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

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

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



District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods.  Enforcement contacts included anglers using illegal dead bait for pike fishing, anglers operating unregistered ATVs, and possessing immeasurable pike fillets.  Assistance was given in taking an inventory of permanent houses still on the lake in anticipation of the March 31st deadline. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked snowmobile, ATV, boat/water safety, and angling enforcement. Time was spent checking anglers on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River. Both waters are still producing, northern pike big and small are being caught on LOW and the same can be said for walleyes on the Rainy River. A reminder that all permanent shelters need to be off the lake by March 31st.  It is advised that those of you with houses still out to get them off ASAP as the ice is shifting and becoming more and more unpredictable by the day. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession, angle with an unattended/extra line, over-limit of walleye/sauger, possess small amount of marijuana/drug paraphernalia, and fail to display valid registration on an ATV.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette West) reports that boating traffic has reached the Rainy River.  Accesses are open in both Koochiching and Lake of the Woods counties.  Enforcement action was taken for over limit of walleye, operating an ATV on a state highway, and child under 18 with no helmet on ATV.  CO Prachar followed up on snowmobile investigations as well.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) investigated the unlawful taking of a gray wolf, patrolled for light goose hunters, taught the law and ethics portion of a firearms safety class in Warren, and monitored fishing activity in the area.  Enforcement action for the week included take gray wolf out of season, angle without license, and take northern in closed season.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working ATV, trapping, and angling activity on special regulation lakes throughout the week.  Time was spent investigating TIP reports regarding illegal trapping activity and angler harassment.  Enforcement action for the week included angling license violations, unattended lines, ATV registration violations, failure to tend traps/snares, failure to remove traps at end of season, and littering.

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) spent the week at K9 Patrol School with K9 partner Storm.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking anglers on area lakes.  Some shore anglers are beginning to fish open water areas near lake inlet and outlet areas.  Time was also spent following up with a fish house that was left out after the fish house removal date.   Possible public water violations were also checked with the area DNR hydrologist. 

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) monitored fish run, checked area lakes, and did an interview for another officer out of the region.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes.  Pan fish continue to bite on most area lakes.  Closed trails and forest roads were patrolled.  Time was taken to prepare equipment for an upcoming airboat course. 

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) monitored area angling activity and ice house removal. Time was also spent checking commercial minnow trapping. CO Holt patrolled roads and trails in the White Earth State Forest for recreational vehicle use.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports ice conditions have deteriorated to the point that anglers should think twice before venturing onto the ice.  Reports of ATVs and anglers on foot falling through the ice were received.  OHM and ATV complaints were investigated.  Local fire departments were called to several wildfire calls since the snow has melted.  Please check the local area’s burn permit requirements prior to burning.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports spending the week working fishermen and following up on complaints of persons shooting geese and ATV issues.  Fishermen need to check the ice before venturing out.  A few people are still using ATV’s but the ice is pulling away from shore preventing access.  An influx of waterfowl was seen in the area.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring spring trapping, ATV, and angling activity in the Moorhead station. Ice conditions have deteriorated significantly in the area with open water and soft ice on the edges of area lakes, effectively ending the ice fishing season for most anglers. Calls from the public included angling questions and a report of a vehicle trespassing on a waterfowl production area. The officer taught the law and ethics portion of the Glyndon and Moorhead firearms safety classes and attended court in Becker County. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession, fail to display valid ATV registration, and operating an ATV with too many passengers.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports ice angling can no longer be safe on several lakes in the area.  Turkey hunters are starting to get excited with some turkey activity observed.  Spring migration observations of waterfowl have begun with many species seen. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) followed up on dogs running loose complaints, monitored ATV activity, and continued to work on an upcoming instructor appreciation banquet. Trespass complaints are being investigated and fishing activity was monitored.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) continued to check fishermen and spring fish run.  Deer complaints were worked and a firearm safety class presentation was given.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATV’s and trappers.  Several complaints were handled including a complaint of a dead bald eagle along Interstate 94 outside of Evansville.  The eagle turned out to be 13 snow and blue geese that were harvested during the spring light goose season.  The geese were cleaned and in bags and appeared to have fallen off or blown out of a hunters truck.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) assisted Douglas County Sheriff’s Department with several instances of ATV’s and individuals falling through thin ice.  Several machines were recovered from underwater and removed by a local recovery company.  Remarkably, nobody was injured in any of the accidents.  Lots of open water is now observed throughout the area with ice melting considerably.  Enforcement action was taken for illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile.

CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working light goose hunting, sport fishing, and ATV enforcement.  Large numbers of geese were observed moving through the area.  Hunting pressure was light.  Officer Chihak gave a law and ethics presentation to a firearm safety class in Wheaton.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) continued to focus enforcement activity on light goose hunters, ATV operators, and fishermen.  Goose hunters have had limited success.  Spring fish run complaints were worked and a FAS instructor clinic was held with eleven new instructors certified.  Calls from the public were handled regarding light goose hunting requirements, legal ATV operation, and fishing license requirements.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were focused on checking spring snow goose hunters, fishermen, and monitoring spring beaver trapping.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) reports checking anglers on special regulation lakes and monitoring ATV activity throughout the week.  Anglers are reporting mixed results and ice conditions continue to get worse.  Time was spent monitoring closed ATV trails and forest roads.  Preparation began for an upcoming ATV safety class.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked ice anglers targeting perch and pan fish.  Ice is beginning to show signs of accelerated erosion; warm forecasted temperatures will make the ice thickness unpredictable.  Another truck went partially through the ice on Leech Lake.  Anglers will have to use enhanced caution when traveling on area lakes.  Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling activity.  Anglers reported poor success with ice rapidly deteriorating.  Multiple calls were received of ATVs and trucks through the ice.  CO Broughten investigated a call of a fish house left after the deadline.  Enforcement action included multiple angling violations. 
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) checked pan fishermen on the last ice of the season.  CO Halverson worked ATV complaints on riding in WMA’s.  Halverson also investigated a burning violation and handled injured fox and deer calls.
Walker – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports walleye fishing on the Rainy River began in earnest this week with many groups happy with their success and others wondering where the fish were. As you pull your boats out of storage, remember to check for current registration and safety equipment. Enforcement activity was taken on a wide range of fishing violations including over length fish, over limit, and no angling license. Watercraft registration and equipment violations were also common.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes, checking forest roads, and monitoring public access sites. Computer based training is on-going.  Fishing remains poor.

CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked anglers this past week on area lakes.  CO Velsvaag checked activity on the Rainy River and assisted with some abandoned property.  He also had multiple questions about bait water transportation.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) took numerous questions about the restrictions to water skipping. Numerous lake residents called expressing their support of the restrictions.  The officer worked with county deputies and other conservation officers at the Trout Portage area and had many opportunities to have discussions with individuals on both sides of the water skipping issue.  The officer is happy to report that all conversations went well and most agree some changes had to be made.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reports good compliance with fish houses being removed by the deadline.  The officer worked with CO Slatinski checking walleye angling activity on the Rainy River.  Fishing success was pretty good.  Violations encountered on the river included no angling license, over limit of fish, illegal length fish, deposit of bait in state waters, fail to remove drain plug, boat registration violations, and PFD violations.  The officer worked the TIP Wall of Shame at the Virginia Sport Show and Trout Lake River and Portage on Lake Vermilion. 

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) monitored ice shelter removal from Virginia area lakes. All shelters were off the lakes before the deadline and litter was kept to a minimum. CO Frericks set up the TIP Wall of Shame and Laser Shot at the Virginia Home, Sport and Travel Show and answered a wide variety of questions from the public.   

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) continued working on cases of birch trees being cut from state lands and sold as decorative material.  Two law presentations were given to FAS students in Palo and Hoyt Lakes.  Complaint of deer parts lying around a residence in town was received.  Time was spent at the Virginia Home Show working the TIP booth.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports he focused on trout angling in the Ely area after initially good reports of success. Ice conditions continue to hold but areas with current are becoming increasingly dangerous and open. Violations included angling without a license and fail to display current ATV registration.

CO Mary Manning (Grand Maras East) checked area lakes for compliance with fish house removal deadlines and found good compliance.  Anglers on area lakes were also checked.  One angler checked forgot to buy his new license-although he remembered to get minnows; he was relieved of the fish he had caught and received paperwork in exchange. The officer also checked local WMAs and SNAs for activity.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked anglers and checked for fish house removal at the deadline.  Litter continues to be a problem.  Please pick up after yourself or expect a citation if caught.  Lots of negative comments from ethical anglers about the amount of beer cans, cigarette butts, etc. left at fishing spots.  Enforcement action included fishing without a license, litter, unattended lines, and fail to display ATV registration.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity.  Several folks are still hitting the ice as most lakes have had little melt.  CO Schottenbauer also noted some snowmobile activity in the area, but trails are very rough. 

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers, snowmobiles, and patrolled by dogsled in BW to work complaint. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, unattended lines, and live minnows on designated trout lake.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and ATV activity during the week. More open water anglers are venturing out on Lake Superior and are having some luck with salmon. Anglers are reminded to make sure they have all safety equipment required in their watercraft including PFD’s as they start the open water season.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, investigated a possible timber theft complaint and litter violation, worked ongoing cases, and reviewed items for the bear committee. Enforcement action was taken for fail to display ATV registration and fail to transfer ownership.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked ATV activity and sport fishing. He patrolled state park areas, state forests, and public water accesses.  Violations included ATV’s on the roadway and trespass. 

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked angling and ATV activity this past week.  She also performed some commercial operation checks.  Ice is deteriorating fast on area lakes but it is still fairly accessible.  Trout fishing closes on the 31st.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked late ice fishing activity with many pan fishermen out and about.  Local crappie and bluegill bites are heating up as fish begin their annual move towards the shallows.  ATV activity was also worked with enforcement action taken for operating on a county road and expired registration.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, spring trappers, and ATV’s.  He also handled various calls for service during the week.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) focused on late season angling activity on area lakes.  CO
Van Asch assisted both Itasca and Aitkin county deputies with a weapons call.  Time was also spent working ongoing cases and monitoring ATV activities.  Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV related offenses.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity, provided a K9 demo at the local high school, and assisted the State Patrol with a pursuit. The area angler success was good this week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and ATV operation on roadway.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked shore anglers along the North Shore and anglers were having some luck.  The officer assisted Fond du Lac Wildlife Biologists with a wolf collar that was emitting a mortality signal.  The collar was located and appears to have been a mishap with the collar fastener.  Time was spent processing evidence and returning property to owners of cases that were closed.  The officer also followed up on a fire with the EPA and responded to a complaint of an illegal fire.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the majority of the week working fishing enforcement along the north shore of Lake Superior.  Many people were having success from both shore and boat.  Several calls were answered and returned.  A TIP call of several unattended lines was investigated.  Officer Duncan also attended a neighborhood meeting and answered law enforcement questions involving area concerns. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked late ice angling activity and conducted patrols in the Fond du Lac state forest and Sawyer WMA.  CO Humphrey investigated a fish shelter that was left abandoned on the Chub Lake public access.  Two water/wetland violations were investigated with resource protection notification and cease & desist orders being issued.  CO Humphrey also received a nuisance wolf and an injured deer complaint.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore anglers and boat anglers on Lake Superior; the Coho salmon and Kamloops bite continues to be good in the Duluth-Two Harbors area. Officer Olson met with USCG crew on some watercraft maintenance items and work planning. He also assisted the Sheriff’s Dept. with some local burglary calls north of Duluth.  Calls with smelting questions are increasing as the spring run is fast approaching the North Shore.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore anglers on Superior.  Kamloops anglers saw some good success between squalls and waves.  A report of a sick fox acting strangely around people was checked at French River, and the animal located and destroyed for public safety reasons.  Motor vehicle use on a snowmobile trail was checked, and a few diehard snowmobilers were found still operating in the upper stretches of the state trail.  Enforcement action taken for angling and ORV violations.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) checked late season ice anglers throughout the week. Anglers are finding a fair amount of pan fish, but are finding ice conditions in poor shape.   Enforcement action was taken for several over limits of fish, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a small amount of marijuana. 

CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) monitored ATV activity in seasonally closed state forests and checked late season ice anglers.  Success has been good, but caution is advised as the ice is deteriorating very rapidly.  Areas of open water and bad ice are appearing on most area lakes. Reports of litter left on the ice and possible fish over limits were investigated. Enforcement activity included ATV passengers under 18 without helmets, expired registrations, no angling licenses, and not having angling licenses in possession.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd #2) worked sport fishing and all-terrain vehicle enforcement this week.  Anglers were observed catching fish on area sheets of thin ice and limits were being monitored.  Officer Guida observed a large amount of illegal ATV trail operation.  The trails which are currently closed risk extended closures due to irresponsible and illegal operation during the ground thawing period.  The operation is very damaging to the trail base and requires extensive work to repair.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) checked anglers that were chasing sunfish and crappie on area lakes.  Ice conditions are becoming extremely poor with warm weather and some lakes are inaccessible.  Violations included angling without a license and over limit.  CO Sullivan also assisted local law enforcement with the recovery of a missing person near Brainerd. 

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) patrolled area ATV activity and assisted the county on a call of a male displaying a handgun at a passerby.  She also patrolled area lakes for any late ice anglers. Most areas are no longer safe for angler activity and anglers have been smart and stayed of the remaining ice. 

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked ice fishing, ATV, and fire activity.  A stolen trailer and snowmobile were recovered.

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) responded to a grass fire this week as the snow in the area is almost all gone.  Officer Hunter assisted the county on a domestic and also worked at the Northwest Sports Show in Minneapolis. 

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on litter complaints.  He continued with investigations of blocks of wood and garbage left on the ice by anglers after removing their fish houses.  A few pan fish anglers have been out trying their luck with mixed results.  He worked complaints of vehicles on the closed roads in the Pillsbury Forest.  Warnings were issued for people driving past closed road signs.   He also worked on Leech Lake regarding a TIP of folks leaving garbage on ice and fish over limit.

Cuyuna SRA – vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked persistent anglers as the ice continuous to get spongy and pull away from the shore.  Area snow is all gone and the vegetation is drying out.  Questions and concerns were handled regarding burn issues.  CO Verkuilen also checked trapping activity and assisted at Minneapolis Sport Show DNR booth. 
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) followed up on some old cases and unfinished paperwork. The officer found a party that had kept a couple muskrat out of season and was aware of the season closure. This was a good educational moment for the newer trapper on what to do with incidental critters. A work detail in Ely was also attended.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working area lakes for any late ice pan fishermen.   The officer found few fishermen out and that the ice conditions were deteriorating.  A call of a calf killed by wolf was investigated and many outdoor law related questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend.  CO Fitzgerald patrolled Solana State forest for spring road and trail closures.  Several ATV’s were found out on some closed county forest roads during the weekend.  Please remember to check the DNR website or the local county websites before venturing out for an ATV ride; many trails and forest are closed for the spring season.   A nuisance beaver permit was issued to a local township for beaver doing damage and a car kill deer permit was issued.  A call of someone possibly taking deer illegally was taken also.  Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.  
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) assisted Fond du Lac biologists and CO Humphrey with a search for a collared wolf.  The collar was giving off a mortality reading.  The collar was located and appeared to have malfunctioned and fell off the wolf.  CO Speldrich patrolled the Nemadji State Forest for unauthorized use.  The forest remains closed due to wet conditions except for the Gandy Dancer Trail.  Please check the DNR website for updates on closures if you are planning to ride in local state forests.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) assisted a Sheriff’s deputy with a possible stolen ATV case and answered numerous questions by other law enforcement officers about ATV laws.  Ice fishing activity was monitored with some pan fish showing up.  A damaged gate in the Mille Lacs WMA was also worked, along with a vehicle in a closed area of the WMA.  Fire activity has increased, with numerous permits checked and a couple cases of burning prohibited materials were investigated.   CO Starr was also called to investigate a dead bear along a busy county road; upon arrival it was found to be a black wooly sheep that had been hit by a car.  
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) monitored ice fishing activity and found that ice conditions degraded as the week went on.  By the end of the week, many lakes were inaccessible and too dangerous for ice fishing.  Complaints were handled involving dirt work being done in wetlands and public waters along with complaints of trespassing and reports of nuisance animals.  A presentation was provided at an annual Township Officer’s Association meeting.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) took calls during the week regarding nuisance and injured animals, questions about burning permits, and questions regarding local state forests.  He checked the last of the ice fishermen in the Pine City area and spent time checking forest closures.  ATV activity is on the rise with the nicer weather beginning.  Be sure to have your machines currently registered and keep kids off the roadways.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) picked up an incidental otter and donated it to a high school natural resources class and spoke at the Buckman firearm safety class.  A sixteen year old youth was checked angling with his father and found to not have a fishing license.  The family had recently moved here and was educated that youth have to have an angling license starting at age sixteen.   Another youth was stopped who was riding his dirt bike in the county road ditch.  The youth was transported back home and the father was surprised to learn that you cannot ride dirt bikes in public road ditches/right of ways anywhere in Morrison County.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) attended Paynesville Community Showcase and a local resort to discuss AIS on area lakes.  The officer followed up on a trapping case.  Ice out has occurred on many area lakes.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, fire activity, ATVs, and followed up on deer cases. Ice went off most lakes this week and some boats were seen out.  Sick and injured animal calls were handled.  Enforcement action for the week included fail to validate deer tag and illegal fire.

CO Brian Mies checked anglers this week, gave a law talk at the youth turkey class in Kimball, and worked on complaints.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) followed up on a trespass complaint, assisted the public with information regarding GE WMA, and completed an extension on a restoration order. 

St. Cloud – vacant.

Sauk Centre – vacant.

Pierz – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) followed up on a gross misdemeanor trespass case. CO Musatov checked anglers, boaters, and ATV’s. Calls were received for animal complaints and deer carcasses illegally dumped.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave two firearms safety presentations to students in Waverly and Hanover. Some angling and ATV activity was monitored. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and fishing for species of fish that the season is closed.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) worked fire related activities during the week.   A few wildfires were investigated.   Late week rain and cooler temps helped with fire conditions.  Some open water anglers were checked and one subject was observed on an area lake.   Enforcement action was taken on no burning permit and burning of prohibited materials. 

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) attended the Minneapolis Sport Show with numerous questions fielded on the 2017 Mille Lacs Lake walleye season.  One individual was upset over the fact he couldn’t use live bait for bass fishing during the three week walleye closure in July.  Enforcement action was taken on littering and trapping violations.

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week patrolling for ATV activity.  With the recent warm weather, he received numerous complaints about ATV’s destroying road ditches. CO Krauel would like to remind ATV enthusiasts to make sure to read the regulations before heading out on an ATV and to go slow while crossing driveways and mowed lawns in the road ditches.  CO Krauel also had the opportunity to speak to high school students about career opportunities in the DNR and attended a local ATV safety class.  Enforcement action for the week included operating a Class 2 ATV in the ditch, no registration displayed, and no ATV safety.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked anglers on the metro area lakes and investigated a wetland complaint in Eden Prairie.  He patrolled state park and state trail and assisted with a deer removal program in Bloomington.  Officer Lee also coordinated youth firearm safety classes in the Asian community and answered animal complaint calls.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week at K9 training with his partner Shelby.

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) received a TIP call about a neighbor potentially poaching deer in his back yard. Upon investigation, several skulls and cleaned hides were found on the property.  CO Weyandt worked the Northwest Sport Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center and fielded many questions from citizens ranging from using lights to attract fish to the ongoing research being done on Mille Lacs.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) assisted Carver County Soil and Water Conservation District with a wetlands violation.  Time was spent investigating a littering complaint on Lake Waconia. Numerous animal complaints were taken, including the recovery of road killed bald eagles. Spring fishing is beginning to pick up and several anglers have reported good crappie bites on local lakes.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo Station) gave the law and ethics talk for three different firearm safety classes. CO Maass also handled several animal related questions and complaints.

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) spent time checking shore anglers and patrolling area wildlife management areas. Time was also spent in the St. Lawrence State Park in regards to recent vandalism and illegal vehicle operations.  CO Leuthardt took a report of a potential deer poaching incident in Prior Lake and spent time investigating the report which is still on going.

Bloomington – vacant.

Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling the wildlife management areas.  He handled nuisance animal complaints and responded to TIP calls.  CO Arntzen also gave a presentation to a firearms safety class in Scandia.

CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) investigated a call about a property owner pushing fill into a wetland and checked anglers.  CO Willis heard more than one person say they didn’t think they needed a fishing license on rivers.  It is unknown how this bad information got started, but a license is needed on any body of water.  Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, fail to transfer boat ownership, and no Type IV PFD.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers throughout the area. He assisted the local Sheriff’s office with calls and he attended a banquet for the Dakota County volunteer instructors. Enforcement action for the week included expired boat registration and trespassing.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer also investigated a dead deer in East Bethel. The deer had been shot last firearms season and no meat was harvested from the deer. Enforcement action was taken.

White Bear Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports working angling, goose hunting, commercial and rec vehicle activity. The officer conducted a commercial minnow inspection and patrolled an area ATV park after receiving complaints of ATVs driving at high speeds out of the park and into town. Enforcement action included fail to display ATV registration.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ATV, fishing, and light goose hunting activity during the week; good compliance was seen.

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) reports time was spent completing taxidermist and game farm inspections.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ATVs and light goose hunters.  Light geese have been scarce with a few more flocks showing late in the week.  Firearm safety classes were taught in Slayton and Fulda.  Excellent instructors at both locations are producing fine young hunters. 

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) checked shore fishermen and conducted commercial inspections.  He also investigated several incidentally caught otter when trappers were targeting spring beaver.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) conducted a weekly radio interview with KLOH Radio in Pipestone. Most of the week was spent working fishing, ATV, WMA, snow goose hunting, and commercial enforcement.  Forty plus swans were seen on one WMA in Lyon County, goose hunters are asked to be certain of their target before shooting.  Ag Zone ATV ditch restrictions go into effect April 1. 

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time monitoring angling, trapping, and light goose hunting activity. Officer Gutzwiller spent time conducting minnow retailer and taxidermy inspections. A report of a car killed otter was taken. The otter was unfounded at the location reported. Officers would like to remind the public a possession permit is required for car-killed wildlife. Officer Gutzwiller fielded numerous wildlife calls throughout the week.

Lake Benton – vacant.

Worthington – vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) took phone calls regarding land use, shed hunting, deer hunting, and trapping questions.  He issued multiple wildlife possession permits.  CO Vernier also spent time patrolling for trapping, wetlands, and recreational vehicle use.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) finished up required training. Other time was spent checking on trapping complaints and picking up accidentally caught otter. CO Klehr also checked on the report of a freshly dumped deer carcass and will follow up on people driving into a WMA.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson-West) followed up on a reoccurring wetland issue.  She continued with taxidermy inspections in her station.  CO Mueller also spoke at a turkey clinic in Lafayette. 

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson-East) gave talks at several firearm safety classes this week.  CO Oberg also worked on required training and spent time answering questions related to the upcoming turkey season.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) taught the law and ethics portion to a FAS class in Windom over the past week.  Enforcement action was taken on an individual that had a small fire going in heavy winds and had embers blow into a WMA, igniting a portion of the WMA.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled his area checking activity relating to angling, ATV, litter, and light goose hunting.  He also patrolled public accesses, WMA’s, and WPA’s.  CO Gruhlke noted that salamanders are on the move.  He also spoke at the Lakefield and Jackson firearm safety classes discussing laws and ethics, and investigated a complaint of snow geese that had been dumped in the I-90 right of way.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) investigated a TIP complaint of improper disposal of light geese.  A total of 58 light geese were breasted out and dumped from an overpass onto the grass right of way of Interstate 90.  Angling activity has picked up dramatically, mostly from shore. The first watercraft of the season was out on one of the area lake.  Watercraft owners are reminded to complete an inspection for required safety equipment prior to venturing out on the water.  WMA’s, WPA’s, and public accesses were patrolled.   

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers and ATV operators during the week.  Litter complaints were investigated and activity was monitored at wildlife management areas.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked anglers and light goose hunters this week. CO Henke responded to calls from the public and investigated TIP complaints. Firearms safety class presentations were made in Austin and LeRoy. Most lakes in the area are ice free or very close.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) attended a firearms safety class this past week.  Time was spent checking lakes and riverbanks for angling activity.  The officer also patrolled for spring burning activity and had contact with several ATV riders.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) checked anglers and ATV operators this week.  More shore anglers are starting to get out on the river and more fish are being seen.  The officer responded to TIP calls including fish out of season and snagging calls.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week focusing primarily on angling and spring trapping activity. Additional time was spent patrolling for ATV and ORV activity. Officer Ihnen also responded to illegal burning and litter complaints.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked angling, ATV, and trapping activity this week. ATV riders are reminded that road ditches in the Ag Zone are closed to recreational riders beginning April 1.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) focused on commercial enforcement, spring trappers and fishermen this week. CO VanThuyne also followed up on cases and worked ATV activity. 

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports only a few people out on the river but most of them had fish.  He checked taxidermists in the area and saw some ATV activity.  Ice fishing in the area is over.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week on the Mississippi and trout streams.  Fishing success was mixed.  CO Heyn also attended meetings and had a high school senior do a job shadow ride along. 

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) attended a law enforcement meeting as part of the annual Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee. Time was also spent checking shore anglers and anglers on the Mississippi River. Many fishermen were reporting a good fish bite and many large walleye were observed. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession, no angling license, failure to have a legal lifesaving device on board, failure to have a fire extinguisher on board, and fail to display valid registration.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports dealing with incidental otter from beaver trappers. Time was also spent investigating deer complaints. CO Boyum received a fisher from a subject that found it dead alongside of the road. Although they have been seen in this area before, it is unusual. Trout anglers have been doing well.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester 2) spent the majority of the week patrolling for sport fishing and ATV enforcement. Additional efforts were spent handling miscellaneous wildlife complaints and assisting State Patrol with a crash. CO Seamans investigated the mysterious death of a turkey in the city of Rochester. A wanton waste complaint was also investigated. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with an extra line.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working a busy week of backwater fishing enforcement as well as working on some more deer investigations.  Fishing is still going strong but the ice became unfishable on Friday.  It was replaced by both shore and boat fishermen in force over the weekend.  Enforcement this week involved unlawful method and license issues.

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports taking enforcement action on various burning violations throughout the week. A would-be violator was deterred after the officer discovered a pile of cabinets, carpet, and other various household items stacked approximately eight feet in the air placed on an already prohibited materials burn pile. The subject was grateful the officer stopped the violation before it occurred and agreed to dispose of the items in the trash. CO Hill checked trout fishermen throughout the station and handled various miscellaneous animal complaints. CO Hill attended the annual Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee conference in Red Wing.

CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the week checking anglers and ATV operators.  CO George spoke at three different firearm safety classes and issued wildlife possession permits.  Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines.

CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) attended the UMRCC in Red Wing.  Good information was shared with CO’s from multiple states.  CO Fogarty took enforcement action on AIS (boat plug), passing in a no passing zone, and trapping violations.  CO Fogarty also checked anglers and boaters on the Mississippi River.  Good numbers of anglers were out even in the rainy weather.

Training Section

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

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew wetland violation photo missions and completed required ERTK on-line courses. 

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a training flight in the scout and attended to Employee Right to know training. Pilot Heineman also is working on upcoming pilot training.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued flight training with two pilots and worked on helicopter maintenance.  He also worked on aerial fish stocking tank construction plans.

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying fish shelter removal flights in both Bemidji and Grand Rapids regions.  No permanent structures were located, but several vehicles were noted out on area lakes with the better than average late season ice.  A late season reconnaissance flight of Lake of the Woods was flown at the request of an area conservation officer.  With less than a week to the removal deadline, the resorts had already removed their shelters but many private shelters remain.  Excellent weather accounted for many hundreds of anglers observed including large vehicles and houses, and even aircraft parked on the ice.  A Forestry training flight was conducted as well a multiple administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of shelter removal flights in northwest Minnesota and continued rotary ground and flight training.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on upcoming AIS trainings and meetings. Time was spent reviewing and closing out open cases. Site visits and case review with LGU’s was conducted.  Fishermen and ATV activity was worked.

WREO Mike Scott (NE) provided LSP training in Minneapolis, MN for resort owners and other LSP vendors at the Midwest Sport Show in Minneapolis. Officer Scott also staffed an AIS booth with DNR AIS staff at the sports show discussing AIS issues as well as general DNR questions with the public. Time was also spent at the main DNR booth at the Sports show discussing general DNR hunting, fishing, and other questions. Officer Scott provided a ride-a-along opportunity for an individual that is finishing up their LE training at a local college and is seriously pursuing a career with the DNR Enforcement.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued to work on case reports. WREO Haberman also spent time monitoring creeks for illegal sucker spearing. ATV activity is increasing with warmer weather.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week conducting follow-up on wetland cases.  Time was also spent working the AIS booth at the Northwest Sports Show.  Enforcement action was taken for extra lines and fire violations.

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) worked on several old and new WCA and PW cases with two cases being closed out. Early goose hunters and fishermen and ATV’s were checked.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) answered AIS questions at a popular sports show.  A technical panel was attended between multiple conservation law enforcement agencies.  Old waters and WCA cases were also followed up 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) put on a pair of Firearm Safety Instructor Clinics and continued to work on backgrounds of potential instructors.  Several phone calls were returned to instructors questions and issues and preparations were made for upcoming clinics.  Instructor banquet planning also continues.  A call was received from an angler that dropped his ATV through the ice on an area lake.  All parties were uninjured and the ATV was removed from the lake the next day.

NE RTO Mike Lee continued to work on the Advanced Hunter Program.  Officer Lee worked on setting up a MN DNR Volunteer Safety Instructor Banquet for District 9.  Officer Lee also gave Snowmobile and ATV Safety Instructor Training for parties in Tamarack.  The class was well attended.  A special thanks goes out to the Tamarack Sno Flyers for the use of their club house.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports teaching Hunter Education Firearm Safety Instructor Certification Training in Forest Lake (Carlos Avery) and Gaylord.  He also assisted with set up and take down of the laser shot at the Minneapolis NW Sports Show.  ATV Instructor Certification Training and a Youth Hunter Education Firearm Safety Classroom/Field Day were planned and posted.  Calls/emails were also answered regarding LG555/charitable gambling fund use for safety training equipment.  A length of service award and letter of appreciation was presented to instructor Bob Sutphen from Minnetonka.
SW Metro RTO Kevin Neitzke attended an MVSIA meeting.  He returned emails and phone calls regarding the Education and Safety Training Programs.  He also set up two laser shot systems and worked at the Northwest Sports Show in Minneapolis.

Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence worked on ATV Safety Training updates for instructor training.  RTO Lawrence revised PowerPoints and training materials for the Trail Ambassador Training Program and responded to several emails for ATV training and Trail Ambassador Program. 


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

Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant

Education Specialist:  Vacant

Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant




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