Weekly Conservation Officer Report: Here’s the update from the field.

10813 - whc goose hunt stuff-3

Contact: Rich Sprouse

             Public Information Officer

             800-366-8917, Ext 2511




District 1 – Baudette area


CO Ben Huener (Roseau) primarily worked duck hunting and small game enforcement in the Thief Lake area. The majority of birds on Thief Lake were ringnecks, followed by redheads, pintails and teal. Hunter success has been good. Anglers were checked on Lake of the Woods. The fall shiner run was monitored with CO Gorecki. Grouse hunters were also checked in Beltrami Island State Forest.


CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) worked small game hunting activity with hunters reporting small numbers of grouse. Waterfowl hunters checked reported good numbers of Canada geese and success with teal and wood ducks. CO Warren received complaints of possible deer taken and trespass issues. Training was attended at Camp Ripley.


CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) worked angling activity, duck, goose, grouse hunters and patrolled for shiners throughout the week. Nuisance beaver permits were issued and an injured owl complaint was handled. A report of a deer suspected to have been poached was checked but the deer had been struck by a vehicle. CO Regas assisted CO Huener with a work detail.


CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored fishing and hunting activity throughout the week.  Anglers continue to report excellent fishing despite high winds and rain. Small game hunters and waterfowl hunters are reporting mixed success in the area. A shining detail was worked with district officers in the area. Commercial minnow violations were investigated.  Enforcement action taken during the past week included fishing, boating, AIS, and game violations.


Baudette -vacant.


Karlstad – vacant.


Warroad #1 – vacant.


Warroad #2 – vacant.


District 2 – Bemidji area


CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending most of last week checking waterfowl hunters. Time was also spent checking anglers, watercraft operators, and prairie chicken hunters. Deer hunting complaint areas were also worked. Various license violations were encountered while checking hunters.


CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked boating, waterfowl and archery deer hunting. He also responded to a trespass complaint and attended a sportsman club meeting. WMAs and WPAs were monitored. Assistance was also given to local law enforcement including return of stolen property.


CO Tim Gray (Bagley) assisted at in-service at Camp Ripley. He also checked grouse and waterfowl hunters.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored waterfowl hunting activity in the Bemidji area. Waterfowl reports are fair with most blue winged teal moving out of the area. CO Vollbrecht attended in-service training at Camp Ripley and assisted with the written test portion of the CO hiring process held in Bemidji. Time was also spent preparing for an upcoming court case.


CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) worked waterfowl and archery deer hunting activity throughout the week. Several grouse hunters were also checked. Officer Holt responded to complaints of nuisance beavers and big game hunting violations. He also attended training at Camp Ripley. Violations for the week included multiple hunting license violations.


CO Chris Vinton (Detroit Lakes) received TIP complaints of duck hunters shooting after the 4:00 pm closing. The call was investigated and no hunters were located. The area will receive additional attention. Several calls a day were received relating to the Federal Government shutdown and hunting area WPAs and the NWR. Hunters were given what direction the CO had been given and referred addition questions to the USFW. Duck numbers increased in the area and limits of mallards, teal and wood ducks were seen. A TIP of a deer in a snare was investigated. The snare appeared to have been left out since last season and just recently snared the young buck as it tried to make a rub. There was no tag on the snare as required by law.


CO Phil Seefeldt (Moorhead) attended annual in-service training at Camp Ripley. Duck numbers continue to increase with the cool and rainy weather. CO Seefeldt took calls regarding the upcoming deer season and reports of trespass. He also received reports of anglers taking over-limits of walleye. Enforcement action was taken for unlawful youthful operation of ATV and taking geese during closed hours.


CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted with fall in-service at Camp Ripley and conducted follow-up on several ongoing cases of bear hunting, a fishing TIP and miscellaneous wildlife complaints


CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week working waterfowl, fall turkey and prairie chicken hunters. Not many new waterfowl have arrived in the area making hunting success spotty. Time was also spent attending training at Camp Ripley, working on a hunter harassment complaint and investigating a wolf depredation complaint.


WREO Joe Stattelman WREO Stattelman spent the week instructing at fall in-service. Time was spent following up on current APM, PW, and WCA cases. WREO Stattelman also worked with LGUs and hydrologists closing out old cases.


Perham – vacant.


District 3 – Fergus Falls area


CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) is seeing a few more diver ducks showing up in the area.  Goose numbers continue to improve but are still not at levels hunters in the area are used to seeing for this time of year. Richards is still seeing blue wing teal in the bag along with mourning doves present. A road killed bear was handled with evidence that the bear had been recently shot. Follow-up will continue on this incident and any information for this investigation is appreciated. Waterfowl hunting violations were addressed throughout the past week and weekend.


CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) attended in service training at Camp Ripley. Plautz spoke to a trapper’s education class on rules and ethics of the sport of trapping. Plautz handled a TIP call on possible goose overlimit and took complaints of nuisance beaver, motorboats operating in a WPA, beaver dam holding too much water, and issued car killed deer tag. Wet and cold weather has kept the fishing activity low but several hunters have been out building deer stands and preparing for the upcoming deer season.


CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement efforts checking hunters and fishermen this past week. Time was also spent patrolling the vacant Wheaton station as well as performing equipment maintenance on district boats. Complaints were handled regarding trespass, public access damage and wanton waste. Several questions have been answered in reference to federal WPA accessibility during the federal shutdown.


CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl hunters and fishermen. Training was attended at Camp Ripley and seasonal equipment was maintained. Osborne received several questions about the federal government shutdown and whether duck hunters could hunt WPAs.


CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) focused on waterfowl hunters and fishermen this past week.  An in-progress TIP call in the Evansville station resulted in enforcement action taken for hunting waterfowl during closed season. Fishing violations included fishing without a license and overlimit of walleye. Additionally, fall in-service was attended at Camp Ripley. Patrol boat maintenance was also conducted.


CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) spent time checking waterfowl hunters, and found several out during the week that were hunting during the closed season in the Central zone. Small game and archery deer hunters were checked as well and follow up work was completed on open hunting investigations. Fishing pressure remains constant in the station and a couple of more cases of crappie over-limits were handled on Lake Osakis. Additional time was spent investigating a water appropriation issue and assisting local law enforcement with calls for service.


CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused law enforcement efforts on the waterfowl hunters, archery deer hunters and fishing activity. The officer received a few calls about hunters, hunting waterfowl during the season split. Fall bite is on report some anglers as fishing activity was up. Minnow transportation permits were issued as well as equipment maintenance performed on district boats. Calls were handled this week regarding deer stands being left on public lands and several calls asking about closed WPAs due to the Federal Government shutdown.


CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports the cooler weather has brought a few diving ducks and geese to the area.  Overall hunter success for the area was down this past weekend, with a good number of waterfowl hunters being found.  Enforcement efforts for the week included checking bow hunters and ATV operators.  Calls were fielded about the federal shut down and hunter access to federal waterfowl production areas.  A raccoon hunting complaint was investigated along with maintenance being performed on station equipment.


Wheaton – vacant.


District 4 – Wadena area


CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) addressed problem bear issues and checked waterfowl hunters and anglers. He gave a presentation to a group of hunters involved in a youth hunt and answered many questions regarding the upcoming firearm deer season. Officer Parthun also checked a commercial minnow dealer and monitored ATV activity in the area.  Enforcement action was taken for ATV registration issues, no federal waterfowl stamp, and no license in possession.


CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen, hunters and ATV operators during the week. She also received complaints of waterfowl hunters shooting after hours.


CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) reports waterfowl enforcement was prevalent, with a mixed bag a ducks. He provided AIS education to several waterfowl hunters, which was well received, and gave a presentation about wildlife and fur bearers to groups of grade school students from the area. Officer Oldakowski also received a report from a concerned citizen regarding a snapping turtle that was stuck in a water control structure in a dike system. With a little help from a citizen and a 2×4, the turtle was freed from the structure and rolled several yards through the structure in the current, before righting itself and crawling away on the bottom.


CO Gary Sommers (Walker) reported primary enforcement efforts this past week focused on sport fishing, AIS, small game, and waterfowl hunting activity. He received a call with a question regarding the federal government shutdown and concern that a person would be unable to purchase a license. Sommers also attended in-service training at Camp Ripley.


CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked small game hunters, deer hunters, and anglers during the week. He assisted in teaching a firearms safety class and attended semi-annual training.  Officer Mathy also encountered and investigated big game violations.


CO Larry Francis (Remer) assisted Northland Area FAS instructors with a FAS class. He attended training at Camp Ripley and monitored waterfowl hunting activity. Success was average, with primarily wood ducks in the bag. Enforcement action was taken for no state park permit, insufficient PFDs, possession of toxic shot, no license in possession, no state waterfowl stamp, and taking a non-game migratory bird.


CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) attended training at Camp Ripley and monitored hunting activity this week. He noted that night time deer poaching complaints have started to increase and duck hunters are getting a few ducks in the area. Officer Halverson also gave a wildlife fur and law talk to Wadena County Conservation Days for area 5th and 6th graders.


CO Colleen Adam (OHV Recreation Officer – Park Rapids) patrolled ATV trails and forest roads and checked a variety of hunters. She also worked closed hours complaints and shining activity.


Water Resource Enforcement Officer Shane Siltala checked small game and waterfowl hunters over the past weekend. Hunting activity was light due to the poor weather conditions, but more ringneck ducks were seen moving through the area. He educated hunters about AIS laws and worked with the county attorney in regards to a recent wetland case. Officer Siltala also closed out several WCA and public water cases and attended annual in-service training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action for the week included operating an OHM in road right of way and failing to display OHM registration.


District 5 – Eveleth area


CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports attending annual firearms and defensive tactics training at Camp Ripley. Fishing, grouse hunting, waterfowl hunting, and bear hunting enforcement rounded out the rest of the week. Lots of questions answered with the shutdown of federal government and its effect on Voyageurs National Park.


CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports rain and strong winds coupled with lack of grouse and ducks resulted in very little hunting activity observed. Waterfowl hunting remains very poor. CO Fondie began work on seasonal equipment transition and storage and work on administrative tasks.


CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports fishing has picked up in the area and muskies and walleyes are reported to be biting on area lakes. Grouse hunting remains slow even after some of the leaves have fallen. A special lottery archery deer hunt within the city of Cook was monitored.


CO Dan Starr (Tower) worked typical fall activities. A few grouse are showing up, as well as a few ducks. Annual training was attended. Other equipment issues were addressed. Reminder to all waterfowl hunters that PFDs are a must.


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked waterfowl hunting activity (with several violations encountered), but also worked small game hunters, anglers, dealt with two individuals removing firewood without a permit, investigated a public waters violation, assisted the U.S. Forest Service, and assisted area law enforcement agencies in locating a suicidal person carrying a shotgun. While trying to locate the suicidal person, the officer also dealt with a separate incident of a littering violation in a city park. The driver left the scene and was stopped by the officer, only to find that he had a suspended driver’s license and in was in possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana. When the officer asked why he threw out the garbage, he said he was just making room in his van. Other enforcement action for the week included unplugged gun, take non-game migratory bird (pied-billed grebe), unsigned duck stamp, no HIP certification, no small game license in possession, unlawfully transport game bird, and no life-saving device on boat.


CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) handled calls concerning a road killed wolf and bear. The wolf was collared and turned over to DNR Wildlife. The bear was given to a person who contacted CO Frericks and asked for it. Numerous duck hunters were seen out. One duck hunter was checked on the way to the duck blind. The duck hunter had an unplugged gun, no small game license, and no state waterfowl stamp. The duck hunter was advised it would be wise not to proceed any further. Enforcement action was taken on other waterfowl hunters for no PFDs.


Ray – vacant.


I. Falls # 2 – vacant.


District 6 – Two Harbors area


CO Sean Williams (Ely) attended the in-service training at Camp Ripley which included legal updates and firearms qualifications. Nuisance bear and wolf reports continue to come in from area residents who have been encouraged to be vigilant about not leaving garbage out and not to allow domestic pets to roam unattended as wild food becomes scarcer. Officer Williams also investigated a trespass complaint involving predator hunters.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) spent time training in Little Falls and working grouse hunters. The leaves are falling and the fall weather is here. The deer are active and moving along the road edges, so remember to watch for them.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) did a remote patrol in the Boundary Waters.  He then attended training at Camp Ripley. He also took a phone call from a property owner who stated a bear hunter set up his bear camp on her private property without permission.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) spent most of the week assisting with fall in-service training for officers at Camp Ripley. CO Manning investigated a case of unlawful import of moose parts from Canada and worked with Canadian Conservation Officers on the case. The officer also assisted Cook County Sheriff and the U.S. Coast Guard in locating a pair of kayakers whose families were concerned for their safety in the stormy weather. The boaters were camped comfortably at a campsite on their planned route in an area with no cellular service.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) taught the law and ethics portions of the firearms safety class in Babbitt. Thanks to the instructors there for their hard work and to the Sportsman’s Club for the use of their facilities. Archery, duck, and grouse hunters were checked during the week and equipment maintenance issues were addressed. Enforcement action was taken for not having any PFDs in a duck boat and for fail to display ATV registration.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked big game and small game enforcement and attended a training session at Camp Ripley during the week. The fall colors are bright with color along the North Shore and lots of folks out enjoying the scenery in the State parks. Murray also responded to a nuisance bear complaint and assisted with a youth firearms safety class in Two Harbors.


Silver Bay – vacant.


District 7 – Grand Rapids area


CO Randy Patten (Northome) attended training at Camp Ripley, checked small game hunters and anglers, and investigated complaints on shining. He also investigated public waters violations, blocking a public access, and returned a lost shotgun that was found by an area forester lying in the middle of the road. Enforcement action was taken for altering the cross section of a lake.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked the past week at Camp Ripley instructing in-service training.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended k-9 training and performed equipment maintenance.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked small game hunters and ATV enthusiasts.  Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV in a closed area, transporting walleyes without skin patches and trespass calls were taken.  CO Sutherland also gave a talk to an area high school about firearm safety.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, watercraft, ATV’s, state parks and campgrounds. He also checked small game, deer and waterfowl hunters during the week in addition to handling hunting and trespass complaints.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week investigating waterfowl hunting and big game activity. Grouse hunters were found to be having little success. Wichmann assisted with a car killed bull moose south of Hill City.

CO John Velsvaag (NE ATV Rec Officer) received several complaints this past week, including trespass, illegal storage on state land and illegal OHV use on state land.  CO Velsvaag also checked duck hunting and fishing activity in northern St. Louis county.


District 8 – Duluth area


CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked TIP complaints regarding shining and shooting from the roadway. Area waterfowl lakes were worked and most hunters were reporting success. ATV complaint areas were worked. The officer followed up on depredation complaints.

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reported local duck populations seemed to have dropped off sharply during the last week with very few ducks being seen in the bag. A few license violations were once again encountered with a couple waterfowl hunters. Please double check all licenses when purchasing and never assume that the licensing clerk has sold you the correct one. Another hunting over bait case was made during the week. It doesn’t matter that hunting over bait is legal in other states since it’s illegal here. An illegally killed bear was investigated.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) attended a leadership training class that lasted two days. A few nights were worked focusing on night deer shining activity. Field work during the day consisted of small game, archery deer, and waterfowl enforcement. The office phone was very busy with lots of questions.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked OHV, big, and small game enforcement. CO Humphrey continued to work deer shining complaint areas. CO Humphrey also continued follow up on bear registration and baiting violations. Deer baiting complaints were investigated. CO Humphrey attended in-service training at Camp Ripley. Several phone calls were received with questions about upcoming hunting seasons and OHV usage.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended annual in-service training at Camp Ripley where training was received on law updates, scenarios, and firearms qualification. Complaints of nuisance bear and dogs chasing deer were received and followed up on. Waterfowl hunting activity has picked up in the area. Some success on area lakes show near limits of waterfowl. Complaints of baited stands are being looked into. People are reminded that anything that can be considered bait must be completely removed 10 days prior to hunting that area. K9 training continues with K9 Schody.

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Mike Scott (NE MN) worked with local officers on an ongoing public waters violation. Contact with other DNR employees to assist in resolving the PW issue were worked on. Officer Scott worked with the Regional Captain and St. Paul office in administering the Conservation Officer Exam to start the hiring process for new Conservation Officers.


Lake Superior Marine Unit


Sgt. Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended in-service training at Camp Ripley. He worked night work with fellow District 8 officers for shining activates. He also worked on season ending maintenance items.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended in-service training at Camp Ripley. Fisheries management items were handled for the upcoming cisco netting season, and ATV violations checked in St Louis County. Hunting-related questions were answered. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and angling violations.

CO Troy Ter Meer (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended fall in-service training. The CO worked angling, boating, hunting, ATV, and shining activity. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and waterfowl violations.


District 9 – Brainerd area


CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked waterfowl enforcement this week and continued in-service firearms training at Camp Ripley. Officer Guida worked an annual late shooting complaint area. Waterfowl hunters taking part in the evening hunt are reminded that the season closes at sunset. Investigations of late shooting have been started.


CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) assisted with fall in-service training held at Camp Ripley this past week. All Conservation Officers in the state attend annual training to maintain their Minnesota Peace Officer License. Officer Lee investigated a TIP complaint of a party taking an over limit of deer. Officer Lee also received a call of a deer being shot in the leg that came into a yard and was eating from a bird feeder. The deer was gone, but photos from the reporting party confirmed the incident, and further investigation continues.


CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reported activity last week included firearms training and qualifications at Camp Ripley, attending a settlement conference on a waters violation case, checking waterfowl, small game, and deer hunting activity, and investigation of complaints including illegal ATV operation, deer baiting, and suspicious hunting activity. Enforcement contacts were made for shooting non-game protected species, no federal duck stamp, and illegal ATV operation violations.


CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) took calls of deer shining, deer baiting, and an injured eagle. Other activities included a presentation for a firearms safety class, monitoring invasive species at boat landings, and assisting with a duck hunter fatality.


CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this last week. The bite continues to be slow. He checked boats for AIS violations and detected weeds on a trailer and zebra mussels on pontoon boats. He also worked on a report of a dock service provider. The complaint was the provider had been hauling lifts from Gull Lake without cleaning the sediment, weed and zebra mussel off of boat lifts. The service provider was located and the matter is under investigation. Complaints of vehicles on closed trails in the Pillsbury Forest were investigated. The complainant reports that small game hunters are driving past closed road signs to go hunting. Horse campers in the forest were warned for illegal fires and to not pasture horses in the forested areas.


CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked anglers, as well as grouse, waterfowl and archery deer hunters during the past week. Calls regarding partially submerged watercraft were also handled.


McGregor – vacant.


Pine River – vacant.


District 10 – Mille Lacs area


CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) worked waterfowl hunting activity including complaints about abandoned decoys and shooting too close to houses. Bow hunters were checked as they made use of the cooler weather and leaves starting to fall. Verkuilen also attended training, worked on equipment storage, and assisted with a local wildlife rehab project.


CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) attended training at Camp Ripley. Small game and big game hunters were checked throughout the week; angling activity remained low. Questions regarding small game, big game and waterfowl hunting were fielded. An animal complaint was taken and addressed. Enforcement action was taken for a person possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia and driving after revocation in the Mille Lacs WMA.


CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports attending a District 10 meeting and storage cleanout during the week. The Officer checked small game, big game and waterfowl hunters during the weekend. A ride along opportunity was given to an area college student who had an interest in becoming a Conservation Officer. Assistance was given to the Sheriff’s Department on an individual who was hallucinating and acting suspiciously. ATV patrol was done in the Solana State Forest and surrounding Aitkin County land. The Officer also answered lots of questions regarding the new open water hunting law for migratory waterfowl on Mille Lacs Lake. Work was done on extending a wolf permit area where livestock had been damaged and a call of a wolf in someone’s yard was fielded. A few fishermen were checked on Mille Lacs with a few finding some walleyes but not many keepers. Lots of ATV, big game and waterfowl law related questions were fielded throughout the week. Enforcement action for the week included various ATV violations


CO Dustie Heaton (Willow River) investigated a call of wolf depredation on a 400 pound calf. Heaton confirmed that the calf was killed by wolves. She answered deer hunting questions, handled nuisance beaver calls and followed up on a trespass investigation. Heaton attended in-service training at Camp Ripley.


CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent the week responding to trespass calls, checking waterfowl hunters and working bear hunting activity. A slight increase in fishing activity was also found throughout the area. Anglers reported an improved fish bite with the cooling water temperatures. A depredation investigation was conducted at a local farm where a 500 pound calf was found to have been likely killed by wolves.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) attended in-service training at Camp Ripley. He also attended a district meeting, took calls on nuisance animals, and answered questions about burning.  CO Wynn assisted in a work crew with district 10 and 12 officers, and also helped out the Sheriff’s Department with a call.


WREO Rob Haberman attended fall in-service training at Camp Ripley. Training was centered on firearms and use of force training and law updates. WREO Haberman also met with Aitkin County officials about ongoing wetland violation investigations. WREO Haberman also conducted a site visit in Pine County and help district officers with equipment storage.


Onamia – vacant.


District 11 – St. Cloud area


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) attended in-service training at Camp Ripley. The officer also worked anglers and waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action was taken for an extra line.


CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) taught the law portion for Eagle Bend FAS. Areas were checked for angling, hunting, and recreational vehicle activities. The weather, however, seemed to literally put a “damper” on recreational activity. Some waterfowl hunters were out.


CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) handled calls of a bait dealer trespassing on private property to gain access to net a river, a nuisance bear, nuisance beaver that were trapped and buoy markers in the Mississippi River that were thought to be illegal fish lines (ended up being buoys marking dead head logs). A deer baiting complaint is being investigated and a deer hunter was found purchasing an archery bonus tag after they had killed the deer. CO Kuske received a TIP call of duck hunters out hunting during the closed season week. Two waterfowl hunters were located who were pretty happy with the success they had in shooting almost a limit of mallards and teal. Unfortunately they learned the hard way that they should have read the regulations prior to heading out. One of the hunters remarked, “Oh, so that’s why no one else is hunting here and we didn’t hear any other shots this morning.”


WREO Keith Bertram spent the week completing firearms training at Camp Ripley and conducting follow-up on public water violations.


CO Mike Martin (St. Cloud) checked anglers and hunters during the past week. Officer Martin taught at in-service and answered TIP calls as well. Officer Martin found one group of waterfowlers who were trespassing on a friend’s uncle’s land. The waterfowlers had numerous issues on top of the trespass when Officer Martin found lead shot and a spinning wing decoy where they were set up. During the course of the investigation one hunter was found to be without a license, waterfowl stamps, or hunter safety training and another who is under 21 was consuming alcohol. Officer Martin would like to remind hunters that alcohol and firearms do not mix and the standard for Hunting under the Influence is .08 BAC just like driving.


CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked bow hunters, anglers, and shore line issues. Time was spent investigating illegal deer hunting activity ranging from shining to baiting. Thesing met with DNR Watters and DNR Aquatic plant specialists on two impacts to shorelines. Annual training was attended at Camp Ripley for rifle, shotgun, and handgun qualifications. Thesing assisted with the new Conservation Officer testing process.


CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) attended in-service at Camp Ripley this past week. Several complaints of deer shining activity were received and surveillance of locations was conducted. CO Kuske met with stakeholders to discuss the Enforcement Division’s Strategic Plan that is being developed.


CO Brian Mies (Annandale) worked on tip calls on duck hunters hunting when season was closed. CO Mies spent two days at camp training. CO Mies checked archery deer hunters.


CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent the week checking anglers and waterfowl hunters. Activity slowed for both with poor weather and limited birds. Violations for the week included transport aquatic macrophytes, transport live fish, and fail to pull drain plug.


District 12 – Princeton area


CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) worked the closed waterfowl season were she reports issuing 6 citations to people hunting. Officer Londgren also attended training at Camp Ripley, assisted in monitoring the new CO testing process, took complaints on de-watering and public waters violations, and responded to trespassing complaints.


CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked waterfowl hunters on area lakes and rivers. He answered a number of hunting questions. He followed up on a number of TIP calls.


CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) spent the week checking hunters and anglers in the Wright County area. Several hunters were found to be hunting waterfowl during the closed season in the central zone. Reller also followed up on several deer hunting and trespass complaints. Enforcement action was taken for taking waterfowl out of season, unplugged shotgun, transport loaded firearm in motorboat, no PFD in watercraft, no small game license, angling with extra lines and felony drug possession.


CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports receiving several calls of duck hunters out during the week the season was closed. One hunter was found without any birds and was completely surprised that the season was closed for five days. One group of hunters was thought to be hunting but they were actually scouting for the weekend. CO Langevin also assisted with the testing for new CO candidates at the Minneapolis Convention Center.


CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) assisted with fall training at Camp Ripley. A trespass complaint was investigated and follow-up work was conducted on a couple bear hunting cases. Ducks and geese are moving around the area and cooler weather has deer movement increasing. Landowners are encouraged to follow the directions in the hunting synopses for properly posting their property. One or two signs posted on the roadway does not meet the legal requirement for properly posting property. Deviating from the posting instructions in the synopsis can make a trespass issue on your property unenforceable.


Cambridge – vacant.


District 13 – West Metro area


CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) attended week long training in Saint Paul and assisted at the conservation officer written examination in Minneapolis. He returned phone calls regarding harassment of wildlife in Minneapolis.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent time training at Camp Ripley. Officer Grewe helped with the testing of the conservation officer candidates in Minneapolis over the weekend. CO Grewe also answered calls of hunting questions and complaints.

CO Steve Walter (Waconia) responded to calls all week including hunter harassment, trespassing and shooting within 500 feet of a home. Waterfowl hunters were checked all week finding illegal shooting of ducks and geese in closed zones every day. Anglers were checked on the Minnesota and Crow rivers. Multiple citations and warnings were issued for shooting ducks and geese during closed season, unplugged guns, no HIP certification, no small game license, no personal flotation devices, shooting several grebes and angling with extra lines.

CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) assisted with division training. He did boating enforcement in Dakota County. CO Neitzke patrolled WMAs and checked small game and archery deer hunters. He also responded to a TIP call of duck hunting in the closed season.

CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) assisted with the conservation officer candidate written exam in Minneapolis. She received several hunting complaints about people hunting in closed areas. She participated in several AIS hearings regarding drain plug violations and attended a meeting in St. Paul.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked duck hunters and checked anglers on the metro area lakes and rivers. He followed up with a possible deer poaching complaint which turned out to be a (dummy deer) used for seminar demonstrations on how to harvest a deer. He also did an investigation on a complaint of an individual dumping minnows into the lake, and worked the Stillwater bridge detail. He also responded to TIP calls of injured animal, sunken boat on Mississippi River, and people fishing with extra lines. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with extra lines, no angling license in possession, and fishing without an angling license.


Bloomington  – vacant.


Minnetonka – vacant.


Prior Lake – vacant.


District 14 – East Metro area


CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking small game, waterfowl, and archery deer hunters. CO Arntzen investigated a wetland violation and responded to complaints of waterfowl hunters hunting during the closed season. He also attended firearms training at Camp Ripley and handled numerous questions about public road right of way access. Violations for the week included unplugged shotgun, possession of toxic shot, and hunting during a closed season.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked small game and archery hunters throughout the week. He also checked anglers around the metro lakes. CO Pril spoke to a group of Boy Scouts on firearms safety and Conservation Officer duties and responsibilities, and responded to calls and complaints.

CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) reports that he worked waterfowl hunters over the weekend. Numerous violations were detected and enforcement action taken for over limit of ducks, possession of lead shot, no federal waterfowl stamp, and illegal parking. CO Johnson issued a ticket for an unattended line at William O’Brien State Park. He attended firearms training at Camp Ripley.

CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) attended fall in-service training at Camp Ripley. Numerous TIP calls were investigated throughout the Hastings station. A ride along opportunity was also given to a person who is interested in becoming a Conservation Officer.

WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent time during the week at training at Camp Ripley. The officer also assisted with Conservation Officer testing at the Minneapolis Convention Center over the weekend. Time was also spent working AIS and wetland related activity.

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) attended five days of training at the St. Paul Police Department. She checked waterfowl hunters, handled nuisance animal calls and answered calls with questions regarding hunting laws. CO Kruse worked on shoreline complaints and did equipment maintenance.


Eagan – vacant.


Metro Officer – vacant.


District 15 – Marshall area


CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) worked small game hunting, archery deer, and fishing enforcement in the Lyon and Redwood county areas. Time was also spent working on complaints of duck/goose hunters hunting during the closed season in the south zone. Assistance was given with the CO exam held at Southwest Minnesota State University. A few teal and wood ducks are still hanging around.


CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked anglers, archery deer hunters, and waterfowl hunters throughout the week. Waterfowl hunters are having decent success, with a mixture of diver and puddle ducks in the area. Complaints of waterfowl hunters shooting early and trespassing were taken. Angling and hunting violations were dealt with.


CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) attended in-service training at Camp Ripley. The officer investigated trespass complaints and an illegal dumping complaint. Numerous firearms deer season questions were fielded throughout the week.


CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports that waterfowl enforcement was the main focus of the week. He continues to see numerous violations amongst waterfowl hunters. Hunters are reminded to have PFDs in their duck boat.


CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working archery deer hunters. Virtually zero crops have been removed from the fields. This will slow most types of hunting for a while.  Waterfowl questions continue to flock in.


WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) attended training at Camp Ripley. Officer Hanson also followed up on PW and WCA cases working local LGUs and SWCDs. Small Game hunters and fishermen were checked for AIS violations.


Madison – vacant.


Redwood Falls – vacant.


District 16 – New Ulm area


CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked the opening of the Central Waterfowl Zone. Rain seemed to keep many hunters at home; however, hunters that made the best of it were able to harvest some ducks and geese. Officer Oberg responded to a call of hunters in the State Game Refuge along with the Hutchinson Police Department. Enforcement action was taken for hunting in a State Game Refuge. A TIP call was also worked and several hunters were cited for hunting in the still closed Southern Waterfowl Zone. Enforcement action was also taken for no license in possession.


CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received a report of possible waterfowl hunting during the closed season. He returned a call regarding possession of a road-killed badger and gifted the badger for taxidermy purposes. CO Nelson received a report of a cougar sighting that turned out to be a large domestic cat. CO Nelson also received training for upcoming Rotenone treatments on area lakes and gave instruction at ATV and Firearms Safety Training classes.  The remainder of the week was spent engaged in deer hunting, small game hunting, ATV and equipment maintenance activities.


CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) completed his radio program with KKOJ discussing topics including the upcoming pheasant and duck opener and area activity. Gruhlke responded to a call with Jackson County deputies concerning a person shooting too close to an occupied residence. The operator of the suspect vehicle was arrested for DWI and an occupant was issued a citation for discharging a firearm within 500 feet of an occupied residence. Gruhlke continued to work the fall seasons.


CO Jason Beckmann (Windom) spent much of the week assisting with fall in-service training at Camp Ripley. There appeared to be less confusion about the two week closure of the waterfowl season in the southern zone this year. Enforcement action was taken for operating an off-highway motorcycle in a WMA and operating an off-highway motorcycle in a road ditch. Assistance was given to the Minnesota State Patrol with a property damage crash.


CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) taught the law portion of the Fairmont fall firearms safety class.  Bow hunting activity was monitored and many hunters checked in the field. WMAs were patrolled for illegal equipment left on the property including stands and cameras. Angling activity has picked up. Reports of illegal water appropriation from public waters were investigated.


CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) noticed a rainy start to the second waterfowl season north of Hwy 212 in her area. Eight ducks were seized and citations written to a group that was unaware the season was still closed south of Hwy 212. Unplugged guns and license issues were also noted. During the week, she investigated two trespass cases involving archery hunters. She attended training in Willmar during the week and assisted with fall in-service training at Camp Ripley.


CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) attended training at Camp Ripley. He spoke about the current and upcoming hunting seasons and related law changes on a local radio station. He followed up on a waterfowl hunting complaint and continued to check waterfowl hunters in addition to anglers and boaters


Litchfield – vacant.


Willmar #1 – vacant.


District 17 – Mankato area


CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked small game activity, and attended training at Camp Ripley.


CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, ATV operators and waterfowl hunters. CO Ihnen also patrolled the area for small game and archery deer hunters


CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) focused on checking anglers, boaters, and small game hunters this week. ATV activity was also monitored. Enforcement action was taken on PFD and license violations.


CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) continued assisting with instruction at the division’s in-service at Camp Ripley. The officer also checked small game and archery hunting activity.  Anglers were checked on the MN River.


CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked angling, small game, and archery deer hunting activity during the week. The officer also attended training at Camp Ripley & Waterville Fish Hatchery. Various calls were also handled from the public.


CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week checking small game and archery deer hunters. Time was also spent investigating TIP reports, and responding to requests from the public for information on various topics. Enforcement action was taken for burning permit violations and taking Canada geese during the closed season.


WREO Julie Siems (SE) attended in-service at Camp Ripley. Preparation for an upcoming rotenone treatment was also completed. Follow up on WCA cases continues.


Albert Lea – vacant.


District 18 – Rochester area


CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports large bluegills are still being caught on the river. Served a WCA restoration order and investigate a second WCA complaint. He had many questions concerning the Federal shutdown. Minnesota is open for business with no closures. He assisted Brownsville Fire and Rescue searching for a missing ginseng digger. They found him walking on a trail going the right way. He lost his bearings for a couple hours. Heavy rains once again did damage to local streams and roads.


CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports spending the week checking fishing, ATVs, and AIS in the area. He checked many limits of panfish and found one group duck hunting during the closed season. He received many enquiries about the USFWS refuge situation. Hemker also spoke at the area high school natural resources classes and attended an ATV safety class.


CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports speaking at a youth deer hunt orientation. Time was spent investigating trespass complaints on small game hunters and ginseng hunters. Archery hunters were checked and reporting some deer movement with the cooler weather. An illegal burning complaint was investigated and enforcement action was taken.


CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers and hunters during the week. During the split of the waterfowl season one hunter shot four wood ducks with a 17 HMR rifle. The hunter did not have a small game license or waterfowl stamps, but he did have an active warrant for his arrest.


CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending time checking anglers and attending training at Camp Ripley during the week. The weekend was spent checking archery and small game hunters along with anglers. Time was spent working shining complaint areas. Some angling violations were detected


Rochester #2 – vacant.


Training Section


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


Aviation Section


CO Pilot Tom Buker (New Ulm) flew several WCA and waterway violation flights in the southern portions of the state. Training and aircraft maintenance issues were worked on.


CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a wildlife telemetry flight. Jensen also flew waterfowl enforcement support flights and a waterfowl survey flight. Jensen prepped equipment and plans for fall fish stocking flights in northeast Minnesota.


NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew the Bemidji and Thief lake duck surveys. Heineman also flew marten telemetry and attended to aircraft and truck maintenance.


CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) attended fall training at Camp Ripley.


Water Resource Enforcement Officers


WREO reports are now placed within district reports.


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 Adult Home Study or On-Line course information is 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 Snowmobile Safety Courses and instructor training sessions. Adult Snowmobile Safety Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.


Youth ATV Courses (12 to 15 years old) class postings for around the state are posted on the web site at www.mndnr.gov.  Students are reminded that they must complete the CD portion of the course before attending the classroom portion of the course. Youth/Adult ATV Safety Training Course CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR


Reminder—anyone born after December 31st, 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 31st, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota, must possess a snowmobile certificate.  Two options are available to complete certification. Ages 11 and older can attend the traditional youth course.  Those 16 or older can take the at home CD course.


Reminder—Anyone born after July 1st, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota, must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training CD course.  Persons under age 16 must complete the ATV CD Course and riding component before riding on public lands. Youth/Adult ATV Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.



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

See Also:



SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez spent time at Ripley conducting officer training. RTO Gutierrez prepared for several upcoming FAS Instructor award ceremonies. RTO Gutierrez also worked on the decertification of an instructor, collecting witness statement forms.


NE RTO Shelly Patten worked on Safety Training videos for the YouTube.


East Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence spent the week at Camp Ripley for annual training.


Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent most of the week at Camp Ripley, assisting with training for CO’s In-Service. Time was also spent setting up instructor classes.

Recreation Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens last week assisted with annual in-service training at Camp Ripley. He also helped with Conservation Officer testing at the Minneapolis location this past weekend.


NW RTO Jon Paurus spent the week at Camp Ripley for annual training.


West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports instructing Use of Force Scenarios/Firearm skills at Officer In-Service at Camp Ripley. During the weekend he helped facilitate/provided Instructor training at a firearms safety Hunter Education field day at Deltone Gun Club in St. Cloud.


Rec. Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens       763-753-1887  leland.owens@state.mn.us

NE RTO Shelly Patten                        218-244-8051

West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-230-8549   frank.rezac@state.mn.us

NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence 651-674-6184  bruce.lawrence@state.mn.us

Southern RTO Dan McBroom 507-843-2032  daniel.mcbroom@state.mn.us

NW RTO Jon Paurus 218-298-4000  jon.paurus@state.mn.us

SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez 651-464-7773   alex.gutierrez@state.mn.us


Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant


Education Specialist:  Vacant


Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant

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