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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) checked muzzleloader hunters, archery hunters, trappers, and grouse hunters throughout the week.  Opening weekend of black powder season saw few hunters.  Assistance was provided to some hunters looking to come up and hunt some of the public land in the area for the first time.  Follow-up continues on some cases from the deer season. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked big game, small game/trapping and angling enforcement. Many deer hunters spoken to were optimistic in their hopes that the cooler weather and recent snowfall would improve their chances during the muzzleloader season. Those hunting the forest said that there has been no change in the deer activity when comparing it to the regular firearms season, whereas those hunting the agricultural areas have reported an increase in activity, though finding the bucks is still proving to be a challenge. Enforcement action was taken over the weekend for hunter harassment.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports working hunting activities.  Anglers are still being persistent with boats and catching walleye on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River. 

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) worked the muzzleloader deer, fisher trapping, and bobcat opening weekend.  Mild weather brought out many hunters and trappers.  Officer Woinarowicz continued to follow up on open cases from the firearms deer season and enforcement action for the week included fail to register big game and unlawful party hunting violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports monitoring trapping activity, decorative bough cutting activity, and muzzleloader hunting activity throughout the week.  Time was spent following up on cases from the firearms deer season, handling trespassing complaints, investigating litter complaints of deer carcasses dumped on public lands, issuing car killed deer possession permits, and investigating a report of a deer which was shot out of season.   Enforcement action for the week included hunter trespassing, muzzleloader hunting in a closed area, and fail to register deer. 

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck #2) reports working small game, big game, and trapping enforcement this past week. Several ongoing cases from the firearms deer season were followed up on. Muzzleloader hunters and trappers were checked.

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette #2) checked muzzleloader deer hunters and waterfowl hunters. Follow-up was completed on multiple cases regarding unregistered deer. Trapping enforcement was also focused on.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Karlstad - vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 - vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at a snowmobile safety class in Fertile.  Time was also spent taking various wildlife related calls and working hunting related complaint areas.  Muzzleloader deer hunters and small game hunters were also checked.  Violations encountered this week included hunting in a closed SNA and failing to validate deer tag at the kill site.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked burning, hunting, and boating activities.  He assisted other law enforcement agencies, monitored water/ice safety, and prepared equipment for the winter season.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) took care of calls about muzzleloader season and followed up on firearms deer complaints.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) and COC transitioned focus from deer hunting to trapping.  Unusually warm temperatures have delayed ice formation on popular ice fishing lakes.  Preparation for winter outdoor recreation has been a major emphasis. 

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) worked big and small game hunting during the week. Time was also spent checking trapping activity in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. Officer Holt followed up on a few TIP cases from the previous deer season.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked muzzleloader deer hunters and worked ongoing cases. Complaints of no license and baiting were worked with CO Warren. Deer registration, ATV and PWC cases were continued.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) checked muzzleloader and pheasant hunters throughout the week.  He also followed up on complaints from the firearms deer season.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked areas for ATV and snowmobile activity.  Areas were also monitored for shining activity.  Many questions were answered in regards to muzzleloader hunting regulations.  Multiple calls of injured wildlife and car hit deer were received.  CO Warren spent time on follow up for open cases.  Muzzleloader deer opener was worked. Calls of hunting without a license, take deer without a license, and baiting complaints were investigated. 

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week finishing up deer season cases and checking pheasant and muzzleloader hunters. The officer observed fewer hunters in the field with muzzleloaders than the previous seasons, though the ones that are hunting are having success. An ongoing ATV trespass was investigated in Moorhead as well as a complaint of a partially skinned deer that was discarded in the ditch. Questions were answered from the public regarding deer permit zones and muzzleloader questions. Several pheasant hunters were reminded they needed to wear the same amount of blaze orange as they would if they were deer hunting due to the ongoing muzzleloader season. Enforcement action was taken for insufficient amount of blaze orange.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) followed up on deer season tips including lend/borrow tags and wanton waste of deer. Officer Plautz monitored ice conditions with some fishermen too eager. Ice is not in stable condition for any foot travel at this time. Muzzleloader hunters were checked and pheasant hunting activity was monitored as well. A call of an injured owl was investigated where the owl flew away when it was let out of the porch. A dead owl call was also investigated and followed up on.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked fishermen and hunting activity including pheasant, waterfowl and muzzleloader deer. A few trappers are still out with the open water.  The Central duck zone closed on Sunday.  Officer Nelson met with wildlife staff to discuss issues and met with snowmobile safety instructors prior to the planned upcoming classes.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) answered questions in regards to deer limits and deer licenses for different zones and seasons throughout the state.  A possible stolen ATV complaint was taken; further investigation follows.  Injured animal complaints were received and passed onto the DNR Wildlife Office in Glenwood.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) completed follow up on cases from the deer season as well as answering questions about the muzzleloader season.  A pair of anglers fishing from a dock were watched for a period of time and found to be using too many lines; enforcement action was taken.  Injured animal calls were also handled.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) worked the muzzleloader deer opener checking hunters and investigating complaints. Archery deer, pheasant, small game, and the remaining waterfowl hunters were checked as well, and the trapping activity was monitored in the area. Several deer related investigations remain active and a litter case was closed out with a citation.

CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working sport fishing, small game, waterfowl and deer hunting enforcement.  Requests from the public seeking information were returned. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking deer hunters, pheasant hunters, waterfowl hunters, and trappers.  Additional time was spent checking fishermen and commercial minnow trappers. 

District 4 - Walker area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) worked a busy muzzleloader deer opener, with complaints of shooting from the road, shooting after hours, trespassing, lending of licenses, taking big game from a motor vehicle, and over limit of deer.
CO Eric Sullivan (Walker) reports warm weather this week melted most of the snow that snowmobilers were enjoying.  CO Sullivan investigated a big game case that included multiple big game violations that occurred this year and last.  The case included several deer that were never tagged, never had a site tag validated and were never registered.  The deer were also illegally transported after being taken.  CO Sullivan also conducted a traffic stop that ended with a subject being arrested for possession of methamphetamine. 
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked muzzleloader deer hunters, trappers, and late season grouse hunters.  A few remaining anglers were seen fishing on area lakes.  The lakes in the area are still open with only marsh areas beginning to freeze.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring trapping and hunting activity.  CO Broughten continued investigations from the 2016 firearms deer season.  CO Broughten prepared cases for the county attorney and also assisted local law enforcement with a vehicle crash and rescued a boater on Leech Lake.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked snowmobilers and muzzleloader deer season.  Contacts made for failure to display registration on snowmobiles.
CO Chelsey Best (Remer) worked trapping, snowmobile and muzzleloader enforcement. Very few hunters turned out for the muzzleloader opener this weekend. Deep, wet snow remains in the woods making travel difficult. Snowmobilers are reminded that most trail systems do not open until December 1st and with the ground unfrozen under the snow, too much activity can cause damage to the trails. CO Best issued multiple car-kill deer tags this week and investigated a turkey poaching case near Upper Trelipe. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobiles operating on a county road.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports muzzleloader and trapping season openers were slow.  A few fishermen ventured out onto Rainy River trying to take advantage of the mild temperatures. Enforcement action was taken for a fire which had gotten out of control and the individual failed to obtain a burning permit.

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports the recent weather has created some less than desirable conditions for trapping and muzzleloader deer hunting but it is still allowing viable fishing opportunities on the Rainy River. Trapping activity has been relatively slow with complaints heard about both the warm and wet weather limiting access to certain areas and poor fur market conditions. Muzzleloader deer hunters were checked with limited success at this point.  Officer Slatinski met with local DNR Forestry personnel about an unpermitted fire which resulted in fire suppression activities and followed up on an illegal spruce top harvesting incident. Enforcement action was taken on illegal trapping sets and various burning violations.

CO Colleen Adam (Ray) checked a variety of outdoor recreational enthusiasts enjoying the fresh snow and decent temperatures.  Archery and muzzleloader deer hunters appreciated the snow for fresh sign and tracking.  One group was recovering equipment and vehicles left behind at the shack after the big storm.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the week working trappers, muzzle loading season, and some snowmobile activity.  The officer is investigating a possible illegally taken deer, and some illegal trapping.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked end of season deer hunting complaints, muzzleloader deer, fisher, marten and bobcat trapping openers, followed up on a spruce top theft case, dealt with early season snowmobiles and located a hit and run driver reported to the Hibbing PD.  A complaint of a dog dragging six deer heads back home was investigated.  A bat was seen trying to eke out an in-flight meal, before sunset, with a foot of snow on the ground and in 31 degree weather.  One can safely assume it went to bed hungry.  Enforcement action was taken on fail to register big game, unlawful party hunting, fail to display snowmobile registration, and operate snowmobile on a public highway.

 CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) patrolled the Virginia and surrounding areas for fisher and pine marten trappers and the few muzzleloader deer hunters who may be out. Very few traps and snares were located. Several trespass cases were closed with a citation being issued. Some small lakes have frozen over.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked trapping activity throughout the week.  Time was spent on equipment maintenance and office work was completed.  Some of the smaller swamps have frozen over but lakes remain open water.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports a good start for the fisher and marten trapping season, an above average amount of trappers were checked and trapping success was fair. Although unseasonably warm weather has been holding strong snow continued to fall over the week and the ground is still covered.  There was increasing snowmobile activity also with most sleds found operating in the road ditches as most lakes are still wide open.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked hunters and trappers throughout the week.  Very few people were out.  Enforcement action was taken for driving off road vehicle on snowmobile trail and for failing to remove bear bait station after season.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) handled office work and prepared equipment for the change in season. The officer also patrolled checking traps and looking for early fisher and marten traps.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a quiet muzzleloader deer and pine marten trapping opener.  Assistance was giving to Officers Stage and Williams on a closed season deer case in which a deer was seized.  Evidence was seen on a local lake where some brave souls were out fishing on very thin ice.  Enforcement action for the week included litter, unregistered ATV, untagged trap, and storage of personal property on public land.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area trapping and hunting activity this week.  CO Schottenbauer noted a few folks trying to venture out on very thin ice until heavy snow ended those bad ideas for everyone in the area.  CO Schottenbauer also worked up in the Ely area this last weekend.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) followed up on wildlife complaints and big game investigations. The officer checked a few snowmobilers out testing their sleds and focused on trapping enforcement.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked the opener of muzzleloader deer and marten fisher trapping.  Time was spent on a case involving intoxicated people shooting an illegal doe off their cabin corn feeder and trying to cover it with a tribal tag.  

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping activity and continued to investigate big game cases from the firearms deer season. Ice conditions continue to be poor to nonexistent on most area lakes and ice travel should not be considered at this time.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) finished work on cases from deer season.  He maintained equipment, took winter equipment out of storage and put summer equipment away, and checked anglers.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) conducted follow up investigation on cases from the firearms deer season, monitored snowmobile activity, checked hunters and assisted the State Patrol with vehicles off the roadway. The warmer weather brought out many small game hunters this week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and registration issues.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked trapping and muzzleloader openers over the past week.  Newly added snowfall has helped hunters in the woods.  Follow-up on deer season cases was performed with the added enforcement of snowmobile laws.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked trappers, small game hunters and muzzleloader deer hunters.  He also taught a snowmobile safety class during the week.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) worked deer hunting activity over the opening weekend of muzzleloader season.  Muzzleloaders are reporting limited success.  Trapping activity was monitored throughout the surrounding areas.  CO Van Asch also spent time handling nuisance animal calls and following up on snowmobile complaints.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Brookston) spent time during the week following up on cases from deer season.  The muzzleloader season opener was worked with some hunters being seen.  A check of one hunter resulted in enforcement action being taken for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and hunting deer with the aid of bait.  A complaint regarding a deer being shot illegally in the city of Duluth was handled.  The suspect was found to have shot not one, but two deer over a large baited area.  It was also found that the hunter was not participating the city organized hunt and had placed a lent license on one of the deer.  The suspect will potentially face the loss of his archery equipment and hunting privileges as well as large fines and restitution. 

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent much of the week closing out cases from deer season.  Trespassing and shooting complaints were investigated along with dogs chasing deer.   The opening weekend of muzzleloader and fisher/marten trapping was worked. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) followed up on calls and questions on the firearm deer season.  A couple car hit deer permits were issued.  Archery deer hunting continued to be worked and a few muzzleloader hunters were checked.  Trapping activity was worked and investigations were started for illegal trapping. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued with follow up work from firearms deer season including investigations into deer poaching, hunting w/out a license, unlawful party hunting, hunter harassment, and dogs chasing/killing deer.  Muzzleloader deer season and trapping enforcement work continue.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Unit) wrapped up deer season investigations and prepped equipment for storage.  Questions were answered about deer depredation complaints, and marten/fisher trapping season.  Enforcement action taken for ATV violations.

Lake Superior Unit - vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd 2) worked the opening of the muzzleloader season.  Officer Guida continued to work investigations from the firearms season.  A few car kill permits were issued.  A call of an injured goose was received; it was determined that the goose went back into the water and swam away.

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked muzzleloader deer hunting opener.  Violations of trespass and untagged deer were found.  Complaints of vehicles on closed trails in the Pillsbury forest were investigated.  A complaint of road hunters in the Pillager area was investigated.   Ice angers were out and are catching some fish.  However the ice conditions are poor and inconsistent and dangerous, some areas that had ice last week are now open again. Reports of double trippers and anglers using extra lines on open water received enforcement time.

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) followed up on cases from the firearms deer season, checked muzzleloader deer hunters, and monitored the first snowmobile activity of the year.  Violations included hunting deer over bait, allowing illegal juvenile snowmobile operation, leaving deer stands on an Aquatic Management Area overnight, and expired registrations on snowmobiles.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked late season waterfowl hunters throughout the week. CO McGowan also continued to work on cases from this past firearms deer season.  Enforcement action was taken for waterfowl stamp violations. 

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked ATV’s, trappers and hunters.  Officer Hunter located a dead juvenile bald eagle.  CO Hunter also had contact with two hunters that were in possession of marijuana and a loaded firearm. 

Cuyuna SRA - vacant.

Crosslake – vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked hunters on opening weekend of muzzleloader deer season.  Trappers were out in full force as additional species opened up and open water is extending the use of water sets.  Officer Verkuilen also checked ATV traffic and answered questions regarding the Mille Lacs ice opener.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working big game hunters over the weekend.  Calls of a dead deer in someone’s yard and other possible illegal activity was investigated.  Several car kill deer permits were issued and a call of dog’s possibly chasing deer was passed on to the officer for that area.  Assistance was given to a local agency with a possible overturned boat on an area lake and many outdoor law related questions were answered throughout the week and weekend.  Patrol was done for ATV and snowmobile traffic throughout the Malmo station and several waterfowl hunters were also checked.  A snowmobile trespass complaint was also investigated during the week. 
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on deer season carcass dumping activity and other issues related to leaving property on WMA areas.   Duck hunters were observed and checked, with very few ducks in the bag.   Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded gun, no federal waterfowl stamp, unsigned stamp, and shooting from motor vehicle.  A hunter harassment complaint was work in which Officer Starr basically refereed two neighbors as they aired out disagreements.   Luckily the situation got better and hopefully the neighbors can build a better relationship in the future.   A reminder to folks that come across road kill or road injured deer;     you need permission from some sort of law enforcement authority or dispatch to take the deer.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) continued to follow up on cases from the firearms deer season and monitored archery and muzzleloader hunting activity.  Trapping activity was slower than normal with the unusually warm weather.   A lack of cold temperatures also continued to keep area lakes open and a small handful of anglers were out trying their luck with very late, open water fishing.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked small game and archery hunters during the week and weekend.  A few duck hunters were out trying open water hunting on Mille Lacs Lake.  Time was also spent investigating a baiting complaint.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) found it difficult to determine how many muzzleloader hunters were out over opening weekend as dense foggy conditions made visibility difficult.  A wetlands restoration order was issued.  There were a few anglers out. 

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) handled numerous calls of people wanting permits for car kill deer and bucks they had found after deer season and they want to salvage the antlers.   Questions on trapping regulations came in and Officer Kuske assisted a township with solutions to handling beaver dams that are on private property and causing problems with the roads.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, duck, pheasant, and bow hunters.  The muzzleloader season kicked off with a lot of fog in the Albany area both weekend days.  Very few hunters were found out hunting.  A TIP call was handled where a man was out muzzleloader deer hunting without a license.  Other enforcement action included lend/borrow deer tag, no license in possession, and burning violations.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked fishing, deer hunting, and waterfowl hunters this week.  The officer investigated more violations and complaints during the first muzzleloader weekend season than the entire firearms season.  Enforcement action taken for several loaded guns, shoot from the roadway, federal stamp violations, unplugged gun, decoys left out overnight, and blaze orange violations.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) received a call from a person that found “No Trespassing” signs posted on a piece of public land. It was determined that a person had bought some adjacent land but did not research where the boundary lines were resulting in a large piece of county land being posted with his signs, which he agreed to remove. A wildlife possession permit was issued to a person for the antlers of a buck that was found left over from the firearm deer season. The first wave of deer carcass dumping calls were received, hunters are reminded to dispose of their deer parts responsibly, not just throw them in the ditch. Separate calls were received about dogs chasing deer, even though no dogs were seen in either incident, the callers assumed it was taking place because they had seen dog tracks in their woods.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers and waterfowl hunters this week. CO Mies worked on hunting complaints and worked opener for muzzleloader deer hunters.

St. Cloud – vacant.

Sauk Centre – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked deer hunters and waterfowl hunters. He is investigating a deer hunting lend and borrow case. He followed up on a number of nuisance animal questions. CO Sladek requests everyone that is leaving messages for conservation officers to repeat the number and try and talk slow and clear. The messages off the cell phones can easily be missed.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) found a lot of waterfowl hunters out this last week hoping for that last big migration push of the season, but it never developed. Muzzleloader opener was also slow with a lack of hunters in the area. Enforcement action was taken for no federal waterfowl stamp, transporting loaded firearms, no PFD on board watercraft, no small game license, no blaze orange during firearms deer season, and unplugged shotgun while waterfowl hunting.

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) followed up on deer hunting violations and several complaints of deer carcasses being dumped on private property.  CO Krauel would like to remind individuals to properly dispose of their deer carcasses.  CO Krauel checked muzzleloader hunters over the opening weekend and assisted a neighboring officer with an individual who was muzzleloader hunting without a license and under the influence of alcohol. 

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked trapping and hunting activity.  Officer Mohs would like to remind MN deer hunters hunting in Wisconsin to review the new ‘out of state’ deer transport laws/rules.  Any whole deer carcasses transported into the state are to be confiscated and the individual in possession may be cited. Enforcement action was taken for deer hunting without a license, snowmobile registration, and OHM violations.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) reports receiving numerous calls regarding dumped deer carcasses in the area.  ATV complaint areas were worked over the holiday weekend.  Numerous animal complaints were also handled.  Violations included illegal dumping, no ATV safety certificate, and unsigned waterfowl stamp.

Princeton - vacant.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) focused her attention on small game, big game and ATV enforcement. Officer Leuthardt followed up on hunter harassment complaints and ATV trespassing in a state park. She also removed tree stands that were left illegally in a WMA.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked small game, bow hunters and ATV activity in the metro area.  He checked anglers and took phone calls from the Asian community on small game hunting regulations.  He also took calls on animal complaints and answered questions regarding firearm safety classes.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo Station) spent the week assisting with a trespass complaint that included the transport of an illegally taken big game animal and assisting with the investigation of shooting from a motor vehicle. A snowmobile safety class presentation was given at Corcoran City Hall. Time was spent assisting the Carver County Sheriff’s Office looking for a missing person on Lake Waconia. Enforcement action was taken on late season waterfowl hunters.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking waterfowl hunters, deer hunters and following up with complaints.  CO Grewe did some equipment maintenance in preparation for the winter months.  Violations this week included license issues.

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) investigated several TIPS including baited deer stands and hunting in a closed area. Lake equipment was winterized and put into storage. CO Weyandt also spent time assisting with the search of a missing paddle boarder on Lake Waconia.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked waterfowl hunters and deer hunters in the Waconia station. He followed up and completed several zebra mussel violation cases in Minneapolis. Time was also spent following up on TIP calls for big game violations and injured animals.

Bloomington - vacant.

Ft. Snelling - vacant.

Osseo - vacant

Waconia - vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent time checking small game, waterfowl and deer hunters.  He assisted in investigating several cases involving big game violations.  CO Arntzen also handled nuisance animal calls, trespassing issues, and littering complaints.   

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked waterfowl, small game and big game hunters. Anglers were checked on the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers and on area lakes. CO Pril also checked on nuisance animal complaints, answered hunting questions, and performed boat maintenance.

CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) checked waterfowl hunters and anglers as well as answered numerous nuisance wildlife calls. Assistance was given in conducting interviews in the metro area for an outstate CO and time was spent giving extra patrol at Afton State Park for Free Park Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday. It was good to see people outdoors enjoying the mild weather.  CO Willis also responded to assist at a shooting that occurred in a city within his station.   Enforcement action was taken for fail to register deer in the time required, bringing in a whole deer from out of state, and no Type IV PFD.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for waterfowl activity. Very little success was observed for ducks hunters. Officer Salzer also fielded several TIP calls with several cases made. Cases included trespass, take deer out of season, and hunting waterfowl after legal shooting hours.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) monitored waterfowl and pheasant hunters throughout the area. Waterfowl success was very poor minus goose hunters in the area. He also responded to TIP calls and general calls from the public. Enforcement action for the week included waterfowl related violations.

White Bear Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer - vacant.

Maplewood - vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) worked with the aviation division on details around the area.  Several complaints were investigated around the LQP Refuge, including hunting pheasants in the controlled hunt zone.  Numerous muzzleloader hunters were afield for the opening of that season.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored archery deer hunting, muzzleloader deer hunting, pheasant hunting, and waterfowl hunting during the week.  A 12 point buck was shot out of season and left to die in a field.  The incident occurred 2 ½ miles southeast of the City of Clinton.  Anyone with any information regarding this incident is urged to call the TIP Hotline @ 1-800-652-9093.  Pheasant hunters are reminded to review the blaze orange requirement, as the muzzleloader deer season is currently open. 
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working pheasant and deer hunters.  Several investigations are being conducted. Enforcement action was taken for shoot from roadway. Pheasant hunters continue to have moderate success.  

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) conducted a weekly radio interview with KLHO Radio in Pipestone. The muzzleloader opener was busy with a lot of hunters out. Muzzleloader hunters are reminded that an antlerless permit that was not used during the slug season is good for the muzzleloader season, as long as the appropriate license in purchased.  Pheasant hunting success has been steady with most hunters pleased with the number of birds they have seen. All hunters are reminded that another firearms deer season has begun so additional blaze orange is needed when venturing out.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports checking pheasant hunters and working a busy holiday weekend. Pheasant hunters were out in large numbers and reported moderate success. Goose hunters reported beginning to see geese in greater numbers. The officer reports that muzzle loader activity was low but hunters did report seeing many deer. Enforcement action included fail to renew ATV registration and no license in possession.

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) checked pheasant hunters and muzzleloader deer hunters throughout the week. Follow up investigations from deer season were completed with enforcement action being taken for lending and borrowing of hunting licenses.  Multiple blaze orange violations were encountered during opening of muzzleloader season.  Hunters are reminded to wear the appropriate amount of blaze orange while small game hunting or bow hunting.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) concentrated enforcement efforts on deer, pheasant and waterfowl hunters. Officer Gutzwiller continued to follow up on multiple big game investigations including several trespass violations. Enforcement action was taken for unlawful transport of game birds. Deer hunters found a fair amount of success with cooler weather temperatures over the muzzleloader opening weekend.  

Lake Benton – vacant.

Worthington - vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) followed up on trespass complaints.  He checked waterfowl hunters and anglers.   Officer Denz also received concerns about injured animals.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) checked waterfowl and pheasant hunters throughout the week.  He spent time on public land use and late shooting complaints.  Contacts were made with many muzzleloader hunters over the opening weekend.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) worked on follow up investigations from the deer season. Restoration orders were delivered for wetlands that were tiled and drained. Officer Klehr also spent time checking duck hunters over the last few days of the season. Enforcement action was also taken for burning garbage.  People are reminded that snow on the ground does not allow you to burn garbage and other prohibited materials. 

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson-West) followed up on cases from the deer season.  She took a call of shooting from the road and after hours. 

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson-East) spent time checking waterfowl and pheasant hunters this week.  Late season walleye anglers were also checked in the area with minimal success observed.  Officer Oberg also worked the opening of the muzzleloader deer season.  An injured swan call was handled and numerous calls were taken regarding deer hunting questions. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked waterfowl, boating, deer, and angling enforcement.  Greater numbers of mallards and geese have moved into the area.  Waterfowl hunting success still is not great.  Anglers are having some success fishing river walleyes.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports a busy week of conducting deer investigations.  Muzzle-loader hunters encountered limited success through the first two days locally, but did see more deer moving during the day.  Hunters are reminded that deer harvested need to be registered within 48 hours after the time of harvest.  Violations investigated included the lend/borrow of deer licenses, unlawful party hunting, taking of antlerless deer without permit, deer over limits, failure to register deer as required, failure to validate deer licenses, trespass, and parents knowingly allowing minors to violate game laws.  Trapping violations were also encountered with a party trapping without a license.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) reports that he worked small game, big game, trapping, and angling enforcement.  He responded to calls concerning reported insufficient use of blaze orange, potentially hunting late for pheasants, car kill deer permit, and other phone calls relating to muzzleloader deer season.  Angling has slowed down in the area and there is some field hunting for waterfowl taking place.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked deer, small game, and waterfowl hunters.  Trapping activity remains lower than normal.   Angling activity continues to be strong.  Trespassing complaints were investigated.   

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) responded to several TIP complaints while spending most of his time on deer, waterfowl and fishing enforcement. CO Henke reports a slow start to the muzzleloader season in the area. CO Henke also assisted local law enforcement with several incidents. Violations for the week included license and tagging issues.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) worked the muzzleloader opener this past weekend.  Hunters report low success in the area.  Fall fishing activity remains active with the warmer weather.  The officer also spent time checking traps and pheasant hunting activity.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) focused on muzzleloader, fishing, and waterfowl activity. Officer VanThuyne is also following up on firearms deer season cases and investigating several wetland violations.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) patrolled for deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters this week. Officer Ihnen also monitored trapping activity. A number of fishermen taking advantage of the late freeze up were also checked.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) reports a busy week working the end of the 3B deer season and the opening of the muzzleloader season.  A number of duck hunters and a few pheasant hunters also found their way to the field.  Some of the smaller sloughs are beginning to freeze over, but the rivers and larger bodies of water remain open.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports a slow start to the muzzleloader deer season, with few deer seen harvested. CO Howe also spoke on laws and ethics at a Snowmobile Safety class and assisted another officer capture a bald eagle for rehabilitation.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked migratory waterfowl hunters, small game hunters, and deer hunters.  Anglers, boaters, and ATV operators were also checked during the week. 

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) spent the week checking waterfowl and firearms deer hunters.  More activity was seen in the second weekend of the late B season due to the holiday and the beginning of muzzleloader season.  Firearms deer hunters seemed to have mixed success, with those conducting deer drives having more in the bag.  Enforcement action was taken on fail to validate big game license, fail to tag big game animal, and no license in possession.  Waterfowl hunters were also out in force.  Nice green heads were seen in most bags.  The birds appear to be in full plumage.  Enforcement action was taken on fail to have shotgun plug, fail to have federal stamp in possession, fail to have license in possession, and hunting without a license. 

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports working fisherman, deer, and duck hunters. Duck hunters are still hopeful that more northern ducks will fly in the area before the season ends. Enforcement action for the week includes hunt deer with the aid or use of bait, hunt deer without a license, nontoxic shot violations, federal duck stamp violations, fail to register deer, lend and borrow deer tags, burning prohibited materials in a burn barrel, and transport  loaded firearms.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working another busy week of deer and duck hunting enforcement.  The early week weather produced some very good days on the marsh for those that were out.  The 3-B and muzzleloader deer hunters had a little better success over the weekend with more people in the woods.  Violations this week included trespass, no orange, license, registration, and stamp issues along with some trap tagging and tending problems.

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) patrolled for deer hunters throughout the area, few hunters were found and some reported success during the B season.  Time was also spent checking waterfowl hunters. A couple hunting complaints were received and followed up on. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession, federal stamp not in possession, unsigned federal stamp, unplugged shotgun, no throwable device on board a watercraft, transportation of a loaded firearm, and possession of non-toxic shot while waterfowl hunting.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) and COC worked the 3B deer season and duck hunting.  They checked on complaints of deer over limits, using trucks to hunt deer, road hunting deer, wanton waste, lend/borrow deer licenses, and late duck hunting.  They also followed up on ATV and trapping violations.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly deer and waterfowl hunters during the week.  Deer hunter numbers and success remained low.  Duck hunters however, did well on and off during the week. 

CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the second firearms deer season throughout the week along with waterfowl hunters. Took complaints of carcasses and trash in the roadways and on private property. Enforcement action was taken for litter, trespass, license issues, and unplugged shotguns.

CO Boyum (Rushford) reports a slow end to the 3B deer season. Hunters reported little deer movement and low numbers of hunters. Trespass complaints were received as were numerous calls from concerned people wondering about the CDW found in the area. Muzzleloader hunters reported the same. A few trappers are out doing well on raccoon as are hound hunters.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester 2) spent the majority of the week patrolling for big game and migratory waterfowl enforcement. Additional efforts were spent patrolling for ATVs and assisting Olmsted County with a vehicle rollover. Enforcement action was taken for using a scope on a muzzleloader, burning prohibited materials, having an unplugged shotgun while hunting waterfowl, and failing to wear blaze orange while pheasant hunting.

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

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying a deer survey flight with the 1854 Treaty Wildlife.  Vehicle maintenance as well as training tasks were also accomplished.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) did helicopter training with two pilots, including night flight orientation. He also did airplane training, and some maintenance and administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) worked on updating the unit’s training manual. Pilot Geving also flew a WCA photo mission and a deer hunting muzzle loader season activity in District 15. 

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of rotary training. Bad weather cancelled flights so some training was ground lessons. Contacts were made for future flight requests.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working small and big game hunters. Time was spent checking fishermen. Equipment was moved around for the winter season. Assistance was given to other departments on calls. Reports and other administrative work was completed.  ATV complaints were taken.

WREO Mike Scott (NE) closed several WCA case’s in the Ely area. Several wildlife possession permits issued for deer and a turkey. Officer Scott conducted follow up investigation on a deer that was shot at night out of season in the Carlton County area. Checked martin and fisher trappers on opener as well as several muzzleloader hunters.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on wetland and public water cases in his assigned area. A few snowmobiles were observed before warm up. WREO Haberman also checked bow hunters and muzzleloader hunters over the weekend.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week conducting follow-up on wetland violations and working hunters.  Enforcement action was taken for fail to validate tag, fail to register deer, and lend/borrow deer license.  A few fishermen were also checked.

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) worked on WCA and PW cases and took calls in vacant stations. A call of someone shooting at geese from a deck at a residence was unfounded and hunters not wearing orange and driving in restricted WMA’s was followed up on. Enforcement action was taken for shooting from a motor vehicle and not wearing blaze orange during firearms deer season.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) joined waters and SWCD staff on wetland violations.  Deer and pheasant hunters were also checked.  Trespassing complaints were investigated and action was taken for no blaze orange.

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 31, 1979 cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate.  In addition many states have even more stringent mandatory Hunter Education requirements.  Check before you go!!! 

Reminder---Any resident born after December 31, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota, must possess a snowmobile certificate.  Two options are available to complete certification. Ages 11 and older can take the online course and hands-on day or attend the traditional youth course.  Those 16 or older can take the online course.

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


If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador or one of the Advanced Hunter programs, contact your local Conservation Officer or Regional Safety Training officer.  Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR Website.

See Also:


NE RTO Mike Lee received a call from a party stating that he thought he had located a small bear inside a dumpster that appeared to be sleeping. Officer Lee advised the party that the behavior seemed odd and what he described sounded more like a raccoon. He asked him if he was able to use a flashlight to get a better look at what was inside.  After a few minutes the party called back and informed Officer Lee that it was a raccoon and it was not happy being woken up.  He was advised to leave the dumpster lid open and it would leave as soon as no one was around.  Officer Lee also worked on updating the Advanced Hunter Education Program.

NW RTO Greg Oldakowski (acting) reports contacting potential safety instructors for upcoming clinics.  Car kill deer possession permits were issued and a wolf depredation complaint was investigated.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports teaching Hunter Education Firearm Safety Instructor Certification at Carlos Avery.  He also completed volunteer instructor backgrounds, assisted an area instructor with paperwork for acquiring safety training material with charitable gambling funds, and planned for upcoming instructor certification clinics.  During the weekend he checked muzzleloader and archery deer hunters in the St. Cloud area.

Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week working on setting up instructor forums and a Power Point for instructor forums.  Time was also spent working the B deer season.

Metro RTO Kevin Neitzke reviewed and returned emails and phone calls regarding safety training questions, becoming a volunteer safety training instructor, and instructor forums.  He worked on planning for upcoming public outreach events.  RTO Neitzke updated ICR information and also worked on Division training. 

Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence worked on Snowmobile and ATV presentation updates for instructors.  RTO Lawrence also patrolled area lakes public access sites in the northern part of the metro and found a fair number of anglers out on boats with the warmer weather.  He received a TIP call of illegal transport of deer from Wisconsin and was assisted by CO Artzen to help resolve the case.  RTO Lawrence reviewed instructor forum presentations and materials for winter training.


RTO                                                               PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
NE RTO Mike Lee                                         218-821-9747   mike.lee@state.mn.us
NW RTO Greg Oldakowski                           218-631-5972   gregory.oldakowski@state.mn.us
West Central RTO Frank Rezac                     320-552-3948   frank.rezac@state.mn.us
Southern RTO Dan McBroom                        507-251-0041    daniel.mcbroom@state.mn.us
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke                               651-463-3168    kevin.neitzke@state.mn.us
Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence     763-267-8534    bruce.lawrence@state.mn.us

Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant

Education Specialist:  Vacant

Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant

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