FROM THE DNR: Weekly Conservation Officer Report

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

02-10-2014

 

District 1 – Baudette area

 

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked snowmobilers in the Warroad and Roseau areas and anglers on Lake of the Woods. A detail was worked with CO Quandt, CO Fritz, CO Arhart, CO Wichmann, and CO Bermel. Despite fishing being slow, officers still encountered multiple anglers being in possession of over limits of walleyes and saugers. Enforcement action was taken on a group of anglers for driving trucks on the GIA Snowmobile trail which caused deep rutting in the trail.

 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) checked anglers on Upper Red Lake, special regulation lakes and monitored area snowmobile trail activity throughout the week. ARMER radio training was attended and time was spent transferring/distribution/inventory of district equipment. Assistance was given to academy staff for Officer Water Survival training to the MN State Patrol academy cadets. Training was provided at a Youth Snowmobile Safety Course and field day in Kelliher. Enforcement action for the week included angle with extra lines, angling without a license and snowmobile trail sticker violations.

 

CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored fishing and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Anglers are reporting poor fishing success on Lake of the Woods in most areas.  Training was attended during the week and the investigation continued on Lake of the Woods fishing violation cases. Anglers are reminded that the state snowmobile trail is only for snowmobiles. Enforcement action taken during the week included fishing violations and unlawful operation of motor vehicles on the state snowmobile trail.

 

Baudette -vacant.

 

Blackduck #1 – vacant.

 

Karlstad – vacant.

 

Warroad #1 – vacant.

 

Warroad #2 – vacant.

 

District 2 – Bemidji area

 

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on a suspected wolf/coyote depredation complaint in Marshall County. Time was also spent riding in the MnUSA VIP snowmobile ride in Mahnomen and attending a training class in Thief River Falls. Snowmobile operators and anglers were also checked.

 

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked angling and snowmobiling activity.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity in the area. Anglers are reporting a slow bite with very few fish observed during checks. CO Vollbrecht worked with CO Holt and CO Mathy during the first Winterfest Celebration on Lake Bemidji. Weather conditions were cold, but several snowmobilers came out for the radar run on the lake. CO Vollbrecht assisted with the MnUSA snowmobile ride in the Mahnomen area. Search warrant and radio refresher training was attended in Thief River Fall. An AIS and minnow trapper training session was attended in Brainerd.

 

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked trapping activity, snowmobilers and ice anglers. Officer Holt attended training on aquatic invasive species and bait dealers. He also patrolled Lake Bemidji on snowmobile during the Bemidji Winterfest activities. Enforcement activity included snowmobile registration violations and snowmobiles exceeding the speed limit.

 

CO Chris Vinton (Detroit Lakes) reports patrolling for snowmobiles and anglers on area lakes. Some anglers are using the slow fishing and ease of getting around on the lakes to remove their houses. Anglers should be reminded they are responsible for all the litter also. CO Vinton was assisted by CO Oldakowski in removing a fawn that was stuck in a fence. Enforcement action was taken for fail to mark shelters, no licenses in possession, no SSC card, and snowmobile registration violations.

 

CO Al Peterson (Osage) continued follow-up on a bobcats out of season case and a pre-employment background investigation file was completed. CO Peterson also checked anglers and worked snowmobile enforcement. The fish bite was slow as was the snowmobile activity.

 

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen and snowmobilers. He also worked predator hunters and followed up on a dogs running loose complaint. CO Forsberg responded to a complaint of a snowmobile left in a party’s yard.  It was unknown who it belonged to or where it came from. It turned out to be a mechanical problem and the operator had to leave it there until he was able to haul it away.

WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week attending minnow dealer AIS training in Brainerd.

Time was spent finishing up a background packet for the upcoming academy applicant pool.

WREO Stattelman also assisted area COs with the MnUSA Rendezvous VIP snowmobile run.

 

Moorhead – vacant.

 

Perham – vacant.

 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

 

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) patrolled GIA trails and checked angling activity. Shelter violations continue to be problem even after initial warnings were given.

 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) conducted aeration inspections throughout the area. Plautz checked fishermen having scattered success. Snowmobile activity remains calm through the week due to very cold temperatures.

 

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement efforts checking fishermen and shelters.  Nelson assisted with snowmobile classes in Elbow Lake and Ashby and an ATV class in Elbow Lake. Predator hunters were checked in the vacant Wheaton station and time was spent meeting with the county attorney regarding a case.

 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, snowmobilers and predator hunters.  Fish houses are being removed from area lakes early this year due to snow conditions.  Complaints were investigated of fish over limits, injured animals and snowmobile trespass.

 

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to check fishing activity and investigate complaints regarding crappie overlimits on Lake Osakis. One investigation found no fish overlimit, but did turn up turkey and deer hunting violations. Johanson patrolled the ice during the annual “ice fishing challenge” on Lake Le Homme Dieu, noting attendance was down from previous years. Additional time was spent working snowmobile and predator hunting activity, and a law enforcement career fair was attended at Alexandria Technical College.

 

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ice fishing, snowmobiling and predator hunting. Fishing activity has dropped off on area lakes as many houses are being removed from area lakes. Anderson worked fishing activity in the vacant Wheaton station this week. A safety instructor’s informational forum was held in Morris. Area safety instructors were presented information on safety class student needs and asked how the DNR Enforcement Safety Education Division can better assist them with their safety education classes. A complaint about deer damaging plantings in a person’s yard in Morris was received. The person was told to remove the bird feeders that the deer were using as a food source. Calls were fielded regarding predator hunting, snowmobile safety and ice fishing questions.

 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, snowmobilers, and predator hunters. Baumbarger attended commercial AIS minnow training in Brainerd and began preparing materials for an upcoming firearms safety class.

 

Wheaton – vacant.

 

District 4 – Wadena area

 

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) spent part of the week completing a background investigation of a Conservation Officer candidate. He conferred with prosecuting attorneys on active cases, checked anglers and ice shelters, and checked cross country skiers for trail passes. Snowmobile activity increased a bit due to some warmer weather. Enforcement activity included snowmobile registration violations and state park vehicle permit violations.

 

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) monitored snowmobile and angling activity during the week.  She also received a call of an individual harassing another on private property. Reminder, if you leave your fish house out on the lake it must have either your complete name or address, your driver’s license number, OR your MN DNR number on it.

 

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) assisted a neighboring officer with a report of a deer stuck in a fence. He provided assistance to local law enforcement with a call of a stolen propane tank from an ice shelter. A few ice shacks are being removed from the ice by their owners in preparation for the removal deadline.

 

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 good.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continues to check anglers and snowmobilers during the week.  Cold weather is still keeping activity down. CO Mathy presented at the Lake Winnie resort owners association on various topics. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, unattended line, possession of marijuana, snowmobile speed, and snowmobiling without a safety certificate.

 

CO Larry Francis (Remer) reports ice fishing continues, but action was very slow over the weekend. Snowmobiling continues, with trails in fair condition although more snow is needed to improve their condition. Enforcement action was taken for unattended lines, extra lines, and no license in possession.

 

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on snowmobiling and ice angling activity. Snowmobiling and ice angling activity continued to be slow as cold weather appeared to hinder recreational activity. CO Broughten stopped several snowmobilers for failing to stop at road crossings. He also investigated a complaint of dumping deer carcasses.  Enforcement action included no angling license in possession, failure to stop snowmobile for road crossing, angling with extra lines, and no angling license.

 

CO Shane Siltala (Water Resource Enforcement Officer) worked at the St. Cloud Sportsman’s Show at the AIS booth, where he answered many questions on invasive species laws. He attended bait dealer training in Brainerd and gave a presentation to local elementary students about wolves and other wildlife. Officer Siltala also noted a lot of snowmobiling activity throughout the week, with reports of good trail conditions.

 

District 5 – Eveleth area

 

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports investigation into wolf depredation case in the Littlefork area. Cold weather again has kept ice fishing and snowmobile activities at a minimal, however a local snowmobile club held their annual hotdog roast on a local trail this weekend along with a vintage snowmobile event and run.

 

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports patrolling area snowmobile trails and checking on ice fishing activity. The snowmobile trails are in excellent condition and not very many snowmobiles were observed on the trails. Ice fishing activity was very slow.

CO Dan Starr (Tower) monitored fishing activity and worked the Arctic Blast in District 10. Many snowmobilers were out with some nice weather to enjoy. Snowmobile registration issues were found, along with failing to stop at intersections. Some safety certificate issues were also addressed. Fishing violations were found to be far too common, with angle with extra lines leading the statistics. No license and unattended lines were also found. CO Starr and CO Guida also assisted Mille Lacs Sheriff’s Dept. with a possible burglary in progress. The COs interrupted the possible burglary and detained the suspects until deputies arrived.

 

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobiles, a fishing tournament, a vintage snowmobile run, finished up a trapping case and investigated a TIP call of illegal deer possession. Angling with extra lines was prevalent last week, even with an angler taking part in a fishing tournament. A snowmobiler taking part in a vintage sled run nearly collided with the officer when the other rider entered the trail. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, angle with extra lines, no shelter license, unmarked fish house, fail to check traps daily, trap with site exposed bait to soaring birds and failing to yield on the trail.

 

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent a majority of his time checking anglers. Trout anglers have been doing well but crappie anglers report little success. CO Frericks worked an antique snowmobile rally between Kinney and Chisholm. The event was well attended and most snowmobilers behaved well but one inexperienced snowmobiler decided to pass another while going up a steep hill while unable to see if any traffic was oncoming. When the snowmobiler was stopped the rider admitted they practiced poor judgment in passing the other sled in the location they did. A citation was issued for operating a snowmobile in an unsafe manner.

 

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked some snowmobiling activity in the Tower station with speed violations addressed. Received a complaint of an individual plowing across a lake to a fish house leaving large piles of snow.  He felt a law should be written against such to protect snowmobilers who may hit the piles. Received a call of a deer caught up in a barb wire fence with a broken leg. Assistance was giving to the St Louis Co. Sheriff’s Office in apprehending two suspects wanted for felony theft.

 

Ray – vacant.

 

I. Falls # 2 – vacant.

 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

 

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports less than normal angling activity was observed over the week although the report from those who were out was generally good. There was an increase in snowmobile activity in the Ely area for the Winter Festival, with hundreds of people from the region coming to see the snow sculptures at Whiteside Park. Sightings of a local resident lynx continue to trickle in from the hidden valley area. Most of the sightings have been brief, but a few people have been able to get photographs and video. Violations included fail to display snowmobile registration, speed, and angling without a license in possession.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked a snowmobile detail at Voyageur’s National Park. Traffic was lighter than expected due to the cold temperatures, but still plenty of hardy snowmobilers out. One group was riding for miles on the highway because they kept getting stuck in the snow that was along the road. Some of the modern snowmobiles just aren’t designed for deep snow, slush, or anything other than the trails. Sadly, the best advice to those people is to know your sled and avoid areas that will get you into trouble if you have a sled that can’t operate in deep snow.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked angling and snowmobiling activity during the week. The snowmobile trails were in excellent condition with very little use during the middle of the week. Designated trout lakes are still doing well while the laker action has been a little slow to this point. The CO assisted the Ontario Ministry of Fisheries with how our laws and regulations work in regards to photographing fish that are caught when it is unlawful to possess them. Snowmobile and angling violations were also dealt with.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers in and around the BWCA; slush has been less of a problem and fishing success was mixed. The officer patrolled snowmobile trails and forest roads checking sleds. CO Manning also spoke with a group regarding traps and trapping, how to avoid traps and how to release a dog that gets caught.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a weekend detail on Lake of the Woods with other officers. Violations encountered included walleye overlimits, extra lines, fish house violations, possession of un-measurable carcasses and filleted fish on the ice, and fishing license violations. Overall fishing was fairly slow and compliance was fairly good. Other violations encountered throughout the week included snowmobile registration violations and failure to transfer ownership. Work was also done on a furbearer case.

 

Silver Bay – vacant.

 

Two Harbors – vacant.

 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

 

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers and patrolled area snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled for snowmobile and angling activity. Violations of snowmobiles operating on the roadway and fail to display registration were encountered. He also had a report of someone operating a highway vehicle on the snowmobile trail. Trail conditions are excellent in the area, and the clubs are grooming them on a regular basis.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snow mobile activity and assisted the local police department with a burglary. Another week of cold winds made it tough for area anglers who tried to keep their portable fish houses over their holes in the ice. Enforcement action was taken for angle with extra line, no license in possession and snow mobile registration issues.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked anglers and snowmobile activity with many sportsmen getting out doors. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, failing to have registration on a snowmobile, speeding on a snowmobile. Trout angling activity was also worked with the bite being fairly good in the area.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobiles, ski trails and trappers. He also responded to several snowmobile complaints during the week.

CO John Velsvaag (NE regional ATV Officer) worked in the Itasca County area during the week with cold conditions and few people out recreating. CO Velsvaag also worked complaint areas on snowmobile along the Canadian border.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) continued an investigation from the deer season. CO Wichmann and other officers worked Lake of the Woods where enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, over limit of walleye/saugers and possession of small amount of marijuana.

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) checked anglers, dark house spearers, and bait on infested and on other waters. Some northern pike are still being speared in spite of the deep ice. Crappies and perch continue to keep resilient anglers happy. A bait harvester training class was attended in Brainerd. CO Arhart also worked a detail on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, and for transporting fish fillets without the skin patch. Wetland Conservation Act and Public Waters Inventory restoration cases were tracked.

 

District 8 – Duluth area

 

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked area lakes and snowmobile trails. Anglers are reporting a slow bite and very few fish have been checked. Ice conditions are great and auger extensions are becoming necessity. Snowmobile trails were worked enforcement action taken for speed, registration, transfer of title and stop sign violations.

 

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reported anglers and snowmobilers were checked throughout the week. The continued bitterly cold weather seems to have put a damper on many outdoor recreational activities this year. Very few snowmobiles were seen taking advantage of the exceptionally good trails we have this year. A commercial minnow harvest training class was attended as well as a class in the use of decibel sound meters that are used in the enforcement of loud snowmobile exhaust. Speeding, no current registration and possession of a small amount of marijuana were a few of the violations encountered this week.

 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) completed work on a pre-employment background for a possible new hire as a Conservation Officer. Several people were checked ice fishing during the week.  Some snowmobile enforcement was worked during the week. One day was spent at Camp Ripley and Little Falls assisting with training new hire State Patrol Officers in a water survival class. Officer Duncan also returned several calls from the public and made a stop at a fishing contest to answer questions.

 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) reports working ice angling and snowmobile activity throughout the week. CO Humphrey received several calls regarding injured animals and requests for collector snowmobile permits. CO Humphrey attended trainings for bait dealer/invasives and snowmobile noise enforcement. CO Humphrey consulted with Forestry officials on a pending civil action for suppression billing. CO Humphrey also met with the County Attorney on a baiting case and formal complaint on a big game trespass. ATV, angling, and snowmobile violations were encountered during the week.

 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked snowmobile and fishing activity in the area this past week. Enforcement action was taken for unlicensed fish house, failure to display ID on fish house, speed and registration violations. A talk was given to a college class on the hiring process and job duties of a Conservation Officer. Sound meter training was attended to show how to test snowmobiles for compliance of the law. A funeral was attended for a retired officer from the Deer River station. Because of reports of poor compliance, ski pass enforcement was picked up at local state parks. More K9 training was conducted with K9 Schody. A report of a possible shot deer was investigated when it was found to be bleeding.  Turns out it was a deer with an injured leg that reopened the wound when it fled from the complainant.

 

WREO Mike Scott (NE) attended commercial minnow training for Conservation Officers covering the rules and laws for commercial minnow harvesters who were working in infested waters of the state. Water survival training was conducted with the Minnesota State Patrol Academy training new Troopers how to survive in water related incidents and rescuing others in a water environment. An AIS booth was staffed at the St. Cloud Sports Show over the weekend talking with the folks about AIS issues and concerns. Lots of information was exchanged on AIS as well as current events with the Mille Lacs Lake concerns of AIS and the drop in walleye numbers. Other event goers were talking about the perceived downturn in the deer hunting in the state and what needs to be done to resolve the drop in numbers.

 

Lake Superior Marine Unit

 

CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked anglers in the Duluth area and the St. Louis bay and harbor. Olson worked a snowmobile enforcement detail in Carlton County.

 

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked shore and ice anglers on Lake Superior. Snowmobiles were checked on trails that remain in good shape. A planning meeting was attended in St Paul and a deer case from last fall was wrapped up with a guilty plea. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and angling violations.

 

District 9 – Brainerd area

 

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked fishermen and worked snowmobile trails, including the Mille Lacs Lake area. He also attended training and a Volunteer Safety Instructor Forum in Brainerd. The officer continues to be amazed at how good people are about stopping for stop signs when in a car or pickup and how bad they are about stopping for stop signs when on a snowmobile.

 

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity of attending commercial bait harvest training, inspection of fish shelters on area lakes for legal requirements, follow up work on previous fish house and deer baiting violation cases, and checking fishing, snowmobile, and cross country ski activity. Enforcement contacts were made for violations including snowmobiles operating on highway shoulders and no ski passes.

 

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers are out but many anglers are removing permanent houses because of difficult condition and a slow bite. Complaints of garbage and wood blocks left behind were reported and investigated. Some violations observed were no license and multiple hooks. Ice pressure ridges have been reported on area lakes and some snowmobiles were damaged because of them. Reports of fish house damage and burglaries out on Gull Lake continue to be reported. He worked with a Cass County deputy on complaints of careless snowmobile operators. Violations observed were speed and expired registration. Some snowmobilers were checked by radar going faster than 85 mph.

 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) attended decibel training provided by the MPCA on administering tests on snowmobiles being operated with loud exhausts. Officer Guida also attended local Aquatic Invasive Species training in Brainerd focusing on commercial trapping. Work was done at the Vikings Artic Blast around Mille Lacs Lake. Two Conservation Officers interrupted a likely burglary of a residence that occurred a couple hours after the homeowner was involved in a terrible traffic accident. One of the suspects was arrested on an outstanding warrant. Numerous other folks attending the Arctic Blast indicated that they appreciated all of the DNR CO efforts in making the trails and area around the event safe.

 

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) checked anglers and snowmobilers, worked on a trapping case from last fall, attended aquatic invasive species training, and fielded questions and complaints from citizens on trespass issues and of 4×4 trucks driving on snowmobile trails.

 

McGregor – vacant.

 

Pine River – vacant.

 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

 

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) assisted at the annual Viking Arctic Blast by patrolling the lake on snowmobile. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration, angling with extra lines, unattended lines and angling without licenses in possession. While checking an angler who had two extra lines, Officer Speldrich was told that his brother had a bathroom emergency and that was why he had extra lines down in the fish house. He stated his brother had gone to a local gas station and ran out of the house so fast that he didn’t have time to reel up his lines. The angler said he didn’t notice that his brother’s lines were still in the water. Officer Speldrich advised the angler to call his brother and hand the phone to her. The angler complied. Officer Speldrich began talking to a man and realized she could hear a familiar echo in the background. That is when the brother advised he was in the bathroom as they spoke. Officer Speldrich advised him of his wrongdoing and then let him “go.” Needless to say the angler was telling the truth. Speldrich attended a LEMA honor guard meeting, checked area lakes, issued collector snowmobile permits and answered snowmobiling law questions.

 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working the Arctic Blast Event on Mille Lacs Lake over the weekend. The trails were great and lots of snowmobilers were out enjoying them. Fishing activity on Mille Lacs Lake was checked during the week and the bite still was sluggish with only a few perch and walleye seen. Several smaller station lakes were also checked and few fishermen were found out on them. A TIP complaint of two deer carcasses dumped along a county road was investigated and lots of snowmobile and fishing law related questions were answered. Enforcement action for the week included fail to display current snowmobile registration, snowmobile speed, fail to display registration numbers, and no angling license in possession.

 

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked area lakes and Mille Lacs Lake. Fishing remains sluggish on Mille Lacs with a few perch seen and a fair bite on pan fish on surrounding lakes. Time was spent patrolling the Arctic Blast and area snowmobile trails. Trail conditions remain good around the area. Common violations seen were speed and registration.

 

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent some time inspecting local minnow retailers and patrolling snowmobile trails. Trail conditions continue to be in excellent shape but extreme cold weather kept snowmobiling pressure down. Some of the snowmobiling violations found included failing to stop at cross roads and operating in excess of 90 miles an hour. County squads were assisted with a stop that resulted in possession of methamphetamine.

 

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) held a work detail for the Arctic Blast. Several Conservation Officers worked area snowmobile trails and Mille Lacs Lake; the event attracted a large crowd. Angling activity was monitored on Mille Lacs Lake as well; a few tullibee and jumbo perch were seen. Enforcement action was taken for failing to display snowmobile registration, angling with extra lines and unattended lines.

 

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) worked anglers and snowmobile enforcement through the week. He followed up on complaints of ice shelters in public accesses, angling without licenses, and deer caught in fences. He answered questions on nuisance animals, license deadlines, and questions about spearing.

CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) primarily worked on snowmobile enforcement. Activity has increased due to good trail conditions, nice weather, and the Vikings Arctic Blast festivity in the area. Fishing activity was also monitored but remains slow. Verkuilen also attended some snowmobile training.

Onamia – vacant.

 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

 

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked snowmobile activity, anglers and trespass issues. Time was spent working with the TIP Wall of Shame display at the St. Cloud Sport Show. TIP calls were investigated involving over limit fish.

 

WREO Keith Bertram spent the week conducting follow-up on wetland cases and checking fishermen. One Stearns county wetland case was finally closed when the suspect purchased over $43,000 in wetland credits. Enforcement action was also taken for extra lines and small amount of marijuana.

 

CO Mike Martin (St. Cloud) checked anglers and snowmobile operators during the past week. Officer Martin took several calls about a possible sighting of a Long-tailed duck on the Mississippi in Sartell. Long-tail ducks are not normally seen in this area but it was confirmed. Time was also spent on transporting and setting up the TIP trailer and working at the St. Cloud Sports Show.

 

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers during the past week. CO Mies attended training in Brainerd. CO Mies also checked sleds and ATVs.

 

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) taught the law portion for Swanville Snowmobile Safety. Angling and snowmobile activities were monitored. Background investigations were completed and submitted.

 

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) reports completed administrative work and equipment maintenance.

 

District 12 – Princeton area

 

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and snowmobilers on area lakes and trails. He issued written warnings and summons for a number of snowmobiling violations. He followed up on an accidental trapped Otter. He checked on an injured swan.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) assisted setting up the TIP trailer at the St. Cloud Civic Center. CO Reller also had a snowmobile work crew over the weekend that found a large number of snowmobilers out enjoying the good trail conditions. Enforcement action was taken for speed, failure to have snowmobile safety certification, registration and trailer sticker violations. Snowmobilers getting the collector registration for their snowmobiles over 25 years please note you need a trail sticker if operating the snowmobile on state or grant-in-aid trails. You will see it would be cheaper to get the standard registration for three years, which includes the trail sticker now.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers. Violations were found for speed, registration, and no state trail sticker. CO Musatov also spoke at a youth firearms safety class.

CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) checked anglers, snowmobiles, and coyote hunters. Officer Londgren also received complaints of wetland violations, trespassing, and litter around fish shelters. Please clean up after yourselves when leaving the lakes, thank you!

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports checking anglers and snowmobilers in the area. Lots of anglers have been out on area lakes but have found little success. The large amount of snow is making it difficult to find new fishing spots. The local trails were packed this past weekend with old and new snowmobiles. The area trails were in great shape and riders took advantage.

Cambridge – vacant.

 

District 13 – West Metro area

 

CO Steve Walter (Waconia) investigated a TIP call on a possibly illegally taken deer which turned out to be a car kill and a permit had been issued. Landowners were met with on several deer feeding on their hay fields. Anglers were checked all week having mixed success. Snowmobile trespass calls continue to be handled.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling snowmobile trails. CO Grewe followed up with a possible shoreline violation and other complaints received throughout the week. CO Grewe took part in a security detail at Fort Snelling State Park over the weekend. Violations included license violations.

CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) checked fishermen in Hennepin and Dakota counties. He did lake aerator inspections. CO Neitzke patrolled Ft. Snelling State Park violation areas and worked a VIP security detail. He also did snowmobile enforcement.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked ice fishermen and snowmobilers in the metro area lakes and trails. He assisted a neighboring officer with an investigation on a deer complaint in St. Paul, and attended the instructor forum at Carlos Avery. Officer Lee also participated in the VIP detail at Ft. Snelling State Park and returned phone calls on ice fishing regulations.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked angling and snowmobiling activities in district vicinities. He also assisted with the VIP detail at Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport. He delivered deer that was harvested from deer population control to needy families in Saint Paul.

 

Bloomington – vacant.

 

Prior Lake – vacant.

 

District 14 – East Metro area

 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) responded to an injured deer, attended bait dealer training in Brainerd and attended the FAS instructor forum at Carlos Avery. CO Arntzen continued checking anglers and monitoring recreational vehicle activity. CO Arntzen also spent time patrolling WMAs and assisting a neighboring officer on a trespass complaint.

CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) reports that he participated in a work crew with CO Arntzen, and other COs at the Forest Lake Snowmobile Radar Run. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display snowmobile registration. CO Johnson completed an investigation into trespass at the Carlos Avery WMA Sanctuary. He started an investigation into possible deer hunting violations in Coon Rapids. CO Johnson delivered an injured Mallard to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked in Forest Lake during a snowmobile racing event with neighboring conservation officers. Anglers and fish houses were also checked throughout the week. CO Pril also responded to calls and emails regarding presentations and classes.

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) assisted a North Dakota Warden with a license case. She checked many anglers on area lakes and worked WMA and small game enforcement in Anoka County. She finished working on a trapping case, assisted with a deer removal program in Ramsey County and worked snowmobile enforcement on local trails.

CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) patrolled Dakota and Washington County for snowmobile activity. CO McGowan also continued to follow-up on TIP complaints, and prepared documents for upcoming court trials.

WREO Adam Block (Metro) attended a training session in Brainerd related to bait dealers and a boating meeting held in St Paul.  WREO Block spoke with attendees of the Lake and Cabin Show held in Minneapolis answering many questions related to shoreline alterations.  WREO Block also patrolled for angling activity and completed aeration system inspections.

CO Amber Peterson (Maplewood) reports receiving a call of suspicious activity. The caller observed a vehicle with a full deer carcass in it. After investigating, the driver had a permit for the deer. CO Peterson also investigated several dead squirrels that were dumped at a park in St. Paul, attended bait dealer training, attended a Firearms Safety instructor meeting, and patrolled area lakes and trails from snowmobile with neighboring officers. Enforcement action included unregistered snowmobile, speed, and failure to display registration.

 

Eagan – vacant.

 

Metro Officer – vacant.

 

District 15 – Marshall area

 

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) completed a background investigation on a prospective CO applicant. Ice fishing, predator hunting, and snowmobiling activity were also monitored during the week.

 

CO Doug Lage (Marshall) attended court reference a deer season case. Fishing is still going strong with cold conditions in the area. Trespassing calls were investigated in Redwood County on coyote hunters.

 

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ice anglers and sleds. Most anglers are frustrated on area lakes. Ungroomed trails are making for a rough ride for snowmobile operators. Investigations based on TIP calls continue to rise.

 

CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) checked coyote hunters and ice fishermen throughout the week. A presentation was given at an area elementary school. The officer also followed up on a variety of TIP calls.

 

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) worked a fishing tournament on Lac qui Parle Reservoir. Several complaints were received about people chasing coyotes with a motor vehicle and shooting out the window.

 

WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) met with the Redwood County Attorney reference a WCA violation. Officer Hanson worked an AIS booth at the St. Cloud Boat Show. He assisted CO Picht with a fishing tournament on Lac Qui Parle Reservoir. AIS information was provided to the anglers.

 

Benson – vacant.

 

Madison – vacant.

 

Redwood Falls – vacant.

 

District 16 – New Ulm area

 

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) attended department training related to invasive species. He followed up on a case from the deer season. Denz continues to check anglers who are having limited success. He also conducted aeration inspections

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) patrolled snowmobile trails and checks snowmobilers during the week. Mueller also assisted with training at Camp Ripley for the State Patrol academy.

 

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) patrolled the Luce Line Trail and GIA trails by snowmobile this week. Activity seemed down overall most likely due to the consistent arctic temperatures. Time was also spent working small game and trapping enforcement.

 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls about trapping concerns and answered licensing questions. He also gave water rescue/survival training to a State Patrol academy. Nelson spent the rest of the week on angling, predator hunting and snowmobile enforcement.

 

CO Jason Beckmann (Windom) spent the week primarily working ice anglers and snowmobile activity. Ice fishing continues to be incredibly slow. Assistance was given to the Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office with an arrest.

 

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked ice anglers and their shelters. Ice continues to increase as angling success continues to decrease. A monthly Fairmont Lakes Association meeting was attended, with a presentation on AIS education and the prevention. Lake service providers were addressed and encouraged to do their part in preventing the spread of invasive species. Predator hunters were talked to and their activity was monitored. Trapping activity was monitored also with investigations with tampering of their sets.

 

Litchfield – vacant.

 

Willmar #1 – vacant.

 

District 17 – Mankato area

 

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week patrolling for fishing, ATV and snowmobile activity. CO Ihnen and other area officers also worked a snowmobile detail during a local radar run.

 

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent time checking angling and snowmobiling activity. Grant-in-aid trails are still hit and miss as far as snow cover, but the Sakatah State Trail is in good condition. A background investigation on a candidate for Conservation Officer was completed.

 

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. A snowmobile race was worked with neighboring officers. Taxidermy inspections were also conducted.

 

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) assisted an out of state agency with a case involving an illegal bear. Assistance was also given to a neighboring officer in thawing out and counting a large over limit of fish. Lakes and rivers were checked and a firearms safety class was set up.

 

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked ATV, snowmobile, and angling activity during the week.  The officer also assisted neighboring officers with a snowmobile work detail and responded to calls from the public.

 

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week monitoring snowmobile and ice fishing activity. A few nuisance wildlife complaints were resolved. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.

 

WREO Julie Siems (SE) answered many questions related to shoreline and aquatic plant management at a sporting show. Siems also provided education on aquatic invasive species.

 

Albert Lea – vacant.

 

District 18 – Rochester area

 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) followed up on deer complaints and a fishing shelter situation. He also checked fishing and snowmobiling. He investigated a complaint of a dumped deer carcass along a roadway. While digging in the snow to find the deer carcass he found several other deer carcasses along with bags of dumped meat. The person that dumped the original deer carcass assured Hemker he only threw the one deer carcass.

 

CO Phil George (Rochester) worked checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Follow up was done on complaints of someone taking turkeys in closed season. Injured animal complaints were received as well depredation complaints. Enforcement action was taken on ATV and snowmobile operators not having current registration.

 

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Area trails continue to be in good shape although use has been very high. Fishing on the big river is slow with a few crappies and sunfish being taken in the backwaters.

 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports investigating a call of a possible missing snowmobiler. A snowmobile was found on its side just off the trail a long ways from any road or town. Further investigation revealed the subject’s sled became stuck and broke down. The subject made it home and is ok. Time was also spent checking coyote hunters. Success has picked up little. Winter trout anglers are waiting for some warmer weather to get out and try their luck.

 

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week checking fishing activity. The weekend was spent working with a workcrew up north. Fishing was spotty and several fishing violations were detected. Snowmobile trails in the area were in great shape.

 

CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports attending the division of enforcements strategic planning meeting. He worked a detail up at Lake of the Woods. Walleye /sauger were biting. Enforcement for the week included extra lines, over limit of walleye, unattended lines, and no fishing license.

 

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 Bob Geving has been flying spotter aircraft for the moose capture project over the last week. The weather conditions have been agreeable and the project seems to be advancing along fine with over half the number of target animals collared.

CO Pilot Don Murray (Grand Rapids) flew bear, marten, and wolf surveys during the week and assisted with teaching water survival training at the State Patrol Academy. The class focused on water survival and tactics training for the new officer recruits. Murray also worked fishing and snowmobile enforcement and answered questions on snowmobile training requirements.

NR Standby Pilot Brad Maas continued with deer surveys in the southeast, completing the survey on permit area 349. Again, deer numbers were estimated to be 15-20/mile. Snow conditions were still very good for this time of year. He also took part in the media day event for the moose capture project at Grand Marais. He flew news crews in close behind the capture helicopter to watch the work crews as they attach new GPS collars, and gather vital health information from each animal.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) assisted with a moose capture/collaring project in Grand Marais for the majority of the week. Jensen also flew other moose scouting flights, wolf pack count flights, fisher telemetry flight and some missing marten flights. Jensen continued training of a new CO pilot. The wolves seemed to enjoy sunning themselves on the days with bright sunshine.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) finished up the elk survey in northwest Minnesota and flew wolf pack counts. Heineman also attended to aircraft maintenance.

 

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

 

WREO reports are now placed within district reports.

 

Enforcement Education

 

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.

See Also:

STAFF NOTES:

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports attending an RTO meeting at Camp Ripley, completing instructor backgrounds, and planning for upcoming instructor training sessions. Saturday he facilitated an instructor forum/meeting in Morris.

 

SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez attended the monthly RTO meeting at Camp Ripley. The RTO assisted RTO Lawrence with an instructor forum held at Carlos Avery WMA. Many good topics were discussed by the group, along with several issues brought forth to the RTOs. RTO Gutierrez also attended a two meeting regarding the department’s 10 year strategic planning committee.

 

East Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence hosted an instructor meeting forum at the Carlos Avery wildlife management office. Meeting consisted of updated need to know topics with great instructor feedback on processes and communications with safety training section. RTO Lawrence participated with monthly Regional training officer meeting. RTO Lawrence conducted a Firearms Safety Instructor training session at Becker High School.

 

Southern RTO Dan McBroom spent the week working on instructor backgrounds. He attended an RTO meeting at Camp Ripley. He responded to emails and phone calls and worked on upcoming instructor meetings and instructor training classes.

 

Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens attended RTO meeting at Camp Ripley. He presented the 2013 Snowmobile Instructor of the Year Award at the MnUSA Rendezvous VIP Snowmobile Run in Mahnomen. It was a great way to meet stakeholders, DNR associates, local law enforcement, and White Earth Reservation staff. Owens appreciated the preparation and professionalism displayed by everyone involved.

 

NW RTO Jon Paurus worked on lesson plans for upcoming officer training. A volunteer firearms safety instructor training class was conducted in Detroit Lakes. A volunteer instructor forum was held in Thief River Falls where discussion focused on changes and updates to the safety training programs. Instructors had a chance to network with each other regarding field days and teaching techniques.

 

NE RTO Shelly Patten held two Safety Instructor Forums. The Brainerd forum had 51 instructors in attendance, while the Two Harbors forum had 10 instructors in attendance.  Great information was shared and instructors are pleased with the forum idea. It was decided that the northeast area will start their own chapter of the MVSIA. Patten attended an RTO meeting at Camp Ripley. Patten filmed snowmobile activity for future training uses. Patten reviewed the updated Snowmobile Safety CD several times and found it to be in good working order. Patten worked with the new snowmobile safety group in Ely to set up their first class. Patten worked on scheduling and items for the Duluth Sport Show and Deer Classic that starts on Wed., Feb 12.

 

RTO _ PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:

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

NE RTO Shelly Patten                        218-244-8051

West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-230-8549   frank.rezac@state.mn.us

NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence 651-674-6184  bruce.lawrence@state.mn.us

Southern RTO Dan McBroom 507-843-2032  daniel.mcbroom@state.mn.us

NW RTO Jon Paurus 218-298-4000  jon.paurus@state.mn.us

SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez 651-464-7773   alex.gutierrez@state.mn.us

 

Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant

 

Education Specialist:  Vacant

 

Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant

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2 thoughts on “FROM THE DNR: Weekly Conservation Officer Report

  1. Pingback: Canadian Lynx Caught on Video With A Red Fox. | Minnesota Sporting Journal

  2. Pingback: Tom Knapp Scholarship Created | Minnesota Sporting Journal

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