FROM THE DNR: Weekly CO Report

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Contact: Rich Sprouse

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District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) followed up on cases from the rifle hunting season. Trapping and muzzleloader deer hunting activity was checked during the opening weekend.

CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) monitored ice angling activity on area waterways.  Follow up was conducted in regards to a trespass complaint. Opening weekend of muzzleloader hunting activity was worked with hunters reporting slow success rates. A call of a possible injured/sick deer was received and investigated.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) monitored angling, trapping activity, and ice conditions on Upper Red Lake.  Anglers reported early walleye ice success on Upper Red Lake with 6-10 inches of ice and crappie success on Blackduck Lake with 6-7 inches of ice.

CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored fishing activity throughout the week. Anglers were reporting approximately 6-8 inches of ice on most of Upper Red Lake, but caution is advised as ice thickness seems to vary greatly by location. Ice conditions seem to be progressing on Lake of the Woods, but reports of ATV’s going through the ice were reported. Enforcement action taken included numerous over limit of walleye, extra lines, and unattended lines.

Baudette -vacant.

Blackduck #1 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time checking muzzleloader deer hunters during the opening weekend. Time was also spent checking archery deer hunters, small game hunters, and trappers. Some ice anglers are also starting to venture out onto area lakes.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) spent the week checking anglers, trappers and hunters. He also gave a talk about furs to local school students.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked the opening day of muzzleloader hunting and fisher trapping. Several trappers were checked while out setting their traps. Only a handful of muzzleloader hunters were observed in the field.  The first ice fishermen of the year were checked on a couple of smaller lakes in the Bemidji area. Fishermen are urged to use caution when walking out onto area lakes. Ice conditions vary greatly in the area. CO Vollbrecht worked a shining complaint area with CO Holt. Complaints of dogs chasing deer were investigated.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked muzzleloader deer hunting activity throughout the area and in Itasca State Park. Area lakes are starting to freeze up and several ice houses are already out. Complaints were received of trespassing, deer shining, and wanton waste.

CO Chris Vinton (Detroit Lakes) found ice conditions improving throughout the area with 4-7 inches common and some areas with a bit more. Anglers should be reminded that ice is never safe and to visit the MNDNR website for more information. CO Vinton was informed that an angler attempted to drive on the early ice and their vehicle went through. Muzzleloader hunter activity was low and an area trapper call to report a fisher in a trap before the season. The fisher was released.

CO Phil Seefeldt (Moorhead) reports a slow weekend for area muzzleloader hunters. Ice conditions continue to improve with many anglers heading out on area lakes with portable houses. Anglers should use caution when venturing out on ice. An interview was conducted with a local TV station regarding ice safety. CO Seefeldt followed up on reports of trespass, unregistered deer and a fisher taken out of season.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked trapping activity and followed up on a wolf party trapping complaint. He monitored the start of ice angler activity and checked muzzleloader deer hunters. Follow-up was completed on deer season cases.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week following up on deer season issues. He also checked goose and muzzleloader hunters. CO Forsberg responded to calls of illegally taken deer, dead swans, dog caught in trap and dogs chasing deer. Fishermen are beginning to venture out with ATV traffic seen on most lakes.

WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week focusing efforts on Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) and Public Waters (PW) cases. Time was spent corresponding with Local Gov’t Units (LGUs), land owners and hydrologists. Follow-up was conducted with field officers on open cases. Several hunting complaints were fielded and forwarded to the appropriate CO for the area of the complaints.

Perham – vacant.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) continues to be impressed with goose numbers in the area.  Even non-hunters have commented on the high numbers in and around Fergus Falls.  Trappers were checked during the week and incidental caught fishers were seized. One fisher was ear tagged in February 2012 at Camp Ripley and found itself in a body grip trap in Otter Tail County. Questions related to muzzleloader deer hunting were answered.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) monitored ice conditions as they become better with portable fish houses found on area lakes. A trapping violation of possessing fisher out of season was investigated. Duck hunters hunting in the closed northern zone were surprised to find they were hunting in the closed season. Plautz is currently monitoring a complaint area of shots fired at night.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) worked on after deer season TIP complaints. Snowmobile safety supplies were delivered to the Herman class and a waters violation was handled.  Muzzleloader deer hunters and fishermen were checked throughout the week.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) finished cases from the deer season. Trapping complaints were investigated and fur was seized. Ice fishing is starting with ATVs seen on area lakes with 8 inches of ice on some lakes.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports most station lakes ice conditions are improving rapidly. ATV’s are very heavy and require much more ice than a person, so please be careful when heading out. Enforcement action was taken for angling with unattended lines as a fisherman headed to shore to take a nap and eat a meal without reeling up his jig poles. In addition, illegal tree stands left over from firearms deer season were seized on WMA units.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to close out firearms deer season investigations and spent time checking muzzleloader and archery deer hunters. Additional time was spent checking pheasant and small game hunters and monitoring trapping activity. Ice fishing and spearing activity is already in full swing with some ATV travel and wheel houses appearing on area lakes.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ice anglers, pheasant hunters, waterfowl hunters and deer hunters. Most deer hunters were having a tough time finding deer so far. Deer season complaints were followed up on. Calls were fielded regarding muzzleloader deer hunting questions, deer baiting complaints and fishing questions.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports area lakes are seeing more and more fishing pressure as the ice slowly increases in thickness, however; open water can still be found and fishermen are urged to use caution. Enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, pheasant hunters, and deer hunters.  Complaints of deer baiting were investigated.  Enforcement action was taken for no blaze orange during the muzzleloader deer season.

Wheaton – vacant.

District 4 – Wadena area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) continued to work cases from the firearms deer season. Ice shelters and ice anglers are more prominent. Parthun worked the opener of the muzzleloader deer season and found good compliance and few deer. He also checked traps and trappers during the week. Enforcement activities included Aquatic Management Area violations and illegal trap sets.

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked hunters, ATV operators, anglers, and trappers.  Officer Hunter received a few complaints of traps being stolen. One trapper, who was reporting his traps missing, was also the alleged thief of another trapper’s sets. A reminder: taking someone else’s traps/snares is trap tampering AND theft. Also, fur registration is scheduled for December 6 from 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm at the DNR Wildlife Office in Park Rapids.

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) checked muzzleloader hunters over the opening of the season. Many hunters still had questions regarding bag limits and license options. Many anglers were out on the ice, with conditions progressing well and many shacks being left on the ice. Officer Oldakowski also checked several trappers that were out during the start of the fisher season.

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) reported primary enforcement efforts this past week focused on big game hunting activity. He also received a complaint regarding someone trespassing and dumping of deer carcasses on private property.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports ice fishermen were out for the first time with some small lakes having 5-6 inches of ice. Caution is advised in many areas. Trappers and muzzleloader deer hunters were also out. CO Mathy also followed up on a wolf complaint that resulted in enforcement action for failing to register the wolf and surrendering the carcass to the division of wildlife.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on deer hunting, trapping, and ice angling activity. Few muzzleloader deer hunters were observed over the opener weekend.  CO Broughten observed a few brave ice anglers venturing out on area lakes. Anglers are advised ice conditions vary and are reminded to check the ice conditions before venturing out. CO Broughten also followed up on investigations from firearms deer season.

CO Colleen Adam (OHV Recreation Officer – Park Rapids) continued investigations from the firearms deer season. She also monitored deer hunting activity during the muzzleloader opener, which was fairly quiet. Officer Adam noted that trapping activity has been ramping up and reports of trap tampering have been coming in.

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Shane Siltala traveled to area SWCD offices to discuss current wetland violation issues. He also spent time checking muzzleloader deer hunters over the opening weekend. Few hunters were out despite the favorable weather.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports uneventful opening of muzzleloader deer season and pine marten and fisher trapping season. Snowmobile activity has started with the small amount of snow on the ground. Enforcement action was taken for no snowmobile safety certificate and no snowmobile registration.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) monitored area forest roads, checked lakes, returned phone calls and worked on reports. Computer work is ongoing.

CO Dan Starr (Tower) worked on a large litter case with over four yards of garbage dumped on the Arrowhead Snowmobile Trail. The owners of the garbage were tracked down and a citation issued. State park issues were also addressed. Many after season calls were taken on various issues. A reminder for snowmobile owners to check registration now, instead of the first day of use.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) followed up on deer season cases, worked the muzzleloader deer season and marten, fisher, bobcat and wolf trapping openers, with several individuals checked. The officer assisted the State Patrol on a wrong way driver, a Christmas tree theft on the Superior National Forest, and the Hibbing PD with a call of a person threatening to kill several people at the hospital in Hibbing which was unfounded. A hunting dog owner reported illegal snare and body gripping trap sets, in which his dog had been caught in or nearly so. One trapper was already dealt with, while the other remains to be educated. A number of trappers are still neglecting to wear blaze orange, not realizing muzzleloader deer season hunting is underway.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) preformed follow up on numerous cases from deer season and turned in reports to court. Average ice thickness varies from 4-8 inches on area lakes and many anglers were seen out. Several instances where deer carcasses were dumped on public lands are being investigated. Fisher and pine marten trappers are out in full force.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) reported area lakes have frozen over enough to allow walkers and some ATV traffic; some walleye are being caught. Trapping activity was checked and office work completed. Nice weather greeted muzzleloader hunters.

Ray – vacant.

I. Falls # 2 – vacant.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports, anglers have been taking advantage of the new ice and a pretty fair northern bite has been reported. The firearms muzzleloader season is underway, and again hunters were having a difficult time finding success.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) reported fishermen are venturing out onto the ice and they are being very careful. There is good ice in many places, and open spots in others. Marten and fisher trappers were not as prevalent as expected. Reports heard during deer season were that there weren’t a lot of marten or fisher tracks seen. ATV’s on the highways and failure to stop at road crossings were common violations this past week.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) spent the week assisting with an out of state big game investigation. He also followed up on pending investigations and prepared for upcoming court cases. Squad gear was changed over to cold weather gear. The ATV was prepared for storage and the snowmobile was readied for deployment.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) helped with the final fall in-service training and firearms qualifications. The officer also answered questions and calls about wolf seasons and trapping and handled vehicle repair issues.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily ice anglers, fisher/marten trapping opener, and followed up on deer cases from the firearms season throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for pre-empting a trap site, fishing without a license, fishing without a license in possession, fail to register deer, insufficient blaze orange while small game hunting and trapping, passenger under 18 on ATV without a helmet, and driving after cancellation. Reports of the first full-size pick-up traveling on the ice created a stir among the 30-plus anglers in the area who were quite angry at the lack of common sense by the driver and the possibility of their lives being placed at risk saving the driver if the pick-up would have gone through the ice. Thankfully the 7-8 inches of good, clear ice held up enough for the pick-up to safely get off the ice.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) continued to follow up on big game cases from the deer and bear seasons. The officer returned several calls about trapping and ice fishing. Trappers in the area were reminded about the Lynx zone regulations.

Silver Bay – vacant.

Two Harbors – vacant.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked muzzleloader hunters, trappers, and anglers. He investigated complaints on illegal baiting, early trapping, and trespass violations.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked small game, big game, and ice fishing activity. Violations of untagged traps, foot hold traps within 20 feet of exposed bait, fail to tend, and pre-empt trap locations were encountered. He also investigated a wolf complaint where an adult horse was killed by wolves near Effie.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity and assisted the county with domestic altercation call. The area lakes are frozen over, with a few anglers venturing out onto the ice. Enforcement action was taken for OHV registration issues.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked some area lakes for ice conditions. She also helped teach laws and regulations to students participating in a snowmobile safety class. She performed equipment maintenance and also did an interview for one of the local radio stations. Enforcement action was taken for fishing violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) finished up with pending cases from deer season over the past week. Area ice conditions are spotty at best with the added snow there is more snow in the forecast. Be cautious on area lakes.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked small game hunters, trappers and muzzle loader hunters. He also handled several hunting and trapping complaints over the weekend.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) followed up on deer hunting investigations and worked trapping activity. Wichmann took calls about hunters being harassed while hunting and trespass complaints. Trapping activity has also picked up with fisher/marten/bobcat trapping opener.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) followed up on complaints and investigations from deer season. Division firearms training was attended in Grand Rapids. Officer Schmidt also assisted moose researchers in the Floodwood area.

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reported with the start of the pine martin/fisher trapping season and muzzleloader season the officer again had a very busy week. Several trapping violations were found within the special lynx protection zone and suspect trappers contacted with enforcement action being taken. Several muzzleloader hunters were also checked for compliance. Area anglers are now venturing out onto local lakes reporting anywhere from 4 to 8 inches. Please use caution anytime venturing out on to ice as conditions can vary greatly from place to place.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) wrapped up and finalized all paperwork relating to the firearm deer season. This included getting citations to the court administrator and returning calls that requested call backs.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) reports working on firearms deer season follow up and reports. A fish kill on Island Lake in Cromwell was reported with DNR Fisheries staff notified. Incidental caught fur was handled. Ice anglers were out on the ice with some good catches reported. Ice conditions continue to improve with a few ice houses showing up on area lakes. Caution is still advised for those venturing out on the ice.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended training in Grand Rapids. Followed up on a complaint involving violations of state statues and Duluth city ordinances associated with the city archery hunt. Kamloop anglers along the North Shore checked. Ice anglers are out in full force on area lakes. Remember to use caution on new ice.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) wrapped up case work from deer season and prepped seasonal equipment for storage. Some questions were answered on the changes to the marten/fisher trapping season, and work completed on the Division’s Strategic Planning effort. Enforcement action taken for ATV and big game violations.

District 9 – Brainerd area

Conservation Officer Dustie Heaton (Willow River) followed up on firearms deer season investigations. She answered calls regarding trapping regulations and the muzzleloader season. Heaton received after season TIPs of hunting over bait and trespassing issues. Ice anglers are venturing out on area lakes and some nice northern are being seen. Please use the utmost precautions when heading out on the lakes. The ice is still very unpredictable and common sense should be used. No fish is worth losing your life over or endangering the lives of those who will be rescuing you should you go through the ice.

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) worked the opening of muzzleloader deer season with little activity noted. Several TIP calls were investigated and the Officer assisted with grass fires where someone had set several fires in road ditches in a few hours’ time. The first ice anglers of the year reported varied success with panfish the most active. One very smart couple heading out ice fishing for the first time this year turned around and headed back to shore after finding only a few inches of ice. They said it wasn’t worth the risk for a few fish.

CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) spoke to muzzleloader hunters who were reporting slow activity. Officer Lee also followed up on cases from the Firearms Deer Season. Office Lee spoke to the Eagle View Elementary 3rd Grade Class about duties of a Conservation Officer, wildlife in the area, and about Trumpeter Swans. Officer Lee also received information on possible northern pike over limits being taken. Information was given to the Officer whose area this was occurring in.

CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored muzzleloader deer hunting activity in the Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area, Pillsbury State Forest and Brainerd area Wildlife Mgmt. Areas. He also checked ice anglers on area lakes and assisted a deer that was stuck on the ice on Red Sand Lake in Baxter.

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked muzzleloader deer hunting opener. Violations of trespass, untagged deer were found. Complaints of vehicles on closed trails in the Pillsbury Forest were investigated. A complaint of road hunters for grouse was investigated.  Ice anglers were out and are catching some fish the ice conditions are poor and inconsistent. Reports of double trippers and anglers using extra lines received enforcement time.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) prepared water/ice rescue equipment for use on ice rescues. Winterizing of station patrol watercraft was performed. Officer Guida followed up for a shooting complaint that resulted in multiple charges.

McGregor – vacant.

Pine River – vacant.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) finished up some firearm deer season investigations and checked the first ice anglers of the year. Most area lakes have frozen over and there has been some limited ATV traffic on the ice. There are obviously still many areas of ice that is unsafe for any type of travel and still some areas of open water.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports monitoring trapping and small game hunting activity during the past week and weekend. A few muzzleloader deer hunters were checked over the weekend but most reported not seeing many deer but commented that the weather was much nicer than it was during the Firearms Deer Season. Some anglers were checked on area lakes but it is a good reminder to remember that ice conditions can vary and can be dangerous this time of year. A TIP complaint of an illegal trapping set and debris left in a WMA were investigated. The Officer also completed paperwork from the Firearms Deer Season and dropped reports off at the County Attorney’s Office and a wetlands violation was discussed with a Local Gov’t Unit (LGU). A call of a deer stuck in a fence along a highway was also fielded. Enforcement action or the week included various big game violations.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked fishermen on smaller lakes which had about 5 inches of ice on them. Caution is still recommended in and around most areas where water currents create thin ice. Fishermen checked seemed to be doing well on crappies. Time was spent on follow up from the deer season. A TIP complaint involving multiple deer shot during and before season was investigated.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent a short Thanksgiving work week by finishing up cases from deer season. He also spent time monitoring ice conditions, and responding to complaints regarding deer carcasses being dumped. Ice conditions are getting better with 3-6 inches being found on area lakes.

WREO Rob Haberman worked on WCA cases in his work area. WREO Haberman also worked on public water cases and Aquatic Plant Management (APM) cases in his work area.

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) had reports from various DNR licensing vendors that this is the busiest muzzleloader season they have had in years as far as license sales. Muzzleloading deer hunters did appear to be out heavily over the weekend. Trapping lines were checked to ensure traps were being set in compliance with the laws. Several anglers were checked on surrounding lakes and on Mille Lacs Lake. Ice conditions vary in different areas; please be cautious when you venture onto the ice. Law enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, trapping for bobcat and fisher out of season, and other additional trapping violations.

Onamia – vacant.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports a quiet muzzleloader opener, literally, few shots were heard. Area lakes made ice through the week. Many have 4 inches or more; however, it may not be consistent. Most of the weekend was spent investigating trespass and trapping complaints.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, pheasant hunters, muzzleloader deer hunters, and wetland issues. Ice conditions in the Albany area have improved with most lakes having six or more inches. People have been using ATVs on some lakes and small houses are being seen. Deer success for muzzle loading opener seemed slow.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) winterized summer equipment. The officer fielded calls regarding public hunting in wildlife areas, and possible injured swans on Lake Koronis. End of the month administrative duties were done as well.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked ice anglers. CO Mies followed up on deer info. CO Mies worked on calls.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time checking early ice anglers and pheasant hunters. Some success with panfish was seen on smaller area lakes and pheasants are starting to show up now that crops have been mostly removed. An untagged deer complaint was called in by a local police officer that resulted in the seizure of a deer and enforcement action being taken.

Conservation Officer Martin (St Cloud) completed cases from firearms deer season and checked hunters and trappers during the past week. Time was spent on TIP calls and general questions from the public as well.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) hiked a Wildlife Management Area due to a complaint of ATV traffic on the WMA and an illegal portable deer stand was found, but ATV traffic was unfounded. A complaint of garbage burning was investigated and calls are still coming in on deer baiting complaints from the firearms deer season and parents letting their nine-year-olds deer hunt (Must be 10 to hunt deer/big game animals).

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) found several people testing the limits of common sense by venturing out to do some fishing on a lake with numerous open water and thin ice areas. The local volunteer fire department personnel completed cold water rescue training last week. CO Kuske talked to a bait shop owner who explained to several customers heading out to go fishing about the fact that rescue response could be up to an hour away, which is too long to spend in the water and likely survive.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked waterfowl hunters and assisted with a number of nuisance animal calls. He also worked on another deer baiting case.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) completed paperwork which was generated during the firearms deer season. Follow-up on investigations was also conducted. Muzzleloader hunters had good weather for the start of the season and a couple ice fishermen were seen on a couple local lakes.

CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) checked muzzleloader and archery deer hunters, ice fisherman, timber cutting permits, and followed up on trespassing cases. Officer Londgren patrolled state and federal lands, took calls on swans stuck in ice, and took enforcement action on illegal ATV operation.

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports ice fishing has officially began in the area. Many anglers took to the lakes with around 4 inches of ice on most lakes. Muzzleloader hunters saw nice weather for the opening weekend. Most hunters still were not seeing large numbers of deer in the area. CO Langevin also investigated untagged deer at a residence that the Sheriff’s Office had conducted a search warrant at. The deer ended up to be dumped carcasses at the property.

Cambridge – vacant.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked the 3B, 601 and muzzleloader deer season finding very few hunters out. The end of the duck season was worked but almost every water body was frozen. Several dead swan calls were investigated finding eagles feeding on them. A few ice anglers were checked but the ice is not safe yet.

CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) assisted an adult hunter with their first harvested deer. CO Salzer was happy to be a part of a great first deer hunting experience. Salzer also patrolled for goose and duck hunting during the last week of the waterfowl season. Flocks of migrating mallards were seen along the river and hunters had some success but varied day to day.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) continued checking deer hunters and following up with complaints received over the week. CO Grewe worked deer hunters in southeast Minnesota with CO Glaser. Violations included deer tagging issues, not registering a deer within 48 hours and other licensing issues.
CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) responded to a call of an injured swan. He checked deer hunters in Dakota County. CO Neitzke patrolled Ft. Snelling State park and started investigating a complaint of possible illegal deer hunting in the park. He also met with some high school students for a school project they are doing.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) returned calls regarding a deer that was killed and antlers missing in Bloomington station. He assisted another CO on a possible big game violation. Time was also spent on administrative work as the month of November is coming to an end.

Bloomington – vacant.

Prior Lake – vacant.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) continued to check late season deer and waterfowl hunters. Waterfowl hunters reported mixed success, and experienced icy conditions on the Mississippi River. Numerous big game cases were also followed up on as well. Enforcement action was taken for numerous waterfowl hunting violations.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking small game hunters, archery deer hunters and anglers. CO Arntzen fielded questions about the muzzleloader season, handled TIP complaints, and responded to an injured deer. He also monitored recreational vehicle use in the WMAs and continued investigating ongoing deer cases.

CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) checked a few deer hunters during the Muzzleloader Deer Opener. He checked ice conditions on local lakes and rivers. CO Johnson picked up a Great Horned Owl and transported it to The Raptor Center. He checked on a Trumpeter Swan that had fishing line and a bobber tangled around its bill. CO Johnson took a law enforcement intern with for a ride along. He received several reports of illegally dumped deer carcasses.

WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week focusing on wetland related issues. A cease and desist order was served in Scott County as was a restoration order in Anoka County. Follow up continues on other sites reported as possible wetland violations

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) continues working on deer cases from the gun season. She assisted the license center with locating Electronic Licensing System equipment that hasn’t been paid for by a vendor. CO Kruse handled TIP calls, calls of injured deer and issued a couple car kill deer permits.

Eagan – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) is conducting several investigations from the firearms deer season. The muzzleloader season brought more complaints of trespassing. Although a few anglers have been seen out on lakes, ice conditions are not yet safe on most area lakes.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked goose, pheasant, and muzzleloader deer hunting activity during the week. Ice fishing activity is picking up in the Ortonville area. Ice anglers are reminded to use caution when venturing out, as ice conditions vary from water body to water body. Numerous hunting and hunting license violations were encountered during the week.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports there is about 6 inches of ice on area lakes and people are starting to focus on ice fishing. Some late season pheasants are being found. Muzzleloader season is off to a slow start.

CO Doug Lage (Lake Benton) advises that pheasant hunters are seeing more birds now that all the crops have been harvested and land plowed under. Small game hunters have been overlooking the blaze orange requirements during the muzzleloader deer season.  Enforcement action was taken on several groups. Trespass violations continue to be investigated and several citations issued.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working ice fishing, pheasant hunting, trapping, and deer hunting enforcement. A few fish houses are being put out on area lakes. The muzzleloader deer season started slower than previous years. The main question asked dealt with the carry-over of unused doe permits. Muzzleloader hunters are reminded that an unused doe permit from the firearms season is good for the muzzleloader season in the same permit area with a valid license.

WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) completed site visits on three possible WCA violations in Kandiyohi County. A WCA restoration order was issued in Renville County.

Hunters and fisherman were checked for AIS issues and enforcement action was taken for license violations.

Benson – vacant.

Madison – vacant.

Redwood Falls – vacant.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) worked the muzzleloader opener in addition to spending time at a special deer hunt in Sibley State Park. He started checking angling and spearing activity that were out on 3-5 inches of ice. He received numerous sick/injured animal complaints and continued to follow up on wetland violations.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) spent the week following up on various TIP calls. Calls included baited deer hunting areas, shinning complaints and illegal party hunting with youth deer licenses. Issues also arose with failing to register deer within 48 hours. Time was also spent on dumped deer carcasses and trespassing complaints.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding muzzleloader deer hunting regulations.  He also worked waterfowl, pheasant and trapping enforcement. A few anglers were testing thin ice.

CO Jason Beckmann (Windom) spent the week following up on investigations from firearms deer season. Pheasant hunters and trapping activity were also monitored. Muzzleloaders generally reported poor deer movement, while pheasant hunters enjoyed near ideal conditions throughout the weekend.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled Jackson County continuing to work small and big game seasons as well as waterfowl. Gruhlke completed his radio program discussing topics including ice safety and area activity. Ice fishermen continue to venture out on area lakes and the Des Moines River. Complaints of trespass and trapping violations were investigated.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) worked ice anglers whom were out for the first time this season. Ice conditions are good and thickness ranges from three to five inches. Small game hunters continue with little to no luck. Muzzleloader hunters were out but many failed to discharge their firearm. Waterfowl hunting activity was monitored.

Litchfield – vacant.

Willmar #1 – vacant.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) primarily worked deer and small game activity. Some folks are venturing out on the ice to fish. Spoke on laws and ethics to two youth snowmobile safety classes.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) checked deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters. Time was also spent investigating trapping complaints and completing follow-up investigations from the firearms deer season.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked trappers, goose hunters, deer hunters and anglers.  Trapping complaints continue to come in and are investigated. Ice anglers are starting get out on the lakes.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) followed up on deer hunting cases. The officer reports a rather slow muzzleloader opening weekend. Ice anglers checked are having limited success, depending on the area. Calls were taken on trapping complaints.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked ATV, small game, & big game activity during the week.  Various calls were also handled from the public.

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week monitoring trapping, small game, and 3B season deer hunting activity. A law and ethics presentation was given at a snowmobile safety class in Harmony. Enforcement action was taken for various big game violations.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) checked goose and hunters in the field. A restoration order was issued. Blaze orange and stamp violations were encountered.

Albert Lea – vacant.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked the end of the duck and firearms deer seasons. Duck hunters were worked from Mississippi River Pools 2-5 with good success throughout the week with many limits of both mallards and divers seen taken. A number of deer were seen in the bag as well.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working another busy week of deer hunting enforcement with both the 3-B deer season coming to a close and the muzzleloader deer season just beginning. Waterfowl hunters were also checked on areas of the Mississippi River where they were able to keep the ice out of the decoys. Trespass again was the biggest problems with several complaints being investigated. Enforcement action involved license and firearm issues.

CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports the last of duck hunting ended up being a freeze out. The Minnesota side of the river froze up before the last day. Ice fishermen are out on 3 to 4 inches of ice. Caution should be taken in areas where there is a current. Muskrat trappers are having a good go with the clear ice. The weather was very good for the opening of the muzzleloaders and the end of the 3B firearm season. Deer have been pressured and were had to find. Enforcement for the week included take deer in wrong zone and tamper with legally set traps.

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week and weekend working deer hunting, fishing and waterfowl hunting activity. Numerous ice anglers were out taking advantage of the early ice. Most deer hunters were having a tough time locating deer. Some hunting violations were detected.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports lots of deer and duck hunting with some open water and ice fishing in the area. The deer hunters reported poor success and very few violations were reported. The duck hunters had to break a lot of ice and limits were checked early in the week. Fishing was good with limits of walleye and sunfish reported. A complaint of duck hunters hunting in a closed area resulted in the same hunters thinking they were in Minnesota when they were actually in Wisconsin.

CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the week checking deer hunters, trappers, and waterfowl hunters. He took complaints of litter, trespassing, and shining. A couple hunters were found hunting deer without a valid license. Lots of questions were answered from people with license issues.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy end to the B season. Loaded firearms, shooting at deer from a vehicle and trespassing were some of the complaints handled. Hunters reported slow to little deer movement. Muzzleloader hunters were out as well with the same reports. Carcass dumping complaints are also coming in.

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 Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying wildlife telemetry flights in north central Minnesota. Jensen also completed an instrument proficiency check ride. Most lakes in the Brainerd area are frozen over ending floatplane operations for the year.
CO Pilot Don Murray (Grand Rapids) assisted officers with identifying illegal baiting activity for the deer muzzleloader season and checked on local ice angling activity. Ice thickness varies greatly this time of year and anglers are urged to use caution and check ice conditions frequently before venturing out on the ice.
CO Pilot Bob Geving flew support flights for the southeast 3-B deer season and a surveillance flight for waterfowl hunting problem area.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO reports are now placed within district reports.

Enforcement Education

Please check the DNR WEB SITE at 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

Please check the DNR WEB SITE  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  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 followed up on a baited stand complaint resulting in a vacant stand. The RTO spoke with a parent who had some concerns with a Firearms Safety Instructor. The RTO assisted the parent with their child’s self-certification and has started to do some research on the instructor.

NE RTO Shelly Patten worked on a PowerPoint presentation for Instructor meetings. Patten taught Use of Force in-service make-up training for two days at Grand Rapids for CO’s that missed fall training.

East Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence checked areas of Pine and Chisago counties for trapping activity. RTO Lawrence checked areas of deer season in Zone A season. RTO Lawrence answered calls on 3B deer season area, supply information for trapping requirements and questions relating to muzzleloader season. RTO Lawrence did final review of instructor updates for firearms safety instructor training.

Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent most of the week working the B deer season in district 18. Open water duck hunters were also checked on Lake Pepin. Time was spent working on setting up Instructor class and upcoming instructor meetings.

Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens last week worked on snowmobile violations reports, reviewed a safety video, viewed and returned multiple email, and continued work on various youth safety program projects.

NW RTO Jon Paurus worked on training materials for upcoming volunteer instructor classes. Scheduling and planning is underway for winter and spring officer and volunteer instructor training. Time was spent checking fishing, trapping and deer hunting activity in the Perham station.


Rec. Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens       763-753-1887

NE RTO Shelly Patten                        218-244-8051

West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-230-8549

NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence 651-674-6184

Southern RTO Dan McBroom 507-843-2032

NW RTO Jon Paurus 218-298-4000

SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez 651-464-7773

Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant

Education Specialist:  Vacant

Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant

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