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Conservation Officer Report
Weekly Conservation Officer Report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Enforcement
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

Joe Albert, Enforcement Division communications coordinator, 651-259-5060

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


Minnesota's Weekly


District 1 - Baudette area

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked ATV, AIS, big game, small game and waterfowl enforcement. Grouse hunters took to the forests this past weekend but with the foliage still quite thick, they really had to work to get a bird. Several reports of dumped bear and goose carcasses were received and investigated. Please dispose of your carcasses legally. Nuisance bear reports and a trespass complaint were also handled, and possession permits were issued. Enforcement action was taken for operating a vehicle on a closed forest road.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette West) reports a slow small-game opener. Some hunters were able to capitalize on ruffed grouse over the weekend, but many were skunked. Prachar assisted the sheriff’s office and surrounding agencies with a search and rescue incident for the better part of a day. The lost person was found in a relatively healthy state within a few miles of where he went missing. Prachar also assisted with a rollover incident that involved an intoxicated driver.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) conducted field training with CO Ben Karon. They responded to calls of a possible wolf depredation and TIP complaints about bear baiting violations. They also worked the small-game opener in the Beltrami Island State Forest, checked area anglers, and spoke about new regulations at a regional Wildlife Section meeting. A fire complaint was investigated. Enforcement action for the week included ATV in WMA violations and bear license violations. 

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) checked small-game hunters, archery deer hunters and bear hunters. Follow up was done on a possible goose hunting violation and time was also spent checking ATV activity.

Warroad South – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

Blackduck North – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking for early goose and archery deer hunters. Anglers were checked on area lakes and rivers and a WMA complaint was investigated. Case follow ups were completed on shoreline and fire complaints.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) attended Fur Takers of America Trapper’s College this past week.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked boating and angling activity on area lakes. Time was spent patrolling forest roads and trails for ATV activity. He also worked the opening of the small-game and archery seasons. Activity was slow due to weather conditions.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports completing the FTO Step I with COC Garrett Thomas, receiving TIP complaints related to the archery deer season, possible APM violations, and patrolling for ATV violations. Vinton also assisted with security at a Red River flood mitigation meeting where Commissioner Landwehr addressed several hundred people in attendance. The archery deer season opener along with the small-game opener was very warm and may have contributed to the poor hunter numbers observed.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked the opening weekend for deer and small game. The weather was warm and hunting pressure was lower than normal. Peterson also assisted Becker County with a search warrant and an attempt to locate a domestic suspect.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working goose hunting, sport fishing, AIS and ATV enforcement. It was a slow start to the archery deer season as high winds and warm weather kept hunters out of the tree stands on Sunday. Time was also spent responding to TIP calls. An interview discussing zebra mussels was done for a local radio show. A report of a dead moose in the center median of Interstate 94 east of Moorhead was received. The moose had been spotted near Barnesville a couple days prior and just east of Moorhead the day before. Unfortunately, it didn’t make the interstate crossing on its way back north.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time working angling, boating and AIS regulation compliance. She also including monitored a walleye tournament on White Earth Lake. Investigations were conducted for calls of aquatic vegetation removal, deer carcass litter, items left on a WMA, and leeching activity. Warren taught the law and ethics portion of firearms safety in Detroit Lakes. Areas were worked for small game, archery and ATV activity.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) worked with COC Tyler Lusignan as he started Step 2 of the field training process. The officers checked anglers and goose hunters as well as followed up on deer-baiting complaints and aquatic vegetation violations. Goose hunting success remains poor and very few archery hunters were contacted due to the heat and wind on opening weekend. Enforcement action was taken for several off-highway motorcycle violations.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) and COC Nathan Benkofske spent the week preparing for upcoming hunting seasons. They also presented furs and antlers for Wilkin County 5th graders.  Time was also dedicated to AIS, angling, and boat safety enforcement.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent the week following up on multiple complaints of illegal bear hunting, ATV in a WMA and nuisance wildlife complaints. She also worked a warm archery and small-game opener but found minimal activity.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATV operators and small-game hunters. He also handled complaints of people driving on aquatic management areas, spraying bulrushes with herbicide, netting fishing and filling waterways with rocks. Osborne also issued a car killed deer permit and nuisance beaver permits. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license and fishing during a period of suspension.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) continued working on a background investigation of an applicant for the next CO Academy. Time was also spent checking archery deer and small-game hunting. Holt followed up on a couple wetlands complaints and took a nuisance beaver complaint.

Elbow Lake – vacant.

Morris – vacant.

Wheaton – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Randy Posner (Staples) reports working fishing enforcement this past week. Anglers are out and the fall bite is picking up. He checked bear hunters who report bear activity at baits has slowed. Posner also worked on AIS complaints reported by DNR inspectors, goose-hunting enforcement and a tip of afterhours shooting. He checked boats after sunset and found navigation light violations. A nuisance bear complaint was reported; area farmers report significant damage to cornfields by bears. The small-game and archery deer hunting opener went well.

CO Colleen Adam (Park Rapids Station) checked archery deer and bear hunting activity. She also responded to a call for assistance at a wildfire on the Heartland State Trail and followed up on squatter on state trail right-of-way. Adam checked an area reported to be receiving damage from ATVs near a wetland. She also is following up on an investigation into illegal nets placed on Boulder Lake in Hubbard County, which resulted in the loss of trophy class walleye. Anyone with information is asked to contact the TIP line at 1-800-652-9093.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily worked on completing a background investigation for a CO applicant. Bear hunters were checked. A complaint of a new construction roadway filling a wetland and creek was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for failing to register a bear bait site, hunting bear in the wrong zone, failure to have a bear license in possession, and non-biodegradable material at a bear bait site.

Lake George – vacant.

Walker – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) finished Step 1 of field training with COC Blong Lor. Fishing and boating activity are staring to slow as people are heading to the woods for the first days of the small-game season. Kittelson handled complaints about animals and answered CWD-related questions about importing deer and moose into Minnesota from other states and Canada. 

CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports bear hunting activity slowed this past week. Most hunters contacted were not excited with the unseasonably warm weather. ATV use has increased with the small-game hunting opener. Success for grouse was limited as expected with most trees hanging on to their leaves. Slatinski met with a homeowner concerned about a bear cub that had climbed a tree at the edge of the yard one day and was still there the next evening. It left on its own before the next morning.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area forest roads and trails. Small-game hunters were greeted on opening day by wind and rain. There were few hunters and fewer birds. ATV activity was monitored. Public access sites were checked and equipment worked on.  

CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling, boating, ATV, bear-hunting, small-game hunting, and goose-hunting activity. Anglers reported good success on Lake Vermilion. Hunters reported poor success. Grouse-hunter success was limited by the amount of leaves on the trees. Broughten also fielded calls about deer feeding, angling licenses, and deer-hunting regulations.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) investigated a couple of wetland violations this past week. The small-game and archery deer season opened and Hopkins observed more grouse than hunters. He also worked smaller lakes in the station.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the small-game and archery deer openers, early goose season, bear hunters, anglers, boaters, and ATV riders. Low numbers of grouse hunters were seen on opener, with few busting the brush. A wolf was hit by a car and picked up by the driver. It is unlawful to pick up any road killed animal without a permit from a CO. An investigation of a number of large fires that occurred in May got wrapped up with citations for five violations. An ATV driving without lights on a city street at night was stopped. Bozovsky found the driver had a knocked arrow in his bow and an arrow release on his wrist. The ATV had a bucket of apples and an empty corn bag on it and the driver had a revoked driver’s license. He was cited for driving after revocation and having a knocked arrow in a motor vehicle. Other enforcement action was taken for unlawful possession of a wolf, angling without a license, more than one line on a designated trout lake, willful trespass, OHV trespass, wrong side of the road, and several ATV violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time patrolling the Virginia area for deer-baiting activity ahead of the archery opener. He started field training duties with COC Andrew Goodman. Anglers and boaters were checked on area lakes and enforcement action was taken for insufficient PFDs and no license in possession. Complaints from landowners were taken regarding possible trespass violations and dumping.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked the small-game opening weekend and noted the fewest number of hunters in years. Warm, wet weather was probably the reason. Fredin completed a background investigation of a potential CO candidate. Fredin looked into lake shoreline excavating and had repairs done on his squad.

International Falls #2 – vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports small-game hunting got off to a slow start on the Echo Trail. Drizzle gave way to steady rain and most hunters reported seeing no grouse all day. Angling success, however, was very good on several lakes and several near-limits of walleyes were seen. Violations included transporting a loaded firearm and unmarked bear bait.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and grouse hunters this past week. Grouse hunting success was mixed but several hunters did well even with the amount of green vegetation. He also followed up on some old complaints and took several calls regarding nuisance animals.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) assisted the sheriff’s office with a call in the BWCA. He also checked grouse hunters, ATV operators, anglers, and bear hunting activity.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled state and national forest roads checking ATV operators, motorcyclists and grouse hunters. Manning also checked anglers, bear hunters and baits, and worked the start of archery deer season. Manning answered calls regarding the upcoming deer season and state parks hunts, small-game hunting, firearms transport and lake access.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy grouse opening weekend. Some very small, late-hatch grouse were noted in hunters’ bags with meat equal to that of a woodcock. Time was also spent on bear hunting, ATV, and angling enforcement. Enforcement action included possession of an illegal-length northern pike, insufficient PFDs, blocking a public access, expired ATV registration, and a passenger under 18 without a helmet.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked angling and boating activity in the area. Weekend activity revolved around the small-game opener and the ATV activity that goes with it.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked small-game hunters over the opening weekend. Success was limited with road hunters all driving the same roads. The hunters who got out of their vehicles or off of their ATVs had different results. Wahlstrom responded to a call for help in the BWCA with area officers and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. Enforcement action was taken for firearms violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) reports a slow opening weekend for grouse and archery deer hunters. With temperatures near 80 degrees and scattered thundershowers, game wasn’t on the move very much. Hunters checked reported flushing a few birds but ground cover is still too thick to see many of them. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations and nuisance bear activity was handled.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, hunters, and ATV operators. He investigated complaints of bear baits that were unregistered, unsigned, or contained garbage. Patten also looked at complaints of deer baiting. Enforcement action was taken for allowing a juvenile to illegally operate an ATV.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and boating activity, patrolled campgrounds, worked ATV activity, checked small-game and bear hunters, and worked AIS enforcement. He continued to work on various investigations. Hansen noted anglers were complaining about the new northern pike regulations. Grouse hunters had poor or no success. Violations included dogs off leash in campgrounds and no horse pass. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked the archery/small game openers, monitored OHV activity and assisted the county with a capsized watercraft. Warmer weather brought out many anglers. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and OHV registration issues.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked anglers in the area with the local panfish bite heating up a bit early this year. Fish seem to be setting up in their fall patterns at a quicker pace. A few hunters were out trying to shoot a grouse on the small-game opener, but with the trees still fully covered in leaves it made for a tough hunt for many. Enforcement action was taken for not wearing blaze orange while small-game hunting.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, big-game, ATV, and small-game enforcement. Small-game hunters were having a difficult time as much of the foliage is still present. Enforcement action was taken for several ATV and small-game violations.

Hill City – vacant.

NE ATV officer – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) was busy with bear hunting TIP calls and the opening of the small-game season. Many hunters were checked in the field and a few birds were seen in the bag. Enforcement action was taken on registration issues, no license in possession and no type IV PFD.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) began training with COC Taylor Hochstein. They worked the small-game opener and checked hunters and ATV riders. Time was spent working area lakes and shore-fishing locations. Wolf depredations involving pygmy goats and an adult sheep were investigated. Violations involved equipment violations and registration on ATVs, license issues for anglers and watercraft registration. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) completed the first phase of field training a conservation officer candidate. Field work consisted of fishing and boating enforcement, bear hunting, and ATV activity. A TIP complaint continues to be worked. Several grouse hunters were checked on area trails and roads. Duncan also spent time working archery deer hunting activity. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked big- and small-game hunting, OHV enforcement, and ricing during the week. Patrols were conducted on area lakes and trails in the Fond du Lac State Forest, Sawyer WMA, Firebird WMA, and Jay Cooke State Park. Humphrey assisted on a wolf depredation complaint investigation in the Cloquet area. He also received a TIP complaint of a possible game violation, which is under investigation. Humphrey took several calls/questions about upcoming hunting seasons, licensing, and nuisance animals. Humphrey met with and talked at a new firearms safety class with CO Staples in the Barnum area. He also attended a Division Honor Guard meeting in Grand Rapids. Small-game hunters reported a slow opening weekend with warm weather and heavy foliage. Several OHV violations were encountered.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked small-game and archery deer hunting activity during the opener. Very few hunters were found out in the woods. A K9 talk and meet and greet was done with K9 Schody at an area church where local kids were invited for several activities. A talk was given to a firearms safety class in Barnum. Assistance was given to a couple of ATV riders when they became stuck in the Nemadji State Forest. After help was given they were educated on where they could ride in a limited forest since they were in an area where they should not have been.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked small-game hunters in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. One hunter checked was wearing shorts, a tank top and flip flops due to the warm weather. He reported seeing no grouse during his jaunt. Lake trout are being caught on Lake Superior in decent numbers. Enforcement action was taken for minor ATV violations over the weekend.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Inland wild rice harvest in the Arrowhead is about done, with challenging rice conditions this year. Grouse season opened with foggy, warm weather. An injured eagle was delivered to a local rehab office and enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) spent time patrolling on ATV during the small-game opener. Enforcement action was taken for individuals transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle. With full foliage on the trees, grouse hunters were struggling to locate birds. A possible wolf depredation was also investigated. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing and the archery deer opener. A hunter was contacted while archery hunting deer with the aid of bait and now faces archery equipment confiscation/forfeiture, loss of big-game hunting privileges, and a large fine. Guida also provided documentation to Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services of a recent gross misdemeanor DUI arrest.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, bear and ATV activity. Training requirements were completed and enforcement contacts included live well sorting (culling).

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) continued FTO training with a conservation officer candidate. McGowan patrolled for small-game hunters and ATV activity. Small-game hunters reported limited success with the heavy leaf coverage. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking small- and big-game hunters over the opening weekend. Calls in the SRA regarding dumped garbage were investigated and assistance was given to park staff on some park-related issues. Assistance was given to a local agency on a call for service and many outdoor law-related questions were answered. ATV activity was monitored and some fall anglers were checked. Calls of an injured juvenile eagle and an injured owl were taken and the birds were transported to the Garrison Animal Hospital for assessment and treatment. Fitzgerald also finished Step 1 FTO training with COC Hughes, who moved on to Step 2 training with another officer. Follow up was done on a call of a party living in the SRA illegally. TIP calls regarding a fishing and a big-game related case were investigated.  

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked the small-game and archery deer opener, but the heat appeared to keep activity to a minimum. Water recreation was busy with a lot of people getting in the water and removing docks. Verkuilen also did some river patrol, issued car killed deer tags, and answered questions regarding next weekend’s duck season. 

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked on bear-hunting activities, illegal ATV activity, and wetlands violations throughout the week. Hunters are reporting low success rates for bears due to plentiful natural foods in the woods including acorns, plums, and other natural forages.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked fires, bear hunting, small-game opener, early goose, ATVs, fall fishing, nuisance animal complaints, and assisted local law enforcement with numerous calls.  Starr assisted with the removal of an unwanted person at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park. Intense heat hampered opening weekend for bow hunters.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) continued to work on bear-hunting activity and complaints that included harassment of bear hunters, illegal bear bait material and unregistered baits. Multiple bear baits, which may only contain non-biodegradable material, were found containing steel posts, screws and nails, plastic, filters and cement. Very limited activity was found on the archery deer and small-game opener, likely due to the 90-degree, humid weather.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week checking anglers and bear hunters. A deer baiting complaint was investigated and questions were answered about upcoming hunting seasons.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked small-game and archery deer hunters over the weekend. Warm weather and a heavy mosquito hatch made deer hunting a bit tough. Most grouse hunters reported seeing few birds. A call for service on a possible wetland violation was also handled.

Isle – vacant.

Malmo – vacant.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) and COC Leah Kampa spent time during the week monitoring angling activity. They also took a complaint of a possible feeding ban violation and wrapped up a waterfowl investigation that resulted in enforcement action for wanton waste and unlawful deposit of garbage. While on patrol, Kampa and Silgjord conducted multiple ATV traffic stops with violations ranging from no headlights, juvenile without a helmet, failure to display registration and driving while impaired. A law and ethics presentation was provided to an area firearms safety class. Shore-fishing areas in the station were checked. One angler was found to be in possession of a smallmouth bass out of season.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked the small-game and archery deer opener. ATV activity in the area was monitored. VanderWeyst attempted to have his vehicle evaluated for safety purposes but was detoured back to Sauk Centre to aid neighboring agencies.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) began training with COC Jacob Swedberg. They took advantage of the nice weather to get out on some area lakes. Anglers were having mixed results but the fishing on area rivers has started to pick up. The hot weather seemed to keep small-game and archery hunters home over the weekend but there was some success for a few squirrel hunters. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line, no fishing license in possession, no blaze orange when small-game hunting, and no throwable.

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports checking anglers and small-game hunters. He also spoke at youth hunter education/firearms safety classes in South Haven and Rockville. Follow up was also done on a trespassing complaint.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking hunters and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for no blaze orange, toxic shot, an overlimit of northern pike, and various ATV violations. Several wetland violations were also addressed.

Pierz – vacant.

Annandale – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and hunters. A hunting TIP call was investigated and an animal complaint handled. Follow up was done on a litter case.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked bear baits, small-game and archery hunters, and anglers. Londgren also continues to work on a background investigation and followed up on wetland/public waters violations.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent time checking goose hunters and small-game hunters. Krauel also checked anglers and boaters who were enjoying the last few days of hot weather. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, illegal tackle configurations, taking smallmouth bass out of season, and several ATV violations.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for archery and small-game hunters. Warm weather kept many hunters indoors over the weekend. Small-game hunter success was poor and archery hunter success was moderate. Additional time was spent checking anglers and presenting at safety classes. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line, failing to remove a watercraft drain plug, and allowing a juvenile to violate a fish and game law.

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) and COC Lerchen checked small-game and archery hunters. Several deer-baiting violations were investigated. Time was spent patrolling area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for deer baiting, transporting loaded firearms and numerous fishing violations.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a presentation to a firearms safety class in Monticello. Area goose hunting has slowed drastically with low numbers of geese and warm weather. The weather seemed to really affect the small-game and archery deer season opener. Some hunters were out during the early morning, but by 10 a.m. most of them were out of the field.

Milaca – vacant.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked the small-game and archery deer opener in southeastern Minnesota. He also checked anglers and boaters on metro-area lakes and took calls regarding a nuisance animal complaint in the Bloomington station. Violations encountered were fishing without an angling license in possession and taking trout during a closed season.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) gave a law and ethics talk for a firearms safety class at the Osseo Police Department. Maass also spent time patrolling area lakes and rivers for angling activity. Time was also spent checking small-game hunters on opening day.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) worked big-game and boat and water safety activity throughout the week. He worked with other officers on multiple big-game investigations and worked the small-game and archery openers over the weekend. A BWI arrest was made over the weekend as well. Enforcement action was taken for BWI, operating a PWC after hours, license, and AIS violations.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) had a busy week handling a variety calls and preparing for the archery season. An AIS violation was investigated at a local lake along with follow-up investigations on TIP calls about hunting issues. A hunter harassment call was taken. The suspect said she told the hunters they were lousy shots and had no business hunting. Enforcement action was taken. A boater was arrested for operating a watercraft while impaired. Enforcement action was also taken for illegal burning, PWC violations, careless driving, and boating safety violations.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) spent worked fishing and boating activities. He and CO Lee assisted CO Heyn during the small-game and archery deer season opener. Violations included no ATV safety training, illegally operating an ATV, no trout stamp validation and taking trout in a closed season.

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked hunters during the small-game and archery deer opener. Several hunters were out enjoying a warm weekend. Enforcement/education action was taken on wetland violation. 

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers, boats at landings with K9 Shelby and following up on complaints. Grewe and K9 Shelby performed a K9 demo at an event, demonstrating how boats and trailers are checked at public accesses. Violations for the week included not having a fishing license in possession.

Bloomington – vacant.

Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (White Bear Lake) started the second step of field training with COC Tyler Ramaker. Ramaker and Gutzwiller report busy fishing activity this week on local lakes where they detected many fishing violations. They presented at a firearms safety class and assisted local law enforcement with apprehending a stolen vehicle involved in a hit and run crash. Small-game and archery openers got off to a slow start with the above-average temperatures.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) began field training with COC Elwell. They checked anglers and small-game and archery deer hunters. Violations for the week included hunting deer with the aid of bait, registration issues, fishing without a license, no small-game license and insufficient PFDs onboard watercraft.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent a very hot small game/archery opener in Dakota County. Many squirrel hunters were out with some success observed. The few archery hunters Kulhanek came across reported not seeing much movement other than mosquitos. Enforcement action for the week included hunting deer over bait, no license in possession and no blaze orange.

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) worked the archery deer and small-game opener. He worked with a neighboring officer and the warm weather was a deterrent for a lot of people. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, waking a dog off leash in a restricted area and other pending charges for an investigation.

Ham Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored angling, archery deer hunting, boating and OHV activity during the week. Archery hunters endured hot weather and hungry bugs during opening weekend. Early goose and dove hunters were also checked during the week. 

CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) started field training with one of the conservation officer candidates. They checked archery deer hunters, small-game hunters, ATV riders, and anglers throughout the week. Enforcement action included violations for angling, ATV registration, and no state park passes. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports the archery deer and small-game seasons got off to a hot start, literally, as temperatures near 90 degrees were a nuisance for those hunters. Fall fishing activity has slowed as water temperatures have risen. Assistance was given with a firearms safety field day in Montevideo. Deer hunters participating in any special city hunt are reminded to use the special permit area when registering their deer.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working early fall hunters and anglers. A variety of waterfowl investigations were also conducted throughout the week. Fall harvest looks to be late as silage has just begun to be chopped.

Lake Benton – vacant.

Benson – vacant.

Redwood Falls - vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) checked small-game hunters and followed up on big-game, burning permit and public land issues. 

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) and COC Garrett Thomas spent time monitoring angling and goose-hunting activity. They followed up on a dog-pursuing-deer complaint and an ATV complaint. They also completed a falconry facility inspection and collected an incidentally taken otter.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) worked on trespassing complaints and finished up investigations for an Ontario conservation officer. Klehr and COC Fitzgerald worked archery deer hunters and checked areas for bait. Over the weekend, time was spent checking boating safety as boaters were taking advantage of the hot weather. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) investigated a complaint of using an outboard motor on a lake with a migratory waterfowl feeding and resting area. Nelson also investigated a northern pike overlimit complaint and answered questions regarding off-Highway motorcycle regulations and hunting with handguns. Nelson spent the week on waterfowl, small game, boating, angling, invasive species, and ATV enforcement activities.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled his area and checked activity related to angling and ATVs. Gruhlke also checked goose, dove, archery deer, and small-game hunting activity. He also returned calls related to waterfowl and deer hunting.

Hutchinson East – vacant.

Hutchinson West – vacant.

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) reports beginning Step 2 of field training with COC Hughes. They checked archery deer and goose hunters. They also checked multiple small-game hunters on state and federal land. Anglers were checked throughout the station. Enforcement action was taken for various big-game, small-game, fishing and federal land violations.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) patrolled his station for fishing, boating, and ATV activity. Additional time was spent checking early goose hunters. Ihnen also monitored AIS compliance at area PWAs.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato #1) and COC Shane Zavodnik started Step 2 of field training. Time was spent responding to a TIP complaint involving a road kill deer, and checking anglers and small-game hunters. With warm weather still hanging around, hunting activity during opening weekend of the archery and small-game season was lower than normal.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked angling and hunting activity. There was a large number of small-game hunters out for opener, even with temperatures were in the 90s. When the weather is warm, hunters need to be prepared to cool their game harvest quickly. Several hunters were educated about waterfowl feeding and resting areas and their rules regarding motor use.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked archery deer hunters, small-game hunters, goose hunters, anglers, boaters, and ATV operators during the week. He received a TIP call about illegal hunting activity. Davis also patrolled state parks, wildlife management areas, and worked on a DNR applicant’s background investigation.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato #2) completed Step 1 of training with COC Flerlage. The warm weather resulted in slow small-game and archery season openers. Anglers and early goose hunters were checked. Questions about the upcoming firearms deer season were also addressed.

Faribault – vacant.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy opening weekend for small-game and archery deer. Hot weather made deer hunting poor, but the squirrel hunt was very good. Many limits were seen in the bag and it was probably the best opener in the past six years for squirrels. Violations encountered were no blaze orange while small-game hunting, transporting a loaded firearm and an overlimit of squirrels. Boyum received trespass complaints as well but overall calls were down. A complaint of subjects hunting squirrels in an archery-only area was also taken.

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports contacting a few small-game hunters during opening weekend. Temperatures in the mid-90s did not stop hunters from making a strong showing in the area. Hill assisted CO Hauser with an arrest involving an order for protection violation. An ATV operator was stopped for operating their ATV in the lane of traffic. Further investigation showed that the operator had not renewed the registration since 2009. An angler was cited for possession of marijuana after a regulatory check led Hill to locate the contraband in a backpack. An angler trespass call was investigated in Wabasha County and an ATV safety class was worked in Bellechester.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishing enforcement on the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin and a busy small-game and archery opener over the weekend. Fishing was pretty good with limits and near-limits being counted. Squirrel hunters were out in force despite the very warm weather over the weekend and almost all checked had some squirrels. The archery success and interest were affected a little more by the heat. Enforcement action included undersize fish, ATV issues, and some other state forest violations.

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week following up on various ongoing complaints and checking area shore anglers. The small-game and archery opener was worked, though the high temperatures kept activity to a minimum. A law and regulations talk was also given at two ATV safety classes. Many questions were also fielded in regards to the upcoming waterfowl opener.

CO Phil George (Rochester) checked anglers and watercraft users and took complaints of illegal burning. George worked the opening day of the small-game season and assisted with an injured hunter who was shot at by another hunter. He also helped a lost hunter in the woods. The situation was a result of poor communications about where he was supposed to be picked up. Enforcement action included transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and overlimits of squirrels.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked anglers and hunters during the week. One angler was cited for keeping trout during the closed season. The angler was also arrested on a warrant for fishing with extra lines because he chose to ignore the ticket he received a few months earlier from another CO. 

Rochester #2 – vacant.

LaCrescent – vacant.

Training Section

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

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports completing flights related to proficiency training as well as big-game baiting. Ground-based training and maintenance issues were also completed.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew southeast deer telemetry in the Preston area. Geving also attended to administrative and flight-planning tasks.   

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance and administrative tasks. He also continued working on the aerial fish stocking tank for the helicopter.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew two wolf telemetry flights and attended to administrative duties.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying waterfowl recon flights for various officers across the state. Jensen documented a few possible wetland and aquatic vegetation violations during these recon flights. Jensen also completed night and tailwheel currency training flights.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week focusing efforts on PW and APM cases. Several site visits and follow ups were conducted. Time was also spent checking hunters and anglers. Boats were monitored for APM law compliance. ATV complaints were investigated.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) checked small-game hunters during the weekend. Extreme heat kept most deer hunters away for the opening season. AIS enforcement was worked along with ATV enforcement. Haberman also worked on wetland cases and public water cases. 

WREO Leah Weyandt (Central) closed several wetland and public water cases this week. Landowners were compliant and restored their property to its previous condition. A Region 3 invasive species meeting was attended. Topics included aquatic and terrestrial invasive species identification issues and private landowner eradication of invasive species.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) worked on a Division background. She also checked goose hunters and anglers. Violations included keeping trout during the catch-and-release-only season.

Enforcement Education

Please check the DNR website 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 online for the online course information. (It’s also at www.mndnr.gov.)

Please check the DNR website 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. People 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:


Southwest Metro RTO Brett Oberg spent some time working dove and goose hunters. The hot weather made for difficult hunting conditions. Oberg also stopped by a field day in Faribault and traveled to Iowa to attend a hunting investigator class.

Southwest RTO Jen Mueller worked the small-game and archery opener with COC Fitzgerald. They also checked anglers and did some PWC and ATV education and enforcement. She also followed up with some firearms safety classes.

North Metro RTO Brandon McGaw set up three firearms safety instructor classes for early October. Classes will be held in Anoka and Benton counties, as well as northern Pine County. If you want to attend, please look for the class posting in the Safety Education section of the DNR website. Time was also spent on future lesson plans and curriculum. 

Southeast Metro RTO Chelsie Leuthardt continued to work on upcoming training courses. She also spoke at a youth firearms safety class and fielded several questions from both students and parents in attendance. Leuthardt also worked with neighboring conservation officers during the small-game opener. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license in possession and dog off leash.  

RTO                                                                                       E-MAIL:
NE RTO Mike Lee                                         mike.lee@state.mn.us
NW RTO Greg Oldakowski                           gregory.oldakowski@state.mn.us
Southwest Metro RTO Brett Oberg               brett.oberg@state.mn.us
Southern RTO Jen Mueller                             jennifer.mueller@state.mn.us 
North Metro RTO Brandon McGaw              brandon.mcgaw@state.mn.us
Southeast Metro RTO Chelsie Leuthardt       chelsie.leuthardt@state.mn.us
Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence     bruce.lawrence@state.mn.us

Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant

Education Specialist:  Vacant

Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant



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