FROM THE DNR: Weekly Conservation Officer Report

From the DNR2

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





District 1 – Baudette area


CO Ben Huener (Roseau) was joined by CO’s Woinarowicz, Gorecki, Schottenbauer, Kahre, and Lt. Znajda checking anglers on Lake of the Woods. Assistance was given at the Northwest Angle to Officers from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources with a case involving US Citizens taking too many crappies from Ontario waters. Charges are pending.  Other violations encountered included angling with extra lines and possessing illegal length walleyes.


CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) investigated the unlawful taking of two bobcats and an otter, resulting in the seizure of all three pelts. Woinarowicz spoke at the Elk Hunt Orientation for the 4th and final elk hunt of the 2013-14 northwest seasons. An enforcement detail was worked with multiple officers at the Northwest Angle. Multiple violations were encountered and illegal fished seized. Enforcement action for the week included unlawful taking of otter, angle with extra line, angling without a license, possess dressed fillets on special regulation lake, and snowmobile registration and trail permit violations.


CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) checked anglers on area rivers and on Lake of the Woods. Anglers reported a slow bite with most anglers having a few sauger and perch. Area trails and waters were worked for snowmobile activity. CO Warren assisted the state patrol with multiple crashes.


CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) checked anglers on Upper Red Lake and special regulation lakes. Upper Red Lake fishing success has slowed with the cold weather. A TIP report was investigated and time was spent monitoring snowmobile trial activity. The trail conditions are still very good. A car kill deer possession permit was issued and enforcement action was taken for license violations.


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 Crookston this week. Time was also spent completing work on a bear and deer cases from past hunting seasons. Anglers, ATV operators, and snowmobile operators were also checked. Various angling and snowmobile violations were found.


CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) monitored snowmobiling, trapping, angling and predator hunting activities. He also participated in a planning of the upcoming MnUSA Winter Rendezvous snowmobile ride. A break in the cold weather inspired people to enjoy the outdoors.


CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and snowmobilers. He also answered questions related to fur.


CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked fishermen and patrolled snowmobiles throughout the week. CO Vollbrecht spoke with a local Boy Scout troop regarding the career of a conservation officer.  The Boy Scouts were working on earning there conservation belt loop. CO Vollbrecht worked with CO Holt on Upper Red Lake over the weekend. The weather conditions were excellent and several people were out enjoying the warm up. Time was spent on a background investigation. A college student road along with the officer for a day to learn more about the DNR.


CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) monitored area snowmobiling and angling activity throughout the week. Activity picked up over the recent warm weekend. Time was spent assisting the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office in teaching a snowmobile safety class to about 20 kids. Officer Holt also worked a busy day on Upper Red Lake with Officer Vollbrecht. A complaint was received of snowmobiles operating on cross country ski trails, hiking trails and other unauthorized areas within Itasca State Park. Enforcement activity for the week included no angling or spearing license in possession, transporting fish fillets without a 1 square inch patch of skin with scales intact, and angling with extra lines.


CO Chris Vinton (Detroit Lakes) reports assisting CO Troy Richards with a youth snowmobile safety class, investigating a TIP of unattended lines and extra lines. CO Vinton patrolled for snowmobile activity but with the very warm weather near the end of the week, trail conditions have seen some wear. CO Vinton continued with a background investigation.


CO Al Peterson (Osage) patrolled the area for snowmobile and angling activity.  He also continued work on a background investigation for a Conservation Officer applicant.


CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen and snowmobilers. Trails are in poor condition and more snow is needed. Time was also spent assisting Fergus Falls with snowmobile safety class, tagging furs for area trappers, working predator hunters and followed up on fishing complaints.


WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week working on a CO Academy candidate background investigation. Time was also spent closing out open WCA and PW cases.


Moorhead – vacant.


Perham – vacant.


District 3 – Fergus Falls area


CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) held a snowmobile safety class in Fergus Falls over the weekend. Richards was assisted by CO’s Plautz, Forsberg, and Vinton for the event. Trail conditions in the area are in need of additional snowfall. Richards spoke to students at the Fergus Falls High School about a career as a CO. The warm weather over the end of the week brought out many anglers. Violations addressed for the week included snowmobile, ice fishing and shelter issues.


CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) assisted CO Richards with a snowmobile safety class in Fergus Falls. Plautz continues to work on a background investigation for a possible CO candidate. Plautz worked snowmobile activity and focused much enforcement on fishing activity during the warmer weather. Plautz investigated a deer that was shot north of Parkers Prairie over the weekend. Anyone with information relating to this poaching case is encouraged to call the MN TIP hotline or officer Plautz.


CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement efforts checking ice fishermen, shelters and snowmobilers. Snowmobiling conditions have deteriorated due to warm weather.  Additional time was spent checking on ATV complaints, aeration inspections and injured animal complaints.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen and snowmobilers. After the weather warmed up, several more fishermen were out but the fish weren’t cooperating. Osborne is still running into fish houses that don’t have the proper identification as required. Litter around fish houses is still a problem and enforcement action will be taken if it’s not cleaned up.


CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent most of last week on the ice monitoring fishermen.  Activity remains high on the Alex Chain, Lakes Ida, Darling and Miltona. Additional time was spent investigating a deer poaching case near Miltona with CO Johanson. ATV registration and bait dumping violations were handled as well.


CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued working fishing and spearing activity on area lakes, mainly Lake Osakis, where the fishing pressure rivals most fishing tournaments on any given day. Johanson estimates there was around 1,000 people fishing the north end of the lake last Saturday alone. Several fishing complaints including over-limits are under investigation in the area. Additional time was spent working snowmobile, ATV, and predator hunting activity. Work continues on a deer poaching investigation and on a background investigation for a possible new hire.


CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on snowmobiling, ice fishing and predator hunting. Anderson assisted with an ice fishing work crew on Lake Minnewaska.   The officer attended Records Management System meetings in St. Paul. Calls were fielded on predator hunting, snowmobiling and ice fishing questions.


CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, ATV, and snowmobile operators. Time was also spent checking predator hunters, and answering calls about shelter marking requirements. Baumbarger along with CO’s VanderWeyst, Anderson, Osborne, and Lt. Shelden had a work crew checking fishermen on Lakes Minnewaska and Reno. Enforcement action was taken for various fish house marking violations, fishing without a license, fishing with extra lines, and fishing with unattended lines.


Wheaton – vacant.


District 4 – Wadena area


CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) continued working on a background investigation of a Conservation Officer candidate. He assisted another officer in drafting and executing a search warrant related to big game violations and checked anglers, snowmobilers and dark house spear fishermen. Areas of slush still exist on some lakes. Enforcement activities included ice shelter ID and license violations, snowmobile registration and safety certificate violations, and angling without a license in possession.


CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) monitored snowmobile and angling activity during the week.  She also responded to a snowmobile accident where the operator of the machine was thrown from it and landed 25 feet past where the snowmobile hit a group of mature trees. He was transported to a Bemidji hospital by ambulance.


CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) responded to several complaints of vehicles driving on snowmobile trails. Snowmobiling and ice angling activity increased with the nice weather.  Enforcement action was taken on a trapper that brought a fisher into the bobcat/otter registration.


CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on ice fishing and snowmobile activity. He responded to an inquiry for information regarding nonresident youth hunting grouse and referred an incidentally taken bobcat to a Tribal CO. Officer Sommers also assisted the Longville CO with an over limit case.


CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check anglers and noted activity remains low due to the difficulty of travel on area lakes. Ice thickness is improving with some resorts plowing roads. CO Mathy also assisted DNR Wildlife staff with fur registration. Enforcement action was taken for angling with a combination license while not married.


CO Larry Francis (Remer) reports that there was a significant amount of snowmobile activity this past weekend and more ice fishing was seen than in weeks past. Lake access is still questionable with quite a bit of slush still present. Enforcement action was taken for failing to display snowmobile registration, no insurance on a motor vehicle, driving after suspension, no license in possession, failing to submit wolf for inspection, and failing to tag.


CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on snowmobiling and ice angling activity. Ice thickness continues to vary by location. Snowmobile trails are in very poor condition and in need of new snow. Angling success varied. CO Broughten was assisting Cass County Officer on a separate complaint when it became evident the anglers he was questioning may be over the limit of sunfish. CO Broughten with assistance from CO Sommers investigated further and found the two anglers had approximately 100 sunfish in their possession. Fish were seized and enforcement action was taken. CO Broughten also assisted with fur registration. Enforcement action included no angling license in possession, failure to skin otter prior to fur registration, and over limit of sunfish.


CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) registered fur for trappers and monitored ice fishing and snowmobile activity. He also received a TIP regarding a musky taken by spear/out of season.  Enforcement contacts were made for trespass, failing to display registration, extra line, and no ID on fish house.


CO Colleen Adam (OHV Recreation Officer – Park Rapids) monitored trapping activity, assisted at fur tagging day, and checked area trails and lakes. The weather has taken a much appreciated break from the subzero temperatures allowing more people to venture out of winter hibernation. Snowmobile trails were understandably busy with some wearing little more than a sweatshirt on Sunday while out enjoying the trails. Ice fishing activity is getting better with the slush layer freezing on more lakes. Snowmobile registration and trail stickers are a must before venturing onto the state and grant-in-aid trails.


CO Shane Siltala (Water Resource Enforcement Officer) continued to monitor local ice angling activity and provide AIS education to anglers. Snowmobiling activity picked up over the weekend with the mild weather. He met with the County Attorney regarding a criminal citation for an AIS violation. He also participated in a wolf presentation for 3rd graders at a local elementary school and addressed equipment repair issues.


District 5 – Eveleth area


CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the area snowmobile trails are in quite good shape and there were a few sleds enjoying the good trail conditions and warmer weather. A neighboring officer was assisted on a couple issues. Nuisance animal complaints were handled. Fishing remains poor.


CO Dan Starr (Tower) monitored fishing and snowmobiling. Some perch and small walleyes are showing up. Snowmobilers are reminded to check registration before going out. Assistance was given to the State Patrol on an unsafe traffic situation, which resulted in violations for illegal operation of an unregistered snowmobile.


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, spearers, snowmobilers, investigated a deer hunting after revocation case, a complaint of illegal deer possession, and registered otter and bobcat pelts at fur registration day. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, no license in possession, no shelter license; trapping without a license, fail to check snares daily, and snowmobile violations of registration, operation and speed.


CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time checking anglers and snowmobilers. With warmer weather, high numbers of hopeful anglers were seen on area lakes. Area snowmobile trails were extremely busy over the weekend. High numbers of snowmobilers neglected to purchase current registration and trail stickers before heading out. Some trappers were checked and enforcement action was taken for untagged traps and failure to remove traps at the end of the season.


CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked fur tagging in Eveleth with a few otter and bobcats registered. One individual was found to have used his otter tag to registers another’s otter. He received a complaint of found snares with a bobcat partially eaten by wolves. The snare owner was located and interviewed and found to be over limit on bobcat. Time was also spent working snowmobiles and ATV’s on trails and lakes. Violations of expired and un-registered machines were found.


Ray – vacant.


I. Falls # 2 – vacant.


District 6 – Two Harbors area


CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports much warmer weather arrived just in time for the weekend opening up a lot more of the area which many residents and visitors took advantage of. Snowmobile and fishing activity doubled with the temperatures and many of the trails have been worked hard. Violations included, unmarked ice shelter, no license in possession, aluminum beverage containers in the BWCA

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked fishermen and snowmobiles over the weekend. Lots of people out and about, and fishing was fair to good for many. Watch out for the bad ice areas and put your snowmobile registration on according to state law. If it’s in the wrong spot, you will get stopped.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that the conditions for the upcoming trout opener should be close to excellent. There are some pockets of slush, but most of it is gone due to the frigid weather. Many of the lakes have 14-18 inches of good ice. The CO checked a few snowmobilers and anglers during the week, but the overall activity has been a little slow.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled GIA and state snowmobile trails. Deep snow off trail means that many four legged critters are using the trails to move about. A gray wolf seen by the officer was reluctant to yield the trail and take the plunge into the snow. Sled drivers are advised to watch for them as well as other sledders. Manning also checked ski passes and area lakes and anglers.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports a busy weekend with the warmer weather. Enforcement action was taken for felony fleeing on snowmobiles as well as other snowmobile, angling, and BWCA violations throughout the week.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent most of the working from his patrol snowmobile. The officer monitored snowmobile trails and check anglers on area lakes. Cross country skiers were checked, equipment maintenance was completed and trout lakes in the BWCA were monitored.


Silver Bay – vacant.


Two Harbors – vacant.


District 7 – Grand Rapids area


CO Randy Patten (Northome) attended a meeting with DNR Forestry, assisted with fur tagging, checked anglers, and patrolled area snowmobile trails.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled area lakes for angling and spearing activity. He patrolled local trails for snowmobile activity, and answered numerous wildlife calls. CO Hansen also assisted with a snowmobile safety class in Marcell. Snowmobile trails are in good shape and are being groomed regularly

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) patrolled the area snowmobile trails, checked anglers, assisted with fur registration, worked the dog sled race in the Northome Station and assisted with an over limit investigation in the Hill City Station. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration on ATV, failure to display registration on snowmobile, no angling license in possession, no spearing license in possession, possess over limit of fish and possess illegal length northern pike.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) worked on a division backgrounds this past week. Conservation Officer Candidates are currently in the background stage of the hiring process. She also talked to some local anglers who had concerns about ice conditions and the abundance of dog fish in the area. Activity outdoors has picked up recently with the heat wave. Continue to be cautious when on the ice. She also did a radio interview.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy week of ice angling activity and snowmobiling work with improved ice conditions on area lakes. CO Sutherland took enforcement action for angling without a license, snowmobiling over the speed limit, failing to register a snowmobile, operating a snowmobile the wrong direction after sunset in the road-right-of-way. One group of small game hunters decided to drive their SUV down a snowmobile trail and get buried cutting off the trail to sleds over the weekend. Luckily for them a group of snowmobilers helped them get turned around and back off the trail. A citation was written for operating a road vehicle on a snowmobile trail. Trapping activity was also worked and enforcement action was taken for illegally possessed furbearers.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, trappers snowmobile and ski trails. He also worked a special snowmobile project in St. Louis County during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working snowmobile and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for operating an unregistered snowmobile, failure to transfer ownership and operating snowmobile without a helmet. A fishing investigation involved an over limit of fish and angling without a license.

CO John Velsvaag (Region II ATV officer) checked snowmobilers and anglers this past week. Lots of snowmobilers out this past weekend with the moderation in temperature.  CO Velsvaag also attended a meeting in Grand Rapids and addressed problems at a fur registration station.

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) checked anglers, dark house spearers and bait on infested and on other district waters. Northern pike harvest appears steady, with some anglers driving full-sized trucks across frozen slush fields to fish. Unfortunately not all the slush is frozen. Perch and panfish angling success continues. Arhart also assisted at the Deer River fur registration day. Many more otter than bobcats registered. Snowmobile trails and trail crossings were monitored and patrolled. Sn Snowmobiler compliance was very good. Wetland Conservation Act and protected waters -open cases were tracked and some wetland cases were reopened.


District 8 – Duluth area


CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the majority of the week working on a background investigation for a possible new hire as a Conservation Officer. Duncan also returned several calls, investigated a litter complaint on an area lake, and responded to an injured owl call.


CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports local snowmobile trails remain in very good shape throughout the area. There is however still some slushy areas on a few lakes that is still making travel to and from favorite fishing areas difficult. Compliance with snowmobile registration, display of registration and violations of speed limits has improved. Time was also spent preparing for a few upcoming court cases.


CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) reports working ice angling and snowmobile activity throughout the week. Snowmobile activity was heavy at times. Trail conditions were good to excellent. Anglers were reporting fair to good catches on crappies, sunfish, and northern pike. Ice conditions have improved with some vehicular traffic observed. CO Humphrey attended fur registration at the Cloquet Wildlife office. Violations for angling, snowmobile operation/registration, and trapping were encountered. A report of an injured deer was received.


CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports lots of snowmobile activity in the area. A trespassing complaint was worked where snowmobiles are trespassing onto an agriculture field. Other enforcement activity consisted of speed, no safety certificate, and registration violations.  Assistance was given at the last fur tagging day for bobcat and otter. Assistance was also given to a neighboring officer in releasing a wolf that was incidentally caught in a trap. An ongoing investigation into an illegally taken bear is being worked.


CO Mike Scott (NE MN WREO) attended meetings in St. Paul reference some new computer equipment and vendor for the Enforcement Division. A background investigation was ongoing by talking to employers and others on a prospective Conservation Officer Candidate. CO Scott staffed an Aquatic Invasive Species and Terrestrial Invasive Species booth at the St. Paul River Center Boat and Sports Show on Saturday and Sunday. Information was exchange with event goers on AIS issues, new and older AIS laws, as well as issues about terrestrial invasive species and general hunting and fishing questions.


Lake Superior Marine Unit


Sgt. Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked snowmobile traffic in the Duluth area. Anglers checked along the North Shore and on inland lakes. The milder temps over the weekend had many outdoor enthusiasts taking advantage of the break from the bitter temps.


CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked snowmobiles and ice anglers. Ice fishing picked up for a few days on Agate Bay in Two Harbors, where several ice houses were seen on the ice. A 60-year old local angler reported using a snow shovel to try to move some of the snow and gain access at the public launch. Salmon and lake trout were seen in the bag before much of the ice broke up with a change in the wind. Snowmobiles were worked on area trails, with violations of registration, speed, trail stickers, helmets on juveniles, and transfer of title were handled. Enforcement actions were taken for angling and snowmobile violations.


District 9 – Brainerd area


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. He and CO Haberman responded to Big Sandy Lake and assisted a group of anglers whose vehicle had broken thru the ice and was stuck.


CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity included inspection of fish houses on area lakes for marking and licensing requirements, and checking fishing, cross country ski, and snowmobile activity. Numerous contacts were made for fish house licensing and ID violations, miscellaneous snowmobile registration and operation violations, and fishing violations.


CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked fishermen, trappers and snowmobilers. He also took questions on the local radio station, assisted with fur registration and attended deer committee meetings.

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on a litter complaint from ice anglers. He checked other anglers who reported a slow bite; the pan fish anglers have had the best luck. He assisted the local Sheriff’s Dept. with fish house burglaries on Gull. He checked snowmobiles on the trails and on the lakes. Violations he observed were speed, expired registration and failure to stop at stop sign. Pillsbury Forest received some enforcement time. A complaint of carcass dumping was investigated.


CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) continued work on a background investigation. Officer Guida helped the Division of Wildlife with the Brainerd area fur registration. Some trappers expressed difficulty trapping bobcats in the deep snow conditions. Numerous folks were out enjoying the weekend on the ice and snowmobile trails and welcomed the warmer temperatures. A snowmobile club forwarded information regarding a landowner illegally pushing snow onto the snowmobile trail within the right of way causing a potential hazard for snowmobilers.


CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) assisted with fur registration day, worked on a background investigation for a potential new hire, worked with the County Attorney on a pending big game case from deer season, and patrolled on snowmobile checking anglers and snowmobilers. The officer also responded to a call of a vehicle through the ice on an area lake that turned out had fallen into a patch of slush between two layers of ice.


CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week who were reporting slow activity. Officer Lee continued work on background investigations of possible Conservation Officers for the upcoming Academy. Officer Lee attended Snowmobile Safety Class, and spoke to the youth attending about snowmobile laws and regulations. Officer Lee received a call of vehicle partially going through the ice on an area lake. The parties were able to make it out of the vehicle, and were inside a fish house near the location. Upon further inspection the vehicle had not broken through the ice, but had broken into a slush layer. Anglers are reminded to be very careful traveling across lakes due to the ice and ice conditions still occurring in the area. Enforcement actions were taken for speed on a snowmobile and registration issues.


McGregor – vacant.


Pine River – vacant.


District 10 – Mille Lacs area


CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the majority of the week working angling and snowmobile enforcement. He answered questions about spearing, burning, and coyote hunting. CO Wynn took calls on car killed deer requests, injured deer hanging around in people’s yards, and questions about ice conditions. Warmer weather over the weekend brought out many fishermen on area lakes. Fishing was spotty on area lakes with a majority of people catching panfish.


CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) worked snowmobile traffic addressing speed, registration, and operator training issues. Fishing pressure started to pick up with warmer weather. Lakes still have pockets of slush which is making getting around difficult. Verkuilen also investigated a complaint of altering lake drainage.


CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports monitoring fishing activity on Mille Lacs Lake over the week. There were a lot more houses out but slush is still hampering getting around on the lake. The bite is slow and only a few perch and eel pout were seen. Snowmobile activity increased with the warm weather and the trails held up throughout the weekend. Complaints of off trail use are now starting to come in. Please remember stay on the trails not only is it considered trespassing it also increases the risk of losing the trails we have. Lots of law related questions regarding ATV, snowmobile and fishing laws were fielded during the week and preparation was done for an upcoming snowmobile safety class in Malmo. Enforcement action for the week included no angling license in possession, no angling license, expired snowmobile registration, expired ATV registration, unattended lines, and off trail use of snowmobile.

CO Rob Haberman (WREO) checked snowmobilers and anglers enjoying the warm temps over the weekend. He also assisted another Conservation Officer on Big Sandy Lake with a SUV that was stuck in a slushy area of the lake. WREO Haberman would like to remind people when traveling on unfamiliar lakes to be extra careful and travel on known paths to avoid these types of situations. WREO Haberman also worked on wetland conservation act cases and public water cases in his work area.


CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) assisted DNR Wildlife staff with registration of bobcat and otter. She also worked on a background investigation for a potential new hire. Area snowmobile trails remain in excellent condition.


CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent most of the week working on a background investigation for the next Conservation Officer Academy. Some time was spent patrolling area snowmobile trails and lakes. Snowmobile trails in the area are in good condition and a few snowmobilers were stopped for excessive speed. Time was also spent following up on complaints of garbage being left on area lakes. Anglers are urged to please collect their trash before they leave a fishing spot. It’s been very disappointing to see the amount of trash that anglers have been leaving behind.


CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled snowmobile trails around the Wealthwood and Malmo area. Trail conditions during the week were good with a few sleds out and about. Ice fishing is starting to pick up on Mille Lacs Lake with resorts able to pull houses out.

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) spent a significant amount of time checking anglers on Mille Lacs Lake. Anglers were not reporting much success. An ice house was found with 19 unattended lines between five anglers and another house with 12 unattended lines between 2 anglers. Numerous extra lines were found through various ice houses. Please remember that each person is allowed two fishing lines while angling through the ice. Snowmobile activity was monitored. Enforcement action included unattended lines, extra lines, no ATV registration and possession of marijuana.


Onamia – vacant.


District 11 – St. Cloud area


Conservation Officer Mike Martin (St. Cloud) checked anglers and snowmobile operators during the past week. Officer Martin continued working on a pre-employment background investigation and finished up a wanton waste/litter case were a deer was dumped in the ditch.


CO Brian Mies (Annandale) attended training in St. Paul part of the week. CO Mies checked anglers on area lakes. Mies checked sleds and assisted neighboring officers with complaints.


CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) participated in an open mic segment at a local radio station. Emphasis was on ice and cold weather safety. CO Friese attended a public meeting with DNR Fisheries personnel, looking for public input on the possibility of special regulations on select area lakes. Background investigations were conducted.


CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) worked snowmobile trail enforcement and found the trails are starting to get down to dirt in quite a few places. Many anglers were checked in their fish houses and CO Kuske checked one fish house where a family with a young boy and girl were excited to be getting checked by a game warden for the very first time. CO Kuske “deputized” the children with Jr. Warden Badges and told them since they were staying on the lake overnight they were in charge of keeping an eye on things and they promised they would.


CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, snowmobilers and ATV activity over the week. Cold early weather kept people inside, but great weekend weather had many out enjoying the outdoors. Enforcement action for the week included angle with extra line, expired ATV registration and fail to display snowmobile registration.


CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) once again reports confrontations between landowners and coyote hunters. The main complaint was the unaccountability of their dogs entering private land without permission and other trespass related issues. An individual received a citation for not registering their fisher after missing the deadline by 30 days. In another case a trap was found leftover from the same season with a dead fisher still in it. The trap owner was contacted and he explained due to the heavy amount of snow at the tail end of that season he had a hard time locating his traps. He was disappointed to learn the one he couldn’t find had a fisher in it. CO Kuske found the snowmobile trails and lakes to be popular destinations with the break in the cold weather. The trails were busy and snowmobilers are reminded that before crossing a road stopping is required. A host of other violations were encountered ranging from excessive speed to illegal mufflers. A landowner was contacted regarding a snowmobile trespass complaint at a location where people were cutting across his hay field. Fishermen are moving out onto the lakes in large numbers, while inspecting unattended and overnight shelters numerous were found to lack identification and licenses. While checking fishermen CO Kuske found two anglers to be using extra lines. CO Kuske gave a law presentation to a snowmobile safety class sponsored by the Buckman Snowmobile club; 114 kids were in attendance. Division and Department Deer Committee meetings were attended, discussions were held about issues and problems from last season and potential department or legislative action to address them. A taxidermy business was inspected and minor record keeping violations were addressed. CO Kuske responded to assist the Morrison County SO with a fatal car crash.


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) attended a court hearing from a BWI this summer. The officer completed vehicle maintenance and administrative duties. An over limit was found tucked under the seat of three anglers fishing a local lake.


WREO Keith Bertram spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers.  Citations were issued for no angling license, extra lines, and snowmobile operation violations. WREO Bertram closed one old wetland case and served paperwork to start three new ones.


District 12 – Princeton area


CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and snowmobilers on the area lakes and trails. He issued deer/car permits to a number of motorists. He also followed up on a Big Game case with the county attorney

CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) checked anglers, coyote hunters, and work snowmobile trail/speed enforcement. Officer Londgren also worked with fellow officers on closing cases of shooting pheasants from a motor vehicle, and a Gross Misdemeanor deer hunting violation. Enforcement action was taken on no license in possession, no reflectors on ice shelters, expired snowmobile registration, operating without safety certificate, and allowing illegal operation by juveniles.

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy weekend on area lakes and trails. The warm weather brought out a lot of fishermen and snowmobilers. The lakes saw a lot of pressure but only a few pockets of anglers saw many fish. Violations included no shelter ID, no shelter license, no license in possession, and ATV on a snowmobile trail. CO Langevin also assisted with the capture of an injured eagle.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers. Violations were found for no registration, no state trail sticker, and no youth safety training. Several investigations were worked on from the deer season.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave presentations to two classes at Buffalo High School on the career of a Conservation Officer. CO Reller also talked to two youth snowmobile classes. The Monticello Frostbite Festival was attended with a good public turnout with the warmer weather. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and angling violations.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) patrolled lakes and trails during the week. Anglers reported that fishing success has slowed some but pan fish were still being caught. Snowmobilers enjoyed good weather but additional snow is need for improved trail conditions. Enforcement action was taken for no snowmobile trail registration and angle with extra lines.

Cambridge – vacant.


District 13 – West Metro area


CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked anglers all week on area lakes having very good success. Fish houses were checked for proper identification, reflectors and litter. Snowmobile trails were patrolled but with the cold weather very few were out.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. Violations included over length northern pike and license issues.

CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) assisted setting up the Wall of Shame at the St. Paul Sportsmen’s Show. He patrolled Ft. Snelling State Park and assisted during a public event held there. CO Neitzke did fishing and snowmobile enforcement with CO Pril in Scott and Dakota counties. He also responded to a TIP call in Carver County.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) spent time checking ice fishermen, snowmobilers, and ATV operators. He monitored local state parks, state trails, and worked small game enforcement. CO Lee also returned phone calls on firearms safety class questions and answered questions on CO job positions.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked angling and snowmobiling activity in Hennepin County and found very few people out during the historic cold early on in the week. Time was spent on administrative work and equipment maintenance.


Bloomington – vacant.


Prior Lake – vacant.


District 14 – East Metro area


CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) continued to work on a background investigation on an applicant for DNR enforcement. CO McGowan also monitored snowmobile traffic throughout Dakota County. Enforcement action was taken for trespass, snowmobile registration, illegal snowmobile operation, possession of narcotics/drug paraphernalia, and angle with extra lines.

CO Amber Peterson (Maplewood) reports that fishing activity is up with the nice weather. She spoke to several anglers on different area lakes who were upset about others leaving trash on the ice. Everyone was encouraged to pick up the mess even if it was not theirs and get descriptions of the suspects and their vehicles if possible. During one of these conversations she heard a “squeal” nearby from a young boy who had just caught a mud puppy (he was quite surprised). CO Peterson took enforcement action for several license violations and an illegal length walleye. She also assisted North Branch PD with a snowmobile crash involving alcohol.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week. ATV activity was also monitored on area lakes. CO Pril and CO Arntzen worked snowmobile speed enforcement on Prior Lake and assisted a CO from up north with an interview of an individual in Scott County involving an over limit of fish. CO Pril also assisted with the setup of the wall of shame at the River Center in Saint Paul and investigated a complaint of a possible big game violation.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent time closing out cases, doing equipment maintenance and attending RMS vendor presentations at the BCA. CO Arntzen also checked anglers and patrolled the snowmobile trails in the area. Enforcement action for the week included angling w/o a license, no license in possession, registration violations, angle with extra lines, and unattended lines.

CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) checked anglers and snowmobilers. Enforcement action was taken for a number of snowmobile violations including no safety certificate, excessive exhaust noise, and failure to display registration. CO Johnson responded to a report of a 10- point buck stuck in an abandoned driving range net in Andover. Fortunately, the buck released himself just prior to Johnson’s arrival. CO Johnson also provided a ride along.

WREO Adam Block (Metro) continued working on a pre-employment background investigation for a CO Academy applicant. Time was also spent discussing AIS laws to attendees of the Boat and Camping show held at the St. Paul River Centre. A meeting was attended in Anoka County regarding a wetland impact and with the Minnesota Pollution Control agency regarding a road project. A site inspection was also completed in Scott County regarding a possible wetland violation.

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) continued working on a background investigation for a CO applicant. She worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement on area trails and lakes. Violations included no fishing license, no fish shelter license, fishing license not in possession, unattended lines, unregistered snowmobile, studded track on a paved trail, failure to display snowmobile registration, expired ATV registration and no identification on fish shelter.


Eagan – vacant.


Metro Officer – vacant.


District 15 – Marshall area


CO Doug Lage (Lake Benton) contributed to the KLOH radio weekly outdoors program.  Popowski Slough is the local angling hot spot, with large perch but limited numbers. Warm weather is making fishing a little easier.


CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports that ice fishing, snowmobiling, and coyote hunting were the main enforcement focuses. Warmer temperatures late last week have caused some problems with snowmobile trail conditions. Assistance was given to the Cottonwood Sportsmen’s Club with making contact with fish house owners inside thin ice signs where an aeration system needed to be started.


CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) spent much of the week conducting background investigations on CO applicants. The officer also conducted aeration inspections on area lakes. Snowmobile trails in the area remain in poor condition due to lack of snow.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked ice angling and predator hunting activity during the week. Predator hunters are reminded that using a snowmobile, to chase and harass wildlife is illegal. An investigation was started, reference a deer that was illegally shot and left for predator bait in Fairfield Township in Swift County. If anyone has any information regarding this matter, please call the Turn-in-Poachers Hotline @ 1-800-652-9093, and you can remain anonymous.


CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) checked anglers, coyote hunters, and snowmobilers. The crappie bite continues on Lac qui Parle with a few walleye mixed in. Several fish house break-ins on Lac qui Parle were reported to the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office.

WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) met with the Redwood County Attorney on a WCA restoration order violation. A site visit was completed on a possible WCA violation in Redwood County. Officer Hanson also worked an invasive species booth at the St. Paul Sportsman boating, camping and vacation show at the St. Paul River center. There were plenty of ice fishermen out over the warm weekend.


Benson – vacant.


Madison – vacant.


Redwood Falls – vacant.


District 16 – New Ulm area


CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) primarily checked ice fishing activity in addition to snowmobile and ATV activity. He followed up on trapping violations. He also encountered angling houses without a shelter license and/or identification that were left on ice unoccupied overnight.


CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted background investigations and several interviews.  Attendance was made per request to speak at the Martin Co. West School natural resource class. Topics covered were employment in the DNR specifically jobs as a Conservation Officer.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked anglers and ATV riders during the week. The cold weather slowed anglers for a couple of days but there were still some that braved the polar vortex. She assisted another officer with a spearing case involving two northerns speared that were over 30 inches. Also, several icehouses were broke into during the week in the Hutchinson area. CO Mueller spoke at two Snowmobile Safety classes during the week

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked ice fishermen, snowmobiles, ATVs and ORVs on the Des Moines River in Jackson County. Gruhlke patrolled area grant-in-aide snowmobile trails too. Gruhlke continues to investigate issues stemming from last fall.


CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports fishing has picked up some in the area. Not surprising walleye rearing ponds seem to be the best bet for walleye. Some panfish activity is also starting to pick up in the area. Snowmobile enforcement was also worked and a wetland complaint was followed up on.


CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) followed up on a deer hunting incident from the firearms season. He also worked on Swan Lake during a snowmobile radar run. He also worked predator hunting, ATV and trapping activity. CO Nelson has received complaints of ice blocks being left on lakes and rivers after cutting holes.


CO Jason Beckmann (Windom) spent the week following up on investigations, and snowmobile and sport fishing enforcement. The fish bite continues to be spotty at best. Snowmobile trails were degraded substantially with temperatures in the low forties on Sunday.


Litchfield – vacant.


Willmar #1 – vacant.


District 17 – Mankato area


CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked angling and snowmobile activity. Angling activity is high, snowmobiling activity is low. A work crew was conducted during a local snowmobile event.


CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week patrolling for fishing, ATV and snowmobile activity. Officer Ihnen reports that fishing activity is improving, but the overall bite is still quite slow.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) checked anglers, fish houses, and snowmobilers. Area lakes are busy and anglers are experiencing some success. A snowmobile radar run was worked with neighboring officers. Enforcement action was taken on angling and shelter violations.


CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked ice fishing activity this past week. Success rates varied. Snowmobile activity remains low. WMAs were patrolled.


CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked ATV, snowmobile, small game, and angling activity during the week. Investigations continue from previous complaints regarding hunting activity. Anglers are reporting that fishing success is limited with the recent weather changes.


CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week monitoring snowmobile, ice fishing, and coyote hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for various sport fishing violations. A law and ethics presentation was given at a snowmobile safety class in Rose Creek. A ride along opportunity was given to a Byron High School student interested in a career as a conservation officer.


WREO Julie Siems (SE) worked on background investigations for employment.  AIS education was also provided at a sports show.


Albert Lea – vacant.


District 18 – Rochester area


CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports checking fishermen and predator hunters in the area. He checked a person after receiving a complaint he had hunted in a closed area. The person first said he had not gone into the closed area until he saw his fresh tracks in the snow. He then admitted to going into the closed area. Hemker also continued deer investigations and assisted the Sheriff’s Office search and rescue.


CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports the week started out slow with extreme cold temperatures. By the weekend it was busy with fishermen, snowmobiles and coyote hunters. The trails remain poor, but were good enough for a relic snowmobile ride. Coyote hunters had some success over bait piles. Fishermen caught walleye, sauger, bluegill and perch. Enforcement for the week included failure to display registration on a snowmobile, no snowmobile safety certificate, no angling license in possession, and use extra lines.


CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports receiving multiple snowmobile related calls. Trespass and illegal operation were the complaints. Time was also spent checking trappers. Trappers who are snaring are reminded to double check the regulations. Violations encountered were snares in deer trails, snares in road rights of way and untagged snares.


CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Fishing success has been good for some with limits seen taken. Heyn also spoke to a snowmobile safety class and handled other complaints.


CO Phil George (Rochester) checked anglers, snowmobile operators, ATV operators and a few coyote hunters. He took calls of injured animals. Located a few ice shacks left on the ice without any reflective materials. Some litter is showing up on the frozen waters, a reminder to ice anglers to pick up after themselves. Enforcement action was taken for no reflective material on an ice house and no registration on a snowmobile along with several other snowmobile violations.


CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the past week and weekend checking anglers, snowmobiles and some ATV activity. Ice is a thick at 30 inches in some of the backwaters and as thin as 2 inches in some places. Fishing success has been very poor throughout most of the area. Some fishing, snowmobile and ATV 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) flew a marten telemetry flight during the week and worked on pilot training tasks. Area lakes are improving with most lakes slush free after the last week’s arctic blast. Routine aircraft maintenance items were also scheduled.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a telemetry flight at Camp Ripley. Jensen attended a RMS meeting in St. Paul for a few days to listen to potential vendors. Weather issues allowed hangar work, maintenance issues and training planning to be completed.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) worked wolf and fisher telemetry flights, conducted an officer transport flight, and ferried aircraft.

CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) spent time on aviation and administrative training. Flight training was received from CO Pilot Don Murray in Grand Rapids, as well as maintenance and facilities familiarization. Fish stocking tanks were loaded and will be taken to KBRD for quoting.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew helicopter moose survey plots out of Ely. The warm up canceled flights on Friday and Saturday morning due to low ceilings, snow, and fog.

NR Standby Pilot Brad Maas worked on the moose surveys in NE MN. Poor weather conditions kept us from completing some plots. Moose observed were very healthy looking with little hair loss.


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:


West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports completing Instructor backgrounds and taking registration/answering calls regarding upcoming Instructor forums. He also planned for upcoming firearms safety/hunter education instructor certification training and reviewed officer training use of force training lesson plans.


NE RTO Shelly Patten gave Use of Force training to 100 Forestry NROs at their annual training session. Patten completed background checks for instructors. Patten attended the St. Paul Sports Show and worked the LaserShot booth.


East Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence spend time on preparation for instructor forums and answered questions on fishing activity and snowmobile trails in the area. RTO Lawrence along with other RTOs worked at the DNR LaserShot booth at the St. Paul Camping, Boat and St. Paul Sport Show at the RiverCenter.


Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week teaching two Snowmobile Safety instructor classes and planning for upcoming instructor meetings. The law and ethics part of a Snowmobile Safety Class in Wabasha was also given.


Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens primarily worked on a background investigation for the division’s hiring process last week. He represented the DNR and Enforcement Education/Safety at the MnUSA (Minnesota United Snowmobile Association) Veterans Ride in Madelia last weekend. There were approximately 100 people in attendance. Owens also contributed to the St. Paul Sports Show. He worked the show two days and helped with set-up and tear down. During last week he worked on the final drafts of the ATV and Snowmobile Safety student quizzes. Emails and phone calls were responded to as well.


NW RTO Jon Paurus assisted with training materials development and lesson plans. Time was spent on a background investigation for a potential CO candidate. Time was also spent working at the Safety/Education booth at the St. Paul Sport Show.



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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