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Conservation Officer Report
Compiled By Richard Sprouse, Minnesota DNR, 800-366-8917, Ext 2511
Weekly Conservation Officer Report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Division of Enforcement
15011 Highway 115 (Camp Ripley)
Little Falls, MN 56345-4173

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



District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) assisted with an angler harassment issue in the Wheeler’s Point area of Lake of the Woods. Assistance was given to the Roseau Firearms Safety Class. Area WMAs were patrolled and assistance was given to a local agency with a warrant arrest. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked snowmobiling, ATV and angling enforcement throughout Warroad and the surrounding areas. Information for individuals that have ice shelters out on Lake of the Wood: you may want to think about pulling your shelters off of the lake as soon as possible. The recent warm weather is making movement on the lake unpredictable. Several resorts have begun closing their access points due to safety concerns.  Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession, allowing illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, ATV passenger under 18 without a helmet, failure to display valid registration on an ATV and burning of prohibited materials. 

CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) continued to check anglers and snowmobilers on Lake of the Woods. Mild success with walleye still reported, but the large pike seem to be hungry. If you are out fishing, please remember that a new angling license was needed on March 1, 2015 and your 2014 license is no longer valid. ATV use on the big lake, as well as in the surrounding areas has increased greatly and ATV enforcement was worked. CO Cowden spoke at a Warroad Cub Scout meeting. Enforcement action taken for angling without a license, no angling license in possession, angling with extra lines, and various ATV registration related offenses.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) spent time at Camp Ripley assisting with training on the new RMS (Record Management System). CO Prachar responded to TIP calls in the area pertaining to burning of prohibited material and possible taking of illegal length walleye.  Enforcement action included angling with extra lines, leaving line unattended through the ice, burning prohibited material and failure to transfer registration of an ATV.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored ice shelter removal and answered angling bait and coyote hunting questions. Follow up on an ongoing case was completed.

CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) worked ATV activity, predator hunters as well as monitored fish house removal. CO Hanson gave a law presentation to young snowmobilers in Grygla. A Pennington County resident was met with who found a young bobcat dead in the window of his chicken coop.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking anglers as they pursued perch and crappie with the warmer weather and fish house removal progress was monitored throughout the week. Time was spent monitoring ATV activity on lakes and trails and work continues on commercial inspections. CO Regas attended the Upper Red Lake Technical meeting and training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action for the week included angling violations and juvenile ATV operators not wearing a helmet.  

Baudette #2 -vacant.

Blackduck #2 - vacant.

Karlstad - vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area


CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending training at Camp Ripley for two days. Time was also spent taking various animal related complaint calls. Anglers were also checked on area lakes. 
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) continued to monitor anglers, shelter removals, predator hunting and beaver trapping. He attended training, answered questions about burn permits and responded to a deer carcass that appeared to be shot. 

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) attended training at Camp Ripley, checked anglers, monitored fish house removal and picked up trash on area lakes.  

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling and fish house removal in the area. CO Vollbrecht patrolled grant in aid snowmobile trails for ATV and motor vehicle traffic. A complaint of trucks mudding on a grant in aid snowmobile trail and a trespass complaint regarding anglers accessing a lake was investigated. Time was spent working with the county attorney regarding an upcoming trial. An interview was done with the local television station. 

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked anglers and monitored ice house removal throughout the area. Time was spent investigating a possible minnow trapping violation and checking on closed forest roads in the area. CO Holt also checked recreational vehicle activity in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports attending training for the DNR Enforcement Division’s Records Management System (RMS), investigating TIP calls of possible over limits and calls about illegal dumping. CO Vinton also assisted the Perham Police Department with a search for a vulnerable adult that wandered away from an assisted living facility. The person was located in Detroit Lakes. CO Vinton also assisted CO Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) with a TIP.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training at Camp Ripley and followed up on a complaint of anglers possibly taking trout in a closed area. He also recovered an eagle egg and assisted with the execution of a search warrant.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fisherman and doing follow up on litter left behind from fish houses. Warmer weather has caused the ice to start deteriorating. A few trucks were still driving on some lakes but most fishermen were using ATVs. Several fishermen were checked wearing only shorts and t-shirts in the mild weather.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling activity on area lakes with panfish anglers finding a few for the bucket. Snowmobile activity was monitored with trails becoming unusable after warm temperatures. Fur seizures were distributed to Minnesota Trappers Association for educational purposes. Area lakes and accesses were monitored for ice house removal. CO Warren investigated complaints of motorized vehicles on Tamarack Lake in the Tamarack Refuge.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring fire activity and ice anglers sneaking the last outing of the season in. The panfish bite is picking up in the area with several nice limits observed throughout the week. Ice is deteriorating rapidly with the warm weather and the officer urges anglers use extra caution, no fish is worth falling through the ice. Several anglers were reminded with citations that their 2014 angling licenses expired on February 28th and were no longer valid. The officer also taught the law portion of the Moorhead Turkey Clinic. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and failure to obtain a burning permit.

WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week focusing efforts on WCA activity and AIS trainings and law review. Time was spent at Camp Ripley for a use of force meeting, training and planning session for the spring and fall in-service and upcoming academy. A few late fishermen in the Detroit Lakes area were checked. Several reports of a good bite were received.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) monitored ice anglers and ice out conditions through the week. A great horned owl was seized and a dead trumpeter swan was investigated. An interview with WDAY television was conducted.

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports ice conditions have deteriorated rapidly and caution is advised. Anglers were checked with some nice catches observed. Firearms safety classes will be starting soon.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked fishermen throughout the week. CO Nelson received complaints regarding owls and skunks and a report of a moose sighting. He also answered questions on turkey, AIS, and fishing regulations.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen and lakes for litter. Fishing activity has been slow even with the nice weather but ATV activity has increased. ATV operators are reminded to check the registration on the ATVs to make sure it isn’t expired before taking it for a ride. Also, anybody under 18 is required to wear a helmet even as a passenger on public property.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked late ice fisherman as well as ATV activity throughout the station this past week. Ice conditions are quickly deteriorating and caution should be taken when heading out. Illegal ATV activity on the Central Lakes Trail was reported as anglers used it to get to a rural panfish lake; enforcement action was taken. Panfish overlimit reports are coming in as many people fished a few days in a row during the nice weather. Enforcement action was taken on one of them involving crappies. CO Lawler also spoke with a local group of Cub Scouts who all had very good questions for the officer.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fishing activity, with enforcement action taken again this week for crappie overlimits, and more still under investigation. Additional time was spent following up on open cases, monitoring hunting and trapping activity, working fire and ATV enforcement, and assisting Douglas County law enforcement with a welfare check on an area lake. Several days were spent at Camp Ripley working on use of force training.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused law enforcement efforts on ice anglers and ATV activity. CO Anderson spent time checking fishermen on area lakes. Surprisingly angler success has been poor. The ice conditions have rapidly deteriorated with the well above average temperatures. The ice has begun breaking away from shore in many areas. CO Anderson completed DNR computer training and use of the new RMS system at Camp Ripley this week. CO Anderson spent time issuing minnow interstate transportation permits. CO Anderson fielded calls from the public about firearms safety classes, dumped coyotes and a fisher spotted in the Alberta area.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) checked fishermen, OHM, and ATV operators this past week. Ice conditions on area lakes are deteriorating at access areas and fishermen are urged to use caution. CO Baumbarger attended training at Camp Ripley and returned phone calls about upcoming safety classes.

Wheaton - vacant.

District 4 - Wadena area


CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) checked ice angling activity on area lakes. Ice conditions on smaller lakes are becoming poor quickly. Anglers should exercise extreme caution on the ice. Pan fishing anglers were experiencing some success on area lakes. No limits were encountered. A work detail was worked on Lake Winnie with neighboring officers.  Enforcement action was taken for failure to tend snares daily.

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked anglers and ATV operators. Forest roads have been closed due to warm temps and some lakes are difficult to access because of melting ice on shorelines. Parthun worked with the DNR Trails to address some issues and checked area trout lakes. Most ice shelters have already been removed

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on sport fishing and ATV activity. Nothing unusual to report. Answered questions regarding use of ATV trails, answered questions about crow hunting, received a call regarding a dead owl, received a call regarding litter left behind by ice anglers, and completed mandatory training

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports checking many perch and crappie anglers with mixed results depending on the day and lake. Record Management System (RMS) training was also attended. Enforcement action was taken for over limit of perch and angling without a license.

CO Colleen Adam (ATV REC) visited with dealerships about ATVs and delivered brochures and handouts. Officer Adam prepared for upcoming training needs and improvements. Responded to calls for trespass, fire, forest closure issues and general OHV patrol in open and restricted areas.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) spent the week monitoring angling activity on Rainy Lake and Rainy River. Ice house removal was also monitored on surrounding lakes with the removal date growing closer. Anglers are reminded to remove all ice house items, including trash and debris. CO Van Asch also prepared for an upcoming firearm safety class.  Enforcement action was taken for angling with unlawful tackle.  

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports small streams have started to open, most snow cover is off area lakes, snowmobile trails are down to dirt and rocks with the season all but over. Public access sites were monitored and area forest roads checked.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the warm weather this past week has melted just about all the snow in the area. A few snowmobiles were observed on the area lakes and they were operating in the water standing on the ice instead of snow. Anglers have done a good job of removing any litter from the ice around fish houses.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked snowmobile activities on Lake Vermilion. Warm weather has made the snowmobile trails completely unusable.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) monitored the removal of ice shelters from Virginia area lakes. A few crappie anglers were seen out enjoying the nice weather. On one lake, CO Frericks checked two of those anglers who had neglected to purchase an updated angling license.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) gave a law presentation to youths at a Hoyt Lakes Snowmobile Safety class. Fortunately enough snow was left in the field for the youth to perform the riding requirement. Fish house removal was monitored and anglers fishing in the warm weather were checked. Violations of no angling license and angling with live minnows on a designated trout lake were found.

Ray - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area


CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports snow conditions deteriorated over the week with the above average temperatures and most snowmobile trails are now impassable. Ice depths varied greatly from lake to lake and several open spots were observed in areas with current. Violations included: fail to display ATV registration, fail to display snowmobile registration, and angle with no license in possession.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) checked trout fishermen in the BWCAW and found many people trying to get in the last trips before the warm weather arrived. Fishing success was slow for most. Several people had forgotten to buy their fishing licenses after theirs had expired a week earlier. Don’t forget to get your new licenses.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked trout anglers in the BWCA and other remote areas during the week. Many people are reporting that the lake trout are suffering from a case of  lock jaw as they have become more stubborn in hitting lures as the season goes on. A fisher was the recipient of a couple easy meals as tracks indicated it went along until it found a grouse burrowed into the snow and then went in after it. Although the burrow provides refuge to the grouse from the harsh winter elements, it turns the grouse into a sitting duck when it comes to predators. The CO worked with an Ontario warden regarding an issue on the Ontario side of Saganaga Lake. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration and muffler violations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked many snowmobilers enjoying “one last ride.”  The officer checked anglers and met with Emergency Management Director regarding USNG Emergency Trail Marking. CO Manning and CO Wahlstrom also worked a detail in the BWCA.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) assisted officers working perch anglers on Lake Winnie.  Time was spent monitoring crappie anglers on station lakes as well as fish house removal and litter left behind. Clean up after yourself or a citation can be expected. Enforcement action included litter, angle without a license, and unregistered ATV.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area anglers and the last remnants of snowmobile activity. Very warm temperatures have taken their toll on the area trails. Time was spent visiting with the Silver Bay 5th and 6th grades during an ice fishing field trip. Time was also spent working on a couple ongoing complaints that need more follow up.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked area lakes for the ice house removal date. The Officer spent part of the week in the BWCAW for an operation with Officer Manning. Phone calls were returned and the last few snowmobilers were checked before the rain came.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ATV and angling enforcement during the week. Calls were answered regarding wolf sightings near the City of Two Harbors. Enforcement action was taken for illegal ATV operations and licensing violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area


CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, attended the district’s volunteer instructor banquet, worked on commercial inspections, answered calls on wolves, and handled complaints on water skipping and public access issues.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, ATV activity, and attended a meeting for the division firearms training. Fish houses are being monitored for litter and the approaching deadline. He also assisted with a commercial inspection. Warm weather has brought some of the first waterfowl and songbirds into the area. Canada geese, swans and mergansers were observed. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity, assisted with the district volunteer instructor appreciation banquet and assisted the county with a narcotics investigation where CO Fairbanks’s  K-9 partner Si was able to locate evidence that had been hidden by a suspect. The warmer temps last week brought out many anglers. In one instance, CO Fairbanks observed an angler dressed in a T-shirt and shorts operating an auger. Enforcement action was taken for possess over limit of crappie, angle without valid license, fail to display valid registration on OHV and no license in possession.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time checking anglers and working ATV activity. She also worked a trespassing complaint and checked on a possible wetlands violation. She conducted a radio interview and performed equipment maintenance.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobile activity early last week, but with the extraordinarily warm temperatures all of the snow has melted by week’s end. Pan fishing activity is heating up with the warm temperatures as the late season bite is becoming very good. Ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly and in some places the ice is beginning to pull away from shore.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATVs and conducted commercial checks. He also participated in an appreciation dinner for volunteer safety instructors during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing activity. Wichmann attended training at Camp Ripley. Wichmann also assisted with the volunteer instructor banquet held in Grand Rapids.

CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) work ATV complaint areas this past week. CO Velsvaag reports that illegal ATV use in some areas continues to not only be a chronic problem but is increasing. CO Velsvaag also checked anglers and attended training.

District 8 - Duluth area


CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reported some litter problems were address after people who removed ice houses failed to remove all debris or blocking associated with the shelter. ATV users need to be aware that snowmobile trails are closed to ATV use even though there isn’t much snow left on them. Many snowmobile trails go through private property and the only permission given is for snowmobiles and not ATV’s. Officer Hanzal worked with Officer Duncan checking anglers along the North Shore.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the majority of the week working fishing enforcement along the shore of Lake Superior. A couple ATV complaint areas were patrolled and several return calls were handled. Officer Duncan also assisted local law enforcement with calls for service when available. A couple separate recreational vehicle trespass complaints were also investigated during the week that will require follow up. 

CO Jeff Humphrey  (Cromwell) worked off-highway vehicle, fire, and angling enforcement throughout the week. CO Humphrey attended division training on a new records mgmt. system at Camp Ripley. CO Humphrey spent time patrolling the Soo line trail and Fond Du Lac State Forest for OHV activity. Several stops for registration, operation, and equipment violations were encountered. A number of operators were found without ATV or OHM safety certification. A reminder that operators of ATVs born after July 1, 1987 need ATV safety certification to operate on public land, trails etc. CO Humphrey consulted with the county attorney on a contested deer season case resulting in convictions for untagged and failing to register big game.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended computer training at Camp Ripley where an introduction into a new records management system was given. Some fishing activity to report in the area, although ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly. Warmer weather brought out lots of recreational vehicle activity in the area. Enforcement action was taken for no safety cert, registration and equipment violations. Equipment maintenance was conducted on station equipment getting it ready for the change in seasons.

WREO Mike Scott (NE MN) provided Lake Service Provider training for those that need it in the Ely area last Wednesday with DNR Ecological and Waters. Officer Scott attended division training for the new records management system at Camp Ripley.

Lake Superior Marine Unit


CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Unit) checked shore anglers along Lake Superior. Time was spent with a group of Silver Bay 5th and 6th grade students on a trout fishing field trip. An ATV detail was worked in Finland for the St Urho’s day celebration. Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations.

District 9 - Brainerd area


CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) attended training at Camp Ripley. CO McGowan also spent time checking ice anglers, and investigated TIP calls. Anglers are reminded to purchase their new 2015 license before going out fishing. 

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) monitored state forests for the annual spring closures due to frost breakup. Some signage was torn down the day after it went up and ATV damage to wetlands was discovered.  An ATVer caught making deep ruts through a wetland didn’t think there was anything wrong with it until he received a citation. The officer also helped out in the Cross Lake station monitoring the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade that brought out thousands in the nice weather, and checked late-ice anglers targeting panfish.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) checked angling activity. Some anglers are risking a large amount of expensive equipment and life on very unsafe ice. New license compliance was good.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked ice anglers soaking up the weather throughout the week. He also manned the LaserShot system at the Aitkin Commerce and Sports Show. Follow up work on deer season cases continued along with a TIP call regarding the deer season.

CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers who were reporting so-so success on area lakes for pan fish. Officer Lee attended meetings at Camp Ripley this past week for planning officer’s in-service training and upcoming academy. Officer Lee assisted the Crosslake Police Department with St. Patty’s events held in Crosslake this past weekend. Officer Lee received a report of a possible waters violation on the whitefish chain this past week, but upon investigation the party had obtained all necessary paperwork and permits to complete the project. Enforcement actions taken this past week included operate an ATV on a public roadway with no valid driver’s license, expired ATV registration, operate ATV on roadway, and driving a motor vehicle after cancellation of license due to inimical to public safety.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area


CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angling activity as the snow burned off and ice sheets began to pull away from the shore. The warm weather and lack of snow brought out plenty of ATV activity and the common registration, illegal passengers, and youth operation violations.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) reported that warm weather brought a lot of activity to the area. Ice conditions are deteriorating; extra caution should be used. Angling activity was monitored on area lakes; the bite is moderate. Several anglers are found with an expired angling license. Please remember that a new angling license was needed on March 1, 2015 and your 2014 license is no longer valid.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports investigating some debris left on Mille Lacs Lake. The Officer and neighboring Officer found the debris and removed it but the Officers found other areas where blocking and other debris had been left out on the lake. Assistance was given to the local sheriff’s office on a fire where a sparks from a truck had ignited a field that had standing grass on it. Please remember to check before you do any spring burning being there are some areas that are under burning restrictions with the dry conditions. The Officer assisted a neighboring Officer with a fishing related TIP and also a call of an injured eagle.   Please check the DNR website for trail closures as many forest roads and trails are now closed due to spring road closures. Assistance was given to a neighboring Officer with a fairly large wetland complaint where there had been no permits issued. 

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took enforcement action on three fish houses that were left out after the deadline. Starr worked with a tribal officer in assisting one fish house owner with getting the house off the lake. The young fisherman had just moved to Mille Lacs from southern Minnesota and was caught off guard with the big lake and accessing his house. A safety talk was given to a local turkey chapter’s youth mentor and young hunter clinic. Pike fishermen were out, with very little success. Action was taken for no license, extra lines, driving after cancelation, and being over 200 feet from tip ups.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) responded to a few wildfires that were started due to illegal outdoor burning. Almost all snow had melted through the week and caused high fire danger throughout the area. Citations and warnings were issued for burning without a permit and burning prohibited material. Lake ice started to pull away from shore but a few angles still were able to get on the ice for late season ice fishing. Spring beaver trapping activity was also monitored.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent a majority of the week monitoring anglers and ice conditions in the Pine City area. The warm weather has significantly deteriorated ice throughout the area. If you do decide to venture out, only foot travel is advised. With the warm weather also comes ATV, burning, and nuisance animal complaints. CO Wynn also stored winter equipment, and spent time answering questions about upcoming safety classes.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked fishermen on Mille Lacs and area lakes. A few perch along with tullibee were seen on Mille Lacs. Crappie and some sunfish are starting to pick up on smaller lakes. ATV’s were reminded to choose alternate routes due to thawing ditches.  Time was also spent checking commercial licenses and working the DNR booth at the Aitkin Commerce Show

WREO Rob Haberman conducted an AIS Law class with WREO Bertram for Chisago County deputies. WREO Haberman also checked on a complaint of cattail removal in the Breezy Point area.

District 11 - St. Cloud area


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) found anglers out with the nice weather. The officer assisted the county with vehicle through the ice with all occupants getting out safely. With the ice condition in the area so poor the tow company worked from shore walking nearly 1,400 feet of cable to reach and remove the vehicle.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports ice conditions deteriorating rapidly with warmer weather conditions. Recreational fire season has begun. An issue with horseback riding trespass was handled. 

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) worked on a taxidermy investigation, a deer poaching complaint (ended up being a deer lawfully taken last dear season), assisted a neighboring officer with an investigation of a stolen DNR sign and handled an injured bear in a culvert.  CO Kuske stopped to return a firearm to a hunter that had been seized during deer season for evidence, and by sheer coincidence it was the hunter’s birthday that very day, which was also ironically Friday the 13th.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) spent part of the week at computer training at Camp Ripley. CO Mies also had a ride along taking part in the career shadow program at Kimball High School. CO Mies checked anglers in Stearns and Wright counties. CO Mies worked on tip calls.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) conducted minnow retailer checks in the vacant St. Cloud station. Ice fishing is still going, panfish biting on several lakes, CO Kuske has been monitoring for overlimits. A law presentation was given to a FAS class in Ramey. CO Kuske attended Habitat Day at Crane Meadows NWR visiting with the public and listening to their concerns.

WREO Keith Bertram spent the week conducting wetland follow-up and attending training. 
An AIS law enforcement class was given in Chisago County. Fishermen and ATVs were also checked.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) attended training for the division’s new RMS. Time was also spent assisting with shotgun armoring at Camp Ripley. A TIP call was handled with an angler being found in possession of an over limit of crappies. CO Silgjord responded to a complaint regarding damage to a WMA. The investigation is ongoing. Ice conditions in the station deteriorated rapidly with the warm temps and travel of any kind is extremely dangerous.

St. Cloud - vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area


CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports checking a few last minute fishermen on area lakes. CO Langevin also conducted commercial inspections in the area. Training at Camp Ripley was attended this week as well.  

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a Firearms Safety Class in Waverly. Reller also followed up on fish house violations, and an illegal fire for burning prohibited materials. Several wildlife complaints were also handled. 

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) conducted a fire investigation with charges pending. Several minnow retailers were inspected. Follow up was done on a taxidermy inspection. Two dumping complaints were received and open water anglers were checked on the Mississippi River.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week. Some lakes showed more action than others. Although lots of ice is left on the lakes access is being limited due to ice and snow melt around the shore. Time was spent at Camp Ripley planning upcoming spring and fall training.     

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) conducted commercial inspections, checked anglers, and followed up on TIP calls. Officer Londgren also continues to receive calls on deer carcasses that are re-appearing with all the snow melting.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes. He followed up on a possibly poached deer. He checked an OHM complaint in a wetland. He had a public speaking engagement at The Bank of Elk River. He followed up on a number of ATV complaints.

District 13 - West Metro area


CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked anglers who were having good success on crappies. Animal nuisance calls were handled all week. Commercial fishermen were observed netting carp on Parley Lake. He attended computer training at Camp Ripley.

CO Brent Grewe (Osseo) spent the week checking anglers and dealing with debris left on the lakes. CO Grewe spoke at a Turkey Clinic and monitored a commercial fishing operation. Violations included litter and license issues.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked fishing activity in the Mound station and investigated a complaint of a possible wetland violation in Greenfield. He took calls in Scott County requesting a permit for a road killed mink and accidently killed otter. He also checked on a complaint of taking over the limit of pan fish on Lake Riley and answered questions to the Hmong community on fishing regulations.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) continued to provide coverage for the two temporarily assigned stations, Bloomington and Fort Snelling State Park. He checked several anglers braving the ice conditions to go fishing. He responded to a complaint of littering in Minneapolis, along the Mississippi river, but the case was turned over to Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for a follow-up.

Bloomington - vacant.

Mound - vacant.

Prior Lake - vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area


CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) worked fishing and ATV enforcement on area lakes. She did reports for the county attorney, talked to a firearms safety class and assisted with a deer removal program in Ramsey County. She worked on a litter case, did equipment maintenance and handled nuisance animal calls.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports speaking to a firearms safety class in Oak Grove. He handled nuisance animal complaints, TIP calls and continued checking ice anglers. CO Arntzen also monitored wildlife management areas for off-road vehicles, did equipment maintenance and patrolled state trails.

WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent part of the week attending Divisional training at Camp Ripley. An interview was completed with a media outlet regarding ice conditions on lakes in southern Minnesota. Time was also spent assisting with the removal of a shelter from a Scott County lake and inspecting aeration systems.    

CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) checked a waters complaint on Lake Gervais. He also checked anglers. CO Johnson spoke to firearms safety classes at Highland Park High School. He patrolled at Afton, and Ft. Snelling State Parks. CO Johnson received a call of illegal hunting in St. Paul.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) attended training at Camp Ripley. CO Salzer patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. Officer Salzer also responded to a dead deer that had been found after the snow melted.

Eagan - vacant.

Metro Officer - vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area


CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week planning firearms training, working investigations, and patrolling light goose hunters. Many lakes are opening. Enforcement action was taken after a hunter shot and buried a Canada goose while light goose hunting.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked fishing, littering, burning, and OHV activity during the week. Division training was attended at Camp Ripley. Ice conditions are deteriorating by the day. Please use extreme caution if venturing out on the ice.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports seeing flocks of geese making their way north. Some white geese have been seen but quickly move out. Most ice fishing is done with the ice all honeycombed and unsafe to venture on. Picht also attended RMS training in Camp Ripley

WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) issued a WCA violation extension in Watonwan County. Officer Hanson also assisted with Lake Service Provider (LSP) training in Hutchinson with 18 Lake Service Providers in attendance with good questions being asked and answered. LSP companies were also contacted about mandatory LSP training dates.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) worked snow goose hunting, ATV, WMA, and commercial enforcement. Complaints of trucks mudding on WMAs are being received. Anybody that observes this illegal activity is asked to call the TIP line or their local sheriff’s office. Ice fishing activity has stopped with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Lakes and sloughs are opening up. Required enforcement division training was also attended.

Benson - vacant.

Madison - vacant.

Redwood Falls - vacant.

Worthington - vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area


CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) conducted commercial inspections including fur buyers and minnow dealers. He certified ginseng and enforced burning laws. He checked ice anglers but advises caution on the quickly deteriorating ice conditions.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent the week checking ice fishermen enjoying the ice fishing while it lasts. The fish bite started to pick up a little bit with the warmer weather. Commercial checks were also conducted with other officers. ATV enforcement was worked during the week as well with the ATV Park open again. Training at Camp Ripley was also attended for the new computer system.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) assisted DNR Wildlife with turkeys in the city of Hutchinson causing problems. Mylar ribbons and an owl decoy were placed to try and discourage the turkeys from returning to the residential neighborhood. Mueller checked some ATVs that were out enjoying the warm early spring weather. She also conducted some minnow retailer inspections. Mueller attended training in Bloomington.

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) spent time working ATV and trapping enforcement in the area.  Oberg also assisted with armoring division shotguns and in-service planning. Oberg also did a ride along.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received inquiries regarding youth firearms and ATV safety classes and injured wildlife. He spent time following up on deer cases from last season.  Nelson also worked angling and ATV enforcement.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) attended training at Camp Ripley.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) continued with commercial activity inspections. Ice conditions are very poor and it is pulling away from shore. ATV activity was monitored.  Lakeshore and wetland sites were inspected. A few light goose hunters were out.

Willmar #1 - vacant.

Windom - vacant.

District 17 - Mankato area


CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) checked anglers and ATV operators. Additional time was spent responding to TIP calls and working with other area officers to host a boat and water safety class. CO Ihnen also spent time armoring division firearms at Camp Ripley.  

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) spoke at a firearms safety class this past week. The officer also assisted in a boat and water safety day. Training was attended at Camp Ripley.

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week monitoring ATV and angling activity. Law and ethics presentations were given to firearms safety classes in Austin and Spring Valley.   A wanton waste complaint is being investigated. Division training was attended at Camp Ripley. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers on area lakes and rivers. The officer patrolled for ATV and snowmobile activity. Trapping activity was monitored. Assistance was given at a Firearms Safety Training Range Day near Morristown.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports that warm weather and high winds are rapidly deteriorating ice conditions. The ice is getting dark, there is lots of water on the ice, and areas of open water were observed on several lakes. CO Howe spoke on laws and ethics at a Firearms Safety class in Mapleton, as well as assisting CO Ihnen with a Boat and Water class in Montgomery.

WREO Julie Siems assisted at a lake service provider training. Unpermitted lake service providers were also contacted.

Albert Lea - vacant.

Mankato #1 - vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area


CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week checking angling and ATV activity along with attending training at Camp Ripley. The weekend brought out large numbers of anglers. The fishing success was slow and the ice is disappearing quickly. Some fishing and boating violations were detected. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports most all accesses on river are open, boats are out, and the waterfowl are moving in to area. Hemker checked two different people that had went through the ice. In one case it was just a leg, while in the other case, a person went through in 10 feet of water. The person that had went through in the 10 feet of water was fine but later on was using his power auger and got his hoody string caught in machine and nearly strangled himself. He said his day could only get better. A dock with a flat bottom boat along with a duck boat and accessories were taken by the floating ice and went through the dam. Hemker also attended a firearms safety class.

CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports the missing fishermen from last fall has been recovered. The family can now put his body to rest. Walleye fishermen are taking advantage of the open water below the dams. Plenty of walleyes were caught this past week. Boaters remember to check all safety equipment and registration before heading out. Trout fishermen had a great week during the catch and release season. He attended mandatory records management training.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishing enforcement on the Mississippi River. The warm weather is taking a toll on the ice but most of the backwaters are still accessible. The open water fishermen have also been well below the dams. Panfish action has been on and off with near limits seen one day and very few fish the next. Enforcement activity includes extra lines, no license, unregistered ATV, etc.

CO Phil George (Rochester ) reports working angling and boating activity. He reports enforcement action for angling, boating and ATV violations. He also instructed at two firearm safety classes. 

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Lots of boats were out on the river with the warm weather. Fishing success was mixed with most getting some fish. No one was complaining though because the weather was so nice. 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy week of trout fishermen. Fishing was fair with most anglers catching a fish or two. Violations encountered were no license/stamp in possession. A few crow hunters were out having some luck as were shed hunters. Turkey hunters are getting prepared and doing some scouting. Fishing on the Mississippi River has picked up below the locks.

Rochester #2 - 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

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew multiple wolf and marten telemetry surveys and an instrument training flight. Heineman also attended a pilots meeting and  tried to fly a moose telemetry flight which was cut short due to weather.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed a radio collared moose cow/calf health check in the northeast. The calves had lost their collars but were still close to the cows. He also began helicopter flight training with one of the pilots.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew wetland violation patrol flights, and worked on some flight training tasks. Geving also attended a pilots meeting and attended to equipment matters. 

Pilot/CO Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) reports flying enforcement flights focused on anglers in and around the Boundary Waters as well as wetlands flights over the northeast area state forests. Instrument proficiency and maintenance flights were conducted and an aviation unit meeting was attended.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO reports are now placed within district reports.

Enforcement Education


Please check the DNR WEB SITE at www.mndnr.gov for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Education Courses and instructor training sessions
If you missed a fall class and are over 18, check on-line for Adult Home Study or On-Line course information is 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 Snowmobile Safety Courses and instructor training sessions. Adult Snowmobile Safety Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.

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 CD portion of the course before attending the classroom portion of the course. Youth/Adult ATV Safety Training Course CDs are available by calling 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 CD course.  Persons under age 16 must complete the ATV CD Course and riding component before riding on public lands. Youth/Adult ATV Training CDs are available by calling 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:

NE RTO Shelly Patten and District 7 Conservation Officers hosted an Instructor Appreciation Banquet in Grand Rapids. Over 135 instructors attended a meal cooked and served by the local COs. That is a new record high for attendees at the dinner. A 50 year Firearms Safety award was given to Phyllis Anderson of Deer River. Her husband Stuart received a 50 year award 2 years ago. NE RTO Patten attended two days of Use of Force meetings at Camp Ripley. Patten also held Trail Ambassador training in Grand Rapids. Seven new ambassadors were certified. Patten attended the Turn-In-Poachers banquet in Grand Rapids. Conservation Officer Tom Sutherland was awarded TIP Officer of the Year. Congratulations Tom!!

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports attending Use of Force instructor meetings at Camp Ripley and teaching unarmed tactics/reviewing lesson plans with Use of Force instructors. During the week he also planned ATV/snowmobile and firearms safety instructor certification training. An existing firearms safety instructor was also trained/certified to teach field days for online students.

NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence attended Use of Force training and meeting at Camp Ripley to go over spring and fall training plans relating to conservation officer training. RTO Lawrence assisted the local firearms safety group with a firearms safety field day in Morristown at Alhman’s Gun Range. RTO Lawrence met with a local turkey instructor talking on firearms safety and updated information involving turkey education training. RTO Lawrence answered calls for the fishing season licensing and availability of range scheduling in the metro area.

SW Metro Kevin Neitzke worked on volunteer instructor backgrounds. He met with a firearms safety instructor and picked up some training aids. RTO Neitzke attended a training meeting and instructor training at Camp Ripley. He also assisted with a youth on-line firearms safety class in Rice County.

Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week attending use of force training at Camp Ripley for two days and assisted with a HEFAS field day at Morris Town. Time was also spent on backgrounds and other paperwork.

RTO                                                               PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
Rec. Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens      763-753-1887    leland.owens@state.mn.us
NE RTO Shelly Patten                                   218-244-8051       

West Central RTO Frank Rezac                     320-230-8549   frank.rezac@state.mn.us

NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence                    651-674-6184    bruce.lawrence@state.mn.us
Southern RTO Dan McBroom                        507-843-2032    daniel.mcbroom@state.mn.us
NW RTO Jon Paurus                                      218-298-4000    jon.paurus@state.mn.us
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke                               651-463-3168    kevin.neitzke@state.mn.us

Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant

Education Specialist:  Vacant

Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant


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