Conservation Officer Report
Compiled By Richard Sprouse, Minnesota DNR, 800-366-8917, Ext 2511
Weekly Conservation Officer Report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Enforcement
15011 Highway 115 (Camp Ripley)
Little Falls, MN 56345-4173
Report Fish & Game Violations
Call T.I.P. at 1-800-652-9093 or Cell #TIP
CONSERVATION OFFICER REPORT
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on the Roseau River and Lake of the Woods. Some light trucks are driving out to 5 Mile Reef on Lake of the Woods. Fishing has been decent to good all over the west side of the lake. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line, angling without a license, and for ATVs and a snowmobile without registration.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked big/small game, ATV and angling enforcement throughout Warroad, Lake of the Woods and the Beltrami Island State Forest. Early on in the week there was quite a bit of activity on Lake of the Woods but as the weather warmed up, the activity cooled down. Anglers seemed to be having some luck in the afternoons with walleye, sauger and perch as well as with northern pike and burbot. With the recent weather fluctuation one should proceed with caution when venturing out on to the lakes. Enforcement action taken this week included tampering with a trap, failure to properly display ATV registration, illegal assist in the taking of big game and illegal operation of a Class 1 ATV on a public highway.
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) spent the week focusing on ice fishing and spearing activity on Lake of the Woods. Early in the week anglers weren’t having as much luck, but as the weekend rolled in, so did the fish. Aside from angling enforcement, time was also spent on trapping enforcement and muzzleloader deer activity. Violations included angling with an extra line, no angling license in possession, failure to register deer, and various ATV violations involving ATV registration.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) continued checking anglers on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement actions were taken on angling with extra lines and possession of an illegal length walleye.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) taught the law and ethics portion of the snowmobile safety class in Warren, conducted commercial inspections, and completed equipment maintenance. A detail was worked on Lake of the Woods with CO Cowden seeing moderate angling success. Ice conditions vary greatly and anglers are reminded that they should travel only on marked trails and ice roads to stay safe. Enforcement action for the week included angle without license, angle with extra lines, unattended lines, and ATV and snowmobile registration violations.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) checked trappers, muzzleloader deer hunters and anglers. Fishing success was moderate on Red Lake/Thief Rivers. CO Hanson taught snowmobile laws to young snowmobilers and parents in Thief River Falls. Assistance was provided to CO Huener with shining complaints and CO’s Cowden/Benjamin with anglers on Lake of the Woods.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working angling activity on Upper Red Lake and special regulation lakes, ATV activity and shining activity throughout the week. Time was spent on vehicle maintenance, issuing car killed deer possession permits and attending a meeting in St Paul. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s office when a truck broke through the ice on Upper Red Lake. CO Regas located the vehicle, the driver and another group of anglers after they had become disoriented by the dense fog, darkness and standing water on top of the ice and unable to find their way. CO Regas led the man and another group of anglers safely to shore. Enforcement action for the week included over length walleye, over limit of walleye, possession of unmeasurable walleye and angling without license in possession.
Baudette #2 -vacant.
Blackduck #2 - vacant.
Karlstad - vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking muzzleloader deer hunters. Time was also spent checking trappers, ice anglers, ATV operators, and speaking at a snowmobile safety class in Twin Valley. Violations included no angling license, fail to register fisher, no trapping license, fail to register deer, and transport loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) checked trappers, muzzleloader hunters, and ice fishermen. Anglers should continue to monitor ice conditions with our mild winter temperatures. CO Malinowski attended local youth snowmobile safety classes to talk about snowmobile regulations.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked ice fishermen and trappers.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked ice fisherman on area lakes. Ice conditions continue to improve with more houses showing up on the lakes. CO Vollbrecht was called out to assist Beltrami Co. Sheriff’s Department. A suspicious vehicle complaint turned out to be an individual that shot a deer and was trying to track it. The two suspects were arrested and charges are pending. CO Vollbrecht responded to a complaint of individuals trespassing to access a small lake.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked trapping, angling and muzzleloader deer hunting activity during the week. Time was also spent checking deer hunters around Itasca State Park. Complaints were received regarding a dog caught in a trap and possible lake pollution violations. Officer Holt also spent time working Upper Red Lake with Officer Regas. Enforcement activity for the week included angling and trapping violations.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking local lakes for angling activity, patrolling for muzzleloader hunters and trapping violations. He attended a meeting of EVOC instructors to go over class preparation for the CO Prep program. CO Vinton assisted the Otter Tail Co Sheriff’s Office with two vehicles that went through the ice on the same day. Both drivers got disoriented in heavy fog and drove onto very thin ice. Both drivers were cold and wet but ok. All anglers should use extreme caution while ice fishing and be prepared should they fall through the ice.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked hunters, anglers and trappers. Deer hunters reported low activity and anglers had good success. Follow-up was worked on a trapping and deer hunting cases. CO Peterson also talked to the Wolf Lake snowmobile class about laws and safety.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week working fishermen, muzzleloader hunters and pheasant hunters. Time was also spent tagging fur, following up on deer shining complaints, recovering a dead swan and looked into a complaint of shooting by a residence. Much of the snow has melted off the lakes making for a lot of water standing on the ice.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling activity on area waters with anglers finding a few fish willing to bite. Ice conditions continue to vary and with warmer temperatures the public is reminded to use caution on the ice. CO Warren taught the law and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class in Detroit Lakes. Muzzleloader deer hunting activity was also monitored.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring anglers and muzzleloader hunters. Fishing is still on the slow side with 10-15 inches of ice on most area lakes. The officer spoke at several area snowmobile safety classes throughout the week and the weekend. Many young riders are eagerly anticipating snow so they can get out riding. A complaint of an individual trespassing and shooting near a corral was also investigated.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent time working on open WCA and PW cases. Site visits were completed. A district meeting was attended. Time was spent monitoring fishing activity. AIS trainings and informational booths are being planned. Time was spent working with field officers regarding possible violations and questions regarding restoration orders.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) concentrated on angling enforcement. The warm weekend temperatures brought out many anglers. Over limit complaints were investigated. Additional time was spent on trapping activity and the end of the muzzleloader deer season.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked ice fishermen throughout the week and looked for late muzzleloader hunters. Plautz instructed a snowmobile safety class certifying 10 students in the Bertha area. Folks were cited for no identification on fish houses, wanton waste, and fishing without a license. Ice conditions are deteriorating with lots of water on area lakes causing a very slippery mess.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen and ice conditions in the area. Fishing has been slow on area lakes. Almost all the snow has melted in the area after the warm weather during the weekend. Ice conditions need to be checked before venturing out after Osborne learned of two different vehicles including an ATV going through the ice on area lakes.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports deteriorating ice conditions around Alexandria, with several reports of ATV’s, snowmobiles, and motor vehicles breaking through the ice. Anglers are urged to use extreme caution while on the ice. Fishing enforcement in both Douglas and Pope counties resulted in numerous violations, including several instances of extra lines, illegal drug possession, and unregistered ATVs. A snowmobile safety class was completed in Alex with nearly 60 students being certified. A special thanks to all the Alexandria area volunteer instructors for making the best of sketchy conditions.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work archery and muzzleloader deer hunting activity. Several more open deer hunting cases were closed with enforcement action taken. Additional time was spent working ice fishing and ATV activity on area waterways.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on muzzleloader deer hunters, pheasant hunter activity, ice fishing activity and ATV operation. A complaint about possible hunter harassment was handled. A few pheasant hunters are still out trying to bag that late season pheasant. Anderson received two separate calls on area lakes of vehicles being driven into open water while being lost in the fog. Time was issuing minnow interstate transportation permits and handling calls from the public regarding snowmobile safety classes, coyote hunting and fish house questions.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, deer hunters, pheasant hunters, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent on a work crew with CO Anderson on Lake Minnewaska and Trophy Lake. Fishermen should use caution on area lakes as four vehicles have broken through the ice on lakes in Stevens and Pope counties within the last few days. Baumbarger attended training and a meeting in St. Paul, and taught at the Pope County area youth snowmobile safety class. Complaints of deer carcasses being dumped in the ditch and fish houses left on public accesses where received.
Wheaton - vacant.
District 4 - Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) worked an illegal burning case and checked ice anglers and shelters. Parthun arrested three hunters during the last weekend of the muzzle loader deer season for hunting over bait. Firearms were seized. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, transporting a loaded firearm and burning of prohibited materials.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked muzzleloader and archery deer hunters, fishermen and trappers. Officer Hunter assisted the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Department with a search warrant. Large holes in the ice and thinning ice were reported.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) week focused on big and small game hunting, trapping, and sport fishing activity. Nothing unusual to report. Assisted an outside agency in attempting to locate a suspect vehicle. He received a call of a dog caught in a trap and coached the dog owner by phone how to release the animal. The animal sustained minor injuries and the trap was legally set.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked angling activities. Ice depth on lakes varied from 13-18 inches with some weak ice near cracks and pressure ridges present. CO Mathy also received calls on an accidentally caught fisher and littering. Enforcement action was taken for illegal length walleye, unregistered ATV, spear without license, and several fish house related violations.
CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) focused patrol efforts on sport fishing and small game enforcement. ATV activity was checked incidentally to those activities. A possible public waters issue was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for angling and small game hunting without appropriate licenses in possession, and failure to display ATV registration. An incidentally taken fisher with a research transmitter was seized and will be turned over to DNR wildlife for research purposes.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on deer hunting, trapping, spearing, and ice angling activity. Ice anglers reported moderate success. Ice conditions continue to vary. Anglers report 10 to15 inches of ice on some lakes, however recent warm weather and rain took its toll on ice conditions. CO Broughten assisted multiple anglers that got lost in the fog when attempting to travel on the ice. CO Broughten also checked muzzleloader deer hunters and assisted Cass County Sheriff’s Office with a call of a dog that went through the ice. Enforcement action included no angling license in possession, illegal length walleye, and failure to display ATV registration.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked the muzzleloader deer season with a hunter reporting seeing a mule deer buck by Bertha. A vehicle was stopped for shooting off the road, trespass (shooting into an ag corn field), and when the hunter was asked what he had shot at he stated, “Four deer were running in the corn field.” Then Officer Halverson asked if any had antlers and the hunter stated, “Let’s say they did but I really don’t think so” because he did not have an antlerless permit. His honesty was appreciated and enforcement action was taken. A wolf was accidently taken in a snare. The trapper turned it in and the fur will be used for education. An ATV broke through the ice on Lake Alexander; the fisherman got wet but is ok. Please be very careful on ice after the recent warm weather.
CO Colleen Adam (ATV REC) worked on office and patrol equipment and attended meeting/training in St. Paul. Despite the warmer than normal temperatures muzzleloader hunters final weekend was met with dense fog and drizzly rain making for poor visibility. What was beginning to shape up as a good ice fishing winter has been setback by the warm temps, melting snow and persistent light rain that turned cracks into gaps and six inch jigging holes into 24 inch spearing openings overnight. Ice cleats are a must and moving around on the ice can be a workout.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports little outdoor activity over the week. Forest roads and access sites were monitored. Weekend rain and temps in the 40’s further limited outdoor activities. Vehicle work along with administrative items rounded out the week. Deer remain scarce and fishing reports were poor.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports checking angling and muzzleloader deer hunting activity throughout the week. A few anglers and spear fishermen were observed, however none had much to show for their efforts. The warm weather made sitting outside quite comfortable.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the week checking anglers on area lakes. The success seems to be sporadic, but some nice fish are being caught. The officer observed several walleye over 28 inches being caught while he was checking licenses. One angler had the unique experience of observing grey wolves hunting and eventually catching a deer out on an area lake. The muzzle loader season continues, however the number of hunters has declined dramatically. CO Hopkins assisted CO Frericks with a snowmobile safety class in Virginia, with a nice turnout of students. The officer took in an incidental fisher caught by a trapper, and issued two deer possession permits. Enforcement action was taken on the following issues: extra lines angling, unattended lines, illegal operation of ATV by juveniles, and no helmet on ATV.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling and hunting activity, complaints of dumped deer carcasses and wanton waste, and followed up on open deer hunting cases. A trapper tried to register a fisher and marten four days after mandatory fur registration day. On top of that, he didn’t obtain the required site tags until the day he brought them in (that were supposed to be validated before removing from the site of the kill) and claimed that they were reprinted. Unfortunately for him, the computer date and time stamp told otherwise. Follow up on the hunter that had been trespassing on the officer’s land during the firearms deer season, revealed that the hunter failed to register the deer. Enforcement action was taken on fail to register/site tag fisher and marten, fail to register deer, no spearing license and no angling license in possession.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spoke at two snowmobile safety classes and ran the students through the riding portion of the class. The biggest problem encountered with the riding portion of the class was lack of snow and overheating snowmobiles. Anglers on area lakes were checked. Enforcement action was taken for unattended lines and angling with extra lines. Reports of deer carcasses being dumped on public land continue to come in. In one case a site tag was found. When the owner of the deer was contacted he admitted to dumping the carcasses and also admitted that he did not register the deer. The person who dumped the carcasses said he did not know it was illegal to dump deer carcasses on public land. A citation was issued.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked fishing on area lakes and found a few folks out but little being caught. Fredin assisted Tower Wildlife with a couple wolf fur tagging. A litter complaint was investigated and office work completed.
Ray - vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports fishing pressure seemed to level off on area lakes although most anglers were reporting fair success with both walleyes and crappies. The last weekend of the muzzleloader deer season was wet and overcast, and although the temperatures were above average very few hunters reported seeing deer. Violations included expired snowmobile registration, possession of drug paraphernalia, and unmarked ice shelter.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) reported the ice is in really good shape with over a foot being common on area lakes. The end of the muzzleloader season was more than quiet with thick fog and drizzle. Remember to be careful with the fish house heaters and the associated carbon monoxide issues they create.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that he took nuisance wolf calls during the week as hungry wolves came in amongst a farmer’s cattle while others went up on decks and took suet balls intended for birds. Information was passed onto a hunter from Mozambique who wants to put in for the bear license lottery.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports a slow week in the woods, made slower by the rain. The officer checked anglers, followed up on a couple trespass complaints, and tended to equipment issues.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked on investigations from deer and trapping seasons and checked anglers. Assistance was given at the Babbitt snowmobile safety class. Thanks to the volunteer instructors. Enforcement action taken for unlawful party hunting deer, untagged deer, fail to register deer within required time frame, obstruct an officer, unattended lines, more than 200 feet from tip-up, snaring violations, and driving vehicles on a GIA snowmobile trail.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity. Weather seemed to keep most folks off the ice.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking ice anglers and the last remaining muzzleloader hunters before the season closed. A few anglers were checked with some nice walleyes in the bag on a US/Canada border lake. Equipment maintenance was completed on trailers, patrol snowmobile and patrol truck.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, trappers, and muzzleloader hunters. Answered questions on wolf inspection/tagging regulations and processed incidentally caught furbearers.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored spearing activity, worked trapping complaints and assisted with hunters wolf carcass inspections. The recent warmer temps and rain melted all the snow in the area. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and OHV registration issues.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked hunters and anglers this past week. Ice conditions are still fairly good in most areas despite the warmer weather. She took a couple calls regarding archery and muzzleloader license questions.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) attended a snowmobile safety class where area youth were given a law talk and introduced to snowmobile safe riding techniques. CO Sutherland also attended the “Shop with a Hero” event in Grand Rapids where area underprivileged youth shop with a law enforcement officer, EMT or military member to provide presents for their families during the holiday season.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATVs, trappers and muzzleloader deer hunters. He also worked deer hunting and trapping violations during the week.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent time working local lakes for ice anglers. Trespassing complaints were investigated and one resulted in an untagged deer violation. ATV complaints on snowmobile trails were investigated. The officer checked traps and handled incidental catch reports.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reported good ice conditions remain on most area lakes despite the recent warm up, however the melting snow has made things very slippery. Lots of anglers checked throughout the week. Most having a least a few fish in the bucket. Several trapping violations were located and investigation continues. The lack of snow in the area has made snowmobiling nearly impossible.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent time working fishing enforcement on area lakes. Work on a control zone for wolf depredation was completed. Follow up on a trapping case was also completed and time was spent working on a trespass complaint. Officer Duncan also gave a presentation at a snowmobile safety class.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity on several area lakes throughout the week. Ice on area lakes has been averaging 12 inches. CO Humphrey followed up with an interview on a trapping case resulting in charges for unlawful taking of a fisher and failing to report an incidental catch. CO Humphrey completed a deer baiting case from muzzleloader season processing evidence. CO Humphrey, with assistance from CO Schmidt, responded to a muzzleloader trespassing complaint which resulted in a citation for an untagged deer. CO Humphrey spoke to a snowmobile safety class at Cloquet High School and gave a Conservation Officer Career presentation to Civilian Conservation Corps members at the Cloquet Forestry Center. CO Humphrey received two injured deer calls and an incidental fisher catch reported by a local trapper.
WREO Mike Scott checked season end muzzleloader hunters in the Duluth area; warm weather and dense fog kept most hunters out of the woods. Trappers were checked as well as several traps. Work on WCA issue for DNR Forestry is ongoing, as well as work with CN RR.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) worked on an ongoing trapping case and checked anglers in the Duluth harbor. The warmer weather during the week has depleted snow cover in the Duluth area, but ice depth remains for foot traffic on area lakes.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked end of season muzzleloader hunters and a few trappers. An incident involving a dog caught in a snare was investigated, with no trapping violations found. Fortunately the dog was unhurt. Ice anglers had some early season success but need to be cautious of deteriorating ice with the warm temps. Enforcement action was taken for angling and trapping violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked anglers and trappers during the week and worked on reports and evidence. Road kill deer permits were issued and an illegal trapping case was worked with some equipment and animals seized and enforcement action pending. Ter Meer also reports some boats are still going out on Lake Superior.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) worked on a big game case, responded to a complaint of an un-checked trap, and checked muzzleloader hunters and anglers. The plan for a fish house full of anglers didn’t work out as well as they said they didn’t think they would get checked and didn’t bother getting angling licenses. Two out of the three anglers received paperwork to encourage better decisions next time.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked angling and big game hunting activity. Most muzzleloader hunters that were checked complained of the decreased visibility due to fog and the anglers checked were soaking wet. Officer Guida testified in court on a drug investigation case where the suspect was convicted and paid a fine. Officer Guida trained at an area Snowmobile Safety Class despite the significant loss of accumulated snowfall in the area.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity including investigation of trespass and suspicious hunting complaints, checking fishermen and muzzleloader deer hunters, and assisting the Deerwood Sno-Serpents snowmobile club with a youth snowmobile safety certification class. An individual who was caught shooting a trumpeter swan back in October pled guilty in district court and was sentenced to pay $1,965 in fines and restitution.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for ice angling and trapping activity. Numerous ice anglers are starting to venture out on area lakes, and are reporting a fairly slow bite. Enforcement action was taken for angle with extra lines, license violations, and ATV violations.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked fishing and trapping activity during the week. He also assisted other officers on an illegal muzzleloader deer hunting case with multiple charges pending.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) reports finding a few muzzleloader hunters still hoping for a buck as well as several early season ice anglers venturing out. With low visibility over the weekend she urged caution for the anglers as there are still small areas of open water on big sandy and in the flowage areas as well as ice ridges to watch out for.
CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored angling, small game hunting and trail use in the Cuyuna Country SRA and Brainerd area.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked ice angling and spearing activity where the warm weather has made lake conditions worse. Expanding ice, increased current, and thick fog made it tough to get around the lakes. ATVs and snowmobiles on the ice continued to generate violations. Verkuilen also worked the final week of muzzleloader hunting where wet conditions and limited visibility also made for slow success.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked an angler with extra lines. The angler stated that he heard about the CO and that if a person should have violations, the CO will likely catch you. A citation was issued to this angler. The following day, a friend of this angler was found in possession of marijuana while fishing. This party stated that he knew that his friend was recently cited and the CO was checking anglers on the ice that day. A citation was issued to this angler. Additional violations included trespassing in which a bobcat was seized.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen on smaller lakes and on Mille Lacs Lake throughout the week and weekend. Assistance was given to the Sheriff’s Office on a vehicle going through the ice on Mille Lacs Lake. The driver had tried to leave the lake in the fog and had wandered too close to a creek flowing into Mille Lacs. The driver escaped but this is a good reminder to be careful out on the ice. The Officer assisted a neighboring Officer with a muzzleloader deer case. The party was found who had shot a deer and the case is being referred to the county attorney’s office for charging. A car kill deer permit was issued and lots of spearing, ATV, fishing, trapping and deer hunting related questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend. Enforcement action for the week included various big game violations.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a call of hunters’ muzzleloader hunting with rifles. Speldrich followed up on a public waters violation where lakeshore owners used rip rap with fill below the ordinary high watermark. Traps were checked throughout the week and calls regarding incidental trapped fisher were taken. Speldrich also received a call where a driver of a motor vehicle hit an owl and wanted to keep it for taxidermy. Firearms seized during the firearms deer season were taken in for appraisal to determine their value.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) monitored ice fishing pressure and found some recreational vehicle registration issues. A deer case was worked on a wolf hunter, which violations were found for possess deer without car-kill permit. Assistance was given to a group of fisherman who drove their ATV into open water. Assistance was given to the State Patrol on a traffic situation. A deer registration issue was followed up on.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) saw ice fishing conditions deteriorate as the week went by. Sustained, thawing temperatures caused fishing holes and large spear house holes to stay open. Melting surface water has also been draining toward open holes in the ice, causing existing holes in the ice to get larger. Needless to say, those traveling on the ice need to use caution. Many anglers have been removing their permanent ice shelters from area lakes. Some hunting activity was found as some muzzle loader hunters were out trying to harvest a deer during the final week of muzzle loader season.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) followed up on a littering complaint and checked anglers through the week. Ice thickness ranges from 8-14 inches in places. Ice conditions deteriorated over the weekend with warm weather and snow melting. Vehicle traffic is discouraged at this time in the Pine City area, and be sure to wear traction devices over boots if venturing on the ice. CO Wynn also answered questions about and trapping and concerns with trespassing.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area lakes and Mille Lacs Lake. Fog conditions made area lakes difficult to navigate. Croatt responded to a vehicle through the ice on Mille Lacs Lake. The driver was assisted out of the vehicle by the area fire department and no injuries were reported. An investigation involving a deer shot and left lying on private land was investigated. Charges are pending and a firearm was seized. Fishermen should use caution when traveling on area lakes due to the warm weather conditions.
WREO Rob Haberman conducted site visits in Pine and Aitkin for wetland restoration and possible public water violations. WREO Haberman also checked anglers on area lakes. Ice conditions are better but caution is still advised with the higher temps over the last few days. WREO Haberman also checked muzzleloader hunters on area state and county lands.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, deer hunters, and pheasant hunters. Time was spent following up on some deer hunting investigations which resulted in over limit, lend borrow, and fail to register violations. A burning violation was address with a citation for unattended fire.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) found people burning their garbage in burning barrels and tire rims in their front yard (burning garbage has been illegal since 1968). A dog’s chasing deer complaint was handled with dog owner warned it’s a $100 fine and $500 if the dogs run a deer down. A female was checked coming out of the woods in blaze orange with no hunting license and no gun. She said she had been waiting for her boyfriend who hadn’t shown up with the gun. Later the boyfriend was questioned because he didn’t have a deer muzzleloader license either. When asked about the gun he was confused and said his girlfriend had it with her. The girlfriend then confessed when the boyfriend was out of ear shot that she hadn’t brought it out with her as she didn’t want to shoot a deer and the gun was still in the house.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers. CO Mies checked deer hunters all week. CO Mies gave a law talk at training for DNR Forestry Officers. CO Mies also worked on complaints and tip calls.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling, trapping and muzzleloading activity. The officer also spoke at a snowmobile safety class covering laws and ethics. The officer assisted with a deer hunting case with a neighboring officer.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reported a trapping violation was investigated. WCA and WAT violations were also investigated. CO Friese attended the Todd County TEP meeting.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) found an individual trying to do a good deed by spreading sand and stove ash on a slippery road leading into a public access. The problem was a large amount of nails, screws and staples mixed in with the stove ash as the result of burning pallets. The person came back and cleaned up the road removing the little hazards and no enforcement action was taken. A person given a previous warning for operating an ATV without safety training failed to act on the requirement and was again found operating, this time using the ATV to tear up several miles of township roads. Violations included unregistered ATV, careless operation, allowing a juvenile to operate illegally and no safety training certificate. A cash reward from TIP was given to a person that helped CO Kuske apprehend an individual earlier this fall that resulted in several big game hunting violations.
WREO Keith Bertram spent the week updating wetland and waters cases. A restoration order was issued in Morrison County. WREO Bertram also assisted CO Johanson with an investigation yielding a hunter taking an over limit of deer.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking anglers and following up on open investigations. Another over limit case from deer season was made with assistance from CO Thesing. The illegal lending/borrowing of licenses put the hunter over limit and in violation of multiple other game laws. The violations resulted in the seizure of a firearm, deer and possible revocation of hunting privileges.
St. Cloud - vacant.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) fishing activity has been picking up on area lakes, with that comes individuals that push their luck with ice conditions. Wright Co. Sheriff’s Department took a call of a car going through the ice on Buffalo Lake on Sunday, luckily no one was injured. Anglers beware the thawing has changed ice condition especially were runoff comes into the lakes. Enforcement action was taken for several angling and ATV violations.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a warm week on area lakes. Anglers braved the wet conditions to find some fish. The last of the muzzleloader hunters tried for a strong finish to the season but few deer were found. CO Langevin also spoke at a snowmobile safety class put on by the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office and attended some training in St. Paul.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) followed up on a trapping complaint. He continued investigations on a Big Game case with charges pending. He investigated a dumping complaint with enforcement action taken on the violator. He assisted with a possible trespassing issue. He inspected a wetland violation with the assistance of Sherburne County Planning and Zoning; a resource protection notification was issued to the landowner. A restoration order will be administered in the early spring.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) conducted follow up investigations on calls received during time off. Trespass and trapping complaints were investigated. Ice fishing is in full swing with many enjoying the warmer weather. Ice conditions have deteriorated due to snow melt.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and hunters. Complaints of shooting from a motor vehicle and trespassing were received. Calls continue to come in regarding the illegal dumping of deer carcasses.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) spoke at snowmobile safety classes, followed up on a trapping case and deer stands left in local WMAs. Officer Londgren also took calls on trespassing and an illegally shot deer, as well as injured animals and suspicious activity on a WMA. Anglers are reminded that with the warmer weather many area lakes are unsafe for recreational vehicles, with many close calls reported.
District 13 - West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked anglers having good luck on area lakes. A TIP call was responded to on traps that were not being checked. Muzzleloader deer hunters and pheasant hunters were checked having little success.
CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) investigated a big game violation in Washington County. CO Salzer also attended a training meeting at Camp Ripley. Salzer patrolled Hennepin County for angling activity.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring hunting activity. Violations included license issues.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked ice fishermen and bow hunters in Scott County. He responded to a TIP complaint at Holland Lake in Eagan of people taking trout out of season. He also had an annual vehicle inspection at Ft. Snelling State Park, answered questions to ice fishing regulations, and a firearms safety classes in the Hmong community.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) assisted Saint Paul PD and Ramsey County Sheriff Office with a search warrant. Game law violations were found and further investigation is pending. He provided assistance with several interviews in the Metro for an investigation on game law violations that occurred in Region 4. He met with a supervisor for an annual inspection on a patrol vehicle and completed administrative work. Violations encountered were illegally transported deer, fail to validated site tag, fail to registered deer, and lending and borrowing a deer license.
Bloomington - vacant.
Mound - vacant.
Prior Lake - vacant.
District 14 - East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week working on cases from the deer season. CO Arntzen continued patrolling WMAs, doing ATV enforcement, checking deer hunters and anglers. He also scheduled firearms safety classes, handled a nuisance animal call and fielded questions about trespassing.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked goose and deer hunters around wildlife management areas and fields. Several ice anglers were also checked on some of the Metro lakes. CO Pril responded to a couple of complaints of a possible big game and waterfowl violations. He also handled animal calls and followed up with a big game case.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) issued an extension on a wetland restoration order in Scott County. WREO Block spoke to a local Pheasants Forever Chapter, attended a meeting in St. Paul and conducted a media interview regarding ice safety. Time was spent over the weekend assisting the Scott County Sheriff’s Department with youth snowmobile safety training certifying about 120 youth.
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he checked ice anglers, on deteriorating ice conditions, throughout the week. He attended a meet and confer in St. Paul. CO Johnson picked up a road killed coyote in Woodbury that had been reported as a Wolf. He responded to a report of a dead Swan in Roseville. CO Johnson spoke to a snowmobile safety class in Oak Park Heights.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) assisted COs in western Minnesota with a deer case. She certified ginseng for a resident in Maplewood and did a taxidermist check in White Bear Lake. CO Kruse checked anglers on area lakes, continued working on a couple of deer cases and handled nuisance animal calls.
CO Joseph Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week checking both shore and ice anglers, pheasant hunters, and big game hunters. Officer Kulhanek spoke with snowmobile safety instructors and answered calls on nuisance animals. CO Kulhanek continues investigations involving the unlawful taking of big game.
Eagan - vacant.
Metro Officer - vacant.
District 15 - Marshall area
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) attended a meeting with the McLeod Co. Attorney on a WCA violation. Follow-up was done on several WCA and PW cases. A special project was completed. Muzzleloader hunters and ATVs were checked.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working investigations, muzzleloader hunters, trapping complaints, and ice anglers. Many deer and fish cases are being investigated. Snowmobile Safety was taught in Pipestone. Enforcement action was taken for over-limit of deer and failure to register deer.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked anglers, archery, muzzleloader, and pheasant hunters during the week. Anglers are having moderate success. Good compliance was seen during the week.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week monitoring deer hunting, pheasant hunting, and ice fishing activity and also working on investigations. The officer assisted the Yellow Medicine County Sheriff’s Office with an investigation involving a house that was struck by a muzzleloader slug. A fish house went through the ice on a lake in Lyon County. Temperatures over 50 degrees and strong winds caused problems with ice conditions on area lakes over the weekend. The law and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class was taught in Redwood Falls.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) continues to receive reports of shining in Chippewa and LqP counties. He has also received reports of people leaving fish and garbage on the ice. Enforcement action will be taken for those who leave trash and fish on the ice.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) spent the week checking ice fishermen and muzzle loader hunters. The Officer also attended the Governor’s Pheasant Summit which was held in Marshall. The officer warns anglers that the recent warm weather along with strong winds has deteriorated ice conditions on many area lakes.
Benson - vacant.
Madison - vacant.
Redwood Falls - vacant.
Worthington - vacant.
District 16 - New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) followed up on big game cases. He spoke at a meeting with the local Pheasants Forever chapter. Denz also checked anglers and ATV operators.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent the week checking ice fishermen with reports of the fishing activity being slow. Time was also spent following up on lend and borrow cases from the firearms deer season. Calls were taken about dogs caught in traps and time was spent checking on traps. A few muzzleloader hunters were out for the final days of the season trying their luck with some having success.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) worked the last weekend of the muzzleloader season. She investigated a litter case involving multiple deer carcasses and a shoot from the road case. The unseasonably warm wet weather made ice conditions on the lake less than desirable and fishing activity slowed down over the weekend. She also helped rescue a bald eagle that was accidentally caught in a snare. Once it was brought to the Raptor Center it was found to have a high level of lead in its system which might explain why it was on the ground feeding. Mueller also spoke at youth snowmobile safety classes in Buffalo Lake and Fairfax. Unfortunately their riding test will have to wait till the snow returns.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked the last week of the balmy muzzleloader season. A case from the firearms deer season was completed with enforcement action taken for fail to tag, validate, and register deer. Oberg also worked recreational vehicle and angling enforcement this week.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked pheasant hunters and muzzleloader deer hunters. He also monitored ice fishing activity. Gruhlke followed on a couple of cases from the past seasons. He taught the law portion of the snowmobile safety class held in Windom. Unseasonably warm temperatures are taking their toll on area ice.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted inspections on ice anglers with depleting ice. Investigations were performed on deer poaching complaints. Trappers, small game and waterfowl hunters were checked. The Fairmont snowmobile safety class was taught on rules, regulations and ethics.
Willmar #1 - vacant.
Windom - vacant.
District 17 - Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports ice conditions to be unpredictable on most lakes due to the warmer temperatures. Some ATV activity was seen. Follow up on dogs chasing deer in different areas is being addressed.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked angling, atv, big game, and small game activity during the week. Assistance was given regarding a big game investigation. A TIP call was also received.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) patrolled for deer and pheasant hunters, as well as checked fishermen and ATV operators. Officer Ihnen also gave a law and ethics presentation to a local snowmobile safety class.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working small game hunting and the end of the muzzleloader deer season. A few anglers were observed enjoying the winter trout fishing opportunities in Forestville State Park. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) checked anglers, deer hunters, and pheasant hunters. The officer also monitored trapping and ATV activity. Time was also spent patrolling local Wildlife Management Areas.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports checking muzzleloader and angling activity. Muzzleloading activity was low. Angling activity was moderate. Ice thickness continues to be variable on area lakes.
WREO Julie Siems followed up on WCA and public waters violations. Lake Service Providers were also contacted regarding training requirements.
Mankato #1 – Vacant
Albert Lea - Vacant
Albert Lea - vacant.
Mankato #1 - vacant.
District 18 - Rochester area
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week following up on deer cases and checking ice fishing activity. Ice anglers continue to take advantage of the early ice conditions in the area. Some limits of fish were seen in the bucket and some angling violations were detected.
CO Phil George (Rochester) checked waterfowl hunters and deer hunters and continued follow up on a trespass complaint. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register big game and litter. There are a lot of carcasses ending up in the road ditch. Your trash hauler will likely take your debris. Ice anglers are still out but the rising temps are rotting the ice so be careful.
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports backwaters are putting out nice panfish. Walleye and sauger are being caught below the dams by anglers in boats. He talked to a snowmobile safety classes in LaCrescent and Caledonia. He assisted CO Boyum with illegally taken deer complaint.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports investigating deer that had been illegally shot. Time was also spent checking muzzleloader hunters. Success was fair at best. Trappers have been out with the warmer weather having some success with raccoon while coyote hunters are waiting for cold and snow. A few small game hunters were out in the warm weather as well.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working mainly big game and fishing enforcement along with talking with a few trappers. The deer hunters are still finding a few deer and the warm weather brought out an increase in the number of hunters. Pan fish action on the big river remains good with some very nice fish checked.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a slow end to the deer muzzleloader season with plenty of hunters but limited success. Boats started to reappear in the area fishing walleye as the river reopened. He attended a snowmobile safety class and worked with an interpreter and SE Asian hunters on hunting laws and firearms safety. Hemker also continues to help the Sheriff’s Office search for a drowning victim. He also attended a snowmobile safety class.
Rochester #2 - vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) worked on training for various emergency scenarios, via on-line aviation classes. Due to the fact that during the majority of the week in the southern part of the state, the weather was not conducive for flying DNR missions, Geving attended to maintenance, administrative, and equipment matters.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on aircraft and hangar administrative tasks. All training flights were cancelled due to continued poor weather.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flights were cancel all week due to low ceilings and fog. Heineman worked on training, working with clients and hanger maintenance.
Pilot/CO Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) reported poor flying conditions last week with low clouds, fog and mist. Time was spent emptying out one of the Grand Rapids hangars as well as updating aircraft GPS systems etc. Maintenance and facilities vendors in Bemidji were met with and training was conducted.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week hampered by foggy weather. Jensen worked on various safety projects and equipment issues that normally get overlooked during busy seasons. Many flights and projects are awaiting sunshine and fresh snow.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO reports are now placed within district reports.
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.
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.
NE RTO Shelly Patten held an ATV and Snowmobile Safety Instructor training session in Grand Rapids. Many of the new instructors were current snowmobile instructors looking to begin teaching ATV safety. Other new instructors were club members that want to join the ranks of the Trail Ambassadors in their local clubs. Patten continued work on instructor training changes and updates to the Firearms Safety Instructor PowerPoint. A parent complaint was handled that dealt with difficulties using the Safety CDs. The parent was happy to hear we are working towards an online safety program launch in the near future.
West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports assisting with RFP review of Hunter Ed online programs at Camp Ripley. During the week he also scheduled Snowmobile Safety Instructor and Hunter Education/Firearms Safety Instructor certification training dates.
NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence completed final touches on the volunteer safety instructors’ newsletter. Also, RTO Lawrence met with Firearms Safety instructors about future safety training classes and received donated mockup long guns created by an area eagle scout. RTO Lawrence attended the local chapter meeting of the National Wild Turkey federation about future turkey instructor training. RTO Lawrence continues to work on safety instructor training improvements. RTO Lawrence received inquiries about muzzleloader deer season and future deer populations in Minnesota.
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke talked to volunteer instructors regarding Snowmobile Safety classes. He worked on Hunter Education/Firearms Safety course materials. RTO Neitzke worked with CO Pril. They patrolled a state WMA and investigated a possible illegal deer taken up north. They also checked fishermen and pheasant hunters.
Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens attended the All-Terrain Vehicle Association legislative meeting this past Saturday. He also took part in a proposal review meeting at Camp Ripley one day last week. Work was continued on instructor training and new officer presentations. Owens was interviewed on radio station WTIP about snowmobile safety. Trail Ambassador program items were addressed, computer issues were resolved and numerous emails and phone calls were responded to.
RTO PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
Rec. Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens 763-753-1887 email@example.com
NE RTO Shelly Patten 218-244-8051
West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-230-8549 firstname.lastname@example.org
NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence 651-674-6184 email@example.com
Southern RTO Dan McBroom 507-843-2032 firstname.lastname@example.org
NW RTO Jon Paurus 218-298-4000 email@example.com
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke 651-463-3168 firstname.lastname@example.org
Curriculum Specialist: Vacant
Education Specialist: Vacant
Curriculum Coordinator: Vacant