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





District 1 – Baudette area


CO Ben Huener (Roseau) assisted with an injured barred owl that was found by the police department. The owl was taken to a local rehabber. Paperwork was completed and submitted regarding recent illegal activity on Lake of the Woods. CO Huener checked anglers on Lake of the Woods with COs Vollbrecht, McGowan, Miska and Holt. Violations encountered included angling with extra lines, possessing marijuana, and possessing over limits of walleye and sauger. Fishing on LOW continues to be slow.


CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) performed equipment maintenance, checked area anglers, and completed required training. Area trails were patrolled during a local vintage snowmobile ride and a call of dogs chasing deer was investigated. Enforcement action for the week included snowmobile registration violations, no state trail permit, allowing illegal operation of snowmobiles by a juvenile, and no snowmobile safety training.


CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods with most anglers reporting a slow bite. Anglers were checked on the Red Lake and Thief Rivers snowmobile activity was worked on area trails and rivers. State parks were monitored for activity and questions answered in regards to parking and cross country skiing.


CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) monitored snowmobile trail activity and checked anglers on Upper Red Lake and special regulation lakes. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s office locating and checking on anglers who became stranded by weather on Upper Red Lake. Enforcement action for the week included angle with extra lines and transport fillets without skin patch.


Baudette -vacant.


Blackduck #2 – vacant.


Karlstad – vacant.


Warroad #1 – vacant.


Warroad #2 – vacant.


District 2 – Bemidji area


CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking ice anglers and patrolling area grant-in-aid snowmobile trails. Time was also spent attending a district meeting in Detroit Lakes and investigating a complaint of an illegally possessed deer. Violations included take/possess fish over-limit, no car-kill deer permit, and various snowmobile related violations.


CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and patrolled area snowmobile trails.


CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity in the area. Snowmobile trails are in excellent condition and were patrolled throughout the week. CO Vollbrecht worked a LOW work detail with several different COs. A district training and meeting were attended in Detroit Lakes. CO Vollbrecht and CO Holt assisted with enforcement efforts at the annual Eelpout Festival in Walker.


CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) spent the week checking snowmobilers and ice anglers. A district meeting and training session was attended with other officers from Districts 2 & 3. Officer Holt spent one day working the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake and then worked a detail on Lake of the Woods with several other officers. Enforcement activity for the week included angling with extra lines, illegal length walleyes, and multiple angling license violations.


CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fisherman and snowmobilers.  Many houses are being removed from area lakes. Time was also spent working predator hunters, following up on a complaint of deer dumped in a ditch and an area meeting and training were attended.


CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting White Earth Conservation Officers with a dumping violation, and the Otter Tail Co Sheriff’s Office with a snowmobile that went through the ice on the Ottertail River and patrolling area lakes and trails. Two instances of pickups stuck on the snowmobile trails were investigated. Dogs chasing deer calls were also looked into with the owner of a pair of dogs contacted. CO Vinton attended a district meeting and completed a possible license fraud investigation for North Dakota Game and Fish.


WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week checking snowmobile and fishing activity. A meeting with the Region 1 hydrologists was attended at Itasca State Park. WREO Stattelman presented on the Public Waters violation process and the importance of communication within the process. Time was spent working on open cases and moving towards closing out old cases. A district meeting and training was attended.


Moorhead – vacant.


Detroit Lakes – vacant.


District 3 – Fergus Falls area


CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) checked lakes and trails in and around work area. Ice shelter removal was monitored with the March 3 deadline looming. GIA trails are in need of additional snow for good riding conditions but the lakes have plenty which might make shelter removal more labor intensive. Anglers and trappers are reminded to purchase their 2014 licenses due to expiration of the old ones at the end of the month.


CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) assisted area officers in Park Rapids with a snowmobile race event over the weekend with almost 90 racers. The Officer monitored snowmobile activity on the trail system and fishing activity. Fish houses are disappearing from the lakes quickly with some struggling getting them removed with all the snow and drifting. Coyote hunters were checked and aeration systems were monitored.


CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement efforts checking fishermen, fish shelters and snowmobilers throughout the week. ELS data privacy training and a district meeting was attended and Nelson testified in a court trial in Stevens County.


CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen and snowmobilers. Area trail conditions deteriorated during the warm weather the area experienced. Osborne attended training in Detroit Lakes and took calls of snowmobile safety questions along with snowmobile trespass complaints near Oscar Lake.


CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time monitoring both snowmobiling and ice fishing activity. Several violations found including angle without license, angle with extra line, unattended lines and unregistered snowmobiles. Lawler reminded fisherman the ice fishermen removal date in the Alexandria area is midnight on March 3. Additionally, a meeting was attended in Detroit Lakes with officers from D2 & D3.


CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fishing activity on area lakes. Time was spent taking inventory on the remaining fish houses in preparation for the upcoming removal deadline. Additional time was spent working snowmobiling and predator hunting activity, and preparations were made for upcoming FAS classes.


CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ice fishing; snowmobiling and commercial minnow harvest operations. Anderson participated in a snowmobile work crew in the Alexandria area on President’s Day with trails found to be in good shape. Snowmobile activity picked up throughout the day on the central lakes trail. The Officer had a court trial on a pheasant hunting case from last fall and training was attended in Detroit Lakes regarding ELS data privacy. Time was spent setting up a Stevens County safety instructor appreciation banquet to be held in March in Morris. Calls were fielded regarding predator hunting complaints and fish house questions.


CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, snowmobilers, and predator hunters. Time was also spent attending training in Detroit Lakes. The Officer investigated complaints of dogs chasing deer and predator hunters shooting from motor vehicles.


Wheaton – vacant.


District 4 – Wadena area


CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) took a complaint of a young bear in distress, apparently having awakened during the brief warm up. He checked snowmobile trails, ice anglers and ice shelters. Officer Parthun spent time on Leech Lake working the Eelpout Festival. He also assisted local law enforcement officers with snowmobile issues and trespass. Enforcement activity included snowmobile registration violations, ice shelter violations, and trespass.


CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) monitored snowmobiling and fishing activity during the week.  She worked the Eelpout Festival in Walker and the USXC Snowmobile race in Park Rapids.  Officer Hunter aided in crowd control at the festival when a fish house started on fire which then spread to the pick-up truck parked next to it.


CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) checked anglers and snowmobilers at the Eelpout Festival over the weekend. He received a call of vehicles on the snowmobile trail resulting in a snowmobile found partially submerged in a river. The owner was unable to be located, but the snowmobile was removed from the river. Officer Oldakowski also assisted two hearty anglers who forgot most of their gear at home. They did get to fish but it is unknown if they were successful. Enforcement action was taken this week for snowmobile registration violations.


CO Gary Sommers (Walker) reported primary enforcement efforts this past week focused on ice fishing and snowmobile activity. He monitored activity at the annual Eelpout Festival held in Walker. Officer Sommers also received a call regarding a possible sick bear.


CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily worked activities associated with the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake including recreational vehicle and angling enforcement. A large crowd gathered for the weekend despite the very cold and windy conditions. Numerous enforcement contacts were made. Angling with an unattended line continued to be a widespread problem.  Other enforcement action was taken for ATV DWI, angling with extra lines, underage consumption of alcohol, possession of marijuana, and several other recreational vehicle violations.


CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on snowmobiling and ice angling activity. Ice angling success continued to be slow. Recent snowfall has improved snowmobile trails but has limited lake travel. CO Broughten also worked the annual Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake. Enforcement action included: no angling license in possession, failure to display ATV registration, expired ATV registration, possession of small amount of marijuana, and angling with unattended lines.


CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked fishermen and snowmobilers during the week. He also assisted with a district work crew at the annual Eelpout Festival in Walker.


CO Shane Siltala (Water Resource Enforcement Officer) spent time this past week monitoring local snowmobiling and fishing activity. He continued reviewing APM and WCA cases and closing out older files. Officer Siltala also worked at the annual Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake. Festival goers battled bitter winds throughout the weekend, which made outdoor recreation a very chilly experience.


District 5 – Eveleth area


CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports attending Rainy Lake Sportsmen’s Clubs Annual Fishing derby on Rainy Lake. Little activity was observed during the week and weekend as snow and wind kept most people close to home. A complaint was received of an individual possibly shooting grouse along county roads. The individual was located and was found to be in possession of two spruce grouse; individual was cited for taking grouse in closed season. Snowmobile activity was minimal over the weekend. People are reminded that registration needs to be displayed and non-residents need a state trail sticker to operate on trails.


CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports checking on ice fishing and snowmobile activity throughout the week and weekend. Heavy snow late in the week appeared to keep people inside since the snowmobile trails had very few sleds on them. Ice fishing is very slow and the heavy snow has a few ice house owners wondering how they are going to get their fish houses removed from the ice.


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked snowmobiles, anglers, a vintage snowmobile race, took an on-line training course and investigated a recent illegal deer hunting complaint. Fish houses were marked to monitor litter and shelter removal. Anglers that have not removed fish houses should consider removing them now, as snow continues to accumulate in large quantities creating round two of slush problems. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license and a number of snowmobile violations.


CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time patrolling area snowmobile trails. Numerous sled have been turning up with expired registration from several seasons ago. In each instance the operator claimed it the first ride of the season. CO Frericks encourages owners of snowmobiles to get them registered before taking them out on the trails; after you are stopped by a conservation officer it is too late. A specific stretch of snowmobile trail was marked after receiving reports for two serious accidents. Heavy snow that arrived in the area has brought slush back to area lakes. Owners of ice houses are encouraged to start the process of removing them now.


CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked snowmobile enforcement on the area trails. Fredin came upon two sleds with one stuck from going off the trail into the woods, and two men attempting to get it out. While talking with the men alcohol was apparent and one man took off running up the trail in an attempt to flee CO Fredin. He was apprehended a short time later by Fredin on his sled and both were brought out to the road. Babbitt Police assisted processing and transporting both individuals to St. Louis County Jail where they were booked for DWI. Fredin assisted the Hibbing and Virginia Officers with snowmobile enforcement in their stations.


I. Falls # 2 – vacant.


Ray – vacant.


Tower – vacant.


District 6 – Two Harbors area


CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports the Ely area was hit hard again with over a foot of snow falling over the last week. Snowmobile trails were in excellent condition although the new snow drifts and banks did make it difficult to navigate outside of the groomed trails. A snowmobile safety class was held over the weekend at Vermilion Community College where 23 of the state’s newest snowmobile operators were tested and certified.


CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked snowmobilers and the last of the walleye fishermen. Fishing was poor and the slush after the big storm was terrible in places. On one spot on a river, the slush was nearly to the officer’s knees. The officer found out that he was extremely disliked by an individual because the man had called and wanted to keep an owl for himself. The officer had informed him that he could not do so, but that he could work with the local schools to get it done if they wanted to have it mounted as a display for educational purposes. The man said he will be angry about it for the rest of his life.


CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports a few more snowmobiles during the week, but angling activity remains very quiet. Reports of slush returning started coming in even before the last big snow. The lake trout have been cooperating and the CO saw a few dandies during the week. Most snowmobiles encountered were registered and had trail stickers, but a few reminders were needed that registration and trail stickers belong on the sled and not in the pocket. The CO also encountered people without fishing licenses in possession.


CO Mary Manning (Hovland) spent time patrolling area snowmobile trails and lakes. More heavy snowfalls in the arrowhead region are resulting in increases in deer moving down to the Lake Superior shore and many more animals utilizing snowmobile trails rather than wade through deep snow. The officer spoke with a party who was not happy that some many folks are feeding deer along the Superior shoreline, drawing deer across the state highway and into the paths of many vehicles.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked Eelpout Festival in Walker with CO Mathy. Violations were again prevalent with enforcement action taken for unattended lines, extra lines, fishing without a license, under 21 consumption of alcohol, small amount of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, ATV DWI, unregistered ATV, and too many passengers on an ATV. One angler who had lines down in a fish house was eventually found socializing in another fish house. He said he was cited last year at Eelpout for unattended lines because he went to town and left his lines down. He thought he was okay this time because he wasn’t very far away. CO Bermel realized he was the officer that issued the citation the previous year. A citation was again issued for unattended lines. In addition, the angler never purchased a fishing license and an additional citation was issued for that offense.


CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked a snowmobile detail with Lt. Schottenbauer in the Tofte and Silver Bay stations. The officer checked anglers, worked state park complaints and monitored cross country ski trails. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.


CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobiling and angling activity on area trails and lakes. Several instances were encountered where snowmobilers were riding too fast for trail conditions and overshot corners after the recent winter storm. Enforcement action was taken for speed, failure to stop at road crossings, and various registration violations.


Silver Bay – vacant.


District 7 – Grand Rapids area


CO Randy Patten (Northome) processed confiscated fur, completed DVS and I mobile training, and worked on equipment inventory issues.


CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked angling, small game, and snowmobile activities. Violations included no license in possession, operate snowmobile on county roadway, and fail to display registration. He also marked some fish houses on area lakes due to the projected snowfall. Slush develops on many lakes after the deep snow and anglers are reminded to plan ahead for fish house removal.


CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobile activity and responded to a call of a tree laying across the snowmobile trail. The tree was located and removed with assistance from a deputy and the local fire department. Further investigation showed that the tree was intentionally cut and left. Enforcement action was taken for angle with extra line, no angling license in possession and snow mobile registration issues.


CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked angling activity last week, some panfish limits were being caught. She also checked snowmobile activity for registration and trail passes. She helped with public safety and law enforcement activities at Eel Pout this past weekend. The weather played a huge role in the decrease in attendance this year. She also helped with ensuring the safety of snowmobile riders and spectators at the USXC Snowmobile Race in Park Rapids.


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobiling activity over the past week with enforcement action taken for unregistered snowmobiles, speeding and operating down the shoulder of a county road. CO Sutherland also attended a snowmobile trails appreciation meeting and gave an update on snowmobile activity for the winter. A snowmobile safety class was also attended where a laws talk was given.


CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) monitored ice fishing, snowmobile and trapping activity. Reports were completed and calls answered. Wichmann assisted with the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office with vehicles driving off roads due to blizzard conditions. A driver of one vehicle that was checked had driven off the road and had his window rolled down and radio turned up. Wichmann woke the driver and enforcement action was taken for driving under the influence of alcohol.


CO John Velsvaag (Region 2 ATV officer) followed up on a complaint in the Orr station this past week. CO Velsvaag also patrolled on snowmobile on Lake Vermilion and Crane Lake. CO Velsvaag also checked fishermen on several designated trout lakes having slow to moderate success.


Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) checked anglers, dark house spearers, and respective bait on area infested waters. Perch success appeared moderate. High winds and deep snow closed most plowed ice roads over the weekend. CO Arhart also worked snowmobilers and Wetland Conservation Act restoration orders. Some deer feeding questions were received and answered.



District 8 – Duluth area


CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) spent time returning calls about concern for deer and other wildlife. A deer needed to be dispatched after its leg got caught in the crotch of a cedar tree. Apparently the deer was standing on its hind legs attempting to get to the boughs when its leg was entangled. Lots of owls are reportedly coming down from Canada in hopes of finding food. Complaints of people harassing the owls in attempts to photograph them are currently being investigated.


CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent some time working fishing and snowmobile enforcement.  Weather conditions limited access to most lakes, but a few anglers were still out. Complaint areas for snowmobile enforcement were worked. Officer Duncan talked with a Cub Scout group about the job of a Conservation Officer and also talked about natural resource laws and reasons for them. Time was also spent on office work, verifying issued equipment for an accurate inventory and following up on calls from the public.


CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) reports working ice angling and snowmobile activity throughout the week. CO Humphrey received several calls from concerned citizens about the condition of deer in the area and deer feeding plans. Snowmobilers were reporting some rough trail conditions over the weekend. Several snowmobiles were observed stuck on and off trails. Snowmobilers were also reporting lots of wildlife observed on the trails due to the deep snow. CO Humphrey checked on a local fishing tournament held in the Cromwell area.  Area anglers were having some success on pan fish. Fish house removal has begun for many anglers with the close of the pike, walleye and bass seasons. CO Humphrey assisted State Patrol with several vehicles going off the road due to drifting & blowing snow. Angling and snowmobile violations were encountered during the week


CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent the week working on equipment inventory and patrolling the lakes and trails. Some fish houses remain on area lakes and with the recent storm may have a tough time accessing them. Snowmobile trails in the area were in great shape until we received another 12 inches of snow. After they get groomed they are expected to be back in excellent shape. Enforcement action was taken for speed and registration violations. Some snowmobilers are reporting lots of deer on area trails. And with the deep snow they are very reluctant to get off the trails. Snowmobilers are advised to wait for them to find a reasonable exit off of the trail before continuing. They are very stressed this time of year and making them run for even a short distance on the trail could be fatal.


WREO Mike Scott met with local DNR Fisheries staff about current Aquatic Plant Management cases that are being worked on and updates on recent excavation of area trout stream last fall. Time was spent working the Sax-Zim Bog area over the weekend talking with many birders who are in the area to view snowy owls, great grey owls, and other winter birds. Information was exchanged with many birders from other states about not over stressing the birds that are already stressed from the winter we are all dealing with. Folks from Boston, Colorado, Indiana, and North Dakota were talked to along with many Minnesota residents.

Lake Superior Marine Unit


CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) assisted area agencies with traffic items relating to the large amount of snow received in the Duluth area. Worked snowmobile enforcement in the West Duluth area, checked anglers in the Two Harbors area and anglers in the Duluth-Superior Bay were also monitored.


CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers and snowmobiles. Registration and snowmobile safety training violations have continued to be a regular issue this season. High winds left some very deep drifts across trails in some areas; riders need to be wary of the risk these can present. Work was completed on annual inventory and a complaint area was worked along the state trail. Enforcement actions were taken for snowmobile violations.


CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked anglers on the Duluth Harbor and the St. Louis River, some walleye were found. He worked a vintage snowmobile run in the Proctor and Duluth areas, investigated a possible big game violation and performed equipment and office maintenance.  Enforcement action taken for snowmobile violations.


District 9 – Brainerd area


CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) assisted with work details for the Frozen Fore event on Gull Lake and the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake. Anglers and snowmobilers were also checked. Violations included possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, angling without a valid license, angling with extra lines, unattended lines, and littering.


CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked fishermen and snowmobilers during the week. Assistance was given to the State Patrol during the snow event and an individual contacted while a vehicle was being removed from a ditch resulted in a DWI arrest. Anglers are advised that 2014 licenses are required beginning March 1.


CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked snowmobile and angling enforcement. Compliance of snowmobile registration was great. Officer Guida met up with some local snowmobile trail volunteers and enjoyed a campfire brat on the trailside. Extra line violations were addressed. One angler will likely have their angling license privileges revoked due to the same violation addressed last year. Warnings were given to fish shelter owners on the removal of all garbage and material from their fish shelter location. Some are leaving their blocks in the ice which will become hazards in the open water season. Most owners are finding removal difficult with the recent snow and subsequent flooding but some prepared ahead and had their shelters off before the storm.


CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers were still out trying their luck. Violations were no license, extra and unattended lines and extra hooks. He checked a couple of pan fish anglers on the Gull River who miss counted their sunfish. It seems the angler accidently put a couple of sunfish in the hood of his coat. The angler took off his coat during the warm afternoon sun. He either missed the bucket or his partner thought it would be nice to help his friend catch his fish. Fortunately he was way under the limit and no violations were found. The ice conditions are good; however slush and large snow drifts continue to be big problem for anglers trying to remove their fish houses. He worked with a Cass County Deputy on complaints of speeding snowmobilers and snowmobilers driving on a privet airport. Other violations observed were no safety certificate and expired registration.


McGregor – vacant.


Pine River – vacant.


District 10 – Mille Lacs area


CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the majority of the week checking anglers and monitoring snowmobile traffic. He answered questions about shelter removal, inquiries on the end of seasons regarding walleye and northern pike, and answered nuisance animal questions. CO Wynn also worked snowmobile and spotted deer complaints in the Mora station during the week. He worked some trespassing complaints around the Pine City area where snowmobilers think it’s a good idea to drive into farmer’s fields without permission. The snowstorm at the end of the week dumped well over 12 inches of snow in areas around Pine City and Hinckley. Vehicle travel on area lakes will be difficult until the blowing and drifting subsides.


CO Dan Starr (Onamia) spent a good deal of time meeting DNR, court staff, and other law enforcement officers in his new station. Starr found many people out on warmer days, while outdoor activities taper off when temperatures decrease. An extra line investigation was wrapped up with action taken, along with a snowmobile registration issue that led to calling a local dealership.


CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working Mille Lacs Lake fishermen during the week and weekend. Some tullibees were seen on the north end of the lake but the walleye and perch bite was sluggish. Lots of sleds were seen out on the trails with the new snow. Assistance was given to the Sheriff’s Department on a sled that had gone through the ice on a local river. The sled had gone through the night before and the operator was working on trying to get it out of the ice. Lots of fishing, snowmobile, and ATV law related questions were answered throughout the week and weekend. Assistance was also given to a snowmobiler that had broken down along the trail. Enforcement action for the week included various fishing violations.


CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) attended court regarding a gross over limit of walleyes from last summer. Assistance was given to Mille Lacs County SO and State Patrol during the snowstorm by taking calls in various areas. A person was found burning a large amount of carpet outside of an apartment building. Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited items. Fishing and snowmobiling activity was monitored and various violations were addressed.


CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area snowmobile trails and Mille Lacs Lake. Trails in the area are in excellent condition with the extra snow recently received.  However, the snow will make removing fish houses a difficult task. Many shelters are buried in snow. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s department in locating a missing snowmobiler. The party crashed his sled and spent the night in a local logger’s skidder. He was uninjured and escaped hypothermia by taking shelter in the skidder. Enforcement action was taken on fishing and snowmobiling violations.


WREO Rob Haberman assisted in Lake Service Provider Training in Brainerd. Over 16 LSP’s went through the training. WREO Haberman also attended a meeting with city, county and state officials on wetland issues in the Wahkon area of Mille Lacs County. WREO Haberman also patrolled area snowmobile trails and continued work on open cases in his area.


CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found a significant decrease in the amount of angling activity. Deep, heavy snow on area lakes made it a challenge to gain access to fishing spots. Snowmobile trails continued to be in prime condition and off trail riding has proven to be difficult for many. A handful of riders were found working up a sweat trying to dig out their sleds after going off-trail and getting buried in waist deep snow. Anglers were reminded to start thinking about getting their fishing shelters removed from area lakes by the approaching March 3 deadline. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobiles trespassing on agricultural property.


CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angling activity including the DU contest on Garrison Bay. Success was still slow and ice houses are started to get removed. Additional snow made for tough snowmobiling as ditches drifted in and it was easy to get stuck off trail. Enforcement action was taken for lack of registration and operator training.


CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) taught the law portion of youth firearms safety to Askov area youngsters. The kids were an enthusiastic bunch which made it a fun class to teach. Speldrich patrolled area snowmobile trails. The latest snowfall and winds made some of the trails difficult. Areas with smaller drifts were like moguls and some drifts were so large it made the trails nearly impassable. As groomers are able to get to these areas, the trails will be in good condition again. Speldrich answered questions regarding collector snowmobile permits, fishing and ice house removal deadlines.


Onamia – vacant.


District 11 – St. Cloud area


CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, snowmobilers, and coyote hunters. The deep snow and large drifts had the snowmobilers out and had many people getting their fish houses off the lakes. Thesing assisted other officers on a snowmobiling enforcement work crew.


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) reports fielding calls regarding shelter removal deadlines. The officer began documenting all shelters for future litter and removal issues. Coyote hunting complaint in regards to trespassing was also received.


CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this last week. CO Mies also talked at the firearms class in Cokato. CO Mies also checked sleds and worked on an ATV complaint.


CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) participated in a work crew in the Albany area. Weather conditions led to a less than average turnout for the annual Lions Club fishing tournament on Long Lake. Northern pike, bass, crappie, sunfish, and perch were caught. Fish were slow to bite. Snowmobile activity was less than expected.

WREO Keith Bertram spent the week preparing for upcoming AIS trainings, checking snowmobilers, and assisting with district taxidermy inspections. The last walleye and northern fishermen were checked for the season. One received a citation from extra lines while spearing and his equipment seized.


CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) received TIP calls of a landowner placing metal pipes in road right of way to block snowmobilers and a snowmobile trespass complaint where the snowmobilers left the Grant-in-Aid trail and drove onto private property. Snowmobile enforcement was worked with violations encountered of snowmobilers operating without a Snowmobile Safety Certificate and driving on roadway shoulders with the excuse being the snow was too deep in the ditch to drive there so “what else were they supposed to do?” CO Kuske suggested they stick to the Grant-in-Aid trails with their snowmobiles instead of the road shoulders.


CO Mike Martin (St. Cloud) checked anglers and snowmobile operators during the past week. Officer Martin assisted with upcoming academy training and checked ice shelters prior to the removal date due to heavy snowfall and drifting in the local area. Time was also spent on several dogs chasing deer complaints and working a snowmobile run. Officer Martin took many complaints from snowmobile operators because their registration stickers are delaminating and falling apart, most were disappointed to find out they needed to purchase replacement decals. Anglers are reminded that their angling license expires on the last day of February and the shelter removal date is March 3rd for the Stearns County area.


CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) reports travel conditions on area lakes is getting tougher every day. Between recent snow accumulations and the blowing and drifting of snow many fish house owners are contemplating the difficult task of getting their house off the lake. Slush is starting to build in many places and the few that volunteer to plow roads on the lakes are finding tough going. For those that are finding their way out, the panfish bite has been fair. Snowmobile trails are in great shape and traffic on local trails has been low. CO Kuske addressed the problem of modified mufflers and lack of registration with several snowmobilers. DNR Wildlife has started a deer census survey in Morrison County and several local organizations continue to feed deer in certain areas. A few reports of deer dying from apparent starvation or exposure are starting to surface.


District 12 – Princeton area


CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports assisting in locating a missing snowmobiler during last week’s blizzard. While riding the trails, the snowmobiler got stuck in the increasing snow. The driver was unable to free the snowmobile and called 911 for help. During the search, contact was lost with the driver and visibility was poor. While finding a safe place to launch a snowmobile, CO Langevin found the driver half buried in the road ditch. The driver was unconscious and paramedics were called for transport.


CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked snowmobilers and ice anglers. Violations were found for extra lines, possession of drug paraphernalia, and unmarked ice shelters. Time was spent marking ice shelters for the upcoming removal date.


CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) attended a snowmobile work crew in Stearns County. The snowmobile trails in the area had so much drifting from the storm that some portions of the trail system were impassable due to drifts over 8 feet hide. Anglers that have left shelters out on area lakes have been busy digging out shelters this past weekend before they need to be off by March 3rd. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, snowmobile registration and trail sticker violations and operating a snowmobile without a safety certificate.


CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and snowmobilers and took enforcement action on a number of violations. He assisted with an injured swan. He assisted with a number of snowmobile registration questions. CO Sladek wants to remind everyone who buys or sells a snowmobile to make sure the paperwork is processed and has the owner of the snowmobile on all the paperwork.


CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) checked anglers, shelters, snowmobiles, and instructed firearms classes at a Becoming an Outdoors Woman event. Officer Londgren also followed up on a hunting out of season complaint, a TIP call of an abandoned sled and fish shelter, and an injured bird call that ended up being a non-breeding plumage red throated loon (common to lake superior). Enforcement action was taken on: expired registration, no reflectors on shelter left overnight, operate snowmobile in restricted area, and no license in possession.


Cambridge – vacant.


District 13 – West Metro area


CO Steve Walter (Waconia) assisted with the VIP detail at Fort Snelling State Park. A firearms safety presentation was given to a class in Waconia. Area lakes were checked for stranded motorists and anglers after the snow storm.


CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) patrolled Hennepin County for angling activity. Salzer also patrolled Hennepin and Wright counties for snowmobile activity. The trails are still in pretty good condition. CO Salzer also dealt with some equipment issues.


CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling snowmobile trails. CO Grewe responded to calls regarding trespassing, shelter removal and answered small game hunting questions. Violations included snowmobile registration issue and excessive noise.


CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) checked fishermen on Dakota County lakes. He responded to a complaint of a dead deer. CO Neitzke worked snowmobile enforcement. He also patrolled Ft. Snelling State Park and worked litter complaints.


CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked mainly ice fishing and snowmobiling activities in the metro area. He talked on the Hmong radio on Conservation Officer duties, hunting, and fishing regulations. He also participated in the VIP detail at Ft. Snelling State Park.


CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) spoke at a Gyro Club in Eden Prairie about Conservation Officer’s roles. He assisted with a VIP work detail at MSP Airport. Along with CO’s Salzer, Grewe and Sladek, CO Le patrolled the Osseo station on snowmobile.


Bloomington – vacant.


Prior Lake – vacant.


District 14 – East Metro area


CO Amber Peterson (Maplewood) reports several ice houses remain on the lakes and rivers; however some were quick to remove them before the big snow. She reminds anglers St. Croix houses must be off by 11:59pm on Saturday, March 1st and on inland lakes by 11:59 on Monday March 3rd. CO Peterson spoke with students at Career Day at Woodbury HS and patrolled local snowmobile trails.


CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers and doing recreational vehicle enforcement. CO Arntzen responded to an injured deer call, did equipment maintenance, monitored WMAs and handled calls about ice shelters. Enforcement action for the week included registration violations, failure to stop, failure to transfer ownership and no snowmobile safety certificates.


WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent time patrolling for angling and snowmobile activity. A training seminar was attended in Bloomington pertaining to groundwater. Lots of outdoor users were out enjoying the new snow over the weekend, but some found themselves digging their fish shelters out ahead of the fast approaching removal deadline.


CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) reports that he checked anglers and snowmobilers. Enforcement action was taken for loud snowmobile exhaust. CO Johnson responded to calls about baiting Snowy Owls. He scheduled firearms safety classes and patrolled at Carlos Avery WMA.


CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) spent time patrolling for snowmobiles and ATVs on area lakes and trails. CO Pril responded to a TIP complaint of a possible big game violation and assisted a neighboring conservation officer with a dead deer complaint. CO Pril continued checking anglers throughout the week.


CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) handled a call in which an individual was hunting in a Scientific and Natural Area and shot a turkey. Enforcement action was taken. She assisted a Wisconsin Warden with a case and handled injured animal calls. CO Kruse worked fishing and snowmobile enforcement on area lakes and trails. Fish house owners are having a very difficult time removing houses from the lakes because of the deep snow.


CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) assisted with a work detail on Lake of the Woods. Numerous anglers were checked throughout the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for angle with extra lines, walleye over-limits, no angling license, and illegal length walleye.


Eagan – vacant.


Metro Officer – vacant.


District 15 – Marshall area


CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports that the walleye season ended quietly for most anglers.  A snowmobile radar run was attended out in a field near Cottonwood. Lack of snow didn’t stop the event, just required them to haul in 20 plus loads of snow to create the track. Complaints were worked dealing with dogs chasing deer, fish house issues, illegal trapping activity, and illegal use of motor vehicles to chase coyotes.


CO Doug Lage (Lake Benton) received a report of dogs chasing deer. Unauthorized equipment that was found in a wildlife management area was removed. Fishing has come to an end and border opener is on the horizon. Hopefully the thick ice on area lakes will be gone by April.


CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) checked area lakes and fish houses. He would like to remind fish house owners of the March 3rd date to remove fish houses from the lake. Please take the time to pick up the garbage on the ice and remember it is a violation to leave a house on a public access.


CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ice anglers and sleds. Anglers are reminded to stay outside of thin ice signs. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and coyote hunting violations.


CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) checked coyote hunters and ice fishermen throughout the week. A few inches of fresh snow improved trail conditions and brought out a few more snowmobilers. The officer also attended a volunteer instructor meeting held in Worthington.


CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) reports that ice fishing activity was monitored in the Ortonville Station, with anglers having moderate success. This officer also assisted Region 1 officers with an enforcement detail on Lake of the Woods. Numerous angling and snowmobiling violations were encountered.


WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) worked on WCA and waters case follow-up, checked ice fishermen and coyote hunters and issued AIS information. Snowmobile and ATV enforcement duties were also completed.


Benson – vacant.


Madison – vacant.


Redwood Falls – vacant.


District 16 – New Ulm area


CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) continued to check ice anglers and fish houses. He also checked snowmobilers and worked a snowmobile radar run in Spicer. Denz also followed up on a trapping complaint and spoke at a firearms safety class.


CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) investigated snowmobile complaints of trespassing and driving thru WMA/WPAs in the Buffalo Lake area. Anglers and area lakes were checked for activity, including lakes that were opened to liberalized fishing. Coyote hunters were also checked.


CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked the increase in snowmobiling activity with continued emphasis on speed. Time was also spent on following up on small game cases. Trapping enforcement was also worked.


CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding and investigated trapping complaints.  Nelson spent the rest of the week on angling, predator hunting, trapping, snowmobile and commercial activity enforcement.


CO Jason Beckmann (Windom) spent the week following up on various complaints related to trespassing, theft, shining, and trapping. A volunteer safety instructor forum was attended in Worthington. Cottonwood County had a good showing of nine instructors at the forum.


CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked ice fishermen, snowmobiles, small game, ATVs, and coyote hunters. Gruhlke attended the volunteer instructor forum held in Worthington. He also assisted the Sheriff’s Department with vehicles off roadway and completed aeration inspections in Jackson County.


CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked anglers and shelters on lakes. Shelter removal has commenced with the close of the seasons. Snowmobile activity was monitored. A couple of inches of snow were received after a two day melt. Schettler also monitored predator hunting activity.


Litchfield – vacant.


Willmar #1 – vacant.


District 17 – Mankato area


CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked angling and snowmobile activity. Fish houses are coming off area lakes in preparation for the upcoming removal deadline. Last week’s blizzard has limited mobility on area lakes. Anglers with permanent fish houses are encouraged to start the removal process early, so they are not struggling at the last minute.


CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week patrolling for fishing, ATV and snowmobile activity. Time was also spent monitoring and responding to litter complaints on area lakes.


CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. The recent heavy snowfall has improved trail conditions and more riders are out. A presentation was given to a group at the Riverbend Nature Center. Aeration inspections were conducted.


CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) attended two snowmobile safety field days. Time was spent patrolling area trails on snowmobile. Angling activity remains steady on lakes with success rates varying.


CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked ATV, snowmobile, small game, and angling activity during the week. Davis also testified in court regarding a hunting violation case. Fishing activity has slowed with the recent weather.


CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week monitoring snowmobile and ice fishing activity. Requests from the public for information were returned, as well as scheduling future firearm safety classes.


WREO Julie Siems (SE) reviewed older WCA cases and looked into non-certified LSPs.


Albert Lea – vacant.


District 18 – Rochester area


CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending time this past week and weekend checking open water anglers, ice anglers, snowmobile activity and teaching at a firearms safety class in Cannon Falls. Open water anglers were catching a few nice fish and ice anglers continued to struggle having any success. The large snowfall has made getting around on the ice very difficult. Many areas of the lakes are seeing a lot of slush on it and people are spending a lot of time trying to get unstuck. With the fish house removal deadline quickly approaching and the large amount of slush on the lakes people are advised to frequently check on their permanent ice houses. Some fishing, snowmobile and boating violations were detected.


CO Phil George (Rochester) checked anglers and snowmobile operators. Local clubs are working hard grooming trails and trimming tree limbs from the trails after this last round of winter weather hit the area. Some assistance was also given to stranded motorists.


CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports fishing has been slow this past week. Many places have 30 plus inches of ice. Coyote hunters had some success with the current moon phase. Snowmobile trails are in excellent condition. The recent rain and snows are stressing the area turkeys.


CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working snowmobile and fishing enforcement. The new snow made the trail conditions very good and numerous sleds are out enjoying some of the best conditions of the year. Fishing on the back water continues to be a little slow.


CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports answering questions on coyote hunting regulations. Trespass complaints were taken in regards to shed hunting. Time was also spent on a snaring complaint. CO Boyum worked snowmobile complaint areas as well.


CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked anglers and snowmobiles during the week. Fishing success has been slow. Heyn also checked into WMA complaints and attended the deer population meeting in Lake City.


CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports perfect snowmobile conditions but relatively light snowmobile use. Poor fishing has also made for light fishing activity. Hemker also spent time preparing for an airboat training class.


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 Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports giving flight instruction to a CO pilot for a majority of the week. Jensen provided a short aerial recon flight for Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake. Jensen flew one wolf pack count flight in NW MN and performed hangar maintenance tasks during the poor weather during the week.


CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) spent time at Camp Ripley/Brainerd on aviation FTO training with Jensen and Buker. Also, an aerial surveillance of the Eelpout Festival in Walker was flown.


NR Standby Pilot Brad Maas flew more deer surveys, completing permit area 221 in central MN. Snow conditions were very good, and deer numbers could likely be in the 8-10/mile range. Many plots were in open areas with little winter cover.


NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) attended to maintenance on 605NR and worked on administrative items.


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.



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

See Also:


West Central RTO Frank Rezac report teaching an ATV instructor certification clinic in St. Stephen and working on instructor backgrounds. Planning was also done for instructor appreciation banquets. Saturday he facilitated a Safety Training Instructor Forum at Deltone Gun Club in St. Cloud where there were 14 instructors in attendance.


SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez held two instructor forums throughout his area. The RTO mentioned dedication at both forums as he had more 20 at each one and one was held Thursday night during the snow storm. The other was on Saturday, only two days after the storm with roads still a mess, and still when the RTO arrived instructors were already waiting on him. RTO Gutierrez received a lot of good feedback from the forums. Much of the information was needed to be communicated between both parties. RTO Gutierrez also assisted the State Patrol with several crashes during and after the snow storm.


East Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence attended a meeting with Minnesota Volunteer Safety Instructors Association in Edina where topics covered upcoming volunteer events, equipment purchases and instructor development training. RTO Lawrence answered calls and emails from upcoming instructor training and instructor forums. RTO Lawrence worked on updating a PowerPoint for instructor training.


Southern RTO Dan McBroom conducted several instructor training classes, HEFAS instructor training in Mazeppa and Mantorville and Turkey Clinic instructor training in Owatonna. An instructor meeting was held in Worthington. Backgrounds for future instructors were also worked on during the week.


Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens last week worked on updating program and training materials for the upcoming Trail Ambassador season. He worked on ATV related items and division safety committee topics. Owens also began preparations for Off-Highway Vehicle and Snowmobile training for the upcoming academy. Many emails were responded to regarding registration of snowmobiles, ATV use inquiries and youth operation of both. Required online training was also completed.


NW RTO Jon Paurus worked on background investigations for new instructors. Planning for upcoming officer training continues. Snowmobile and fishing enforcement was also conducted during the week.


NE RTO Shelly Patten worked the Becoming and Outdoors Woman Winter workshop.  Patten gave a presentation on outdoors preparedness and survival. Patten also taught Snowmobile Safety and trail ride for several sessions. Patten setup LaserShot and discussed firearms safety and shooting sports with women interested in firearms training.



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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