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

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

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



District 1 - Baudette area

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked AIS, boat/water safety, and angling enforcement. The walleye season has officially come to an end on the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods. The last two days of the season on the Rainy River were very successful for most anglers with many fish in the 26” to 29” range being caught. Sturgeon fishing has also been great, both on the river and in Four Mile Bay. April 24th opens up the keep season for sturgeon; a sturgeon tag is required to keep one and the lengths to keep are between 45”-50” or over 75”. The fire season is upon us! Be mindful when burning and obtain a burning permit when required to do so. Also, keep a close eye on campfires and burn barrels, extinguish them if they are to be left unattended.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette West) reports a successful end to the spring walleye season.  Anglers were noting better success than the previous week.  Sturgeon anglers are now on the Rainy River in force.  Enforcement action was taken on possession of drug paraphernalia.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) attended training at Camp Ripley, responded to a call of an emu on the loose, and monitored area turkey hunting activity during the initial 2017 turkey season.  Enforcement action included transport loaded firearm in motor vehicle, vehicle registration violations, and ATV registration violations.

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports focusing time on angling, AIS, ATV, and boat and water safety enforcement. Time was also spent working on the Rainy River. Enforcement action included walleye over limit, transport fish without patch of skin, and several watercraft safety equipment violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working ATV and ORV activity on area trails, AIS enforcement, spring beaver trapping activity, and monitoring station waters for the northern and walleye spawning runs and angling activity.  Time was spent attending division annual training and department meeting at Camp Ripley, handling various wildlife calls, handling calls of incidental catches of muskrats and river otters, working an ongoing trapping investigation, and working with forestry investigating a wildfire.  CO Regas responded to a TIP call of people shooting from a motor vehicle.  Enforcement action included AIS violations, minor possessing alcoholic beverages, shooting from a motor vehicle, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and wanton waste.

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) spent time training with K9 Storm.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending a training session at Camp Ripley.  Time was also spent checking crappie anglers on local lakes and watercraft operators.  Turkey hunters were also checked.  Various fishing related violations were encountered.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) responded to a wolf depredation complaint in Polk County.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) patrolled area ATV trails and forest roads for activity.  CO Vollbrecht assisted a neighboring officer with a report of an individual shooting from a motor vehicle on a township road.  The vehicle was stopped and determined the individuals were transporting a loaded firearm and had shot a porcupine from the vehicle.  Training was attended at Camp Ripley. 

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) worked area angling and ATV activity during the week. Time was also spent checking wild turkey hunting and stream trout fishing. CO Holt attended training at Camp Ripley and assisted CO Parthun with an ATV safety class in Lake George.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) attended two days of training that included crisis intervention and officer safety issues.  CO Vinton was the guest speaker for the Perham Health’s “Men’s Health Night”.  He addressed the looming budget crisis and proposed license fee increases as well as AIS and new regulations.  CO Vinton was the nearest officer to a driving complaint of a semi-truck weaving and nearly hitting another vehicle. CO Vinton observed the driving contact and stopped the vehicle.  The driver was arrested by the local sheriff’s office on suspicion of DUI.  Other violations included ATV in right-of-way south of Hwy 10, allow illegal youth operation of an ATV, trespassing, no license in possession, and TIP calls of burning prohibited material and taking fish during the closed season.  

CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training, worked pan fishermen, and forest road closure enforcement.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) monitored fish run activity and follow-up on reports of unpermitted fires.  CO Warren also patrolled ATV activity on area trails.  The crappie and sunfish bites in the area are beginning as water temps continue to increase slightly.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling, AIS, and ATV activity in the Moorhead and Pelican stations. The officer received calls from the public regarding dogs chasing deer and questions about turkey hunting. The officer also attended annual division training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession, no fire extinguisher, and insufficient number of life jackets.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports good success for the first turkey season.  Many photographs were shared with youth hunters proudly displaying their birds.  Pan fish action is heating up in the area and game fish are in spawning mode.  Time was also spent at Camp Ripley for training.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) attended training at Camp Ripley and followed up on several complaints. CO Plautz received a call of a turkey that had run after two kids playing in a sandbox. The children ran to their father who attempted to chase the tom away but the turkey wouldn’t run off.  The father ran the turkey off with a pitchfork.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) attended training at Camp Ripley.  Spring fish run was worked as well as several fishermen and minnow dealers checked on area waterways.  Turkey hunters were checked and an incidentally taken otter was handled.  Calls were fielded regarding FAS classes, an injured turtle, burning permits, and ATV operation questions.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATV’s, and fish run activity.  Complaints of aquatic plant removal and wetland were received and investigated.  CO Osborne attended annual awards day and training at Camp Ripley.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked anglers throughout the county this week, both in boats and from shore.  Pan fish success is moderate with some getting limits and others struggling.  A few boats were out late with one receiving a citation for no navigation lights nearly an hour after sunset.  A turkey hunter was reported shooting at turkeys from the road near a house.  The hunter was contacted and enforcement action taken for shooting within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) worked fishing, boating, and AIS enforcement on and around area waterways. Turkey hunting, ORV, and fire activity was monitored throughout the week. Follow up was completed on litter and big game cases and time was spent investigating potential public water/wetland violations.

CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working sport fishing, AIS, and ATV enforcement.  The officer attended training at Camp Ripley.  Requests from the public seeking information on nuisance animals were returned.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) reports checking fishermen and working fish run on and around area waterways.  Training was attended at Camp Ripley this week.  A FAS instructor appreciation banquet was hosted for all instructors in Stevens County.  Complaints of people taking northern pike out of season and illegal burning were dealt with.  Calls from the public were handled regarding burning regulations, turkey season, ATV operation, and fishing questions. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking fishermen, boaters, turkey hunters, and monitoring AIS law compliance.  Additional time was spent monitoring fish run activity, investigating complaints of fish over limits, and taking northern pike out of season.  CO Baumbarger also attended training and handled a call of an accidentally taken turkey.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) participated in a youth ATV safety class in Lake George.  CO Parthun investigated a wetland filling complaint, monitored fish run and beaver trapping activity.  CO Parthun also attended training at Camp Ripley
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked ATV’s, anglers, and responded to fire calls.  Training was attended at Camp Ripley.  A complaint of a business offering mounted ducks for sale was investigated and enforcement action was taken.  Enforcement action was also taken for several ATV violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling and ATV activity.  Lakes in the Longville area are open and anglers were already observed taking advantage of the warmer weather.  Spring angling activity yielded poor results. CO Broughten continued investigations on illegal fires and wetland violations.  CO Broughten also attended training at Camp Ripley.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) attended training on officer safety at Camp Ripley.   CO Halverson is investigating a neighbor dispute on dock placement.   Deer ticks are out heavy, use precaution.
Walker – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports working fishing enforcement on the Rainy River and reminds people that the walleye season has closed.  The officer responded to several grass fires in the area and a house fire.  Enforcement action was taken for ATVs, over limits of walleye, illegal length fish, illegal transport of fish, fail to control fire, no burning permit, and illegal OHM operation.

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports time was spent training at Camp Ripley, monitoring for burning and wildfire activity, along with checking on the many fishing opportunities still continuing in the area.  ATV use has increased and registration issues are still common.  Remember to verify current registration prior to going out to enjoy the spring season.  

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area forest roads and checking public access sites, little angling activity observed, seasonal equipment transition is on-going.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked spring beaver trapping activity and took care of some accidental caught muskrats. Time was spent working complaints of ATV’s operating on state snowmobile trails. In service training and awards was attended.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports ATV use continues to be very high and most active patrol has been focused on areas just outside of the city.  The first open water anglers of the year were checked, and although the report wasn’t good, they were just happy to be in the boat. Violations included operating an ATV with more than one passenger and operating an ATV with a juvenile passenger with no helmet.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) attended training at Camp Ripley and kept watch for the spawning walleyes in the creeks.  Spawning activity has been fast and furious the past couple nights.  The ice is essentially gone on all the lakes.  

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) attended an awards ceremony and training at Camp Ripley during the week.  Backroads that were impassable during the first part of the week are now mostly clear of snow.  Many of those roads have trees down across them from the winter.  North Shore rivers and inland lakes were checked.

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) attended annual Enforcement Safety Training and Awards at Camp Ripley. She also patrolled area WMAs and State Parks in addition to checking anglers on Lake Superior tributaries.  Closed sanctuaries on tributaries were also patrolled.  The officer responded to an ATV complaint in the Silver Bay area and reminds riders to check online and at trailheads before heading out as most trails in the northeast are currently closed to allow things to dry properly.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy week of ATV, angling, and fish run enforcement, as well as attending training.  Hopefully the last snowmobile enforcement action for the year was taken stemming from a water skipping complaint on a local pond.  Enforcement action for the week included fishing without a license, unregistered ATVs, operating on a closed trail, no ATV safety certificates, fail to display snowmobile registration, and fail to transfer snowmobile ownership.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area rivers for angling activity this week and monitored spring trapping activity.  Time was also spent at Camp Ripley for safety training.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking anglers along the North Shore streams. The officer attended training at Camp Ripley, checked border lakes, and followed up on complaints.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked stream trout fishing and spring beaver trapping activity during the week. Anglers were having good success and the warm temperatures were enjoyed by all. A shoreline complaint was followed up on and an illegal dumping case is being investigated.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked angling and ATV activity this past week.  She handled follow-up from a fire call.  Burning restrictions remain in effect for the area until further notice. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked spring pan fishing and ATV activity with the bluegill and crappie bites heating up.  Enforcement action was taken for taking an over-limit of bluegills, expired registration on a watercraft, no angling license in possession, operating an unregistered ATV, operating on the side of a county road with a Type 1 ATV, angling in a closed area, and angling for a species while the season is closed.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) reports working angling, spring fish run, ATV, and AIS enforcement.  CO Van Asch attended division training held at Camp Ripley.  A nuisance bear complaint was fielded and handled.  Pan fishing activity has been moderate on most area lakes.  Enforcement action was taken for over limit of sunfish, operating an unregistered ATV, failure to transfer ownership, and operate an ATV on public highway.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent much of the week working shore and river anglers along the north shore.  Complaints of parties angling for walleyes were investigated and a TIP complaint regarding parties keeping walleyes was handled.  ATV complaints related to operating in wetlands and trespassing are on the rise.  Questions regarding boating equipment and requirements for Lake Superior were handled. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued to work fishing enforcement along the north shore of Superior, including smelt activity.  Officer Duncan also attended training at Camp Ripley. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) conducted patrols in the Fond du Lac state forest which is under continued spring road and trail closures.  CO Humphrey assisted the Carlton County Sheriff’s office, and numerous others, in the search for a missing child in the Wright area.  The child was located without incident after several hours.  CO Humphrey handled calls/complaints on injured deer, turkey hunting, Tribal netting, and wetland work.   CO Humphrey assisted other officers with fish run and smelting activity on Lake Superior.  CO Humphrey also attended Division in service at Camp Ripley during the week.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended training at Camp Ripley and also assisted with K9 training in the metro area. Assistance was given to the local Sheriff’s Department in searching for a lost six-year old. The juvenile wondered off in the woods and was later found by a volunteer searcher. Assistance was given with checking shore anglers in the metro area. Enforcement action was taken for angling license violations.

Brookston – vacant.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended Division-wide training and worked the North Shore fish run. The smelting has been slow in the Duluth-Two Harbors area. The Kamloop and Steelhead bite has remained decent in the tributaries around Duluth.   Boat anglers are still in pursuit of Coho Salmon and Lake Trout. Area lakes north of Duluth are becoming ice free and the crappies are starting to bite.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore and river anglers.  Division training was attended at Camp Ripley and a call taken regarding the illegal harvest and sale of birch saplings.  Streams were monitored for smelt run and spawning fish.  Enforcement action taken for angling violations.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) attended annual training at Camp Ripley.  CO Sullivan observed large amounts of boat traffic on area roadways and checks were made for AIS violations. 

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) attended training at Camp Ripley.  CO McGowan also gave a ride along to a local law enforcement student.  Enforcement action taken included illegal burning, fishing without a license, and boating violations. 

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen and ATV’s.  Officer Hunter also attended an awards ceremony at Camp Ripley. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd #2) monitored sport fishing and all-terrain vehicle trail use. Operators of Class 2 ATVs were reminded that the passengers under age 18 are required to have DOT approved helmets worn.  Officer Guida assisted Baxter Police Department with traffic control in a motorcycle vs. deer collision.  Officer Guida and WREO Haberman investigated an impacted wetland that was observed by the aviation wing.

CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) stored winter equipment and readied summer boats, attended annual training, checked crappie anglers, and worked on a couple possible wetland excavation violations.  Complaints of dogs chasing deer and a fishing trespass violation were looked into. Seasonally closed state forests were monitored, where a group of individuals were encountered driving around the closed forests drinking beer and shooting porcupines. Enforcement action was taken.

Cuyuna SRA – vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked crappie anglers and their boats.  Those early boaters showed off their pealing registrations, mouse chewed PFDs, and gummed up carburetors.  Remember to inspect your gear before hitting the water.  CO Verkuilen also monitored the turkey hunt and attended some training. 

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked anglers chasing pan fish as the waters start to warm up; some success was seen. Safety inspections were conducted with several boaters. Turkey hunters were found in the area with many people reporting seeing birds and many that had some luck. Follow-up on an old case was also conducted. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports attending annual Training and Awards at Camp Ripley.  The officer took calls of dumped deer and beaver carcasses and a call of a township requesting nuisance beaver permits.  CO Fitzgerald assisted local agencies with a couple of calls for service and many outdoor law related questions were fielded.  With the opening of the A season for turkey a few hunters were checked and most reported seeing quite a few birds.  Several wolf depredation related calls were investigated and the APHIS trappers were called in to take care of the nuisance animals.  A couple of bear complaints were also taken and parties were informed to pull in bird feeders and any food that would attract them in.  An ongoing investigation into a trapping related complaint was followed up on and patrol was done in several areas of county and state land for ATV traffic.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a littering violation; an investigation is pending.  She patrolled area rivers and lakes checking anglers.  She also patrolled for illegal ATVs in problem areas.  Enforcement action was taken for equipment issues and registration.  CO Speldrich attended training at Fort Myer, Virginia near Washington D.C. with the Law Enforcement Memorial Association (LEMA) Honor Guard.  The training was instructed by the United States Army “Old Guard”.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked spring fishing activity with suckers showing up. Turkey season opener was also worked with some birds harvested.   ATV activity was monitored with violations for illegal youth operation and lack of registration.   A TIP call was also referred to another officer for fishing walleye out of season.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) saw an increase in fishing and boating activity.   Smelt also started to run which brought out large numbers of anglers trying their luck with dip nets and seine nets.  While checking smelters late one night, a group of anglers found collecting smelt in their seine net evidently didn’t expect to get checked by a conservation officer as they were missing the required fishing licenses.  A majority of the beaver trappers in the area were found removing their traps for the season and wildland grass fires continued to be a problem.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) attended training at Camp Ripley this week.  He spent time answering questions and calls about upcoming turkey seasons and state forest closures.  Fishermen were out with the nicer weather and some pan fish were beginning to bite.  Enforcement contacts included license possession and burning violations.

Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked fishing and bow fishermen during the week and weekend.  Turkey hunters were out and about trying their luck with a few birds harvested.  Time was also spent attending training at Camp Ripley.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time monitoring angling activity in the station.  A division training was attended and a ride along opportunity was provided to a local high school student.  ATV and fire violations were also addressed.  CO Silgjord also presented a 30-year service award to a local firearms safety instructor.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers and boaters and investigated dumped carp shot by bow fishermen. CO Mies also assisted a neighboring officer investigate a TIP call.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, ATVs, fires, turkey hunters, and boaters.  Time was spent monitoring area creeks for fish run activity.  CO Thesing talked to the Cold Spring DNR firearms safety class.  Enforcement action for the week included no angling license. 

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) attended training at Camp Ripley.  The area was patrolled for angling, OHV, open burning, AIS, and various other outdoor activities.  Outdoor recreational activity in the area was minimal.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on angling, bow fishing, and turkey hunting activity in the area. One violation he investigated was the illegal shooting of a 27 inch walleye by a bow fisherman. The officer attended training this week.  The officer also attended a Cub Scout group to discuss water safety and fishing regulations.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) attended training at Camp Ripley, picked up an accidental muskrat and accidental otter catch from two local trappers, and assisted on a call of an unstable male at a state park.  Turkey hunting started with CO Kuske working a road hunting complaint and boating questions are coming in to include can you have a gaff on your boat, to the new law (Sofia’s Law) pertaining to carbon monoxide detectors required on boats that have an enclosed accommodation compartment.

St. Cloud – vacant.

Pierz – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked turkey hunting and fishing activity. A TIP call for a possible poached bear was investigated.  More wild turkeys were found afield than turkey hunters this week.  Shore anglers along the river reported a good bite.  Enforcement action was taken for fishing w/o a license, taking fish in the closed season, and boat safety violations.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) attended training at Camp Ripley and checked turkey hunters and anglers. Several nuisance animal calls were handled related to sick raccoons and burrowing woodchucks. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, bow fishing out of season from shore, and watercraft violations. Two 30-year volunteer safety instructors were presented service awards.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen, turkey hunters, and ATV’s. He issued summons and warning for illegally taking smallmouth bass out of season, no fishing licenses in possession, failure to transfer ownership, and hunting turkeys in the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. CO Sladek followed up on a number of nuisance animal complaints, investigated a litter complaint in the Sand Dune State Forest, and assisted with an interview for a possible fishing license fraud case. He also attended the 2-day training and awards day at Camp Ripley. He wants to congratulate all the officers on their awards, what a great job by all of them.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and ATV's.  Violations were found for no angling license and illegal operation of ATV on snowmobile trail.  A trespass complaint was also investigated.

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) reports checking anglers and ATVs in the area.  Several ATV complaints were investigated.  CO Krauel also followed up on incidentally taken otters.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked boating and fishing activities on the metro area lakes and rivers.  He attended the annual awards day and training at Camp Ripley and took calls on animal complaints in Minneapolis.  He also investigated a TIP complaint on a fishing violation in Minneapolis and returned calls to the Asian community regarding trout fishing regulations in Southeast Minnesota.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) attended crisis management training at Camp Ripley. The crappie bite continues to be excellent on local lakes with some anglers claiming they are catching as many as 50 in an hour.  Violations encountered included no angling license in possession, angling without a license, and targeting species in a closed season.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the majority of the week at K9 training with his K9 partner Shelby.   CO Grewe also attended in-service training at Camp Ripley.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) handled several different nuisance animal complaints throughout the week. CO Maass also investigated a number of complaints involving targeting fish in a closed season.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) attended the Divisional Annual Award/Training at Camp Ripley. He checked anglers and boaters on Minneapolis lakes and Minnesota/Mississippi Rivers. He responded to calls for service that included dog off leash, illegally camping in State Park, no vehicle permit and trespassing in a restricted area, and people who were fishing for species during closed season. He also worked at the 26th Annual Law Enforcement Opportunity Fair in Brooklyn Park.

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent the earlier part of the week at Camp Ripley for training. TIP calls were received for a fox caught in a trap, anglers fishing for bass during the closed season, and anglers fishing a designated trout lake during the closed season. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license.

Bloomington – vacant.

Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent a busy week monitoring anglers in the area. Heavy rains on Saturday morning put a damper on the stream trout opener but many people still showed with very little success observed. Enforcement action for the week included no fishing license, extra lines, and no trout stamp.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked anglers on trout opener weekend in Farmington and around area lakes and rivers. He also checked watercraft on area lakes. CO Pril attended the DNR enforcement awards/training day at Camp Ripley and responded to miscellaneous animal calls and complaints.

CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) attended annual training at Camp Ripley and answered multiple TIP calls throughout the station.  Follow up was also completed on ongoing cases. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, targeting species out of season, and no license in possession. 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports attending training at Camp Ripley.  He also spent time checking anglers, boaters, and investigating several wetland violations.  Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, no registration, and taking game fish in a closed season.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity and patrolled for turkey hunting activity during the first turkey hunting season of the year.  CO Salzer also responded to a TIP call of someone keeping bass out of season. Enforcement action was taken.

White Bear Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports checking turkey hunters and fishermen. The officer finished an illegal burning investigation and patrolled for ATV violations as well. Anglers reported moderate-good success. Enforcement action included fail to register ATV, fail to display registration, burning prohibited materials, and fail to obtain burning permit.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time monitoring angling and turkey hunting activity. Anglers were beginning to prep watercraft for the South Dakota/Minnesota border waters opener on 04/22/17. Officer Gutzwiller would like to remind boaters to please check and ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and in working condition before heading out to recreate on the water.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ATV, commercial minnow, fishing, and turkey hunting activity.  Division training was attended at Camp Ripley.  Trash left by shore anglers continues to be a problem.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports spring fish run continues with more and more people getting out.  Spring turkey hunting is underway with several nice toms seen in the bag.  Reminder to obtain your burning permit when doing your spring burns.

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) checked trout anglers for the opener, who reported poor success due to heavy rains and poor conditions. Numerous turkey hunters were checked with hunters reporting some success. Several littering complaints were received and are being investigated. Enforcement action included several ATV violations for headlight and registration violations.  Remember that headlights need to be on when operating within the public road right of way.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) conducted the weekly radio interview with KLOH Radio in Pipestone. Most of the week was spent working fishing, ATV, turkey hunting, and spring beaver trapping enforcement. A lot of fishermen took to the Redwood River inside Camden State Park for the stream trout opener. Twenty-five hundred brown trout were stocked in the designated trout stream inside the park. Walleye and northern fishermen are reminded that there is no catch and release season on these species. Boat owners are reminded to make sure they have valid registration and have all the appropriate safety equipment for the MN/SD border water opener on April 22nd.

Lake Benton – vacant.

Worthington – vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) attended training at Camp Ripley.  He followed up on commercial inspections.  Time was also spent monitoring fish run activity and checking shore anglers.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) spent time checking anglers and spring beaver trapping.  He collected multiple incidentally caught otter from spring beaver trappers.  CO Vernier also attended divisional training at Camp Ripley.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time at Camp Ripley for training and awards. Other time was spent talking with a landowner who had questions about a property line dispute and checking fires in the area.  CO Klehr also took a report of a person believed to be in possession of an over-limit of fish. Follow up was completed with a turtle trapper about a trap left in a lake. Other activities include fish over-limit reports, monitoring bow fishing and ATV complaint areas.

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson-East) worked the opening of the 2017 spring turkey season and observed a few nice tom’s out strutting.  CO Oberg also reports fishing activity has picked up in the area with some sunfish and crappies being caught.  Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines.  ATV activity has also increased and CO Oberg would like to remind riders in the area that the ditches are closed for operation until August.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked turkey hunting, boating, fishing, ATV, and invasive species activities.  Turkey hunting success has been very good throughout the area.  The stream trout opener was another matter with heavy rains clouding water quality.  The positive sign is that trout fishing opportunities should be available longer into the season due to poor opening weekend conditions.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) attended awards and training at Camp Ripley over the past week.  TIP calls were taken regarding the taking of walleye and northern pike out of season. Turkey hunters contacted had success over the beginning part of the season even with wet weather.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled his area checking activity relating to angling, ATV, turkey hunting, and AIS.  Few turkey hunters were observed.  ATV activity is increasing and shore fishing was also checked.  CO Gruhlke completed his radio program discussing topics including bow fishing and ATV operation.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked anglers on shore and in watercraft.  TIP reports were investigated for over limits and out of season cases.  ATV’s were checked at local GIA parks. Anglers were reminded that AIS issues and laws are still an ongoing issue. 

Hutchinson West – vacant.

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers and turkey hunters. Additional time was spent patrolling for OHM and ATV activity. Officer Ihnen also responded to a litter complaint near a local public water access.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, boaters, and ATV operators.  The officer patrolled wildlife management areas, waterfowl production areas, and state refuges.  Multiple violations were encountered during the week.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) focused on fishing, turkey hunting, and ATV activity this week. Anglers were enjoying the warm weather and decent fishing on the area rivers. A few kayakers ran out of daylight while on their river trip this weekend. Make sure to allow enough time to complete your trip before dark sets in.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked turkey hunters, anglers, and ATV activity this week. Both trout and turkey seasons started out damp, but things dried out and got sunny over the weekend.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) checked anglers and turkey hunters this past week.  Time was spent patrolling the rivers checking trapping activity.  The officer also began an investigation on a possible wetland/shoreline violation.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, ATV, and turkey hunting activity this week.  The fish bite has slowed a bit.  Turkey hunters were checked during the A season with a number of hunters reporting birds being seen, but not responding to their calls.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) continued working fishing enforcement this week, with the nice weather many were out enjoying the lakes and rivers. Time was also spent working spring turkey hunters. Boaters are reminded to make sure they have all required equipment and registration before taking to the water.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester 2) spent the majority of the week patrolling for sport fishing and recreational vehicle enforcement. Additional effort was spent handling miscellaneous wildlife complaints. CO Seamans checked numerous trout anglers over the weekend; most anglers reported catching fish. Enforcement action included fishing without a trout stamp, spearing on a designated trout stream, and possessing trout that were not able to be measured (missing heads).

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports a fair amount of gobblers harvested early in the A season. During a check, CO Hill observed a large pool of fresh blood in the bed of a truck. The hunters shortly admitted thereafter that they had shot a tom together. One hunter did not have a turkey license and the other hunter failed to tag the bird. CO Hill checked anglers on area trout streams and was surprised to see a large amount of anglers fishing despite the pouring rain. A 10-year old was pulled over for operating a Class 2 ATV down a county road. Other enforcement action for the week included no fishing license in possession, fail to display ATV registration, and careless operation of an ATV.

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) attended annual training at Camp Ripley. Time was also spent working both the turkey opener and the trout opener. Multiple complaints were received on a range of issues. Enforcement action for the week included no fire extinguisher and failure to display license number on watercraft.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working opening turkey season as well as the trout opener over the weekend.  The birds were cooperative early in the season and between storms many successful turkey hunters were checked.  The trout fishermen were catching trout before the heavy rains turned most creeks muddy Saturday morning.  The backwater of the big river is also producing some fish despite the rain and storms.  Enforcement activity this week included ATV, state forest, trespass, and fishing violations along with some no turkey licenses and tagging issues.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly turkey hunters and trout anglers during the week.  Some hunters had good success.  With the recent rains some of the trout streams were in very poor fishing conditions, but other streams looked good and limits and over limits were seen taken. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a good trout and turkey opener with a few less trout fishermen than normal.  Turkey hunters had good success with several groups checked with multiple birds.  The trout fishing was hit and miss with the amount of rain in the area with one group having 89 trout in the cooler shortly after noon on opening day.  CO Hemker investigated trout over limit, trespass, and illegal turkey hunting complaints.  There were also many nuisance wild animal complaints.

CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) spent the week checking turkey hunters and trout anglers.  Turkeys were seen on field edges during the early morning hours and at dusk.  Plenty of trout were seen in angler’s bags.  CO Fogarty attended training at Camp Ripley and gave law talks at Eitzen firearms safety class and La Crescent boater’s education class.

CO Phil George (Rochester) attended training at Camp Ripley and checked anglers during the stream trout opener.  Some of the area streams were a little muddy after the rain but limits of fish were still seen. Enforcement action included no angling license, no license in possession, and no trout stamps.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy trout opener. Streams were in good condition despite the rain. Most anglers had multiple fish in the bag and limits were also seen. Violations encountered were no trout stamp, no angling license, angling with bait in artificial only stream, and possession of protected slot fish. Turkey hunters were also out over the first season. Success varied as weather played a roll. Rain and high winds were common.

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 Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports attending training at Camp Ripley.  A wetlands enforcement flight was conducted as well as seaplane spring training.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew forestry wetland assessment photos and attended the division’s awards ceremony/training. 

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of rotary training and check rides. Pilot Jensen flew a fire detection/enforcement flight for field officers resulting in enforcement action by ground officers.  He also attended mandatory training at Camp Ripley.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) attended division training at Camp Ripley and worked on completion of pilot training for two pilots.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a Red Lake wolf telemetry flight and attended training at Camp Ripley. Pilot Heineman also prepared for the upcoming statewide goose survey.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Mike Scott (NW) worked with officers on several new WCA case’s and conducted site visits with local LGU and SWCD. Fishing on the north shore has been good and the smelt are starting to stage and come into area creeks and along the Park Point area. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession and use of illegal nets to take smelt. Officer Scott assist other local law enforcement with search for a 6-year old boy who was lost in the woods. The young lad was located and reunited with family.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) attended training at Camp Ripley during the week. WREO Haberman also helped with watercraft inspector training in Itasca County and checked area lakes for shore fishermen.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week at training and conducting follow-up on wetland cases.  Time was also spent checking lake service providers in the area.

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) attended training at Camp Ripley. Officer Hanson assisted with WCA violations in Freeborn, McCloud, and Kandiyohi Counties. A TEP meeting was also attended in McCloud County. Trout fishermen were checked at Camden State Park. Enforcement action was taken for license issues.

WREO Julie Siems (SW) attended the annual awards and safety training at Camp Ripley.  Public waters violations were also worked on.  

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 checking on spring fish run activities and checking anglers out and about. Training days were attended and a wolf complaint was received where a calf had been killed. A crash involving an Off Highway Motorcycle with injuries was attended to and the driver was put on an ambulance. An accidental caught otter and a road killed fisher were seized and donated to a trapping organization for educational purposes.
West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports attending division training at Camp Ripley.  He assisted the Morris area conservation officer with an instructor appreciation banquet and helped facilitate a Hunter Education Firearm Safety Classroom/Field Day for youth online students. New instructor certification training was also done at the Hunter Education Firearm Safety Classroom/Field Day.

NE RTO Mike Lee attended training at Camp Ripley with all conservation officers from Minnesota.  Training was presented by the MN BCA, and other Police Training Institutes. Officers also attended the Officer Awards and Recognition Program.  Officer Lee assisted the MN State Patrol with a serious vehicle crash this past week, where again seatbelt use will “save lives”.  Officer Lee also continued work on the Advanced Hunter Education Program.
Southern RTO Jen Mueller (acting) attended the department training at Camp Ripley.  She worked with McLeod LGU and BSWR on a perpetual wetland issue and also worked on scheduling upcoming FAS instructor clinics. 

Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence attended a meeting with Amateur Motorcycle Riders group along with other DNR staff from Parks and Trails and Forestry.  RTO Lawrence worked areas of Isanti and Chisago Counties for angling opportunities along lakeshores and public water access sites. RTO Lawrence found turkey hunting activities taking place on state lands and angling activity along the St. Croix River. RTO Lawrence spoke with ATV operators that were found operating on county roads in violation of state law.  Operators were advised and given OHV regulations to aid in understanding the OHV laws.  RTO Lawrence responded to emails and calls regarding ATV safety and ORV registrations.

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 Jen Mueller                             320-234-3499    jennifer.mueller@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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