. After a period of time, tracking down the registered owner to obtain the required paperwork for transfer of ownership to the new owner can turn into a real hassle for both parties.
CO Colleen Adam (Ray) reports the ice road is in on Kabetogama however the fishing success is limited. The fresh snow in the area brought many snowmobile enthusiasts to the area to enjoy the lakes and trails. Conditions could not have been any better; thank you to the local clubs for trying to keep up the trails. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, expired ATV registration, and many fail to display proper registration on snowmobiles.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports area snowmobile trails were monitored, local lakes and public access sites were checked, and state forest roads were patrolled.
CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked snowmobilers and anglers this past week. Snowmobiling conditions were great and fishing was slow overall. CO Velsvaag also followed up on several calls and had questions about trout and spearing regulations.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) logged many miles on the snowmobile this week and spent a good portion of time checking anglers. The bite seems to have slowed. Numerous contacts were made and enforcement action was taken on extra lines, no license in possession, speeding, and no registration. The trails started out good, but the large number of sleds out have made them a little rough after the weekend.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked anglers and snowmobiles during the week, dealt with a report of a car injured wolf and attended a meeting in St. Paul. A fishing tournament and a vintage snowmobile run were worked with over 200 sleds participating in the latter event. Enforcement action for the week was taken on angling after revocation, no angling license in possession, and snowmobile violations mainly consisting of registration and speed.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) patrolled area lakes checking anglers. Pleasant temps brought out plenty of anglers. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession. With the nice temps, just as many snowmobilers hit the area snowmobile trails. Despite heavy use, the trails remain in great condition. Violations of fail to display current registration decals were encountered.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked fishing activity throughout the week and most report slow fishing. Snowmobile trails were patrolled and violations of operate ATV on Grant in Aid trail and expired registration were found. Law presentation was given to youths in Hoyt Lakes obtaining their snowmobile safety certificates.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports a combination of good trail conditions and warm weather made for an extremely busy snowmobiling weekend. Snowmobile registration compliance was very high considering the huge volume of sleds on the trails, speed on the other hand continues to be a problem. Violations included excessive snowmobile speed, angling with extra lines, and angling with no license in possession.
CO Marty Stage (Ely 2) reports the weekend was a busy one for snowmobiles and there was also a lot of illegal snowmobile traffic on the roads as evidenced by the tracks. Some were running great distances down the main roads and even the state highway.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports great winter conditions for both anglers and snowmobilers alike. He patrolled by snowmobile checking remote designated trout lakes and checking snowmobile activity. Angling success has been mixed depending on skill level and lake.
CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) patrolled area lakes checking anglers and fishing shacks. The officer also patrolled the Ramstad State and GIA snowmobile trails. One angler learned the hard way that reading the regulation book every year is a good thing-he could have saved himself a fine and a ticket had he read about and gotten the “Non-Trail Registration” for his sled rather than hoping that a CO would not notice the 2011 registration he never renewed.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked snowmobile enforcement as well as checking ice anglers. There was an extremely high volume of snowmobile traffic with the ample snow conditions. Speed was a problem with several in the 80s – statewide speed limit is 50. Fishing success is very slow. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speed, expired registration, fail to transfer ownership, and expired ATV registration.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area lakes for angling activity and spent time on area trails as well. CO Schottenbauer did a lot of explaining to lost snowmobilers and the concept of county roads are not trails, even in Lake County.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking snowmobiles on area trails. The trails are in excellent condition. Anglers were checked on lakes in Lake and Cook Counties. Some nice pan fish were seen in the bag. Enforcement action was taken for careless operation, snowmobiling, and hunting violations.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area snowmobile trails and checked anglers. He helped with a snowmobile safety class in Northome and assisted with a snowmobile accident near Hill City. Enforcement action was taken for fail to display snowmobile registration.
CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked snowmobile activity, fishing enforcement, and he answered miscellaneous wildlife calls. He checked area trout lakes and patrolled area snowmobile trails. Snowmobile trails were excellent again this week. No violations were encountered.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked the MNUSA snowmobile event, and assisted the sheriff’s office in locating a suicidal male juvenile runaway. Enforcement action was taken for registration issues and speeding on a snowmobile.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked area lakes for fishing activity this past week and weekend. She also worked snowmobile enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling and snowmobile activity with the most sleds seen all year. With the MNUSA snowmobile ride being located in Grand Rapids, hundreds of sled enthusiasts hit the trail to celebrate Minnesota’s great trail riding opportunities. Enforcement action was taken for having modified mufflers on a snowmobile, excessive speed, and expired registration.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobiles, trappers, and grant-in-aid trails. He also handled littering and trespass complaints during the week.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) worked snowmobile and angling activity throughout the Hill City and Grand Rapids areas. CO Van Asch assisted neighboring officers with the 2017 MN USA Snowmobile Ride held in Grand Rapids. The ride participants took advantage of the nice weather and trails over the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for operating snowmobile in excess of posted speed limits, operating unregistered snowmobiles, and failure to display current ATV registration.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Brookston) spent time monitoring snowmobile trails. Officer Silgjord attended a DNR volunteer instructor forum where questions regarding area classes were covered.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the majority of the week working on a trapping investigation. Several calls were answered and returned from the public that will require follow up. Other activity included working winter fishing along the North Shore.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked area lakes for angling activity and patrolled area snowmobile trails. Several enforcement contacts were made for various snowmobile operation, equipment, and registration violations. Patrols in Jay Cooke and Moose Lake State Parks resulted in contacts for no vehicle and cross country ski permits. Dogs off leash were also observed. Area anglers were reporting mixed results on pan fish and pike. CO Humphrey worked with FDL and State biologists on a recovered deceased collared wolf.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted with K9 training in the metro area. A talk was given to a snowmobile safety class in Floodwood on the rules and regulations for snowmobiling. There was a fair amount of snowmobile activity in the area over this past week. The trails are in fair to good condition but melting quickly with the warmer weather. Enforcement action was taken for speed, safety certificate, and registration violations. Extra patrols were conducted in area state parks with enforcement action taken for no ski pass and having dogs off leash.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked area lakes and snowmobile trails in the Duluth area; the warmer weather had many anglers and snowmobilers taking advantage over the weekend. Officer Olson attended the annual un-hooked fishing contest on Island Lake, fielding questions and checking angling licenses. The brisk winds had some shore anglers along the North Shore seeking inland opportunities.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) processed evidence from cleared cases and answered questions relating to regulations on Lake Superior. Work detail schedules were worked on for spring fish run. Officer Miller completed enforcement actions for commercial violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked area lakes and made contact with several anglers who reported having poor success. CO Sullivan also worked snowmobiling activity and assisted with the apprehension of a subject who fled on snowmobile. Snowmobile trails in the area are in good condition but deteriorating rapidly with warm weather.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen and snowmobiles. Trails were in good condition this week. Officer Hunter also assisted a stranded motorist who was stuck in the snow.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for snowmobile and angling activity throughout the week. Numerous snowmobilers were out enjoying good trail conditions before the warm up. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling and snowmobiling violations.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers were still out trying their luck. Violations observed were no license and unattended lines. The ice conditions are good, however slushy melted areas have become a problem for some anglers and snowmobilers. Other violations observed were no snowmobile safety certificate, driving the wrong way after sunset, and expired registration.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd 2) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Lots of anglers were out enjoying the lakes area. Officer Guida also instructed approximately 30 students in snowmobile safety. Snowmobile trails have diminished.
CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) checked many anglers where the reports were very slow with the exception of pan fish. Some nice catches of crappies and sunfish were seen. The snowmobile trails were active with the several inches of snow received in the last week. Enforcement activity included fish houses without identification and/or shelter tags displayed, angle with unattended lines, more than 200’ from tip-ups, snowmobile speeding, and careless operation of a snowmobile. An individual that was water skipping on his snowmobile understood the possible consequences of his actions when it was explained that someone unfamiliar with the area may follow his tracks after dark into the water and drown.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking snowmobile, fishing, and cross country ski activity. Complaints of illegal use and obstruction of snowmobile trails were looked into, and enforcement contacts were made for illegal ATV operation and no ski passes.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, spearing, cross country skiing, and snowmobile activity. A firearms deer case was closed and time was spent on the local radio station.
Cuyuna SRA – vacant.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity where ice houses were coming off due to slow bites and a warm forecast. Some beaver trappers were out anxiously chipping ice as the pelts are priming up. CO Verkuilen also monitored a trespassing complaint and answered questions regarding the upcoming DU contest.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) conducted follow up on cases from deer season to see the status of on-going cases. Anglers were checked on Mille Lacs Lake; the bite has slowed with a few fish being caught. Ice conditions have changed with the recent warm up. Please use caution when venturing onto the ice. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines and possession of marijuana.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen on Mille Lacs Lake and smaller area lakes. Most were having some luck and with the warmer weather the pan fish bite seems to be starting. The officer also patrolled area snowmobile trails and quite a few sleds were enjoying the trails and warmer weather, but by the end of the weekend the trails were deteriorating quickly. Calls regarding outdoor related law questions and nuisance animals were fielded throughout the week and weekend. Enforcement action was taken for various fishing violations.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) readied evidence for upcoming court cases. Anglers were checked and reported a slow bite. Snowmobile activity was worked. The trails were in good condition but with the warmer weather will be deteriorating quickly.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) noted an extreme upswing in fishing pressure this past week with warmer weather. Fishing was slower, but many fish were still being caught. Violations for extra line, possess protected sized walleye, unattended lines, and lacking licenses were encountered. Marking fish houses with GPS for litter problems continued. Ice roads were heaving badly this week. CO Starr found many fishermen that were lacking proper measuring devices to accurately measure fish, which is not an excuse to have illegal length fish.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) patrolled area lakes, checked anglers and dealt with some complaints of ice fishermen leaving garbage on the lakes. All kinds of nuisance animal calls were also taken and dealt with. CO Grundmeier and the MN State Patrol also apprehended a couple of convicted felons that were found near a business in town. The felons thought it would be a good idea to try to get away by running into the woods. The path left by the runners led to their arrest after about half a mile of following their tracks in the snow. Further investigation turned up many items of stolen property the two were also responsible for.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) reports checking anglers and following up on car killed animal permits. He spent time monitoring state forest areas and assisted the Pine County Sheriff’s department with traffic stops and a theft at Walmart. CO Wynn answered numerous questions about trapping, shelter licensing, and upcoming spring hunts.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) checked angling, hunting, and OHV activities. Several families were fishing during the nice weekend weather. Ice conditions were extremely slippery.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity in the area; taking complaints of possible double tripping and over limits. The officer also assisted a deputy on a trapping complaint.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) participated in a radio call-in show and took a TIP call of unattended tip-ups on an area river. The anglers were back when CO Kuske arrived and when asked where they had been earlier they admitted to going back to the house. CO Kuske educated them about the law of staying within 200’ of their tip-ups and the law of operating an ATV that has current registration on it and not expired. Calls of car hit deer, swans and owls were also taken care of.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, ATVs, and trappers. Angling success has been generally slow in the Albany area. An accidental otter was seized from a trapper who was trapping mink. Enforcement action for the week included possession of marijuana, no license in possession, and no ID on fish house.
CO Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this week. CO Mies gave a law talk at the Cokato DNR firearms safety class and worked on complaints.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) reports while checking fishermen talked to several shelter house owners about picking up the trash around their house reminding them that the area around their house is public waters. Officer Kuske also checked a four year old fishermen that caught an 8 lb. northern on a tip-up. Both he and his grandpa had big smiles and a good story.
St. Cloud – vacant.
Sauk Centre – vacant.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week. Anglers enjoyed warmer weather and more anglers were on the ice. Investigations were conducted into theft of fur/trap along with trespass. Enforcement action was taken on trapping without a license and no trap tags.
CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked ice fishing activity. Anglers are reminded of the fast approaching fish house/shelter removal date on March 6th. With the upcoming warm weather anglers are encouraged not to wait until the removal date deadline to get their fish houses off the lakes. Area lake accesses have already began to deteriorate and will make for difficult times getting on and off the lake. Enforcement action was taken on possession of illegal length northern, fishing without a license, unattended and extra lines.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes. He followed up on two separate dogs chasing deer complaints. He investigated a number of dumping’s in the Sand Dunes State Forest and on private land, with the assistance of the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office. He interviewed suspects and located the violator, summons will be issued. He attended an end of the season Elk River Park Archery deer hunting meeting. He wants to thank the Elk River Police Department, volunteers, city staff, and hunters for a successful hunt. The harvest percentage was over 90%.
CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week checking anglers and followed up on trapping and hunting cases. CO Krauel also had the opportunity to talk to a local high school class about careers in the field of natural resources. Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials, illegal ATV operation by a juvenile, and no angling license.
District 13 - West Metro area
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) encountered an ice fisherman on Lake Waconia that had lost a rod and reel down the ice hole after a large fish bit on his line. The angler then caught a fish on his other line and pulled out a northern pike. Much to the surprise of the angler, the northern pike was still hooked to his pole that had gone under the ice. Ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly so exercise great caution when going out on the ice now.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) spent time checking anglers on Minneapolis area lakes and at Fort Snelling State Park. He attended the DNR Fish and Wildlife public hearing and input meeting at the Laos Family Center and conducted a monthly inspection for aeration systems in an assigned station.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked anglers on the metro area lakes and continued to follow up on a big game TIP complaint in Minneapolis. He attended the deer planning meeting with the Asian community members at the Lao Family center and took calls on animal complaints. He also returned calls to the Asian community on firearm safety classes and small game hunting regulations.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week at detection training school with his K9 partner Shelby.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) patrolled area lakes for angling and ATV activity. Several miscellaneous animal complaints were also handled. CO Maass also investigated a possible abandoned fish house.
CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent the week checking shelters on the ice for proper identification and licensing. Enforcement action was taken for shelters left unoccupied overnight without being licensed and failure to display identification on shelter. Several phone calls were received regarding injured deer spotted in citizens’ backyards.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) had a busy and productive week checking anglers, ice shelters, and attending the meetings of area wildlife organizations. CO Leuthardt conducted compliance checks on ice shelters and wants to remind users that all shelters require identification other than portable shelters that are occupied. She also investigated a report of angling harassment. Enforcement action was taken for no ice shelter identification, no angling license in possession, juvenile passengers with no helmet on an ATV, and various other violations.
Bloomington – vacant.
Ft. Snelling – vacant.
District 14 - East Metro area
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers, aeration systems, and worked ATV enforcement on area lakes. He spent time investigating a couple of complaints for possible game violations. CO Pril also responded to calls and scheduled conservation officer presentations for upcoming firearm safety classes.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) gave a presentation to a firearms safety class in Forest Lake. He also handled several nuisance animal complaints and responded to TIP calls. CO Arntzen continued checking ice anglers, shelters, and recreational vehicles in the area.
CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) still has a lot of ice angling in the area with good ice conditions. CO Willis responded to a TIP call in a neighboring station, one in his station, and also spoke with a group at East Ridge High School along with another conservation officer about the job as a conservation officer. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, taking a fish under length, and fail to display ATV registration.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer would like to remind ice anglers that ice house removal dates are fast approaching. Also, with the warmer weather being predicted, you may want to remove your shelter earlier than the deadline.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers throughout the area. He assisted a neighboring officer with a spear fishing tournament as well as followed up on TIP calls. Enforcement action for the week included angling violations.
White Bear Lake – vacant.
Metro Officer – vacant.
Eagan – vacant.
District 15 - Marshall area
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ice anglers and conducting investigations. Some lakes are producing nice perch and walleyes. Many anglers are removing shelters ahead of pending warm temperatures.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports focusing activity on littering and ice fishing enforcement. The officer spoke to a local fishing tournament on Lac Qui Parle about littering problems on the ice. Anglers reported moderate-good success over the weekend on area lakes. Enforcement action included unattended lines, unmarked ice houses, failure to display ATV registration, failure to purchase state park pass, and fishing license violations.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time this last week checking anglers and fielding numerous wildlife calls. Many anglers took advantage of the warm weather to put a line in the water. Enforcement action was taken for fishing license violations and angling with extra lines. Officer Gutzwiller also taught the laws and ethics portion of a firearms safety class held in Dawson.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ATV, ice fishing, commercial minnow and trapping activity during the week. A snowmobile safety class was taught in Ortonville. Angling violations were encountered.
CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) reports time was spent checking ice anglers, coyote hunters, and completing aeration inspections. A local coyote tournament produced a few coyotes even though hunting conditions were tough. Enforcement action was taken for driving a motor vehicle within the restricted portion of a WMA.
Lake Benton – vacant.
Worthington – vacant.
District 16 - New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) followed up on a trapping complaint. He checked anglers and completed inspections of commercial activity. Time was also spent on a litter case.
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) patrolled lakes for angling and trapping. He gave a presentation for an area firearm safety class. CO Vernier received calls including a truck going through the ice, a backhoe going through the ice, trespass questions, trapping violations, and a dumping complaint.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time checking anglers and checking fish house licenses. Coyote hunters were checked as well as they were out scouting for areas to hunt.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson-West) conducted an aeration inspection during the week. Extra thin ice signs had to be added to Lake Marion as the open water area had grown past the original signs. Over the weekend, a Class 2 ATV fell thru the ice near the thin ice signs. The sheriff’s office made the decision to close the lake to all vehicle traffic including ATV’s due to unsafe ice.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson-East) worked ice angling and ATV activity on a rainy weekend this past week. CO Oberg handled a falconry call where enforcement action was taken. He also assisted the State Patrol and McLeod County Sheriff’s Office with locating a suspect that fled on a traffic stop.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked angling and ATV enforcement. He observed some nice catfish and perch taken on a local lake.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) focused enforcement sport fishing over the past week. An investigation regarding an over limit of walleye took place with enforcement action taken. Enforcement action was also taken for angling with extra lines, ice shelter ID violations, and possession of drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana. A local public hearing was attended related to license fees.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) reports that he worked ice fishermen and ATV activity. He also patrolled through Kilen Woods State Park. He provided information concerning food plots and took information of an active bald eagle nest in Round Lake Township. CO Gruhlke also completed his radio program with KKOJ.
District 17 - Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked angling activity and performed aeration system inspections this week. Ice conditions are deteriorating with the warm weather and many shelters are being removed from area lakes. Anglers are reminded that shelters may not be left on public accesses.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, ATV, trapping, and coyote hunting enforcement this week. Another report of a vehicle going through the ice was taken; the ice is not safe for automobile traffic. Anglers are at their own risk if they choose to drive on the ice. The officer assisted local law enforcement in locating a fleeing suspect from a motor vehicle pursuit.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) continues to check ice anglers on area lakes. Complaints of anglers removing houses and leaving trash on the ice were taken. The officer attended a license fee increase information meeting. Time was also spent following up on some enforcement work from the fall.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers and ATV operators during the week. The officer also attended a DNR volunteer instructor forum held in Owatonna.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) focused on angling and ATV activity. Fishing success has been mixed. CO VanThuyne also worked trapping and predator hunters throughout the week. Keep an eye on ice conditions as the temperature increases this week.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) continues to follow-up on several open cases from 2016. CO Henke monitored local lakes and rivers for fishing enforcement; remember to clean up after yourself before leaving the lake. CO Henke also took complaints on illegal operation of ATV by youth riders. He reminds parents to check regulations before allowing kids to operate ATV’s. Aeration inspections were completed on several lakes.
Spring Valley – vacant.
District 18 - Rochester area
CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports assisting Goodhue and Rice Counties with vehicles through the ice. A reminder to ice anglers that even though the ice shelter removal deadline is almost a month away for the southern portion of the state, warm weather has aided in the quick deterioration of ice. CO Hill presented a talk to a group of Native American students who were interested in the job duties of conservation officers and also attended an area wildlife club meeting in Red Wing. Enforcement action for the week included no fishing license in possession, cross country skiing without a cross country ski pass in possession, and failure to stop at a stop sign.
CO Trent Seamans (Rochester 2) spent the majority of the week patrolling for sport fishing. Several miscellaneous wildlife complaints were taken. An injured Northern Saw-Whet Owl was taken to the Twin Cities by a Raptor Center volunteer. Enforcement action for the week included taking trout without a trout stamp, fishing without a license in possession, and violating the CWD feeding ban.
CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) spent time with Wisconsin conservation wardens learning the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River. CO Fogarty and Brownsville Fire Dept. removed a deceased deer from a local trout stream. The deer recovery occurred after CO Fogarty attended Basic Animal Rescue Training (B.A.R.T.) at Hokah Fire Department. CO Fogarty also attended the Sheldon Valley Sportsman’s club meeting in Houston where he talked about CWD. Enforcement action was taken on an ice angler fishing without a license.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishing enforcement on the Big River as well as closing out a few more investigations. Officer Prodzinski also assisted with a snowmobile and fishing enforcement detail on Lake of the Woods and Red Lake this week. Fishing on the big water was pretty solid and many walleyes were checked in the bag. Enforcement action included fishing with extra lines, unlicensed shelter, no fishing license, unattended lines, short fish, untagged traps, no trapping license, etc.
CO Phil George (Rochester) took a complaint of a person feeding deer in the feeding ban zone and rescued an injured owl. Ice anglers were checked with a few license issues.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week checking area ice anglers. The nice weather brought many people out to local fishing spots. A Red Wing Wildlife League meeting was attended and the annual Frontenac Sportsman’s Club ice fishing contest was worked. A ride along was also given to a college student interested in becoming a conservation officer. A few possession permits were also issued. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession and operate an unregistered ATV.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Fishing success was mixed. CO Heyn also attended meetings, worked on equipment, and handled other complaints.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports open water fishing in the area with some open landings and some boats being pushed across the ice to the water. He assisted officers on Lake of the Woods and Red Lake with fishing checks. CO Hemker also continues to have several injured and dead wildlife calls including a deer in an attached garage that did not want to leave.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking trout anglers over the nice weekend. Fishing was fair to good as most anglers had landed some trout. Time was also spent attending a public input meeting in Rochester. CO Boyum investigated complaints of trespass and shooting from a motor vehicle. Shed hunters have been out and having success as well.
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 flying enforcement and telemetry flights before grounding the aircraft for a mandatory inspection. 800 radio re-programing and other maintenance tasks were completed as well as some aviation ground based training.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of wolf telemetry flights. Pilot Jensen also ferried aircraft for maintenance and then checked area ice anglers from the ski-plane. Pilot Jensen also finished flight instructor renewal.
CO Pilot Robert Geving (New Ulm) conducted the Gregola herd elk survey basing operations out of Thief River Falls. Pilot Geving also flew fishing activity reconnaissance flights and assisted outside agencies with the search for a missing suicidal subject.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf pack counts and an instrument training flight. Pilot Heineman also had an aircraft radio program updated.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance and administrative tasks. He also prepared for pesticide applicator work and some aerial fish stocking equipment needs.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working with LGU’s on new and ongoing cases. Time was spent on reviewing restoration orders, extension orders, and reviewing case violations before filing charges for failure to comply with restoration orders. Fishermen were checked. Many people were out enjoying the nice weather, but the bite was slow. A large fishing contest was attended in Detroit Lakes. WREO Stattelman also assisted the State Patrol with a rollover accident.
WREO Mike Scott (NE) checked anglers in the Duluth area as well as snowmobilers. He staffed the AIS booth at the St. Cloud Sportsman Show talking to folks about AIS issues, law concerns, as well as general DNR questions on hunting and fishing.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued to work on WCA and PW cases in Pine County. WREO Haberman also conducted a conference call with the Pine County attorney’s office for a case coming up. Snowmobile activity was also monitored; trail conditions have worsen with warmer weather.
WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week conducting follow-up on wetland cases. Fishermen and ATVs were also checked. WREO Bertram spent a day at the St. Cloud Sportsman Show AIS booth answering questions.
WREO Larry Hanson (SW) attended a district meeting in Marshall and continued work on several WCA and PW cases. Officer Hanson also worked a booth at the St. Cloud Sportsman Show in St. Cloud answering many questions on AIS issues.
WREO Julie Siems (SE) worked on old and new public waters and Wetland Conservation Act cases. ATVs were also checked in the area.
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.
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 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.
NW RTO Greg Oldakowski (acting) reports hosting a volunteer safety instructor forum with several instructors in attendance receiving refreshers and updates on the safety programs. Training was also received in conjunction with equipment maintenance issues.
NE RTO Mike Lee held an instructor forum in Twig. The forum was well attended along with good feedback and questions by the safety instructors. Officer Lee also continued work on the Advanced Hunter Education Program. Officer Lee assisted with the MN USA Event held in Grand Rapids this past weekend. He met with participants involved in the snowmobile ride, and went over safety considerations while riding along with safety overviews of the snowmobiles they would be operating. The event was well attended and was lots of fun for the entire family.
West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports planning instructor certification training for ATV/Snowmobile and Hunter Education/Firearm Safety. Saturday he facilitated an instructor forum at Cabela’s in Rogers. Ice fishermen were also checked during the week on Stearns County lakes. Good compliance to fishing regulations was observed.
Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week working on HEFAS field day equipment and instructor backgrounds. A safety instructor forum was held at Owatonna.
SW Metro RTO Kevin Neitzke set up a Volunteer Firearms Safety Instructor Training Class in southeast Minnesota. He attended two instructor forums. RTO Neitzke worked on volunteer coordination for the laser shot booth at upcoming sport shows. He also returned emails and calls regarding the education and safety training programs.
Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence attended MNUSA Winter Rendezvous in Grand Rapids. The DNR Snowmobile Safety Instructor of the Year for 2016 was announced. RTO Lawrence also spent time working on snowmobile safety messages and ATV safety messages.
RTO PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
NE RTO Mike Lee 218-821-9747 firstname.lastname@example.org
NW RTO Greg Oldakowski 218-631-5972 email@example.com
West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-552-3948 firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern RTO Dan McBroom 507-251-0041 email@example.com
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke 651-463-3168 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence 763-267-8534 email@example.com
Curriculum Specialist: Vacant
Education Specialist: Vacant
Curriculum Coordinator: Vacant