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
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) assisted other Conservation Officers with a detail on Lake of the Woods. Snowmobilers were checked on area trails and assistance was given to US Customs at the Roseau Port of Entry.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) patrolled area snowmobile trails, answered questions on ice shelters, and spoke at the Oslo Rod and Gun Club annual banquet. A detail on Lake of the Woods was worked. Enforcement action for the week included angle with extra line and illegally use game fish as bait.
CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) worked angling activity on the Red Lake and Thief Rivers. ATV and snowmobile activity was worked on area trails and waters. Preparations for a presentation at the University of Minnesota Crookston were conducted and questions on how to become a conservation officer were answered.
Blackduck #1 – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
Warroad #1 – vacant.
Warroad #2 – vacant.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking anglers on area lakes and completing aeration inspections. Time was also spent assisting several other officers out of the area with investigating fishing and big game related cases in Lake of the Woods County.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked angling, snowmobiles, trapping and predator hunting. He assisted other agencies and had a call about a deer walking around with snares attached to it. He also participated in Fosston Frosty Days where furs were displayed, wildlife discussed and bird houses built.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and snowmobilers. CO Gray prepared for an upcoming firearms deer season court case.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked fishermen on area lakes. CO Vollbrecht continued to work on a background investigation of an applicant and worked a special detail with other officers. He also monitored area snowmobile trails and checked a trapping complaint with CO Holt.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) monitored snowmobiling activity throughout the week and checked anglers. A trapping complaint was received and investigated. Time was spent patrolling area snowmobile trails. Trails in the Bemidji area are in very good shape.
CO Chris Vinton (Detroit Lakes) reports continuing work on background investigations and taking calls related to the safety of ice conditions. One caller was concerned about an unmarked spearing hole near a plowed road. CO Vinton reminded the angler that the DNR does not certify the ice as “safe” and anybody venturing onto the ice should do so at their own risk. Car injured deer were dispatched and possession permits issued. Multiple severe weather events during the week have obscured roads that have been plowed on area lakes. Snowmobilers should use caution and slow down on the lakes.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) spent the week checking angling and snowmobile activity. Travel on area lakes has become difficult with new snow accumulations and previous trails being blown in. CO Peterson also continued work on a background investigation for a Conservation Officer applicant.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen, snowmobilers and predator hunters. The removal of a vehicle from an area lake was also monitored. Travel conditions were tough on most area lakes with the wind and blowing snow. A fishing tournament was also worked with Officers from District 3.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week assisting with a work detail in Lake of the Woods County. Work continued on a background investigation. Fishing activity was checked on area lakes and paperwork on open PW and WCA cases was completed.
Moorhead – vacant.
Perham – vacant.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) and CO Plautz held a snowmobile safety class in Underwood over the weekend. Richards assisted with a detail on Lake of the Woods. Closer to home, shelters, anglers, and snowmobilers were checked with violations encountered. Travel on area lakes is becoming more difficult unless you have a plow or a tracked vehicle.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked fishing and snowmobile enforcement through the week. Cold temperatures keep activity to a minimal. Plautz assisted CO Richards with a snowmobile safety class certifying 14 students.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked fishermen and shelters throughout the week. Few snowmobilers have been observed with the current conditions. Additional time was spent meeting with the County Attorney regarding issues regarding the Ottawa Refuge and inspecting aeration systems. A few predator hunters were checked and questions were addressed about how deer and pheasants are wintering.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked ice fishermen and snowmobilers. With new snow in the area there has been an increase in snowmobile activity. Numerous violations were encountered including no state trail sticker, fail to display registration decal and numbers, operate snowmobile with excessive muffler noise, no shelter license, unattended lines, extra lines and no identification on ice shelters. A volunteer firearms safety instructor clinic was attended in Brandon.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports heavy snow cover is making conditions excellent for snowmobile activity. Time was spent this week working ice fishermen on both Alexandria station lakes and assisting CO Johanson with an ice fishing tournament on Lake Osakis. Violations encountered include angling with extra and unattended lines as well as possess marijuana/drug paraphernalia. March firearms safety class preparation was completed. Remember, the fall classes fill up quick so you might want to take it in March and have it completed when hunting season arrives.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to check angling and spearing activity on area lakes and handled more crappie overlimit violations on Lake Osakis. Additional time was spent patrolling the trails, working snowmobile enforcement, and monitoring predator hunting activity. Johanson took part in a special fishing enforcement detail on Lake of the Woods and continued work on a background investigation.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused law enforcement efforts on snowmobiling, ice fishing and predator hunting activity. Anderson assisted on a snowmobile and ice fishing workcrew in the Lake Winnibigoshish area. Anderson also assisted at a resort check/special detail on Lake of the Woods. Complaints were handled regarding fish overlimits and coyote hunters. Calls were fielded this week on predator hunting, snowmobiling and ice fishing questions.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen and snowmobile operators. CO Baumbarger participated in a workcrew on and around Lake Winnibigoshish, picked up incidental taken otter, and worked with CO Anderson on Page Lake during the snowmobile races.
Wheaton – vacant.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) spent the majority of the week working on a background investigation of a Conservation Officer candidate. He also assisted a local police department in apprehending a fleeing suspect, took an injured animal call, and checked a few snowmobilers. Enforcement activities included snowmobile registration issues and youth operating without helmets.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) monitored trapping, fishing, and snowmobile activity during the week. She participated in a workcrew on Lake of the Woods. Officer Hunter also responded to a snowmobile that had caught fire. The origin of the fire remains undetermined at this time.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) worked on wolf depredation and trapping issues, including an accidentally taken fisher. He also monitored angling activity in the area, checking numerous anglers resulting in enforcement action taken for an overlimit of fish.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) reported primary enforcement efforts this past week focused on ice fishing and snowmobile activity. He noted that compliance with regulations was very good. Officer Sommers also assisted with a workcrew on Lake of the Woods.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and snowmobile operators during the week. Activity remains relatively low due in large part to extreme winter conditions. CO Mathy also assisted other officers in work projects. Enforcement action was taken for over-limit of northern pike, spearing without a license, angling with an extra line, possessing walleye fillets on special regulation lake without retaining the carcass, and no angling license in possession.
CO Larry Francis (Remer) monitored snowmobile and ice fishing activity during the week. He also assisted with a work detail on Lake of the Woods and wrapped up a case initiated during deer season. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line and fish house marking violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on snowmobiling and ice angling activity. Snowmobiling and ice angling activity slowed as temperatures fell. Anglers braving the cold weather had poor success. CO Broughten continued further investigation on open cases and met with the county attorney. Enforcement action included no angling license in possession and failure to display snowmobile
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked fishermen and snowmobilers in the area. Enforcement contacts were made for illegal length northern, extra lines, and expired registration.
CO Shane Siltala (Water Resource Enforcement Officer) worked on updating wetland case files and lifted a deed restriction on a property after closing out the file. He met with county SWCD employees to discuss ongoing WCA cases and spent time monitoring local angling and snowmobiling activity.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports assisting with special operation detail on Lake of the Woods. Snowmobile safety class was held for local youth at Voyageurs National Park on Rainy Lake. Snowmobile and ice fishing activity has slowed with weather turning to bitter cold again.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports a quiet week for outdoor activities. Local folks are getting tired of the extreme cold. It appears the deer herd is having a tough time also. A few deer observed were trying to move and the snow depth was right up to their chests. An interview was provided for a person writing a book.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) spent most of the week, working with numerous officers on a large scale investigation on Lake of the Woods. The officer also worked trout anglers in the local station.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) noted a slow week of angling and snowmobiling activity. Most sportsmen appear to be hunkering down and staying out of the elements. Those who have been seen out on area lakes are catching some crappies and other panfish. The report of an injured wolf turned out to be a coyote that was struck by car and took shelter under an abandoned trailer house. Assistance was provided to other CO’s in serving a search warrant.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked fishing on area designated trout lakes where a few small lakers were taken. Time was spent working at the Polymet Supplemental review in Aurora. Snowmobile equipment was picked up in Grand Rapids.
Ray – vacant.
I. Falls # 2 – vacant.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports the annual snowmobile Fun Run took place in Ely in spite of the subzero temperatures and extreme wind. The trails saw the bulk of the traffic with most riders trying to avoid the open windswept lakes. The designated trout lakes were busy again with most anglers having some luck, although most reports were not as good as opening weekend. Violations included, fail to display snowmobile registration, snowmobile speed, and angling without a license in possession.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked trout fishermen and snowmobiles and found less activity than expected even on the warm day. Time was spent with snowmobile repair work and some follow up reports and investigation work. The snow is deep and the slush is getting worse in a lot of places so be careful.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked trout anglers during the week. Some diehards were out in the high winds and frigid wind chills and looked more like arctic explorers than ice fishermen from a distance. Many people from Ontario are coming down to enjoy our snowmobile trails as our trail stickers are much less than what they have to pay up there. Many of them have been very complimentary of our trail systems in Minnesota.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers and ice fishing shelters on area lakes and patrolled snowmobile trails and forest roads. Cold temperatures and high winds have kept folks out of the woods. The officer also assisted with security for the Polymet meeting in Aurora.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports 22 youths were certified in snowmobile safety in Babbitt. Thanks to all the instructors for the successful class. Time was spent on casework and on angling and snowmobile enforcement. A security detail was worked in Aurora for the Polymet Mine project public forum. Enforcement action included fail to display license tag on fish house, can beverage containers in the BWCA, and fail to stop at a road crossing.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers on area lakes and also in the Silver Bay station. The bite slowed as the cold snap hit. Officer Wahlstrom along with Officer Miller assisted the Lake County Search and Rescue and Sheriff’s Department with a snowmobile accident near the Lake/ Cook county line.
Silver Bay – vacant.
Two Harbors – vacant.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) assisted with a work detail at Lake of the Woods and patrolled area snowmobile trails. Enforcement action taken for operating a snowmobile on the roadway.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked snowmobile and fishing activity. Violations included operate snowmobile on a county road, and fail to display snowmobile registration. He also took a report of a snowmobile crash on a trail where logging activity made the trail hazardous. Snowmobilers are cautioned to be aware of their surroundings, trail conditions can change hourly due to winter logging practices.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers and monitored snow mobile activity. The recent cold and wind made it tough going for anglers on the area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for snow mobile registration issues and no angling license in possession.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) worked on division backgrounds this past week. The division is seeking to hire conservation officers and is currently backgrounding candidates for the position. Weather has been very cold this past week making it hard for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the winter. However, there has been use of the areas lakes and snowmobile trails. Remember during the cold times to dress appropriately and be safe.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity and snowmobile activity over the past week. With a couple warm days mixed in with all of the cold, some sportsmen were able to make it out angling. With the ups and down of barometric pressure, it seemed that the fishing bite had slowed down for some. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and no shelter license on a permanent ice shelter.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, state parks, ski and snowmobile trails. He also handled snowmobile and fishing complaints during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working snowmobile and fishing activity. Wichmann took a call about an injured owl and fielded other fishing calls. Fishing activity has been slow due to limited access on the lakes.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Regional ATV officer) assisted with a work detail in Baudette this past week. CO Velsvaag also took several calls on trail conditions and slot sizes on area lakes.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) checked anglers, dark house spearers and bait on infested and on other area lakes. Compliance was observed as good. Anglers are beginning to drive “cross country” on some waters gaining access to better angling locations. CO Arhart observed recovery efforts on Lake Winnie where a pickup was pulled from 30 foot lake depths. Ice depths were reported as 26 inches at this site now. Arhart also worked on Wetland Conservation Act and public waters cases. A loose bobcat with a snare still attached to it was reported. Brutal low temperatures and wind are hampering some outdoor activities.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports snowmobile trails remain in great shape throughout the area but bitterly cold temps are limiting their use. A few anglers have been seen braving the elements. Speed, no current registration and altered mufflers are a few of the violations encountered during the week. A few concern calls of possible injured deer were also fielded.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued to work on a pre-employment background for a possible new hire as a Conservation Officer. Several telephone calls were taken during the week. Officer Duncan also assisted with a work detail in northwest Minnesota.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) reports working ice angling and snowmobile activity throughout the week. Snowmobile activity was moderate. Unlawful speed and operation complaint areas were worked. Trail conditions were good to excellent. Anglers were reporting fair to good catches on crappies, sunfish, and northern pike. Several fish houses were observed without identification or licenses. Two injured deer calls were taken. Angling and snowmobile violations were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked snowmobile trespass complaints and other snowmobile activity in the area. Enforcement activity was taken for speed and registration violations. A snowmobile law class was put on for local law enforcement agencies in the area. They were instructed on the laws and rules of snowmobiling and enforcement techniques to assist with the area patrols. An investigation is ongoing for some untagged snares that were found near the Munger Trail in the Carlton area. If anyone has any information on this they are asked to call Turn in Poachers and ask to speak with CO Staples. K9 detection training continues with K9 Schody. A few car kill deer permits were issued to people who were going to try to salvage the deer. Assistance was given to a local PD and the Carlton Sheriff’s Office on a stolen ATV.
CO Mike Scott (WREO) continued work on a background investigation moving towards completion for the applicant assigned. Scott also assisted Conservation Officers in the Baudette area with an investigation.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) assisted Duluth PD with a missing six-year-old in the lakeside neighborhood. He attended the 61st annual United Northern Sportsman ice fishing contest on Island Lake. The cold temps and high winds made for a long day on the ice.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers and checked a late-night shooting complaint. A detail was worked in the northwest region and assistance given to local agencies with response to a snowmobile crash and an injured deer. An intoxicated male with no driver’s license was found with his four-door car stuck after driving off the edge of a snowmobile trail. Enforcement action taken for driving a motor vehicle on a snowmobile trail and the driver was turned over to the local PD. Other enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) spent the week checking snowmobile activity. He also spent some time getting paperwork completed and on equipment maintenance.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) continued work on a potential Conservation Officer Candidate background, assisted with a work detail, and helped out with the Gull Lake Ice Fishing Extravaganza. Many people found out the hard way that taking the busses would have got them to the contest in time instead of being stuck in snowdrifts trying to drive across the lake.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) spoke to anglers this past week who were reporting a slow bite, but happy that the ice conditions have gotten better. Officer Lee assisted the State Patrol and Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department this past week with traffic crashes on area roadways. Officer Lee continued work on background investigations on possible candidates for the upcoming CO Academy. Officer Lee received numerous calls this past week from property owners reporting trespassing by snowmobilers. Snowmobilers are reminded to stay on trails. Without private property owners allowing trails to travel across their lands many trail systems will be lost.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled lakes and trails working on sport fishing and snowmobile trail enforcement. Compliance on the 50 miles per hour speed limit was good. Officer Guida worked a detail with area Officers on Gull Lake in conjunction with the Brainerd Jaycee’s Fishing Extravaganza. Various other violations were addressed.
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 slow. The ice conditions are good but the snowdrifts continue to be trouble for some anglers. The Brainerd JC’s Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Gull Lake went well. Some of the violations observed were speed, careless operation, and expired registration on a snowmobile. He worked on a trespass complaint by coyote hunters. He worked with neighboring CO Tischler checking anglers extra lines and no license violations were found. Complaints of unlicensed and no identification on fish houses were reported.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement during the week. He also assisted with a special investigation and worked snowmobile and angling enforcement in the Crane Lake area with Officer Hadrits. Contacts included an over limit on northern pike over 30 inches.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) followed up work on several fish house violations, transferring a wolf carcass from a recent unfounded poaching case to an archeologist for historical research, and handling an issue of snowmobile trail obstruction. He also checked area fishing and cross country ski activity, issued car kill deer permits, checked local taxidermists, and patrolled Voyageur’s National Park and surrounding international border areas for fishing, trapping, and snowmobile activity in partnership with National Park Service Ranger and US Customs and Border Patrol staff. Enforcement contacts were made for snowmobile speeding and fail to stop for stop signs, fish shelter licensing and marking violations, obstruction of snowmobile trail, and over limit of northern pike over statewide length limit.
CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored ice angling, patrolled snowmobile trails in the Brainerd area and participated with a district work crew on Gull Lake for the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza. He assisted with special investigation unit search warrant execution. He also took care of wildlife and informational calls.
McGregor – vacant.
Pine River – vacant.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) checked anglers and snowmobilers during the week. He followed up with a littering complaint, answered questions about trout fishing licensing, and ice shelters.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled snowmobile trails. Most trails are in very good condition with the recent snow. Time was also spent checking fishermen on Mille Lacs and area lakes. Fishing remains sluggish with a few perch and crappies seen.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) finished up background investigation work on one of the candidates for the upcoming Conservation Officer Academy. Time was also spent patrolling snowmobile trails and area lakes. Most area lakes now have good ice conditions but also have spots of deep snow and heavy drifting. A handful of anglers have found themselves doing some shoveling so they could get their pickups off the lake.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen on Mille Lacs Lake and most were reporting a slow bite. A few perch and eelpout are still being seen but the walleye bite is sluggish. Area trails were patrolled and over the weekend there was lots of traffic with the new snow. A call of a deer that was injured was fielded and many questions regarding fishing and snowmobiling laws were answered throughout the week and weekend. Enforcement action included various fishing and snowmobiling violations.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) finished up on a background investigation for the upcoming Conservation Officer Academy. She checked area snowmobilers, anglers and assisted State Troopers with several vehicle accidents. Speldrich also issued car kill possession tags and fielded calls regarding snowmobile laws.
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) worked snowmobile traffic for speed and registration violations. Traffic was moderate despite some of the best trail conditions in recent years. Area anglers were checked having fair success. Verkuilen also helped serve a search warrant and assisted with patrols near the Canadian border.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) monitored snowmobile activity in the area. The trails are in excellent shape and snowmobilers took advantage of the decent weather. Anglers were checked on Mille Lacs Lake; not many fish area being seen. There are some slushy areas on the lake still, please be careful. An incidental bobcat was received from a trapper. Enforcement action was taken for operating unregistered snowmobiles, failing to transfer snowmobile ownership and angling with extra lines.
Onamia – vacant.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports low to moderate activity overall. CO Friese continued working on background investigations.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) worked snowmobile trail enforcement and encountered violations of speed and no registration. One large group of snowmobilers could not understand why they were ticketed for operating studded tracks on a paved trail even though they hadn’t gone very far down the trail. CO Kuske conducted an inspection at a taxidermist and worked fishing enforcement during the week.
WREO Keith Bertram spent most of the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. A wetland restoration order was served in Todd County. WREO Bertram also spoke about AIS rules at a Darkhouse Spearing and Angling Association meeting in Freeport.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers and snowmobilers. Time was spent assisting on an investigation involving over limits of walleye and illegal bear guiding. Poor weather kept outdoor activities to a minimum. Angling success in the Albany area was slow. Enforcement action for the week included possession of drug paraphernalia, no license in possession, and unattended line.
Conservation Officer Mike Martin (St. Cloud) checked anglers and snowmobile operators during the week. Officer Martin continued with a pre-employment background investigation and assisted neighboring officers with a snowmobile work crew.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) assisted with a search warrant in conjunction with a special investigation conducted by DNR Enforcement. CO Kuske patrolled snowmobile trails with officers from D12 and D11. A variety of violations were encountered. Few fishermen were on the lakes and several warnings were issued for no identification on a shelter. CO Kuske assisted with taxidermy license inspections in the Little Falls station.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) last week checked anglers. CO Mies checked sleds in Stearns and Wright counties. CO Mies also worked on a wetland complaint in Wright County.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on fishing, snowmobile and predator hunters. Concerns of predator hunters standing on a state highway with firearms in hand were fielded.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) checked anglers, snowmobiles, coyote hunters, and spoke at a snowmobile safety class. Officer Londgren followed up on complaints of littering on lakes, deer out of season, trespassing, and injured animal calls. Enforcement action was taken on no reflectors on ice shelters left overnight, litter, fail to possess car kill tag, expired registration, and youth without a snowmobile safety certificate.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers. Violations were found for no registration, no snowmobile safety certificate, no trail sticker, operate a snowmobile with studs on paved trail, and angle with extra lines. Interviews were done on a big game case from last fall.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) assisted with an interview for a special investigation case. Reller also worked on a snowmobile workcrew in Morrison County with several violations for operating snowmobiles with studded track on tarred trail. Wright County area had a lot of snowmobilers out with the fresh snow. Enforcement action was taken for speed, unregistered snowmobile and allowing illegal operation of a snowmobile by a juvenile. A reminder to adult snowmobile operators that Snowmobile Safety Certification must be completed by anyone born after Dec. 31, 1976. Reller has been finding several adults without this certification each week.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy week on area snowmobile trails. The recent snowfalls have the trails in good condition. Riders were out in large numbers over the weekend on area trails. Anglers are still finding some success. Area lakes have been busy but the snow has made travel on the lakes a little difficult.
Cambridge – vacant.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) picked up a dead bald eagle on Coney Island Lake Waconia. A firearms safety presentation was given in Norwood Young America. The vintage snowmobile event was worked on Lake Waconia with neighboring Conservation Officers.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers, snowmobilers, and responding to calls received. CO Grewe spoke at a snowmobile safety class and participated in a work detail on Lake Waconia involving antique snowmobiles. Violations included no snowmobile safety certificate, speed and license issues.
CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) checked fishermen in Dakota and Hennepin counties. He patrolled Ft. Snelling State Park and worked complaints of park violations. CO Neitzke patrolled for snowmobile enforcement in Dakota and Scott counties. He also participated in a work detail at the Lake Waconia antique snowmobile event.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked ice fishermen and snowmobilers in the metro area lakes and trails. He worked the Vintage Snowmobile detail at Lake Waconia. He also answered questions on firearms safety classes and organized a fishing spring workshop in his community.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled for snowmobiling and fishing activities in Sherburne County area lakes and trails along with CO Sladek, CO Walter and CO Grewe. He worked at an annual vintage snowmobile race on Lake Waconia with District 13. Violations encountered were no angling license in possession, no snowmobile safety certificate, no snowmobile trail sticker, fail to display valid snowmobile registration, and trespass.
Bloomington – vacant.
Prior Lake – vacant.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring recreational vehicle activity. CO Arntzen spoke at a snowmobile safety class and set up several firearms safety classes. He also investigated a possible shoreline violation, worked TIP complaints, and assisted a local agency on a vehicle accident.
CO Amber Peterson (Maplewood) reports checking several anglers on area lakes and the St. Croix River, most reporting a slow bite, some with success. CO Peterson spoke at a Firearms Safety Class in St. Paul and patrolled snowmobile trails in Washington County. She also patrolled cross country ski trails in Afton State Park as there have been issues with hikers and dog walkers using the groomed ski trails to go for a walk. Several individuals were contacted and educated about the rules that ski trails may only be used by cross country skiers with a valid ski trail pass. Enforcement action was taken for fishing license violations, no license displayed on fish house, no reflective material on fish house, and fish house not properly marked.
CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) reports that he spoke to a FAS class in Ramsey. The class was comprised entirely of women. He checked ice anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week. CO Johnson patrolled a Carlos Avery WMA, and investigated a trespass into the sanctuary. CO Johnson received calls on injured deer.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers in Scott County lakes and patrolled for snowmobiling activity around the metro trails and lakes. He spent sometimes inspecting the aerator systems in Scott County. CO Pril also responded to calls and followed up with a big game complaint.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) continued working on a background investigation for a CO applicant. She did numerous aeration system inspections in Anoka and Ramsey counties. CO Kruse worked fishing enforcement on area lakes and snowmobile enforcement on area trails. She also assisted with a deer removal program in Ramsey County.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week following up on wetland related case work and a pre-employment background investigation. A meeting was attended with the Boat and Water Safety section and a site visit was completed in Plymouth regarding a possible shoreline violation. WREO Block also conducted aeration system inspections and assisted District 13 with a work detail.
Eagan – vacant.
Metro Officer – vacant.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) spent much of the week conducting background investigations on CO applicants. The officer checked numerous ice fishing anglers. The officer also conducted aeration inspections on area lakes throughout the week.
CO Doug Lage (Lake Benton) advises that aeration units were placed into Lake Benton this past weekend almost doubling the size of the restricted area. Cold weather is limiting fishing activities. He worked with Yellow Medicine County deputies, focusing on youth activities out on area lakes.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports that ice fishing continues be the main enforcement focus. Lack of snow is still a problem for predator hunters and snowmobilers. ATV enforcement was also worked. Assistance was given to local sheriff’s deputies with non-fishing related issues on area lakes. Aeration system inspections were also completed. A snowmobile safety class scheduled for Redwood Falls had to be postponed due to the weather. Please make contact with the lead instructor listed for more details.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) continues work on a background investigation for a prospective CO candidate. Ice fishing and predator hunting activity were also monitored during the week. Aeration inspections were completed on local lakes. The public is reminded to please be aware of your surroundings when utilizing a lake with an aeration system.
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) assisted another agency with a WCA violation and followed up with a PW violation in Murray Co. Ice fishermen were checked and AIS information was issued on surrounding lakes and rivers.
Benson – vacant.
Madison – vacant.
Redwood Falls – vacant.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) conducted aeration inspections. He worked snowmobile enforcement at a radar run on Green Lake. He and also checked ice anglers.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked ice fishermen, snowmobiles, small game, predator hunters and ATVs. He also patrolled through Kilen Woods State Park.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked angling and snowmobile activity around Meeker, Kandiyohi and along the Minnesota River during the week. Fishing reports are still slow in the area. She, along with another CO, worked in the Spicer area checking anglers and snowmobilers during the Spicer Winter Festival. Snowmobile registration issues were addressed. Despite the cold weather there was still a good turnout.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted employment background investigations. Angling and shelter activity was monitored. Anglers still have to be reminded on identification on shelters left unattended. Trapping investigations were performed. The St. James snowmobile safety class was taught.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding taking deer during the closed season and information on a road kill deer. CO Nelson checked aeration systems. He also worked on angling/shelter violations, predator hunting and snowmobile enforcement.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports working mainly snowmobile enforcement, with an emphasis on speed. Snowmobilers are reminded that the speed limit is 50 mph and to slow down when conditions create reduced visibility. A snowmobile safety talk was given in Arlington this week.
Litchfield – vacant.
Willmar #1 – vacant.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked angling and snowmobile activity. Ice conditions remain good. The Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail was groomed from Mankato to Faribault in preparation for the weekend, and was in good condition. CO Howe participated in a work detail focusing on angling enforcement.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week patrolling for fishing, ATV and snowmobile activity. Officer Ihnen also gave a law and ethics presentation to a local snowmobile safety class. Aeration inspections were also completed on area lakes.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, trapping, and snowmobile enforcement. A workcrew was hosted and neighboring officers assisted in checking anglers on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken on angling violations.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) participated in an out of district detail this past week. Questions from the public were answered regarding WMAs. Aeration inspections were completed. The officer also assisted area law enforcement in weather related issues
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked ATV, snowmobile, small game, and angling activity during the week. The officer responded to a TIP call & also assisted neighboring officers with a work detail. An investigation was completed from a previous complaint with charges pending.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week monitoring snowmobile and ice fishing activity. Phone calls from the public requesting information were returned. Enforcement action was taken for various sport fishing violations.
WREO Julie Siems (SE) continued work on a background investigation and followed up on a public waters violation.
Albert Lea – vacant.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working some fishing and snowmobile enforcement as well as closing out some more cases from the deer season. Some pan fish are still being taken in the backwaters.
CO Scott Fritz (L Crescent) reports coyote hunters have good weather for hunting with few coyotes taken. Squirrels were active early in the week and provided hunters with some activity. Shed hunters need permission to onto private property with several complaints received. Fishing continues to be a bit slow. Snowmobile trails are in good shape. Many contacts made with a large number of snowmobilers this past week. Local snowmobile clubs have done a great job maintaining our area trails.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week and weekend checking angling and snowmobile activity. The fishing success remains low and the trails have improved a bit with the recent snowfall. Some fishing and snowmobiling violations were detected.
CO Phil George (Rochester) checked anglers and snowmobile operators. A meeting was attended with area safety instructors and some injured animal calls were received. Enforcement action was taken for various snowmobile violations.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers and snowmobiles during the week. Fishing success has been slow and it was not the best weather for riding. Heyn also checked into other calls and complaints.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports spending time on predator hunting, trespass complaints, and checking fishing. He also received information about sheep guard dogs being killed while guarding sheep.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports following up on snaring and trapping cases. Time was also spent checking snowmobile complaint areas. Cold windy weather has kept fisherman and hunters at bay. A few coyote hunters were out with limited success.
Rochester #2 – vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports assisting relocation of helicopters to various areas of the state for big game surveys. Jensen tended to training and maintenance issues. These issues included repair and updating spring/summer equipment and writing new in-flight checklists.
CO Pilot Bob Geving conducted wolf telemetry flights and training activities with K34.
CO Pilot Don Murray (Grand Rapids) flew a marten survey and checked fishing activity on remote lakes during the week. Snowmobiling activity is high in the Northland with many area trails in great shape. Several scheduled flights were cancelled due to high winds and snow.
CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) spent time on aviation training at Camp Ripley. Camp Ripley flight operations were covered and he met with Camp Ripley Tower staff. The Grand Rapids District Office was visited and telemetry operations were discussed with John Erb. Flight training was received from CO Pilot Bob Geving in Brainerd and wolf tracking missions were flown.
NR Pilot Luke Ettl (Grand Rapids) flew the helicopter in support of the elk survey.
NR Standby Pilot Brad Maas moved a helicopter back to Brainerd. Maintenance was completed prior to beginning the deer surveys in the southeast.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew one of the helicopters for the moose survey back to Brainerd for maintenance and reassignment on another project. Heineman flew one day of the elk survey in northwest Minnesota but was shutdown later by weather.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO reports are now placed within district reports.
Please check the DNR WEB SITE at www.mndnr.gov for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Education Courses and instructor training sessions
If you missed a fall class and are over 18, check on-line for Adult Home Study or On-Line course information is also located at www.mndnr.gov.
Please check the DNR WEB SITE www.mndnr.gov for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Youth Snowmobile Safety Courses and instructor training sessions. Adult Snowmobile Safety Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.
Youth ATV Courses (12 to 15 years old) class postings for around the state are posted on the web site at www.mndnr.gov. Students are reminded that they must complete the CD portion of the course before attending the classroom portion of the course. Youth/Adult ATV Safety Training Course CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR
Reminder—anyone born after December 31st, 1979 cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate. In addition many states have even more stringent mandatory Hunter Education requirements. Check before you go!!!
Reminder—Any resident born after December 31st, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota, must possess a snowmobile certificate. Two options are available to complete certification. Ages 11 and older can attend the traditional youth course. Those 16 or older can take the at home CD course.
Reminder—Anyone born after July 1st, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota, must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training CD course. Persons under age 16 must complete the ATV CD Course and riding component before riding on public lands. Youth/Adult ATV Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.
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.
West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports facilitating firearm safety/hunter education instructor training in Brandon. He also attended an Instructor meeting in Royalton where he provided information about the firearms safety/hunter education field day for online students. Planning was also done for upcoming instructor forums, instructor appreciation banquets, and ATV instructor certification training.
SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez continued to receive phone calls inquiring on upcoming Instructor forums, but not many folks registering for them. RTO Gutierrez also fielded several phone calls regarding snowmobile operation, snowmobile safety requirements and regulations. The RTO met with some personnel from Three Rivers Park along with the DNR’s Shooting Range Coordinator, Chuck Niska, in regards to the FAS program. The meeting went well with Three Rivers Park interested in potentially establishing online field day sites within their parks. RTO Gutierrez will continue to meet with them in efforts to get the program established.
East Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence traveled to Rochester to assist RTO McBroom on an instructor meeting forum. The forum was well attended by ATV, Snowmobile and Firearms instructors. RTO Lawrence completed some equipment maintenance, answered emails on spring safety training and talked with new instructors on upcoming winter training opportunities. RTO Lawrence attended (MVSIA) Minnesota Volunteer Safety Instructors association meeting in Edina. The group is looking at purchasing equipment for tree stand safety.
Southern RTO Dan McBroom worked on updating Turkey Clinic Instructor Manual and setup a Turkey Clinic Instructor Class at Cabela’s in Owatonna on Feb. 23. A Instructor meeting was held in Rochester with very good attendance. An online field day was put on in Wanamingo.
Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens last week continued work towards completing his background investigation. He led an ATV/Snowmobile instructor clinic in Isle over the weekend. The All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota (ATVAM) quarterly meeting was also attended. Work planning and daily emails were taken care of as well.
NW RTO Jon Paurus continued work on a potential CO candidate background investigation. An instructor forum was attended with several instructors sharing ideas and concerns. A volunteer instructor training clinic was conducted. Paperwork regarding the volunteer programs was also completed.
NE RTO Shelly Patten hosted a Volunteer Instructor Forum in Grand Rapids where 28 instructors attended the meeting. RTOs gave training on updates to the Safety programs and discussions were held on Instructor concerns and comments. Patten helped a new group of Snowmobile Safety instructors in Babbitt launch their first class where 22 students were certified and were not held back from successfully completing their Performance Evaluation – even though Babbitt was the coldest place in the nation that day! Temps warmed up to -13 below by the time the outside evaluations occurred in the afternoon. High winds brought the wind chill even lower though. All instructors were impressed and happy that all the kids came prepared to be outside and were dressed appropriately for the weather.
RTO _ PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
Rec. Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens 763-753-1887 firstname.lastname@example.org
NE RTO Shelly Patten 218-244-8051
West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-230-8549 email@example.com
NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence 651-674-6184 firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern RTO Dan McBroom 507-843-2032 email@example.com
NW RTO Jon Paurus 218-298-4000 firstname.lastname@example.org
SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez 651-464-7773 email@example.com
Curriculum Specialist: Vacant
Education Specialist: Vacant
Curriculum Coordinator: Vacant