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

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

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



District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) instructed new officers at the Waterfowl Enforcement School at Whitewater State Park and on the Mississippi River.  A calf depredation was investigated in rural Stephen which was suspected to have been killed by coyotes. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked snowmobile, ATV, and angling enforcement. Slowly but surely the ice on the lake is dissipating, forecasted warmer weather and rain is undoubtedly going to speed the process. Be very careful if going out on the lake, some ice roads are closed and others are restricted to light vehicles or ATV/snowmobile traffic only.  Check with resorts as conditions are not the same across the lake. If you still have a permanent shelter out, you may want to think about getting it to shore this week. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angle with an extra line, transport fish without a patch of skin, and fail to display valid registration on a snowmobile.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette West) reports an increase in pike fishermen on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River.  Walleye fishing has slowed down but the avid anglers have still been able to hook a few nice ones.  CO Prachar spent time at Camp Ripley for training and time working anglers.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking anglers on special regulation lakes, monitoring ice shelter removal progress, and monitoring ATV activity throughout the week.  Time was spent issuing car killed deer possession permits, looking into a TIP report of possible over limits of pan fish, and preparations made for an upcoming ATV safety class.  Violations encountered and addressed during the week included a minnow dealer without an angling license, fail to display ATV registration, and littering. 

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports focusing much of his time checking anglers on Lake of the Woods. Time was also spent working at the Warroad Point of Entry and ATV enforcement was conducted. Enforcement actions for the week included angling without a license, extra lines, walleye over-limit, allow illegal ATV operation by a juvenile, operate unregistered ATV, and marijuana related offenses.  An angler was also arrested on Lake of the Woods who had an active warrant for his arrest.

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and various smaller lakes around the Blackduck/Kelliher area. Time was spent patrolling for ATV violations and fielding calls regarding injured eagles, an injured owl, crow hunting, and a possible livestock depredation caused by wolves. Assistance was also given to local law enforcement with a break- in of an unoccupied RV trailer. One unlucky angler was found to be in possession of marijuana and to have an outstanding warrant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports responding to a call out to assist the Polk County SO with an illegal shining complaint.  Charges are pending for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and illegal shining.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) continued to monitor fish house removal on area lakes, investigated a complaint of unlawful removal of aquatic vegetation, and conducted a ride along.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity in the area.  Anglers are reporting mixed results and ice conditions continue to get worse.  Time was spent monitoring closed ATV trails and forest roads.  Time was also spent preparing reports and working with the county attorney on formal charges stemming from deer season investigations. 

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) checked anglers and recreational vehicles during the week. Time was also spent checking lakes with experimental and special regulations. CO Holt checked roads and trails in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports late ice anglers are still walking out for pan fish on area lakes with some anglers finding success.  Most anglers contacted have remembered to purchase their new angling licenses.  Commercial checks of bait vendors were completed and questions answered about the latest lakes listed as infested by invasive species.  A complaint of OHVs operation on the county highways was taken and investigated and CO Vinton spent some time at a local boat show answering questions.  Enforcement action was taken for failing to register deer and no licenses in possession.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) completed training and worked on a recent case of a deer killed out of season.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling activity in the Moorhead and Pelican stations. Anglers are still finding a decent sunfish and crappie bite, but conditions over the weekend have led to further deteriorated ice conditions. The officer also spoke at the Moorhead Turkey Clinic and awarded a 30 year award to a safety instructor.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports ice angling is coming to an end in the area.  Some anglers were checked during the week and over the weekend.  Migratory birds were seen and the turkeys are gobbling around Otter Tail County.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spoke to a firearm safety class teaching laws and ethics, investigated TIP complaints, and finalized a deer season complaint. Litter complaints are coming in and being investigated as well.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATV’s, and trappers.  Complaints of fish over limits and disposed of dead animals along roadways were received and handled.  Ice fishermen need to be careful on area lakes as the ice has started to pull away from shore on numerous lakes.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked the last remaining ice fishermen on area lakes as the ice gets very soft throughout the station.  Pan fish success is strong but ice edges along shore continue to deteriorate to unsafe levels.  ATV and fire activity were monitored throughout the county as well as a few OHM questions.  CO Lawler spoke to the Alexandria Area Realtors Association about shoreline property issues and concerns for future clients.  An incidentally trapped otter was also seized.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fishing enforcement on area waterways. Additional time was spent working ATV, fire, and predator hunting and trapping enforcement. Active threat training was presented to the NW Regional Office staff and assistance was provided to the State Patrol and several other law enforcement agencies on an incident involving two stolen vehicles and a flee on foot.

CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working light goose hunting and ATV enforcement.  Miscellaneous wildlife calls were handled, including a report of a deer with a coffee can stuck over its head.  Upon locating the deer, Officer Chihak could see the coffee can was instead a paint can which obstructed the deer’s vision.  The officer made numerous attempts to remove the paint can by snagging the handle with a boat hook.  As luck would have it, on the final attempt with the boat hook, instead of the deer running off a short distance as it had done on previous attempts, the deer ran straight into the officer who tackled the deer and held it down until he could remove the paint can.  The deer was released unharmed.  CO Chihak also attended an EMT refresher at Camp Ripley.  A TIP call was received resulting in enforcement action being taken.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ATV activity and anglers.  Ice conditions are very poor now.  Complaints of taking walleye out of season was worked and time was spent registering students for the Morris FAS class.  Calls from the public were handled regarding FAS classes and fishing license expiration dates. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, monitoring spring beaver trapping activity, and monitoring ice conditions on area lakes.  Additional time was spent working with a USFWS officer on WPA issues, and returning phone calls about upcoming firearms safety classes.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling activity.  Anglers reported poor success.  Ice is slowly deteriorating, anglers are advised to use caution and to continually check ice conditions.  CO Broughten fielded calls regarding burning permits, trash left on ice, and angling questions.

Officer Halverson (Staples) worked fishermen and handled miscellaneous wildlife calls.  A dogs chasing deer complaint was investigated.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked perch and pan fish anglers.  While the ice has held up relatively well in many spots, anglers who are unfamiliar with area lakes continue to drive over typically weak ice areas.  As a result, two more vehicles went partially through the ice on Leech Lake with one occupant sustaining a head injury.  CO Mathy, as well as officers from multiple agencies in the area, responded to a complaint from a homeowner that a deer was stuck in her basement.  The homeowner was feeding deer near a basement window and the deer, for some reason, crashed through the window and ended up in the basement.  The deer, as one can imagine, didn’t have much regard for the furniture, carpet, and personal effects of the homeowner.  The officers eventually were able to gain control of the deer with a variety of containment devices, after an attempt to coax and herd the deer outside was unsuccessful, and it was released to the nearby woods. Enforcement action for the week included over limit of perch, angle with unattended lines, and use game fish as bait.

Officer Paul Parthun (Lake George) reports working angling activity on special regulation lakes throughout the week.  The recent cold weather has added ice to area lakes and anglers were out in force in their pursuit of pan fish with mixed success.  Rain and warm temperatures late in the week caused ice deterioration.    Time was spent monitoring ice shelter removal and enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV in a prohibited area. 

Walker – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports two incidents of people going through the ice on Rainy Lake in the last week, one involving a snowmobile and the other a Class 2 ATV.  In both cases the operators were able to get out safely, however the machines did not fare so well.  People again are encouraged to use extreme caution and need to be prepared for the worst if venturing onto the ice as ice conditions can change hourly.  Wearing a lifejacket and having ice picks on the ice are not bad things to be wearing this time of year.  Enforcement actions for week involved ATV violations.

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports time was spent at waterfowl enforcement training with the remainder of the week focusing on fishing activity. Lack of proper registration on both snowmobiles and ATVs continues to be frequently observed. Now that boats are being removed from storage and used it is a good time to check and update registration on these as well.

CO Colleen Adam (Ray) found the fickle weather this week allowed work from squad to snowmobile to ATV.  Anglers are still trying to find fish but the ice conditions on the lake are getting less and less safe every day.  Open water is showing up in known current areas and around rocks.  Shelf ice, caused by receded water levels, caused one snowmobile to go through on Kabetogama.    Officer Adam worked on pending cases.  Enforcement action was taken for expired snowmobile registration and ATV’s on islands within the national park.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and angling activities.  Few anglers and fewer fish observed in the bag.  Area forest roads were monitored along with public access sites. Seasonal equipment transition is on-going.

CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked anglers this past week; activity was slow.  CO Velsvaag also received several complaints about litter on the ice.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked ATV and snowmobile enforcement.  The officer, along with county deputies, worked the water skips and spoke to individuals about the new enforcement regarding the skips.  The officer also took a complaint of a dead eagle and dogs chasing deer.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spoke at a Firearms Safety Class in Gilbert and completed annual online training. Very few anglers were seen out and ice conditions are still holding up. CO Frericks GPS’d and photographed the few remaining ice shelters on Virginia area lakes prior to the removal deadline.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) spent a lot of time working on forestry related issues of birch trees being cut off state and private land and being sold as decorative material.  Ice fishing is still going and houses have been removed.  Car deer accidents have increased due to deer eating in the ditches where the snow has melted.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports ice angling activity increased with warmer weather and stayed steady through the week although success was very poor. Ice thickness and quality continues to be fair although many rivers, creeks, and areas with current have opened or become dangerous. Violations included angling without a license in possession.

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) checked area trout and pan fish lakes in and around the BWCA.  The officer handled equipment maintenance issues preparing for the impending seasonal change.  Officer Manning also issued her earliest car-kill bear permit and followed up on reports of litter around a fish house and power augers in the BWCA. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) primarily checked anglers and ATV’s throughout the week. Some anglers were checked inside the BWCA.  Crappie fishing continued to be on the slow side although lake trout anglers are having more success.  Enforcement action was taken for litter, ATV passenger under 18 without a helmet, and no license in possession.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked angling and snowmobile activity this week.  Time was also spent at EMT training.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent time armoring issued M4 patrol rifles. The officer attended a meeting with the Sheriff’s office and border patrol. A complaint was worked in the BWCAW and ice houses were monitored before the deadline. CO Wahlstrom also spoke to interested candidates about the career of a conservation officer.  

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ATV and angling activity during the week.  Late season ice anglers are having good luck with pan fish on area lakes and Lake Superior is offering some decent open water fishing for steelhead and salmon. CO Murray checked a few snowmobilers trying to get one last ride in for the season before the snow disappears.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers on area lakes, worked ongoing cases, and reviewed items for the bear committee.  Enforcement action was taken for failure to display ATV registration.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, investigated TIP complaints, assisted the patrol with a pursuit, assisted the county in locating a male suspect that fled from a residence and provided a K9 demo at a SCI event. Area angler success was good this week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked area lakes for angling activity, which is pretty slow for pan-fishing.  She attended the Grand Rapids Jaycee Home and Sport Show at the Civic Center along with other conservation officers manning the T.I.P. Wall of Shame.  She took a report of a dead eagle.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked late season ice anglers with the pan-fish bite heating up in the area.  Ice conditions are beginning to deteriorate on area lakes so be careful out there.  CO Sutherland also worked the Wall of Shame over the weekend with many area sportsmen stopping in to look at the poached animals that came from around the state.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATV’s and spring trappers.  He also prepped for upcoming firearm safety classes and worked the Grand Rapids Home and Sport Show during the week.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) – monitored angling and ATV activity throughout the surrounding area.  Ice conditions are starting to vary, so please use caution before heading out.  Anglers targeting crappies and bluegills are reporting better results.  A complaint of dogs chasing deer was also investigated, along with ice shelters being monitored and documented before the removal date.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Brookston) spent the week assisting with waterfowl training for officers at Whitewater State Park.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) followed up on fish house removal and litter issues related to ice houses.  Officer Schmidt taught at a firearm safety class in the Hermantown area, followed up on a fire investigation, and met with the county attorney on upcoming cases.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent time working fishing enforcement along the north shore of Lake Superior.  Many people have been shore and boat fishing when conditions allow.  Area lakes were checked for ice houses and litter.  Time was also spent following up on past incidents and investigations.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity on area lakes and conducted patrols in the Fond du Lac State Forest, Sawyer & Sandell WMA’s; as well as Moose Lake State Park.  Enforcement contacts for OHV operation, equipment, and no state park vehicle permits were encountered.  A few last chance ice anglers were observed.  Ice conditions continue to deteriorate and caution is advised.  Calls on dumped deer carcasses and a wolf were received.  CO Humphrey, along with CO Staples, attended a Career fair at the Fond du Lac community college speaking with students about conservation officer careers and job duties. 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a career fair at Fond du Lac College that was a host to several different area high schools. A meeting with the DNR fur committee was attended and media interviews were conducted.  Extra patrols were conducted in the area of the Nemadji State Forest. The forest is closed to protect area roads and trails while the ground thaws.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boaters and shore anglers along the North shore, the Coho and Kamloop catch has been decent, with mornings producing the most action. Officer Olson attended a youth class for the steelhead association in Duluth and also fielded calls on ice shelter removal dates and procedures for the upcoming deadline. Persistent northeast winds kept only the hearty anglers along the north shore with building seas removing most small boat anglers.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) observed very little angling activity this past week due to poor ice conditions.  CO Sullivan assisted a landowner with current information about a wetland violation and also observed burning violations in the area. 

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) attended EMT training at Camp Ripley and patrolled area lakes for some late ice anglers.  Several ATVs were contacted this week, one resulting in a DWI. 

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) assisted with teaching waterfowl enforcement techniques to the last conservation officer academy on the Mississippi River.  CO McGowan also checked late season ice anglers on area lakes and also answered questions pertaining to the upcoming turkey and boating season

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked ATV’s and dirt bikes.  Officer Hunter received information of an escaped deer and started an investigation.  A special thank you to those monitoring social media sites and reporting suspicious activity. 

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement this past week.  The ice anglers that are out are finding some active pan fish.   The ice conditions are poor and unpredictable crusty ice ridges and slush are becoming dangerous.  Officer Posner worked on a trespass complaint of a coyote hunter and checked anglers with an extra line and no license. Complaints of trash left on the ice by anglers were reported and investigated.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked pan fish and ATV activity.  A few complaints were handled and the officer also assisted with waterfowl training.

Cuyuna SRA – vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked fishing activity as anglers made use of the extended northern season on Mille Lacs.  Local ditches are free of snow which is bringing out the ATV traffic.  He also followed up on an ice house left out late, checked some beaver trappers, and recovered a dead eagle.  
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a prohibited burning violation where the property owner unknowingly dumped hot ashes from a wood stove onto the grass starting a grass fire.  Enforcement action was taken for the violation. She also patrolled for illegal ATV use in the Nemadji State Forest which is closed due to trail conditions.  CO Speldrich investigated a call of a dog caught in a trap which turned out to be a small breed puppy caught in a rat trap.  The puppy was not harmed.  She also received a call of eagle and other protected animals dumped at a WMA.  Further investigation showed the animals were actually chickens and domestic ducks illegally dumped. 
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) checked fishermen and ATV activity with a few folks still venturing out on the ice.   A penned deer was checked on with the Board of Animal Health and found to be legal.  CO Starr is looking into an illegal fire and assisted the Sheriff’s Office with an ATV and driver that fell through the ice on Mille Lacs Lake.  The operator got out fine, but the ATV is still in the water.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found a handful of late season ice anglers still out on ATV and on foot.  Recent cold evening temperatures had ice on many lakes very accessible with about one foot of fairly decent ice in many spots.  Shorelines and areas of moving water had thin ice or open water so those venturing out still had to be very careful.  Lack of snow cover also created conditions for a few fires to get away from homeowners trying to burn up yard debris.  Complaints of trespassing ATVers were also handled.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) received calls about nuisance and injured animals.  He also took calls on burning questions, ATV operation in State Forests, and ice condition inquiries.  State forests in the Pine City area are currently closed to motor vehicle use.  Snow cover is also gone throughout much of the area.  If you are burning legal materials larger than a campfire, be sure to get a burning permit.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area state forest and checked for damage on closed roads along with illegal ATV use.  Area lakes had a few pan fishermen out trying their luck which seemed a bit slow.  It is advised to use extra caution when on ice in days to come with warm temperatures arriving.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) spoke at the Pierz Firearm safety class, attended the DNR fire wardens’ banquet, had a CLC college student ride a long, investigated a burn barrel (garbage burning) complaint, and assisted the Morrison County Sheriff’s department with two pursuits.  A trespass complaint of a person found antler shed hunting on posted private property led Officers’ Kuske and Bertram into a case of the person taking an over limit of bucks last deer season. Violations found were gross misdemeanor trespass, buck over limit, illegal lend/borrow licenses, restitution charges for the bucks taken, and fail to register deer.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) taught the law portion for Long Prairie FAS.  Nuisance animal complaints were handled.  There was moderate angling activity as ice continues to deteriorate on area lakes.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) investigated deer season investigations dealing with over limit and registering deer in wrong zones.  An illegally shot swan was investigated south of Albany. Lakes were monitored for fishing activity with little angling going on with poor ice.  CO Thesing assisted state patrol with a pursuit and crash on I-94 near New Munich.  Enforcement action for the week included lend and borrow a deer tag and over limit deer.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) attended a career focus day at Paynesville schools. Fishing and trapping activity continued to be monitored. 

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this week, gave a law talk at the Maple Lake firearms class, and worked on checking fish run and complaints.

St. Cloud – vacant.

Sauk Centre – vacant.

Pierz – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked trapping and burning activity.   Everyone is reminded to get a burning permit prior to burning.  A TIP call was received for violators shooting geese during the closed season.  Chisago County Sheriff deputies tracked down the violators and enforcement action was taken.

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week patrolling for ATV activity.  CO Krauel has been receiving numerous complaints of ATV’s destroying road ditches and driveways.  He would like to remind ATV users to read the regulation book before riding.  CO Krauel also followed up on several big game cases.  Enforcement action was taken for operating a Class 2 ATV in the road ditch, no ATV certificate, and failure to register a big game animal.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked some anglers during the week.   A few ventured out on the ice.  The first boat of the season was checked as well.  Those anglers broke ice to gain access but decided they would risk it with only taking one life preserver.   ATV’s were also worked. Enforcement action was taken on ATV violations and no life preserver.    

CO Reller (Buffalo) spent most of the week instructing at the annual Waterfowl School for the newest conservation officers. A few anglers were checked this week with enforcement action taken for angling without a license and angling for closed species.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and ATV’s/OHM’s. Violations were found for fishing for closed species, no PFD’s, and illegal operation on roadway. Follow up was done on a deer case and a bear case. CO Musatov also spoke at a youth firearm safety class.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week responding to complaints and training with his K9.  CO Grewe also helped out with a security detail at central office.   Violations this week included failure to register a deer.

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) spent time walking several WMAs looking for tree stands and other items left behind from the previous hunting season. CO Leuthardt had a ride along who is interested in becoming a conservation officer. She also monitored state park and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken on operating a Class 2 ATV in a road ditch and a juvenile without a helmet on an ATV.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked anglers and ATV activities in the metro area and took a call on a dead owl in Minneapolis.  Officer Lee also answered questions to the Asian community on bear hunting regulations and firearm safety classes.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo Station) spent the week in training at Whitewater State Park. Time was also spent handling several wildlife complaints.

CO Thephong LE (ELCOP) met with Iowa Conservation Officers and Lt. Lisa Kruse for enforcement action and closed a case of the illegal sale of small game and big game. He spent time checking anglers on the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers in the metro area.  Calls for service were returned which included motorized vehicle on a non-motorized trail at Fort Snelling State Park and nuisance animals.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) spent a majority of the past week at Whitewater State Park participating in the waterfowl school.  Ice has finally cleared the access on Lake Waconia and boats are starting to make their way out onto the lake.  Remember that the water is still very cold and boating safety is more critical than ever due to the low temperatures.  Also don’t forget to ensure your watercraft registration is up to date before taking your boat out.

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) patrolled Lake Minnetonka for ice anglers and even spotted a boat on the water before the lake froze over again. Time was spent enforcing snowmobile regulations on the Luce Line State Trail after the recent snowfall. A call was received of three deer spotted on Diamond Lake after seeing four deer walking previously in the day. No deer was found to have fallen through the ice, the deer were spotted on a neighboring pond.

Bloomington – vacant.

Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer also assisted with division training in the southeast as well as a turkey clinic. CO Salzer also fielded several wildlife calls.

CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) attended waterfowl training in southern Minnesota this week along with other conservation officers.  Time was spent on the Mississippi River and future safety classes were scheduled.  Nuisance wildlife calls were fielded and referred to proper resources.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers in the area. He responded to TIP calls of persons shooting deer from a motor vehicle and wildlife carcasses being dumped. He spent the remainder of the week getting recertified as an EMT.

 CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) spoke at two firearms safety classes. He checked some anglers on the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. CO Pril also responded to miscellaneous animal calls and other calls during the week.

White Bear Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Picht (Montevideo) checked shore anglers, conducted commercial bait inspections, and checked numerous snow goose hunters.  The area is once again free of snow. 
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time last week monitoring angling, trapping, and light goose hunting activity. Officer Gutzwiller also spent time conducting commercial inspections and monitoring coyote hunting activity.  The officer assisted with a firearms safety class field day held in Dawson.

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) reports time was spent completing minnow retailer and game farm inspections throughout the week.  Several snow goose hunters were checked over the weekend who were having some success and reported seeing a good number of birds.  A burning violation was also investigated with enforcement action being taken.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ATVs and snowmobiles. An area youth was hospitalized after falling off his snowmobile and being run-over by another snowmobile. Recent light goose numbers seem to have decreased.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) conducted a weekly radio interview with KLOH Radio in Pipestone. Most of the week was spent working snowmobile, light goose, and commercial enforcement. Officer Loftness also monitored area lakes for unsafe ice fishing activity.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) checked shore anglers and light goose hunters throughout the week.  The officer also monitored recreational vehicle activity in the area. 
Ortonville- Unavailable

Lake Benton – vacant.

Worthington – vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) attended an appreciation banquet for Kandiyohi County DNR Volunteer Instructors who teach firearms, snowmobile, and ATV safety training.  He continued to follow up on investigations.  Time was also spent checking for compliance with commercial laws.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) gave a presentation to second grade students about animals and fur.  He also attended a volunteer instructor banquet.  CO Vernier spent time on follow up related to burning garbage, turtle trapping, shed hunting, and nuisance beaver complaints.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) conducted commercial inspections of taxidermist and minnow dealers in the area. Snowmobilers taking advantage of the last snowfall were also checked. A warrant for a person involved in a shining case in northern Minnesota was also checked.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson-West) continued with commercial checks including a local taxidermist.  Questions concerning regulations on deer carcass importation were discussed.  A possible wetland and violation of a previous cease and desist order were investigated. 

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson-East) worked the last bit of snowmobile enforcement for the season.  CO Oberg also patrolled wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas to monitor for illegal activity.  Firearm safety talks were given at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club and Shady Lane Sportsmen’s Club.  A hunter harassment case was also completed this week.

CO Thor Nelson attended EMT refresher training.  He received calls with questions on turkey hunting and WMA use.  CO Nelson also worked snowmobile and ATV enforcement activities.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports that the local area received heavy snow this past week which gave snowmobile enthusiasts a chance to finally get out and ride.  Several complaints of trespassing and damage to property caused by snowmobile activity was handled.  The officer testified at a trial from the past hunting season and assisted neighboring officers with a commercial taxidermy inspection. 

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled his area checking ATV activity and angling activity.  He also spent some time in Kilen Woods State Park.  CO Gruhlke responded to a call for information concerning burning brush.  He completed his radio program with KKOJ discussing topics including eagle migration, ice safety, and information available to all on the DNR webpage.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked a few snowmobilers from the last snow storm taking advantage of their last ride.  Anglers were checked.  Public accesses and WMA’s were patrolled.  A complaint of nuisance turkeys was fielded. 

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked on following up on old case files this week. Work was begun on upcoming commercial inspections. Most outdoor recreation enthusiasts are looking forward to warmer spring weather.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) continued completing commercial inspections on businesses with DNR licenses. Angling activity was monitored and trout anglers were checked near Preston. A firearms safety class was attended in Spring Valley. CO Henke assisted local law enforcement with calls and responded to questions from the public.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking primarily fishing activity this week. Additional time was spent monitoring ATV activity. A law and ethics presentation was given to a local FAS class and Officer Ihnen also attended a career fair for local high school students.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, ATV, and snowmobile activity this week.  Trail conditions were good for a couple days with the recent snowfall, but deteriorated quickly with the warm weather that followed.  A few shore fishermen have been seen at river areas with some success.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) checked areas for beaver trapping activity.  Shore anglers were checked along local rivers.  The officer spent time checking areas for recreational ATV activity. Equipment was also serviced for open water season.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers and ATV operators during the week.  The officer responded to Turn in Poachers calls for angling violations.  Activity was monitored at wildlife management areas.  The law & ethics presentation was given at a firearm safety online class field day at the 20 Rifle & Pistol Club and Straight River Archery Club near Medford.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) focused on commercial inspections of local minnow dealers and taxidermists. CO VanThuyne also spoke to area students at a career fair, presented at a firearms safety class, responded to a TIP call of someone targeting walleye out of season, and assisted the local sheriff’s office with an arrest. Some of the area lakes are opening up again after the most recent ice. Hopefully they will stay open this time so anglers can get out on the lakes.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking numerous trout anglers out in the warmer weather. Success was fair to good. Violations encountered were no license and no trout stamp. Time was also spent on cases from deer season. Turkeys are getting active and vocal. CO Boyum also assisted with the division’s waterfowl school.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) assisted with duck school training for new officers.  CO Heyn also worked anglers on the river and assisted with other calls.  Some anglers were having good success. 

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week at waterfowl enforcement training. Officers learned about enforcement techniques, federal and state regulations, and worked on waterfowl identification.

CO Phil George (Rochester) issued wildlife possession tags, checked retail minnow dealers, anglers, and ATV operators.  He also assisted with waterfowl school during the week.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester 2) spent the majority of the week patrolling for sport fishing and ATV enforcement. A CWD feeding ban complaint was also investigated. CO Seamans attended a public information meeting regarding the proposed license fee increases. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license and violating the CWD feeding ban.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports checking boats on the river with some walleye and perch.  The river banks were busy with people photographing eagles and ducks.  CO Hemker also helped with a waterfowl school for the new officers.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working both open water and ice fishermen.  A little bit of everything was found in the bag over the weekend with the majority of the fish still being perch.  Several nuisance/injured animal complaints were handled and numerous questions answered.  Time was also spent on the big river with the 2017 waterfowl school for the division’s new officers.  Enforcement action this week involved license and method violations.

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) completed waterfowl training held at Whitewater State Park. CO Hill spent multiple hours navigating the Mississippi River where he and other officers observed a wide array of waterfowl species during their spring migration. CO Hill also spent time investigating big game violations that occurred during the firearm’s deer season.

CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) spent the week learning waterfowl identification at Whitewater State Park.  CO Fogarty also issued wildlife possession tags and dealt with ATV violations.

Training Section

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

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) attended a meeting regarding the aviation unit’s upcoming training plans.  Pilot Geving also worked on planning upcoming missions and other administrative tasks. 

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued working on helicopter training with two pilots, and aircraft maintenance for tracking units.  The new tracking units will enable the forestry and DPS dispatchers to be able to view our aircraft on the screen for additional safety.

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports aircraft repair and illness prevented any flying activity this week.  The downtime afforded a good opportunity to attend to administrative tasks and training issues.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of rotary ground and flight training.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (Northwest) spent the week working with LGU’s, Hydro’s and AIS managers on open cases, upcoming trainings and meetings, and new issues and questions.  Time was spent following up on ATV complaints and reviewing documents.

WREO Mike Scott (Northeast) worked with conservation officers in Lake Kabetogama area on several new PW cases.  Officer Scott checked anglers on the north shore where Loopers were being caught and few Coho’s. Fishing has been slow with the weather change. He worked with the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department and local CO’s on Lake Vermilion with the snowmobile water skipping issues at Trout lake portage. Information was passed on to the participants about the new direction being addressed for the water skipping.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. Follow up on work projects was also conducted. WREO Haberman also helped train new Lake Service Providers and assisted RTO Lee with a forum in Grand Rapids.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week conducting follow-up on wetland and public water violations.  A TEP meeting was attended.  Assistance was also given to a neighboring officer regarding a trespass case.

WREO Larry Hanson (Southwest) assisted with a cease and desist order violation on a seven year old WCA case.  Follow-up was completed on other WCA and PW cases. Officer Hanson assisted with a K-9 demonstration in St. Cloud. Snowmobilers were also checked after the eight inches of snow received in southwest Minnesota last week.

WREO Julie Siems (Southeast) assisted at a Lake Service Provider training.  Anglers and boaters were checked on the river with lots of fish seen.  Assistance was also given to the county in a watercraft recovery. 

Enforcement Education

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

See Also:


NW RTO Greg Oldakowski (acting) reports receiving several calls from instructors regarding upcoming clinics and follow up phone calls from the instructor forums. New ATV and firearms clinics were scheduled and several instructors are showing interest.  A Firearms Safety Instructor Clinic was provided with a good instructor turnout, with the background procedures in progress.

NE RTO Mike Lee presented an instructor forum in Grand Rapids this past week. The forum was well attended by instructors from the Grand Rapids and surrounding areas.  Officer Lee continued work on the Advanced Hunter Education Program.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports presenting instructor appreciation awards, working on instructor backgrounds, and taking registration for upcoming instructor certification training. CO Rezac taught ATV/Snowmobile Instructor Certification in Litchfield, helped area officers facilitate an instructor appreciation banquet in Spicer, and taught Hunter Education Firearm Safety Instructor Certification in Delano.  A wildlife possession permit was issued for road kill turkey.  Fishermen fishing on the banks of the Crow River, Wright County were also checked.

SW Metro RTO Kevin Neitzke gave a law presentation at a Turkey Clinic.  He returned emails and phone calls regarding safety training questions.  RTO Neitzke worked on setting up a combined ATV and Snowmobile Safety Instructor Class.  He also worked on volunteer safety instructor backgrounds.

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

Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant

Education Specialist:  Vacant

Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant



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