Conservation Officer Report
Compiled By Richard Sprouse, Minnesota DNR, 800-366-8917, Ext 2511
Weekly Conservation Officer Report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Enforcement
15011 Highway 115 (Camp Ripley)
Little Falls, MN 56345-4173
Report Fish & Game Violations
Call T.I.P. at 1-800-652-9093 or Cell #TIP
CONSERVATION OFFICER REPORT
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods. Violations encountered included possess over limit of saugers and extra lines. Another officer was assisted with a group of anglers that were in possession of marijuana.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked snowmobiling and angling enforcement throughout Warroad and the surrounding areas. CO Benjamin worked in conjunction with CO Hanson conducting compliance checks on anglers entering the US from Canada at the Warroad Customs and Border Patrol point of entry. Enforcement action was taken for the following: angling without a license in possession and transporting fish without patch of skin.
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. It appeared like the bite was starting to pick up a little bit on the west side of the lake. Enforcement action taken for angling without a license, no angling license in possession, angling with an extra line, and possession of dressed fillets.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) investigated a fish house left at a public water access. Time was spent patrolling for ice angling activity on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River. CO Prachar spent time working on Gull Lake in Brainerd on Friday and Saturday at the One-Lunger 100 vintage snowmobile event. Enforcement action taken included possession of alcohol by persons under 21, reckless driving, fail to display ATV registration and operate ATV with passenger under 18 without helmet.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored activities during the Minnesota Vikings Arctic Blast Festival in Thief River Falls, giving the safety message prior to the events snowmobile ride. Safety and compliance checks were conducted during the ride. CO Woinarowicz patrolled during a local fishing derby and a coyote hunting contest resulting in enforcement action for transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle and an arrest for outstanding warrants. Other enforcement action included angle with extra line, fail to register big game, and no snowmobile registration.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) worked angling, snowmobiling, small game hunting and trapping enforcement. Hanson worked the Arctic Blast snowmobile ride with the Minnesota Vikings. Many snowmobilers enjoyed a ride with the Vikings on the Red Lake River followed by a bon fire, hot dogs and apple cider at Smiley Bridge. One unfortunate participant lost his snowmobile to a fire. There were no injuries, but the snowmobile was a total loss. Hanson assisted CO Benjamin with a port of entry check.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports monitoring snowmobiling activity and angling activity on Upper Red Lake and special regulation lakes throughout the week. Time was spent investigating a TIP report, interviewing a suspect regarding a trespassing complaint, case preparation for court trial and testifying in a court trial. Enforcement action throughout the week included, over limit of Upper Red Lake walleye, possession of protected slot limit walleye, angling with extra lines, possession of dressed fillets on the ice, unmeasurable fish and angling license violations.
Baudette #2 -vacant.
Blackduck #2 - vacant.
Karlstad - vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at a snowmobile safety class in Fertile. Time was also spent attending a meeting with a local LGU and BWSR to discuss a large wetland violation complaint. Anglers, ATV operators, snowmobile operators, and trapping activity were also checked.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) checked anglers, snowmobilers, ATV riders, trappers and predator hunters. He confirmed cleanup of a burned ice shelter and access debris. He answered questions concerning the AIS trailer stickers, a call about wolf concerns and a newspaper interview about wolves. Response was also given to an assault and a woman having a baby in a bath tub. The officer did have the opportunity to attend a sportsman’s club meeting as well as a youth fishing derby with about half of the 160 kids showing their catch of the day.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers, trappers and investigated a wolf depredation complaint.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. The walleye bite has slowed, but anglers continue to catch panfish on most area lakes. A Red Lake detail was worked with CO Holt. A public meeting regarding deer populations was attended. CO Vollbrecht worked a snowmobile radar run on Lake Bemidji during Winterfest.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked anglers throughout the week. Time was spent monitoring recreational vehicle activity in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest and checking anglers in Itasca State Park. CO Holt also worked Upper Red Lake with CO Vollbrecht and investigated complaints of littering on area lakes. Enforcement activity included angling violations.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking fishermen and following up on TIP complaints. CO Vinton answered calls about LOW fishing regulations and provided assistance to other law enforcement agencies. He also assisted a State Patrol officer looking for advice after they’d contacted a driver with a severed deer head in the back of their truck. CO Vinton attended a meeting at Camp Ripley.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked angling and shelter enforcement, attended a deer management public input meeting, received a complaint of trespassing and numerous complaints of a slow fish bite.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen. Time was also spent tagging an accidentally taken fisher and following up on a complaint of a vehicle driving off the designated road in a state park. When the driver tried driving over rough terrain and through trees the front license plate was knocked off making for easy follow up the following morning.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) spent time working angling, ATV and snowmobile activity. CO Warren worked an angling work detail with area officers. The annual Old Timers snowmobile run in Lake Park was attended but a lack of snow brought few sleds out and about. Some classic snowmobiles were able to get out for shorter runs on area waters.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling activity in the area. A work detail was conducted in the Cormorant Lakes area with neighboring officers. The detail focused primarily on fishing enforcement, but several snowmobilers were also checked during the vintage run in Lake Park. A taxidermy inspection was conducted with LT Seefeldt, which resulted in several animals being seized and a citation issued for a taxidermist operating without a license. Enforcement action was taken for operating a taxidermy business without a license, fishing without a license in possession, angling with unattended lines, and operating a snowmobile without a safety certificate.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week working on AIS trainings, law updates, and responding to LSPs regarding AIS questions. Time was spent on open PW and WCA cases.
Several fishermen were checked. A meeting at Camp Ripley was attended.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports angling pressure increased for panfish with warmer temps. Richards also spoke with some spear fishermen on various lakes. A whitetail skull plate along with antlers was seized as part of a North Dakota investigation. Turkey hunters that applied for the lottery have been notified of their success.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) continues to check ice anglers and fish shelters throughout the week. Coyote hunters were out but having limited success. Litter complaints were handled and equipment maintenance was performed.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement activity checking fishermen and shelters. Predator hunters were checked as well as assisting with a snowmobile safety class in Ashby. Nelson spoke with DNR officials regarding a new public access site and handled a call in the vacant Wheaton station.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen and fish houses on area lakes in Otter Tail and Douglas counties. Several violations were encountered including failure to display shelter license, illegal length fish, no fishing license, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, expired registration on an ATV, fishing with extra lines, unattended lines, no identification on fish houses, litter and fish over limits. Anglers are reminded that they are to take use the fish they catch and not throw them on the ice to rot.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) monitored trapping and coyote hunting activity this past week. Additional time was spent working ice fisherman on area lakes. The bite is generally still slow, but lots of anglers enjoyed very nice weather. Lawler took part in a work crew on Lake Osakis with other officers where numerous citations were issued for a range of fishing/drug related violations. Extra lines and marijuana violations continue to be found, along with unattended lines and expired registration on ATV/snowmobiles. CO’s Lawler and Johanson attended the Alexandria Technical and Community College law enforcement career fair, answering questions from students about the hiring process and job description of Conservation Officers. Departments from all over the upper Midwest were in attendance.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to monitor the fishing activity on area waterways and participate in fishing related work crews with other officers. A fishing related trespass call was also responded to with enforcement action taken. Additional time was spent checking predator hunting and trapping activity and closing out deer season investigations. CO’s Johanson and Lawler manned a booth at the annual law enforcement career fair held at Alexandria Technical and Community College. Numerous law enforcement students were interested in becoming future Conservation Officers and many positive contacts were made.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ice fishing activity, ATV operation and snowmobile activity. CO’s Anderson and Nelson had a weekend work crew in the vacant Wheaton station. The CO’s found a few anglers out but success was poor. A few snowmobilers were checked as well as minnow transportation permits issued. A call was handled regarding an injured owl in the vacant Wheaton station. Firearms safety, ice fishing and predator hunting questions were addressed with the public.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement activity for the week included checking fishermen, ATV operators, and coyote hunters. Additional time was spent dealing with confiscated furs, equipment maintenance, a fraudulent license case, and investigating complaints of pan fish over limits. Baumbarger answered questions regarding AIS trailer sticker, received calls about injured owls, and spent time organizing the spring firearm safety class and ATV class.
Wheaton - vacant.
District 4 - Wadena area
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on sport fishing activity throughout the week. A call of an injured deer on the ice of an area lake was checked on. Assistance was provided to a neighboring officer on a deer investigation.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. Time was also spent working on firearms safety class equipment and items related to the bear committee. Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations.
CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) reports that ice angling activity remains low. Those out angling are having limited success. Pan fishermen are having some success, but limits are tough to come by. Time was spent planning and preparing for an upcoming snowmobile safety training class.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling and spearing activity. Angling and spearing success continues to be slow. While monitoring angling activity on an area lake CO Broughten found several northern pike that were left lying on the ice. CO Broughten was able to locate the fishermen responsible for the illegal activity and enforcement action was taken. CO Broughten also fielded calls concerning trespass and a complaint about enforcement action in which the violator stated, he “kind of” broke the law but believed some laws were not meant to be enforced. Enforcement action included no angling license in possession, no ice shelter license, no ID on ice shelter, failure to display ATV registration, false application for a license, and wanton waste of fish.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) assisted at Staples High School reality store day for the junior and senior classes. CO Halverson also worked ice fishermen; nice weather had a lot of folks out but the fishing was slow.
CO Colleen Adam (NW Region OHV Recreation Officer) handled calls for nuisance animals, wanton waste and non-resident license issues. CO Adam worked the DNR booth at an international motorcycle show at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the week's activities included animal complaints, ice fishing and snowmobile enforcement, vintage snowmobile run, and deer depredation complaint. An invasive species meeting with Koochiching County was also attended. Found on the Arrowhead Snowmobile Trail in the Lake Kabetogama area was a Yamaha black vinyl/leather gear bag, to claim please contact CO Kittelson at (218)285-9501.
CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) spent the week checking angling and snowmobilers throughout the area. The recent snow has rejuvenated the trail system for snowmobilers and cross country skiers over the weekend. CO Van Asch observed several machines that were quite dated and very interesting to see participating in a vintage snowmobile run on Kabetogama Lake. Fish on area lakes are still hard to come by although; a few anglers were able to put a couple in the bucket on Rainy Lake. Enforcement action was taken for operating a snowmobile in excess of posted speed limits and angling without a license in possession.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the area snowmobile trails remain in poor shape due to the lack of snow. Ice fishing remains slow and not many anglers were observed throughout the week. Office work was completed.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) assisted COs Fredin and Frericks with a search warrant that led to large game violation charges. The officer assisted CO Grundmeier with some problem areas in his station. CO Hopkins and CO Grundmeier interrupted a burglary in progress while checking for anglers on a remote lake at night. The officers found a vehicle coming out of a WMA. The driver was cited for possession of marijuana and sent on his way. Officers then continued their patrol into the remote area and found where tracks from the recently stopped vehicle had come from a private cabin. Further investigation found the private property freshly burglarized and damaged. CO Grundmeier and Hopkins were able to catch up to the suspect’s pickup truck and the driver was arrested for burglary, theft and criminal damage to property.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling, ATV, and snowmobile activity and assisted local law enforcement in searching for a stolen vehicle and the State Patrol on an impaired driver complaint. A vintage snowmobile run was worked with (nearly 200 sleds) between Chisholm and Kinney. An ATV was stopped for operating on a snowmobile trail and was also found to have drug paraphernalia. Enforcement action was taken on no angling license in possession, no ski pass on a state park ski trail, unregistered ATV, snowmobile registration display, snowmobile speed, operating an ATV on grant in aid snowmobile trail and possession of drug paraphernalia
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) completed an investigation stemming from a TIP call about a person who was seen putting a deer in the back of his vehicle. Charges were sent to the county attorney’s office for consideration. Area snowmobile trails remain in poor condition and a groomer was finally seen attempting to groom one particular stretch of trail for the first time all season. Trout anglers have been doing well on area trout lakes.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) finished up a Big Game case with CO Frericks. Fishing activity was check and a few crappies were being caught. A complaint of unmarked fish house and litter was check into. Snowmobiling is rough and the predicted snow over the weekend did not materialize.
Ray - vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. Wahlstrom worked with several officers during a snowmobile detail along the State trail and up the Gunflint trail. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations, possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia .
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked trout anglers and snowmobilers. Activity picked up towards the end of last week as cold weather kept most people from the outdoors. Both stream trout and lake trout lakes continue to produce good numbers of fish. Snowmobile registration violations were encountered.
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports assisting officers from around the state over the weekend with snowmobile enforcement on the Gunflint Trail. Two snowmobile events attracted several hundred riders from around the US and Canada, and the trails received heavy use. Violations included: Excessively loud snowmobile muffler, and fail to display snowmobile trail sticker.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked one snowmobile detail with Border Patrol agents and another up the Gunflint Trail with several COs. Anglers were checked in and out of the BWCA. Enforcement action was taken for litter, being too far from tip-ups, and snowmobile violations to include expired registration, fail to display registration, and loud exhaust.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked snowmobile details with the US Border Patrol and other DNR officers throughout the week. One party had his snowmobile registration and decal tucked below the hood and behind the front shock absorbers so far that the officer had to nearly get onto the ground to read it. The party felt it was the “cool” place to have it and informed the officer that it was okay because his friend and others had theirs applied that way and said it was okay. It is not okay and there is a specified place for the snowmobile registrations that should be followed to avoid enforcement attention. There was a lot of snowmobile traffic with the new snow this weekend and the trails took a pretty good beating. But the groomers were out working Sunday to make it all better again.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity during the past week. Few fish were seen caught. Litter complaints are being investigated and a legislative conference was attended.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) took a trapping complaint where a person got caught in a snare, other than a little wounded pride, no violation was noted. CO Schottenbauer also worked two area snowmobile rides where there was a lot of activity. Several violations were noted, and the local trails took a real beating.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers on area lakes. He worked trapping and snaring activity, and looked at areas where complaints had been received about hunting deer over bait.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, ATV and snowmobile activity, and completed a trespass case. Violations included snowmobile on roadway, angle with an extra line, and angle more than 200 feet from a tip-up. Anglers convicted of trespassing on posted land to access a lake will have their fishing license and snowmobile registration suspended, in addition their hunting privileges will be suspended for two years
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobile activity, attended a deer population meeting and investigated big game complaints. CO Fairbanks and his K-9 partner Si also attended the local elementary school and assisted with three DARE classes. The area walleye bite was on the upside. Enforcement action was taken for angle without license and OHV registration issues.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked angling activity this past week. She also attended meetings held to discuss deer populations in surrounding deer permit areas and in the City of Grand Rapids.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity in the area. CO Sutherland took enforcement action for angling with extra lines, operating an ATV that is unregistered and operating a motorized vehicle in a closed area.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen during the week. He checked snowmobile trails and trappers. He also handled a litter and wanton waste case during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for anglers not having license in possession.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) checked ATV and snowmobiling activity this past week. CO Velsvaag took several complaints on speeding snowmobilers and a complaint of damage to a snowmobile trail from a truck driving down the trail.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked area lakes and rivers for anglers and snowmobile traffic. Weather conditions had people out on the lakes but the bite on most lakes has been slow. The officer followed up on a public waters complaint. Phone calls regarding injured and nuisance animals were returned. Officer Schmidt assisted with a drown proofing class for the State Patrol.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) spent most of the week checking anglers. There are a few anglers who are still catching some nice pan fish throughout the area. Due to the lack of snow both ice conditions and access remains very good on most lakes. Many permanent ice houses are being marked using GPS and photographed to be sure all litter and blocking is removed when the shelters are taken in for the season. A permit was issued for a road killed bobcat.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) investigated a complaint of a possible illegal hunting activity during the past firearm deer season. Several possession permits were issued for a road kill deer and other dead animals. Officer Duncan fielded and returned several calls from the public. One day was spent assisting with a water safety training class for the state patrol academy. Other activity included working fishing, snowmobile, and ATV enforcement. Many questions were answered at a local fishing contest that hosted several hundred fisherman.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity on area lakes throughout the week. CO Humphrey patrolled the Fond du Lac and Nemadji state forests for OHV and trapping activity. CO Humphrey gave a presentation to a snowmobile safety class at the Barnum High School. CO Humphrey followed up on deer season cases and monitored an ice racing event held on Big Lake in Cloquet. Angling and OHV violations were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) K9 training for the week.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked anglers north of Duluth. The lack of snow has left the trails vacant. Training time was spent for the MSP academy class, where the DNR team presented the water survival class.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers. A road-killed moose was handled on a dark cold night, with all necessary samples taken for the moose mortality project and the salvageable carcass signed over to an appreciative gentleman. More snowmobiles are showing up, with rather high violation rates for modified exhaust and registration. A reminder than any exhaust modification that makes the machine louder than stock exhaust is illegal, and will be handled as such. Enforcement action taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) completed training and also instructed officer water survival to the state patrol academy. He also assisted searching the area for a bank robbery suspect who was later arrested by the local police department. The officer worked the area of the big jig fishing contest and checked anglers, snowmobilers and ATV riders throughout the week. He also assisted a State of Wisconsin Game Warden investigating a snowmobile fatality with some information. Enforcement action taken for snowmobile, and angling violations.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on a litter complaint from ice anglers. The report was of litter left behind after a portable fish house was removed. Litter included human waste, cigarette butts and cans. He checked anglers who report a slow bite; the pan fish anglers have had the best luck. He assisted with a report of fish house burglaries on an area lake. Pillsbury Forest received some enforcement time a complaint of dumping was investigated. He worked on complaints of trappers trespassing and not checking there traps within the required time.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week with slow success being reported by anglers on multiple lakes. Officer Lee received a report of possible over-limits of crappie coming off of an area lake. When checking the area no anglers were found, but further investigation will continue in this area. Officer Lee received a complaint of a portable shelter left on an area lake for a long period of time with no shelter identification, and a large amount of litter left around it. Officer Lee located the shelter in question, and confirmed no shelter identification was present along with liter around the shelter. While investigating the complaint the reporting party of the complaint became very uncooperative, agitated and began yelling and arguing with others in the area along with Officer Lee. While trying to calm, and speak with the reporting party, Officer Lee observed that the party appeared to be very intoxicated. While checking the reporting party’s information with the Sheriff’s Department, Officer Lee learned that he was on probation, and was restricted to no use of alcohol. The party was advised of this violation, and that his probation officer would notified of the violation. Other enforcement actions taken during this past week included expired ATV registration, no angling license, and angle with extra lines.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing county lakes for angling activity. CO McGowan also patrolled the Crosslake area over the weekend during the Crosslake winter fest activities. Enforcement action was taken for possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of narcotics, and numerous anglers were cited for angling with extra lines.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked anglers throughout the week. A few snowmobile/angling shifts were also worked with Ely area officers.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) presented to a small group of adults who were interested in becoming Conservation Officers in a natural resources law enforcement college class. Officer Guida also assisted with training at Camp Ripley. He worked with the local county attorney’s office regarding an intoxicated boater that was arrested off the water from this past summer. A couple of speaking arrangements were scheduled for this upcoming spring.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity including checking ice fishing activity, inspection of ice shelters for marking and licensing requirements, and assisting high school biology students in utilizing the TIP Wall of Shame for studies in wildlife forensic science. Enforcement contacts were made for ice shelter license and marking violations.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) had heavy angling activity on just about every lake in her area, however the bite was slow. With the slow bite, one angler thought putting a couple of extra lines out would help his odds. When CO Peterson confronted him, he stated that his friend had the lines and had just stepped away. After further investigation, he admitted they were his lines. She also located an angler on Big Sandy with an illegal length walleye.
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) investigated calls of untagged and unattended traps. Anglers were checked and some nice panfish were seen, and a call of a person with possession of a road-killed bobcat was handled.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked anglers making use of the adequate ice and lack of snow to move around the lakes. Some northerns and perch are getting caught on Mille Lacs along with occasional crappies elsewhere. Verkuilen also monitored trapping activity, spoke at a community meeting, and assisted with moving district equipment.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) conducted vehicle maintenance and completed paperwork involving the previous week’s activities. The officer monitored angling activity on area lakes to include Mille Lacs Lake; angling was sluggish. Enforcement action included angling with extra lines and unattended lines.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen on Mille Lacs Lake and area smaller lakes. There was some fish being caught and quite a few folks out enjoying the milder temperatures. The Officer also met with DNR Wildlife staff on a wildlife issue at a local farm and lots of law related questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend. A fishing TIP complaint was followed up on and a call of a possible injured wolf was investigated. Time was also spent patrolling for ATV activity and also the officer checked area forests for forestry and other violations.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) conducted angler checks, patrolled for illegal snowmobile trail activity, attended a LEMA Honor Guard meeting, assisted another district with a possible escaped cervidae report and assisted the State Patrol with a public safety traffic issue. Officer Speldrich also investigated burglary activity on an area lake where a shelter had been broken into. The information was turned over to the local Sheriff’s Department for follow-up. Officer Speldrich is investigating an incident on an area lake where a syringe was located and found to contain methamphetamine. Charges are expected for 5th degree controlled substance violation. Speldrich took enforcement actions on various violations, including no angling license in possession, no shelter ID and failing to display registration.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) found a very busy week, with angling pressure found to be high, as was the violation rate. Violations included false application for license, no licenses, non-residents without license, no safety certificate for snowmobile, over limit of crappie, unattended lines, angling with extra lines, unlicensed house, and unregistered recreational vehicles. Small amounts of litter were found, but overall, a job well done by anglers so far. A reminder to anglers to be courteous to other anglers. The law indicates 10 feet is needed between houses, but it is advised to give some additional space to avoid confrontational situations.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent the week checking anglers. Violations found included using too many lines and tip-ups, fishing without licenses and leaving unattended lines. While patrolling late one evening, CO Grundmeier and CO Hopkins were checking a remote lake and found a vehicle driving around the area. The driver was eventually stopped, cited for possession of marijuana and sent on his way. Officers then continued their patrol into the remote area and found where tracks from the recently stopped vehicle led to a private cabin. The cabin had fresh damage from being broken in to. It quickly became evident that a burglary in progress had been interrupted. CO Grundmeier and CO Hopkins were able to catch up to the suspect vehicle and the driver was arrested for burglary, theft and criminal damage to property.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) took calls during the week regarding trash near ice shelters, questions about burning permits, and questions about nuisance animals. He spent time checking anglers, monitored public accesses, and followed up on littering complaints. Enforcement contacts during the week included angling with extra lines, and no angling license in possession.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area state forest and WMAs. Loggers have had a good year with snow conditions at a minimal making it easier to freeze roads into work areas. Time was spent checking fishermen on area lakes and Mille Lacs Lake. Some nice perch were seen along with tullibee, northern pike and a few walleye. Enforcement action taken on fishing violations.
WREO Rob Haberman investigated a possible wetland violation near the Mille Lacs Lake area. WREO Haberman with federal and state and county staff conducted a site review and will continue follow up. WREO Haberman also checked fishermen on local lakes. Fishing activity is slow. WREO Haberman also attended meetings during the week.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) participated in a work crew on Lake Osakis over the weekend. While working the detail CO Silgjord located one angler with an overlimit of crappies and other anglers attempting to take fish with unattended lines. CO Silgjord transferred several Bald Eagles to a Federal Wildlife Officer so they could be sent to the Nation Eagle Repository. The eagles were hit by vehicles or had struck power lines. Once received the repository will evaluate, store and distribute the dead bald eagles, parts, and feathers to Native Americans who are enrolled members of federally recognized tribes throughout the United States. CO Silgjord also concluded a big game investigation that resulted in charges for taking an overlimit of deer and lend/borrow of licenses. A law presentation was given to a youth snowmobile safety class and ice fishing activity was monitored throughout the station. Other violations for the week included fail to display ATV registration, unmarked fish house, angle without license in possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports spring safety classes are getting scheduled. Anglers were out in moderate numbers, hoping to catch the elusive water dwellers. A possible WCA violation was reported late in the week. Nary a hunter was seen.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity in the area. The officer followed up with closed cases, including paper work and prepping confiscated items for transfer to St. Paul. The officer brought a display of furs to the local preschoolers and 1st graders.
WREO Keith Bertram spent the week conducting wetland follow-up and serving restoration orders. Time was also spent working the AIS booth at the St. Cloud Sports Show, conducting aquaculture inspections, and checking fishermen. Another deer investigation was completed and cleared by citation.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, ATVs and follow up on deer cases. Thesing picked up two accidentally trapped fisher. Angling success in the area has been slow, warm weather had many out trying their luck.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) picked up a fisher a farmer had shot that he found in his chicken coop and issued road kill permit deer permits. A call of an eagle nest possibly being destroyed was investigated with the call turning out to be unfounded. With assistance from WREO Bertram, aquaculture license inspections were conducted in the station. People have called asking if the Soo Line trail is open to ATVs since there is no snow in the area but the answer is “no” the Soo Line is only open to snowmobiles in the winter regardless of the amount of snow.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) was a guest speaker at a natural resource class at Pierz High School. A simple Q&A, students were given the opportunity to ask or talk about anything related to the subject. Excellent discussions took place as these young people try to understand the complexity of resource management. A number of fishing complaints were handled, extra lines, unmarked fish houses, and litter on the ice. CO Kuske attended a work group at Camp Ripley concerning service delivery issues within the DNR. An ATV owner / operator was stopped for the third time over the past year for driving his ATV on a public highway. Situation was addressed with appropriate enforcement action.
St. Cloud - vacant.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Rick Reller assisted with a snowmobile work crew in Cook County. Enforcement work was concentrated on speed, snowmobiles with excessive noise and registration. Trails in the area were very nice early in the weekend, but got rough by Sunday. Reller also followed up on several deer hunting investigations and an injured Bald Eagle was captured and went to the Raptor Center.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week. Fishing success has been low with only a few sunfish and crappie in buckets. Time was spent on all area lakes dealing with extra lines and trash being left behind. Enforcement action was taken on failure to check traps and no trap tags on traps.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) continued to work on a deer case from last fall. CO Musatov spoke at a lake association meeting about local issues. A snowmobile enforcement detail was worked along the North Shore. Several animal complaints were handled.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports checking anglers on area lakes during the week. Many anglers came out with the warmer weather and found some panfish. CO Langevin also spent time checking ice shelters on area lakes. Some shelters still didn’t have identification or shelter tags. CO Langevin received a few calls of accidentally trapped fishers in the area. Violations included no license in possession, no shelter ID, no shelter license and fail to display ATV registration.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers, ATVs, and patrolled state and federal lands. Officer Londgren also followed up on litter and carcass dumping complaints.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes. He took enforcement action on a number of violations. He continues to investigate a number of Big Game cases charges pending. He followed up on a nuisance animal calls. CO Sladek wants everyone that has a pet dog or cat to keep them in control and on their own property. This is the time of the year he receives a number of calls of dogs chasing deer and cats sitting under people’s bird feeders. He also checked a number of ATV operators on the area lakes with very little troubles. Everyone CO Sladek checked had their ATV’s registered and was wearing all of the safety equipment.
District 13 - West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) attended a public deer input meeting in Prior Lake with district officers. Calls were investigated on trap tampering, set lines, trespassing while fishing and hunting and animal nuisance calls. Anglers were checked on area lakes and rivers. Enforcement action was taken for multiple angling violations.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and following up with complaints. CO Grewe attended a meeting at Carlos Avery and did some equipment maintenance. Violations included deer registration issues and other license issues.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked ice fishing and snowmobiling activity in the Mound station. He attended a meeting in central office with U.S. Fish & Wildlife and out state game and fish officers on fishing issues. He took calls on animal complaints and answering questions to the Hmong community on the small game season and ice fishing regulations.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the temporary assigned stations of Bloomington and Fort Snelling State Park for angling and trails usage. He conducted a monthly inspection of aeration permits. With an assistance of CO Johnson, he finished a falconry inspection in Richfield. He attended and assisted DNR Wildlife staff at the public input meeting in Prior Lake.
Bloomington - vacant.
Mound - vacant.
Prior Lake - vacant.
District 14 - East Metro area
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he conducted a falconry facilities inspection in Richfield along with CO’s Le and Leuthardt. He patrolled at Afton and Ft. Snelling State Parks. CO Johnson checked ice anglers and shelters during the week. He received calls on injured deer.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) spent the week checking ice fishermen around the metro lakes. CO Pril also responded to a complaint of vehicles driving carelessly on area lakes and followed up with a big game investigation. ATVs and snowmobiles were also checked around some of the area lakes.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week checking anglers and ATV activity in Dakota, Washington, Ramsey and Anoka counties. A big game investigation was completed with enforcement action taken and a deer seized. Enforcement action for the week included angling without a license, angling with extra lines, unattended lines, take deer with an invalid license and buy a firearms deer license without a safety certificate.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports monitoring angling activity and recreational vehicle use in Anoka and Washington counties. He spent time investigating a trespassing/trapping complaint and fielded questions about nuisance animals and predator hunting. CO Arntzen also took time doing equipment maintenance and scheduling firearms safety classes.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. Officer Salzer also patrolled area WMAs for ATV activity. CO Salzer scheduled a few safety and education classes for this spring.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week following up on wetland related case files and complaints. WREO Block assisted multiple agencies in Jordan with a manhunt for a wanted person. WREO Block attended a meeting at Camp Ripley and spent time scheduling AIS related talks.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) checked numerous anglers and ATVs on area lakes. She assisted with a deer removal program in Ramsey County and handled a road kill otter. CO Kruse handled various TIP calls, did equipment maintenance and worked on inventory. Violations encountered this week included sell migratory waterfowl, possess drug paraphernalia, extra lines, no fishing license, expired ATV registration, no reflectors on shelter, no shelter license and fishing license not in possession.
Eagan - vacant.
Metro Officer - vacant.
District 15 - Marshall area
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored angling, ATV and trapping activity during the week. A deer was found shot by the city of Benson, near Minnesota Hwy 9 and CR 20. No usable portion of the deer was removed. Anyone with information is asked to call the TIP line at (800) 652-9093. This officer also assisted with searching for two missing people in Lincoln County. Multiple agencies were involved with the search, as well as multiple CO’s from the southern region.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH radio. The officer also assisted Lincoln County with a search on Lake Benton.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) assisted with a search for two missing people on Lake Benton in Lincoln County. Multiple agencies have been involved in the search which included the use of DNR Enforcement airboats. Ice safety continues to be a topic of conversation with ice fishermen and fish house owners. A firearms safety instructor meeting was attended at the Southwest Minnesota Sportsmen’s Club in Minneota where two instructors were presented with 30 year award prints.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) assisted Lincoln County with a search for two missing people on Lake Benton. The officer also investigated coyote hunting complaints.
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) assisted other officers with an ice emergency on Lake Benton. Officer Hanson worked an AIS/Public Waters booth at the Home and Cabin Show at the Minneapolis Convention center. A WREO meeting was attended at Camp Ripley.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working investigations, coyote hunters, and ice anglers. Area fishing results are only fair some days. Enforcement action was taken for no ATV registration, extra lines, and no fish shelter license.
Benson - vacant.
Madison - vacant.
Redwood Falls - vacant.
Worthington - vacant.
District 16 - New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) followed up on a litter complaint. He investigated big game cases. Denz also checked ice anglers.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent the week checking ice fishermen. Reports of the fish bite in the area are still slow. Time was also spent following up on liter complaints.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) assisted with another TIP complaint stemming from Red Lake. An aeration inspection was completed. The warm weather brought out a good crowd to the Lake Marion fishing contest. Licenses and ATV registrations were checked. She also assisted with the water confidence class at Camp Ripley for the State Patrol Academy.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked mostly angling enforcement. Fishing pressure and success remains low in the area. Time was also spent working ATV and snowmobile enforcement. A use of force meeting was attended at Camp Ripley.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked a fishing contest at Clear Lake. A few nice crappies and walleyes were caught. He also assisted with the recovery efforts at Lake Benton and gave “Drown proofing” training to the State Patrol Cadet class.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked anglers and small game activity. He also completed a radio program and attended a meeting at Camp Ripley.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked ice anglers, shelters, as well as ATV and snowmobile operators. Ditches were full of snow while fields remained black. Ice conditions are variable and individuals should remain cautious on ice. Commercial inspections were performed.
Willmar #1 - vacant.
Windom - vacant.
District 17 - Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked lakes for angling activity. Success has been slow. ATV and trapping activity was also monitored. A snowmobile safety class and firearms safety class were scheduled.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking ice anglers, ATV operators, and predator hunters. Additional time was spent following up on complaints from the public regarding the previous deer season. Time was also spent assisting local law enforcement with various complaints involving fish shelters and ATV use.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working snowmobile and angling activity. A presentation was given at the Austin Chapter 10 Izaak Walton League monthly meeting. Nuisance wildlife complaints were handled. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) checked anglers and recreational vehicle operators. Anglers are advised to use extreme caution when venturing onto the ice as the recent warm weather has made ice conditions unpredictable.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers on area lakes and rivers, and patrolled for ATV activity. Assistance was given to law enforcement officers from another state regarding big game animals and waterfowl investigations. The officer also assisted with the Lake Benton recovery efforts. A kids fishing event was attended and an ice safety booth was staffed.
WREO Julie Siems worked an information booth on aquatic plant management and shoreline alteration at an exhibit. Attendance was also provided for a Technical Evaluation Panel on a wetland violation.
Albert Lea - vacant.
Mankato #1 - vacant.
District 18 - Rochester area
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports working ice fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Activity on the backwater was up with mixed success. Lake Winona is still producing a few sunfish and crappie. Assistance was also provided with officers in northern Minnesota.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working another busy week on the big river with ice fishermen and a few snowmobilers out. Fishing success has been mixed with both the pan fishermen and tip up guys having some success. A detail was also worked on Red Lake and LOW.
CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the week checking ATV and snowmobile activity along with anglers. He encountered various registration issues and youth passengers without helmets. A report of a person illegally possessing a red fox was handled.
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports squirrel and rabbit hunters had another good week of hunting. Coyotes are showing up more during the day hours. Snowmobilers had limited use this past week with the recent 6 inch snowfall. Warm weather brought out hundreds of ice fishermen despite that fact the catch is still slow. He attended a two day meeting addressing goals laid out in the new strategic plan. Enforcement for the week included use of extra lines and unattended lines.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports attending court on deer cases from the fall deer season. Time was also spent checking coyote hunters. One subject was found to be trapping coyote and raccoon without licenses, tagged snares as well as trap tending issues. Enforcement action was taken. Paperwork involving inventory was also completed. Shed hunters have been out and having success.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Fishing was slower overall, but some did ok. Heyn also continued to work with testing new equipment.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the week and weekend checking angling activity. The nice weather brought numerous ice anglers out in the area over the weekend. A lot of fish were seen on the ice. Time was also spent working on items for the deer committee and checking ATV’s. Some fishing and ATV violations were detected.
Rochester #2 - vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew ice house surveys for Rainey and Kabetogama Lakes. Heineman also flew bear telemetry in northwest Minnesota checking locations of bear dens.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) flew marten telemetry flights and wolf pack location flights. Jensen also assisted with water survival training for the Minnesota State Patrol Academy. Jensen made flight project plans for later this month and spring projects too.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd)worked on helicopter and administrative tasks. Still waiting for adequate snowfall to begin the northwest elk survey, and some of the needed deer surveys.
CO Pilot Bob Geving flew an otter survey along the Mississippi River between the southeast corner of the state and the Metro area. Geving also made some telemetry equipment preparations for an upcoming moose capture survey. He also conducted some training operations.
Pilot/CO Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) reported poor flying weather presented an excellent opportunity for required maintenance checks on Bemidji based aircraft. Time was spent on vehicle maintenance and moving equipment to the Brainerd base of operations. Planning and equipment checks for an upcoming moose capture project were also performed.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO reports are now placed within district reports.
Please check the DNR WEB SITE at www.mndnr.gov for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Education Courses and instructor training sessions
If you missed a fall class and are over 18, check on-line for Adult Home Study or On-Line course information is also located at www.mndnr.gov.
Please check the DNR WEB SITE www.mndnr.gov for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Youth Snowmobile Safety Courses and instructor training sessions. Adult Snowmobile Safety Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.
Youth ATV Courses (12 to 15 years old) class postings for around the state are posted on the web site at www.mndnr.gov. Students are reminded that they must complete the CD portion of the course before attending the classroom portion of the course. Youth/Adult ATV Safety Training Course CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR
Reminder---anyone born after December 31st, 1979 cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate. In addition many states have even more stringent mandatory Hunter Education requirements. Check before you go!!!
Reminder---Any resident born after December 31st, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota, must possess a snowmobile certificate. Two options are available to complete certification. Ages 11 and older can attend the traditional youth course. Those 16 or older can take the at home CD course.
Reminder---Anyone born after July 1st, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota, must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training CD course. Persons under age 16 must complete the ATV CD Course and riding component before riding on public lands. Youth/Adult ATV Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.
SCHEDULED INSTRUCTOR TRAINING SESSIONS
If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador or one of the Advanced Hunter programs, contact your local Conservation Officer or Regional Safety Training officer. Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR Website.
NE RTO Shelly Patten attended a meeting for Conflict Mgmt. Team. Final projects were presented for peer review with a final presentation to the Commissioner and Executive team scheduled for the end of February. Patten attended a RTO meeting via LYNC. Various topics were covered including upcoming Trail Ambassador training, Instructor Forums and Firearms Safety training changes. Patten scheduled spring District shoots for NE and NW.
West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports planning for upcoming Instructor forums and Instructor certification clinics. Wednesday he attended an RTO meeting at Camp Ripley. Saturday he facilitated an Instructor Forum in Willmar. Work was also done during the week on Instructor background checks and calls returned regarding various training related matters.
NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence assisted with an Instructor Forum at the National Wildlife Refuge office in Bloomington. RTO Lawrence attended a regional training officer’s monthly meeting. Also, RTO Lawrence worked on vehicle maintenance issues. RTO Lawrence receiving training requests for safety instructor training at area gun clubs.
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke worked on instructor background checks. He replied to phone calls and emails, and took registrations for volunteer instructor forums and clinics. RTO Neitzke assisted RTO McBroom with an instructor forum in Lake City. He also put on an instructor forum in Bloomington with RTO Lawrence.
Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week working on instructor forums, upcoming training, and awards for safety instructors. Conservation officers and safety instructors where contacted to arrange for award presentations. A RTO meeting was attended during the week and awards where picked up at Camp Ripley. An instructor forum was attended in Lake City. At the forum awards were presented for 30 years as a HEFAS instructor and the snowmobile instructor of the year award.
RTO PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
Rec. Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens 763-753-1887 firstname.lastname@example.org
NE RTO Shelly Patten 218-244-8051
West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-230-8549 email@example.com
NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence 651-674-6184 firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern RTO Dan McBroom 507-843-2032 email@example.com
NW RTO Jon Paurus 218-298-4000 firstname.lastname@example.org
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke 651-463-3168 email@example.com
Curriculum Specialist: Vacant
Education Specialist: Vacant
Curriculum Coordinator: Vacant