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Conservation Officer Report
Weekly Conservation Officer Report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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

LTC Greg Salo, Assistant Director, 651-259-5045

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 anglers on Lake of the Woods and the Roseau River.  Assistance was given removing a dead bloated deer from the bank of the Roseau River adjacent to someone’s residence. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked OHV, AIS, boat/water safety, and angling enforcement. Assistance was given to a juvenile bald eagle that was separated from its sibling and parents during the wind storms the week prior. The juvenile, that could not yet take flight, was discovered in the yard of a residence approximately 400 yards from the nest. CO Benjamin recovered the young bird and reunited it with its family under the careful watch of its parents. Enforcement action was taken for burning of prohibited materials, fail to remove drain plug prior to transporting a watercraft, and operate an ATV without headlights as required.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) taught the law and ethics portion of an ATV safety class in Lake Bronson, responded to multiple nuisance bear complaints, and checked local anglers.  Enforcement action for the week included angle without license, false application for license, boat and ATV registration violations, allow illegal operation of ATV by a juvenile, and possess small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working ATV, AIS, boating safety enforcement and angling activity on special regulation lakes throughout the week.  Time was spent investigating wolf depredation complaints, issuing wildlife possession permits, and attending Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVOC) training at Camp Ripley.  Enforcement action for the week included angling with extra lines, angling license, and PFD/no throwable lifesaving device violations. 

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports working angling, AIS, and ATV enforcement this past week.  Nuisance bear calls were addressed and a report of nuisance raccoons that were causing issues with the landowners dogs was dealt with. The raccoon was captured and re-located. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a valid license.

Baudette West – vacant.

Warroad South – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) handled nuisance bear calls and started a wolf depredation investigation.  He also checked anglers and boaters.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked anglers on area lakes.  Activity on area lakes has been slower than usual with cold windy weather throughout the week.  Area ATV trails and forest roads were patrolled.  Reports were turned into the county attorney for formal charges stemming from several big game violations.  CO Vollbrecht attended EVOC training at Camp Ripley. 

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) checked boating safety and angling activity during the week. Time was spent attending training at Camp Ripley and dealing with nuisance wildlife complaints. CO Holt monitored AIS compliance throughout the area. Enforcement activity included boat and water safety violations.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting with Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) training for conservation officers at Camp Ripley. CO Vinton continued to monitor and investigate possible altering the cross current of a lake and checked anglers.  AIS inspections were also conducted.  

CO Al Peterson (Osage) completed a trespass/theft case involving a juvenile, handled miscellaneous wildlife complaints, and took enforcement action on burning prohibited materials violation.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) conducted follow up on zebra mussel violation cases, AIS compliance was monitored, and boating and angling checks were performed.  A leeching violation case was also closed. Calls of nuisance bears and a boater harassing swans was received.  CO Warren attended emergency vehicle operation training at Camp Ripley.  Trails were worked for ATV and off road vehicle activity.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring AIS, ATV, and angling activity in the Moorhead station. Unseasonably cool and windy weather kept most people off the water, though those that got out found a few pan fish for their efforts. Numerous wildlife calls were answered including coyote pup sightings, skunks living under buildings, and a grouse that made a nest next to a residence. The officer continued commercial investigations as well as investigating hydro jet usage, illegally transporting zebra mussels, and individuals taking geese. Enforcement action was taken for untagged leech traps.

Pelican Rapids – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) checked anglers and boaters.  Additional time was spent fielding questions about safety classes, PWC laws, deer hunting, nuisance beaver, and of course… where the fish are biting. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent the week on an interview panel interviewing possible new conservation officer candidates.  Officer Plautz responded to a complaint of an angry boater who almost ran over an AIS inspector. Complaints of vehicles parked at public access overnight were handled as well. Boating and AIS enforcement were targeted over the weekend.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) worked fishermen, boaters, and AIS enforcement.  Complaints were handled regarding cutting hay in road ditches, nuisance beaver, and public waters violations.  Officer Nelson worked with a DNR Hydrologist on the public waters violation. 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) continued to work on an angler harassment complaint.  Several phone calls were received about injured animals which turned out to not be injured animals as the adult animals were “acting funny” when approached by people when they had young nearby.  AIS inspector questions were worked on with the Ecological staff.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked anglers and boaters this week in the Alex area.  Cooler than normal temps kept activity rather low. Officer Lawler also assisted with interview panels at Camp Ripley for new hires this week.  It was enjoyable meeting so many exited and enthusiastic candidates who want to be CO’s.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) spent the week at Camp Ripley assisting in the interview process to hire new conservation officers.

CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working sport fishing, boat and water safety, and AIS enforcement.  Time was also spent conducting EVOC training at Camp Ripley.  Miscellaneous wildlife calls were handled and minnow transportation permits were issued.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on wetland violations, fishing and boating activity. Officer Anderson and a MN DNR Wildlife employee worked together on an adjoining landowner committing a waters / wetland violation and trespassing on an area Wildlife Management Area. Enforcement action has begun on the violation.  EVOC training was attended and calls from the public were handled regarding rough fish spearing, boating safety information, and fishing regulations.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking fishermen, boaters, ATV operators, and monitoring AIS law compliance.   Additional time was spent attending training at Camp Ripley and fielding phone calls regarding watercraft registration.  Complaints of walleye over limits were investigated.

District 4 - Walker area

Officer Paul Parthun (Lake George) addressed several wildlife complaints and spent time on area lakes.  One lucky angler received an official measurement of a large walleye in his possession.  It was recorded as 30 and ¼ inches!
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling, boating, AIS and ATV activity.  Anglers reported poor success.  CO Broughten checked commercial minnow traps and also gave presentations to a firearm safety class and a local lake association.
Walker – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports rain and windy conditions have kept most people at bay in regards to fishing activity on Rainy Lake.  Several animal complaints were handled throughout the week, people are reminded to leave newborn fawns alone as mother will usually find them.  ATV enforcement rounded out the remainder of work activity in the station.

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports that even though the weather did not cooperate this past week, fishing remained a common outdoor activity with mixed reports of success. Public accesses were monitored along with state campgrounds and parks. Questions continue to be fielded in regards to wild animals around residential areas. A possible off road vehicle use complaint was also checked.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports rain and wind over the week limited boating and angling and fishing success was poor.  ATV activity was monitored.   Area forest roads and public access sites were checked.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) assisted two anglers that had their boat break down on Vermilion. The officer also investigated another refusal to submit to an AIS inspection on Vermilion, and the individual was cited.  Anglers are still having success catching walleye and small mouth bass on Lake Vermilion. The officer is still receiving calls concerning bear issues.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, attended training at Camp Ripley, worked anglers on Lake Kabetogama, and attended a funeral for a retired conservation officer.  Enforcement action was taken on illegal length fish, angle with extra lines, no angling license in possession, and insufficient PFD’s.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked a detail within Voyagers National Park checking anglers. Violations of keeping slot fish, extra lines, no license in possession, and insufficient PFD’s were found.  Officer Fredin attended the funeral of a retired Duluth conservation officer.  He also gave a FAS law presentation to youth at the Virginia Environmental Center.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports he concentrated primarily on trout angling over the week. Most anglers reported poor success in the cooler than normal temperatures. Several nuisance bears were reported inside the BWCA on Agnes Lake. Please be extra careful with food storage while camping inside the wilderness, especially during the times of year when a bear’s normal food is scarce.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) checked some fishermen between intermittent rains, met with Border Patrol agents, and attended EVOC training in Camp Ripley.  Fishing was slow.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that it is probably just a coincidence that as the black flies are starting to disappear the mosquitoes seem to be getting larger.  As the rain keeps coming, the boreal forest is seeming more like a jungle.  The CO did a radio interview about black bears and attended division training at Camp Ripley.

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) was part of the US and Canadian Law Enforcement Honor Guard welcoming the Special Olympics Torch of Hope to the US from Canada.  CO Manning checked anglers on area rivers and lakes and patrolled the state forest and parks.  The officer has also followed up on a nuisance bear complaint.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt/Ely) primarily worked angling and boating enforcement and on a couple ongoing investigations.  Enforcement action for the week included possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, insufficient PFDs, no navigational lights after sunset, and fail to display current registration. 

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area ATV trails and anglers this week.  Cool wet weather has kept activity down a bit for this time of year.  Time was also spent tracking the owner of an abandoned boat.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked AIS, angling, ATV, and boating enforcement this week. Time was spent at Camp Ripley completing EVOC training. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and AIS violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and boating activity during the week. Fishing slowed down with not many anglers having great success. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations and a nuisance bear complaint was investigated.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers and boaters, enforced AIS regulations, handled several calls for injured or nuisance wildlife, and worked ongoing cases. 

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked boating, AIS, and sport fishing. He received several nuisance wildlife complaints and attended a lake association meeting and answered various questions.  Violations included removing emergent vegetation without a permit. 

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) helped with conservation officer interviews this past week. She also took a nuisance bear complaint and is working on a litter investigation.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked boating activity with enforcement action taken on failing to register a watercraft and transporting a prohibited species on a watercraft.  CO Sutherland also worked ATV’s in the area with enforcement action taken for operating on a public highway, failing to transfer title, failing to display registration, failing to have ATV safety, and allowing the illegal operation of an ATV by a minor. 

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) checked anglers, boaters, and monitored ATV activity throughout the surrounding areas.  Time was spent assisting with annual Emergency Vehicle Operations training held at Camp Ripley.  CO Van Asch also assisted Itasca County Sheriff’s Office with a suspect that fled.  Enforcement actions included boating and ATV violations.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Nick Prachar (Brookston) spent time at Camp Ripley for EVOC Training.   Time was also spent working AIS enforcement, ATV enforcement, and angling activity

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued working fishing and boating enforcement around the Duluth area.  Some time was also spent working at public accesses talking with boaters about AIS laws and looking for compliance when boaters arrived at the accesses and also when they left.  ATV enforcement was also worked during the week.  CO Duncan received and returned several calls throughout the week.  A waters complaint on an area lake was also investigated, as well as time spent at Camp Ripley for EVOC training. 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended emergency vehicle operation training at Camp Ripley. Time was spent training and getting ready for upcoming K9 testing. Bear complaints were received and advice was given out on how to keep them away. Off highway vehicle patrols were conducted in the Cloquet area where compliance with the laws were found to be good

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked an ATV patrol north of Duluth, the wet weather has continued over the course of the week resulting in standing water in many spots. Officer Olson worked the lakes north of Duluth with the most common violation being not having an angling license in possession.  CO Olson also responded to a boating complaint on Grand Lake and a wetland shoreline complaint on Big Lake, which ended up with the landowners having obtained all the required permits. 

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boaters and anglers on the St Louis River.  ATV trails were monitored, and a complaint of a wounded deer was handled in the city of Two Harbors. Preparations were undertaken for upcoming holiday boating enforcement details.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) assisted at Camp Ripley with training officers in the emergency vehicle operations course.  CO McGowan also patrolled for angling and ATV activity, answered several questions, and looked into TIP calls. 

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) continued to work area lakes for summer time anglers and boaters.  ATV traffic remained high in the area as well.  CO Ladd also attended training at Camp Ripley.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, AIS, and ATV activity.  Time was also spent on nuisance bear, altering the cross section of public waters, and an angling TIP call.  The officer attended the funeral of retired officer Dale Ebel.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports helping the Cuyuna Iron Range Riders ATV club present their youth ATV safety class, patrol of area lakes, the Crow Wing State Forest, the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, and tending to various wildlife issues.    Enforcement contacts were made for miscellaneous violations of state recreational area rules. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) assisted interviewing candidates for the 2018 Conservation Officer academy.  CO Sullivan received a complaint of an unusual amount of vegetation floating in Pine Mountain Lake.  The source was unfounded and the investigation is ongoing.  Nuisance bear complaints also continued. 

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked ATV’s, fishermen, and boaters.  Officer Hunter received a complaint of a baby otter whose mother had been killed by a car.  The otter will go to a rehab facility. 

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement this past week.  The sunfish, bass, and northern have been the most active.  Boating enforcement and safety occupied some enforcement time.  Enforcement action was taken for no lights after sunset, PWCs operate within 150’ of shore, and after hour operation. He also worked on aquatic invasive species prevention on Gull Lake.  A complaint of ATVs in the ditch causing damage and illegal youth operation also received some time.  A bear damaging bee hives in the Pequot Lakes area was also received. 

Cuyuna SRA – vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked lake activity including a lot of non-resident vacationers.  He also attended training, helped on an interview panel for CO applicants, and assisted the county with the search for a burglary suspect.

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) assisted at Camp Ripley with interviews for new CO candidates. The officer assisted with another investigation in the area. A call was responded to at Father Hennepin State Park where a person was charged with disorderly conduct.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen, boaters, and ATV traffic throughout the week and weekend.  Many outdoor law related questions were fielded.  Officer Fitzgerald attended division training at Camp Ripley and assistance was given to another agency.  AIS related activity was monitored throughout the Malmo station also.  Enforcement action for the week included various ATV and boating violations.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked ORV enforcement in area state forests.  She also followed up on an AIS investigation, worked boat and water safety, and followed up on PWC complaints.  OHM and ATV activity was worked and questions were answered regarding OHM safety and registration.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) attended driving training and boating activity was worked, with navigational lighting violations found.   Assistance was given to the Mille Lacs Sheriff’s Office on a kidnapping case and a burglary in progress case.  Injured fawns were also taken care of.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent time patrolling ATV complaint areas and checking boating and angling activity on lakes.  One fisherman was found trying to catch crappies while trolling around the lake with multiple lines in the water.  After watching and documenting the illegal fishing for a few minutes, Officer Grundmeier approached the boat to make contact.  When the angler finally realized he was being watched and checked by a CO, he quickly dropped to the bottom of the boat in an attempt to hide himself while reeling up the extra lines.  The furtive actions only made things worse as the boat was not big enough or deep enough to hide what he was doing.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking anglers and monitoring boating activity in the area.  A stranded boater was provided a tow back to the access after having engine troubles.  A couple anglers were checked and found to have a limit of pike in possession.  Unfortunately, neither angler had a license and enforcement action was taken.  CO Silgjord also patrolled for AIS violations and spoke with one angler who had failed to remove his drain plug prior to arriving at the access.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports low to moderate weekend activity, probably due to rain showers and wind.  Miscellaneous wildlife calls were handled. 

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) took a complaint of a homeowner taking squirrels out of season; with it found that the squirrels were doing damage and woodchucks were legally shot.  A roadkill bobcat was picked up and a homeowner had a bear break through a house window when the sow with three cubs were trying to take down the hummingbird feeder to eat for a treat.   CO Kuske watched a female angler fishing from a resort dock for a while and then approached the angler to check her fishing license.  The angler said she was not fishing but was just helping fix the line on a pole.  It was explained to the female that casting a spinnerbait for bass multiple times was considered fishing in Minnesota and there didn’t seem to be any problems with the line. 

St. Cloud – vacant.

Pierz – vacant.

Paynesville – vacant.

Annandale – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) worked ATV’s and watercraft during the week.  Fishing slowed due to the recent cool weather but ATV traffic increased.  Operators are reminded anyone under the age of 18 is required to wear a helmet.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and boaters. Violations were found for extra lines and no angling license. Several animal complaints were handled and a waters call investigated.

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) spent the week assisting with new hire interviews at Camp Ripley.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and boaters on area lakes and rivers. He checked watercraft for plugs, invasive species, and transportation of water. He also answered a number of nuisance animal calls.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a presentation in South Haven for an ATV safety class this week. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and watercraft registration violations.

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling for ATV activity.  CO Krauel also spent time working boat and water safety.  Enforcement action was taken for operating an OHM on a non-motorized trail and on a public road right of way, illegal ATV operation on a public road right of way, no watercraft registration, and fishing after fishing license revocation.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) spent time at Camp Ripley providing mandatory EVOC training to a group of conservation officers. She also worked on the St. Croix River ahead of the opening of the new Hwy 36 Bridge. CO Leuthardt reports a steady week of angling and boating activity on various metro lakes.  

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) focused heavily on shore fishing along the Minnesota River. Assistance was given to Carver County Sheriff’s Office on a car versus deer crash. Violations encountered include angle without a license, angling after revocation, and failure to comply with restoration order.

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent most of the week following up on zebra mussel violations on several area lakes. A “mudding” in a wetland complaint was closed as well as a sale of venison case. An injured eagle was kept overnight to be brought to the Raptor Center the next morning.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) assisted with the interviewing process at Camp Ripley for Academy 18. He worked the St. Croix Bridge Project with CO Joel Heyn and CO Chelsie Leuthardt. He also spent time working boating activity and violations found included fail to display valid boat registration and riding on the transom. He assisted Fort Snelling State Park staff on a case of an ATV that was found operating illegally in the state park.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week patrolling fishermen and conducting zebra mussel checks with his K9 partner Shelby.  CO Grewe attended the annual Cops and Kids fishing event in Brooklyn Park and did a K9 demo for a boat safety class.  Violations this week included fill in public waters.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked boating and fishing activities on the metro area lakes.  He investigated a complaint of the possibility of an abandoned boat on the Mississippi River in north Minneapolis.  Officer Lee was able to locate the owner and had the owner take care of the boat.  He also took calls on nuisance animal complaints and answering questions to the Asian community on youth firearm safety classes.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) checked anglers and boaters on area lakes. Time was also spent doing follow up on AIS violations.  Officer Maass also attended a kids fishing clinic. Enforcement action was taken on AIS violations and lifejacket violations.

Bloomington – vacant.

Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week doing AIS enforcement and checking anglers. He also scheduled firearm safety classes and patrolled the wildlife management areas. Violations for the week included no trout stamp, registration, and no license in possession.

CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) worked boat and water safety and anglers this week.  Assistance was provided to local agencies with large events on the water.  Enforcement action was taken for no fire extinguisher, no license in possession, possession of an illegal length fish, and insufficient PFD’s.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week working boating enforcement on the St. Croix River.  He also spent time at Camp Ripley instructing EVOC for other conservation officers. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, BUI, DUI, and water safety violations.

White Bear Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) spent time throughout the week checking fishermen, watercraft, and ATV’s.  Fishing activity is slow due to high water levels along the Minnesota River. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio interview with KLOH Radio in Pipestone. Fishing, boating, ATV, state park, and AIS were the main enforcement focuses. A “Fishing Has No Boundaries” event was attended on Cottonwood Lake. A special thanks to the Cottonwood Sportsmen’s Club for putting the event on. Cooler than normal temperatures and high winds slowed recreational boating/PWC activity during the week.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports working OHV and fishing enforcement. Numerous wildlife and OHV regulation questions were fielded and the officer continued to receive OHV complaints in the OHV Park. Enforcement action was taken for OHV registration violations and allowing illegal ATV operation by a juvenile.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers, working boating safety, and enforcing invasive species laws.  An invasive species detail was worked at Lake Shetek.  Good weather has brought outdoor recreationists out in large numbers.

Officer Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent the week working angling activity and boat and water enforcement.  Enforcement action was taken for license issues. Officer Gutzwiller continued to follow up with ongoing investigations. Assistance was provided to Lac qui Parle Sheriff’s Office.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reported that cat fishermen are having the best luck fishing in the area.  Litter continues to be a focus as trash is being left behind at popular shore fishing areas.  Assistance was given to Lac qui Parle County. 

Lake Benton – vacant.

Worthington – vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) followed up on wetland complaints and spent time checking anglers and boaters.   CO Denz also attended division training at Camp Ripley.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) spent time on area lakes working boating activity.  He followed up on a dumping complaint and possible wetland violation.  CO Vernier also worked commercial activity.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time during the week at Camp Ripley training officers in emergency vehicle operations. Other time was spent assisting with a commercial detail. While doing field work, CO Klehr came across an accident on Hwy 55 that had just happened. He was on scene while the 911 calls were still being made. CO Klehr heard people say wow they have fast response time. An ATV safety class was also attended where time was spent talking to the kids about ATV rules and regulations.

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson-East) worked AIS and angling enforcement in the area.  CO Oberg also spent time assisting on a commercial detail.  Calls were returned and questions were answered about nuisance animals and non-resident licenses.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) assisted other conservation officers with a commercial detail. Officer Nelson also followed up on small game complaints and boating enforcement activities.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) spent the week assisting with interview panels for the hiring process of new conservation officers.  Officer Miller also received numerous calls related to young wildlife that may be orphaned.  Other questions related to boating registration and safety requirements were fielded.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled his area checking activity relating to angling, ATV, and AIS.  CO Gruhlke worked an AIS detail in Martin County with CO Schettler, where compliance was excellent.  Enforcement action was taken concerning ATV activity and assistance was given to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked anglers and boaters.  Cooler weather has come in decreasing recreational activity on the water.  AIS inspections were conducted at two public accesses with the assistance of CO Mike Gruhlke from Jackson County.  Watercraft owners were in 100% compliance of the AIS laws.  Enforcement action was taken for angling violations. Calls were taken regarding young raccoons and ducks. 

Hutchinson West – vacant.

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) reports working AIS, boating, angling and commercial enforcement this week. CO Henke located individuals angling without a license.  During one angling check, CO Henke located a male party fishing with three lines and two of the lines were baited with sunfish; enforcement action was taken. CO Henke had the opportunity to speak to the Albert Lea Anglers, a group of young outdoor enthusiasts, on the duties of conservation officers.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, boaters, and ATV operators during the week.  An aquatic invasive species detail was worked with a neighboring conservation officer.  Multiple violations were encountered during the week.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) focused on AIS compliance and ATV enforcement this week.  Officer VanThuyne also assisted neighboring officers with an investigation and responded to numerous questions about ATV regulations.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent his week checking anglers, boaters, and ATV riders. Additional time was spent monitoring PWAs for AIS violations. Officer Ihnen has seen an increase in the number of orphaned animal calls this spring including deer, raccoons, skunks, and ducks, and would like to stress to leave these animals alone and do not attempt to pick them up or remove them from their environment.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) monitored AIS and fishing activity throughout the week. A new boat owner was educated on the importance of following AIS laws. Miscellaneous wildlife complaints were also handled. CO Hill stopped a dirt bike that was operating in the ditch of a state highway. As it turned out, the driver did not have a driver’s license and the machine was unregistered. Enforcement action was taken. Other enforcement action for the week included no fishing license in possession.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked anglers and rec vehicles during the week.  Trout streams were muddy with recent rains, but some still did well.  Officer Heyn also worked a detail. 

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) patrolled for sport fishing and boat/water safety. Additional efforts were spent patrolling for ATVs and handling miscellaneous wildlife complaints. Enforcement action for the week included fishing without a license, fishing with an extra line, and various boating safety violations.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports good fishing as the river goes back down with limits of walleye checked.  Officer Hemker also checked ATV areas and received many nuisance wild animal calls.  He found a person driving where they should have not been that was stuck in a mud hole.  They used articles from the car like cushions and blankets to try and unsuccessfully get the car out.

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week checking anglers on the Mississippi River. A call was also received regarding a Timber Rattlesnake on a homeowner’s front steps in Red Wing. Once on scene, it was verified that the snake was indeed a rattlesnake. The snake was carefully removed from the steps and transported to a nearby designated den site where it was released. The snake seemed pleased to be back in a more natural environment. Enforcement action for the week included no sound producing device on board watercraft, fail to renew ATV registration, operate ATV without lights, fail to display ATV registration, and operate Class 1 ATV in public road right of way without driver’s license.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports investigating dumping complaints and waters violations. Time was also spent checking trout anglers and ATV complaint areas. Compliance was high. Canoers, kayakers and tubers were also out in good numbers. Violations were few and it was good to see folks carrying their trash with them off of the river.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) worked mainly boating and fishing enforcement this week on the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin.  Many happy anglers were encountered as the walleye bite continues to be very solid on the lake and the big river.  A formal complaint was also filed with the Wabasha County Attorney’s office and some department training was completed.  Enforcement action again involved license, registration, and safety equipment issues.

CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) followed up on TIP reports and returned calls on nuisance animal complaints.

Rochester #1 – vacant.

Training Section

Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew several WCA and APM flights.  Possible violations were documented and forwarded to appropriate conservation officers. 

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying several days of forestry missions as well as enforcement flights related to Aquatic Plant Management and ATV usage.  A flight to assist with searching for a missing person was cancelled and maintenance issues were addressed. 

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of working/checking shore anglers and monitoring transient watercraft for AIS violations.  He assisted with ferrying aircraft that were coming out of maintenance.  Pilot Jensen and another DNR pilot also visited the National Weather Service office in Duluth to learn more about aviation weather forecasting and how certain aviation/fire forecasts are created. Pilot Jensen took enforcement action on an AIS violation found in the Brainerd area.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) ferried an airplane back to Brainerd and worked on helicopter maintenance items. He also continued prep with aerial spray manuals.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) searched for a drowning victim on Red Lake and ferried aircraft to Park Rapids for an aircraft exchange. Pilot Heineman also worked on training for the upcoming helicopter fire bucket refresher.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on PW, APM, and WCA cases. Updates to ongoing cases were completed. New cases were investigated and phone calls fielded.  EVOC training was attended. Fishermen and boaters were checked for AIS law compliance.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) helped instruct EVOC Training at Camp Ripley. WREO Haberman also spent time checking fishermen and AIS inspections on Leech and Mille Lacs Lakes. A site inspection was conducted for aquatic plant management.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week working AIS and conducting follow-up on wetland cases.  Enforcement action was taken for AIS and boating safety violations.  A wetland restoration order was also served.

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) followed-up on WCA and PW cases and assisted with an AIS saturation in Murray County. Fishermen were also checked without much luck. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) assisted on the interview panels for new CO applicants.

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:


NW RTO Greg Oldakowski (acting) reports working at a county fair with the Laser Shot system for the youth.  Many parents engaged as well, with parents asking many questions regarding safety courses and programs.  Several other topics were covered at the fair including ATV law, bear and deer seasons, and wetland law among others.  Lesson plans for upcoming training were worked on.

Southern RTO Jen Mueller (acting) attended EVOC Training at Camp Ripley.  She assisted with a detail in southern MN and also met with an instructor group to discuss and plan field days for online students. 

Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence assisted with Emergency Vehicle Operations Course at Camp Ripley for conservation officers.  RTO Lawrence assisted CO Arntzen with aquatic invasive species checks at local public water access sites in Anoka County. RTO Lawrence completed follow up for instructor training and finalized background checks from recent safety instructor 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
North Metro RTO Frank Rezac                      320-552-3948   frank.rezac@state.mn.us
Southern RTO Jennifer Mueller                      320-234-3499    jennifer.mueller@state.mn.us
South Metro RTO Phil George                       507-775-2006    philip.george@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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