WEEKLY CONSERVATION OFFICER REPORT

The pheasant season ends tomorrow in Minnesota.
The pheasant season ends tomorrow in Minnesota.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Division of Enforcement

15011 Highway 115 (Camp Ripley)

Little Falls, MN 56345-4173

Contact: Rich Sprouse

Public Information Officer

800-366-8917, Ext 2511

CONSERVATION OFFICER WEEKLY REPORT

12-30-2013

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) spent time working Lake of the Woods finding moderate to poor angling success with few fish being caught during the cold front. Enforcement action was taken for anglers using too many lines, fishing without a license and possessing illegal length walleyes. Several cases were also encountered where anglers illegally fillet their walleyes and saugers on the lake.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) conducted follow up investigations on a trapping violation and responded to calls of vehicle truck deer, cougar sightings, and taxidermy questions. He patrolled area snowmobile trails and checked area anglers.  Enforcement action for the week included snowmobile registration violations, no state trail permit, no snowmobile safety training, unlawful operation by a juvenile, ATV registration violations, and possession of small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) worked snowmobile and ATV activity on area waters and trails. Anglers were checked on the Red Lake and Thief Rivers. Follow up was conducted on depredation trapping from earlier this year and assistance was provided to the county attorney on an open case.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) checked anglers on Upper Red Lake and special regulation lakes. Upper Red Lake fishing continues to have very good fishing for many anglers. Time was spent monitoring snowmobile trial activity and the trail conditions are very good. Enforcement action for the week included numerous over limits of walleyes, possession of illegal length walleyes, angling with extra lines, wanton waste, numerous license violations and snowmobile registration violations.

CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored fishing and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Anglers are reporting fair fishing on Upper Red Lake and Lake of the Woods despite bitter cold temperatures. One group of out of state anglers were educated when they were found using spring loaded set lines that would set the hook automatically when a fish would bite. Anglers are reminded that these are unlawful. Enforcement action taken during the week included numerous over limits of walleye, illegal length walleye, extra lines, unattended lines, angle without license, 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

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at a snowmobile safety class in Red Lake Falls. Time was also spent working on a litter complaint, checking ice anglers, ATV operators, and snowmobile operators. Violations included no angling license and no spearing license.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) checked anglers, trappers, archery deer hunters and snowmobilers. There was a complaint of dogs chasing deer and multiple wolf questions were answered. He dealt with taxidermist shops and he also assisted Tribal COs and Alaskan officers.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked anglers and snowmobilers in the area. Most snowmobile trails are groomed and in good condition. Ice reports are improving with areas of slush. Caution is advised when traveling on the ice. Work continued on a background investigation.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) monitored ice angling and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. The groomers have been out on the majority of snowmobile trails and they are in good condition. A large number of snowmobilers were seen around Itasca State Park on the few warm days observed during the week.

CO Chris Vinton (Detroit Lakes) reports continuing with a background investigation of a potential new Conservation Officer. A couple of days with temperatures above freezing compacted the snow and caused some snowmobile trails to degrade. Large areas of slush on area lakes have made it difficult for anglers to get around. Fishing was very slow. CO Vinton continues to receive complaints of dog’s possibly chasing deer. Dog owners may be held responsible for dogs chasing deer.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen. Slush is still an issue on many area lakes. Time was also spent working snowmobilers, following up on fishing complaints and snowmobiler and pheasant hunter trespass issues. CO Forsberg also followed up on a complaint of a landowner blocking snowmobile traffic in a road right of way.

WREO Joe Stattelman spent time working on a background investigation.  He also spent time checking fishing activity and following up on ATV complaints.

Moorhead – vacant.

Perham – vacant.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports more ice shelters have been placed on area lakes but angler success is mediocre. Anglers are reminded to identify and license their shelters if they are being left overnight. Violations addressed for the week were related to ice fishing activities.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked fishing and snowmobile enforcement through the week. Fisher continue to be seized as they are caught incidentally. Snowmobile trails took a beating after the warmer temperatures throughout the week. Fishermen are reminded to pick up garbage around their fish houses. Ice conditions vary considerably, slush has been observed on area lakes.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement activity on fishermen, fish houses and fishermen throughout the week. A complaint of ATV’s riding on area snowmobile trails was handled as well as fish overlimit complaints. A snowmobile safety class was also planned for the Grant County area.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) investigated fish over limit and trespass complaints.  Snowmobiling has gotten more difficult with the eroding trail conditions. One fisherman was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked ice fishing activity. Time was spent addressing extra lines, fish over-limits, and unattended lines. Snowmobiling activity really picked up with the addition of more snow and groomed trails. Snowmobile registration issues as well as illegal exhaust pipes were addressed.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) spent time checking angling and spearing activity on area lakes, noting that Lake Osakis is receiving record setting fishing pressure. Additional time was spent checking ATV and snowmobile operators and the remaining hunting and trapping seasons were monitored. Work was completed on a background investigation assignment.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on predator hunting activity, snowmobilers and ice anglers. Ice conditions remain good on area lakes. Anglers are still catching a few panfish and walleyes. Anderson reports area snowmobile trails are not groomed and need additional snow before that can happen. Calls were fielded regarding questions related to predator hunting, ice fishing and snowmobiling.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports area snowmobile trails have still not been groomed due to the small amount of snow on the ground. Enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, ATV, and snowmobile operators. Fishing success around the area has dwindled but ice conditions on most lakes are good. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license in possession, no fishing license, fishing with extra lines; fail to display ATV and no snowmobile registration.

Wheaton – vacant.

District 4 – Wadena area

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) responded to snowmobile complaints and monitored trail activity. Ice anglers are reporting slush and relatively thin ice conditions. Officer Oldakowski received reports of coyote hunters trespassing by running hounds through property without permission.

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused enforcement efforts this past week on ice fishing and snowmobile activity. He also assisted local volunteer instructors with a snowmobile safety class. As always, a job well done by the students, as well as the volunteer instructors, who are willing to donate their time to assist youth with obtaining their safety certificates.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check anglers and snowmobiles in the area. Slush continues to be a formidable opponent to travel on small lakes. Slush pockets are present on large lakes like Winnie, Cass, and Leech but to a lesser extent due to the wind-blown surface.  All areas on lakes containing deep snow and slush are creating extremely variable ice conditions. Up to 16 inches of ice has been reported in some areas. Use of motor vehicles on ice will continue to be risky for the foreseeable future. Enforcement action was taken for spearing without a license, angling without a license in possession, unregistered snowmobiles and ATV’s, operating an ATV on the roadway, and operating an ATV with a juvenile not wearing a helmet.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on trapping, snowmobiling, and ice angling activity. Slush continues to limit travel on area lakes; however, many snowmobiles were seen hitting the trails. Snowmobile trails are in poor condition and in need of new snowfall. CO Broughten investigated a complaint of an over limit of fish. CO Broughten also handled a call of an accidental caught fisher.

CO Colleen Adam (OHV Recreation Officer – Park Rapids) spent the week checking snowmobile, trapping and fishing activities. Trails are groomed and many are out enjoying them. Reminder trail stickers are required for residents and non-residents. Common violations included operating on the roadway, registration, and trail sticker issues.

CO Shane Siltala (Water Resource Enforcement Officer) spent time monitoring local snowmobiling activity. Officer Siltala also reviewed and updated ongoing wetland cases.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) spent time assisting Ontario MNR in regards to a moose being illegally shot in Ontario and then transported into Minnesota. An orphaned bobcat kit was cared for and was eventually transported to Garrison Animal Hospital for care and recovery. Snowmobile activity increasing with school Christmas break occurring.  People are reminded to have current registration displayed on snowmobiles.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports weekend rain followed by temps of -20 kept outdoor activities to a minimum. Very little snowmobile activity noted.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports extreme cold, followed by a couple warm days, followed by extreme cold again has kept outdoor recreation down to a minimum. A few snowmobiles and cross country skiers were observed using the area trails on the warmer days. Ice fishing has been poor and very few anglers were observed.

CO Dan Starr (Tower) worked on fishing, snowmobiling, and administrative items. Slush is still a problem on lakes, with a few people venturing out. Snowmobilers are found, when weather allows. A deer was released from a fox snare. The deer was caught by the hind hoof and held perfectly still for the CO to cut the cable.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) followed up on a TIP call where an inexperienced deer hunter purchased an archery deer license and took a deer with the license on the same day. Some crappies and bluegills are being caught but anglers remain wary of lakes with large amounts of slush on them. Follow up investigation is being worked on regarding the illegal cutting of spruce tops.

Ray – vacant.

I. Falls # 2 – vacant.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports more snow and very cold weather arrived along with freezing rain that lasted most of Saturday. Before the change many residents and visitors took advantage of the mild weather and took to the lakes, although few anglers had anything to show for their efforts. Trail conditions were still good and high snowmobile activity was seen. Violations included operating an unregistered snowmobile, and no fishing license in possession.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked snowmobiles and fishermen and found the slush to be the thing most people are talking about. The snowmobile trails have greatly improved, but are still a little rough. Fishing has been slow, but a few people are doing well. Calls have come in about the trout seasons and the law says the BWCAW opens on January 1st, but the lakes along on the Canadian border, inside the BWCAW, like Basswood, aren’t open till the 4th of January.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports he had a close call with a hole in the ice created from water coming up because of all the snow weighing down on the ice. The CO saw a trail marker on Devil Track Lake leaning over. When he went to put the marker sign back up he began to slide into a bowl created by the moving water. He was able to use the sign post in his hands to keep him from sliding into the open hole. The hole was large enough to swallow an ATV or snowmobile. We always hear that ice is never safe and this is truly an example of that. There was 15 inches of good ice in the area. The CO was comforted by the fact he had his ice picks handy in case he went for a winter swim. This should serve as a good reminder to anyone who uses the state’s frozen waters to always be aware of potential dangers.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked cross country ski passes and found less than 20 percent of skiers had current passes. The officer also checked anglers and lakes, and found fishing taking a back seat to concerns about slush and ice conditions. CO Manning patrolled snowmobile trails, responded to a complaint of an injured bobcat and answered questions about use of forest road snowmobile trails by loggers.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily snowmobile and fishing enforcement throughout the week. The snowmobile activity greatly increased over the last week. Violations included expired snowmobile registration, snowmobile speed, no state trail sticker, failure to stop at road crossing, improper display of registration, no helmet on youths, operating ATVs on snowmobile trails, and no ID on unattended fish house. A collared pine marten was also picked up from a trapper on an incidental catch.

Silver Bay – vacant.

Two Harbors – vacant.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) investigated and picked up a dead wolf that died of exposure due to mange.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobile activity and investigated trapping complaints. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration issues and untagged traps.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobile activity in the area with a busy holiday week. Many non-residents have been traveling to Minnesota to take advantage of our early season snow. CO Sutherland also gave a law talk at a youth snowmobile safety class.  Ice conditions are slowly improving with the cold weather. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license and not having a shelter tag on a fish house left on the ice overnight unattended.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobile trails and small game hunters. He also handled trapping complaints during the week. Slush is still a problem on area lakes.

CO John Velsvaag (Region II ATV officer) followed up on a snaring complaint and a complaint of snowmobiles speeding through ice fishermen. CO Velsvaag also checked snowmobilers and took several calls on the end of the wolf season.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked snowmobile trails in the area. Warm weather and plenty of snow brought out riders in force. Trails have plenty of snow and were in great condition early in the week. With the warm weather and heavy use, trails got a little rough over the weekend. Enforcement contacts were focused on registration and speed. Officer Schmidt assisted the Floodwood Savannah Drifters Snowmobile Club with their annual snowmobile safety class.

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) spent most of the week was spent checking and working snowmobile trail enforcement. Please remember that when you are checking your snowmobile over before the maiden voyage to be sure to include both current registration and GIA trail stickers are up to date. Time was also spent working a few remaining archery hunters. Assistance was also given to several motorists that had gone off of the road because of icy conditions due to recent bad weather.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) starting working on a background investigation for a possible new hire as a Conservation Officer. Time was also spent working snowmobile enforcement on area trails. Several violations were encountered with license registration being the most common. Officer Duncan assisted the local Sheriff’s Department with a felony arrest for burglary and fleeing police officers.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked snowmobilers in the Duluth area. The warmer temps had many riders out putting on miles. He assisted the St. Louis Co. Sheriff’s Office with the apprehension of a burglary suspected driving a stolen motor vehicle. Fishing in the bay has slowed and become hit or miss during the week.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked snowmobiles on local trails. Several violations were found for unregistered sleds, modified exhaust, and failure to transfer title at the time of sale.  Questions were answered about the wintertime health of the deer herd. Enforcement action taken for snowmobile violations.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) spent most of the week on snowmobile monitoring snowmobilers and checking anglers. More fish houses are showing up as lake slush is freezing up. Some snowmobilers argued that water-skipping over deep water wasn’t dangerous even as they left fresh tracks leading to the water’s edge for unsuspecting snowmobilers to follow. They were informed they could argue it in front of the judge.

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers are out in full force and report the walleye bite is fair. The ice conditions are unpredictable and treacherous with a few patches of open and large areas of slush and a few pressure ridges reported on area lakes. Reports of numerous fish houses out on lakes and stuck in and frozen in the slush. He worked on trapping issues and reports of accidental fisher and illegal snares. The archery deer hunters report was poor but they continue to enjoy winter hunting. He worked with neighboring CO Tischler checking anglers and snowmobiles. Complaints of unlicensed and no identification on fish houses were reported.

CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week that were out taking advantage of the nice weather. Officer Lee received a call of a swan that had been shot with an arrow and was still alive on the ice. Officer Lee upon arrival on scene was able to identify the swan as a domesticated goose species. The goose was dispatched, and further investigation into the incident is continuing. Officer Lee worked on a background investigation of a possible candidate for the upcoming Conservation Officer Academy. Officer Lee also received a call of an overdue snowmobiler in the fridge temperatures. After searching for a period of time, the party finally made it back to their residence and was suffering from frostbite and exposure to the cold temperatures.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked fishing, trapping and snowmobile activity during the week. Two anglers face possible trespass charges when the officer happened upon them after they walked by a No Trespassing sign.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked snowmobile enforcement. A background investigation was started on a candidate seeking employment as a State Conservation Officer. Officer Guida received a call from a trapper who had accidentally caught a fisher out of season. The fisher had a transmitter around its neck and was part of a research project out of Camp Ripley.

CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored ice angling, snowmobiling, and ski and winter biking activity in and around the state rec. area.

McGregor – vacant.

Pine River – vacant.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking a few fishermen on Mille Lacs Lake. The Officer found there are still areas of slush and only a few fish were seen. A lot of snowmobile activity was seen throughout the Malmo station over the week. The trails were holding up fairly well even with the warmer temperatures. Calls regarding car kill deer permits and also wolf depredation questions were fielded during the week. Several trapping related complaints were investigated and a few collector snowmobile permits were issued. Lots of fishing, trapping and snowmobile law related questions were fielded during the week. Enforcement action for the week included various snowmobile and trapping related violations.

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) monitored fishing activity on Mille Lacs Lake; people are venturing further out on the ice. The lake had a good amount of slush on top of the ice in various areas. The warm weather was inviting and snowmobiling activity increased. Enforcement action was taken for not affixing a tag to a deer, angling without a license, unattended line through the ice and using game fish as bait.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked fishermen and trappers during the week. Fishing has remained sluggish throughout the week and weekend. Some areas have produced decent pan fishing. Parties trapping bobcat have said it was relatively slow this year and blamed it on the snow. Many lakes are still experiencing problems with deep slush pockets. A number of people report getting stuck with ATVs and snowmobiles. Time was also spent assisting with a snowmobile class teaching laws and regulations.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent time patrolling area lakes and snowmobile trails. Ice conditions have slowly improved and fishing pressure has increased despite the deep snow and some slush on area lakes. Snowmobiling activity continued to be high and most area trails have been groomed. A snowmobile safety class was held and about 30 youth received their safety certificates.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent a majority of the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. He spent time answering questions about trapping and ice conditions. Ice conditions around the Pine City area range from 8-15 inches. Some slush was seen on the lakes prior to the cold snap.

Onamia – vacant.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) did a lake aeration system inspection and checked local anglers with ice thicknesses still varying quite a bit from area to area.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) handled a trespass complaint. Angling and snowmobiling activities were checked. CO Friese worked on background investigations.

WREO Keith Bertram spent the week checking fishermen and snowmobilers. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, extra lines, and untagged trap. An incidental fisher was seized from a trapper and wetland cases were also closed.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) patrolled area snowmobile trails only to find very little activity except for one person that failed to display registration, exceeded the speed limit and operating on a public highway.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) spent most working hours on the ice. With conditions and weather the number of anglers out was the highest the officer has seen this early in the season. Many of those anglers were having some better than average panfish bite.  The officer also worked snowmobile activity in the area.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked area lakes all week. CO Mies checked anglers out over the holiday season. CO Mies checked sleds and ATVs in Stearns and Wright counties.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) had a busy weekend with the warm weather. Every lake in the area was busy with anglers and snowmobilers enjoying the outdoors. The fishing was pretty good in the area with a lot pike taken on tip-ups and for the snowmobilers, the snowmobiling on the lakes was fair, but the trails were down to dirt by Saturday afternoon. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, unattended lines, no shelter license, and snowmobile and ATV registration violations.

CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) received a TIP call of an archery hunter in a “closed to hunting” area in the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. Upon arrival the hunter was pulling out a large buck, which resulted in the seizure of the deer and a citation being issued. Officer Londgren also checked snowmobiles, ice fishermen, and followed up on dogs chasing deer complaints.

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a lot of fishing and snowmobiling activity in the area over the holiday week. The warm weather during the week had fishermen out in large numbers. The snowmobile trails were busy over the weekend even with some areas of the trials being a little thin with snow. CO Langevin also received several trapping complaints during the week.

Cambridge – vacant.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked bow and small game hunters in the metro wildlife management areas. He checked ice fishermen, worked snowmobilers, and responded to injured animal calls. Violations included no angling license in possession, tip-up more than 200 feet away from angler, and vehicle without a state park permit.

Bloomington – vacant.

Prior Lake – vacant.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) responded to an injured deer, handled TIP calls, and investigated several snowmobile complaints. CO Arntzen continued monitoring recreational vehicle use and checking anglers. Enforcement action for the week included registration violations, no fishing license in possession, and angling with extra lines.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers in Dakota and Scott counties. He patrolled for snowmobile and ATV activity around area trails and lakes. CO Pril also responded to injured animal calls.

WREO Adam Block (Metro) continued work on an employment background investigation. Time was also spent finishing an investigation from the deer season and a case regarding aquatic vegetation removal. Cases related to recent wetland work were also reviewed.

CO Amber Peterson (Maplewood) reports checking several anglers seeing more success this past week. One young angler landed a mudpuppy while CO Peterson was checking licenses. CO Peterson also spent time patrolling local snowmobile trails as there were several folks out enjoying the warm weather.

Eagan – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) checked ice fishermen, coyote hunters, and pheasant hunters. Time was also spent working snowmobile enforcement. Warm temperatures later in the week have deteriorated groomed snowmobile trails. Investigations were done on trespassing issues dealing with coyote and pheasant hunters. The law and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class was taught in the vacant Redwood Falls station.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) assisted Officer Miska in working Big Stone Lake with a focus on perch anglers. He also spent time patrolling Lac qui Parle and Oliver. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of angling and fish house concerns.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ice anglers, pheasant hunters, deer investigations, and sleds. Angling success seems to have slowed. Enforcement action was taken for firearms and license/registration violations.

CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) spent much of the week checking ice anglers, with enforcement taken for a variety of infractions. The officer also began background investigations on CO applicants. Snowmobile trails in the area remain in poor condition due to lack of snow.

WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) followed up on WCA cases in Big Stone and Redwood Counties. Two WCA restoration orders were issued in Renville County.

Benson – vacant.

Madison – vacant.

Redwood Falls – vacant.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week.  She followed up on a case involving a turkey that was shot from the road and left near Fort Ridgely Park. A shining complaint was also investigated. CO Mueller spoke at a snowmobile safety class in Buffalo Lake.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) investigated a possible cougar attack involving a horse. He also certified ginseng shipments. CO Nelson spent the rest of the week on angling, trapping and predator hunting enforcement and equipment maintenance.

CO Jason Beckmann (Windom) spent the week following up on investigations, snowmobile activity, sport fishing, and pheasant hunters. Ice anglers reported a slow bite with many lakes only producing very small walleyes.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) patrolled Jackson County continuing to work small and big game seasons. Ice fishermen continue to venture out on area lakes and the Des Moines River with limited success on perch and walleye. Gruhlke patrolled area grant-in-aide snowmobile trails too. Investigated a trespass complaint relating to pheasant hunting and assisted the county Sheriff’s Department with an abandoned snowmobile on the ice of Des Moines River.

Litchfield – vacant.

Willmar #1 – vacant.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked angling and snowmobile activity. Calls were responded to, aeration system checks were begun, and an interview was given at a local radio station on ice safety, trail conditions, and aeration system awareness.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling and snowmobile activity. More snowmobile riders have made their way to the trails with the recent snowfall. Calls from the public were also handled. Enforcement action was taken on snowmobile, angling, and fish house violations.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) completed aeration inspections. Ice anglers were checked on area lakes. Snowmobile activity remains low due to the poor snow cover. A possible violation from the deer season is being investigated.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked ATV, snowmobile, small game, big game, and angling activity during the week. Complaints from landowners regarding trespassing were received and charges pending. Numerous calls were also handled from the public.

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week checking pheasant and coyote hunters. A littering complaint and illegal dumping case were investigated. Requests from the public for information were returned, and car killed deer possession permits issued.

Albert Lea – vacant.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) worked some ice fishing, trapping and outstanding deer season investigations. The nice weather has brought people out on both snowmobiles and fish houses to enjoy the winter conditions.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking coyote hunters. Success has varied but there seems to be no lack in coyote numbers. A few bow hunters have been out with some success. Snowmobile riders have started to come out. The best riding has been in the ditches. Time was also spent on a trespass case and follow up from the deer seasons.

CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports a good week for area fishermen. Plenty of bluegill, crappie, perch and sauger were found during routine license checks. Area snowmobile trails were in poor shape due to the warm weather and snow melt down. Coyote hunters continue to have good success. Enforcement included angling with extra lines, no fish license in possession and unregistered ATV.

CO Phil George (Rochester) spent the week checking snowmobile operators, anglers, and a few archery deer hunters. Officer George took complaints of litter and followed up on corn placed during the feed ban. Enforcement action was taken for angling without licenses.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports heavy fishing pressure with poor success. He also checked some small game and deer hunters. He was called out on Christmas morning for a complaint of somebody shooting from a car on the roadway at 5:45 am. He continues to investigate deer hunting complaints.

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week and weekend checking angling and snowmobile activity. The trails in the area are in rough shape and in need of snow. Fishing success has been very poor with very few fish seen in people’s possession. Some fishing violations were detected.

Rochester #2 – vacant.

Training Section

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

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Don Murray (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobile activity and took care of aircraft maintenance items during the week. Ice conditions on area lakes have made for difficult operations with the ski aircraft in slush conditions.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf telemetry and pack counts. He witnessed a wolf pack hunt from start to the end with a deer being taken down by two wolfs. He had seen many times that deer are all around the wolf and or pack but don’t seem to be too worried until they go into the hunt mode.

NR Standby Pilot Brad Maas gave maps and information to State Patrol at Roseville, and he assisted in moving helicopters to Ely for the moose survey to begin on the 2nd.

CO Pilot Bob Geving flew support flights for fishing and predator hunting activities.

CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) continued flight training.

NR pilot Luke Ettl (Grand Rapids) supported getting the helicopters to Ely for moose survey flights.

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, 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.

SCHEDULED INSTRUCTOR TRAINING SESSIONS

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

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

STAFF NOTES:

Northwest RTO Jon Paurus responded to questions regarding upcoming volunteer instructor forums. A background investigation for a potential CO candidate was started. Time was spent preparing instructor materials for training clinics.

Northeast RTO Shelly Patten taught a snowmobile safety class in Northome. Ten kids were certified and four new instructors also got certified to teach snowmobile safety.

East Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence reviewed training materials for instructor safety training meeting updates and annual spring in-service training lesson plans. RTO Lawrence worked on display items for upcoming sport shows. RTO Lawrence scheduled training for instructors for late winter and early spring of 2014. RTO Lawrence answered snowmobile questions pertaining to law changes and fishing opportunities in area lakes.

Southwest Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez continued to receive phone calls regarding snowmobile operation and snowmobile safety certification inquiries. The RTO has also gotten several volunteer instructors registered for the safety training forums coming up around the metro area.

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

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