Weekly Conservation Officer Report

Snowmobile safety becomes a priority this time of year

Snowmobile safety becomes a priority this time of year

Contact: Rich Sprouse

Public Information Officer

800-366-8917, Ext 2511

CONSERVATION OFFICER WEEKLY REPORT

12-16-2013

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and Hayes Lake. Area

snowmobile activity was monitored and work was done on an arson investigation.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck #2) checked anglers on Upper Red Lake and Special

Regulation lakes around Blackduck. Trapping and muzzleloader hunting activity was

monitored throughout the week and a few reports of accidental catch Pine Martens were

handled. The Red Lake Fisheries Technical meeting was attended.

CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette #2) monitored fishing and snowmobiling activity throughout

the week. While checking anglers on Lake of the Woods, CO Gorecki came upon a rental

house with an individual who was known to be revoked from angling. The individual

stated he was just hanging out and denied angling or having any fish, but possessed fishing

rods. CO Gorecki observed a covered bucket in the back of the individual’s vehicle and it

possessed 23 walleye and sauger. Numerous charges are pending and fish and equipment

were seized. Other enforcement action taken during the week included numerous over

limits of walleye, illegal length walleye, extra lines, unattended lines, angle without license,

ATV registration violations, snowmobile registration violations, and possession of drug

paraphernalia.

Baudette -vacant.

Blackduck #1 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

District 2 – Bemidji area

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CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time checking ice anglers. Walleyes,

northern, and some pan fish are being caught on area lakes. Time was further spent checking

muzzleloader deer hunters, trappers, snowmobile operators, and ATV operators. A deer case

involving an illegal use of a landowner deer license was investigated.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) checked anglers, muzzle loaders, trappers and snowmobilers.

He taught at a snowmobile safety class, handled animals dumped in a ditch complaint and

received a call of an injured goose. Reminder, unoccupied shelters left on the ice must have a

tag and owner ID.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) patrolled for snowmobiles and answered questions related to winter

activities.

 

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored ice angling activity on area lakes. Ice depths vary

greatly on the lakes and a vehicle went partially through the ice during the week. Caution is

advised when traveling on the lakes. Follow-up investigations were done on TIP complaints

from the firearm deer season.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) worked muzzleloader deer hunters, trappers and snowmobiling

activity throughout the week. Outside temperatures continue to be below zero. Ice conditions

remain unpredictable. A vehicle went thru the ice during the week in the Bemidji area.

Ice anglers and anyone else planning to travel on frozen waters are again cautioned to

remain vigilant of ice conditions. Important information regarding ice safety can be found

on the DNR website. Officer Holt also assisted with a local snowmobile safety class with

approximately 50 students in attendance. Enforcement activity for the week included

snowmobile registration violations.

CO Phil Seefeldt (Moorhead) attended the Moorhead and Glyndon youth snowmobile safety

classes to give law presentations. He also followed up on reports of dogs chasing deer and

failure to check traps. Ice conditions continue to improve some but large vehicle traffic

should still be limited.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training at Camp Ripley, checked anglers/shelters, and

checked muzzleloader activity. CO Peterson also conducted a commercial taxidermy

inspection and followed-up on a new deer season complaint.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen and muzzleloader

hunters. Fishermen starting to drive on the ice even though the thickest ice is about 12

inches. He also spent the week following up on deer registration issues, dogs running loose,

and tagged furs for an area trapper.

 

WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week working on closing out WCA cases and planning for

upcoming trainings. Time was spent looking at potential new and ongoing violation site visits

with the SWCD, Planning and Zoning Office, and the area Hydrologist.

Perham – vacant.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

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CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports more anglers are venturing out on the ice. The final

weekend of muzzleloader deer hunting was cold and kept some would be hunters in warmer

conditions. Enforcement action for the week included trapping and angling violations.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) assisted with two local snowmobile safety classes certifying

over 20 youth. Plautz checked ice anglers and few deer hunters. Trapping activity has slowed

down and Plautz assisted local Police Department with an individual who had three loaded

firearms in a vehicle.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) worked snowmobilers on the Central Lakes State Trail.

Additional time was spent meeting the area hydrologist at the Fergus Falls Area Office

to discuss waters cases. Calls were handled regarding ice conditions/ice fishing and fur

registration.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked ice fishermen and small game hunters. There have

been a few snowmobiles on the area trails but the trails need some more snow. Truck travel

on area lakes has increased but ice fishermen should be weary of ice conditions.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) monitored a busy week of ice fishing. Every station lake is

seeing pressure, despite the bitter cold temps. One full-sized Jeep broke through the ice on

Lake Ida, thankfully without injuries. Fishing violations included angling after revocation,

angling with extra lines, angling without a license, and illegal length fish. ATV’s are the

choice of many anglers to access their favorite spots. Remember to check the registration

on your machine before operating on lakes. Several machines were found with expired

registration, a very avoidable problem. Additionally, a local snowmobile safety class was

held in Alex where close to 75 youth were certified. We thank all the volunteer instructors

for their valuable time and efforts.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) checked hunting activity including archery and muzzleloader

deer, pheasant, and small game. Trapping activity was monitored including an accidental

wolf that was taken in northern Douglas County. Area lakes are getting busy with numerous

fishermen, ATVs and snowmobiles out and about. Ice conditions still vary from lake to lake

and caution needs to be used. CO Johanson watched a half-ton pickup drive off an area lake.

The driver then pulled up to the CO, who was parked at the access, and asked him if he knew

how thick the ice was on the lake.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ice fishermen, snowmobilers,

pheasant hunters and muzzleloader deer hunters. Pheasants have been drawn in to the open

to feed during this cold weather. Anderson received and investigated a hunting trespass

complaint and also issued minnow transportation permits. Calls were fielded regarding

snowmobile safety questions, snowmobile registration questions, a deer that looked sick and

ice fishing questions.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports time was spent checking fishermen, pheasant

hunters, deer hunters, and snowmobile and ATV operators. The officer helped with the riding

and law enforcement portion of the Glenwood area snowmobile safety class. Additional time

was spent investigating a deer baiting complaint, and answering trespassing complaints about

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coyote hunters using dogs and claiming they were “looking for their dogs,” which were all

wearing GPS collars. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without license in possession,

unattended lines, no snowmobile registration, and no snowmobile safety certificate.

Wheaton – vacant.

District 4 – Wadena area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) continued activities related to the muzzleloader and archery

deer seasons. He assisted other agencies with a house fire and addressed complaints of

trespassing and hunting on a closed game refuge. Enforcement action was taken for illegal

trap sets and using a scoped muzzleloader without a permit. .

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked hunters, ATV operators, fishermen, and trappers.

Officer Hunter received a call of a camper trailer that was left in the Paul Bunyan State

Forest since rifle deer season. Officer Hunter also took a call of a deer that was drug out of

the woods then covered with snow as to be hidden from view.

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) checked ice anglers and monitored lake conditions during

the week. Ice conditions are still highly variable with slush on the surface and anglers should

proceed with caution.

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on big game hunting, trapping, angling and

snowmobile activity. Conditions on area lakes are making for wet, difficult, and hazardous

travel; even snowmobile activity on the trails has been limited most likely due to the cold

weather.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) started to see more anglers and snowmobiles during the week.

Ice conditions are slowly improving with 5-10 inches common. Caution is still advised as

some areas may be very thin still, including an area where a truck went completely through

the ice on Lake Winnibigoshish in 30 feet of water. He also noted that cold weather has

helped the slush on lakes begin to freeze and snowmobile trails were in excellent condition.

Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speed, ATV and snowmobile registration,

spearing violations, and youth ATV violations.

CO Larry Francis (Remer) monitored snowmobile activity in the area noting that some trails

were groomed while others were not; as a result snowmobile traffic was pretty sparse. Area

lakes are very slushy with reports of ice thickness varying from just a few inches to about

8 inches. Reports have also come in regarding open water caused by the water running

“back” through the ice; anglers are advised to use caution. Officer Francis initiated a possible

residency case and disposed of old case files and corresponding evidence.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on deer hunting, trapping,

snowmobiling, and ice angling activity. Muzzleloader hunters had poor success. Ice

conditions on area lakes continue to average 5 to 8 inches of ice, however slush is still

hindering ice travel. Snowmobile trails are in average shape but are still behind due to poor

lake travel conditions. Enforcement action included a felon in possession of a firearm.

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CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) checked trappers, muzzleloader hunters, ice fishermen and

snowmobile operators during the week. He noted that area lakes still have a lot of slush on

them making it unsafe.

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Shane Siltala issued a Wetland Replacement Order for

an existing driveway that was built through a wetland. The landowner will have to replace

the wetland through wetland credits. He visited local SWCD personnel to discuss current

WCA issues and monitored deer muzzleloader hunting and local fishing activity. Area lakes

are not yet safe enough to warrant vehicle travel, as the ice is insulated by the recent heavy

snowfall causing areas of slush. Officer Siltala noted that snowmobile activity has picked up

with the recent slightly warmer temperatures.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spoke at two Snowmobile Safety Classes and spent time

checking snowmobilers on area trails. Most snowmobilers reports trails to be in excellent

condition. A snowmobile trail groomer reported a dead yearling moose on the side of the

trail. The groomer pulled the carcass to a road crossing where CO Frericks loaded the

moose into his patrol vehicle and turned it over to Fond du lac biologists. Area lakes that

had pockets of slush due to the heavy snows have started to firm up and some anglers have

started to venture out.

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports monitoring pine marten and fisher trapping

activity, along with fur registration in Big Falls. People are reminded to report incidental pine

marten and fisher catches during bobcat trapping activity. Wolf depredation incident was

investigated in the Littlefork area. Muzzleloader and wolf hunting was minimal considering

the sub-zero temperatures.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports temps at minus 20 and colder throughout the week resulted in

the week being spent working on computer and administrative items – spare time was spent

working on equipment

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports angling activity was monitored and not very many folks

were observed fishing, likely due to the extreme cold, deep snow, and slush on the ice. A

report of wolves killing an adult horse was checked into. This was the second horse killed by

wolves on the same farm within 4 ½ months.

CO Dan Starr (Tower) reports that a very cold week led to little outdoor recreation.

Snowmobiles are out in full force when temps rose to a tolerable level. A dead moose was

found by concerned citizens and taken for research. Anglers need to be reminded that ice is

never safe, please check thickness frequently.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked trapping, muzzleloader deer season, snowmobiles

and angling activity, with access to lakes and the slush conditions improving. The officer

also attended a meeting in St. Paul, continued finalizing deer hunting cases and investigated

the taking of a wolf that was shot in defense of a horse. Enforcement action was taken on a

number of angling and snowmobile violations.

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CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) spent so time on area snowmobile trails and saw a few riders out.

Very few ice fishermen due to cold, snow and slush. Fredin investigated a report of a muzzle

load hunter shooting from Vermillion trail road.

Ray – vacant.

I. Falls # 2 – vacant.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports very cold weather held on for another week in Ely, with air

temperatures reaching down to the -20s and wind chill lows as cold as -40. Snowmobile trails

have been groomed and a few snowmobiles are taking advantage of a good amount of snow.

Violations included angling without a license in possession and failing to display valid ATV

registration.

 

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked the last of the muzzleloader deer season and found it to be

pretty quiet and very cold. The slush on the lakes is freezing a bit and the snowmobilers

are beginning to venture out, but the trails are very rough. Remember to register your

snowmobile BEFORE you go out and ride it around.

 

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that few people are taking advantage of the early

season snowmobile opportunities. The snow and slush has made ice thickness unpredictable

as the CO found 11 inches of ice and moved 50 yards and found 5 inches. A few anglers have

ventured out in the extreme cold to try their luck, but fishing has been very slow.

 

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) followed up on baiting cases from the past season. The officer

also helped prepared fur for sale by the division of Enforcement and, after a difficult deer

season, took a report of wanton waste of a deer near Hovland.

 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked snowmobile enforcement, ice anglers, and

muzzleloader deer season throughout the week. More activity is starting up on area lakes,

but there is still lots of slush and areas of thin ice. Court was attended in Cass County for an

ATV DWI arrest from last winter’s Eelpout Festival. A snowmobiler was stopped for failure

to stop at a road crossing and was subsequently arrested on a warrant. Enforcement action

included failure to stop at road crossing, expired snowmobile registration, failure to transfer

ownership, and operation on a county road.

 

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) monitored snowmobile trails and ice anglers. The

snowmobile trails are in excellent condition with the new snow along the North Shore. The

officer finished up an ongoing big game investigation that occurred during the bear season.

Silver Bay – vacant.

Two Harbors – vacant.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

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CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked trappers, anglers, and snowmobilers. Investigated

complaints on failing to check traps, shoot big game from a motor vehicle, and furbearer

over-limit. Assisted CO Fairbanks with a netting complaint and had equipment maintenance

completed. Enforcement action was taken for failure to check traps.

 

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked small game, fishing, and snowmobile activity. Most

snowmobile trails are groomed, and there were quite a few people out enjoying them. With

more snow forecasted and cold temps the conditions are expected to get better. He also took

miscellaneous wildlife calls.

 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobile activity and

worked trapping enforcement. The area lakes have varying slush and ice accumulations.

Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration issues.

 

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) took a call from Driftskippers Snowmobile Club this

last week concerning illegal use of the snowmobile trail they maintain south of LaPlant

Road. The trail sustained extensive damage from a four-wheel drive vehicle. Anyone with

information involving this incident is urged to call me or DNR enforcement. Many trails

in and around the Grand Rapids area are designated for specific use, such as snowmobile

trails. Certain activities and vehicles are prohibited on many trails. Please take the time to

know where you will be recreating as enforcement action will be taken if illegal use is found

on these trails.

 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) checked local ice anglers with some limited

success. Anglers are still unable to get to historic areas they have fished this time of

year. The snow insulation has prevented adequate ice formation on some of the larger deeper

lakes. A snowmobile safety class was attended with a law talk given. The class attendance

was at a record number due to the early season snow. Cases were also finished up from

firearms deer season.

 

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked trappers, small game hunters and muzzle loader deer

hunters. He also worked on equipment issues during the week.

 

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) worked trapping and snowmobile activity. Enforcement

action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, failure to site validate fisher coupon and

failure to check traps. Snowmobile activity has increased throughout the week.

 

CO John Velsvaag (NE regional ATV officer) worked ATV enforcement for vehicles

accessing the frozen lakes for angling. He assisted local officers with muzzleloader deer

hunting season duties. Some enforcement time was spent checking trapping compliance. CO

Velsvaag worked snowmobile patrol in the Ely / Babbitt area with abundant snow

conditions. Enforcement action was taken while assisting other officers.

 

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) received and investigated

bobcat hunting and northern pike spearing- over limit complaints. Wetland Conservation Act

issues were responded to.

District 8 – Duluth area

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CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked area snowmobile trails. Trails are packed and the

groomers are catching up. Lake conditions are improving but heavy snow is making for

tough travel. Anglers able to get out have been reporting some success. The officer attended

the riding portion of snowmobile safety class for Carlton, Cloquet and Esko.

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports snowmobilers have gotten an early start trail riding,

however some swamps have yet to freeze making trail grooming impossible in a few areas.

Be sure to check and make sure registration is up to date and all number are displayed

properly before setting off on your maiden voyage. A presentation was given at a local

Snowmobile Safety class. A few trap set were checked for compliance. Anglers are reporting

a good mixed bag of fish if you’re hardy enough to brave the cold temperatures.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent some time working snowmobile enforcement. Area trails

are in good condition with plenty of snow everywhere. Officer Duncan investigated a TIP of

a deer hunting violation that resulted in several charges. Other enforcement work involved

checking winter fishing activity and trapping enforcement. Several telephone calls were also

returned during the week.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) reports working ice angling, muzzleloading , trapping, and

snowmobile activity throughout the week. Snowmobile activity picked up during the week.

Many of the trails have been groomed, however some trails in swamp or wetland areas are

not frozen. Slush under the snow pack on some area lakes has also made travel difficult.

Caution is still advised for persons venturing out on the ice. Muzzleloader season ended

the way it started slow due in large part to the frigid temps and snow. Trappers checked in

the area also reported a slow week with travel difficult. A report of an injured deer and TIP

information were received. CO Humphrey assisted at a Snowmobile Safety class in Cloquet.

Violations for no blaze orange, snowmobile operation, and no license in possession were

encountered.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spoke to snowmobile safety classes in Carlton and Cloquet. The

muzzleloader hunt finished up at Jay Cooke State park and harvest numbers appear to be

down. Snowmobile activity is picking up in the area. Complaints of trespass and operating

in the median of a four lane highway have been received and are being worked. A complaint

of hunters shooing deer from the road was investigated and enforcement action was taken for

failing to validate tag and shooting form the roadway at a big game animal. K9 training was

conducted with K9 Schody.

WREO Mike Scott checked muzzleloader hunters participating in a special muzzleloader

hunt held at Jay Cooke State Park. Hunter numbers were down due to the recent snowstorm

and colder than average temps across the region. He assisted Carlton County Sheriff’s

Department with an investigation into an assault that occurred near the city of Carlton,

worked with DNR staff from Waters on training for CO’s on water appropriation and Public

Waters violations was done in preparation for the training. Snowmobile Enforcement was

conducted on area trails. Compliance with rules and laws was very good. Enforcement action

was taken for operating a snowmobile without current registration.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

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CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) attended a USCG Duluth port meeting and dealt with a bobcat

that took up a winter residence underneath someone’s deck. He also checked snowmobilers

in the Duluth area, worked a special detail in the Ely area, assisted Duluth PD with a burglary

in progress call and checked anglers in the Duluth Harbor.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) wrapped up deer season cases and prepped equipment for

winter. Ice conditions are variable with the heavy snow on top of the new ice; be careful.

Meetings were attended in St Paul for the Strategic Plan project. Enforcement action was

taken for big game and snowmobile violations.

CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week.

He worked on reports, performed equipment maintenance and attended training.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked fishermen, trappers and snowmobile activity throughout

the week. He also gave testimony on a hunting while intoxicated case from the 2012 firearms

deer season.

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) checked anglers and trappers via snowmobile. Many

areas of slush were seen and anglers reported ice thickness varying from 4 to 10 inches.

Several reports of flooded fish houses and snowmobiles stuck in the slush were reported.

Snowmobile activity is picking up, and many snowmobilers have been forgetting to buy new

registration before heading out the first time.

CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) spoke to anglers this past week who were reporting a so-so bite

for pan fish. Officer Lee gave a presentation to the Eagle View Elementary 1st

whitetail deer and duties of Conservation Officer. Officer Lee assisted the State Patrol with

a vehicle in the ditch. While checking on the vehicle Officer Lee learned that the driver had

warrants for his arrest and that his driver’s license was under Revocation. The party was

taken into custody, and was turned over to a State Trooper for transport to jail.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) assisted with firearms training at Camp Ripley. Officer Guida

worked a littering complaint where garbage was recovered from the road right of way

including a site tag from the firearm’s deer season. Calls were received regarding stuck all-
terrain vehicles and snowmobiles in slush on area lakes.

CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored ice angling, muzzleloader

deer hunting and snowmobile activity in the Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area, Pillsbury State

Forest and Brainerd area. He also monitored special permit muzzleloader deer hunt at Crow

Wing State Park.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking fishing, snowmobile, cross country skiing,

muzzleloader deer hunting, trapping activity, and investigation of complaints including

private posting of state forest lands and illegal snaring. Ice fishing activity is off to a

slow start with slush being a problem on most area lakes making access to fishing spots

difficult. Area cross country ski and snowmobile trails are groomed and in excellent early

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season condition.

McGregor – vacant.

Pine River – vacant.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found a few anglers that were willing to fight deep snow

and slush in order to get out on area lakes. Their hard work did result in finding some sunfish

and crappies. Snowmobilers continued to appreciate the early season snows and better than

average trail conditions. Most of the week’s enforcement activity involved dealing with a

handful of snowmobilers driving at excessive speeds and driving out of control. One operator

that was clocked at 80 mph, slid uncontrolled through a stop sign and highway intersection,

right in front of Officer Grundmeier’s squad. The operator said it was a good thing his sled

topped out at 80 or he would have been going faster and might have hurt himself.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports seeing quite a bit of sled traffic on the trails during

the week and weekend. There seems to be a high compliance with registration and speed

overall. Some fishermen have ventured out on Mille Lacs Lake but are finding varied ice

conditions and also lots of slush underneath the snow. Please use caution when traveling

on the lake, there are reports of lots of thin ice areas. Several TIPs on trapping complaints

were investigated during the week and multiple phone calls regarding hunting, fishing and

snowmobile related law questions were answered. The Officer also assisted the State Patrol

and the Sheriff’s Department with several different accidents during the week. Enforcement

action for the week included various trapping violations.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked fishermen and hunters throughout the week. Ice

conditions on most lakes remain questionable. It is advised to travel during the daylight hours

to see problem areas. One party called in at night because he seen flashlights near a bad ice

area. It turned out to be a party walking to a portable located in a safe area. A car kill deer

permit was issued and a TIP complaint involving a deer killed near a road was investigated.

An investigation of a deer carcass transported into Minnesota testing positive for CWD was

also handled. The carcass was contained and transported for disposal.

WREO Rob Haberman continued work on wetland conservation act cases in his area.

WREO Haberman also worked on public water cases in Pine County. WREO Haberman also

patrolled area snowmobile trails over the weekend.

CO Dustie Heaton (Willow River) checked area snowmobilers over the week. Violations

detected included expired registration and failing to stop at an intersection. Complaints of

snowmobile trespass were taken as well. Angling activity in the area remains slow. Heaton

taught the law portion of a youth snowmobile safety class in Willow River and worked on

ongoing investigations.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week checking anglers and hunters through the

week. He answered questions about ice conditions, snowmobile operation and muzzleloader

hunting. Continued monitoring of ice is showing that 8-12 inches surrounds most of the

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southern Pine County area so extra caution is always advised

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked trapping and muzzleloading activity. A wolf that was

caught in a snare was investigated. The Officer received an incidental fisher. Snowmobiling

activity began to increase in the area and fishing activity picked up as well.

Onamia – vacant.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent the week working anglers, muzzleloader deer hunters,

bow hunters, and pheasant hunters. Ice conditions in the area are good with 12 inches or

more in most areas. Time was also spent assisting neighboring officers on a deer over limit

investigation. The cool weather kept most muzzleloader hunters out of the woods, thus poor

success in the area.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking anglers and

snowmobilers. One sled was stopped for a multiple violations. Upon stopping the machine

and asking the operator where his registration was he replied that he had not registered

it after purchasing it. When CO Silgjord asked how long ago the sled was bought the

operator stated he bought it approximately 5 years ago. Enforcement action was taken. Other

enforcement action for the week included angling with an extra line, crossing violation, and

fail to display current snowmobile registration.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) attended the Todd County TEP meeting. Equipment

maintenance issues were tended to. Frigid weather conditions seem to be keeping

recreational activity minimal.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity in the area as well as some

muzzle loading activity. Assistance was given to wildlife staff recovering a swan which was

sent to a rehab center. Administrative tasks and training activities were also completed .

Conservation Officer Mike Martin (St. Cloud) checked anglers and hunters during the past

week. Officer Martin fielded several call about vehicles driving on the ice, the callers were

concerned for the safety of the driver/occupants of the trucks on the thin ice. Officer Martin

continued to work big game cases from the deer season including a potential over-limit of

bucks and a fail to register deer case.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) assisted DNR Wildlife personnel taking down a deer stand

left on a Wildlife Management Area. The Officer also spent time checking spear fishermen

who were having marginal success getting some northerns. In checking area lakes some fish

houses were found to not have legal identification on them. A few muzzleloader hunters were

found on the last weekend of the season that unfortunately didn’t have any success.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers last week. CO Mies worked on a tip call on

deer hunting. CO Mies checked sleds in Stearns and Wright counties.

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WREO Keith Bertram spent the week checking fishermen, snowmobilers, and trappers.

WREO Bertram also attended a meeting with other department members regarding turtle

regulations. Follow-up was conducted on wetland cases as well.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) reports ice conditions still vary greatly from lake to lake. Anglers are

finding anywhere from 3 – 8 inches of ice. A few snowmobilers are showing up on area trails

with conditions being fair to good. CO Kuske participated in a Division Strategic Planning

meeting and an MCOA meet and confer with Chief Soring.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes. He assisted with an injured

swan and owl. He assisted with a big game interview on a lend and borrow case. He checked

a number of snowmobiles in the Sand Dunes State Forest. He continues investigating a

couple of TIP calls. He answered a number of hunting and fishing questions. He took

enforcement action on deer hunters in the Sand Dunes State Forest.

 

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) spent time finishing up on an over limit deer investigation. CO

Reller also checked snowmobilers and ice anglers who were coming out in full force last

week. Enforcement action was taken for taking over limit deer, illegal lending and borrow

deer license, and illegal transport of deer.

 

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) did follow up on a commercial license investigation. CO

Musatov assisted CO Reller with interviews on a big game case from the firearm deer season.

Snowmobilers were checked and a trespassing complaint area worked.

 

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week. Ice conditions improved

some with the cold temperatures. Snowmobiles are out in force with good to fair trail

conditions. Enforcement action was taken on operating a snowmobile on the shoulder of a

roadway against traffic.

 

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy weekend on are lakes. Most of the lakes in

the area have over 12 inches of ice and many anglers took advantage of it. Snowmobiling

activity has also increased with many of the local trails being groomed. CO Langevin has

also been handling several trapping complaints in the area.

 

CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) spoke at two snowmobile safety classes, had a ride along,

and checked anglers and snowmobiles. Officer Londgren also followed up on dogs chasing

deer complaints, snowmobile trespass, injured animals, shooting from a motor vehicle, and

late registration on furs.

 

Cambridge – vacant.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Steve Walter (Waconia) patrolled trails for snowmobiles and illegal ATV use. Motor

vehicle trespass and reckless operation of motor vehicles on Lake Waconia were responded

to. Anglers were checked all week having very good success. Enforcement action was taken

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for failure to display snowmobile registration, operate unregistered ATV, careless operation

of motor vehicles on Lake Waconia, no angling license in possession, set lines in fish houses

and take over limit of fish.

 

CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) attended meetings and training at Camp Ripley. Salzer also

patrolled for snowmobile activity in Hennepin county. Trails seem to be holding up but are

not in the best of shape yet. With the cold weather, not too many snowmobilers have been

out.

 

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking ice anglers and continued

investigating big game cases. CO Grewe received several calls on ice conditions and angling

questions. CO Grewe participated in a radio interview to a local radio station on ice safety.

 

CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) checked fishermen in Dakota and Hennepin counties. He

patrolled Ft. Snelling State Park and responded to a call of a dog off leash. CO Neitzke went

to two deer calls with CO Arntzen. He also returned calls and answered archery deer hunting

questions.

 

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked snowmobilers and anglers in the metro area lakes and

trails. He checked bow hunters, muzzle loader hunters, and small game hunters. He also

checked ice fishermen and returned phone calls on firearms safety classes and small game

hunting regulations. Enforcement action was taken for over limit of crappies and fishing

without angling license in possession.

 

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) attended Divisional training at Camp Ripley. He arranged for a

presentation about a Conservation Officer’s role in Eden Prairie this coming February. He

spent time getting a new patrol radio reprogrammed. He checked ice anglers in Bloomington

station as he is covering the area while it is vacant.

Bloomington – vacant.

Prior Lake – vacant.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) patrolled Dakota and Washington counties for big game

hunting activity. Several muzzleloader and archery hunters were observed out hunting. CO

McGowan also patrolled for late season goose hunters. Enforcement action was taken for

hunting deer over a baited area, hunt deer without a valid license, and fail to display valid

snowmobile registration.

 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports checking ice anglers, deer hunters, and monitoring

snowmobile and ATV activity. CO Arntzen also issued a car kill deer permit, handled calls

about nuisance animals, and responded to an injured deer. Violations for the week included

no fishing license in possession and no ATV registration.

 

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked mainly ice anglers in Scott and Washington counties.

He patrolled for snowmobiling activity around the metro area trails and lakes. CO Pril

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also responded to a TIP complaint and worked snowmobiling speed enforcement with CO

Arntzen.

 

WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent time much of the week on wetland related activity. A site

visit was completed regarded aquatic plant management regulation. WREO Block assisted

the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, Jordan and Belle Plaine Police Departments certify

over 100 youth in snowmobile safety over the weekend.

 

CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) reports that he checked snowmobilers with the recent snow.

He also checked a few ice anglers. CO Johnson coordinated the rescue of an injured Red-
tailed Hawk from the ice of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul. Station #6 from the

SPFD used their airboat to pick up the hawk. The hawk was transported to The Raptor Center

where it is recovering. CO Johnson completed two investigations from the firearms deer

season.

 

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) worked fishing enforcement on area lakes and handled

calls of dumped deer carcasses. She worked on a trespassing case, did equipment

maintenance and worked snowmobile enforcement on local trails. CO Kruse checked small

game and archery hunters in WMAs and assisted the Wisconsin DNR with a big game case.

She also handled calls regarding trapping laws and regulations.

Eagan – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) reports that area ice fishing activity is picking up as ice

conditions continue to improve. The officer investigated various trapping infractions and

checked numerous pheasant hunters. Snow amounts are marginal at best for snowmobiling in

the area.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall I) spent the week checking ice fishermen, pheasant hunters, deer

hunters, and snowmobilers. The muzzleloader season ended quietly with a lot of the outdoor

enthusiasts having already switched over to ice fishing. An average of 10 inches of ice is

being seen on most lakes. Aeration systems are being started so extra caution needs to be

used on those lakes.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports that few muzzleloader were out because of cold

temperatures. Most outdoor enthusiasts have transitioned to ice fishing. Ten to fourteen

inches of ice have been reported on LqP and area lakes.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked muzzleloader deer hunters during the final week of the

season. Pheasant hunters are having some success on public lands. Ice fishing activity is in

full swing on Big Stone Lake and surrounding waters. Several complaints of shooting from

the roadway were investigated.

14

CO Doug Lage (Marshall) completed an investigation of people hunting deer on a public golf

course. Hunters driving deer with an ATV was reported. Ice conditions are very good with

fishing activities growing.

WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) issued an extension of a WCA restoration order

in Kandiyohi County. A WCA case was closed out in Chippewa County. A WCA violation

was worked in Redwood County. Deer hunters were out during the final weekend of

muzzleloader season having minimal success. Vacant stations were worked.

Benson – vacant.

Madison – vacant.

Redwood Falls – vacant.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) attended training at Camp Ripley and followed up on a complaint

of a pheasant shot from a motor vehicle. He also checked ice anglers and ATV operators.

Denz also worked the end of the muzzleloader season.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked ice anglers and muzzleloaders though out the week.

Mueller worked night time hunting activity and checked snowmobilers during the week. She

also spoke at a youth snowmobile safety class in Fairfax.

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports an area walleye bite is still going strong. Oberg would

like to remind anglers to count the number of lines they have down and remember the

walleye possession limit is 6. Oberg also worked snowmobile enforcement and spoke at the

Glencoe Snowmobile Safety Class.

CO Jason Beckmann (Windom) spent the week following up on investigations and checking

deer and pheasant hunters. Beckmann spoke at a snowmobile safety class in Bingham Lake.

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 muzzleloader season, pheasant season and other area activity. Ice fishermen

continue to venture out on area lakes and the Des Moines River. Coyote hunters have been

observed.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted the law portion of the Fairmont snowmobile safety

class, with 27 individuals taking the class. Ice angling and shelter enforcement took up most

of the week. ATV activity has increased with shelters moving upon the ice. A trespassing

complaint was investigated. Commercial game farm inspection was performed. Questions

were fielded on a variety of recreational activity.

Litchfield – vacant.

Willmar #1 – vacant.

15

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked deer hunting and angling activity. Muzzleloader deer

hunting remained slow, with low participation. Weather conditions continued to be favorable

for ice making on area lakes. Hard-sided shelters are appearing, along with vehicular traffic.

Angler success was generally low, but some fish are coming in. An interview was conducted

with KEYC-TV regarding ice safety.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) checked fishermen, deer, and pheasant hunters, as well as ATV

and snowmobile operators. Officer Ihnen also gave a law and ethics presentation to a local

snowmobile safety class.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) focused on checking ice fishermen and fish houses.

Enforcement action was taken on license, fish house, and OHM violations. Taxidermy

inspections were also conducted.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports ice conditions are improving and he is finding

more and more anglers wandering out on to the ice. Snowmobile activity is also increasing

although snow totals are low. ATV traffic on area rivers is being checked.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked ATV, small game, big game, and angling activity during

the week. TIP calls & various calls were also handled from the public.

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week monitoring trapping, small game, and

muzzleloader deer hunting activity. Received and responded to a report of an injured hunter

who had fallen from his deer stand. The hunter was evacuated and transported to St. Mary’s

Hospital in Rochester. An injured bald eagle was recovered and turned over to the Raptor

Center. A trespass complaint was investigated and closed.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) checked anglers and conducted commercial inspections.

Albert Lea – vacant.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the week checking ice fishing

activity. Time was also spent responding to forestry complaints and following up on deer

season cases. The ice thickness in the area continues to improve.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports spending the week checking ice fishing and muzzleloader

deer hunters. The cold deer hunters advised they saw very few deer. There were limits of fish

checked on the ice. Hemker also was at Camp Ripley for training.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked anglers, deer, and goose hunters during the week. Fishing

success was spotty, but some were doing well. Heyn also attended a meeting for radiological

emergency preparedness.

16

CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports ice conditions very from 1 ½ inches to 8 inches. Make

sure to check it as you go. Bluegill, perch and northern are biting well. Muzzleloaders

experienced a week with low deer activity. Those doing deer drives had some success. He

assisted with a youth snowmobile safety class in Caledonia. He also attended meetings in

regards to divisional strategic planning.

CO Phil George (Rochester) followed up on cases from the deer season and checked ice

anglers. There are still spots on area reservoirs that are much thinner than others so use

caution. Officer George taught the laws and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class to

youth and a couple of classes to other law enforcement agencies. Goose hunters are still

active in the area as well as muzzleloader deer hunting that came to a close Sunday. A

sunfish over limit case was detected.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a slow end to the muzzle loader season. Cold

temperatures made deer hunting difficult. A few were still out with limited success. Coyote

hunters have started and are hoping for a little more snow. Violations encountered were

trespass, fail to validate deer tag and illegal burning.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports attending training at Camp Ripley as well as

checking a few remaining muzzleloader deer hunters and some ice fishermen. He also

prepared for a few upcoming hearings and worked some late goose hunting activity.

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

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew NW bear den locations, wolf telemetry and pack

counts. Heineman also attended a Pilot meeting and worked on GPS data for the upcoming

moose survey.

 

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) attended the quarterly pilot meeting and worked on

equipment, maintenance, and training matters.

 

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports starting wolf pack count flights. Jensen also flew

pine marten and fisher telemetry flights. Bad weather days allowed for some training issues

to be addressed and to attend the quarterly pilot meeting at Camp Ripley.

 

NR Standby Pilot Brad Maas attended the quarterly pilot meeting. Projects and planning for

the winter season were discussed. With adequate snow already for survey work, it looks to be

a busy winter season. The Tom Pfingsten retirement get together was a chance to celebrate

with former chief pilots and others, the culmination of a great aviation law enforcement

career.

 

17

CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) worked on flight training out of Brainerd airport and

attended the quarterly pilot meeting at Camp Ripley.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO reports are now placed within district reports.

Enforcement Education

Please check the DNR WEB SITE at http://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 http://www.mndnr.gov.

Please check the DNR WEB SITE http://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 http://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

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

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

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.

SCHEDULED INSTRUCTOR TRAINING SESSIONS

If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV

Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador or one of the Advanced Hunter programs, contact

your local Conservation Officer or Regional Safety Training officer. Instructor clinics are

scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR Website.

, 1979 cannot purchase a license to hunt in

, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and

See Also: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/instructors/training.html

18

STAFF NOTES:

SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez attended several meeting over the week. One of them was a

two day meeting of Strategic Planning. A lot of good discussion was embarked upon, with

several common themes were always brought up. Safety Training & Education section has

already had a jump on the topic of streamlining educational programs with fees and ages to

be the same standard across all programs.

NE RTO Shelly Patten worked with Grand Rapids instructors on Firearms Safety issues.

Patten worked on items for Instructor meetings. Patten completed PowerPoint changes for

Snow Safety Instructor training. Patten prepped for Babbitt Snow instructor training. Patten

reviewed ATV Instructor manual updates.

East Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence reviewed snowmobile safety and law updates and

assisted with review of ATV manual updates. RTO Lawrence answered questions on

small game hunting opportunities in the metro area and ice fishing spots good for pan

fish. RTO Lawrence did a law & safety presentation for a youth snowmobile safety class at

the Lindstrom Fire hall that was sponsored by the Chisago County Sheriff’s Dept. and co-
sponsored by the Wild River Snowmobile Club. RTO Lawrence hosted a firearms safety

instructor training class at the Carlos Avery wildlife management office.

Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens last week worked on ATV Youth safety

program material updates. He also responded to inquiries about snowmobile safety and ATV

youth operation questions. Numerous emails and phone calls were answered.

NW RTO Jon Paurus worked on instructor clinic training materials. Equipment maintenance

issues were completed. Time was spent checking fishing and trapping activity.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports holding snowmobile instructor training for traditional

instructors wishing to teach the snowmobile cd classroom and field day. He also scheduled

instructor informational meetings in his area and set dates for firearm safety/hunter education

Instructor certification training. Planning was also done for an upcoming ATV/Snowmobile

Instructor certification clinic.

RTO PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:

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

NE RTO Shelly Patten 218-244-8051 shelly.patten@state.mn.us

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

19

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