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Conservation Officer Report
Compiled By Richard Sprouse, Minnesota DNR, 800-366-8917, Ext 2511
Weekly Conservation Officer Report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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

Report Fish & Game Violations
Call T.I.P. at 1-800-652-9093 or Cell #TIP



District 1 - Baudette area

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked angling, ATV, fire and small game enforcement this week. The Rainy River’s current picked up a bit affecting water clarity which in turn may have affected the bite, as reports of both suckers and sturgeon declined. Fire danger is high and will probably remain so until we get some good precipitation and greener ground/trees. Prior to conducting burns, make sure you have your permit and follow the instructions on activating it. Enforcement action taken for this week included: allow illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, ATV operator/passenger under the age of 18 without a helmet, angle without a license, failure to obtain a burn permit, burn prohibited materials and possession of bow/spear prior to season.

CO Hannah Mishler (Warroad) spent most of the week checking angling, trapping, and ATV activity in the area. Multiple ATV complaints were handled around the Warroad area. Time was also spent assisting the DNR Forestry Division with fire enforcement. Please remember, a permit is required for ANY burning right now, other than a campfire. Enforcement action taken for failure to obtain burning permit, no fire extinguisher on watercraft, no throwable PFD, take northern pike in closed season, and various ATV violations.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports increased sturgeon fishing activity on the Rainy River.  Weather patterns have been inconsistent and fishing success has been spotty.  This hasn’t stopped the devoted anglers from attempting to catch their trophy fish or keeper for the smoke house.  Fire enforcement activity was worked as well as ATV enforcement. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports monitoring closed waters for angling and spearing activity, spring fish run activity, monitoring boater AIS compliance, patrolling area trails for ATV/ORV activity and angling activity on special regulation lakes throughout the week.  CO Regas worked an investigation with CO Vollbrecht where information had been received of walleye taken out of season with the use of a gill net.  The officers located the gill net, caught the suspect removing the gill net from the water and seized the gill net.  Upon interviewing the suspect he admitted he likes to eat fish, he cannot catch fish with a rod and reel so he resorted to using the gill net.   Charges have been forwarded to the county attorney.   Time was spent handling reports of accidental catch muskrats and otter, investigating an ongoing ATV trespassing complaint and, assisting instructors at the Blackduck and Kelliher Firearms Safety Field Day. 

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck) reports working ATV, fishing, spring fish run, spring trapping, and fire activities this week. CO Quittschreiber assisted the county with a suicidal individual near Upper Red Lake. Commercial minnow traps were checked for compliance. A wolf depredation case was investigated. CO Quittschreiber also helped CO Regas with a firearms safety class. Enforcement actions for the week included: juvenile on an ATV without a helmet, take fish in closed waters, take fish by snagging, and operate ATV without safety certificate, among other violations.

Baudette #2 Vacant

Baudette #2 -vacant.

Blackduck #2 - vacant.

Karlstad - vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 - vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area


CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking a wildfire complaint that occurred on an area WMA.  Time was also spent checking anglers, boaters, and turkey hunters.  ATV operators were also checked.  A commercial leeching case was follow-up on.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked angling, boating, leeching and the fish run. He had a call about deer eating cattle feed and assisted other agencies.  A python in town may be a Minnesota native, a hog nose snake, after the PD officer did a photo lineup.    

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked sucker spears and trout anglers.  He investigated a headless deer and picked up an injured bald eagle.  CO Gray also attended training related to using the Northland Regional Shooting Sports Park.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked turkey hunting, angling and sucker spearing activity. Time was spent working in Itasca State Park. Officer Holt assisted the Becida Sportsman’s Club with a firearms safety class. He also worked with a neighboring officer on a minnow trapping violation.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling for ATV violations and early fishing activity.  Many of the suckers had cleared the creeks by the spearing/bow fishing opener.  CO Vinton investigated ATV trespass and illegal dumping of fish, mostly carp and suckers.  A TIP call of people spearing in a closed area was taken but the spear fishermen were gone by the time CO Vinton arrived.  Enforcement action was taken for expired watercraft registration and taking bass during the closed season.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted a farmer to determine what type of predator killed two of his calves, worked TIP’s of bass out of season and investigated the filling of a wetland.  He also assisted with a boat and water safety class and monitored beaver trappers.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports crappie fishing slowed during the week with the wet and cool weather.  Conditions improved over the weekend.  Time was spent checking fishermen, working ATV complaints and a turkey hunting trespass complaint.  Time was also spent working shoreline issues.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling activity with anglers having some success with pan fish. Follow up was conducted on a complaint of possible taking over limits.  Spearing and bow fishing was worked and complaints of illegal bow fishing activity were received.  CO Warren spent time on complaints of burning without burning permits.  Areas were patrolled for ATV and off road vehicle activity.  CO Warren taught the law and ethics portion of a firearm safety class near Detroit Lakes.  Calls in regards to incidental caught otter were received.  A report of a Canada goose taken out of season was received with the investigation ongoing. 

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring spring pan fish anglers and ATV activity in the Moorhead station. The officer taught the law and ethics portion of the Barnesville firearms safety class and the Ada ATV safety class. Several grass fires were investigated that started along the railroad tracks between Hawley and Glyndon. Calls from the public included questions about minnow trapping and questions about when fishing opener is. The officer would like to remind people that walleye season opens on May 14th, 2016 this year and not on May 7th, 2016. A complaint was also taken of two individuals spearing in a closed area. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession and failing to display watercraft registration numbers.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area


CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) continues to check fishermen and turkey hunters.  Bow-fishermen were also checked over the opening weekend.  Richards attended the DU Green-Wing Duck Fair in Fergus Falls and displayed one of the TIP trailers.  Enforcement efforts were related to fishing and illegal burning. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent most the week checking anglers having scattered success. A wolf depredation complaint was investigated and an injured Bald Eagle was captured with plans to get the bird to the Raptor center. Plautz checked on a wetland issue with a plugged culvert and assisted lake associations with beaver problems in the area. Plautz worked the sucker spearing opener with many out bow fishing late at night. Turkey hunters are still having good success in this area. Complaints of fishermen targeting game fish were investigated.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) conducted checks on fishermen, boaters, and AIS compliance.  The border waters fishing opener was worked in Wheaton with CO’s Miska and Anderson. Complaints of fishermen taking fish prior to open season were worked as well as complaints of accidentally taken otter and possible illegal work on protected public water.  Additional complaints were handled regarding accidentally taken otter by beaver trappers.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATV'S and OHM'S.   Several burning complaints and questions were investigated and answered.  Osborne worked on station equipment and prepared for firearm safety classes.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time this week investigating a case of hunting turkeys during a closed season after a detailed TIP call came in.  A cold/windy week kept a lot of anglers indoors before the nice weekend.  Plenty of pan fish success was found from both shore and boats when the sun came out.  Compliance was very good this week with only a few instances of enforcement action taken.  An academy instructors meeting at Camp Ripley was attended as well as patrolling the busy spring fishing activity throughout the Osakis station.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on firearm safety class presentations, boating activity and anglers. A complaint was worked with the division of waters on a possible protected waters excavation violation in Traverse County.  Minnow transportation permits were reviewed and issued this week.  The Hancock and Morris FAS classes were attended and presented laws and ethics.  A car was stopped regarding a gas drive off for the Morris PD.  Employee training was completed as well as calls handled regarding angling questions, beaver complaints and FAS class questions.

Wheaton - vacant.

District 4 - Walker area


CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) worked spring fish run activity, beaver issues, trespassing complaints, ATV violations and conducted a follow up from last year’s firearms deer season. 

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) checked on anglers and spearing activity for the rough fish opener.  A call of spearing in a closed fishing area was investigated.  Training time was spent at the academy with firearms training and species identification.   An owl found dead was donated to a school and in the process some impromptu biology lessons on owls were given to groups of middle school students.

CO Eric Sullivan (Walker) assisted with a property damage crash where a young driver hit two bald eagles at the same time with a small passenger car.  The raptors struck the middle of the front windshield and the windshield shattered.  The driver was frightened from the incident but was unharmed.  CO Sullivan also had contact with two anglers that were in possession of 20 crappies but neither angler had a license.  Enforcement action was taken. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily inspected work in public waters, wetlands, and aquatic plants.  Commercial minnow nets were also checked.  Closed forests were checked for motor vehicle activity.

CO Chelsey Collette (Remer) worked on a littering case, checked crappie anglers, collected incidental Otter, patrolled ATV trails and handled nuisance wildlife complaints. Enforcement action was taken for various ATV violations (registrations and ATV safety) including operating on a state highway.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling, ATV and spring trapping activity.  CO Broughten checked spring angling activity where anglers were reporting limited success.  CO Broughten fielded calls regarding nuisance beaver, firearms safety, aquatic plant violations, and public waters violations.


District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports busy weekend with sturgeon fishing activity in full force on the Rainy River.  Officer checked one group of anglers fishing along the shoreline, not only were they sturgeon fishing but minutes before the officers arrival a wedding ceremony was conducted in which a couple were married along the banks of the Rainy River with sturgeon poles in hand.  Congrats to the happy couple with future wedding anniversaries of sturgeon fishing.  Enforcement action taken for the week involved operating ATV on roadway, failure to display ATV registration, and failure to attach sturgeon tag.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling activity, checking forest roads, and working on equipment. ATV activity was checked and computer work is on-going

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) assisted Breitung Police Department with a domestic and a suicidal incident.  A lot of time was spent working the spring fish run, assisting with the FDL netting on Lake Vermilion.  Enforcement was taken on spearing related issues.  The officer also arrested an individual for felony narcotics and DUI.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) taught species identification to the Conservation Officer Academy, worked invasive species enforcement and worked a large organized ATV ride with around 350 ATVs.  The annual ATV ride was worked with CO Fredin and several and varied ATV violations were encountered.  A stop prior to the ride involved OHV trespass, expired registration and no ATV safety certificate.  The rider was warned about the safety certificate and told that if they were seen driving again that day, they would be cited for that offense.  About 4 hours later the officer saw the same driver that had been warned driving again.  The rider was cited the second go-around.  The officer also assisted Hibbing PD with a fleeing incident with an ATV that had been at the ride earlier in the day.  Violations encountered were unregistered ATV, more passengers than allowed, careless driving, no ATV safety certificate, open bottle, Off Highway Vehicle trespass, possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent a great deal of time patrolling the Virginia, Mt. Iron and Eveleth areas for and dealing with ATV and OHM traffic. A large majority of those stopped and enforcement action taken has been on juveniles with the parents admitting they don’t know the rules about allowing their children to use the machines. On one stop, as CO Frericks was speaking with the parent about the dangers of his daughter operating an OHM on the shoulder of the roadway, the report of an ATV accident involving two juveniles came over the CO’s radio. The parent said he was going to sell the OHM. Those who have been angling for suckers on area rivers have been doing well. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) wrapped up a trespassing trapping case.  Time was spent on the water checking crappie anglers and some along shorelines.  Assistance was given to CO Bozovsky with a large memorial ATV ride with violations of too many passengers, exhibition driving, no ATV certification, and open alcoholic container.

Cook - vacant.

International Falls #2  - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area


CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports: Although the lakes in the Ely area are now completely open, there was very little angling activity. The opening of the sucker spearing was busy with most success being fair to poor. Violations included operating an ATV with a passenger under 18 without a helmet, and operating a class 2 ATV with a passenger under 18 without a seatbelt.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) assisted a couple of people in a canoe who’d been paddling through a channel in sheet ice.  They found out the hard way that sheet ice moves and closes channels in seconds.  The CO was able to break ice in his patrol boat to reach them and broke a channel for them to get back to their campsite.  The ice wasn’t thick enough to stand on and was too thick to paddle through.  The surface temperature was 38 degrees.   Capsizing in such conditions would lead to certain death.  It is a much wiser decision not to rush Mother Nature.  Enforcement action was taken for expired canoe registration and burning without a permit.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked ATV riders and patrolled forest roads, many still had patches of snow and frost boils; ATV trails are currently closed due to soft trail conditions.  The officer investigated a snowmobile burned and left on one forest road - anyone with information is asked to call. CO Manning also took a report of a dead wolf, continued to check anglers on Lake Superior tributaries and helped teach a multi-agency class on arrest and control techniques.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked sucker spearing, anglers, and worked spring fish run activity.  A district meeting was attended.  Enforcement action included taking fish without a license, target closed season fish, and careless operation of an OHM.  An individual was also arrested for a gross misdemeanor warrant.  Reminder: a valid driver’s license is required to operate an ATV on a public road.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area shore anglers along Lake Superior, and its tributaries.  Time was spent monitoring fish run activity in the area.  CO Schottenbauer also handled fire complaints in the area.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) monitored spring fish run. The officer met with the County Attorney about an upcoming trial. A district meeting was attended and bear complaints were handled.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and spring beaver trapping activity during the week. Calls of nuisance wildlife complaints were answered and illegal garbage dumping complaints continue to be investigated. All lakes in the area are finally ice free.


District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) monitored fish run activity, processed and donated seized furbearers for the tanned fur project, checked trappers, and enforced AIS regulations.  Enforcement action taken for possessing an incidentally caught otter without notifying a CO.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked ATV, sport fishing, small game, and worked on upcoming training assignments. He patrolled his station for activity.  He also took care of incidental furs and answered trespass questions. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked spring fish run, checked anglers, continued an arson investigation and monitored OHV activity. CO Fairbanks and his K9 partner also attended the Children’s Fair in Grand Rapids and assisted the County with locating burglary suspects. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and arrest for outstanding warrants.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking angling activity this past week.  She took a report of a nuisance bear and an injured deer.  She investigated a spearing complaint and finished with an ORV case.  Enforcement action was taken for illegal ORV operation and fishing violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked shore fisherman over the past week with enforcement action taken for angling without a license and taking northern pike out of season.  ATV activity was also monitored with action taken for operating down the side of a county road at a high rate of speed, operating in road right of way without a driver’s license and allowing illegal operation by a juvenile.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATVs, spring beaver trappers and closed forest areas.  He also taught an ATV safety class during the week.

CO John Veslvaag (NE Region ATV Officer) followed up on several ATV complaints and checked a few pan fish anglers.  CO Velsvaag received several calls on burning restrictions and litter complaints.  CO Velsvaag also worked during the Fond du Lac Band netting and spearing on Lake Vermilion.

District 8 - Duluth area


CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent much of the week working North Shore Rivers.  Smelters have been out in full force and have been having some luck.  ATV complaints continue and problem areas were worked.  Equipment maintenance was completed.  Officer Schmidt assisted with a firearm safety class field day at the United Northern Sportsmen property. 

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) completed follow-up investigations stemming from illegal license purchases from a neighboring state, assisted on current small game violations occurring in the District, followed up on car kill questions, responded to several calls for Division of Wildlife related issues and assisted Region 2 staff with updating Region 2 Bear bait information online.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked spring fish run activity the majority of the week along the north shore of Lake Superior.  Trapping violations were investigated, as well as TIP calls for illegal taking of fish.  Time was also spent working ATV and OHV activities.  Officer Duncan also assisted with a firearm safety field day. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked anglers, turkey hunters and worked OHV and fire enforcement during the week.  CO Humphrey patrolled the Sawyer WMA and in the Fond du Lac state forest with current OHV trail closures in place.  CO Humphrey took calls/complaints on a variety of resource issues.  CO Humphrey assisted other District officers working North shore fish run and smelting activity.  CO Humphrey assisted with a Firearms safety field day in Duluth.  Turkeys and hunters were again very active and vocal this week.  Drugs, burning, OHM, angling license and taking violations were encountered during the week.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted with K9 training in the metro area. While in the area, extra patrols were conducted in along area rivers where enforcement action was taken for angling without a license.   A fur committee meeting was attended in Baxter where several topics such as seasons and regulations were discussed.  A complaint of ATVs operating in wetlands was received and is being investigated in the area. Enforcement action was taken for failing to renew ATV registration.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked the North shore fish run.  He found the cooler temps have slowed the amount of fish in the tributaries, but smelters have been busy at night.  Poor results were found thus far for their efforts.  Area rivers were worked and enforcement action was taken for minor drug and license violations.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) monitored fish run and checked anglers in rivers.  Planning work was completed for a boat training course, and seasonal equipment prepped for open water.  Enforcement action taken for angling and drug violations

Lake Superior Marine Unit (Vacant)

District 9 - Brainerd area


CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen, boaters and ATV’s.  Officer Hunter assisted the State Patrol with a vehicle that hit two bald eagles and had a broken windshield.  The driver of the car and both eagles survived the incident.

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) answered questions on sucker spearing, beaver trapping, and spring turkey hunting. Nuisance beaver permits were issued for flooded areas, anglers and turkey hunters were checked, and rough fish spearing was monitored. A call of a turkey hunter trespassing on agricultural land was also investigated.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing and all-terrain vehicle enforcement this week.  Officer Guida addressed some ATV operation violations.  Officer Guida allowed a college student a ride-along opportunity.  Emergency repairs were done on a public water access gangway that had the corner rubber bumper torn off.  Numerous folks were out trying their luck at the spawning crappies.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) spent time at Camp Ripley preparing training materials for the current conservation officer academy.  CO McGowan also spent time checking numerous early season crappie anglers.  Enforcement action was taken for numerous boating violations. 

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity this week of  investigating calls and issues of shoreline alteration,  erosion, water quality, nuisance bear and beaver, illegal dumping of garbage, and people trespassing to fish for crappies. Spring pan fish bites, fish spawning run, turkey hunting, the Crow Wing State Forest, the Cuyuna Country State Recreational Area, local GIA ATV trail use, and sucker spearing opener activity were patrolled for and monitored.  Work was done to update the district evidence storage facility, and several seized wildlife specimens from past cases were delivered to the biology department at Brainerd High School to be used for educational purposes.  

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, sucker spearers, turkey hunters and ATV activity.  Complaints of solid waste and burning garbage were also handled.

Cuyuna SRA - vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking area lakes for fishing and boating activity throughout the week and weekend.  The Officer assisted with a youth fork horn day at the Wealthwood Rod and Gun Club.  Around 90 kids turned out for the event, a big thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers.  The Officer also ran a TIP wall at a MDHA event in Hinckley where lots of folks stopped by to see the wall and ask various outdoor related questions.   A call regarding a cow possibly taken by wolf was investigated and a call of litter on State Property in under investigation.   The Officer also responded to a call of two dogs possibly chasing deer and the investigation is ongoing.  Several nuisance beaver permits were issued and many law related questions were fielded. 

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) and other members of the LEMA Honor Guard were granted a rare opportunity to train at Fort Myer, Virginia with the active duty Army “Old Guard” this week.  Speldrich checked anglers with limits of crappie on an area lake. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession. She also caught five OHM operators riding off trail in the General Andrews State Forest. The operators were reminded that the only place they can ride are trails that are signed and enforcement action was taken.  Speldrich answered nuisance beaver and turkey hunting questions.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) checked turkey hunters throughout the area.  A large percentage of hunters had either successfully harvested a turkey or reported seeing a good numbers of turkeys during their hunt.  Time was also spent at a Deer Hunters Association banquet where the Wall-Of-Shame was displayed and information about Minnesota’s Turn In Poachers program was provided.  The Jim Jordan Chapter of the MN Deer Hunters Association was presented with an award for donating over $300,000 toward youth hunter education.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week answering questions about turkey hunting, trapping, and fishing the St. Croix River.  He spent time checking accesses and local state forests for activity.  He spent time with National Park Service Rangers over the weekend patrolling the St. Croix River.  Cool temperatures and high water kept a lot of people away.  The people that did venture out found some walleyes and catfish to keep them entertained.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Mike Krauel (St. Cloud) spent the week checking turkey hunters, anglers, and preparing boats for the season.  CO Krauel also responded to calls about people disrupting recently hatched goslings and ducklings.  CO Krauel would like to remind everyone to leave young wildlife alone.  Often times the mother will come back to the young when the perceived threat leaves.  CO Krauel also checked bow fishermen along the Mississippi River.  Enforcement action was taken for taking geese out of season, angling without a license, failure to display registration, and failure to have a proper life preserver on board.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) worked on APM and WCA cases and possible violations.  Local road authorities are lining up nuisance beaver trappers for the season.  CO Friese participated in an open mic segment for a local radio station.  Living in bear territory was discussed, as there is a strong bear population throughout the area now.  With early ice out and upcoming game fish opener, water safety was discussed.  Some equipment matters were tended to.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week following up on waters and aquatic vegetation cases.  Angling activity was also monitored.  An ATV law class was put on for an area sheriff’s office and several nuisance animal complaints were handled.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked turkey hunter and angling activity this week. The officer also did follow up on some pending cases.  Weather continues to make fishing unpredictable in the area.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) investigated a garbage burning complaint where the homeowner had burned prohibited materials in an old oil tank and handled a call of sick raccoons showing up in a homeowner’s yard.  ATV violations were encountered of running on the road against traffic and fail to display registration.  CO Kuske spoke at the Little Falls firearm safety class and checked anglers that were having success with the crappies and catfish.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) assisted the local ATV club with a nuisance beaver issue on one of their trails. In another complaint CO Kuske served as a mediator between two landowners battling over a culvert plugged by beavers and backing up water onto a field. A report of two geese shot and left for waste is being investigated.  Two separate business owners were ticketed this past week for burning prohibited materials. One was burning plastic tarps and bags the other for burning tires and appliances. Crappie bites on several lakes are currently being monitored.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this week. CO Mies received several calls from concerned citizens regarding a hog operation trying to get a permit near School Section Lake in Stearns County. CO Mies referred these callers and the calls to the agencies that are handling the different permits. Some of the concerns were possible ground water contamination, air pollution and other environmental concerns. Some of the concerns involved some US Fish and Wildlife Service land along with a state game refuge bordering the area. CO Mies also checked turkey hunters this week.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked turkey hunters, boaters, anglers, and fires.  Windy weather kept lake recreation minimal.  Enforcement action for the week included fail to remove drain plug, fail to transfer boat registration, fail to comply with burning permit restriction.  Several litter calls have come in with dead carp dumped in road ditches.

District 12 - Princeton area


CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) assisted with the St Paul Women’s Expo and Arbor Day at Braham Elementary.  Officer Londgren checked anglers/boaters, ATV’s, assisted with fire calls, and patrolled local wildlife management areas.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fisherman on area lakes and rivers. He spent 3 days interviewing a number of suspects for criminal damage to property, operating OHV in an undesignated area, careless discharge of a firearms. A number of citation will be issued for the violations. He continues to investigate a number of violations with charges pending. He took enforcement action also on transportation of a plugged boat, possession of a Sand hill crane. He wants to thank the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office with assistance on the interviews.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) provided a ride along to the new park manager at Maria State Park this week. A possible aquatic plant violation was investigated and several calls of bow fisherman leaving dead fish along the shorelines. A meeting at Camp Ripley involving the academy was also attended.  

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) investigated a TIP call of an over limit of crappies. A wetland/public waters complaint was received. Anglers, boaters, and ATV’s were checked.

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked the Minnesota-Wisconsin border water fishing opener on the St Croix River.  Anglers reported a very slow bite.  Limited success was found for walleye along the river, north of Taylors Falls down to Afton.  Enforcement action was taken on hunting turkey with the aid of bait, no fishing license, and numerous boat safety violations.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers and some turkey hunters during the week.  Fishing pressure slowed with the wind and colder temps.   Turkey hunters had trouble finding birds due to the wind, cold and non-responsive toms.  

Princeton - vacant.

District 13 - West Metro area


CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the stations of Waconia and Fort Snelling State Park for fishing, boating, invasive species and park usages. He spoke at a Firearm Safety Class in Mayer for 20 students. He provided a ride along for an intern with the Law Enforcement Division. He took enforcement action for illegally removing natural plants in State Park and transporting zebra mussels.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week at training with his K9 partner Rocky.   CO Grewe also followed up with TIP complaints.

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent the early part of the week training in combat tactics for women. Skills learned will help with single officer situations. CO Weyandt responded to numerous zebra mussel violations. She would like to remind boaters as they begin pulling their boats out of storage to do thorough inspections for aquatic invasive species before launching on any waters of the state. Watercraft inspectors have begun their summer work at public launches and will be educating boaters on the importance of removal, decontamination and pulling drain plugs to avoid transporting invasive species.

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) had a productive week following up on calls for service, TIP complaints and checking anglers. She attending an all-female defensive tactics training course. Leuthardt also assisted a neighboring officer with the Wisconsin-Minnesota border waters opener. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license in possession, failure to display valid boat registration, angling with extra lines, and careless wash/wake through a no wake zone.

Bloomington - vacant.

Ft. Snelling - vacant.

Osseo - vacant

Waconia - vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area


CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer also attended a meeting at Camp Ripley and a meeting in Baxter this past week. CO Salzer also followed up on some wetland violations in Anoka County.

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) assisted the Colorado DNR with a big game case. She worked various TIP calls, issued a nuisance muskrat permit and worked fishing and boating enforcement on area lakes and streams. CO Kruse handled nuisance animal calls, worked on an aquatic vegetation case and did equipment maintenance.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports working the Wisconsin/Minnesota boundary waters opener on the St Croix River.  He also spoke to a firearms safety class in Lake Elmo and presented a 40-year instructor award at the Forest Lake Sports Club.  Violations for the week included insufficient lifejackets, no fire extinguisher, no license in possession, registration issues and no wake violations.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent a busy weekend working the St. Croix River Opener. Fishing was extremely slow with most boats having zero fish. He also spoke at a Firearm Safety class and did some boat maintenance.  Enforcement action for the week included boating and fishing violations.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked at a women expo located at the So. St. Paul Gun Club and met with the Washington county attorney regarding a case from last winter. Co Pril also responded to miscellaneous animal calls.

Maplewood - vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area


CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH Radio.  Lake Hendricks has been giving up a lot of nice Walleyes and Northern Pike.   The Bullhead bite is also on at Lake Benton.  Turkey Hunters are having some success with the cool temps.

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) checked anglers, turkey hunters and investigated wetlands violations.  Enforcement action was taken for a turkey registration violation; turkeys need to be registered within 24 hours from when they are taken. CO also spoke to the Redwood Falls firearms safety class about laws and ethics, class consisted of about thirty students.  CO would also like to thank the individual(s) who cleaned up garbage at the Redwood County 101 river access; your work has been noticed.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers and conducting investigations.  Complaints of dip-netters were worked.  Numerous complaints of out-of-season angling have been worked.  Recent rains have resulted in area rivers and creeks spilling over their banks.  Enforcement actions were taken for take northern in closed season and allow closed season angling and dip-nets before season.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) worked the DNR booth at the Tracy Area Sportsmen’s Show over the weekend. Most of the questions dealt with invasive species, boating, and the upcoming fishing opener. Recent heavy rainfalls affected both trout fishermen and turkey hunters during the week. The law and ethics portion of an ATV safety class was taught during the sport show. An otter was also seized that was accidentally trapped by a spring beaver trapper.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time working anglers and ATV activity. Officer reports a slow bite on area lakes due to the cooler weather. Litter complaints, and a dead Pelican which appeared to have been shot with a shotgun were also investigated. Officer spent time teaching the ethics and law portion of a Firearms Safety Class held at the Canby Sportsman’s Club. 

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports working with the aviation section monitoring spring fish run and checking fishermen.  Cold and wet weather kept fishing activity light. Reports of taking walleye and northern out of season continue to come in. Remember to record a license plate if you see a violation.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored AIS, boating, fishing and turkey-hunting activity during the week.  This officer continues to pick up and dispose of large amounts of litter left by shore anglers.  Minnow transportation permits were issued.  Good compliance was seen during the week.
Benson- Vacant

Worthington- Vacant

District 16 - New Ulm area


CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) checked anglers and boaters.  He assisted with a big game investigation.  He talked at the firearms safety field day class.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time at a Little Crow Angling Club event talking with kids about boat and water safety.  He also spoke with kids at a Willmar area firearm safety class.  Time was spent on angler and bow fishing checks as well.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spoke to a firearm safety class in Grove City about rules and regulations and answered questions that the students had. Time was also spent checking anglers during the week. Calls were also answered with questions about turkey hunting and dock placement in area lakes.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked anglers during the week.  Anglers have been catching small sunfish and crappies in the area.  A few folks have had luck with small catfish as well.  Mueller followed up on a possible wetland violation and checked ATV’s for current registration. 

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports checking a few anglers that managed to catch a few crappies and sunfish this week despite the cooler weather. Oberg also focused his time on educating the public on AIS laws, with enforcement action taken for drain plug issues.  Oberg also spoke at the Winthrop ATV class and assisted DNR Waters with a public waters issue.  A TIP call was also worked.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked turkey hunting, angling, off-road vehicles, and invasive species enforcement.  Numerous strutting tom turkeys were observed but hunter success seemed lower as the season has progressed.  The pan fish bite has slowed but bullhead fishing has been good.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) spent the week focusing on angling, bow fishing, and ATV activity.  A case involving the taking of ducks and Canada geese out of season was concluded with enforcement action taken.  Enforcement activity for the week also included taking walleyes out of season, bow fishing violations, and motor vehicles in a WMA.  Big game investigations are ongoing.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) reports he has been working angling, invasive species, and boat and water enforcement.  He also completed his radio program with the KKOJ radio station.  Gruhlke also is investigating a complaint of over limit of fish.  Heavy rains have caused the Des Moines River and Little Sioux River to run at high levels and area lakes to fill up.  There are numerous areas where water is standing throughout the county. 

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked anglers, boaters, and continued the emphasis of preventing invasive species.  The rules and regulations portion of the Fairmont firearm safety class was presented.  Public accesses were patrolled and commercial activity was inspected.

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week checking trout anglers and turkey hunters.  CO Chihak provided a ride along opportunity to an individual interested in pursuing a career as a conservation officer.  A law and ethics presentation was given to a firearm safety class in Grand Meadow.  Requests from the public seeking information were addressed.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, turkey hunting, and recreational vehicle enforcement this week.  Time was spent monitoring public access sites for boating and AIS violations.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked angling, bow fishing, ATV, and turkey hunting activity this week. Angling success seems to be largely weather dependent.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers and ATV operators. Additional time was spent monitoring turkey hunting activity. Officer Ihnen also gave a law and ethics presentation to a local firearm safety class as well as investigated a number of wetland and public waters violations.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) primarily focused on turkey hunting and off-highway vehicle activity this week. VanThuyne followed up on a complaint of anglers targeting walleyes out of season, assisted local agencies and continued investigation on several cases.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked Anglers, Turkey hunters, ATV’s, and investigated multiple TIP calls this week. CO Henke reports that the cool weather has significantly slowed down angling activity around the area.  CO Henke investigated a case of agGoose that was possibly intentionally killed by a vehicle in Albert Lea, the investigation lead to a citation being issued. Enforcement action for the week included Take Northern Pike out of Season, Fail to validate Turkey Site Tag, Careless Driving, along with License violations.

District 18 - Rochester area


CO Phil George (Rochester) spent the week checking watercraft users and anglers.  A complaint of illegal ATV use by juveniles was investigated along with a litter complaint.  The monthly radio show at KROC was attended.  Enforcement action included registration issues and failing to pull the drain plug on a watercraft.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) patrolled for sport fishing and boat/water safety enforcement. Additional patrol efforts were put towards turkey hunting enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, failing to have a lifejacket onboard a watercraft, and angling with extra lines. A nuisance bear call was also reported.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking turkey hunters in the area. One hunter stated that he had a bird gobbling out about 150 yards in a field. The bird surprisingly turned and started to run straight at the hunter and then started to fly towards the hunter. The hunter being in a blind grabbed his shotgun, looked back out of the blind to see the tom attempting to land in a small tree next to the blind. The tree was not strong enough to hold the bird so it flapped around and fell to the ground. That is when a coyote grabbed the bird and with feathers flying all over trotted off into the woods. The hunter, astonished at what had just happened, sat there in disbelief. A few moments later, the coyote returned to the field with the bird in its mouth. The coyote stopped to readjust his hold on the bird and the bird broke loose. Unfortunately for the turkey, the hunter was ready this time and killed the bird with one shot. The hunter then turned towards the coyote but by then the coyote was in full throttle out of the area. The hunter added that the coyote trotted with that bird like a proud lab does with a goose. The turkey weighed in at 23lbs, minus a bunch of feathers.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly turkey hunters and anglers during the week.  Success was mixed for both with various violations detected.  Heyn also assisted other agencies with arrests and calls. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports good numbers of turkey hunters but not many turkeys found in the bag.  He investigated fishing and turkey violations.  Hemker also attended a firearms safety class.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishermen and turkey hunting this week as well as attending an interdepartmental meeting regarding the Mississippi River and answering a variety of calls and complaints concerning the spring seasons.  The turkey hunters are still having some pretty good success and the spring fishing continues to improve despite the higher water conditions on the big river.  

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the week checking angling activity.  Fishing success remains low on the river.  Time was also spent checking on a waters complaint and checking ATV complaint areas.  Some fishing, boating and drug related violations were detected.

Zumbrota - vacant.

Training Section


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

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of rotary training. Jensen also checked anglers with local officers on MN/SD border waters. Jensen also assisted Brainerd Police with a reported verbal domestic dispute at the terminal of the Brainerd Airport.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Mike Scott (NE). Officer Scott assisted Ecological staff in teaching Lake Service Provider Training in Duluth, MN for LSP providers who were renewing their permits. Officer Scott attended meeting with Officers in Two Harbors and provided training for them on use of Ciscoes and Smelt for bait while fishing. Officer Scott checked anglers on area lakes that were looking for crappies and sunfish. Fishing was good for some, but still cool waters in some areas. Officer Scott continued work on honoring those Conservation officers that have died on duty.

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) assisted the area officer with a booth at the local sports show with K-9 Reggie. WCA and PW follow-up was completed on several cases with at least two violations being flown by the DNR pilot. More violations ended up being detected from the air. AIS checks were also completed with boat and equipment checks on area lakes and rivers.


WREO Julie Siems (SE) has received many new complaints of Wetland Conservation Act violations.  CO Siems continues to prepare for upcoming academy instruction.  Follow up on commercial fisherman not having their AIS training was also completed.

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week focusing efforts on AIS enforcement, fishing activity, turkey hunters and WCA/PW violations. Time was spent giving AIS training to both Law Enforcement and to county AIS inspectors. ATV activity was worked in problem areas.

Enforcement Education


Please check the DNR WEB SITE at www.mndnr.gov for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Education Courses and instructor training sessions
If you missed a fall class and are over 18, check on-line for the online course information, also located at www.mndnr.gov.

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

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

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

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

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

If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador, contact your local Conservation Officer or Regional Safety Training officer.  Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR Website.
See Also:
NE RTO Shelly Patten worked on lesson plans and scheduling for spring qualification shoots and August in-service training.  Patten reviewed Firearms Safety outline for proposed changes and worked on items for Academy education training day.

Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence attended a meeting at DNR Central Office with the off-highway motorcycle group (ARMCA).  Meeting was attending by representatives of the DNR Parks and Trails staff and the board of ARMCA.  RTO Lawrence prepped equipment at Camp Ripley for upcoming ATV safety training exercises for the Academy.  RTO Lawrence transferred snowmobile into storage for the summer months and answered calls on off road vehicles use in Minnesota.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports attending Engagement System Training at Camp Ripley Monday and Tuesday.  During the week instructor background checks were also completed and preliminary planning done for fall officer in-service training.  Friday and Saturday instructor training was conducted for new Firearm Safety Instructors near Spicer. RTO Rezac also assisted Saturday with facilitating a youth firearm safety/hunter education field day for online students at Prairie Woods Environmental Center in Spicer.

SW Metro Kevin Neitzke did maintenance on firearms safety training equipment.  He responded to emails and phone calls regarding instructor training registrations. RTO Neitzke worked on instructor background checks.  He also helped set up and run an online FAS field day near Cannon Falls.

Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week working on backgrounds and setting up future training class. Turkey hunter were having a hard time getting birds to respond to calls and the weather was not the best. A few turkey hunters were having limit success.

NW RTO Jeff Halverson gave law talk at Motley FAs and Staples online FAS classes.  Halverson gave instructor banquet/supper for Staples FAS group.  Halverson worked crappie fishermen and checked ATV activity.

RTO                                                               PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
NE RTO Shelly Patten                                   218-553-1676   shelly.patten@state.mn.us    
West Central RTO Frank Rezac                     320-552-3948   frank.rezac@state.mn.us
Rec Veh Coord Bruce Lawrence                    763-267-8534    bruce.lawrence@state.mn.us
Southern RTO Dan McBroom                        507-843-2032    daniel.mcbroom@state.mn.us
SW Metro RTO Kevin Neitzke                      651-463-3168    kevin.neitzke@state.mn.us
NW RTO Jeff Halverson                                218-894-3577    jeff.halverson@state.mn.us

Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant

Education Specialist:  Vacant

Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant


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