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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) followed up on Lake of the Woods angling cases during the week.  Snowmobile activity was monitored during the week and assistance was given to area law enforcement with a snowmobile class. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. The bite has slowed down in some of the areas that have been doing well; success is being seen in deeper water now (30-32 feet) in areas where it was not earlier. Jumbo perch have been a constant out of Warroad as have northern pike. Enforcement action was taken for the following: angling without license in possession, angle with an extra line, package fish for transport under an expired fish packing license and angle with an unattended line.

CO Hannah Mishler (Warroad) spent time assisting District 5 and 6 Officers with the Annual Fun Run Snowmobile Ride in the Ely/Tower area. Many snowmobilers came out for the event due to the great weather and near 40 degree temps. Focus was placed on making sure all riders were being safe and obeying the law. Multiple snowmobilers were stopped for exceeding the speed limit on lakes and trails and enforcement action was taken. Time was also spent checking trout fishermen in the Ely area as well as checking anglers on Lake of the Woods. Additional enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, angling with unattended lines, no angling license in possession, use live bait on designated trout lake, possession of dressed fillets on Lake of the Woods, fail to display snowmobile registration, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports an increase in ice fishing and snowmobiling activity on Lake of the Woods. Fishing success has been spotty all over the lake, but some anglers have found success in filling their limit. The state grant-in-aid trails on the lake are in good shape for riding snowmobiles; however, some individuals have been operating ATVs and other vehicles on them. This damages the trail and makes it difficult to traverse, so be sure you know where you can legally operate your different vehicles. CO Prachar assisted sheriff’s office with a snowmobile crash in which the driver of a snowmobile struck a culvert and caused serious injury.  Be sure of where you are riding and of possible obstructions in your path.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports concentrating enforcement efforts on snowmobiling activity and angling activity on Upper Red Lake and special regulation lakes throughout the week. Time was spent preparing for and providing courtroom testimony in a deer baiting case trial. The investigation began in the days leading up to the opening of the firearms deer season when officers located the baits placed by the hunters, the baits consisted of grain/corn blocks, apples,  sugar beets and a mineral lick. On opening morning officers contacted the defendants on the stands hunting over the baits. The defendants made their case before the court, however, they were found guilty.  Time was also spent working commercial enforcement involving a bait dealer and retailer selling frozen spot tail shiners without the required VHS Free Certification.  Violation encountered for the week included possession of dressed fillets on the ice, unmeasurable fish, no license in possession and no or improper shelter identification

Baudette #2 -vacant.

Blackduck #2 - vacant.

Karlstad - vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 - vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area


CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time checking anglers, ATV operators, and snowmobile operators. Time was also spent working on commercial enforcement    activities. Two 2015 deer hunting cases were investigated, resulting in enforcement action being taken. Various informational type calls from the public were answered.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) brought a fur display to “Frosty Days” and spoke to a snowmobile safety class about laws and ethics that somehow ended up including AIS efforts through questions of the interested students. He monitored anglers, snowmobilers and answered concerns about burning, hunting and dead animal possession. He also assisted a deputy with an arrest on a no contact order. One angler was frustrated since the underwater camera that looked like a perch was chomped and wrecked by a large northern. He replaced it with one that deters bites but now he does not see fish.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and assisted at the Clearwater County Snowmobile Safety class.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) completed field training with CO Quittschreiber. Officer prepared for an upcoming court case and testified in a deer baiting case. Area snowmobile trails and lakes were patrolled.  Officer Vollbrecht worked a detail on Red Lake with COs Hanson and Quittschreiber.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) spent time patrolling snowmobile trails and checking anglers. Officer Holt spent a day working Upper Red Lake with a fellow officer. Enforcement action included angling violations.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports completing Step IV of field training with CO Weyandt.  CO Weyandt has assumed her duties in the Mound station. A wolf carcass was dumped in a road ditch north of Perham that appears to have been shot. Anyone with information please contact TIP. All information will be kept confidential. CO Vinton assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office with a vehicle that went through the ice near Vergas and a reported assault that may have occurred in a fish house. Ice conditions remain variable and anyone headed out onto the ice should use caution. Unseasonably warm temperatures and little new snow have left the snowmobile trails unused.   

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked anglers, worked snowmobile enforcement and attended court. Separate cases were worked involving violations of over limit of fish and deer and lend/borrow license were handled, changes are pending.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports time was spent working fishermen, coyote hunters and doing aeration inspections. Many fishermen were out with the warm weather. A work party was held on Lida Lake with many violations found. Overlimit complaints were also followed up on. 

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling activity on area waters. Anglers reported a slow day bite with a better evening bite. Snowmobile activity was worked on area trails and waters.  Snow amounts continue to decrease due to warm temperatures. ATV activity was also worked and individuals are reminded to display registration and ride in appropriate areas. CO Warren answered questions and calls in regards to trout angling, deer feeding and the upcoming old timers snowmobile run.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling and coyote hunting activity in the Moorhead station. The officer received calls from the public regarding car kill deer possession tags and a suspicious dead buck along the Red River. Activity was observed on a WMA and the officer located large amounts of corn and sugar beet tailings with multiple trail cameras set up. The officer would like to remind people that they cannot leave any equipment or feed on management or waterfowl production areas. A work detail was also worked on Lake Lida with area officers. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, unattended lines, angling with an extra line, fail to display ATV registration, and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area


CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports anglers were out chasing panfish with the recent warm weather. Success varied between lakes and anglers. Pike continue to be taken by spear fishing and questions were answered about the proposed new limits. Violations were addressed related to angling and shelters.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked fishing enforcement throughout the week. Snow has depleted through the area with warm temperatures and rain. Plautz checked coyote hunters during the week as well. Fishing activity has picked up in this area due to warmer temperatures and the panfish seem to have started biting on several lakes.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) handled a trespass call in the Fergus Falls station. Additional time was spent working on an illegal deer case and checking fishermen, fish shelters, ATVs and snowmobilers.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, fish shelters, ATVs and snowmobiles.  Ice fishing complaints were investigated on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for unregistered snowmobiles, unregistered ATVs, no identification on fish shelters, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and fishing with extra lines.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked ice fishing activity this past week as scores of people were out enjoying the warm weather. It was a slower bite overall but several illegal cases were made including possessing marijuana, extra lines, overlimit and unattended lines. An overlimit case was made when two anglers had more than their limit of sunfish. One of them said his father had just left the lake not feeling well explaining the extra fish, but a quick phone call to the father dispelled that excuse as he had been at work all morning. Another angler had over his limit of crappie while fishing without a license. An upcoming FAS class was set up for February.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fishing, ATV, and snowmobile enforcement throughout the station. Follow up investigation was completed on deer season cases. Predator hunting activity was monitored and litter complaints were received and investigated.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on predator hunting, snowmobile and ice fishing activity. Anderson participated in a work crew checking ice fishermen on Lake Minnewaska. Anglers report fishing is slow right now. CO Anderson checked a few snowmobilers with operation issues while traveling in the road right-of-way. A complaint was responded to of illegal use of vehicles and snowmobiles to drive and chase predators as well as careless discharge of firearms in the direction of person’s ice fishing. Time was spent reviewing and issuing commercial interstate minnow transportation permits and calls from the public were fielded on about ice conditions, coyote damage complaints and illegal predator hunting activity.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports warm weather this past week has melted a lot of snow around the area.  Baumbarger checked fishermen and ATV operators this past week.  Additional time was spent on equipment maintenance and follow up on fishing complaints.

Wheaton - vacant.

District 4 - Wadena area


CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) worked an enforcement detail on several special regulation lakes, checked snowmobile trails, ice anglers and ice shelters. Areas with limitations were monitored and remote trout lakes were checked. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV in an area with limitations, snowmobile registration violations, unattended lines and ice shelter violations. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Walker) reported warm weather and rain in the past week has made snowmobile trails in the area very difficult. Bare dirt and pavement is showing in multiple areas. Ice thickness on Leech Lake has improved and vehicles are being driven on several different areas of the lake. Thin ice and open water is in normal areas on Leech Lake.  Fishing success in area has been pretty slow but some anglers are getting meals of fish. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked anglers and snowmobiles. The walleye and crappie catch got better this past week. Snowmobile trails are in poor condition after recent warm temperatures and rain. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, illegal length walleye, unattended lines, extra lines, marijuana possession, and unregistered snowmobile.

CO Chelsey Collette (Remer) finished up her final step of field training with CO Reller by working the snowmobile trails in the Remer station. Collette then spent time during the week getting her new office set up in Outing and completed tasks such as radio programming/repair, getting maps for the Remer station and meeting some of the other officers in the area. CO Collette also patrolled the trails and lakes around Remer and found fishermen having some success.

CO Colleen Adam (Rec Specialist) attended ATV trail planning and ATV right of way use meetings. Officer Adam checked snowmobile and ski trail area use and permits.   Unseasonably warm weather has many out on the lakes looking for fish, some succeed, and others just enjoyed the outdoors.

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked anglers and snowmobilers. Officer Hunter worked the USXC snowmobile race on Fish Hook Lake and assisted with a snowmobile that was on fire. CO Hunter also received a complaint of snowmobiles racing and jumping on an area lake. 

Walker - vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports finishing up Field Training process with new CO Michael Krauel. Warm weather has brought out lot more people who were out enjoying winter activities such as snowmobiling and ice fishing. Enforcement action taken for week included snowmobile speeding and no snowmobile registration displayed.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Ray) reports a busy week of fishing and snowmobiling in the Rainy and Kabetogama Lake areas. Anglers continue to see poor success. The snowmobile trails and portages are in rough shape after seeing some of the highest use this season. A snowmobile work detail with several neighboring officers was attended at the Tower Fun Run. Time was also spent investigating a gray wolf that was found dead and the investigation is ongoing. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speeds, operate an unregistered snowmobile, fail to display valid registration, fail to stop at a roadway, and angle with unattended lines.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the week checking anglers, snowmobiles, and ice shelters. A number of shelters had registration issues. The officer also assisted with a personal injury crash that required extrication. The officer worked with a number of CO’s monitoring snowmobilers during the Fun-Run, in the Tower area. There were a couple of incidents with speeding and registration, however, for the most part everyone was operating safely.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobiles, ATVs, followed up on a truck load of litter investigation, and worked a snowmobile work detail in the Lake Vermilion and Tower area. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, fish house violations and a number of ATV violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) gave a presentation to a class at the Parkview Elementary School in Virginia about furbearers of northeastern Minnesota. Warmer temps brought people outside and time was spent checking anglers on Virginia area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license. Strong numbers of snowmobilers were seen out over the last weekend with events in Tower, Ely and Babbitt. Enforcement action was taken for various equipment related violations.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked the snowmobile Fun Run around Tower with other district officers. Warm temps and new snowfalls bought out more sleds than past weeks. Fredin received a report of a dead deer by Whitewater Lake. Time was spent checking anglers and most report slow fishing.

Cook - vacant.

International Falls #2  - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area


CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports along with several other Conservation Officers patrolled the snowmobile trails during the annual Ely “Fun Run”. Although most riders in attendance observed speed limits, some significant speeds were seen. Violations included: snowmobile speed, operating an unregistered snowmobile, and possess live bait on a designated trout lake.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Lake herring that were sold by an Ely bait store were found on the trout lakes in packages that are from Missouri and are not certified VHS free. If you have purchased any of these lake herring from the Ely bait store, please destroy them or at least keep them out of our lakes. Please don’t be the one responsible for a VHS fish infection in our local trout lakes.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that ever single lake he was on this past weekend had lots of slush.  Being that the snow is not too deep on many lakes, most people had no problem sledding through it. Angling activity was way down even with the nice warm weather. The CO saw some catches of pretty nice splake and brook trout. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked snowmobile and angling activity throughout the week. Time was also spent checking state parks along the North Shore as well as cross country ski trails and passes. Snowmobilers did a good job of staying safe and kept speeds down while the John Beargrease sled dog race was utilizing the North Shore State Trail.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports a busy week of snowmobile enforcement, including working the 2016 area Fun Run. Snowmobile trails went into the weekend in very nice shape after recent snows, but now the slush is awful after the warmth. Numerous contacts were made throughout the week for snowmobile registration violations, speed, and loud exhaust. The beginning of the week the officer assisted with a serious snowmobile accident on a local river in which the victim sustained neck and back injuries. His helmet certainly saved his life as he struck a rock after being thrown from the sled. 

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area anglers and snowmobile activity. Time was spent in law review. CO Schottenbauer also worked on some equipment committee needs.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers on area lakes and monitored snowmobile trails. Snowmobile and ski trails are in good condition with the recent snowfall. The Officer assisted a State Trooper with an uncooperative individual during a traffic stop. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity during the week. Trail conditions were excellent in the area with many folks out enjoying the spring like temperatures. Some lakes are still showing areas of slush and angling activity has improved. Enforcement action was taken for failure to stop at road crossings and snowmobile speed violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area


CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails, performed a station inventory, worked ongoing cases, and monitored trappers for check intervals on snares.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) continued Phase 4 Field Training with a COC. CO Hansen worked snowmobile, sport fishing, and small game enforcement. Improving snow and ice conditions are allowing more people to get outside. Violations for the week included no license in possession, angle with extra line, unattended line, unmeasurable fish, shelter ID, and over-limit.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobile activity and followed up on pending court cases. Enforcement action was taken for license and registration issues.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked anglers over the past week with pan fishing action heating up on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling without a license in possession and failing to have a license on a permanent fish house.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATVs, ski and snowmobile trails. He also spoke at several preschool classes and handled trespass and trapping complaints during the week.

CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV Officer) checked ATV and ORV activity.  CO Velsvaag also checked snowmobilers and anglers. The slush became a problem with the warm up and snowfall. Anglers were having little success.

District 8 - Duluth area


CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) checked anglers on area lakes. Snowmobile trails were worked and trails were in good condition. Time was spent on a trapping complaint and equipment maintenance was completed

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports snowmobilers were out in numbers this last week. Most all trails are being groomed regularly and are in good shape. People using snowmobiles are reminded that not only do you need the current registration sticker display but you also need to display the registration numbers. Lots of anglers were also seen out on lakes but success has been limited.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the majority of the week working fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Warmer temperature brought out many people on area lakes. Snowmobile activity was high during the week and local trails were in good condition. Other activities included enforcing local ski trails for passes, continued work on a couple TIP calls, and talking on a local radio station about current winter enforcement activities. 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked snowmobile and fishing activity in the station this past week. Enforcement action was taken for registration, license, and unattended line violations. K9 assistance was given to the local sheriff’s office when suspects in a stolen vehicle rammed one of their squads and fled on foot. Both suspects were caught and K9 Schody located evidence that dumped while they were fleeing. Warmer weather has snowmobile trails deteriorating quickly. A complaint of ORVs tearing up snowmobile trails in the Nemadji State Forest was investigated.

Lake Superior Marine Unit


CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked ice fishing on area lakes in the Duluth area, slush on area lakes is becoming a concern for most, and the warm temps over the weekend did not help matters. Local snowmobile trails have also showed the effects of the warmer weather, the grooming crews worked over the weekend. Enforcement actions were taken for license violations.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers on the St Louis Harbor and inland lakes. Snowmobiles trail activity was monitored on a very warm weekend, with riders commenting on the need for sunscreen when they stopped. A report of a butchered and buried deer carcass was checked with investigation ongoing. Enforcement action taken for snowmobile, ATV, and angling violations.

Lake Superior Unit - vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers are out and report the bite has slowed. Enforcement action was taken on unattended lines and no shelter license. Complaints of litter left on the Ice from anglers after removing there fish houses were received. He worked on a report of deer carcass dumping. Snowmobiling in the Brainerd area continues to pick up. Enforcement action was taken on trespass and expired registration.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, spearing and snowmobile enforcement. The officer also assisted two concerned sportsmen with a deer that had gotten its 8 point rack caught in the neighbor’s hammock. A nearby pack of wolves were howling as the ropes were cut.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement. One spear fisherman checked had just loaded six speared northern (three overlimit) into his pickup truck and was wrapping up the morning. After the discovery, Conservation Officer Guida asked him when the fish best ran. The spear fisherman said, “They ran pretty good from about ten to eleven-thirty. Then I sat for another thirty minutes without seeing another one and figured I better get going before the Game Warden shows up.” He said that at his current time and predicament he wasn’t very happy to see a Conservation Officer. The violation was addressed and enforcement action was taken. Patrol was also done on the warm weather deteriorating snowmobile trails with some enforcement contacts. Officer Guida also spent time visiting with the Gull Lake Drifters snowmobile club at their open house in Nisswa.

CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week with slow activity reported around the Whitefish Chain for pretty much all fish species. Officer Lee also patrolled snowmobile traffic in the area with most trails in the area in very poor condition due to the warm weather.  Officer Lee assisted with armoring division rifles this past week at Camp Ripley. Enforcement actions taken this past week ranged from registration issues on ATVs and snowmobiles, to anglers not having angling licenses, and fishing with extra lines.

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) spent the week doing fishing and snowmobile enforcement. The weather was nice with lots of people out. Enforcement activity included angling with extra and unattended lines, angling without a license, fish overlimits, and possession of marijuana. After issuing citations on Ada Lake by Pine River for angling without a license and unattended lines, the public access used to access the lake by the officer was found plowed shut. Although the officer found another way off, several people complained the next day when they tried to access the lake. Anybody with information about the incident may call the TIP line at 800-652-9093.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) checked several anglers and snowmobilers with the above average temperatures. She noticed some areas of channels and points with open water. Use caution when traveling on the ice. 

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby)  reports investigating  complaints of trespassing, damage to tree seedling plantation by snowmobile, illegal use of ski trails, snowmobiles not stopping for road crossings, and suspicious activity at a public water access / ski trail head.  Ski pass, snowmobile trail and fishing enforcement work was done, including assisting a neighboring officer with a northern pike overlimit case.  

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) wrapped up field training with a conservation officer cadet. Time was spent following up on TIP reports, and checking ice anglers. Anglers are reminded to use caution while ice angling as some thinner spots have been observed.

Cuyuna SRA - vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area


CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity as a fresh coat of snow turned into spring conditions as the week went by. Snowmobiles were worked for speed and registration.   The nice weekend also brought out some small game hunters.

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked anglers on Mille Lacs Lake. One angler was filleting an illegal length walleye when checked. The angler looked at the CO and stated, “Well, this is awkward.” Enforcement action was taken. A work detail in Ely was attended for a snowmobile event. Other enforcement included excess speed on a snowmobile, angling with extra lines and operating a snowmobile without registration.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working anglers on Mille Lacs Lake and other smaller lakes. Anglers were out in force with the nice weather and lots of fish were seen. The Officer monitored snowmobile activity throughout the Malmo station and on area lakes. Lots of fishing, ATV, snowmobile and dark house spearing related questions were answered throughout the week and weekend. Assistance was given to another Officer regarding a littering case and time was spent monitoring area state forests. Enforcement action for the week included various fishing, snowmobile, and ATV related violations. 

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a timber theft complaint.  Speldrich, along with a Pine County deputy, interviewed the suspect who admitted to cutting trees for firewood on state property without a permit. The suspect was then arrested on an outstanding Pine County warrant.  Speldrich checked anglers on area lakes and saw a few limits of crappie. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession. She also worked snowmobile trails and answered questions regarding collector snowmobiles and trout fishing.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked fishing activities and found extra lines, unattended lines, and no license violations. Snowmobiles were out and about with warmer weather creating havoc on the trails. Fish house issues were addressed, along with ATV violations. CO Starr also made plans with a local sheriff’s department for upcoming training and met with Mille Lacs Band DNR on work plans.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) patrolled area snowmobile trails that eventually turned to very poor condition after end of the week warm weather melted much of the snow.  Enforcement activity on the trails included citations for excessive speed, failing to stop at cross roads and trespassing on private land. Several snowmobilers had to be reminded that farmers’ fields do not have to be posted and driving on them without permission is trespassing. While approaching a spear house with intentions to check licenses of the occupants inside, a 10-year-old youngster came barging out the door screaming and hollering and ran around the spear house. The dad also followed out the door in a hurry, soon to be followed by a muskrat that had just came up through the spear hole and into the spear shack.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent a majority of the week checking anglers around the Pine City area. He spent time checking state forest areas, and also public accesses for activity as well. Phone calls taken include questions about snowmobile trail conditions, ice conditions, and nuisance animals. He also answered questions about trapping and snowmobile registration. Warm weather has not helped ice conditions in the area. Some people are still driving out, but many more ATVs were seen out on the lakes over the weekend. 

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) focused on angling and snowmobile activity. Crappie and sunfish still remain steady on smaller lakes. An increase in perch activity was noticed on Mille Lacs with most people reporting catching multiple smaller walleye. Enforcement action was taken on fishing and ATV violations.

District 11 - St. Cloud area


CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling and snowmobiling activity. A modest crappies bite was seen on a couple area lakes during the week. Warm temps brought out a few more snowmobiles but further degraded trail conditions. Follow up was also conducted on a DWI investigation. Violations for the week included angle with extra lines, angle without license in possession, unattended lines and no shelter ID.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity as well some trapping activity. The officer assisted a neighboring officer on an evening detail. The officer is noticing more anglers out with ice conditions improved but caution is still recommended with the inconsistencies in ice thickness he is seeing.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) assisted D11 with a taxidermy check. Inspection of fish houses continued which resulted in several being found without the required ID or shelter license. Minimal trail conditions exist for snowmobilers and a couple was found with registration violations. Surveillance of a group of coyote hunters was done after receiving information that the group was letting dogs onto property without permission.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports a good number of people enjoying the warmer weekend, attempting to take fish. The fish, however, were not very cooperative. A few snowmobilers were out, making the best of what snow remained after warmer temperatures and rain.    

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) checked anglers on the lakes and found the ice thicknesses varied greatly from 8 inches to 12 inches. A large fish house that was left on a local public access was investigated.  The owner of the fish house had been out of town and his buddy had pulled the house off the lake as the ice was starting to deteriorate. CO Kuske assisted the county with locating a probation violation suspect and handled calls from anglers of what they need for proper identification on their fish houses.

CO Mike Krauel (St. Cloud) reported to the St. Cloud station after completing field training. CO Krauel checked anglers and ice conditions on area lakes. Ice conditions still vary greatly so caution is advised while travelling out onto area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, no license in possession, possession of marijuana, angling with an extra line, and no ID on an ice shelter.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale Station) checked anglers. CO Mies checked sleds. CO Mies checked ATVs in Stearns and Wright counties.

District 12 - Princeton area


CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers, snowmobilers, and ATVs. Violations were found for angling with extra lines, no angling license, no ATV registration, and possession of drug paraphernalia. A deer carcass dumping complaint was investigated and several animal complaints were received.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week. Fishing success was fair. Ice conditions have improved with most lakes ranging from10 to 12 inches of ice. Enforcement action was taken on registration issues on ATVs and snowmobiles and juvenile operation of ATVs.

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) completed field training and began his assignment in the Center City station. A snowmobile safety talk was given in Grandy. Ice fishing activity was checked on area lakes. Ice conditions varied on many lakes; anglers are reminded to leave their vehicle on shore when ice conditions are questionable. Anglers reported a very slow bite.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) finished field training new Conservation Officer Chelsey Collette. Fishing activity in the area has picked up with the better ice conditions, but the fish bite has been spotty. Several nuisance animal calls were handled and a report of dogs chasing deer was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for licensing and registration violations.

Princeton - vacant.

District 13 - West Metro area


CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring snowmobile activity. CO Grewe did some equipment maintenance and followed up with ongoing cases. Violations included license issues. 

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) responded to a call about a distressed deer that had possibly been injured in a car/deer accident. Checks were made on Lake Minnetonka and Lake Waconia for angling and spearing. CO Weyandt would like to remind anglers who have houses left on the ice overnight, that they need to have permanent identification affixed to the outside of the shelter. A vintage snowmobile festival was worked on Lake Waconia. Although snow depths were lacking, there were hundreds of people who participated in a lake ride around the shoreline of Lake Waconia.   

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked anglers and snowmobilers in the west metro area lakes and trails.  He took calls on nuisance animal complaints and answered questions regarding ice fishing regulations to the Asian community. He also worked with the Asian firearms instructors for youth firearms safety classes in the summer.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the Waconia station for fishing, snowmobiling and ATV activities. He worked an Annual Vintage Snowmobile event on Lake Waconia. He also patrolled Fort Snelling State Park station due to complaints of deer feeding, vehicles on non-motorized trails and no vehicle permit. CO Le spoke at a Firearms Safety class in Norwood Young America for approximately 40 students. He took enforcement action for no angling license, no shelter identification, expired ATV registration, failing to display valid ATV registration, no ATV Safety Certification, allowing illegal operation of an ATV. CO Le delivered deer from managing program to the Bhutanese Community of MN for needy families.

Bloomington - vacant.

Ft. Snelling - vacant.

Osseo - vacant

Waconia - vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area


CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka and Washington counties for angling activity. Angling activity has picked up some but success is still low on most lakes. CO Salzer dealt with an incident on a lake where a car was being operated at high speeds and harassing anglers. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) worked fishing and ATV enforcement on area lakes. She assisted with a deer removal program in Ramsey County, handled nuisance animal calls and worked on a report. CO Kruse handled a couple TIP calls, set up FAS classes, and worked snowmobile enforcement in Anoka County.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring recreational vehicle activity. CO Arntzen also handled TIP calls and scheduled firearms safety classes. Violations for the week included no license in possession, fishing with extra lines, careless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia.

CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) spoke to a firearms safety class in Afton. He attended a safety meeting at the regional office. CO Johnson checked ice anglers during the week.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring snowmobile and angling activity throughout the area. He responded to a TIP call as well as investigated an illegal antler trap. Firearm safety classes were scheduled and calls returned to the public. Enforcement action for the week included using an antler trap, juveniles on ATV without helmets, operate ATV with more passengers than allowed and no angling license in possession.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers, snowmobiles and ATVs on area lakes. He spent some time checking aerator systems on area lakes and responded to two complaints of possible game violations. CO Pril also worked an off-road vehicle complaint area with neighboring conservation officers and answered miscellaneous animal calls and other calls during the week.

Eagan - vacant.

Metro Officer - vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area


CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) received a complaint of a red snowmobile and a black truck chasing coyotes on Artichoke Lake. The officer believes the suspects may have been participating in a local coyote hunting contest. It is a violation of state law to chase any wild animal with a snowmobile, including unprotected species such as coyotes.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) completed FTO and began work in the Madison station. The officer followed up on numerous open investigations. Anglers were checked on area lakes/river which reported good fishing activity. Officers in the area would like to remind the public to be careful when venturing out onto the ice, and to stay away from areas of open water. Ice conditions remain spotty in some areas with the warm weather. Enforcement action taken included license and stamp issues.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports that the unseasonably warm temperatures during the week caused problems for outdoor enthusiasts. Snowmobile trail conditions have become poor with a lot of bare ground showing. Ice fishermen are dealing with plenty of slush on area lakes so extreme caution is urged. Coyote hunters continue to try their luck, but white fields have turned brown which is making things more challenging. Initial aeration system inspections were conducted on three systems that were started in Lyon County. The lakes with aeration systems running are Goose, Lady Slipper, and Cottonwood. Assistance was given with a fishing tournament on Lake Benton.

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) monitored coyote hunting, ice fishing, and ATV activity. A trespass complaint was received of ATV’s operating on private property. Signs that ATV’s had been operating on snowmobile trails and through WMAs were observed.  ATV operators are reminded that they cannot operate on snowmobile trails from December 1 – April 1, or on a WMA. Enforcement action was also taken after observing a youth passenger on an ATV without a helmet. Helmets are required for passengers or operators on an ATV if under the age of 18.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville):  Monitored ATV, ice fishing, predator hunting and snowmobiling activity during the week. This officer continues to pick up litter left by ice anglers. Many anglers have voiced their frustration regarding all of the litter left on the ice.  Aeration inspections were completed on local lakes. This officer would like to remind the public that fish houses are not allowed to be stored at public accesses. Angling violations were encountered.  
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH Radio. Anglers were very active in the area with the warm temperatures throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken on licenses not in possession and registration violations on both snowmobiles and ATVs.

Benson - vacant.

Madison - vacant.

Worthington - vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area


CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) followed up on a trapping complaint in addition to checking anglers and northern pike spearing activity. He conducted aeration inspections. Denz also worked Green Lake during a snowmobile radar run and other scheduled activities.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) focused enforcement efforts on snowmobile and ice angling in the area. Vernier also attended “Winterfest” and talked with snowmobile racers and participants of the Polar Plunge.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent most of the week checking anglers and working ATV enforcement. Time was spent working ongoing cases. There was a report of a vehicle that fell through the ice, but it turned out only to have gotten stuck when it fell in a slush pocket.  This serves as a good reminder to ice fishermen that no ice is 100 percent safe.

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports seeing more and more vehicle traffic on area lakes.  Oberg worked mainly snowmobile and angling enforcement. Time was also spent working small game and predator hunting enforcement. Firearms related questions were also answered.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked fishing, small game and snowmobile activity. He also worked the Lake Hanska Fishing Contest. The contest had a fine turn out and several nice crappies, bass, perch and walleyes were caught. Northern and walleye fishing on area lakes has been better compared to the last two seasons.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) fielded complaints related to coyote hunters trespassing and shooting from motor vehicles. Local anglers were found to have good success on most lakes and a local fishing tournament was attended. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, failure to display proper information on ice houses, and one individual thought that they were able to burn their house hold garbage on a local lake. The person was educated on burning of prohibited materials and enforcement action was taken.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) reports that he spoke to the local radio station and discussed an upcoming snowmobile safety class, ice safety, and area activity. Also, discussed the importance of those who choose to feed wildlife, do so away from roadways. Feeding near roads makes it hazardous for both people and wildlife alike. Perch fishing continues in the county as well as coyote hunting.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted inspections on anglers, shelters, ATVs, snowmobiles, and predator hunters. Violations were recorded and enforcement action was taken. Issues were fielded regarding the blocking of a public access with a snow pile preventing anglers from accessing the lake.

District 17 - Mankato area


CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) focused enforcement efforts on checking anglers, ATV & snowmobile operators, and small game hunters during the week.  The officer attended a Polar Plunge event held at Lake Kohlmeier.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) attended a meeting in New Ulm for new Region 4 Conservation Officers. CO Henke spent time focusing on angling activity, snowmobile enforcement and working on-going Big Game investigations. CO Henke also inspected several area lakes that have aeration permits. Violations included no fishing license, ice shelter registration violations, recreational vehicle registration, and many angling with extra line violations. CO Henke reminds people to clean up after themselves; litter should not be left on the lakes!

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking angling and spearing activity. Additional time was spent checking snowmobile and ATV operators. Officer Ihnen also assisted DNR Fisheries with checking aeration systems.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked snowmobile and angling activity. Angling activity was moderate; snowmobile activity is declining with the continued loss of snow. Aeration inspections were conducted on area lakes.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring snowmobile activity. A complaint of dogs chasing deer was received. The officer also answered numerous questions from the public throughout the week.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) checked anglers, snowmobile operators, and monitored trapping activity. Trail conditions have deteriorated with the recent warm weather. A snowmobile laws and regulations class was put on for local law enforcement.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) spent the week checking ice fishermen and snowmobilers. With the warm weather snowmobile trail conditions are quickly deteriorating. Some ice fishermen are having success. Enforcement action was taken on fishing and ATV violations.

District 18 - Rochester area


CO Tom Hemker (Winona) checked fishermen and snowmobilers. While patrolling the snowmobile trails with CO Heyn, they found an illegally shot deer they investigated.  He also attended a demonstration at the Winona County Sheriff’s Office of an ice rescue boat.

CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports crappie, bluegill and perch were biting this past week. Coyote hunters continue to success with calling. A train had 18 cars derailed south of Brownsville along pool 8 on the Mississippi River.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) patrolled for sport fishing enforcement. CO Seamans assisted other area officers with two big game cases. Enforcement action was taken included no fishing license in possession and angling with extra lines. Area reservoirs were very slippery as a result of warm temperatures. One angler reported breaking through the ice while walking on an area reservoir.  

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking numerous shed hunters and trout anglers out over the warm weekend. Shed hunters were having some success as the nice weather kept them in the woods most of the day. Trout anglers were also having some success. Snowmobilers were out but had snow conditions deteriorate very quickly. Cross country ski trails were good and saw high use.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers and snowmobiles during the week.  The warm weather really shut down the snowmobiling as the trails were in very poor shape.  Fishing success was mixed. 

CO Phil George (Rochester) assisted neighboring officers with an investigation into a couple of deer that were shot. He checked anglers on area reservoirs, ATVs, and snowmobiles.  Enforcement action was taken for possession of drug paraphernalia and no angling licenses in possession.

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week checking snowmobile and fishing activity. Towards the end of the week the trails went downhill in hurry with the warm temps. Fishing pressure is steady but success remains low. The weekend was spent talking at a snowmobile safety class and working on a deer case. Some fishing violations were detected over the course of the week.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports concluding a very busy enforcement detail on LOW as well as finishing up training a new Conservation Officer for the division. He also worked on another coyote hunting trespass complaint. Finally, he worked fishing enforcement on the backwaters of the Mississippi River. The nice weather has brought a fair number of fishermen out but success has been spotty.

Zumbrota - 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 Brad Maas (Brainerd) finished the deer survey of PA341 near Red Wing, and moved to Thief River Falls for the start of the elk survey. The Grygla area plots were the first to be surveyed, and a similar number of elk (from last year’s count) have been observed so far.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) journeyed north to conduct a wolf pack count flight.  Geving also flew predator hunting activity flights and training activities.

CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports after weather delays early in the week, flying multiple missions related to the elk survey in the northwestern part of the state. Time was also spent on aircraft and hangar maintenance, training and home office tasks.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports another tough weather week. Jensen did fly one wolf pack telemetry flight and one IFR training flight. Jensen also attended Minnesota state helicopter safety training day at the international airport. Numerous other safety projects were worked on also.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases. Time was spent patrolling for snowmobile and fishing activity. A WREO conference call was attended. Planning for upcoming trainings was done.

WREO Mike Scott (NE) assisted Eco and Waters in Brainerd with interviews t to select a new assistant watercraft inspector supervisor for R-2 watercraft inspectors. Officer Scott worked on area lakes with local officers checking anglers and snowmobilers. Saturday’s warm weather had anglers and snowmobilers out in large numbers on area lakes and trails enjoying the day. Enforcement action was taken for not stopping at stop signs, operating without current registration displayed no current registration, and no angling license in possession. A TIP call was followed up on with a report of Wanton Waste of game fish at local residence. Further follow up is still required.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on public water cases and met with Waters staff on an illegal dam case. WREO Haberman also spent time working on wetland cases and reviewed possible violations.  WREO Haberman also worked snowmobile enforcement and checked ice anglers on local lakes.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week checking fishermen and snowmobilers.  Enforcement action was taken for no ATV registration, no snowmobile registration, no angling license and numerous extra line violations. A wetland restoration order was also served.

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) issued an extension on a WCA case in Kandiyohi County. Site checks were completed on an old WCA and a PW violation in Swift and Chippewa counties. Officer Hanson also assisted with a work detail on Lake Benton.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) reviewed LSP training materials and licensed and unlicensed LSPs. 

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 the online course information, also located at www.mndnr.gov.

Please check the DNR WEB SITE www.mndnr.gov  for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Youth and Adult Snowmobile Safety Courses and instructor training sessions.

Please direct questions to 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR

Reminder---anyone born after December 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 take the online course and hands-on day or attend the traditional youth course.  Those 16 or older can take the online course.

Reminder---Anyone born after July 1st, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota, must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training online course.  Persons under age 16 must complete the ATV online Course and riding component before riding on public lands. Please direct questions to 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.

If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador, contact your local Conservation Officer or Regional Safety Training officer.  Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR Website.
See Also:
NE RTO Shelly Patten had an Instructor Forum at Camp Ripley. Over 40 instructors attended to hear program updates and share ideas. Patten attended a RTO meeting at Camp Ripley.  Patten worked on Plain Language projects for the Division. Patten attended a project team meeting with DNR and Leech Lake Tribal College.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports attending the monthly RTO meeting at Camp Ripley and planning for upcoming volunteer instructor forums. He also worked on instructor backgrounds, reviewed use of force material, and scheduled Hunter Education/Firearms Safety Instructor certification clinics.

Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence assisted with volunteer safety instructor forum held at Camp Ripley. RTO Lawrence attended monthly regional training officer meeting at Camp Ripley. RTO Lawrence completed snowmobile and trailer maintenance and finalized documents for ATV updates. RTO Lawrence attended the 2016 ATVAM Legislative meeting in Isle.  RTO Lawrence met with the off-highway motorcycle group at DNR central office.

SW Metro Kevin Neitzke updated ATV and Snowmobile Safety instructor training materials.  He attended the volunteer instructor Forum and an RTO meeting at Camp Ripley. RTO Neitzke returned emails and phone calls regarding safety training questions, and instructor training class and forum registrations. He also worked on volunteer instructor background checks.

Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week doing HEFAS instructor background checks and paperwork. The first of many statewide instructor forums was attended at Camp Ripley.  An RTO meeting was also attended at Camp Ripley.

NW RTO Jeff Halverson attended instructor forum at Camp Ripley, checked fishermen and investigated a dead deer, (it was very skinny and DNR Wildlife will have it tested).


RTO                                                               PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
NE RTO Shelly Patten                                   218-244-8051       

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

Rec Veh Coord Bruce Lawrence                    651-674-6184    bruce.lawrence@state.mn.us
Southern RTO Dan McBroom                        507-843-2032    daniel.mcbroom@state.mn.us
SW Metro RTO Kevin Neitzke                      651-463-3168    kevin.neitzke@state.mn.us
NW RTO Jeff Halverson                                218-894-3577    jeff.halverson@state.mn.us

Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant

Education Specialist:  Vacant

Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant





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