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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
5-22-17

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) investigated several fires around the Roseau, Pennington, and Marshall County areas.  Anglers were checked on Lake of the Woods.  A Law Enforcement Memorial Service was attended in Grand Forks with several other conservation officers along with many other officers from Minnesota, North Dakota, and Manitoba.  Enforcement action was taken for wanton waste.  Assistance was given at an Aquatic Invasive Species check station. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked ATV, boat/water safety, and angling enforcement. Angling activity is picking up on the lake, however reports over the past week have not been nearly as good as they were over the opening weekend. Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, ensure that your recreational vehicles (boats/OHVs) are current in their registration and that all required safety equipment is present. Reminder that all individuals under the age of 18 require an approved helmet when operating or riding as a passenger on an OHV, this includes Class 2 side by sides. Enforcement action was taken on a group for possessing an over-limit of walleye.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette West) reports continued angling activity on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River after the busy opener.  Time was spent working angling enforcement as well as activities in the Beltrami Island State Forest.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) attended a Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony for fallen officers in Grand Forks ND and worked an AIS detail in Lake of the Woods County.  Compliance with AIS regulations was good with only a few minor violations detected.  Numerous calls on nuisance beavers were answered.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working ATV, AIS enforcement, and angling activity on special regulation lakes throughout the week.  Time was spent working on cases from the trapping season and a couple of fire investigations.  Enforcement action included angling license and watercraft registration violations. 

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports a busy week on Upper Red Lake. Time was spent checking anglers, ATV’s, and monitoring AIS compliance among boaters. Time was also spent on an angler harassment case. Assistance was provide to the county with a medical on Upper Red Lake.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on wildfire investigations.  Time was further spent responding to wetland and public water complaints.  Anglers and watercraft operators were also checked.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) assisted at an AIS check station and helped at the Clearwater County Sherriff’s office ATV safety classes.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes.  The cool, windy weather over the weekend slowed the bite a little.  CO Vollbrecht worked AIS enforcement at area accesses with good compliance observed.  A detail was worked on Upper Red Lake with CO McGowan.  A restoration order was issued with a public waters violation.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) worked angling and boat and water safety during the week. Time was also spent checking AIS compliance and participating in a work detail near Baudette. The officer worked with a ride-along interested in becoming a CO. A presentation was given to a Boy Scout troop on the duties and responsibilities of a CO. CO Holt worked on Leech Lake with a neighboring officer and assisted forestry with a wildfire investigation. Enforcement activity included boat and water safety violations and illegal length fish.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports contacting anglers and boaters at area accesses and discussing AIS rules and inspecting watercraft.  CO Vinton assisted neighboring officers with a 4th Grade watercraft safety day in Menahga.  He discussed boating safety regulations, equipment, and rules with about 30 students.  CO Vinton continues to receive calls about removal of floating vegetation plugging the outlet of a lake.  A local chicken owner called to report they had killed a fox that was trying to drag one of their geese away.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked commercial minnow enforcement and attended training.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling and boating activity. Areas were patrolled for off road vehicle activity, monitored boat traffic for AIS compliance, and a complaint of illegal leeching activity was investigated.  Complaints of bow fishing activity and a possible injured goose were received.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling and AIS violations in the Moorhead and Pelican stations. Cooler and windy weather this week limited anglers on area lakes. A potential wetland violation was investigated as well as a report of an individual killing geese. The officer also taught the law and ethics portion of the Moorhead ATV safety class. Enforcement action was taken for a stop sign violation.

Pelican Rapids – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) received information on several potential violations.  Time was utilized checking boaters and anglers.  CO Richards issued a lifesaving award to a Fergus Falls man for an ice rescue back in March.  A cold, rainy, and windy Saturday kept anglers to a minimum.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) attended training at Camp Ripley. Nuisance bear have been a popular subject this week along with nuisance beaver.  ATV and AIS activity was worked.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement efforts checking fishermen, boaters, and AIS activity.  Complaints were handled regarding untagged minnow traps, over limits of fish, and abandoned fawn deer.  Please leave the fawn deer alone, the mother will come back for them.  Complaints of illegal ATV operation on the Central Lakes State Trail were also handled.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, boaters, and ATV’s.  Nuisance beaver complaints were received and looked into.  Deer hunting investigations took place during the week also. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked fishing activity this week despite cold and windy conditions.  Overall angler compliance was very good.  An incident of a boat lift being brought into an access covered with zebra mussels was handled.  The subject said it was pressure washed beforehand, but in every corner there were hundreds of juvenile zebra mussels attached.  To make matters worse, this same person was warned for an AIS violation last summer by Officer Lawler; enforcement action is pending.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued working fishing, boating, and AIS enforcement on and around area waterways. Additional time was spent working ORV, fire, and turkey hunting activity.  CO Johanson and other area conservation officers worked a poaching complaint where a search warrant was executed. Several evidentiary items were seized and the investigation is ongoing.

CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working sport fishing, boat and water safety, and AIS enforcement.  Miscellaneous wildlife calls were resolved and minnow transportation permits issued.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts checking fishermen, boaters, and working AIS enforcement.  A complaint of a fisherman taking an over limit of walleye over 20” was investigated.  CO Anderson attended an LGU / TEP meeting regarding possible draining of wetlands and waters violations.  Calls from the public were fielded regarding fishing questions, nuisance animal complaints, and a call on an injured bird.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, boaters, and monitoring AIS compliance.  Additional time was spent on nuisance beaver issues and attempting to locate an injured loon. 

District 4 - Walker area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) reports being busy with wetland violations as he continues to work on violations from the past and new violations continue to come forward. Several cease and desist and restoration orders have been issued this spring.  A special detail was worked on special regulation lakes.   Enforcement action was taken for several watercraft violations and possessing illegal length walleye.  
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked recreational vehicles, boaters, AIS, and anglers. Cool wet weather kept activity lower than normal in the area.  Walleye fishing continued to be up and down this week as water temperatures cooled.  A stolen vehicle was found and investigated at a recreation area in the Chippewa National Forest.  Enforcement action was taken for ATV, boating, and angling violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling, boating, AIS, and ATV activity.  Anglers reported moderate success as weather conditions may have limited some recreational activity.  CO Broughten continues to receive nuisance bear calls.  CO Broughten also worked an ATV enforcement detail.  Enforcement action included fail to display ATV registration, operate ATV on highway, and burn prohibited materials. 
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) handled many bear complaints; attacks on garbage, bird feeders, and public/livestock safety were the reason for the calls.  “Hooked on Fishing not Drugs” was attended by CO Halverson and Officer Oldakowski in the communities of Staples/Motley and Menahga, many 4th graders got to go fishing.  One little girl called herself a “city slicker” and was able to go fishing in a boat for the first time. The Staples/Motley 4th grade kids received a T- shirt and a fishing pole.  A great job was done by many volunteers. Thanks to the Fire Department and Police Officers and all the donors for a job well done. Fishing over the weekend was slowed by the poor weather.
Walker – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports fishing on Rainy Lake was slower with less desirable weather over the weekend.  Several nuisance animal complaints including beaver and bear were handled.  People are reminded to remove the food source (i.e. bird feeders, dog food, and/or garbage) for a week or so and typically the bear will not come back.  Enforcement action was taken for open burning restrictions.

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports the inclement weather that moved in this past weekend did not hold the determined back from plying the waters in search of their favorite fish. Participation has been relatively low this week and the fish that were caught reportedly did not come easy. Several complaints of beaver and bears causing damage were taken. A recommendation to remove all humanly provided food sources of bears is usually an effective way to get them to move on. Sometimes it takes communication with neighbors to do the same in order to get the animal to leave the neighborhood. One individual didn’t realize all the potential attractants that their household was providing a young bear until they started describing the situation to the officer. 

CO Colleen Adam (Ray) attended training and meetings.  CO Adam also responded to questions regarding license, registration, and regulation issues.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports weekend rain and wind kept boating and angling activities down. Area forest roads were monitored and public access sites were checked.
 
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports fishing has been good all week on Vermilion; the officer observed many boats with limits or close to limits.  The officer assisted Wildlife and the Sheriff’s Office with a call of hogs destroying a lawn.  The officer also assisted Breitung PD with a DUI arrest.  Enforcement action was taken on an individual who drove their truck into a wetland and got stuck.  Angling violations this week included extra lines, no license, illegal transport of fish, and no license in possession.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and boating activity during the week. The officer was the first officer on the scene of a man with a gun call at a rural residence.  The officer took control of the suspects until backup arrived.  The officer was nearly hit head on by a pickup on a rural county road.  The driver had been drinking, had a revoked driver’s license, and had no insurance on the vehicle.  He had a licensed driver in the passenger seat.  Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, angle with extra lines, no PFD’s, no navigation lights, driving after revocation, and no insurance.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) attended the Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony honoring fallen peace officers in St Paul.  Follow up investigation continues on reports of ATVs on state snowmobile trails.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked fishing throughout the week and it appears the walleye bite has improved since opener.  A complaint of minnow trap tampering was checked into along with concern over the size of a minnow trap.  A TIP call was investigated in Chisholm and a camping complaint along a lake shore was investigated.

 

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports fishing pressure was much lower but steady throughout the week. Success was slow with most anglers reporting mixed success. CO Williams and CO Bermel also assisted St. Louis County rescue squad with a canoeist who was hypothermic after he and another paddler had flipped their canoe on the Kawishiwi River.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) responded to a call of a capsized motor boat with two fishermen floundering in cold water.  The capsized boat looked like a rock in the distance except for some bright coloring on a PFD that became visible when one of the men moved.   The officer was able to use his canoe to quickly get to the men with one of the S & R team members onboard.  One party member had no PFD.  Fortunately the victims had hung onto the capsized boat, but hypothermia had prevented the men from being able to get out of the water on their own.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) assisted with ATV and firearms safety classes.  The classes have become very small with only four kids completing the ATV course and three completing the firearms course.  No matter what kind of outdoor activity, encourage your kids to ditch the screen and get outside this summer.  The officer did a patrol on a border lake with the US Border Patrol and did a couple of canoe patrols.

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) participated with the DNR Honor Guard in St. Paul remembering the 277 fallen Minnesota Peace Officers on Law Enforcement Memorial Day.  The officer helped volunteer instructors teach ATV and firearms safety classes, assisted Cook County with an off highway motorcycle complaint, and checked anglers. Officer Manning also took a call of a deer that appeared to have been shot from an area roadway.   Upon examining the animal, the officer located and removed a stick one inch in diameter and over 15 inches long from inside the animal’s chest cavity.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) responded to a couple rescue calls involving overturned canoes with everyone making it out of the cold water okay.  CO Bermel assisted Lake County with a felony fleeing case where the individual ditched his vehicle and fled on foot.  That also had a successful resolution with the driver arrested for fleeing and DWI.  Enforcement action for the week included several instances of marijuana possession, no angling license, illegal possession of a slot northern, and fail to display watercraft registration.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and boating activity this week.  Cool rainy weather made for less activity.  Time was spent investigating a forestry complaint of a person living on a state trail system.  It’s the time of year again for people to leave the fawns be, they are more than likely not abandoned, this is common deer behavior.  CO Schottenbauer also spent time dealing with a person who had picked up an “abandoned” fawn in the Duluth area.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers, ATV riders, and boaters. Time was spent teaching at the ATV riding safety course and FAS field day. The officer also assisted the State Patrol and Border Patrol. Enforcement action was taken for ATV, boating, and angling violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked boating and angling activity during the week. Rainy weather slowed down fishing activity in the area. Enforcement action was taken for burning and state forest campground violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers and enforced boating safety laws, worked ongoing cases, and patrolled for illegal ATV activity.  Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession.

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked ATV activity, boating, AIS, and sport fishing. He patrolled state park areas, state forests, answered questions and took complaints on various wildlife issues, and checked public water accesses.  Violations included ATV’s on roadway, ATV equipment, and speeding.  First fawn of the season was seen hidden in the grass along a county road.  Leave young critters alone, their parents are likely nearby.  If you don’t, you may face criminal charges.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked boat and water safety, checked anglers, monitored OHV activity, and attended training. The area walleye bite was good this week. Enforcement action was taken for angle in closed area, license issues, and possess illegal length walleye.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time last week checking angling activity and followed up on a couple littering complaints.  She handled a nuisance bear call and continues to work on other case follow-up in the area.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity in the area with the walleye bite being pretty good on area lakes.  CO Sutherland took enforcement action for angling without a license, possessing a walleye from within the closed slot, failing to have registration for a watercraft, and for not having an angling license in possession.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) checked anglers, boaters, ATV activity, and AIS compliance. The poor weather conditions did not prevent anglers from trying their luck on area lakes.  The weather appears to have slowed fishing success down for the time being.  Enforcement action was taken for illegal length walleye, no trout stamp, no angling license in possession, and failure to display current boat registration.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent most of the week working anglers on area lakes.   ATV complaints are on the rise and the officer taught a law enforcement ATV class for Duluth PD.  Calls of nuisance bears, beavers, and raccoons were handled along with a complaint of a dog chasing deer. 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) gave a talk to Safari Club International on the DNR K9 Unit. SCI has been long time supporters of the K9 unit and their support is very much appreciated. A complaint of a dog that was killed by wolves was taken and the investigation is ongoing with assistance from Wildlife Services. Rain has slowed fishing activity in the area with not a lot of success found on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling in a closed area. A complaint of anglers intentionally snagging sturgeon was received and is under investigation. A fur committee meeting was attended in Brainerd where seasons and some trapping regulations were discussed.

Brookston – vacant.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers along the St. Louis River and Duluth-Superior Harbor.  The rivers along the North Shore were fast flowing due to the recent wet weather. CO Olson also worked ATV enforcement north of Duluth.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) patrolled area lakes and rivers for fishing and AIS.  She also patrolled ATV activity and investigated several complaints of ATV trespass.  She handled several nuisance beaver calls and a call from a concerned citizen about high wolf activity in the area.  CO Ladd also attended a Memorial Service honoring fallen officers in Aitkin County.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) patrolled area lakes, ATV trails and highways.  CO Sullivan contacted two individuals riding ATVs in the Foothills State Forest that had expired registration and no registration on the ATVs they were operating.  CO Sullivan assisted with four red breasted merganser ducklings that were rescued in the ditch of State Highway 371.  A State Trooper was in the area and responded to ensure the duckling’s safety after citizens completed the rescue.  CO Sullivan assisted with the ducklings be transported for care. 

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity this week of patrolling fishing activity, the Cuyuna Country State Recreational area, and responding to issues of shoreline development and illegal trapping.  CO Hadrits also handled numerous wildlife calls including nuisance fox, beaver, bear, and an unusual report of an aggressive beaver that was shot while attacking a dog and a person in a residential area.  

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd #2) worked sport fishing and all-terrain vehicle enforcement this week. Poor weather conditions have discouraged some anglers.  A call was received and investigated of an individual shooting at geese that were occupying his front lakeside lawn.  The individual admitted to being frustrated with the nuisance fowl and also claimed to have removed three shovels full of lawn fertilizer.  Five .22 shells were discovered at the scene and enforcement action was taken.

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen, boater, turkey hunters, and ATV’s.  Officer Hunter investigated a complaint of a commercial minnow trapper working in infested waters.  CO Hunter also spoke to the 4th grade class in Menahga about boat safety for the Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs class. 

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked angling and ATV enforcement throughout the week. CO McGowan also assisted other law enforcement agencies with calls for service.  Enforcement action was taken for walleye over limits and boating violations. 

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, AIS, and turkey hunting activity.  TIP and nuisance beaver calls were also addressed.  The officer attended a Memorial Service honoring fallen officers in Aitkin County.

CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) took a report of a bear that had killed a deer and drug it across the person’s yard in the daylight.  The deer was found a short distance into the woods but appeared to be a car-killed deer.  A reminder that bears do not have an abundance of food right now and to remove bird feeders and open garbage containers. Several reports of beavers doing damage were also reported and permits issued to have them removed.  Anglers are finding that several days of rain and cold weather have put a damper on angling success.

Cuyuna SRA – vacant.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angler activity where boat traffic continued to increase despite cold and wet conditions.  Boat plugs were checked.  CO Verkuilen also monitored ATV traffic, checked some turkey hunters, and assisted at an ATV safety class. 
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked anglers on Mille Lacs Lake. The water temp lowered and the fishing slowed a bit, but people were still found catching fish. The officer attended training at Camp Ripley and arson investigations continued. Turkey hunters were also found attempting to have some luck with their late season hunts.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen and most reported a fairly good bite for walleye and some pan fish on area lakes.  ATV traffic was monitored throughout the Malmo station and boating activity was also monitored on area lakes.  Patrol was done for AIS violations and the officer answered many outdoor law related questions.  A call of a dock related issue was investigated and the officer assisted with the Kids Fishing Day at the Rippleside Elementary School in Aitkin where many kids got to learn fishing techniques, boating safety laws, and fishing laws.  Enforcement action for the week included various boating related violations.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) attended Law Enforcement Memorial Day with the LEMA Honor Guard.  She assisted Pine County SO and the Pokegama Lake Association with a boat and water safety class in Pine City.  CO Speldrich followed up on nuisance beaver complaints and checked area lakes and state forests for recreational activity.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent time on area river fishing spots and found quite a few anglers having good luck catching catfish, walleye, and rough fish from shore fishing spots.  Active loon nests were found throughout the area and some boaters and jet skiers had to be educated about keeping their distance from nests along with the importance of not disturbing the nesting loons.  Calls about black bear destroying bird feeders and garbage cans also continued to come in regularly.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) took calls this week regarding trespassing questions, concerns about burning, and questions about trapping.  Bad weather for much of the week kept anglers and boaters at home for the most part.  High water on the St. Croix River led to a party of campers swamping their canoe.  Thankfully they were wearing life jackets, made it to shore, and only lost minimal gear. 
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked fishermen during the week and weekend.  Wet weather conditions slowed the enthusiasm but the bite remained good on Mille Lacs.  A complaint of trucks ripping it up in a local WMA was investigated.  The responsible parties were located with enforcement action to be taken.  Time was also spent doing follow up on a fire investigation.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) worked on open cases. Inclement weather appeared to keep recreational activity low to moderate.  Angling, watercraft, AIS, and OHV activities were checked.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) handled a call of a burning complaint where a large amount of prohibited materials were burned along with violations of no burning permit and allowing a smoldering fire.  The responsible party was located with citations issued.   An angler that had just come to shore in their kayak was found to have no life jacket on board along with no angling license (angler was found to have last purchased a fishing license in 2012).  When the citation was issued it was also found the angler did not have a valid driver’s license to leave in the vehicle they had come there in.

St. Cloud – vacant.

Pierz – vacant.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week checking anglers, working on wetland violations, and following up on several nuisance bear complaints.  CO Krauel would like to remind people to keep garbage, bird food, and other food items inside and away from the reach of a hungry bear.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) reports checking anglers and boaters. Violations were found for no registration and no fishing license.  Several animal complaints were handled and ATV complaint areas worked.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week. A wolf depredation was investigated and follow up work was conducted on a wetland violation.  Fishing success remains high in the area.  

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) focused on fishing and boating enforcement this week. Anglers had to deal with a big weather change this week that seemed to slow the fish bite. Enforcement action was taken for taking bass out of season and angling without a license.

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked fishing, AIS, and boating activity on area lakes.  Water levels on many area lakes continue to rise.  Lakeshore owners are reminded they cannot have sheds or other structures below the ordinary high water level of a lake.  Enforcement action was taken for illegal netting of fish, extra lines, fail to drain water related equipment, and storing watercrafts at a public water access.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes and rivers. He followed up on a number of nuisance animal complaints. He wants to remind people that feeding the birds will attract not only birds but mice, rabbits, squirrels and animals that eat all of these rodents, like fox and coyotes. They also are attracting bears. So if you are having issues with any of these animals put the bird feeders away and clean up the seeds for the summer. That will help your nuisance animal issues.

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled Ft. Snelling State Park for park and trail usages and attended a training/meeting at Camp Ripley.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and following up with complaints.   CO Grewe also continued training with his K9 partner Shelby.

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) focused her time on enforcing angling, boating, and ATV activities. CO Leuthardt reports that a number of complaints were fielded regarding illegal ATV activities around the Belle Plaine boat launch. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, fail to display valid ATV registration, and a variety of other ATV violations.

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent time following up on zebra mussel violations from Lake Minnetonka.  Several wetland violation complaints were dealt with. Anglers and boaters were checked throughout the week with enforcement action taken for no license in possession and expired registration displayed on a watercraft.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) investigated several public waters violation complaints. Investigations are on-going. Time was also spent on angling and AIS enforcement.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) targeted shore angling in the past week due to poor weather conditions.  Assistance was given to State Patrol on a vehicular crash that resulted in a felony narcotics arrest.  Presentations were given to the Knights of Columbus and Central High School.  Violations encountered included angling without a license, angling with extra lines, and no trout stamp on a designated trout lake.

Bloomington – vacant.

Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked shore anglers on area lakes and rivers. Watercraft were also checked for AIS and safety equipment. CO Pril checked on complaints and responded to miscellaneous animal calls and other various calls.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and doing AIS enforcement.  He attended training at Camp Ripley, fielded calls about nuisance animals, and investigated a trapping complaint.  Violations for the week included littering and transporting invasive species.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer investigated several TIP complaints regarding angling in the area.

CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) checked anglers, answered TIP calls, and assisted local agencies with calls for service.  Eleven mallard ducklings were found underneath a storm water grate on Hwy 61 when CO Willis noticed the hen behaving distressed. All eleven ducklings were reunited with mom in a nearby pond after assistance from Washington County Sheriff and Newport FD. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, no license in possession, no Type IV PFD, and illegal length walleye.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week working anglers throughout the area. The Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers are running very high and dirty with all the rain we have been receiving and very few fish observed being caught. He also spoke at a boating safety class and returned calls to the public. Enforcement action for the week included multiple angling with extra lines violations and not enough PFD’s.

White Bear Lake – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

Eagan – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports that fishing slowed down with the rainy weather.  Litter continues to be a problem along area shorelines and violators can expect a citation.  The officer also spent time working AIS and boating enforcement.

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) checked anglers, boaters, and ATV’s throughout the week.  An aquatic invasive species detail was worked over the weekend at Wood Lake which showed good compliance with AIS laws.  Enforcement action included fishing without a license and no State Park permit.  A nuisance beaver permit was also issued.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers.  Seemingly constant rain showers have slowed angling pressure and changed productivity on area lakes.  With correct tactics, some lakes are still producing walleye and perch.  The Lake Shetek Walleye Tournament registered 57 boats with the top team weighing four walleye.  Sick, injured, orphaned, and nuisance wildlife calls have ramped-up in the last week.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time attending a furbearer committee meeting. Officer Gutzwiller also had the opportunity to speak to the Lac qui Parle summer fishing league at Milan Resort. Information on angling regulations, AIS rules, and boat and water safety equipment was discussed. 

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports working primarily fishing and AIS enforcement during the week. The officer talked with boaters about AIS laws and patrolled for AIS violations. The officer assisted a neighboring officer with an illegal fishing investigation as well.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored angling, ATV, boating, and commercial minnow dealer activity during the week.  Recent cold fronts have made the bite tougher for anglers on local lakes.  Good compliance was seen.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, boating, AIS, state park, and ATV enforcement. A good walleye bite continued until mid-week when heavy rains slowed the walleye bite and fishing activity. Over five inches of rain has fallen in spots. As a result of the heavy rains, some public access docks are partially under water so please use caution. Assistance was also given with Tracy’s firearm safety field day.

Lake Benton – vacant.

Worthington – vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) checked anglers and spoke at an ATV safety class.  Additional time was also spent training at Camp Ripley.

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) spent time checking anglers, boaters, and ATV activity.  He issued a commercial minnow transport permit.  CO Vernier also worked at area boat landings for AIS compliance.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent a day in Brainerd for Tactical Flight Operations training where CO Klehr learned how to assist a CO pilot during enforcement flights. A few fishermen were checked over a rainy weekend. CO Klehr also issued a restoration order for a wetland that was drained and checked on other wetland complaints.

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson East) continued checking anglers in the area having success on walleye, northern pike, crappie, and sunfish.  Limits were seen of each species.  CO Oberg gave a ride-along to a student interested in looking at conservation officer as a future career path.  CO Oberg also completed Use of Force team work this past week.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) followed up on calls of animal nuisances and orphaned animals. He also took complaints of keeping bass during the catch and release season.  CO Nelson spent time working angling, boating, and invasive species activities.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) assisted neighboring officers with an AIS detail in Yellow Medicine County.  CO Miller focused enforcement efforts this past week on sport fishing.  CO Miller observed one angler catch a largemouth bass and keep it during the catch and release season.  Upon contact with the angler, they were unable to identify any of the species of fish they had caught and were unsure of limits of those fish.  CO Miller informed them of the bass violation and helped to identify the other species, with a near limit on sunfish.  Enforcement action was taken and the angler was educated on the importance of reading the fishing synopsis before venturing out.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled his area checking activity relating to angling, boat and water safety, and AIS.  He completed his radio program discussing topics including the catch and release bass season and the use of PFD’s by kids less than ten years old vs. others. 

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked boaters and anglers.  AIS compliance and knowledge remains high.  A career talk was given at the Martin County West natural resources class and rules and regulations was taught at the Fairmont ATV class.  Numerous calls were taken for wildlife complaints.

Hutchinson West – vacant.

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports checking anglers, boaters, bow-fishers, and ATV riders this week. CO Howe spoke on outdoor recreation safety to a local group. CO Howe also provided assistance to other agencies at the scene of a traffic accident.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, boating, and AIS enforcement this week.  The recent rain slowed fishing activity but anglers who braved the weather were rewarded with a good bite.  Time was also spent monitoring turkey hunting activity.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) focused on angling and boating activity this week. CO VanThuyne also checked for AIS compliance at public water accesses.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) continued to check ATV activity and anglers this past week. Attention was given to AIS enforcement as boating traffic increases.  The officer also assisted a local agency in locating a suicidal individual.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent time this week monitoring fishing activity in the Albert Lea area. CO Henke also spent time working AIS and boat and water enforcement. ATV owners are reminded that anyone under 18 needs to have a helmet on when operating or riding on a machine. CO Henke responded to calls from the public and answered several questions regarding young animals. CO Henke reminds everyone that handling the animals will not help them, leave them where they are, typically the mother is in the area.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, boaters, turkey hunters, and ATV operators during the week.  Activity was also monitored at wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) checked fishermen, boaters, and ATV operators this week. Additional time was spent patrolling public water accesses for AIS and other violations. Officer Ihnen also monitored area turkey hunting activity.

Spring Valley – vacant.

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) worked AIS and sport fishing enforcement throughout the week. CO Hill gave a presentation to the fish and wildlife classes at Zumbrota High School about fish and game laws and CO job duties. CO Hill received a call about a muskie that had been caught and placed inside of a cooler. Luckily, the angler decided to stick around and continue fishing. CO Hill made contact with the angler and a citation was issued for keeping a muskie out of season.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers and rec vehicles during the week.  With all the rain and high water the fishing has been slower.  CO Heyn also handled other calls and assisted other agencies. 

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week checking shore anglers. Rainy weather during the week made activity slow but people that braved the elements had some success. A talk was given at the Red Wing Audubon Chapter meeting and an angler harassment complaint was received. Assistance was given to Goodhue County SO with a disturbance call and Red Wing Police Department with a suspicious person. No enforcement action to report.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester 2) spent the majority of the week patrolling for sport fishing and boat/water safety. Additional time was spent handling miscellaneous wildlife complaints and patrolling for turkey hunters. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license and possessing a bass out of season. Fishing action on area reservoirs was beginning to pick up with the nice weather but has since slowed with the cold.

CO Phil George (Rochester) worked anglers, ATV operators, and checked ORV complaints.  Enforcement action included license issues and possession of bass during catch and release season.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishing activity on the big river and backwaters this week.  The pan fish were beginning to be found on the beds as the river had dropped and began to warm up before this week’s rain and cold.  Fishing at this time is pretty tough with the high, fast and cold water.  Some training was attended and numerous calls returned reference normal spring activity and complaints.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports the high water has slowed fishing activity.  He went to Camp Ripley for training and responded to many baby and nuisance animal complaints.  A buck albino deer that had been known to be in the area for a while was hit on the roadway.

CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) worked anglers and boaters on the Mississippi River.  High water levels have made fishing difficult.  The Mississippi River is at flood stage and is reported to crest sometime late next week.  CO Fogarty cautioned boaters and anglers to be careful with increased current and debris in the river.  Enforcement action taken this week included angling without a license and failure to have trout stamp while in possession of a trout.  CO Fogarty also issued a permit for a road killed bobcat and river otter.

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 Chris Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) attended to aircraft maintenance.  Scheduled fish stocking flights were canceled due to weather conditions.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports assisting with TFO training for the Aviation Section. Pilot Jensen also spoke at the MN Seaplane Association about AIS and seaplanes. The talk was very well received. He also checked local shore angling locations during periods of poor weather.

CO Pilot Robert Geving (New Ulm) worked on aircraft maintenance and administrative duties as inclement weather canceled most scheduled flights this week.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf telemetry, worked on training, and attended to maintenance on 605NR.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) helped complete the second group of Tactical Flight Officer training. Classroom training and a flight learning to use the FLIR camera ball on the helicopter with different scenarios were conducted.  He also completed a helicopter maintenance test flight and assisted with helicopter aerial spraying equipment.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week checking fishing and minnow activity.  Time was also spent working on open cases and investigating new complaints of waters and WCA violations.  An AIS check station was worked with high compliance being found.  Boating and ATV activity was monitored as well as AIS law compliance.

WREO Mike Scott (NE) attended the 2017 LEMA event in St. Paul where the department placed two wreaths for fallen officers Wetsel and Coyour. That evening Wayne Whipps, son of Marcus Whipps who was shot and killed July 12, 1940, was honored as a survivor along with his wife by LEMA. Officer Scott also attended another LE memorial in Grand Forks, ND with other officers from NE MN where all fallen DNR officers were honored by placing a single rose for each officer as their names were read. AIS Law training was provided to AIS inspectors in the Grand Marais area.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked AIS enforcement in the Brainerd and Walker areas. Walleye fishermen were checked on Leech Lake. WREO Haberman also finished training the new Tactical Flight Officers for the aviation unit.

WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week conducting follow-up on wetland cases.  Time was spent working AIS and fishermen and an ATV complaint was worked.

WREO Larry Hanson (SW) worked on new and old WCA and PW cases with a WCA case closed out in Sibley County. Officer Hanson assisted with an AIS saturation in Yellow Medicine County. Fishermen, AIS, and boat safety equipment were checked with good compliance. 

WREO Julie Siems (SE) issued a restoration order for a public waters violation and followed up on other waters cases.  Anglers were also checked in the area.

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 background investigations on instructor clinics and preparing for upcoming clinics were priorities this week.  Two schools of 4th graders were instructed in boating and fishing safety, with fishing days attended for both schools for Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs Programs.  CO Oldakowski also attended ceremonies for fallen officers at the Law Enforcement Memorial.

NE RTO Mike Lee completed backgrounds on new safety instructors.  Officer Lee assisted local law enforcement agencies with calls relating to disturbances, suicidal parties, and vehicle crashes. Officer Lee also completed a Firearm Safety Instructor Training Class in Grand Marais and attended their youth range day.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports planning for upcoming volunteer instructor certification training and completing instructor background checks.  He also investigated an instructor complaint and assisted area instructors with equipment needs and general training related questions.  He attended an RTO meeting at Camp Ripley and presented an appreciation award to the Monticello Rod and Gun Club for 60-years facilitating MN DNR Hunter Education Firearm Safety Classes. 

Southern RTO Jen Mueller (acting) attended a meeting at Camp Ripley. She continued to work on backgrounds and also worked on an upcoming FAS Class in the Dassel/Cokato Area.

Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence attended a meeting at Camp Ripley with other RTOs for discussion on firearms safety training needs and updates.  RTO Lawrence checked several anglers in Chisago and Anoka Counties and found license compliance extremely well adhered to.  RTO Lawrence also worked on reviewing the Off Highway Motorcycle Training Course for future updates and answered emails and calls relating to ATV registration concerns and equipment requirements. 

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 Jennifer Mueller                      320-234-3499    jennifer.mueller@state.mn.us
SW Metro RTO                     
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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