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 duck hunters on Thief Lake and Roseau River WMAs. Youth hunters were also checked throughout the MEA weekend.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) conducted a radio interview with a local station where the public was able to call in with questions regarding regulations. CO Woinarowicz spoke at Northland College regarding Conservation Officer roles and careers. Calls for car struck deer and bear were handled as well as answering questions regarding the youth deer season.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) worked the youth deer season, grouse and waterfowl hunters. Assistance was given to a trapper releasing an accidentally caught wolf. Activity was checked at area State Parks, taking enforcement action for angle with extra line and no camping registration. CO Hanson investigated a possible wetlands violation. During a trespass complaint a deer hunter explained that he knew he was on the correct land he had been given permission as the owner lived up the road and had his sign at the end of the driveway. It was explained to the hunter the land he had permission to hunt was a mile away and the sign at the end of the driveway was a political sign posted on several driveways across the county for a pending election.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking waterfowl hunters, small game hunters and monitoring AIS compliance throughout the week. Time was spent investigating a hunter trespassing complaint, a burning violation, and a complaint of improper disposal of deer carcasses. An ATV safety course in Blackduck was attended. Enforcement action for the week included, unlawful transporting loaded firearm violations and AIS violations.
Baudette #1 -vacant.
Baudette #2 -vacant.
Blackduck #2 - vacant.
Karlstad - vacant.
Warroad #1 - vacant.
Warroad #2 - vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) and a COC worked hunting and fishing activity. Bear hunting and deer hunting activities were monitored. Waterfowl hunters were checked. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, unsigned federal stamp, no HIP certification and no PFD. A possible wetlands conservation act violation investigation was started and is pending. A report of dumped waterfowl carcasses was handled. Waterfowl hunters were checked and reminded about AIS laws during duck season. A litter case was discovered and resolved.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked waterfowl hunters, boating, and leechers. He responded to hunter harassment, wolf depredation, car kill, camping at a public access, possible deer baiting and trespass/posting complaints. He also assisted other agencies, participated in a radio talk show and spoke of laws and ethics at a FAS class.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) continued training with a COC. They worked in the Baudette #1 station and spent time in the Beltrami Island State Forest. They checked many grouse hunters who reported small numbers of grouse and that the birds are small in size. They found two hunters who were indulging in marijuana while hunting. Citations were issued and the drugs were confiscated. They checked fishermen on the Cass Lake Chain and found two fishermen with an over-limit of walleye on their boat. Further investigation led to the finding of two more party members and 51 walleye in total. Citations were issued and fish were confiscated. CO Vollbrecht also received a complaint of an individual burning garbage. After further investigation it was determined the individual was burning a trailer and parts of a building. The fire department was called to put the fire out. Charges are pending.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) worked waterfowl hunters and OHV activity. Complaints were received regarding ATV use in a state park, deer shining, and an injured eagle. Time was also spent reminding duck hunters about AIS laws. Many grouse hunters were checked during the MEA weekend.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports working on several TIPs that have been received relating to fishing, big game and dogs chasing deer. CO Vinton had contact with an angler that was fishing without a license and was wanted in Becker County for multiple violations. The angler was placed into custody and CO Vinton transported him to the Becker County Jail. Duck numbers have fallen off over the last week and along with that so have the duck hunters. AIS was discussed with waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action was taken for no licenses in possession.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) continued field training with a COC. Time was spent working waterfowl and small game hunters. Waterfowl numbers were down from past weeks, but hunters still saw a variety of ducks. ATV trails and forest roads were also patrolled. CO Peterson and COC responded to a report of shining. Two individuals were arrested and three have charges pending. A truck and gun were also seized. Officers also responded to multiple tips/complaints and requests for car kill permits for various animals. Violations included shooting after hours for waterfowl, no federal duck stamp, no small game license, no HIP certification, and possession of road kill bobcat w/o a permit.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week working duck hunters, fishermen, pheasant hunters and bow hunters. CO Forsberg also responded to complaints of an individual shooting muskrats, housing construction next to an eagle’s nest and a swan being shot. He also followed up on complaints of fishermen taking slot fish, trespass, car hit moose, livestock killed by predators, illegal blinds in a WPA and shining.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week working on public waters cases with Hydrologists, APM case site visits, WCA site visits and work with LGUs. Time was also spent working on a background and conducting interviews and follow up.
Moorhead - vacant.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked waterfowl hunters and fishermen. Additional time was spent checking an aquaculture operation, working on a TIP call and checking some pheasant hunters. Time was spent working the vacant Wheaton station as well.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl, bow and pheasant hunters. A littering case was solved and a citation issued. Several calls were handled throughout the week ranging from fishing, boating, waterfowl hunting, and wetland filling. Osborne completed mandatory online training.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) investigated complaints of people burning garbage and prohibited materials, with one suspect located and a citation issued. Assistance was given to CO Johanson with a possible deer baiting investigation. Fishing activity continues to be monitored with angler success with walleye and muskies. Lawler also testified in Douglas County Court on a fish overlimit case from 2012. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work waterfowl, pheasant, small game, and archery deer hunting enforcement. Shining activity was monitored and follow up completed on open hunting investigations. Fall fishing is going strong with Lake Osakis continuing to receive heavy fishing pressure. Several fishing related complaints were worked throughout the week. Additional time was spent on complaints involving possible wetland filling, aquatic vegetation violations, and nuisance beaver issues. Johanson presented the law portion and assisted volunteer instructors at a youth ATV safety class in Alexandria.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on small game hunting activity surrounding MEA weekend along with pheasant hunting, waterfowl hunting and fishing enforcement. Anderson assisted CO Miska with a shining enforcement work crew in Stevens, Traverse and Big Stone counties. Anderson received a TIP call about fishing activity in the vacant Wheaton station. Minnow transportation permits were issued as well as calls from the public regarding waterfowl and deer hunting questions.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports checking waterfowl and pheasant hunters. Additional time was spent checking fishermen, bow hunters, and monitoring AIS compliance. Time was also spent working with CO Nelson in the Elbow Lake station, and investigating several wetland violation complaints near Lake Minnewaska. Complaints were received about late shooting and trespass.
Wheaton - vacant.
District 4 - Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked duck hunters, small game hunters and ATV operators. Parthun assisted with an orientation for youth hunters at Itasca State Park. An aquatic plant violation was investigated with charges pended. Parthun assisted county officials with a shoreland violation that is still under investigation. Enforcement action was taken for loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, removing aquatic plants without a permit, no license in possession and having an unattended fire.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked waterfowl and deer hunters. Officer Hunter assisted the county sheriff’s department on a possible trespass violation. CO Hunter reminded many ATV operators that headlights need to be on when operating them.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) reports duck hunters are still in the area with limited success on birds. A firearms safety class was taught with many youth in the class preparing for the upcoming hunting seasons. Wildlife Management Area violations were discovered and are under investigation at this time. A wolf depredation was investigated where a large cow was killed. Enforcement action was taken for an unplugged shotgun for waterfowl, and for transporting a loaded firearm.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on sport fishing, boating, AIS, big and small game and waterfowl hunting and ORV activity. Nothing unusual to report. Picked up a car killed bobcat, issued car killed deer permit, and assisted Cass County with a lost hunter.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked duck hunters, anglers, and for AIS compliance. Grouse hunters were out in large numbers with most having one or two birds in the bag. CO Mathy also issued two car kill deer possession tags and investigated a TIP of wanton waste fish dumping of around 100 northern pike. Enforcement action was taken for several different ATV violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling, ATV, invasive species, small game hunting and waterfowl hunting activity. Angling and waterfowl hunting success slowed. Windy weather limited recreational activity on area lakes. CO Broughten investigated complaints of deer baiting, shooting from motor vehicle, and trespass. CO Broughten assisted Cass County Sheriff’s Office with a controlled substance DUI arrest. CO Broughten also assisted Cass County Sheriff’s Office with calls of suspicious person, burglary in progress, lost child, suicidal person, stranded boater and a lost hunter. Enforcement action included no small game license in possession and trespass.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked fishermen, grouse, duck, and deer hunters and handled beaver complaints. Contacts were made for hunting ducks without a small license. Halverson handled ATV trespass complaint.
WREO Shane Siltala met with county SWCD staff to review possible WCA violations. He also assisted with a site investigation with SWCD staff and met with the landowner to discuss the potential violation. Waterfowl hunters were checked over the weekend on area lakes and faucet snail infested waters. AIS laws were also discussed with the hunters. A WCA restoration order was able to be closed out due to satisfactory restoration. Assistance was also given to a local officer on an APM violation.
Remer - vacant.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) monitored area forest roads. Fishing activity has slowed and grouse hunting reports are slow. Phone calls were returned and office work completed.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports grouse hunters were checked and it appears their success is improving with the leaves falling off the trees and the birds being more visible. Muskie fishermen are starting to see a few more fish.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ongoing hunting seasons, anglers, ATVs, spoke at a Cub Scout pack meeting and the Hibbing Rotary luncheon, and assisted CO Velsvaag in an OHM fleeing incident. The officer found two anglers in kayaks that disregarded the basics by not buying fishing licenses, followed up by both taking an over limit of fish (with one also ignoring the importance of having a life jacket). A group of 10 ATVs and an OHM ignored “no motorized vehicle” signs on a state trail until the officer got their attention after tracking them down. A trio of grouse hunters were checked, followed by an interesting conversation with a retired white-tailed deer expert and professor from a southern university, a retired Marine Corp Vet and a retired Assistant Chief from the NYPD. Enforcement action during the week consisted of angling without a license, over limit of fish, no PFD’s, transport loaded firearm, a WMA violation, and a number of ATV violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time looking for and checking duck hunters on Virginia area lakes. The few duck hunters CO Frericks spoke with report seeing few birds and taking even fewer. Grouse hunters are finally starting to see more of grouse but many hunters are on ATVs and end up driving past most of them. The hunters who have birds in the bag are the ones who are out beating the brush. CO Frericks spent time looking for deer baits. In one area CO Frericks located more deer stands that were baited than ones that did not have bait at them.
International Falls # 2 - vacant.
Ray - vacant.
Tower - vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports that hunting pressure ramped up over the MEA weekend. Although almost every road and trail had hunters, success was surprisingly poor. Violations included operating an ATV on a public highway and failing to display ATV registration.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked grouse hunter throughout the week and found people out enjoying the warm weather. The officer enjoyed seeing a large bull moose with antlers that were right at, or very close to the 60-inch wide mark. ATV’s running down the state highway were encountered and dealt with. The officer observed three trumpeter swans in a small remote lake and enjoyed the sight on such a beautiful fall day. He later found out that one of the swans had been shamefully poached and left to rot. Anyone knowing or hearing anything about the senseless waste of this beautiful threatened species is asked to please call the Ely COs or the TIP line at 1-800-652-9093. Your call can be kept completely anonymous and your help will be greatly appreciated.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy MEA weekend. Grouse and waterfowl hunters and anglers were worked, as well as shining activity. A trumpeter swan was recovered that appeared to have been shot from FS Road 379 in the pond that connects to the Island River by the carry-down access. Anyone with information is encouraged to call TIP or CO Bermel. Enforcement action for the week included many instances of hunters transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles, possession of marijuana, no PFD, late shooting waterfowl, unregistered ATV, no blaze orange, operate ATV without valid driver’s license, no helmets on youths, and no small game license in possession. More moose sign was seen.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that this was nuisance bear week. One bear was more than a nuisance when it critically injured a family dog. The owner of the dog shot and killed the bear. Reports of bears breaking into a garage and a boat house were also taken. A Another bruin wrecked three apple trees and destroyed a bird feeder when he found it to be empty. Wolves continue to walk around the city of Grand Marais during the middle of the day like neighborhood dogs. Watch your pets closely, even in town. The CO reports the past MEA grouse hunting weekend to be the busiest one he’s ever worked. He was asked several times, “Is it always this busy up here?” Most hunters are reporting fair to good success with a few limits seen. Enforcement action was taken for allowing illegal youth operation of ATVs, no helmets on youths and youths operating ATV’s on public roadways and without safety certificates.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area ATV and Hunting activity. Time was spent on finishing up an investigation for a State Park violation. CO Schottenbauer also checked the area for AIS compliance.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked the busy weekend checking big game, small game, and waterfowl hunters. Some very excited youth hunters were observed out enjoying the day on the special youth deer hunt. Several reports were handled on car injured deer and a trespass complaint was investigated. Enforcement action was taken on commercial bait dealer and ATV violations.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, and worked small game, big game, waterfowl, AIS, and ATV activity. Violations included over-limits of ducks, transport a loaded firearm, possess lead shot while waterfowl hunting, no bough buyer license, burn prohibited materials, no burning permit, no license in possession, no small game license, fail to drain water related equipment, transport aquatic vegetation, ATV’s on the roadway, ATV equipment violations, fail to transfer ownership of ATV, operate unregistered ATV, and fail to display ATV registration. He also assisted the sheriff's office, assisted with minnow dealer inspection, and answered wildlife complaints.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked waterfowl activity, investigated wanton waste complaints, monitored bough harvesting and worked shining complaints. More ducks have moved into the area. CO Fairbanks and his K-9 partner also assisted with locating a lost hunter in the Remer Station. A 21 year old hunter had gotten separated from his father while grouse hunting. Darkness and cooler temperatures set in and the hunter had no flashlight or cell phone. CO Fairbanks, K-9 Si and CO Broughton entered the woods where the hunter had last been seen. After following K-9 Si through the woods, over severe blown down trees and into the swamp, the cold, wet and hungry hunter was located. Enforcement action was taken for no navigational lights illuminated after sunset, improper display of bait harvester placards, expired tabs, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of controlled substance.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) followed up on a complaint of wolves harassing cattle in the Cohasset area this past week. She also looked into and worked complaints of ATV’s operated on the Taconite snowmobile trail. She continues to work on a background investigation for employment.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked small game hunting activity including waterfowl hunters. One waterfowl hunter misidentified his quarry and shot a trumpeter swan. Enforcement action was taken for taking a protected species. CO Sutherland also gave an enforcement talk to a local college class.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATVs, trappers, small game and archery deer hunters. He also worked trespass and hunting complaints during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) worked grouse, duck, and deer hunters and handled beaver complaints. Time was spent focusing on invasive species law compliance as well.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) checked OHM activity this past week in and around the Mesabi Trail. CO Velsvaag also received a call on a fire and a trespass complaint. CO Velsvaag also checked grouse and duck hunters.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) investigated and tracked wetland and public waters violations and complaints. Aquatic invasive species work was done. Numerous hunting, trapping, angling and recreational vehicle questions were fielded. CO Arhart also responded to duck over limits and to swan shooting complaints. Anglers, duck hunters and equipment were checked for compliance. There was a lot of waterfowl hunter pressure, with some success. Perch anglers are doing well.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) followed up on complaints of trespassing and enforcement action was taken. Time was spent checking small game and waterfowl hunters. Trapping questions were plentiful and beaver complaints were handled. ATV complaints continue and complaint areas were patrolled.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) worked duck hunters during the week. Complaints of hunters shooting after hours were received. Reports of scaup are being reported by area duck hunters now coming into the area. Good numbers of grouse are being seen in hand by area bird hunters. The officer participated in some nighttime work that focused on illegal shinning. Several traps were located and removed by someone trapping out of season.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued field training in the final phase with a COC. Officers patrolled area for small game and waterfowl hunters and were happy to report good compliance to the laws and regulations. Officers spent time investigating deer baiting complaints. A partially submerged boat was found, abandoned on an area lake, and an investigation into who left it has begun. Numerous questions relating to wildlife complaints and upcoming deer season regulations were answered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked a tip call where someone was reportedly killing a deer and only taking the antlers. Turns out it was a car kill deer that was no longer good and one person took the antlers. People are reminded that permits or licenses are required to possess protected game animals. Small game hunters are showing some success in the area. Time was spent patrolling area state forests where enforcement action was taken for failing to stop for stop signs, operate on closed trails and registration violations. K9 training continues with K9 Schody with emphasis going toward article searching and tracking.
WREO Mike Scott spent the week working on background investigations for DNR Enforcement.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) worked on season ending watercraft maintenance items. Checked North Shore rivers for fall run activities, assisted the St. Louis S.O. on a domestic violence call in Gnesen Twp, checked grouse hunters north of Duluth and fielded several calls on the upcoming firearms deer season and the zone boundaries in the Duluth area.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked grouse hunters and responded to a call of a wolf incidentally caught in a coyote trap. Although not happy to see the Conservation Officers approaching, the wolf was released unharmed. An ATV stop turned into possession of marijuana, stolen property and two truant high school students. Questions were answered about deer season and handling problem bears. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and angling violations
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) spent the week working AIS enforcement, working on reports, on a conference call and continuing a background investigation on a candidate for the CO prep program.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) saw lots of people out enjoying the nice weather for the MEA weekend. Small game hunters, duck hunters and anglers were checked. Time was also spent checking boats coming off area lakes for aquatic invasive species and call of deer shining and deer baiting were investigated.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) checked small game hunters and migratory waterfowl hunters. Officer Guida worked on a background investigation. A firearm that was seized as evidence in a late shooting complaint was returned to the owner. The owner paid a substantial fine for not paying attention to his watch. Hunters are reminded to acquire licenses early and also plan on sighting in rifles prior to the five days before and two days after firearm afield restriction.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The anglers are out and the fall bite is picking up. He checked grouse hunters and the report was poor. AIS concerns were reported by DNR inspectors. He received a complaint of a duck hunter leaving an infested water without pulling the plug on his boat. The hunter’s boat did not have a plug and the hunter had done his best to empty the water. He worked on duck hunting enforcement and a tip of afterhours shooting. He worked with neighboring CO Halverson and violations of unsigned stamps, no small game license and after hours shooting violation were found. The archery hunters report the deer hunting is getting better and the deer are on the move searching for food. He worked with neighboring CO Tischler in the Pillsbury forest checking small game hunters and horse passes.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports that two very ethical and concerned waterfowl hunters who observed an individual shoot, injure, and fail to make any effort to retrieve a downed Trumpeter Swan did the right thing and reported the violation. The reporting hunters went further in assisting the officer with details in locating the violator, and capturing the injured swan. The violator now faces a mandatory court appearance, fines and restitution in excess of $1,000, and confiscation of a nice shotgun. The injured swan was taken to the Wild and Free wildlife rehabilitation program at the Garrison Animal Hospital for treatment and hopeful rehabilitation to be returned to the wild. Trumpeter Swans are a species of special concern as they are protected under state and federal law as threatened/endangered. Other activity included waterfowl enforcement and response to issues of nuisance beaver. Other enforcement contacts were made for waterfowl hunters with unplugged shotgun, no PFDs, and leaving decoys out unattended illegally.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) assisted with the Camp Ripley archery hunt and worked area waters for anglers and duck hunters. Several small game hunters were contacted many finding more success now that more leaves have been falling.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) checked waterfowl hunters in Cass and Crow Wing counties. CO McGowan also responded to several TIP calls. Numerous questions were also answered regarding the upcoming firearms deer season.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) spoke to anglers this past week with good reports on area lakes. Officer Lee spoke to waterfowl hunters who were reporting slow activity with not many birds in the area. Officer Lee received a complaint of a possible waters violation. Upon investigation it appears a large amount of sand was dumped into the lake creating a peninsula into the lake. Further investigation will continue with DNR waters and the city of Crosslake. Officer Lee also received a call of a boat transporting zebra mussels into an access and attempting to launch the watercraft. The party was contacted and citation issued.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) saw a lot of boats and docks getting removed for the season, some of which had aquatic vegetation attached. Nice weather and less leaves resulted in a surge of small game hunters seeing more grouse than anticipated. A lot Of ATVs were also in the woods which equated to registration and juvenile violations. Verkuilen also addressed nuisance beaver complaints and transported a road-killed eagle.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked anglers, small game and big game hunters throughout the week. Investigations were wrapped up and submitted to the county attorney.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports continuing work with a COC in the final phase of FTO training. He and the COC spent their time working a lot of big and small game activities. They met with several groups of hunters who were small game, waterfowl and archery deer hunting. Many groups were found to be getting ready for firearm deer season. He and the COC took enforcement action on juvenile ATV operations and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) on an ATV. They also spent time investigating wolf depredation on a local cattle farm. He and the COC also participated in a local ATV safety class and gave a law presentation to the Aitkin Co township members.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked AIS enforcement. A traffic stop was made on vehicle towing a boat with no trailer lights. The driver was returning from Lake of the Woods. Although no AIS violations were detected, further investigation showed the angler was transporting dressed fish without skin patches attached. Enforcement action was taken for that violation and the trailer equipment violation. Speldrich received complaints regarding trespassing, wounded deer, two car kill bear and illegal shinning. She also received questions regarding the upcoming firearms season, shore land restoration and state forest rules.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) monitored small game and waterfowl hunters. Very few ducks remain in the area. An illegal fire was investigated, with enforcement action taken for burning prohibited materials. Pheasant numbers appear to be down, as very few birds were seen. Trespass and beaver issues were also dealt with.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) and a Conservation Officer Candidate (COC) spent the week checking waterfowl hunters and a few anglers. Some of the late season anglers were having luck finding crappies on area lakes. Duck hunters seemed to struggle finding good numbers of ducks. A few waterfowl hunters were found hunting without proper licenses and stamps, hunting with an unplugged shotgun and a group was checked that did not have lifejackets in their duck boat. Several nuisance animal complaints were also handled.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent time during the week working atv complaints and checking waterfowl hunters. He answered questions about deer season, state forest regulations and questions on burning. Enforcement contacts included lack of stamps for waterfowl hunters.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked waterfowl and archery deer hunters during the week and weekend. A mixed bag of mallards, ring necks and wood ducks were seen along with a few red heads and pintails. A shining and shooting complaint was investigated. The complainant stated they were eating dinner when a party stopped along the highway and shot near his house. Many license questions were answered about upcoming firearms season.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) handled several trespass calls relating to duck hunting and people placing deer stands on property lines. CO Kuske assisted with the Camp Ripley archery hunt. enforcement action was taken when an individual brought an untagged deer and un-validated site tag to the check station. His hunting partner said tagging the deer isn’t that important, but they changed their mind when informed that with those two violations comes a three year revocation of big game hunting privileges. CO Kuske accompanied SWCD officials to an onsite visit of a wetland violation. The meeting involved three landowners that were very much in disagreement on how the situation should be resolved. The property is under a cease and desist order until a resolution can be agreed on. AIS checks were conducted at several lake access sites where compliance and understanding of the laws was very good. CO Kuske investigated a deer baiting complaint and continues to work deer shining issues.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent time checking fall hunting activity. The Camp Ripley Archery hunt was worked with lower than normal hunters showing up this year. Time was spent on baiting and trespass cases.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this past week. CO Mies also checked waterfowl hunters. CO Mies also spent time checking turkey and deer hunters, along with working tip calls.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) dealt with a group of four youth duck hunters who were having a rough day. They first got talked to by the city police department as they were hunting in a closed area within the city limits. While they were talking with the officer and CO Kuske their duck boat floated away. They were able to retrieve the boat and CO Kuske found that they had lost one of their dad’s life jackets that morning and one youth did not have the required federal duck stamp. Their sense of humor was still intact through it all though. Hunt A of the Camp Ripley Archery Hunts ended with a total of 75 deer taken. The two largest bucks taken both weighed in at 207 pounds each.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling, waterfowl, turkey and pheasant hunting activity. Training was attended and vehicle maintenance performed. The officer took phone calls regarding beaver issues and questions concerning deer hunting.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) attended a District 11 meeting and completed division training. CO Friese participated in a TEP meeting with Todd County SWCD. Site visits were done on possible WCA violations. CO Friese assisted with the Camp Ripley Bow Hunt. Background investigations continued.
WREO Keith Bertram spent most of the week conducting wetland follow-up and serving wetland restoration orders. Fishermen and hunters were also checked.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) worked on complaints and checked duck and pheasant hunters during the past week. He also checked anglers and checked boats for invasive species.
St. Cloud - vacant.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) spoke at a youth firearms safety class. Anglers and hunters were checked. Animal complaints were handled.
CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) checked horse trail passes, followed up on trespassing and dogs chasing deer complaints, patrolled state and federal lands, and checked for Invasive Species compliance at public accesses. Officer Londgren also checked anglers, hunters, ATVs, and trappers over the week. Enforcement action was taken on license violations, no trail passes, and expired ATV registration.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked waterfowl hunters on area rivers and lakes. He followed up on a number of deer baiting issues. He answered question on waterfowl hunting on the Mississippi River. He took a number of nuisance animal calls. He followed up on a trespassing violation charges pending. He assisted South Dakota Conservation Officer.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) continued field of a COC. Areas worked included ATV, angling, waterfowl, small game and archery deer. CO Reller and his COC responded to two TIP calls, one in reference to possible illegal baiting of waterfowl and another in regards to a possible over limit/illegal length fish taken. WMAs were patrolled and stands left illegally were seized. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display valid registration on an ATV, allow illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, ATV operator under the age of 18 w/o a helmet, operate an ATV w/o safety certificate and operate an ATV on a WMA.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) received a call of an injured bald eagle stuck in a tree. The eagle was hanging upside down about 25 feet in a tree. It appeared the eagle’s talon was caught between two branches. CO Langevin contacted the Lindstrom Fire Department for help. The fire department responded with their ladder truck and were able to drive within 40 feet of the tree. CO Brad Johnson was then lifted up in the ladder truck bucket and safely retrieved the eagle. The eagle was transported to the Raptor Center for care. CO Langevin also responded to a call of an alligator in a city park near Chisago Lake. The alligator ended up being a stuffed animal and was removed from the area without incident.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers and hunters during the week. Warm weather has slowed waterfowl in the area but some geese and ducks are being seen. Anglers have found some crappies which are willing to bite. Enforcement action was taken on ATV on highway and no navigation lights.
District 13 - West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked waterfowl hunters for AIS violations. A landowner was assisted with beaver damage issues. Pheasant, waterfowl and archery deer hunters were checked during the week. Telephone calls on hunting questions were returned daily. Enforcement action was taken for no federal duck stamps in possession, hunting waterfowl without first procuring a federal duck stamp and shooting non game migratory bird (grebe).
CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) patrolled Hennepin and Anoka counties for waterfowl activity. CO Salzer dealt with some equipment issues after a malfunction with the door handle on his squad. Salzer also continued to work on background investigations.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week monitoring waterfowl hunting activity and following up with complaints. CO Grewe responded to a TIP complaint where a sandhill crane had been shot and after investigation; enforcement action was taken. Other violations this week included trespassing, licenses not in possession, no HIP certification and unsigned federal duck stamp.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) spent time taking down deer stand and a duck boat left on WMA in Scott County. He worked ATV activity and assisted USDA Officer with a deer case. Officer Lee also worked AIS detail in Hennepin County and returned phone calls on hunting regulations and complaints.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) followed up with a complaint of a vehicle found in the area of non-motorized use area at Fort Snelling State Park (investigation is pending). He checked hunters and anglers in Hennepin County. He took care of issued equipment maintenance, AIS violations, administrative work and TIP calls.
Bloomington - vacant.
Mound - vacant.
Prior Lake - vacant.
District 14 - East Metro area
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked waterfowl and bow hunters throughout the week and worked an AIS enforcement detail in Mound. He responded to a complaint of an individual who cut and took firewood from a wildlife management area. CO Pril also spoke at a firearms safety class in Inver Grove Heights and handled injured animal calls.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) attended the youth deer hunting orientation at Afton State Park. CO Arntzen also spent time working late shooting complaints, AIS enforcement and doing equipment maintenance. He also issued a car kill deer permit, assisted a neighboring officer with a WMA violation and investigated a big game violation.
CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) reports that he rescued a Bald Eagle in Shafer. With the assistance of CO Langevin and the Lindstrom FD bucket truck, he was able to reach the eagle that had been stuck in a tree. The eagle had somehow wedged her leg and foot between branches. A homeowner called when the eagle was observed hanging upside down from the branch. The eagle was transported to The Raptor Center where it is recovering. CO Johnson spoke to five firearms safety classes at Andover High School. They were part of the Outdoor Adventures class. He also attended the “Hooked on Mille Lacs Fishing” meeting in Coon Rapids.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) spoke to a group in Eden Prairie regarding AIS rules, regulations and best practices. WREO Block continued working on a pre-employment background investigation for the next Conservation Officer Academy. An AIS check station was completed in Hennepin County resulting in a violation rate of seventeen percent.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) continued working on deer and waterfowl cases. She handled injured deer calls, various TIP calls and did equipment maintenance. CO Kruse worked boating and fishing enforcement on area lakes and AIS enforcement at accesses.
Eagan - vacant.
Hastings - vacant.
Maplewood - vacant.
Metro Officer - vacant.
District 15 - Marshall area
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) performed his weekly radio show. Youth hunters were out in force. Hunting was great for the young and young- hearted with pheasants and duck numbers seeming very good. The Officer reminds youth hunters that they need to have a Firearms Safety Certificate and have it in their possession while hunting. Enforcement action was taken on stamps, WIA validation, license in possession and burning violations.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) attended the annual Lyon County Pheasants Forever youth hunt. While waiting with the youth hunters and mentors for legal shooting hours, a hunter was observed out walking a WMA near the event. A license check was done on that hunter and it was discovered that the hunter had taken a rooster before legal hours. Enforcement action was taken and the youth hunters were reminded of the importance of reading the regulation booklet before going out hunting. Waterfowl, archery deer, pheasant, turkey and other small game hunters were checked throughout the long MEA Weekend. Waterfowl numbers have dropped with local teal and wood ducks leaving the area.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked archery deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters during the week. AIS & angling activity was also monitored. A report of deer that was shot with a firearm was taken in the Beardsley area of Big Stone County. Anyone with information is asked to call the Turn-in-Poachers hotline. Trespassing complaints were handled. AIS, hunting license, and trespassing violations were encountered.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports hunters had a slow start to the pheasant opener. Numerous hunters commented about the sparse grassland habitat in the area. Fall fishing is picking back up with cooler temperatures. A complaint was received about someone dumping rotten corn and salt on a WMA southeast of Montevideo. Anyone with information should call CO Picht or the TIP line.
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) worked a detail in in area counties. Follow-up was completed on several WCA and Public Waters violations. AIS checks were completed on several lakes and rivers and WMAs in the area.
Benson - vacant.
Madison - vacant.
Redwood Falls - vacant.
Worthington - vacant.
District 16 - New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) worked waterfowl hunters and noted overall harvest was very low. Denz also checked archery hunters and followed up on trespass and nuisance beaver complaints.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) assisted with the McLeod County youth pheasant hunt. It was great to see some first time hunters get the chance to shoot some birds. She followed up on a TIP complaint of an ATV driving on WIA land to retrieve a deer. Mueller also spoke at a youth ATV safety class. Multiple nuisance beaver reports were taken as well. A good walleye bite was watched throughout the week on a local lake.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports plenty of ducks and duck hunters in the area. Divers are really starting to show up in good numbers. Oberg would like to remind hunters to not leave decoys out overnight on public waters. Oberg assisted DNR wildlife with a shallow lake project. An instructor level firearms class was also attended.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received complaints of deer baiting, early shooting, wanton waste, motor vehicle trespass on WMAs and illegal off highway vehicle operation. He worked primarily waterfowl, deer, small game and AIS activities. Waterfowl hunting success was low in the area.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked waterfowl and pheasant hunters. He received complaints of driving on an AMA and trespass relating to duck hunting. Gruhlke also cooperated with the Jackson County Central Ag class and accepted a job shadow during the week. He also completed his weekly radio program. Gruhlke noted that walleye action in occurring on some lakes and the river.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) continued concentration of enforcement activity on small game and waterfowl hunting activity. Pheasant hunters have decreased dramatically. Angling activity continues with little to no luck on the water. WMAs and WPAs were patrolled.
Litchfield - vacant.
Willmar #1 - vacant.
Windom - vacant.
District 17 - Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked archery deer, small game, and waterfowl hunters. Waterfowl hunting is slow. Crops continue to come out of the fields, but pheasant hunting has also been slow. A litter case was investigated.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) spent time this past week checking WMAs and State Parks for activity. Waterfowl hunting success has slowed as of late. Complaints of illegal dumping are being investigated.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) patrolled for pheasant, deer, and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent monitoring AIS compliance on area lakes. A number of possible public waters and wetland violation sites were also investigated.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) enforced angling, ATV, waterfowl, pheasant, archery, and AIS activity. Area duck hunters saw limited results over the MEA weekend. Anglers are still finding fish on local lakes.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked angling, AIS, ATV, big game, small game, and migratory waterfowl activity during the week. A trespassing complaint was investigated. The law & ethics presentation was given at a firearms safety class in Glenville. Illegal activities were reported at a wildlife management area.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working small game hunting, archery (deer) hunting, AIS enforcement, and the special youth deer season over the weekend. A possible public waters violation along the Upper Iowa River was investigated. Time was also spent attending two Pheasants Forever sponsored youth hunts near LeRoy. Approximately 50 youngsters total took part in the hunts. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.
WREO Julie Siems worked on background investigations.
Albert Lea - vacant.
Mankato #1 - vacant.
District 18 - Rochester area
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly hunters during the week. Duck hunting was mixed during the week with limits seen taken some days and not much the next. Lots of kids were out over MEA weekend duck hunting and deer hunting and had a great time regardless of their success.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports continuing training of a new COC and working primarily waterfowl, fishing and big game enforcement. Officers saw the weekly migration spotty with both good and bad days for the hunters. Pan fish action continues to be strong with many perch checked in the bag. Both archery and youth deer hunters were checked with moderate success. Numerous questions and calls were fielded regarding trespass and the upcoming hunting seasons. Trespass, no license and shining activity were also addressed.
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports fishing continues to be good. Duck hunters averaged about three ducks per hunter on the good hunting days. The youth and early antlerless hunters found very little success. Most of the deer were in the cornfields. He fielded many calls explaining the youth and early antlerless regulations. Houston and Winona Sheriff’s Departments both did great work helping to rescue four capsized duck hunters and helping a group of lost hunter find their way in the dark. Enforcement for the week included transport aquatic vegetation and failure to properly tag a deer.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports checking anglers, waterfowl hunters and working shining complaint areas. The fall fishing success has been slower than normal and the number of ducks in the area has gone down. The warm weather brought numerous people out enjoying the outdoors over the weekend. Some fishing and hunting violations were detected.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) worked with a COC. They investigated several complaints of illegal deer hunting including people hunting deer during youth season without youth hunters. They investigated boats fishing in closed areas and found duck hunters taking protected birds, wanton waste of migratory birds, and litter. They also were advised of duck hunters forgetting their guns at the public boat landing.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking hunters during the youth deer hunt and the early antlerless hunt. Success was limited but the weather kept hunters in the field. Trespass complaints were investigated as were other deer related complaints. Time was also spent checking waterfowl hunters with limited success. Hunters were reminded of AIS rules and regulations. Turkey hunters have been out and have been doing well. A moose was also sighted.
CO Phil George (Rochester) worked waterfowl activity, angling activity and checked ATV complaint areas. Enforcement action was taken for motors in WMA, no PFDs.
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 Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports finishing fish stocking operations in NE Minnesota. While flying to a lake near the BWCA Jensen noticed what looked like some hunters paddling away from a grass fire on a peninsula. Jensen circled the canoeists until it was verified that it was USFS personnel setting a prescribed burn. Jensen then prepped the aircraft for an annual maintenance inspection so it will be ready for fall big game enforcement operations.
CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) flew multiple missions including training missions. A shining flight was cancelled due to weather so a truck was manned with CO/Pilot Geving and proactive patrol was conducted.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a duck survey and two Forest Assessment photo flights.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) attended the District 12 meeting, completed his annual flight review with another flight instructor, and did a student pilot training flight in preparation for instructing other division pilots.
CO Pilot Robert Geving (Mankato) flew waterfowl surveys and assisted district units with an OHM investigation, participated in training with CO Pilot Lofstuen, and also assisted district units with big game hunting activities.
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.
West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports attending District 11 meeting where he presented information about Safety Training programs and upcoming Instructor Forums. He also taught a Firearms Safety/Hunter Education Instructor Certification clinic at Camp Jim in Pillager.
NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence worked on reviewing Firearms Safety training procedures. RTO Lawrence spent time on talking with metro FAS instructors on fall field days and equipment needs. RTO Lawrence answered calls on upcoming firearms deer season.
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke assisted RTO Lawrence with a firearms safety class shooting range at Carlos Avery WMA. He attended a firearms safety instructor certification clinic with RTO Rezac. RTO Neitzke talked to a youth firearms safety field day in Lakeville. He reviewed hunter education materials. He also worked with CO Quandt in Red Wing.
Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week reviewing online training programs and preparing for upcoming training and field days. Time was also spent working on a new process for safety instructor applicants.
Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens last week represented the Division/Section at the Minnesota Motorized Trail Coalition (MMTC) quarterly meeting. Work continued on the snowmobile training for LEO’s POST course updates. Trail Ambassador program items were addressed which included annual meeting planning and Off-Highway Vehicle Advisory Council meeting plans. Owens also worked on International Off-Highway Vehicle Administrators Association position statement regarding ATVs, took care of equipment maintenance and online training items.
RTO PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
Rec. Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens 763-753-1887 firstname.lastname@example.org
NE RTO Shelly Patten 218-244-8051
West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-230-8549 email@example.com
NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence 651-674-6184 firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern RTO Dan McBroom 507-843-2032 email@example.com
NW RTO Jon Paurus 218-298-4000 firstname.lastname@example.org
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke 651-463-3168 email@example.com
Curriculum Specialist: Vacant
Education Specialist: Vacant
Curriculum Coordinator: Vacant