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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

 

Minnesota CONSERVATION OFFICER REPORT
2-20-17

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) met with the Lake of the Woods County Attorney to discuss some ongoing cases.  A group project was worked at the Northwest Angle along with US Border Patrol, US Customs, Ontario MNR, Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Treaty Three Police. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked snowmobile, ATV, and angling enforcement. The recent warmer weather has made for some sloppy conditions on the lake which in turn is making travel on it a challenge.  As always, stick to marked trails and roads. Enforcement action taken included angling with an extra line, angle without license in possession, operate a vehicle other than a snowmobile on a grant in aid trail, and operate an ATV with a passenger under the age of 18 not wearing a helmet.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette West) reports a busy week for snowmobiles.  Much snowmobile activity was worked on and off of Lake of the Woods.  Angling activity was worked as well.  Enforcement action was taken on use of illegal bait from out of state, operating a pickup truck on a state grant in aid snowmobile trail, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, and no registration displayed on an ATV.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) taught the law and ethics portion of the snowmobile safety class in Lake Bronson and monitored area angling activity.  Enforcement action for the week included no ice shelter license, excessive speed on snowmobile, fail to stop at cross road, angle with extra lines, and snowmobile registration violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking anglers and monitoring snowmobile activity on area trails.  Time was spent handling various wildlife calls and making arrangements for spring firearms safety classes.  CO Regas also worked a border detail with district officers, Lt. Znajda, US Border Patrol, MNR, RCMP’s, and OPP.

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports a busy week on Upper Red Lake. An Upper Red Lake detail with several other officers from other parts of the state was worked. A felony snowmobile DWI arrest was made after the snowmobile driver crashed into a sign. Enforcement action was also taken for angling with extra lines, unattended lines, possessing dressed fillets on Upper Red Lake, walleye over limit, and illegal length northern pike.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending the annual Wildlife Society meeting at Maplelag Resort and speaking to students about the duties of a conservation officer.  Time was further spent checking anglers, ATV operators, and snowmobile operators.  An incidental caught bobcat was seized from a local trapper and a fishing related trespass complaint was investigated. A snowmobile and fishing detail was worked with other officers in the Grand Marais area.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) took wildlife calls and monitored angling and shelter removals.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and noticed less shelters left on the ice.  He also heard the first Canada goose and saw first Trumpeter swan of 2017.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes.  Ice conditions are still good, but most of the snow has melted.  Area snowmobile trails are in poor condition after a week of warm weather.  CO Vollbrecht worked a detail on LOW with numerous angling violations encountered.  Time was spent working on reports related to firearms deer season violations.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) checked angling and recreational vehicle activity during the week. Time was also spent checking ski trails and commercial minnow trapping in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. 

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking anglers and monitoring shelters for the upcoming removal date. Very warm weather and rain has caused the ice to deteriorate rapidly.  Many anglers have taken the holiday weekend to remove their houses.  A call of a pickup dropping the front end through the ice was taken.  Complaints of litter, including human waste, are being received.  Sick and injured deer calls were referred to wildlife.  Enforcement action was taken for shelter markings and license violations.   

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked ice shelter enforcement, anglers, and wildlife complaints.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports spending the week working fishermen and checking fish house removal.  Most fish houses have been removed with ice conditions diminishing.  Time was also spent working ATVers and fisherman trespass complaint. 

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) spent time working angling activity where anglers continue to report slow bite activity.  Warm temperatures have started to deteriorate ice conditions with most lakes having a lot of top water.  Anglers continue to remove ice houses and are reminded that they cannot leave ice houses at public accesses.  ATV activity was worked on area lakes. CO Warren attended a wildlife society mixer with area college students.  Polar Fest activities were monitored and a call of dogs chasing deer was investigated.  CO Warren provided a television interview on ice conditions. 

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) advises ice anglers to use caution and do not wait for the deadline to remove your fish houses. Ice access is starting to get bad with the warm weather conditions. Calls from the public included questions about ice conditions, house removal, and upcoming firearm safety classes.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports ice conditions have changed significantly.  Ice recommendations are based on solid clear ice, not mushy spring ice, and caution for any vehicle travel is advised.  Most ice shelters have been removed from area lakes over the weekend. Anglers are reminded that a new license will be required by March 1st.  Canada geese have been observed around the Fergus Falls area in increasing numbers CO Richards also held a snowmobile safety class in Underwood.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked ice anglers throughout the week. Unseasonably warm temperatures have caused anglers to remove almost all fish houses from area lakes.  A trespass complaint was investigated, litter complaints were handled, and car kill deer possession tags were issued.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) continued checking ice fishermen and shelters throughout the week.  A call on an injured owl was handled.  CO Nelson also worked with local instructors setting up a spring FAS class.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, investigated fishing complaints in Otter Tail County, and checked lakes for fish house removal and deteriorating ice conditions.  Complaints of fish over limits, dumping fish along the side of the road, and illegal burning were received and investigated.  Records management information was updated on current cases.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) focused time on fishing activity with the recent warm weather.  Lots of anglers are still out despite messy conditions.  Enforcement action was taken for ATV and angling violations throughout the week.  Assistance was given to a neighboring officer working a local fishing tournament with nearly 1,000 participants.  Assistance was also provided to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office as well as questions regarding OHM’s and trespassing complaints.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work angling and spearing enforcement on area waterways. Warm weather and forecasted rain will make the ice and access points somewhat unpredictable so anglers should exercise caution, especially with motor vehicle travel. The Smith Lake fishing tournament was worked with an estimated 1,000 people taking part. Predator hunting, ATV, and fire activity was worked throughout the week and follow up was done on a waters case from last fall. Assistance was provided to local law enforcement agencies with calls for service.

CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working ice fishing, commercial license, and ATV enforcement.  Miscellaneous wildlife calls were received and minnow transportation permits were issued.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ATV activity and ice fishermen.  CO Anderson worked with a neighboring officer on Lake Minnewaska.  Ice conditions deteriorated rapidly with this week’s warm weather and rain.  Fish houses have been almost completely removed from area lakes. CO Anderson worked on setting up for the Morris areas firearms safety training class. Calls from the public were fielded regarding fish house removal dates, nuisance turkeys, and ice conditions.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen and ATV operators.  Additional time was spent investigating a complaint of shoreline alteration, and patrolling public access sites for violations of storing fish houses overnight. 

District 4 - Walker area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked ice shelters, anglers, and ATV operators.  Ice on local lakes is covered with water as warm temperatures continue to melt the snow.  Trails are almost snow free.  Enforcement action was taken for ice shelter violations and burning of prohibited material.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked ice anglers.  The perch bite was starting to pick up.  Some time was spent preparing for an upcoming bear committee meeting.  Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring fishing activity.  Angling success still continues to remain poor in the Longville and Leech Lake area.  Warm weather has deteriorated snowmobile trails and is starting to take its toll on area lakes.  Anglers are reminded to check fish house removal dates, monitor weather, and plan accordingly. CO Broughten fielded calls regarding injured animals and snowmobile trails.  He also assisted local law enforcement with a domestic.  Enforcement action included several angling violations.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked fishermen; good pan fishing has been seen with warmer weather.  The lakes ice is getting soft with warm rainy weather. Another partner will retire Tuesday, Officer Paul Kuske will be missed in Morrison County.
Walker – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports a busy weekend with lots of people out snowmobiling and ice fishing enjoying the unseasonable nice weather.  The rain and warm weather have put a damper on the snowmobile trails.  The local snowmobile club held their annual charity radar run which brings lots of snowmobiles to the area.  Enforcement action taken for the week included snowmobile speeding and registration issues.

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) met with Koochiching County, Lake of the Woods County, and other local and state agencies in preparation for the upcoming spring fishing activity on the Rainy River.  He also monitored popular area snowmobile trails. This past weekend he saw a large number of snowmobilers out enjoying the area trails and participating in a local radar run fundraiser for cancer patients. The trails held up well but now many are hoping for a return of seasonal weather and additional snow. Angling and spearing activity was also monitored with limited success noted.

CO Colleen Adam (Ray) checked area fishing spots and trails.  Snowmobile activity the past two weekends greatly impacted the area businesses. Unfortunately, trail and lake conditions have suffered under unseasonably warm weather, intense sunshine and the multitude of sleds.  Many happy anglers welcomed the opportunity to stand out in the sun and try to find the elusive fish. Enforcement action was taken for slot fish, excessive speed-snowmobile, no snowmobile registration, no license in possession, and shelter issues.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and trails.  Snowmobile trails are in poor shape with dirt and rocks again exposed, lots of snow lost off area lakes, standing water and slush. Public access sites were checked.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports the trails were very busy and the officer worked a good amount of snowmobile enforcement.  With the warm weather, the water skipping has started up near the Trout Lake Portage.  A good number of anglers trekked into the BWCA Trout Lake and the officer observed some trout being caught.  The trails have deteriorated after the rainy weather and the lake is very slushy.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked anglers and snowmobiles during the week and assisted Hibbing PD with a household garbage fire call.  Follow up was done on open cases with citations issued for fishing after suspension and unregistered ATV.  Other enforcement action was taken on no spearing license, unmarked fish house, and failure to yield.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time patrolling local snowmobile trails and lakes before unseasonably warm weather hit the area. Numerous anglers were seen out on lakes but few fish were being caught. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license. The combination of high numbers of sleds and warm weather deteriorated the trails leaving them in poor condition. A few of the snowmobilers chose to take their snowmobiles out of storage and not purchase current registration. Those snowmobilers were issued citations. Some anglers have started to remove their ice shelters.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) saw many anglers out on the ice enjoying the warm weather. Violations of extra lines, more than 200’ from tip up, and unattended lines were found.  Area snowmobile trails are beat up and rain has deteriorated them more.  A trespass complaint was received and road killed bobcat taken care of.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports snowmobile activity was very high in the beginning of the week but trail conditions went from good to very poor after several days of 50 degree weather. Fishing activity was steady although success wasn’t good, but most anglers were out to enjoy the temperatures. Violations included angling on a designated trout lake without a trout stamp, excessive snowmobile speed, and angling without a license in possession.

CO Marty Stage (Ely 2) reports the weekend was a busy one for snowmobiles until the rain and heat shut it down.  The lakes are still okay and have some snow left, but that will change quickly.  The trails are getting to be somewhat poor after that heavy traffic and the bad weather conditions. 

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked with CO’s Hutchins, George, and Ontario CO’s on a Canadian Border lakes detail.  Fishing and snowmobiling activity was very high as were the violations that came with increased activity.  With the high water levels from last fall, the thaw is opening up flowages between lakes and into lakes faster than normal.  Without colder weather soon, many portages into remote lakes may be impassable.   Use caution around open water.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked snowmobile enforcement and checked anglers in and out of the BWCA.  In one instance, while working speed enforcement, two snowmobiles were clocked racing at 90 MPH on the trail.  It was a father and son, and CO Bermel awarded the victory prize to both riders in the form of citations.  By the end of Saturday trail conditions had deteriorated with the warm weather.  Other enforcement action included unattended line, no license in possession, glass in the BWCA, and vehicles on GIA trails.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) hosted a work crew in the area with several other officers assisting with snowmobile and angling enforcement.  Warm weather kept many off the trails, but there was still quite a bit of traffic in the area.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. The officer assisted in a snowmobile work detail with several officers that patrolled the trails along the North Shore. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.  

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) worked ongoing cases and processed evidence for completed cases.  Officer Patten also checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails, and followed up on a waters violation. 

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked snowmobiling and angling activity this past week.  She assisted Itasca County with a snowmobile complaint on Prairie Lake which resulted in citations issued for various violations.  She also worked on Big Sandy Lake assisting the local officer with angling enforcement. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice anglers, ice and open water anglers, and snowmobile activity.  A fur-bearer presentation was also given to a local elementary school that gives kids a chance to see some of the little known animals that live in Minnesota.  Enforcement action was taken for failing to register a watercraft.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobiles, trappers, and state trails.  He also worked trespass complaints during the week.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) focused on angling and snowmobile activity.  Area snowmobile trails have deteriorated tremendously due to the warm weather.  On the other hand, ice anglers were out enjoying the warm temperatures, as many were fishing without the aid of an ice house.  Enforcement action was taken for failure to display valid snowmobile/ATV registration, no angling license in possession, taking fish without a license, wanton waste, angling with unlawful tackle, using game fish as bait, and angling with extra lines.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Brookston) spent time during the week monitoring snowmobile activity.  A wanton waste issue involving a deer was reported and investigated in the Brookston area.  Time was spent at the TIP Wall of Shame at the Duluth Sport Show and a district meeting was attended.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent time working on a trapping investigation and working winter fishing along the North Shore.  An area meeting was attended and he helped set up the Wall of Shame for the Duluth Deer Classic.  Officer Duncan also spent time working a booth at the Duluth Deer Classic. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked the TIP booth at the Duluth Sport Show with other officers and DNR personnel addressing questions/comments on various resource issues.  CO Humphrey assisted with a work detail in the Vermillion area.  Several enforcement contacts were made for various snowmobile/OHV operation, equipment, and registration violations. CO Humphrey also attended training and a district meeting in Duluth.  Snowmobile trails in the area deteriorated rapidly during the week with the unseasonably warm weather.  Some ice anglers were starting to remove houses early as a result.  A reminder that the shelter removal date in Carlton County is March 6.  Other reminders include end of season Pike/Walleye/Bass February 26 and angling licenses expire February 28 this year.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a district meeting and training in Duluth. K9 assistance was given to a local agency in searching for evidence where some suspicious activity was found. K9 training was also attended in the metro area where training in detection of game and zebra mussels continues. Time was spent working the TIP booth at the Duluth Boat show. A detail was worked in the Tower area for snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for speed, registration, and failing to transfer ownership on a snowmobile.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore anglers and answered questions about nonresident licenses.  The DNR booth was manned at the Duluth Sport Show. Ice conditions are changing rapidly with warm weather and rain.  Officer Miller also attended a district meeting and training session.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked snowmobile and angling activity.  The Aviation section gave assistance to the officer on a snowmobile trespass issue.  A border snowmobile detail was worked with very good speed compliance observed.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd 2) worked sport fishing and off-highway vehicle enforcement this week.  Officer Guida worked an enforcement detail on Mille Lacs Lake in conjunction with a large fishing tournament.  A thank you goes out to the anonymous individual that purchased our lunch in Garrison.

CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) monitored angling activity on area lakes.  Conditions are starting to deteriorate with the warm weather. Anglers venturing out are finding lots of standing water on the ice with slippery conditions.  Some success was seen with northerns and sunfish biting the best. The officer also assisted with the Fishing for Ducks event on Mille Lacs Lake, assisting with a medical situation and in attempting to locate an individual that assaulted a couple people and then fled on an ATV.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked anglers around area lakes and rivers.  She had several violations this week of extra lines.  She also encountered some ATVs that were planning to ride the Soo Line.  She reminded them that ATV trails are closed during the winter and that you can’t ride ATVs on a snowmobile trail.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for angling activity throughout the week.  CO McGowan assisted other agencies with a vehicle that went through the ice.  Enforcement action was taken for angle with extra lines and several fish over limits. 

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking fishing activity, working snowmobile enforcement in the Voyageur’s National Park area, responding to issues of litter on the ice, and car-kill animals. Enforcement contacts were made for snowmobile speed, registration, youth operation, and fish house marking violations. 

Cuyuna SRA – vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angling activity with a lot of people on the lakes due to nice weather, school vacations, and the local contest on Garrison Bay.  Water running in the holes may be making the fish bite but one vehicle reportedly broke through the ice and a second was wedged in an ice crack that had opened up.  
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked anglers and trappers in the area out enjoying the warmer weather. The officer attended the Mille Lacs Lake input meeting. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra line and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen on area lakes throughout the weekend.  With the warmer weather the snow cover deteriorated and most area trails were not usable by snowmobile.  The officer assisted a neighboring officer with a snowmobile race on an area lake and also checking fishermen on the lake.  Questions regarding outdoor related law questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend. Fishermen are reminded to make sure they are able to remove fish houses and debris from area lakes before the ice deteriorates and the ice shelter removal date deadline.   He issued a deer possession permit and enforcement action was taken for various fishing violations.     
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) located many ATV users in the state forests during the unseasonably warm weekend.  Many were found to be operating on designated snowmobile trails contrary to law.  Other violations included operating without registration, fail to display registration, operate without a safety certificate, and operate unregistered OHMs and operating OHMs in prohibited areas.  CO Speldrich was called to a litter complaint where dead livestock was dumped on public land.  Anglers worked to remove permanent shelters off of lakes as conditions deteriorate.  Littering near ice shelters is still an issue.  Thank you to those of you who clean up after others. 
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked a good fish bite with warmer weather creating some ice road hazards.   Extra line violations were found.  Five ATVs showed up in full force with warmer weather; enforcement action was taken for no registration and driving after revocation.  Assistance was given to other law enforcement agencies with a fleeing situation and a crash involving air care transport.  Motorists should use caution with deer now moving heavily.   Ice roads are getting sketchy, which lake travelers should use caution.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) monitored area lakes closely due to unseasonably warm, thawing temperatures throughout the week.  The ice on the south side of some permanent fishing shelters was melting fast.  Some fish house owners were removing their shacks throughout the week before conditions became too unsafe.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week answering numerous questions about spring hunting seasons and ice shelter questions.  He assisted the Pine County Sheriff's department with several ongoing cases and checked anglers in the Pine City area.  Recent warm weather has made local ice conditions treacherous at best...use caution if venturing on the ice.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area lakes and Mille Lacs Lake.  Fishing remains steady and with the warm weather fish house owners should keep an eye on water levels so houses don’t get froze in.  Time was also spent completing online training.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly.  Wisely, most shelters have been removed from area lakes. The annual Race on Trace Vintage Snowmobile races were cancelled due to ice conditions.  CO Friese participated in an open mic segment of a local radio station highlighting ice safety, shelter removal and angling, and attended the Todd SWCD TEP meeting.  ATV activity was up over the weekend. 
  
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this week, assisted with a work detail in the Cook station, and gave a law talk at the Kimball firearms safety class.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) finished up a 28 year career with DNR Enforcement at a weekend work detail in Silver Bay conducting snowmobile and trout fishing enforcement. It’s been a great job, met some great people, appreciated all the adventures, and really enjoyed serving Minnesota!

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) reported while working fishing enforcement on an area lake she checked a house where the two anglers invited CO Kuske in even though there was a cloud of marijuana smoke in the house.  The anglers hadn’t caught any fish but did get a ticket for possession of marijuana.  While sitting down to dinner CO Kuske and CO Paul Kuske looked out their dining room window and noticed a large amount of black smoke coming from a farm place on the other side of the section.  Upon investigating the fire, CO Kuske found the farmer did have a burning permit to burn a brush pile but had included in the pile many railroad ties, metal gates, plywood, and canvas.  A citation was issued for burning prohibited materials.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity in the area.  The officer fielded concerns of fishing shelters in danger of sinking because of the warm weather.  Assisting other agencies calls were also fielded this week.

St. Cloud – vacant.

Sauk Centre – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and ATV’s. Violations were found for no registration and unattended lines. A trapping complaint was also investigated.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes.  He issued summons and written warnings for unattended lines, no fishing license in possession, litter, and wanton waste of fish.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week.  Ice conditions have deteriorated quickly and many fish houses are coming off area lakes ahead of the deadline.   Fish house owners have been reminded, if fish houses are left at public accesses it can result in enforcement action.   Please leave fish houses on the ice near but not blocking public access until removal is completed. 

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week checking anglers and following up on big game cases.  CO Krauel also worked a detail on Upper Red Lake.  Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile DUI, unattended lines, angling with extra lines, and no angling license.

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked ice fishing and trapping activity.  A TIP call was handled for a large number of un-filleted sunfish that were dumped in a dumpster at a local apartment complex.  The violator was located with the help of the community and enforcement action was taken for wanton waste.  CO Mohs would like to thank the caller who reported the violation and those who assisted him in locating the violator.  Anglers are reminded if they witness a violation, they can report it by dialing #TIP on their cell phone or calling CO Mohs directly.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled district lakes and rivers for fishing activity. He assisted Fort Snelling State Park staff on a report of an individual having an off-leashed dog and illegal camping and campfire; appropriate action was taken. Time was also worked on deer distribution to local Southeast Asian non-profit organizations.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked anglers and small game hunters in the metro area.  He took calls on nuisance animal complaints and organized a meeting in the Hmong community with DNR. He also patrolled state park, state trail, and took a TIP complaint on fishing in Minneapolis.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) spent the past week working ice fishing activity on area lakes and multiple littering cases at public accesses.  Assistance was provided to Carver County Sheriff’s office for an armed robbery.  Ice conditions continue to worsen day by day so exercise great caution when going out on the ice.  Violations encountered included no license in possession, angling with extra lines, expired ATV registration, and failure to display current ATV registration.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo Station) continued to spend time on area lakes checking ice shelters and ice-fishing activity. Time was also spent scheduling several firearm safety classes.

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

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent the week contacting anglers and asking them to pull houses off the ice as soon as possible.  CO Weyandt assisted with a vehicle that went through the ice at an access on Lake Minnetonka. She also participated in a television interview warning anglers of the deteriorating ice conditions. CO Weyandt took a TIP call pertaining to spearing on a catch-and-release only northern pike lake. Enforcement action was taken.

Bloomington – vacant.

Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) had the opportunity to work open water this week with the unseasonably warm temperatures.  People are reminded to fully prep their boats before heading out for the season; make sure you are checking that registration is current and you have all of the required equipment.  Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, no insufficient PFD’s, no Type IV throwable, and expired registration.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent a busy week monitoring anglers in the area. With the above average temperatures, people flocked to the Mississippi River to fish with varying degrees of success. Enforcement action included many angling and boating violations.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked boating enforcement on the Mississippi River over the weekend and checked several anglers. Ice fishermen were also checked and fish houses were monitored on area lakes. CO Pril also investigated a trespass complaint and a litter complaint in Lakeville.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) checked ice anglers and monitored ice shelter removal due to poor ice conditions.  He also responded to TIP calls and handled nuisance animal complaints.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer would like to remind anglers with ice shelters still on the lake that they should be removed before they freeze in and are difficult to remove at the deadline. CO Salzer also dealt with a nuisance animal complaint.

White Bear Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ice anglers and ATVs.  Ice conditions are poor.  Trucks and ATVs were reported falling through on several area lakes.  A few anglers still harvested some nice perch and walleyes.  Blue Mound State Park personnel reported that rock climbers discovered two deer which had fallen over a cliff and were gravely injured. 

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ATV, ice fishing, commercial minnow and trapping activity during the week.  Good compliance was seen.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) conducted a weekly radio interview with KLOH Radio in Pipestone. Time was also spent working ATV, small game, and ice fishing enforcement. Warm conditions continue to deteriorate the ice on lakes. Most fish houses have been removed from the lakes but a reminder that the fish house removal deadline down here is March 6th.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports working primarily ATV and fishing enforcement. The officer reported seeing an increasing number of people recreating on ATVs while most anglers had their houses off of the ice by the end of the week. Enforcement action included failure to display ATV registration, state park pass, and angling license violations.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) reported working ATV enforcement, trapping, and angling activity. Numerous wildlife calls were fielded throughout the week. Many anglers took a break from ice fishing with the warm weather to shore fish the Minnesota River. Enforcement action was taken for fishing license violations and failing to obtain a State Park permit.  

Lake Benton – vacant.

Worthington – vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) followed up on litter complaints.  CO Denz also checked anglers and trappers.  Ice conditions continue to deteriorate with most ice houses removed from area lakes.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) worked area trapping and ATV activity.  Angling pressure was down as most are wisely using caution with significantly deteriorated ice conditions.  He issued multiple wildlife possession permits and completed follow up on litter complaints.  CO Vernier also spent time on commercial inspections.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time during the week following up with people who were leaving fish houses on public accesses. Lots of anglers were checked out enjoying the warm weather ice fishing. ATV activity in the area is starting to pick up as well since there is no snow. ATV operators are reminded to make sure their registration is current.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson-West) spent the week checking anglers enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Due to the warm weather, most fish houses have been removed from the lakes. She also followed up on a complaint of work done in a WMA without a permit.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked angling and solid waste enforcement this week.  Ice conditions became poor with a lot of dark ice and holes of open water appearing on local lakes. ATV use shouldn’t even be considered and walking on the ice is discouraged. 

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) reports that he worked ice fishermen and ATV activity.  CO Gruhlke completed area aeration inspections.  He also returned calls for information and did a spot on the local radio station concerning ice safety and the return of numerous species of waterfowl and eagles. 

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked anglers and shelters.  All shelters have been removed from lakes due to poor ice conditions.  Public accesses were patrolled for litter and shelters.  A spring migration has begun with swans, geese, and a few ducks moving in. 

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) fielded a call of a fuel oil spill potentially leaking into a nearby lake.  An investigation involving the MPCA has begun.  Recent weather has made the ice conditions on all local lakes very treacherous and anglers are urged to use the utmost caution at this time.

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) checked angling and ATV activity throughout the week. CO VanThuyne also spoke at a firearm safety class and worked snowmobile and angling activity in the Red Lake area.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports that ice angling is coming to an abrupt end. Unseasonably warm temperatures, combined with rain, continue to degrade ice conditions.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) monitored fishing activity this week. CO Henke responded to a vehicle through the ice on Morin Lake, and subsequently assisted the Freeborn County Sheriff in implementing a vehicle ban on ice travel within Freeborn County. CO Henke worked an enforcement detail on Upper Red Lake over the holiday weekend where numerous violations were encountered and enforcement action was taken.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, trapping, and ATV enforcement this week.  Ice conditions have deteriorated rapidly with the warm weather.  Some shore anglers have been out with some success seen.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers and ATV operators during the week.  The officer attended the MN Pheasants of Steele County corn give away.  The officer investigated an unreported and unpermitted fire.  The officer also attended a public information meeting regarding the proposed DNR license fee increase initiative.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) spent the week checking ice conditions and public accesses.  A meeting with area agencies concerning boat and water training was attended.  The officer took calls of illegal burning in neighboring stations.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester 2) spent the majority of the week checking ice anglers and handling miscellaneous wildlife complaints. Additionally, time was spent conducting taxidermy and minnow retailer inspections. Enforcement action for the week included fishing without a license in possession and failing to have a minnow retailer license.

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week checking fishermen both on the ice and on the open water of the Mississippi River. A city council meeting and Red Wing Police department meeting were attending. A presentation was also given for a local club. Assistance was given to Red Wing PD on a suspicious persons call and a trespassing complaint was followed up on. Enforcement action for the week included no license in possession, fail to display valid registration on a watercraft, no fire extinguisher, and fail to have legal life saving device on board.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports investigating multiple reports of trespassing while shed antler hunting. Time was also spent checking trout anglers. Good numbers of fishermen were out enjoying the good weather and the fishing was fair to good. CO Boyum is investigating a timber violation on state forest land and also illegal ATV use on state forest land. Fishing on the Mississippi has been good.

CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the weekend assisting with a border detail. He assisted with a minnow retailer inspection and a taxidermist inspection. He also issued a wild animal possession permit. Enforcement action included possession of live minnows on a designated trout lake, extra lines, and unattended lines.

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) completed a taxidermy inspection, attended the annual Red Wing PD meetings, and attended a Red Wing City Council meeting with neighboring officers. CO Hill also presented a law talk for a firearm’s safety class at the Cannon Falls Sportsman’s Club. CO Hill assisted other officers in searching for a missing person on the Mississippi River with the help of airboats. CO Hill took advantage of the mild February weather and checked fishermen boating on the Mississippi River. Enforcement action for the week included fail to display valid ATV and watercraft registration, no fishing license in possession, and no fire extinguisher or personal flotation device on board a watercraft.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working more fishermen on the backwaters of the Mississippi River.  The ice is deteriorating with the warm weather but the fishing has been pretty good and the activity level is very high.  The open water anglers have also been finding success below the dam.  Late night airboat assistance was given on the big river to the Winona County Sheriff Department reference an overdue boater.

CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) saw an increase in activity on the Mississippi during ice out.  Ice conditions are unpredictable, spotty and all around unsafe.  CO Fogarty checked ice anglers, open water anglers, and ATV operators.  Enforcement action was taken on angling with extra lines, angling without a license in possession, and multiple ATV violations.  CO Fogarty took a report of a possible shot Bald Eagle.  The eagle was located approximately one half mile off the road and appeared to have suffered trauma from being struck by a vehicle. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports boats fishing the area with some walleye being caught.  CO Hemker used the airboat to search for a lost kayaker and to transport fishermen over poor ice after a fisherman went through the ice and spent over 30 minutes in the water.  CO Hemker also assisted local fire and rescue help a hiker that had slipped and was stuck on a bluff ledge.

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

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a wolf pack count and an instrument training flight. Pilot Heineman also attended to maintenance on 605NR, ferried 905NR to Bemidji, and was a safety pilot for CO Pilot Lofstuen for instrument training.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew CWD deer reconnaissance in the southeast positive zones.   Pilot Geving also worked on updating the unit’s training manual.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on maintenance tasks and flight training duties. He also worked on preparations for pesticide applicator testing.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of wolf pack and bear den flights. He also assisted a work crew by locating angler activity areas.  Pilot Jensen positioned helicopters for maintenance and gave some refresher training to another DNR pilot. He also landed on various lakes throughout the week to check angler success rates.

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying a return to service test flight after a major inspection that required some component repairs.  Several training flights were conducted and a combined district meeting was attended in Duluth.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joe Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on opens cases, preparing for upcoming trainings and events.  Time was spent talking to fishermen and working area snowmobile derbies and fishing events.  Assistance was also given to state patrol and county sheriff’s office on accidents and vehicle locations.
Snowmobile activity is at a standstill with warm temps, but ATV activity and complaints are on the rise.

WREO Mike Scott (NE) staffed a booth with MN Sea Grant folks at the Duluth Sports show talking with the public about AIS issues and concerns. Officer Scott also staffed the DNR Wall Of Shame booth at the Deer Classics as part of the Duluth Sports show talking to the public about TIP and general DNR questions reference big game, small game, fishing, boating and AIS. He checked anglers on the North Shore where the warm weather has people out fishing for Coho and Kamloops. Fishing was good during the warm weather but has slowed since the rain and cooler weather returned.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) checked anglers on local lakes. Pan fishermen were having some success. Snowmobilers were out until warmer weather and rain. WREO Haberman also worked on wetland cases and responded to calls.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week updating public water cases.  Fishermen were also checked.  Enforcement action was taken for license and registration violations.

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) worked on new and old PW and WCA violations. Officer Hanson assisted with the Southern Region Initiative meeting in Marshall. Ice fishermen and coyote hunters were checked. 

WREO Julie Siems (SE) attended a TEP meeting for a WCA violation.  A complaint regarding tiling activity was investigated.  Assistance was given to other agencies for an injury crash and assault. 

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.

SCHEDULED INSTRUCTOR TRAINING SESSIONS

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

See Also:

 

STAFF NOTES:

NW RTO Greg Oldakowski (acting) reports assisting with safety instructor banquets and preparing for upcoming clinics.  Time was spent in the field with ice anglers and some snowmobile activity.  A car kill deer permit was issued as well.

NE RTO Mike Lee continued work with fellow RTO’s on updating the FAS program manual. Officer Lee also attended district meetings and advised officers of Safety Training updates and worked on instructor appreciation banquets.  Officer Lee also attended the Pequot Lakes Career Day where he completed mock interviews with students along with requirements of law enforcement jobs and conservation officer duties.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports attending an RTO meeting at Camp Ripley, assisting with a volunteer instructor forum in Richfield, and teaching Hunter Education Firearm Safety Instructor Certification in Kerkhoven.  He set up and tended the Enforcement Division information booth at Pheasant Fest.  He checked ice fishermen and ice conditions in the St. Cloud area; with warmer weather, safe ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly.

Southern RTO Dan McBroom attended an RTO meeting at Camp Ripley, conducted HEFAS Instructor Training at Trimont, and worked at Pheasant Fest in Minneapolis.

Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence conducted Snowmobile Safety Instructor Training for the Steele County Trails Association.  RTO Lawrence met with other RTOs at Camp Ripley to discuss revisions to the Firearms Safety educations materials.  RTO Lawrence, along with RTO Neitzke, met with the MN Volunteers Safety Instructors Association.  RTO Lawrence continues to complete Safety Training updates.

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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