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
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) assisted with the Baudette Hunter Safety field day and investigated a wolf depredation in rural Halma.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked AIS, ATV, fire, boat/water safety, and angling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for open burning of garbage, burning of prohibited materials, operate an ATV with passengers under the age of 18 without helmets/seatbelts, take fish without a license, and illegally take fish during the spring fish run.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette West) reports that sturgeon fishing on the Rainy River is still active. Keep an eye on the 2017 MN Fishing Regulations to know when the Catch and Release season ends and the Keep season begins.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) attended training to be a field sobriety instructor and assisted with the range day at the Warren firearms safety training. A walleye out of season TIP call was investigated and fishing activity in the Thief River Falls area was monitored. Enforcement action included take game fish out of season and no valid fishing license.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working spring trapping activity, spring fish run activity, and angling activity on special regulation lakes. Time was spent following up on a wildfire investigation, handling reports of incidental catches of muskrat, raccoon and otter, and investigating a wolf depredation complaint.
CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck North) reports focusing time on AIS, ATV, and angling enforcement. CO Quittschreiber checked sturgeon anglers on the Rainy River. The fish were not very active in the colder weather towards the end of the week. Time was also spent conducting follow up enforcement actions for forestry. Please remember to check for burning restrictions and obtain a permit before you burn.
CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) spent the week in K9 training.
Warroad #2 – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
Thief River Falls #2 – vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking anglers and watercraft operators. Time was also spent checking various fires in the area and commercial leech trapping activity. Various angling related violations were encountered.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) monitored spring fish run, checked pan fishermen, and spring trappers.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked spring fish run activity and checked anglers attempting to catch suckers. Complaints of individuals keeping walleye were taken and investigated. Time was spent training in the region airboat with CO McGowan. The cold weather and snow seen over the weekend slowed some area fish bites.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) monitored angling and fish run activity during the week. Time was also spent checking recreational vehicle activity in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. CO Holt worked designated trout streams and received complaints regarding ATVs operating in wetlands.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking anglers and investigating TIPs of possible over limits and anglers attempting to catch fish during the closed season. CO Vinton also assisted the OTCSO with the apprehension of a wanted person that fled from deputies. The suspect was arrested without incident during the search of a wooded area. Spring fish run activity was monitored. While checking a river for spawning fish, CO Vinton found a cell phone and jacket. After some digging, and with the help of the cell carrier, the owner of the phone was located and it was returned.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked ATV and ORV enforcement with assistance given in angling enforcement and forestry.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week working fishermen. The crappie bite was fair depending upon weather conditions. Time was also spent working a calf depredation complaint and several road kill otters were seized.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling and boating activity. Anglers checked were finding a few crappie to put in the bucket. AIS compliance was worked. The public is reminded to remove plugs from boats while in transport and to drain live wells. A dog chasing deer complaint was received. Area trails were patrolled for off road vehicle activity. CO Warren attended and answered questions at a jobs and career fair for Detroit Lakes High School students. A possible trespass complaint was received. Turkey hunting activity was worked with hunters reporting mixed success.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring the Pelican and Moorhead station for angling, AIS, and boat and water safety violations. Spring pan fish activity has been slow with unpredictable and cool weather. A calf depredation was investigated and numerous wildlife calls were answered. The officer encountered numerous boat and water safety violations as well as registration violations while checking anglers. Remember it is your responsibility to make sure your watercraft is registered and you have the proper safety equipment on board. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display valid registration on a watercraft, operate an unregistered watercraft, insufficient PFDs, no fire extinguishers on board a watercraft, angling without a license, and angling without a license in possession.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports speaking about law & ethics to the youth FAS students in Fergus Falls. CO Richards assisted CO Chihak during the SD border opener on Lake Traverse. Complaints of potential over limits of crappie on various area lakes were taken as well. Turkey hunters are reporting mixed success with harvest but plenty of birds have been seen. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV, and boating safety violations.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) along with CO Oldakowski hosted a Safety Training Instructor appreciation banquet with over 60 people in attendance. CO Plautz monitored ATV activity, fishing, fish run activity, and is investigating a wolf depredation case.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) spent time working area waterways for fish run and fishing activity. CO Nelson assisted on a work crew for the MN/SD border waters opener on Lake Traverse. AIS enforcement was worked as well as complaints of people keeping walleye during closed season. Litter, motor vehicle trespass on the Central Lakes State Trail and beaver complaints were also handled. CO Nelson met with fisheries and wildlife staff to discuss work related issues.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, boaters, ATV operators and turkey hunters. A presentation was given to a youth turkey hunt in Pelican Rapids. Complaints of fish over limits, spearing out of season, and ATV’s on roadways were received and investigated.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) monitored fishermen this week both on shore and from boats. Cases were made involving no fishing licenses, expired boat registration, and spearing/bow fishing during the closed season. Fire activity was monitored as well resulting in illegal fires being extinguished. In addition, reports of anglers targeting bass before the catch and release season opens were handled.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fishing, boating, and AIS enforcement on and around area waterways. Turkey hunting, ORV, and fire activity was monitored, and follow up was completed on APM, waters, and wetland cases. FAS classes were instructed and a presentation was given to a local Boy Scout group.
CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working sport fishing, boat and water safety, and AIS enforcement. Time was also spent working the MN/SD border water opener on Lake Traverse. Angler turnout was as high as many folks could remember. Fishing success varied from fair to very good. Violations included licensing, boating safety equipment, and AIS.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on fishing activity, ATV operation, and the MN/SD border waters opener on Lake Traverse. Boaters are reminded to have their safety equipment in their boats for the upcoming boating season. Additional time was spent reminding boaters about AIS regulations. Calls were fielded this week regarding taking fish out of season, turkey hunting questions, and fishing license requirements.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, boaters, turkey hunters, and monitoring AIS compliance. Additional time was spent answering questions about an upcoming firearm safety class and ATV registration.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) assisted the prosecutor in preparing for an upcoming trial and investigated two separate waters violations. Closed forest roads and ATV trails were monitored. Further investigation regarding a recent big game case was conducted. Enforcement action was taken for placing fill in public waters without a permit.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked anglers, OHV’s, and traps. Turkey hunters were also checked as well as State Forest areas where roads are closed. A complaint of persons bow fishing and spearing in closed season was investigated that led to a citation being issued and suckers seized. Complaints of a road kill eagle, timber theft, and trapping violations were also investigated. A deer possession tag was issued. Enforcement action was taken for operation of an ORV on an ATV trail and ATV on the roadway.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling and ATV activity. Cooler weather limited recreational activity. CO Broughten fielded calls regarding injured animals and fishing questions and he attended training in the Metro.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) checked ATV activity, fishermen, and worked fish run activity. CO Halverson also investigated a public waters violation, assisted deputies on an assault and the PD on a DWI. CO Halverson also had his fur collection at a game feed at the local church.
Walker – vacant.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports sturgeon fishing activity on the Rainy River has increased with most anglers having some success. Several animal complaints were handled throughout the week. Enforcement action taken included ATV violations.
CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) monitored the spring fish run and ongoing catch and release sturgeon season, fire and burning activities, trapping, and ATV activities. Many positive reports were heard from sturgeon anglers both in regards to the weather and catch rate of the prehistoric fish. Those after suckers have had less success and believe the main run has already happened. Although the anglers were pleased with the nice weather it has also kept the fire danger up in the area.
CO Colleen Adam (Ray) reports river fishing has been steady and lakeshore owners are getting watercraft secured at the docks. Reminder to check all recreation vehicle registration validations. Officer Adam responded to wildfires and OHV issues. Owners are reminded to review regulations related to allowing juvenile operation of ATVs and OHMs.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and rivers. Public access sites were checked as well as area forest roads.
CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked anglers and followed up on several littering complaints.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the week dealing with netting issues on Lake Vermilion. The hatchery finished their netting this week on the Pike River. There were a couple of severely injured deer that had to be euthanized. The officer is also investigating illegal angling in a spawning area.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked spring fishing activity, anglers, ATV’s and OHM’s, invasive species enforcement, investigated a complaint of a dead deer, tribal netting on Lake Vermilion, a birch stick theft complaint, assisted Hibbing PD with a suspicious person call, and State Patrol on an ATV DWI and a car crash in the Pengilly station. Enforcement action was taken on OHV trespass, insufficient PFD’s, boat registration, a traffic violation, open bottle, and several ATV violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) investigated reports of trappers dumping beaver carcasses on public land. Spring fish run activity has picked up and numerous sucker anglers were checked along the St Louis River. ATV and OHM activity has picked up with enforcement action being taken for allowing illegal operation of ATVs and OHMs by juveniles.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) reports lots of rain throughout the week has caused high water in creeks and soggy conditions around the area. Question was posed on purchasing and releasing turkeys on private land. This is illegal due to disease and genetic issues. Deer are having fawns now, once again leave the fawns be.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports he attended a seated field sobriety instructor course in the metro area during the week. CO Williams also focused on boating and angling enforcement. Weather conditions overall were poor with strong winds and temperatures varying from the high 60s to low 30s and very little activity was found.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) kept vigil on the walleye spawning creeks and watched those out fishing for walleyes while pretending to be fishing for pan fish. The walleye and northern season are not open and it is unlawful to attempt to catch these species before opener.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) completed required online training during the week. He also followed up on wildland fire cases and checked Lake Superior streams.
CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais East) helped organize ATV and Hunter Education classes for students and new instructors. The officer checked steelhead anglers, Lake Superior fishermen, and ATV operators. CO Manning also began commercial inspections of minnow retailers and minnow dealers and followed up on a wetland enforcement case from last year.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the fish run, OHV enforcement, attended a meeting in Duluth, and was assigned tribal netting duties. Enforcement action was taken for unregistered OHMs, unregistered ATV, and no ATV safety certificate.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked Lake Superior tributary rivers for activity this week. High activity and success for many. CO Schottenbauer also assisted with a missing hiker where the party was reported late. As CO Schottenbauer arrived and got a physical description, he drove back down a hill and around a corner less than a quarter mile away and picked up the “missing” person that was walking on the road. Parties “re-united” and all was well.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked area anglers along Lake Superior. Time was spent working on division issued firearms. CO Wahlstrom also responded to a lost person at a state park and checked ATVs.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and ATV enforcement efforts during the week. Fishing became more difficult on North Shore streams with rising waters due to recent rainfalls. Spring beaver trapping continues and all lakes in the area are now ice free.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) responded to injured animal complaints and worked spring fish run activity. Enforcement action was taken for license issues.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked angling activity this past week. She worked on follow-up from illegal burning activities and also took several calls regarding the selling of smelt from Pokegama Lake. Selling and taking smelt is legal for personal consumption. There are other regulations regarding the taking, possessing, selling, transporting and use of smelt, which can be found on the DNR website.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked shore anglers and pan fishermen over the past week. Enforcement action was taken on one individual for keeping walleyes while “sucker” fishing even though the walleye season didn’t open for over a month. The walleyes were hidden on a stringer down the river bank. They were released and able to continue their spawning process.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) focused on angling, boating, ATV, and AIS enforcement throughout the surrounding areas. CO Van Asch attended boating enforcement training held by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). The training was attended by several other MN Conservation Officers and officers from around the country. Time was also spent handling several nuisance animal complaints and preparing for upcoming safety classes.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) gave presentations at both a firearm safety class and a private business safety meeting. He continued to work fish run enforcement around the area. The smelt run was very good during the week and brought in may people to area tributaries and the shores of Lake Superior. Area rivers were monitored for illegal activity involving spawning fish. CO Duncan worked with officers from outside the area to assist with the high volume of people in the area over the weekend.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) conducted patrols in the Fond du Lac state forest which is under continued spring road and trail closures. CO Humphrey assisted EMS with a medical in the state forest, assisted other officers with fish run and smelting activity on Lake Superior, and handled calls/complaints on wetland permitting, injured deer, nuisance beavers, turkey hunting, trapping, smelting and burning. CO Humphrey also assisted CO Staples speaking with law enforcement students at a local college career fair. Enforcement action was taken for unlawful ATV operation and closed area, failing to register a turkey, failing to tend traps, transporting a loaded firearm, and illegal burning.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked a law enforcement career fair at Fond du Lac College. Off-highway vehicle activity was very high in the area this past week. Enforcement action was taken for not having a safety certificate, registration, and operating on closed trail violations. A wildfire was investigated and enforcement action was taken for a careless negligent fire. A litter complaint was looked into where beaver carcasses were discarded along the road ditch. Extra patrols was done in area state parks where enforcement action was taken for no vehicle permit and being in the park after hours. K9 Schody assisted on various searches in the area. Some were for other agencies where people fled on foot, and others were just to show his handler which direction the trout anglers went on the stream so they could be checked.
Brookston – vacant.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent time on the north shore tributaries checking trout anglers and smelters in the evenings. The needed rain and milder temps spurred the smelt in the Duluth area to run in the rivers and along park point. CO Olson worked a detail focusing on rivers and smelting activity over the weekend. He also checked inland areas for ATV activities and trail conditions with the wetter conditions.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked river anglers and shore casters in a week with weather that was not angler-friendly. Fish spawning activity was monitored and smelters checked late at night. The weekend saw good success for the smelt run. Fire danger has subsided a bit with recent rain and snow. Officer Miller took enforcement activity for angling violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) attended court for a DWI case from this past winter. CO McGowan also assisted local law enforcement agencies with calls for service. Numerous spring crappie anglers were checked and the majority of the anglers are reporting a slow bite.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked boating, angling, fish run, ATV, and turkey hunting activity. A TIP call on taking bass out of season was responded to and was unfounded. A turkey hunter is facing charges of taking a bird in the wrong zone. The hunter also was without a license, making it difficult to validate and affix a site tag to the bird.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) reports ATV activity increased this week due to warm weather and trails opening. CO Sullivan observed ATV violations that included registration, passenger and juvenile safety violations. CO Sullivan made contact with area minnow trappers and confirmed compliance. He also attended seated field sobriety instructor class during the week.
CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) checked many crappie anglers out trying their luck. Success was spotty as water temps increased and the fish are starting to move shallow. Other activities included continued monitoring of seasonally closed state forests, responding to several unpermitted fires that got away from people, investigating a wetland excavation, and spent time at lake accesses talking to people about aquatic invasive species issues.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd #2) worked sport fishing enforcement this week. Crappie harvest has increased with warming water temperatures. Boaters are reminded to go over required equipment prior to boating on public waters. Officer Guida also attended field sobriety instructor training in Ramsey County with other conservation officers.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked ATV’s and fishermen. Officer Hunter checked on a trespass complaint where fishermen were thought to be accessing the water from the road right of way. CO Hunter also investigated an over limit of pan fish complaint.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity this week of monitoring spring pan fish bites, fish run, checking turkey hunters, patrolling the Cuyuna Country State Recreational Area, and responding to reports of nuisance beaver, incidental otter, burning, and illegal ATV operation. Enforcement contacts were made for illegal camping and use restrictions in the CCSRA, and possession of marijuana.
Cuyuna SRA – vacant.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity and their boats. More boats moving around means making sure plugs are out and trailers are clean while in transport. CO Verkuilen also monitored the fish run, checked some turkey hunters, and answered questions from land owners finding beaver damage.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) fielded phone calls regarding turkey hunting and AIS laws. Review of cases that have been finalized was completed. A fishing complaint on Mille Lacs Lake was investigated and followed up on.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working a trapping case and also working on some commercial enforcement items. The officer also checked area lakes for fishing activity where a few fishermen were out trying for some pan fish. Officer Fitzgerald gave a law and ethics presentation at an ATV class where 20 students were certified for their ATV safety certificate. Patrol was done on area, county, and state land for ATV activity and many outdoor law related questions were answered.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on a littering case. She also patrolled area rivers for anglers looking for suckers. ATV complaints in the Sturgeon Lake area and General Andrews State Forest were taken.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on illegal fires and assisted local fire departments with a running swamp fire. Enforcement action was taken for burning of household garbage. Turkey season activity was worked with some trespass issues addressed. A reminder to hunters to register harvested birds within the allotted time frame. Spring fish run and bow fishing activities were also monitored. Assistance was given to the local Sheriff’s office.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found quite a bit of fishing activity as lake and river temperatures warmed up. Pan fish were being caught in deep water and in the warm, shallow bays and river anglers were out catching catfish, suckers, and other rough fish. While monitoring river anglers, an individual was caught targeting sturgeon during the closed season and was cited for the violation. Spring weather also brought out an increase in ATV activity and ATV complaints. One young ATV rider was found on a busy highway with no helmet, no license, no required safety training, and riding an ATV with no brakes and no lights. After escorting the youngster home and finding out the parents were fully aware what their child was doing, everyone received a quick refresher on ATV laws and the parents received a citation for allowing the illegal operating.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week following up on ATV complaint areas and answered questions about watercraft licensing and turkey hunting. He spent time checking anglers around Pine City, and checked areas along the St. Croix River for activity. Recent rains have water levels fairly high in the Pine City area. Use caution if you decide to go canoeing or kayaking along any of the local rivers. CO Wynn also assisted the Pine County Sheriff’s Department with a vehicle pursuit where the suspect was successfully apprehended after getting stuck in a farm field.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked road closures and patrolled WMA’s for illegal ATV use. CO Croatt checked turkey hunters and also took a call of multiple dumped deer carcasses in a county gravel pit which turned out to be dumping station for road killed deer. Multiple boat owners were out testing the boat for the upcoming fishing opener.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time monitoring angling and boating activity. CO Silgjord also spoke with a county attorney regarding an ongoing bear case. Warm temps brought out a good number of anglers and boaters over the weekend. A couple local bow fishermen were checked coming off the water and reported limited success. CO Silgjord would like to remind all boaters that navigation lights are required at sunset.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked trapping, turkey hunting, fishing, and bow fishing activity this week. The officer took calls concerning bow fishing from shores and bridges. Shore fishing is slowly improving.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) checked angling, OHV, and burning activities. WMAs were patrolled. Overall, outdoor recreational activities were low as most of the week weather was not favorable.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) reports while working ATV enforcement she encountered three youth illegally operating with their parents’ consent. Two of the youth were fourteen years old and operating Class 2 ATV’s; two of them had no helmets, and one of them had never taken ATV safety training. Parents were contacted and had to come pick up the ATVs and their kids; enforcement action was taken. While leaving an ATV safety class, CO Kuske had an ATV go by her on the highway with a young child on the back with no helmet. CO Kuske also spoke at the Randall FAS class and handled beaver and litter complaints.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked boaters and anglers and gave a law talk at the South Haven firearms class. CO Mies also covered nuisance animal calls along with checking trappers.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked turkey hunters, anglers, bow fishermen, and fires. Good weekend weather had many out enjoying the outdoors. Injured animal calls were handled to include deer and turkey vulture. Rough fish have been seen dumped in road ditches and public accesses.
St. Cloud – vacant.
Pierz – vacant.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week. Recent rain helped with this year’s wildfire season. Enforcement action was taken on taking walleye during closed season.
CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked fishing and turkey hunting activity. Time was spent helping with the upcoming firearms auction. A smelt run detail was worked on Lake Superior.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a presentation to a firearms safety class in Rockford this week. The crappie bite has been going strong in the area with a lot of anglers out enjoying the outdoors. Remember crappie possession limit is the same as a daily limit of ten. Several over limit citations were issued with other violations of taking bass out of season, no angling license, and illegal combination license. Remember also to empty lake water from your pails before transporting your fish.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and ATV’s. Animal calls were handled and a complaint of taking closed species fish was investigated. CO Musatov also spoke at a youth firearms safety class.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fisherman, ATV activity, turkey hunters and issued summons and written warnings for a number violations. He did a law presentation for a firearm safety and ATV class. He followed up on a big game investigation for the Sherburne County Attorney’s Office. He investigated a dumping in the Sand Dunes State Forest and picked up a truck load of garbage. CO Sladek just wants to thank all the ATV and firearm safety volunteer/ instructors on a great job of teaching and instructing our youth classes.
CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling for ATV activity with numerous ATV violations detected. CO Krauel also spent time investigating a deer shot out of season and had the opportunity to speak to a firearm safety class. CO Krauel would like to thank all of the many volunteer safety education instructors. If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer instructor, please contact CO Krauel. Enforcement action for the week included taking fish out of season, no fishing license, operating and OHM in the road right of way, and several other ATV violations.
District 13 - West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked fishing and boating activities on the metro area lakes. He investigated a complaint of tree harvesting in Minneapolis and a TIP complaint regarding a fishing violation at Weaver Lake in Maple Grove. Fishing regulations and firearm safety class questions were answered to the Asian community.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) spent time checking anglers, boaters, and ATV operators. Warm weather has brought several people out to enjoy shore angling and boating. CO Leuthardt coordinated and worked with Carver County’s Dive Team on the recovery of an ice house that had fallen through the ice on Lower Prior Lake. She also gave a presentation to a group at Belle Plaine’s St John’s Lutheran Church on the work and duties of a conservation officer.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) reports working angling activity, boat and water safety, ATV activity, AIS, and spring turkey hunting. Enforcement action was taken for registration violations and angling without an angling license.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) has focused primarily spring angling. With the warmer weather arriving, fishing has picked up dramatically. A pan fish bite continues to be exceptional on local lakes. Assistance was provided to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team to recover a sunken ice house on Prior Lake. Additional assistance was provided to the DNR Wildlife Office in conducting prescribed burns on Wildlife Management Areas. Violations encountered included angling without a license, no license in possession, insufficient lifesaving devices, and operating a boat with expired registration.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked fishing and boating activities on the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers (Pool 2 area), Minneapolis lakes, and at Fort Snelling State Park. He conducted a fishing regulations workshop for approximately 70 plus people in the Karen community. He provided a ride along to Roseville PD/Community Service Officer who is of Southeast Asian descent and recently applied to be a conservation officer.
CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent her week checking shore anglers that are beginning to see more crappies coming into the shallows to feed. Time was also spent investigating a TIP call received about someone possibly baiting and poaching turkeys. Level 2 watercraft inspectors have begun spring boat checks at the launches on Lake Minnetonka to remind boaters about not transporting aquatic invasive species.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week at K9 training with his K9 partner Shelby.
Bloomington – vacant.
Ft. Snelling – vacant.
District 14 - East Metro area
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer received several complaints of anglers taking several different species of fish out of season on different bodies of water. Citations were issued to several individuals. He would also like to remind anglers that Cenaiko Lake in Anoka County is closed for fishing until May 13th.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week working anglers throughout the area. Once the rain stopped people were out enjoying the resources in great numbers. He also spent some time becoming a certified trainer in the seated battery of field sobriety tests. Enforcement action included no fishing license and extra lines.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports giving firearms safety presentations to students in Forest Lake and Stillwater. He also assisted officers on a fishing detail along the north shore. CO Arntzen handled nuisance animal complaints, investigated a wetland violation, and responded to TIP calls.
CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) attended a train the trainer course for boating under the influence enforcement and checked anglers this week. TIP calls were answered as well as regulation questions. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, no angling license, no Type IV PFD, and no PFD’s.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked angling, AIS, and watercraft enforcement throughout the week. He also investigated a TIP complaint of taking fish in closed season and responded to miscellaneous animal calls and other various calls. He also spoke at a firearms safety class on hunting rules and regulations in South Saint Paul.
CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) – Worked the border water opener over the weekend where anglers reported having limited success. Fishing activity is picking up along the Minnesota River with many catfish observed in possession. Enforcement action for the week included possession of walleye in a closed season, extra lines, and ATV violations. CO also spoke at firearms safety classes in Belview and Vesta.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville): Checked many anglers in boats and on shore, during a busy walleye opener on Big Stone Lake. Many anglers enjoyed good weather and calm water and had moderate success, but all said it was great to be fishing. Angling and boating violations were encountered.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ATVs and anglers. Several complaints were received about anglers rigged-up or fishing for walleye and northerns. Enforcement action was taken for angling walleye out of season, angling northern out of season, and no angling license.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) Officer Gutzwiller spent time monitoring ATV, turkey hunting and angling activity over the South Dakota/Minnesota border water opener. Officer Gutzwiller taught the laws and ethics portion of a firearms safety class held in Canby. Enforcement action was taken for operating a class 1 ATV on public highway and operate ATV without required headlight. Assistance was given to local law enforcement with a search warrant.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) Conducted weekly radio interview with KLOH Radio in Pipestone. The MN/SD border water opener was busy on Lake Hendricks with the public accesses full. The walleye bite was slow but some nice walleye were caught. Most of the violations encountered dealt with life jacket and license issues. Rain during the middle of the week brought up the water level on the Redwood River which has added a challenge for trout fishermen fishing the designated stream inside Camden SP. Additional time was also spent working spring turkey hunting, fish run, and beaver trapping enforcement.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo): Assisted with patrolling Big Stone Lake for opener. A reminder to check your boat to make sure you sufficient life jackets. Overall, good compliance was noticed on boats traveling on roads with the plug pulled. Area firearm safety classes were attended.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports working boating, angling, and turkey hunting activity. The officer investigated a report of prohibited materials being burned and a trespass complaint. The officer also worked the border water opener. Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials, fail to comply with permit conditions, trespass, transporting illegally taken wild animals, fail to tag turkey, over limit of turkey, and operate ATV on state hwy.
Lake Benton- Vacant
District 15 - Marshall area
CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) worked the border water opener over the weekend where anglers reported having limited success. Fishing activity is picking up along the Minnesota River with many catfish observed in possession. Enforcement action for the week included possession of walleye in a closed season, extra lines, and ATV violations. CO Dirks also spoke at firearms safety classes in Belview and Vesta.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked many anglers in boats and on shore during a busy walleye opener on Big Stone Lake. Many anglers enjoyed good weather and calm water and had moderate success, but all said it was great to be fishing. Angling and boating violations were encountered.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ATVs and anglers. Several complaints were received about anglers rigged-up or fishing for walleye and northerns. Enforcement action was taken for angling walleye out of season, angling northern out of season, and no angling license.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time monitoring ATV, turkey hunting, and angling activity over the South Dakota/Minnesota border water opener. Officer Gutzwiller taught the laws and ethics portion of a firearms safety class held in Canby. Enforcement action was taken for operating a Class 1 ATV on public highway and operate ATV without required headlight. Assistance was given to local law enforcement with a search warrant.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) conducted weekly radio interview with KLOH Radio in Pipestone. The MN/SD border water opener was busy on Lake Hendricks with the public accesses full. The walleye bite was slow but some nice walleye were caught. Most of the violations encountered dealt with life jacket and license issues. Rain during the middle of the week brought up the water level on the Redwood River which has added a challenge for trout fishermen fishing the designated stream inside Camden SP. Additional time was also spent working spring turkey hunting, fish run, and beaver trapping enforcement.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) assisted with patrolling Big Stone Lake for opener. A reminder to check your boat to make sure you have sufficient life jackets. Overall, good compliance was noticed on boats traveling on roads with the plug pulled. Area firearm safety classes were attended.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports working boating, angling, and turkey hunting activity. The officer investigated a report of prohibited materials being burned and a trespass complaint. The officer also worked the border water opener. Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials, fail to comply with permit conditions, trespass, transporting illegally taken wild animals, fail to tag turkey, over limit of turkey, and operate ATV on state highway.
Lake Benton- Vacant
Lake Benton – vacant.
Worthington – vacant.
District 16 - New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar-West) checked angling and turkey hunting activity. He followed up on commercial checks. Time was also spent on calls about cattail removal.
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-East) spent time checking anglers and turkey hunters. He collected an incidental otter and talked with landowners about beaver damage complaints. CO Vernier also completed follow up on a turkey hunting violation.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked complaints of people bow fishing from shore during the closed season with reports of them shooting northern pike and walleyes in the creeks. Other anglers were contacted taking walleyes during the closed season and enforcement action was taken. CO Klehr also attended training in the cities to become a BUI instructor.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson-East) continued to focus on working turkey hunting enforcement in the area. CO Oberg gave the law and hunter ethics talk at firearms safety classes at Shady Lane and Gopher Campfire this week. Questions were also answered regarding bow fishing laws.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) gave presentations at two local firearms safety training classes and continued to work trespassing complaints. CO Nelson also worked angling, turkey hunting, boating, invasive species, and off-road vehicle activities.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) spent a portion of the week in Ramsey County attending NASBLA training. Warm, dry weather towards the end of the week resulted in turkey hunters beginning to find good success for the “B” season. Several TIP calls were fielded related to sport fishing Enforcement action included license violations, angling with extra lines, bow fishing violation, and attempting to take northern pike out of season.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled his area checking activity relating to angling, ATV, turkey hunting, boat and water safety, and AIS. Shore fishing activity is still picking up. CO Gruhlke completed his radio program discussing topics including volunteer instructor appreciation, ATV safety class, boat and water safety, and area activity.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted inspections on anglers and boaters. ATV’s and operators were checked at GIA trails. Investigations were conducted on wetland and public waters excavation sites. The Fairmont firearm safety class was taught on rules and regulations regarding hunting.
Hutchinson West – vacant.
District 17 - Mankato area
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato 1) focused on ATV and angling activity this week. Bow-fishermen are starting to be seen on area lakes. Remember you can’t shoot a fish and throw it back in the water, leave it on any bank of any waterway or any access site, or otherwise illegally dispose of fish.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) focused his enforcement activities primarily on fishing, boating, and turkey hunting. Officer Ihnen also patrolled for ATV and OHM activity. Area WMAs, WPAs, and PWAs were patrolled for littering and other illegal activity.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked anglers, turkey hunters, and ATV operators. There are some pan fish coming off of area lakes. ATV operators are reminded that road ditches in the Ag Zone are closed to recreational riding until August 1.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato 2) continues to spend time checking anglers and trapping activity on the lakes and rivers. With more boats being towed, the officer would like to remind boat owners to pull their drain plugs while on the road. An illegal burn barrel was addressed and turkey hunters were also worked.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, boating, and ATV activity this week. Boats started to make their way to the lakes with the warm weather over the weekend. Many boaters had their boats out for the first time this year and are reminded to make sure all required safety equipment is on board before going on the water.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, boaters, and ATV operators during the week. The officer also checked turkey hunters and patrolled wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent time working fishing enforcement this week. Many individuals were out trying their luck and having some success. CO Henke found several people targeting northern pike which is not in season, enforcement action was taken. CO Henke also spent time working boating safety enforcement on local lakes.
Spring Valley – vacant.
District 18 - Rochester area
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports assisting in a Youth Turkey Hunt at Chester Woods Park near Rochester. Eleven youths participated in the hunt with four lucky kids tagging a turkey. There was also a few “close calls” and most kids had some type of interaction with the birds. A special thanks to the Chester Woods staff, NWTF, and to all guides that volunteered their help with the hunt.
CO Trent Seamans (Rochester 2) spent the majority of the week checking anglers and patrolling for turkey hunters. Additional efforts were spent patrolling for off-road vehicles and presenting at firearms safety classes. Enforcement action was taken for operating a motorboat under the influence of alcohol, failing to have a lifejacket on a boat, and failing to display watercraft registration. Many turkeys were seen moving about with the nice weekend weather.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working a busy week and weekend of fishing enforcement and the Mississippi River and area trout streams. Time was also spent checking turkey hunters and investigating some waters and waterfowl complaints. Enforcement action involved mainly fishing issues with taking fish in a closed area being the main violation.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports checking trout and river fishing along with turkey hunters. He followed up on a trespass issue and two different waters violations. CO Hemker also attended a firearms safety field day.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) attended NASBLA BUI trainer training during the week.
CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) checked multiple successful turkey hunters and trout fishermen in the Zumbrota station, along with hunters and trout fishermen in the Whitewater area. A restoration order was given to a landowner for a previous wetland violation. An individual was cited for operating an ATV while allowing a juvenile to not wear a helmet. The driver, who was given a verbal warning for the exact same violation last fall by the officer, told CO Hill that he thought it was only a “suggestion” that his three year old had to wear a helmet while riding as a passenger on the ATV.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the majority of the week checking fishermen on the Mississippi River. Many citizens were reporting a decent bite. Time was also spent checking turkey hunters as the A season closed, and the B season opened. Enforcement action for the week included no angling license, no license in possession, no throwable device, operate watercraft without required navigation lights, no fire extinguisher, and fail to display registration number on watercraft.
CO Phil George (Rochester) checked anglers and ATV operators. Equipment maintenance was attended to.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed the last moose cow/calf telemetry checks in NE Minn. There were 26 cows to observe with calves to see how many had survived through winter. Four collars had stopped functioning, and two of the calves from the last check were no longer present. One set of twin calves were observed. Nearly all the animals showed signs of hair loss from winter ticks, having more gray color than the usual brown coat. Pilot Maas also completed an airplane training flight and dealt with helicopter maintenance issues.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew forestry wetland photo assessment flights.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) started the helicopter goose survey between the weather systems.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of prepping equipment for upcoming fish stocking operations and seaplane ops. Pilot Jensen also flew a flight for field officers to look for illegal fires on public lands.
CO/Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports a week of cross training with DNR Forestry pilots. A hangar was prepped at Grand Rapids and mission planning and other tasks were accomplished.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on AIS trainings and questions. Time was also spent working on open PW and WCA cases and a TEP meeting was attended.
WREO Mike Scott conducted an AIS training for St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department for their officers. Case management and new WCA case investigations were conducted in Carlton and St. Louis Counties. Smelters were checked on Lake Superior. Large numbers of smelters were encountered in Park Point and area rivers with success rates high in some areas and OK in others. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession, and careless driving.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) conducted watercraft inspector trainings and AIS enforcement. Time was spent reviewing new WCA cases. WREO Haberman also assisted with technical questions from field staff on water related offenses.
WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week working AIS. An AIS law enforcement training was given at Minneapolis Park Police Department.
WREO Larry Hanson (SW) worked on old and new WCA and PW cases in several counties. Trout fishermen were checked finding some good luck. ATV and AIS equipment was also checked on several area lakes and streams.
WREO Julie Siems (SE) issued a restoration order and worked on public waters cases. A ride along was given and many anglers were checked over the weekend. Violations included no angling licenses and walleye out of season.
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.
NW RTO Greg Oldakowski (acting) met with a group of young adults at a college for a Firearm Safety Instructor Clinic. Background packets and investigations were initiated on this class and completed for previous classes. Assistance was provided to a local law enforcement agency with the arrest of a person with warrants in a wooded area.
SW RTO Kevin Neitzke returned calls and emails regarding education and safety training questions. He also assisted a firearms safety instructor in getting additional instructors for a field day.
Southern RTO Jen Mueller (acting) checked anglers during the week. She also worked on backgrounds for past classes and spoke at a youth FAS Class at the Cedar Mills Gun Club.
Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence attended a meeting with the All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota board members and other DNR staff. RTO Lawrence met with and conducted some training updates for firearms safety and off highway vehicle safety programs with board members of the Minnesota Volunteer Safety Instructor’s Association. RTO Lawrence assisted with patrolling of local public water access sites and local parks for angling activity and off highway vehicle use on county roads.
RTO PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
NE RTO Mike Lee 218-821-9747 email@example.com
NW RTO Greg Oldakowski 218-631-5972 firstname.lastname@example.org
West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-552-3948 email@example.com
Southern RTO Jennifer Mueller 320-234-3499 firstname.lastname@example.org
SW Metro Kevin Neitzke 651-463-3168 email@example.com
Rec Vehicle Coordinator Bruce Lawrence 763-267-8534 firstname.lastname@example.org
Curriculum Specialist: Vacant
Education Specialist: Vacant
Curriculum Coordinator: Vacant