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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

 

CONSERVATION OFFICER REPORT
10-13-14                                                           

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked waterfowl hunters on Thief Lake, Roseau River pools, and Lake of the Woods. Hunting success is still good; however, we are still awaiting the bluebill migration to occur. An interview was done with a local radio station regarding the upcoming early youth deer season. Enforcement action was taken on a hunter who was motoring and shooting from his boat at the same time. 

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) completed training with a Conservation Officer Candidate (COC) and conducted equipment maintenance. CO Woinarowicz investigated a deer baiting case, assisted North Dakota Game and Fish with an ongoing investigation, and continued two Wetland Conservation Act violation investigations. Enforcement action for the week included ATV operation violations and WMA violations.

CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) responded to a trespass complaint, worked ATV enforcement, and checked waterfowl and grouse hunters. Information was provided to a homeowner on a neighborhood bear problem. Injured deer calls were taken and shining activity was worked.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking anglers on special regulation lakes, waterfowl hunters, small game hunters, monitoring AIS compliance and ATV activity on area trails throughout the week. A shining detail was worked with neighboring officers with enforcement action taken for shining during restricted hours and unlawfully transporting a loaded, uncased firearm. Time was spent investigating a report of shooting waterfowl during closed hours, assistance was given to DNR Wildlife with the report of an injured eagle which was captured and sent to the Raptor Center for evaluation and possible rehabilitation and car killed deer possession permits were issued. Enforcement action for the week included unlawfully transporting loaded firearms violations and Federal Waterfowl Stamp 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 have been working waterfowl hunters, big game hunters, small game hunters and fishermen. Several nuisance beaver complaints were investigated. A suspected public waters violation investigation was started. The officers spent time educating waterfowl hunters about AIS laws as they pertain to duck hunting equipment. A large permitted CRP fire was checked. Enforcement action was taken for hunting waterfowl without a federal duck stamp, fishing without an angling license, hunting without a license in possession, and taking a prairie chicken without a license. The officers seized the prairie chicken. A green-winged teal and American coot were seized for being taken illegally.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked AIS, ATVs, waterfowl, and deer archery hunters. He responded to TIP calls, car kills, problem beaver, trespass and possible wolf depredation that is believed to be coyote.
 
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked hunters, investigated a wolf depredation and answered calls on upcoming firearms deer season.
 
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked waterfowl and other small game hunting activity. Officer Holt also checked on ATV activity in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. Time was spent working with neighboring officers on a special detail. Enforcement action related to illegal deer shining activity.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking waterfowl, grouse and archery deer hunters.  He assisted CO Oldakowski (Wadena) with a vandalism investigation on a WMA and issued several car killed deer permits. CO Vinton assisted the MSP with a person that had gone off the road and then refused to get out of the vehicle. Dogs chasing deer complaints were also investigated. Enforcement action was taken for over limit of ducks and license issues.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) and a COC spent time working waterfowl and small game hunters. Focus was again placed on AIS education and enforcement while checking hunters with watercrafts and decoys. However, hunter numbers and waterfowl numbers were way down from previous weeks. Violations for the week included transporting loaded firearms.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports a slow pheasant opener with less than a bird per hunter average. Dry and windy conditions along with a lot of corn still standing made hunting tough. Duck hunters report slower success. Time was also spent on waters violations and shooting to close to residence complaint.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) monitored angling on area waters. Waterfowl and small game hunting activity was worked. CO Warren investigated calls of possible illegal waterfowl hunting including closed areas and closed hours. 
 
WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week focusing efforts on Wetland Conservation Act and Public Waters cases. Much of the week was spent working on a background investigation for the CO Prep program.

Moorhead - vacant.

 
District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports poor success for pheasant hunters over the opener.  Duck hunters continue to see redheads and canvasbacks dominate the early migration. Time was also spent on wetland violation issues in Otter Tail County.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) received and investigated two separate reports of attacks on horses. One older horse suffered minor wounds while another was killed. The officer monitored fishing activity and small game hunters. Plautz made contact with a group of waterfowl hunters hunting in a closed area.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement activity on fishing activity, waterfowl hunters, pheasant hunters and bow hunters. Nelson saw limited success for both waterfowl and pheasant hunters. Additional calls were handled regarding deer hunting regulations, spinning wing decoys, trespass, and nuisance animal calls.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl and pheasant hunters. Pheasant hunter numbers were very low over the opening weekend and Osborne didn’t see a rooster in the bag. Duck hunter numbers remained steady even though duck numbers have decreased. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time monitoring waterfowl and pheasant hunting activity. Hunter numbers were rather low; however ducks numbers were decent in the area.  Pheasant hunter compliance was very good with few violations observed.  A call was taken regarding waterfowl hunters shooting and leaving a mallard on a nearby landowner’s property without giving any effort to retrieve it. Upon inspection of the group, five hunters in two boats had one loaded firearm and zero PFDs. Enforcement action was taken and the mallard was located and retrieved. Open burning of garbage and burning prohibited materials violations were also handled.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) completed step 3 field training with a COC. Time was spent checking waterfowl, small game, and archery deer hunters. The pheasant opener was worked with many hunters checked but very few roosters seen taken. Additional time was spent working fishing, boating, and AIS activity around area lakes. Shining activity was worked and follow up was completed on complaints involving discarded waterfowl and deer carcasses, dogs chasing deer, and fail to retrieve waterfowl/wanton waste.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused on the pheasant opener, waterfowl hunting activity and fishing enforcement. COs Anderson and Baumbarger participated in a pheasant opener work crew in the Morris area. Hunter success was very poor. Only a couple of pheasants were observed in the bag all weekend. A call on an injured eagle was handled in the vacant Swift County station. Additional time was spent issuing minnow transportation permits and fielding calls from the public regarding sea gulls, firearms deer season questions and an injured dove.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, bow hunters, pheasant hunters, waterfowl hunters, and monitoring AIS law compliance. Pheasant hunter numbers around the area were high for opening weekend, but the harvest was extremely low, with the officer only seeing five dead birds all weekend.  Additional time was spent on training and equipment maintenance. 

Wheaton - vacant.

District 4 - Wadena area

 

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked areas for baiting, worked small game enforcement and ATV issues. Equipment maintenance was addressed. Enforcement action was taken for several ATV violations.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) followed up on an aquatic vegetation complaint. CO Hunter answered questions regarding big game hunting.

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) reports waterfowl activity is decreasing, but a few hunters and a few ducks do remain. Deer hunting issues and questions are increasing with bait and trespass issues being investigated. A wetlands case was investigated and a Firearms Safety Class was arranged for next week.

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on sport fishing, boating, AIS, big and small game and waterfowl hunting and ORV activity. Nothing unusual to report. Received calls regarding the use of deer stands on state and county lands; handled a littering complaint; assisted Longville CO with a deer case; handled a report of a deer injured by a vehicle near Remer it was goa.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked duck hunters and anglers. A wanton waste tip and grouse hunters were also checked. Fishing success on area lakes has improved considerably with limits (and over limits) observed for perch and walleye. Enforcement action was taken for over limit of walleye, unplugged shotgun while duck hunting, transport loaded firearm in motor vehicle, no federal duck stamp, no stamp in possession, and AIS 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 was moderate. CO Broughten investigated complaints of deer baiting and taking deer out of season. CO Broughten also assisted local law enforcement with a traffic stop and a search for a subject with multiple warrants. Enforcement action included: no angling license in possession and ATV passenger under 18 without a helmet.

CO Colleen Adam (ATV Rec Officer) patrolled area forest roads and trails. She checked grouse, bear, waterfowl, and archery hunters. The Officer assisted other agencies with a road rage incident and a fleeing felon. ATV registration violations and no burning permit enforcement actions were reported.

WREO Shane Siltala met with SWCD staff in several counties to discuss ongoing wetland violations. Investigations were made at several different sites for possible wetland violations. He also met with the area aquatic plant specialist to discuss current APM issues. An extension for a WCA restoration order was also served.

CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked grouse, duck, and deer hunters and handled beaver complaints. Contacts were made for hunting ducks during closed week. Halverson gave law talk at Staples Online FAS field day.
Remer - vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

 

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) finished up field training with a COC.  Work activities for the week consisted of checking fishing activity on Rainy River and grouse hunting activity in station. An injured wolf was dispatched near the outskirts of Int’l Falls, along with picking –up another from a predator control trapper from a depredation complaint.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area forest roads, checking public access sites, and continued work on seasonal equipment transition. Phone calls were returned and computer and office work tended to. Assistance was provided to DNR forestry.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports quite a few people in the area getting their hunting shacks in order and doing a little grouse hunting. A few more birds are starting to appear as the leaves fall off the trees. Not much fishing going on and most anglers have put their boats away for the winter. Numerous questions relating to the upcoming hunting seasons were received.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ongoing hunting seasons, invasive species enforcement, investigated a public waters fill complaint, taught a Firearms Safety Class in Buhl, and handled complaints of an injured deer, discarded ducks, late duck shooters, and an ATV accident with injuries. More grouse are showing up in the bag, with more birds being seen and a couple of limits taken. A complaint of duck hunters shooting after the 4:00 PM closure hours ended up with two hunters hunting 2 ½ hours late, having toxic shot, not having a license in possession, no life jackets, a federal duck stamp violation and the littering of beer cans into the lake. Other violations encountered during the week consisted of possession of toxic shot, unsigned federal duck stamp, wanton waste, and no small game license in possession, no HIP certification, OHV trespass and a number of ATV violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) took a call concerning a road killed timber wolf on Hwy 53 north of Virginia. The reporting party asked if he could have a permit for the pelt. CO Frericks explained that CO’s were not authorized to release road killed timber wolves to private parties at this time. Instead, the timber wolf was turned over to the local Boy Scout Troop to be used for educational purposes. CO Frericks assisted St Louis County deputies by responding to a call about a cabin owner who had his window shot out by a juvenile with a BB gun on Ely Island on Lake Vermilion. The cabin owner reported one of the juveniles had fled in a canoe and the other three on foot. The canoe the juvenile fled in was found and CO Frericks and the deputies began searching through the woods for the juveniles. CO Frericks eventually located all four juveniles in a cabin that they had just broken into. The juveniles face numerous serious felony charges such as burglary, criminal damage to property and theft.      

International Falls # 2 - vacant.

Ray - vacant.

Tower - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

 

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports there was a noticeable increase in small game hunting activity over the week, although success reports were only fair. Several nuisance bear incidences were reported in and around the city of Ely. Residents were reminded to keep attractants like bird seed and garbage in for the remainder of the summer. 

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked grouse hunters and checked a few duck hunters. Grouse hunters are doing well. The duck hunters, not so much. The leaves are nearly off the trees after the frost a couple nights ago. A parent was cited for allowing their child to operate an ATV without a helmet after being warned for the same thing a week earlier.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) dealt with a couple of more calls on wolves attacking dogs just outside of Grand Marais. One man was able to scare the wolf away with a blast from his pistol. Bull moose are involved heavily in the rut as the fighting arenas in the woods are all torn up and tracks along the roadsides show that the bulls are doing a lot of running. The CO checked a few weekday grouse hunters and found they are seeing a good number of birds. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) had a DNR booth at the Ely Sportsman’s Expo. Old evidence was disposed of.  Calls are coming in regarding questions about the hunting seasons. Enforcement action was taken for hunting grouse on an invalid license.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area hunting complaints. CO Schottenbauer responded to a few animal complaints as well. Time was spent focusing on invasive species law compliance as well.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked waterfowl, angling, ATV, and invasive species enforcement efforts during the week. Frosty mornings have brought more grouse out along the trails with most hunters having at least seeing birds. Murray assisted Lake County Sheriff’s deputies with the search for a fleeing suspect that had threatened to hurt himself.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

 

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked grouse and waterfowl hunters, worked areas for illegal shining, investigated a camping complaint at a WMA, helped with an ATV safety class, and assisted the Koochiching County Sheriff’s Department with a lost hunter.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked small game, big game, and fishing enforcement. Violations include ATV’s on the roadway, no license in possession, and late shooting on ducks and grouse. He also handled wildlife complaints.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity, investigated waterfowl complaints and worked AIS enforcement. Panfish anglers had good success on area lakes and waterfowl hunters saw high numbers of birds move into the area this week. Enforcement action was taken for no trailer lights, possess illegal length northern pike and OHV registration issues.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time working on a background investigation for the division. She also took calls regarding hunting seasons and regulations. She took a complaint of off road traveling by ATV on Blandin property and also investigated a shooting complaint.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids)  worked small game hunters in the area with grouse and waterfowl takes looking better. CO Sutherland also gave a law talk to a group of youth at a firearms safety class over the past week. Trespassing and hunter harassment calls also came in over the week.  

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATVs, small game archery and waterfowl hunters. He also checked bough permits and worked a timber theft case during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week checking waterfowl and grouse hunters. Enforcement action was taken for baiting bears with non-biodegradable material and operating an ATV on a closed state forest trails. 

CO John Velsvaag (Region 2 ATV Officer) checked OHM activity as well as duck and grouse hunters. CO Velsvaag received two complaints of duck hunters shooting early. CO Velsvaag attended a trails meeting and followed up on illegal ATV use in a wetland.

District 8 - Duluth area

 

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) spent time checking waterfowl, grouse and archery deer hunters. A complaint of a person dumping a deer carcass was investigated. Complaints of shooting from the roadway were also worked. While doing some ATV enforcement a total of seven violations were discovered after stopping two ATV riders.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) focused on waterfowl, big and small game and AIS enforcement. Waterfowl hunters enjoyed a second opener of sorts with the central zone reopening on Saturday. A good number of divers, mallards, and geese were observed in hunter’s bags. Hunters with watercraft were advised and educated on AIS requirements.  Overall good compliance was observed. Small game hunters also reported seeing good numbers of grouse throughout the week. Patrols were made into county and state lands including the Fond Du Lac State Forest and local Wildlife Mgt. Areas. Calls and questions continued to be received about upcoming firearms deer season. CO Humphrey participated in a deer shining work detail with other district officers. Violations for no license in possession, unsigned and no waterfowl stamps, no HIP certification and hunting in a closed waterfowl zone were encountered

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted with firearms training north of Duluth and attended a meeting with the MN Trapper’s Association. Small game, waterfowl and archery deer hunting activity was worked in the area. Enforcement action was taken for hunting waterfowl out of season after a complaint was received about hunters taking geese in a closed area.  Staples worked on older cases and K9 training continues with Schody

WREO Mike Scott continued work on a background investigation for CO Prep program. Anglers were checked on area lakes and fall walleyes and crappies were seen in the live wells. Grouse hunters were checked and success is getting better with the leaves off the trees. More grouse taken as a result. Waterfowl hunters were checked talking about AIS issues and concerns. Enforcement action was taken for no federal waterfowl stamp. A wetland issue dating back to 2007 was worked on with more progress noted with the EPA and local government units.

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent much of the week working waterfowl hunters. Most hunters are having some luck with numerous species observed. ATV complaints continue and complaint areas were worked. Public accesses were worked for AIS violations. Officer Schmidt assisted Duluth Fire with an injured hiker. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) started final training phase with Conservation Officer Candidate (COC). Officers  Handled numerous complaints phoned in during the week. Officers investigated a wolf depredation call, where a family dog was taken from a yard by wolves and killed. Another complaint was taken from another landowner who had to chase a wolf that was on its back. Officers investigated a bear cub that had been shot, investigation is ongoing. Officers dealt with a number of wildlife complaints, including injured eagle, trapped skunk, and two injured deer. Officers investigated a dead moose found by a hunter. The moose died from natural causes (wolf kill). The moose was submitted to biologists for analysis. Enforcement action was taken on ATV violations, narcotics, illegally shot grebe, and PFDs. Officers want to remind waterfowl hunters to be sure of what they are shooting while duck hunting.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

 

Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) worked deer shining details with fellow District 8 officers and checked bird hunters north of Duluth. With the leaves dropping fast the success rate has increased. Olson responded to an injured deer on a fence in the lakeside neighborhood, checked anglers enjoying the warmer weather and questions on the upcoming firearms deer season are increasing. Olson patrolled walk in areas for ATV traffic.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked grouse hunters and ATVers during the weekend.  Riders with juvenile passengers need to make sure that the child’s helmet is a DOT or SNELL –approved motorsports helmet, and not a bike or hockey helmet. Another individual was found burning furniture in his backyard and issued appropriate paperwork. A local law enforcement meeting was attended and AIS compliance checked at area accesses.  Enforcement action taken for burning and ATV violations

CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) worked big game, angling, boating, ATV, and AIS enforcement throughout the week. He also continued to work on a background investigation on a candidate from the CO prep program. He also attended a qualification and a multiagency meeting.

District 9 - Brainerd area

 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) continued work on a background investigation for a potential CO. Officer Guida worked waterfowl and small game hunting enforcement. A report of late shooting was received. Waterfowl hunters are reminded that the season now closes at sunset. Consult your hunting regulations book for the exact times.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) monitored waterfowl hunting and fishing activity throughout the week. Waterfowl hunters and anglers are both reporting slow to moderate activity. CO McGowan assisted CO Guida with a TIP call on Pelican Lake which resulted in an angler using extra lines to fish. CO McGowan took enforcement action on taking waterfowl with toxic shot, no federal duck stamp, no state waterfowl stamp, and angling with extra lines. CO McGowan also followed up on several TIP cases. 

CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) continued to work duck hunters on area lakes and spent some time checking anglers over the weekend. CO Peterson also spent time addressing some issues of state park boundaries and educating folks that hunting is not allowed in a state park. Grouse hunters are starting to see more birds as the leaves are falling and a few bear hunters found some success this last weekend of the season. 

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports focusing around waterfowl hunting enforcement and patrol of the closed central duck zone for illegal hunting. A livestock depredation incident was also investigated. Enforcement contacts were made for use of motorized decoys during the closed period, and toxic shot.
 
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week who were reporting a so-so bite on walleye on the Whitefish Chain. Anglers also reported that pan fish activity was also picking up on area lakes. Officer Lee checked waterfowl hunters this past week with limited success being reported by hunters. The same report was made by small game hunters, with lots of foliage still making it tuff to see birds. Officer Lee received a complaint of trespassing and baiting this past week on private property. The site was located by the owner, and is under investigation at this time. Enforcement action taken this past week entailed fail to remove watercraft plug, transporting aquatic macrophytes (lake vegetation), and operate ATV on public roadway.

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 continues to be poor. The archery hunters report the deer are becoming more active with the cooler weather. Deer baiting complaints have come in and are being worked on. He checked duck hunters some of violations found he found were unplugged guns and no duck stamp. He spent time at accesses checking and reminding duck hunters to clean their boats of aquatic vegetation. He worked with Cass County Deputy Travis Collette on a complaint of duck hunters trespassing and shooting near houses. Complaints of litter and garbage dumping continue to be reported.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked anglers and waterfowl hunters throughout the week. Invasive species, ATV, archery deer and bear hunting activity was also worked. He also worked with CO’s Wichmann and VanderWeyst on an archery deer baiting case. A bow and an eight-point buck were seized with charges pending.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

 

CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked hunters having better success as the leaves continue to fall. The nice weekend brought out a lot of ATV activity which included registration and juvenile rider issues. There was still plenty of lake activity as docks and lifts came out and crappies are biting well. Verkuilen also worked late hunting activity and responded to a wolf complaint.

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) had an interesting week. The officer encountered a party transporting a loaded firearm on an ATV while grouse hunting. The party indicated that he spoke with two friends who were cited a week prior for the same violation, in the same spot, by Officer Tetrault, prior to hunting. In another instance the officer was traveling home late at night and observed a large fire with prohibited materials in it. Nearby, was a mobile home being dismantled. When the officer asked the party what he was burning, the party replied, “just some wood, that’s it… and some paper… and insulation… and shingles….the mobile home pretty much.” Enforcement action was taken.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports continuing Step 4 training with a COC. Officers monitored shining activity throughout the Malmo station. Aquatic Invasive Species enforcement was done around Mille Lacs Lake and smaller waterfowl hunting lakes.  Waterfowl hunters were checked with a few birds seen but for the most part hunters reported a slow hunt. Small game hunters and ATV operators were checked on area state and county land and a nuisance beaver permit was issued for beaver doing damage. A call of someone operating an ATV in a wildlife management Area was also investigated.  A meeting regarding Mille Lac Lake was attended and lots of fishing, hunting, and ATV law related questions were answered throughout the week. Enforcement action for the week included various hunting violations.
 
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a solid waste violation where at least 100 diapers were dumped near a river. She took a trespass complaint and checked waterfowl hunters reminding them of the AIS laws. Speldrich attended a meeting regarding the AWL (Area With Limitations) in the state forests. AWLs are newly designated non-motorized areas where the hunter/trapper exemption does not apply.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) completed step 3 with a COC. Waterfowl stamp violations were found. A meeting about Mille Lacs Lake was attended. Baiting, illegal party hunting, and illegal duck investigations continue. ATV operators are reminded to stay off county highways. Neighboring officers were assisted and shining activities were monitored.  

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) and a Conservation Officer Candidate (COC) spent the past week checking waterfowl hunters, bear hunters and small game hunters. Bear hunting activity was very slow compared to earlier in the season but state forest areas were fairly busy with grouse hunters. Several hunting groups commented they were happy with the number of grouse they found. Enforcement activity included finding illegal bear bait sites and duck hunters out hunting without a license. A taxidermist inspection was completed and an injured Bald Eagle was collected and transported to the Audubon Center for rehabilitation.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent time checking ATV complaints and small game hunters.  He continues answering questions about the upcoming deer season, pheasant season, and nuisance animals. Enforcement contacts included hunting waterfowl in the closed season.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked small game hunters and waterfowl hunters during the past week and weekend. Time was also spent winterizing equipment and attending a meeting regarding Mille Lacs Lake. A call of a car killed bear was also handled. 

WREO Rob Haberman worked AIS enforcement at accesses around his work station. One individual was cited for transporting zebra mussels in his watercraft. A good reminder to boaters is to check anchors and areas where weeds and zebra mussels can fall off and into the boat. WREO Haberman also worked on wetland cases in his assigned area and checked small game hunters having some success with grouse.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

 

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking waterfowl and pheasant hunters. A good number of ducks are still in the area but fewer hunters were seen out. The pheasant opener proved to be a quiet one with very few roosters being seen in the bag. While on patrol CO Silgjord ran into multiple situations were juveniles were being allowed to illegally operate ATVs and OHMs. Waterfowl hunters without PFDs continue to be an issue on area waters. Hunters were reminded a boat full of equipment, hunters, a dog and cool water temps can be a deadly combination. 

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked pheasant, duck, deer, and small game hunters. Pheasant hunter numbers were down as well as birds in the Albany area. Duck numbers in the area are good, with some new birds seen including canvasback, mallard, teal, and wood duck. Time was spent on trespass and wetland cases.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) continued focus on background investigations. Waterfowl hunters took advantage of longer shooting hours. Waterfowl hunters checked reported seeing more ducks last weekend. Pheasant hunters were scarce, but so were pheasants.  Follow up was done on open cases. 

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers. CO Mies also worked on waters and wetland complaints. CO Mies checked hunters and ATVs and finished a case on aquatic vegetation.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) investigated calls of deer stands in Wildlife Management Areas and of a boat in the Mississippi River that was tied up to an island and full of water. Fortunately the boat’s owner was home and safe. Two separate TIP calls were handled of duck hunters out hunting during the Waterfowl closed/split season.  One hunter was found with a limit of ducks and the second duck hunter who had no ducks tried to bribe CO Kuske with pumpkin bars to get out of getting a ticket for hunting during closed season. Neither hunter had read the Waterfowl regulations book to see that the season was closed Oct. 6th-Oct. 10th.   

WREO Keith Bertram spent the week working AIS and wetland complaints. Hunters were also checked. Enforcement action was taken for license violations.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling, AIS, waterfowl, turkey and the pheasant opener. The officer saw what was predicted regarding pheasant numbers and fewer hunters in the area.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) investigated a WCA violation where a driveway was placed in a wetland. The property owners did not get a permit from SWCD and the contractor failed to file a liability form for the work. A group of hunters had good luck shooting six pheasants on opener morning, but their luck changed though when CO Kuske checked them, one hunter forgot to buy a small game license and another forgot a pheasant stamp. A duck hunter coming off an area lake after sunset was amazed there was no late shooting. The fact that there were virtually no ducks flying definitely contributed to the compliance of the law. Fall fishermen are finding walleye bites on several lakes and many people are starting to take out docks and boats as the season end draws near.CO Kuske conducted AIS checks at several boat landings in Morrison and Crow Wing counties. An individual was seen field dressing a deer along a back road early one morning. Follow-up investigation found it to be a car-killed deer and a permit was issued. CO Kuske continues to work several deer shining complaint areas.

St. Cloud - vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

 

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) spoke at a youth firearms safety class. Hunters and anglers were checked. Violations were found for taking waterfowl during closed season, unplugged shotguns, and transporting loaded firearms. Time was also spent working aquatic invasive species enforcement.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) began Step 4 of field training with a COC. Areas of emphasis were related to waterfowl, small game and archery deer. It was a great turnout for waterfowl hunters. A variety of ducks were taken on local lakes with the divers now starting to appear. Calls for service this past week included a report of a swan taken by waterfowl hunters on North Lake in Monticello. Upon completion of the investigation, it was determined that a juvenile misidentified a Trumpeter Swan for a goose and shot and killed it. His father, whom also was present, was cited as the responsible party and the juvenile was issued a written warning. Assisted a partnering CO with AIS checks on waterfowl hunters coming in to boat accesses; most were in good compliance. Enforcement action was taken for taking ducks out of season, failure to have license in possession, angle w/o license, parent allow a violation of game and fish laws, take waterfowl after closed hours, take small game w/o license, take Trumpeter Swan, use of motorized decoy in WMA, no state migratory waterfowl stamp, no federal migratory waterfowl stamp and operate Class1 ATV on public highway.

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a slow week of hunting during the waterfowl break. One hunter was hunting ducks on Monday morning and was educated on reading the synopsis. The weekend turned out to be a busy weekend of hunting. Anglers were also out on area lakes looking for some late season walleyes. CO Langevin also handled numerous animal complaints and a car kill bear.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) worked anglers, small game hunters, and waterfowl hunters during the week. Ducks and geese have shied up a little and few were seen in the bag. Pheasant hunter numbers were down as were birds. Firearms Safety was also attended in Mora. Enforcement action was taken on no State waterfowl stamp, no federal waterfowl stamp and no small game license.    

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) assisted Zimmerman Forestry with trespassing and litter issues where summons and written warning will be issued when the investigation is complete. He checked waterfowl hunting areas. He also checked small game hunters in the Sand Dunes State Forest, Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge and a number of WPA and WMA. He assisted Wright County surveyors with DNR contacts. He continued investigating a number of deer baiting issues. He also assisted his swan rehabilitation team with coordinating a capture of injured Trumpeter Swans shot by waterfowl hunters last week. The rehabilitation team successfully captured one of the swans and transported it for rehabilitation. The individuals were issued summons for the shooting of the swans.

District 13 - West Metro area

 

CO Steve Walter (Waconia) gave a presentation to several kids and adults at the Watertown Rod & Gun Club before a pheasant hunt at Wings of Watertown shooting preserve. The pheasant opener and south and central duck zone second opener was worked with CO Grewe in Scott, Carver and Hennepin counties. AIS interviews were done on watercraft inspector violations found on zebra mussels. Telephone calls were returned all week on hunting questions. Enforcement action was taken for spinning wing decoys, shooting waterfowl from open water, no personal flotation devices onboard watercraft, no HIP certification, no small game licenses in possession, no federal duck stamps, unsigned federal duck stamps, no state duck stamps, transport loaded firearms in motorized boat, litter and transport zebra mussels on watercraft.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked anglers, boaters and worked AIS enforcement in temporary assigned Fort Snelling and Bloomington stations. He worked with CO VanderWeyst during the 2014 Pheasant Opener in the Paynesville station. Enforcement action was taken for no pheasant stamp, illegal use of motorized duck decoys, dog off leash in State Park, transporting aquatic macrophytes and zebra mussels.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week monitoring bow hunting activity and investigating TIP complaints. CO Grewe answered calls with questions regarding the upcoming Deer Opener and checked a few pheasant hunters, who were frustrated with the lack of birds. Violations included, hunting waterfowl during a closed season, use of spinning wing decoys during restricted period, possession of lead shot while hunting waterfowl, unsigned federal duck stamp, and no lifejackets.

CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) continued work on background investigations. Officer Salzer patrolled Hennepin County for waterfowl activity over the weekend. CO Salzer also responded to a wetland violation in Hennepin County which is being investigated.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked the pheasant and duck opener in the Scott County area. Small game and bow hunters were checked by CO Vang. Officer Vang also responded to motorized duck decoy complaints, patrolled WMAs and answered calls on hunting regulations. 

Bloomington - vacant.

Mound - vacant.

Prior Lake - vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) worked the pheasant opener and spent time checking waterfowl hunters. CO Arntzen responded to a call of some individuals that shot a trumpeter swan. He also worked an AIS detail in St. Paul Park and continued working TIP calls. Enforcement action for the week included unplugged shotguns, no licenses, stamp violations, no HIP certification, failure to remove drain plug and take protected bird. 

CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) reports that he worked the Pheasant Opener. He checked small game and archery deer hunters during the week. CO Johnson participated in an AIS work crew in St. Paul Park. He appeared at a trial in Anoka County for hunting deer over bait. The defendant pled guilty to the charge. CO Johnson took enforcement action for duck hunting during closed season and failure to register a deer.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked waterfowl hunters over the weekend and participated in an AIS work detail at a Mississippi river boat access in Saint Paul Park. He continued checking archery and small game hunters during the week around the metro WMAs and area fields. CO Pril and CO Arntzen responded to a TIP complaint of two individuals who shot an injured a swan. Enforcement action was taken on the two swan shooters. CO Pril also spoke at two firearms safety classes and handled complaints and calls throughout the week.

WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week working AIS and wetland related activity as well as an AIS check station being completed in Washington County over the weekend. Waterfowl hunters were also checked with mixed bag results. WREO Block continued work on a pre-employment background investigation.

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) finished field training with a COC. She checked numerous waterfowl and pheasant hunters over the weekend finding good compliance. CO Kruse worked fishing and boating enforcement on area lakes and streams and AIS enforcement at area accesses. She continued mentoring two students at Century College, handled nuisance animal calls and various TIP calls. Violations included insufficient number of PFDs, no state waterfowl stamp, no fishing license, hunt/take waterfowl during closed season and fail to remove boat drain plug.

Eagan - vacant.

Hastings - vacant.

Maplewood - vacant.

Metro Officer - vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

 

CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted a weekly radio show on KLOH radio. First aid was given to a spaniel that got cut with barbwire: the cut was wrapped with a bandage. Pheasant hunters had limited success with some groups doing very well and others struggling. Enforcement action was taken on various licenses violations.  Duck hunters are doing a great job cleaning out the smaller duck boats.

WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) worked on several WCA and Public waters cases. Officer Hanson assisted with a PW survey completed in Murray County. Officer Hanson and K-9 Reggie assisted with a short presentation at the Governor’s opener in Worthington. Open stations were worked during the pheasant opener and Officer Hanson assisted with a trespass violation.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) worked a busy pheasant opener, with many hunters checked during the weekend. Hunter success varied amongst groups checked. Waterfowl hunters were also checked, with diver and puddle ducks seen in possession. AIS and archery deer hunting activity rounded out the week. Hunting and license violations were encountered, including:  transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) attended and answered questions at a PF event on the afternoon before the opener. A radio interview was also done dealing with the pheasant opener. Hunters were out in full force for the opener and the reopening of the waterfowl season. Waterfowl hunters continued where they left off with good success. Nice weather has kept the teal and other smaller ducks around. As expected, pheasant hunters really struggled to find birds. Standing corn and low bird numbers made things challenging. Enforcement included license/stamp issues and trespassing complaints. Fall fishermen were checked throughout the week.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports hunters had a slow start to the pheasant opener. 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.

Benson - vacant.

Madison - vacant.

Redwood Falls - vacant.

Worthington - vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) worked the pheasant opener and noted light pressure and limited success. He checked a variety of diver ducks in the bag from waterfowl hunters. Denz also spoke on a weekly radio program, monitored ATV activity, and advised waterfowl hunters on AIS laws. A stolen firearm was recovered from a waterfowl hunter and will be returned.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) observed two hunters duck hunting on a local lake during the closed southern waterfowl season. During their check they admitted not being aware the season was closed. The two were also missing lifejackets in the boat. The pheasant opener was busy with the good weather. An ATV driven on a WMA was also investigated during the week. A call of a trumpeter swan shoot was taken. 

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports rescuing a trumpeter swan with CO Mueller. The swan had been shot and is currently at the wildlife rehab center.  Oberg reports some confusion on when the 4pm closure ended.  Most hunters seemed to think they couldn’t hunt past 4pm until Sunday, when actually they could have on Saturday. Several popular lakes were without hunters on them past 4pm. Oberg also responded to TIP calls relating to rallying ducks, taking in open water, and shooting from a motor vehicle.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received complaints regarding an ongoing wanton waste case, early waterfowl shooting, taking deer during the closed season/illegal weapon, an over limit of squirrels and WMA violations. He also attended a District meeting. Nelson mainly worked small game, waterfowl, invasive species and deer hunting activities.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked waterfowl and pheasant hunters and invasive species enforcement throughout the weekend. Gruhlke noted very good waterfowl success again this past weekend and a fair take on pheasants. The county was quite busy both mornings. He also attended a district meeting discussing law updates and other issues.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked turkey, deer, waterfowl and small game hunters this past week. Pheasant hunters did ok but not good. 

Litchfield - vacant.

Willmar #1 - vacant.

Windom - vacant.

District 17 - Mankato area

 

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports checking many duck and pheasant hunters this past weekend. Success varied by location. Archery hunters and ATV activity was monitored as well.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent patrolling for deer, waterfowl, pheasant and other small game hunters. AIS compliance was also monitored.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) reports a busy pheasant opener with some hunters experiencing success. Most waterfowl hunters checked had ducks in the bag and reported seeing good numbers in the area. Archery hunters were also checked and time was spent monitoring public accesses for AIS violations.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked angling, AIS, big game, small game, and migratory waterfowl activity during the week. Several calls were taken regarding raptors. A trespassing complaint was investigated. Multiple migratory waterfowl violations were encountered.

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working small game hunting, archery (deer) hunting, and the pheasant and waterfowl hunting openers. A handful of nuisance wildlife complaints were resolved. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.

WREO Julie Siems working on background investigations. Waterfowl hunters were also checked and educated on AIS. ATV enforcement was conducted as well. 

Albert Lea - vacant.

Mankato #1 - vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking waterfowl hunters. Success was fair as most folks had at least one bird in the bag. Turkey hunters were also checked. One hunter shot and killed a gobbler only to have it flop into a river. The hunter then attempted to wade out and retrieve his bird. Upon reaching it he stumbled and fell and went bobbing down the river. The hunter added that the turkey floated and made a good PFD.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly hunters during the week. Lots of ducks were around before the reopener. Fog on the river Saturday morning made it tough for hunters, but limits or near limits were seen taken in several spots. Heyn also checked on deer hunting complaints. 

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the weekend checking waterfowl hunters, small game and archery hunters and enforcing invasive species regulations. The second opener to the waterfowl season brought out record numbers of hunters to some locations. On Saturday, 25 hunters were checked on North Lake that had harvested their limit of six ducks. Angling success on the river was lower than normal for this time of the year but large numbers of anglers were out trying. Time was also spent checking a shining complaint area. Some waterfowl and boating violations were detected.

CO Scott Fritz (La Crescent) reports river fishing is improving. Bluegill and crappies are biting well. The second duck opener really improved compared to the first opener with an average of four birds per hunter. There was a real mixed bag in species taken. Deer were active with the cold weather and plenty of opportunity for bow hunters. Fall turkey hunters had a good week with mixed success. He attended the Sheldon Valley Sportsmen club meeting. Many calls were received about the early antlerless season. Folks are confused to what area is open. Only the A and B zones located in 349 and 346 areas are open this coming weekend. Enforcement for the week included no life jacket, no hunting license, use motorized decoy during closed period and no fishing license in possession.

CO Phil George (Rochester) started field training again also working on angling and AIS enforcement. The weekend brought the waterfowl season, the fog spoiled lots of plans on the river early but by midday limits of ducks were seen. Lots of fall hunting activity happening around the county with many phone calls returned and questions answered from the public. Remember your PFD while on the water this fall.   

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) worked with a COC. Time was spent working the waterfowl opener in the area. A fair number of ducks were observed and hunters reported seeing various species throughout the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for taking small game during closed season. The sunfish and crappie bite has picked up as well, with many anglers having good luck on the river.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports beginning step IV field training of a COC. Officers noted perch being caught in the backwaters of pool 4. Officers worked a busy 2nd waterfowl opener on pools 3, 4 and 5 of the Mississippi River. Officers were seeing an average of 3-4 birds per boat which included mostly teal along with wood duck, mallard and canvasback. Officer’s encountered waterfowl and safety equipment violations

Rochester #2 - 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 Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports completing the second week of aerial fish stocking operations in NE Minnesota. Jensen also flew a waterfowl reconnaissance flight for an officer and continues to receive flight requests for various fall projects/patrols.

CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) flew an aircraft to Crystal and back for maintenance. Wolf telemetry was conducted as was a photo flight for wetlands evidence gathering. A potential wetlands violation was noted and forwarded to the area conservation officer.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew fisher, wolf, and marten telemetry. Heineman also flew Thief Lake and Roseau duck surveys. Forest Assessment photo flights were canceled twice due to low clouds.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed his annual low level waiver check ride. He completed a flight in SE Minnesota and aircraft maintenance was also attended to.

CO Pilot Robert Geving (Mankato) completed and passed his CFII training. Geving also flew a DNR Fisheries habitat specialist on an inspection flight regarding a restoration project. 

 
Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO reports are now placed within district reports.

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 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.
See Also:
STAFF NOTES:

NE RTO Shelly Patten held a makeup in-service training for officers that were unable to make the August and September training dates. Training was held in Duluth and CO’s were trained in Defensive Tactics, rifle maintenance, and qualified with various duty firearms.  The Marine Unit CO’s also attended to qualify with the AR-10. Patten attended a meeting with Conflict Management Sub team members to review latest work on team projects. Patten worked with area Firearms Safety Instructors on various class issues. Patten held an ATV Safety class in Northome with 20 students and several new instructors.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports planning Firearms Safety/Hunter Education and ATV/Snowmobile Safety Instructor certification training. Friday he attended a meeting in New Ulm for District 16 and gave updates regarding safety training programs. 

NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence worked on instructor training format revisions. Met with instructors on field day site training. RTO Lawrence answered calls on duck hunting zones and duck migrations. RTO Lawrence assisted with firearms safety field day at Carlos Avery wildlife management area, which was sponsored by east metro area MN Deer Hunters Association members.   

SW Metro Kevin Neitzke spoke with snowmobile safety instructors regarding classes. He continued reviewing youth safety training course material. RTO Neitzke assisted RTO Owens and two volunteer instructors with a Firearms Safety class in Minneapolis. They covered the field walk, live fire and the final test. RTO Neitzke also worked on firearms maintenance.

Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week working on a new application process for DNR safety instructor applicants. Time was also spent planning instructor forums for the upcoming year. Assistance was given in Rochester at a TIP banquet.

Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens one day last week taught a DNR Employee ATV Safety training class. He also participated in two conference calls during the week, one related to passengers on ATVs and another related to an OHV program. Owens also assisted with a firearms safety class this past Friday evening and Saturday. Volunteer instructor training paperwork was finished and media requests were responded to throughout the

RTO                                                               PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
Rec. Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens      763-753-1887    leland.owens@state.mn.us
NE RTO Shelly Patten                                   218-244-8051       

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

NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence                    651-674-6184    bruce.lawrence@state.mn.us
Southern RTO Dan McBroom                        507-843-2032    daniel.mcbroom@state.mn.us
NW RTO Jon Paurus                                      218-298-4000    jon.paurus@state.mn.us
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke                               651-463-3168    kevin.neitzke@state.mn.us

Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant

Education Specialist:  Vacant

Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant

 

 
 

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