WEEKLY CO REPORT: From the DNR

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

03-03-2014

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) attended training and a meeting at Thief River Falls. He assisted local EMT personnel near Roosevelt with a snowmobile accident victim. Officer Huener also monitored angling activity on Lake of the Woods and noted that success remains low.  Violations encountered included angling without a license, angling with too many or unattended lines, possessing illegal length walleye, and minor snowmobile violations.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) investigated the possible taking of a great horned owl and an abandoned snowmobile left on a grant-in-aid trail. He patrolled trails in the area of vintage snowmobile rides in Warren and St. Hilaire and continued to monitor ice shelter removal. Owners are reminded it is unlawful to store shelters on the public access. Officer Woinarowicz also monitored angling activity and discovered multiple fishermen possessing northern pike in the closed season. Other enforcement action included possessing a small amount of marijuana, possessing drug paraphernalia, allowing unlawful operation of snowmobile by a juvenile, snowmobile registration, trail permit, and speed violations.

CO Angela Warren (Thief River Falls) worked snowmobile trails and area waters for snowmobile activity. She checked anglers on the Red Lake and Thief Lake rivers, monitored fish house removal, and checked public accesses. Anglers are reminded not to leave fish houses on public accesses. CO Warren also attended a district meeting and training in Thief River Falls and completed BCA training for online records management.

CO Demo Regas (Blackduck) monitored snowmobile trail activity, checked anglers on special regulation lakes, and monitored the fish house removal progress throughout the week. He encountered few hardy anglers who braved the reemergence of the polar vortex and reported a good crappie bite. Officer Regas also encountered a Class 1 ATV driving down the tarred surface of a county highway at a high rate of speed and expired registration. The ATV operator was arrested on multiple felony arrest warrants and received citations for the ATV violations.

CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored fishing and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Anglers are continuing to report spotty fishing success on Lake of the Woods. He attended a district meeting/training and handled court cases. Officer Gorecki also dealt with several calls for service ranging from timber theft to snowmobile violations. Enforcement action taken during the week included numerous fishing and snowmobile violations.

Baudette -vacant.

Blackduck #2 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) patrolled area lakes and rivers for angling activity. He also patrolled snowmobile trails, monitored fish house removal, and followed up on complaints regarding predator hunters. CO Hutchins also spoke with volunteer instructors regarding upcoming youth hunter safety classes.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) completed mandatory training, checked anglers and continued to monitor ice shelter removal.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and started marking fish houses.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity in the area. Cold weather has slowed angling activity and many anglers continue to dig houses out of the snow and remove them before the upcoming removal deadline. Area snowmobile trails were monitored.  A road kill deer possession tag was issued.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked trapping activity and snowmobilers in the area. He worked an organized snowmobiling event in Kelliher with CO Regas. A good number of snowmobilers were observed even though the weather was very cold. CO Holt would also like to remind anglers of the ice house removal dates. Dates of removal are determined by an east-west line formed by U.S. Hwy. 10, east along Hwy. 34 to Minnesota Hwy. 200, east along Hwy. 200 to U.S. Hwy. 2, and east along Hwy. 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. South of line – March 3, 2014; North of line – March 17, 2014

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked on a bobcat out of season case, responded to a report of dead turkey’s which were collected for examination, monitored shelter removal and answered calls of take deer out of season and a late deer season complaint.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring fish house removal, checking fisherman and snowmobilers. CO Forsberg also followed up on snowmobilers chasing wild animal complaint, injured swan, abandoned snowmobile and a vehicle stuck on snowmobile trail.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports monitoring fish house removal from area lakes. Conditions on area lakes were good and anglers had no issues removing their shelters. Most lakes had roads plowed and travel across the lakes in pickups was possible. Snowmobilers were greeted with very cold temperatures and the lack of new snow was wearing on area trails. CO Vinton investigated a possible injured swan. The bird was gone when the officer arrived.

WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week working on open WCA cases. Time was spent attending a meeting at Camp Ripley for the upcoming academy planning. Preparations were made for upcoming sport shows. Time was spent talking to some area lake service providers and bait dealers about AIS.

Moorhead – vacant.

Detroit Lakes – vacant.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) received several questions regarding fish house removal. CO Richards concentrated enforcement efforts on monitoring and documenting shelters still present on area lakes. Cold continues to keep angler numbers on the low side.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) monitored fish house removal this past week with most houses being removed prior to the deadline. Additional time was spent checking fishermen, snowmobilers, ATV operators, and predator hunters. CO Baumbarger also provided assistance to the Douglas Co. Sherriff’s Department.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) reports that Lake Osakis continues to receive record levels of fishing pressure. Several more citations were issued for crappie over-limit violations with more remaining under investigation. There were also two separate incidents of anglers catching and keeping walleye during the closed season. The smoking of marijuana continues to be a popular fish house activity with one angler caught with it in his fish house twice in less than a month. The remaining fish houses on area lakes have been inventoried for the upcoming removal deadline. Several litter complaints involving fish houses are under investigation. CO Johanson would like to thank all of the fish house owners that planned ahead and were successful in removing their shacks before the deadline. Additional time was spent working snowmobile enforcement and patrolling for predator hunting activity. CO Johanson assisted local law enforcement agencies with several serious calls this past week including an officer involved shooting in Douglas County and a domestic incident involving firearms in Todd County.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused law enforcement efforts on predator hunters, ice fishing activity and commercial minnow harvest operations. CO Anderson found fishing activity dropping off with the fish house removal deadline. CO Anderson checked the vacant Traverse County station for fishing activity and fish house removal from the border waters. CO Anderson spent time setting up the Stevens County safety instructor appreciation banquet to be held in March in Morris. CO Anderson also spent time setting up for the upcoming firearms safety class to be held in Morris. The Morris safety class will be being on April 24. Students need to present the voucher from completing the online firearms safety course to attend the class. CO Anderson fielded calls from the public on predator hunting complaints, angling license expiration questions and fish house removal questions.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. She also checked area coyote hunters.  Fish houses are vastly disappearing from area lakes and anglers are reminded to take all garbage with them.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, snowmobilers, predator hunters and fish removal progress throughout the week. Numerous fish houses were still on lakes. Snowmobiling activity has diminished and the trails are pretty beat up. Some more snow is needed for the trails in the area.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked anglers and monitored fish house removal on area lakes. He also patrolled for predator hunting activity. CO Nelson worked with volunteer instructors on youth FAS and SS classes.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued to follow up on area lakes regarding the ice house removal date with several houses still out. Fishing pressure was thin due to extremely cold temperatures and wind chills. CO Lawler worked station lakes and Lake Osakis with CO Johanson where several citations were issued for fishing violations. An event at Jefferson High School was attended and questions about careers in the DNR were answered. Additionally, CO Lawler continued to coordinate an upcoming FAS class in Alexandria.

Wheaton – vacant.

District 4 – Wadena area

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) spent a portion of the week checking on ice shelters in preparation for the shelter removal deadline. Many shacks were removed in the last two days without problems. He also completed an investigation regarding operation of a motor vehicle on a snowmobile trail resulting in a citation issued.

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) reported primary enforcement efforts this past week focused on ice fishing and snowmobile activity. He also completed online training courses and equipment inventory.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to primarily check anglers during the week. Extreme cold continues to inhibit successful angling trips. CO Mathy also worked on case file management, organized material for the bear committee, and assisted another officer with an interview stemming from the deer season. Enforcement action was taken for unregistered snowmobile, no angling license in possession, and underage possession of alcohol.

CO Larry Francis (Remer) noted that the cold weather seemed to minimize the activities.  While riding the snowmobile trails he encountered a group of three sleds that were traveling at speed too great for the trail forcing them to “cut” the corners, so much so that when he met them he had to pull off the trail to avoid them, which resulted in enforcement action. Officer Francis also handled a call regarding the sale/theft of two snowmobiles. Apparently the original owner sold the snowmobiles to a friend and another party, who now possessed them.  This resulted in a disagreement about who owned them. When CO Francis asked where the original owner could be found he was told that he was currently in jail for burglary and theft.  The original complainant decided he did not want to pursue charges against his “friend” that “sold” him the sleds.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on snowmobiling and ice angling activity. Cold weather limited recreational activity. Many anglers were observed removing their fish houses from area lakes. CO Broughten also closed two investigations from the 2013 deer season. Enforcement action included failure to tag deer, two counts of failure to register deer, and possess an over limit of deer.

CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked fishermen and snowmobilers during the week. He received a report regarding another truck operating on a snowmobile trail, resulting in the vehicle becoming stuck. Officer Halverson noted that fish houses were coming off but a number of them still remain on area lakes.

CO Colleen Adam (OHV Recreation Officer – Park Rapids) checked fishing activity and fish house identification on area lakes. Trail conditions are in good condition and time was spent checking ATV and snowmobile registration and trail sticker compliance on State and grant-in-aid trails. Officer Adam also met with the county attorney, worked on station inventory, and updated training materials for the next academy.

CO Shane Siltala (Water Resource Enforcement Officer) attended a meeting at Camp Ripley to plan for upcoming training at the next Conservation Officer academy. He also continued to monitor local fishing and angling activity and completed training tasks. Bitter wind chills in the latter part of the week again hampered outdoor recreation.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports activity for week centered on snowmobiles, ice shelters, and ice fishing, activity was minimal with continued bitterly cold weather.  Enforcement action was taken for operating motor vehicle on grant aid snowmobile trail, burning ice shelter on ice, and improper crossing of street or road. People are reminded that March 31st is the last day to remove ice shelters from border waters, considering the conditions. CO Kittelson’s suggestion is to start working on them now, don’t wait until the last moment.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports assisting a couple anglers with removing their ice houses from an area lake. Area snowmobile trails remain in good shape, however there are not many sleds using the trails due to the extreme cold temperatures.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobiles, fish house litter, and investigated a wetland violation and issued a wetland Resource Protection Notification. The officer dealt with a sick deer call, a dead wolf investigation and a citizen report of a mountain lion in Hibbing that the officer verified via paw prints in the snow as a house cat or a very small bobcat. The officer closed out a deer hunting case that entailed shooting too close to a dwelling, from the roadway and failing to register a deer.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spoke at a snowmobile safety class in Gilbert and held the riding portion of the class. Area snowmobile trails throughout the Virginia, Eveleth and Britt areas are in good shape but not seeing much use due to colder temps. Numerous anglers have started to remove their ice shelter from area lakes well ahead of the deadline for the northern third of the state. CO Frericks encourages owner of remaining ice shelters to get started and to take all garbage with them.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) reported little activity was seen throughout the week due to cold temperatures. A number of questions were asked about the deer feeding program with people believing CO’s were responsible for feed allocations.

I. Falls # 2 – vacant.

Ray – vacant.

Tower – vacant.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports that he along with other DNR officials attended and testified at the Wildlife Research Institute hearing in St. Paul. Officer Williams was made aware of a possible incident where a barred owl attacked a resident, although the story could not be confirmed as no one involved had yet stepped forward. Violations included litter, operating an unregistered snowmobile, and fail to display snowmobile registration.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) ran the lakes checking for fish houses in peril and seeing how bad the lakes were. There were places beyond description. It’s bad and be careful. The trails are fantastic, but beware of creeks and lakes. There is so much snow on the ice that it is like the officer experienced with “overflow” on the rivers in Alaskan arctic. After being stuck many times and being soaked from the slush, the officer can’t stress enough to travel in groups and stay away from the back bays and other usual bad spots. If you do go off trail, bring a shovel, rubber boots, extra gloves, and a long rope.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) took several calls and talked to people about the slush conditions on area lakes. Snow is very deep on many lakes and slush can come up fast after holes are drilled. The CO recommends carrying snowshoes to be able to walk out on if you get stuck. With knee deep snow on the lakes, walking any distance becomes a greater challenge. It is best not to travel alone, let people know where you are going and when they can expect you back. It is recommended to cut your fishing day shorter because being stuck in the slush is bad, being stuck in the slush in the dark is even worse. There is no greater stress test than the workout you get when getting your snowmobile out of the slush.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) attended a conference for training officers. Manning also patrolled snowmobile trails and area lakes and took calls regarding deer on Lake Superior’s ice and cross country ski passes.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) testified in court and worked with the St. Louis County attorney’s office on other cases. Snow conditions are great, but temperatures remained bitterly cold making for a slow week of snowmobile activity. Ice houses were monitored for removal and litter. Enforcement action was taken for fail to transfer snowmobile ownership, fail to stop at road crossing, and fail to display trail sticker. Reminder to purchase your 2014 fishing license, as the 2013 licenses are now expired.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent time on his patrol snowmobile working trails and checking backcountry trout lakes. Time was spent in the vacant Silver Bay station as well. Mandatory online training was completed and lesson plans for the upcoming in-service were prepared.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity during the week and responded to several car injured deer calls. Deep snow along the North Shore has increased deer activity along area roads and trails. Areas of deep slush have again reappeared on area lakes making lake travel a challenge for anglers.

Silver Bay – vacant.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome)  checked anglers, assisted Grand Rapids Officers with a subject who fled, worked on items for the upcoming bear committee meeting, and attended a meeting in Squaw Lake for proposed ATV trails.

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. Slush on area lakes and cold temperatures caused angling activity to almost cease.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snow mobile activity and assisted the county with a welfare check. The bitter cold kept most people indoors this week. Those who braved the cold were able to catch a few panfish. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration issues and angling license issues.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time this past week checking anglers. She spent time working on division equipment inventory. Now is a good time to start preparing for the house removal deadline, which is March 17th in the northern part of the state. Remember to take all iced in blocks and garbage with you when you remove the house.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and snowmobile activity over the recent days. Walleye and pike season is over and some panfish anglers are out searching for some schools of fish. CO Sutherland gave career talks to three different classes at the Grand Rapids High School last week explaining the possible pathways to becoming a Conservation Officer.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobiles and state trails. He also taught a snowmobile safety class during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) completed required training. Wichmann also spent the week checking snowmobile and fishing activity. Ice shelter removal was also monitored.

CO John Velsvaag (Region 2 Rec Vehicle officer) reports worsening slush conditions in many areas and few fishermen or snowmobilers. CO Velsvaag also attended a couple of meetings including a proposal for opening roads and new trails in northern Itasca County.

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobilers, anglers and he tracked Wetland Conservation Act cases. The Itasca County wetland Technical Evaluation Panel meeting was attended. Anglers are finding difficult lake travels on most lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angle with no license and for public lake access violations.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent some time working winter fishing on area lakes with some extra time spent on Lake Superior. Ice conditions on Lake Superior have allowed anglers the opportunity to ice fish for lake trout, rainbow trout and salmon. Enforcement work was also completed on snowmobile patrolling complaint areas of the area snowmobile trails. Officer Duncan also assisted a neighboring officer with complaints of harassment of wildlife from wildlife photographers. Several calls were returned and office work was completed.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) reports working ice angling and snowmobile activity throughout the week. CO Humphrey continued to receive calls from concerned citizens about the condition of deer in the area and deer feeding plans. Snowmobilers were reporting some excellent trail conditions after last week’s snow storm. CO Humphrey monitored area lakes for fish house removal. Slush has once again appeared on the lakes and some anglers had to resort to using bobcat/skid steers for moving snow to get to those houses. A few anglers were reporting a good panfish bite during the week. CO Humphrey assisted other area law enforcement officers conducting mock interviews for high school students in Esko. Angling and snowmobile violations were encountered during the week.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a meeting on upcoming trapping training for the officers and the academy. A K9 meeting was attended at Carlos Avery and continuing training was conducted with K9 Schody and other K9s in the unit. Assistance was given to Esko High School seniors as they participated in mock job interviews to help ready them for the real world. Time was spent checking area lakes for fish houses that may not try to make it off in time for the upcoming deadline. Several calls were received from fish house owners that were concerned about not being able to get their house off in time. Car kill deer permits were issued to people wanting deer that were found alongside area roads.

WREO Mike Scott worked with academy staff planning the training for the new academy starting this spring. Calls from local anglers that have their ice fishing houses still on the ice were answered. Several folks were asking for extensions from the March 17 removal date due to the last snow storm. All were advised they had until the 17th of the month to have them removed from area lakes north of Duluth.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked anglers along the North Shore and inland lakes. Fish shelters are being worked on for the upcoming deadline for removal.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on Lake Superior. A wide ice shelf in front of Duluth has allowed access for anglers that we haven’t seen in a few years; anglers need to remember, however, that a change in the wind can make a fun day of fishing into a life threatening float on an ice berg. Some anglers are struggling to remove their ice houses in the Duluth Harbor; this deadline is going to be important, however, as the USCGC Alder is scheduled to begin breaking ice on Tuesday. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked anglers fishing the ice of Lake Superior. Lots of anglers were taking advantage of the ice on Lake Superior. Some ATVs and snowmobiles were seen on the ice. Remember to use caution as some ice had moved from the shore, giving a few anglers wet boots as they returned to their vehicles. The bait shops did a good job of reminding most anglers that they needed a new license this year on March 1st as the license year changed back to the end of February. A few other anglers were spending time trying to access their ice houses on Superior Bay to get them removed before the deadline. The officer also spent time on reports and follow-up. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked snowmobile trails and fishermen during the week. Ice shelters were documented with fishermen doing a great job of getting the majority of the houses removed. Contacts included two anglers who had taken northern pike in closed season. All anglers checked had their 2014 angling licenses.

CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored ice angling & shelter removal, XC skiing, fat tire biking and patrolled snowmobile trails in the Brainerd area, and answered wildlife informational calls.

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on a litter complaint from Ice anglers. He checked other anglers who report a slow bite for pan fish. He assisted the local Sheriff’s Dept. with fish house burglaries on Gull. He checked snowmobiles on the trails and on the lakes. Some of the violations he observed were speed, expired registration, and fail to stop at stop sign. Pillsbury Forest received some enforcement time a complaint of carcass dumping was investigated.

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) monitored fish house removals during the week. Deep snow and slush hampered some, but eventually most were cleared from area lakes. Snowmobilers continued to brave the cold weather, and a few anglers doing some late season pan fishing were checked. The officer also talked with the county attorney on some cases from deer season that are still working through the court system.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity including checking fishing activity, monitoring fish house removal, patrolling area snowmobile trials and checking cross country skiers.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) monitored angling activity and fish shelter removals. Most anglers have worked hard to get shelters off to meet the deadline. Frigid cold temperatures have limited angling activities but there were a few crappie anglers out trying to find them. Officer Guida issued a car kill deer permit. A vintage sled ride was held in the St. Mathias area hosted by the Fort Ripley Trail Busters Snowmobile Club where some antique sled permits were issued. The 20 some sled riders braved the subzero temperatures with minimum breakdowns. Area snowmobile clubs have done a remarkable job maintaining area trails for users.

McGregor – vacant.

Pine River – vacant.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) continued an investigation with Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office which stemmed from an individual who fled from the officer on a snowmobile the week before. The investigation resulted in the recovery of two stolen snowmobiles. Appropriate charges are to be filed with the county attorney.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found quite a few ice anglers out working to get their shelters off area lakes by the March 3rd deadline. Many commented that it took some extra effort this year due to deep snow and slush but most folks got their shelters off without too many problems. A few that were still out fishing were found with expired angling licenses and many had to be reminded that fishing licenses expired at the end of February. Area trail groomers were out during the week and snowmobile trails have been in excellent condition.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area lakes and monitored fish house removal. Most houses have been removed but some remain. Some reports of deer and turkey appearing to be in poor condition along roads and snowmobile trails were also taken.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working snowmobile activity throughout the week and weekend. A few sleds came out and enjoyed the trails even with the cold temperatures. H House removal was monitored on Mille Lacs Lake and other station lakes. Most are making good progress but the cold weather and recent snow is making it difficult in most cases. A case of a wolf taking cattle was investigated during the week. It was found that the damage was caused by a wolf and a predator controller area was opened and a trapper started trapping for the nuisance wolf. Questions regarding and injured deer and many law related questions were answered throughout the week.

WREO Rob Haberman checked anglers around the Brainerd area. Some fishermen were having luck with pan fish, but most were working on digging out fish houses. WREO Haberman also worked on cases in his assigned work area and patrolled area snowmobile trails. WREO Haberman also attended a planning meeting for future trainings.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) worked on checking anglers and checking on ice shacks through the week.  Numerous questions were answered about the deadline for removing shelters, snow and ice conditions on area lakes, and questions about nuisance animals. CO Wynn also spent some time working on a deer complaint, answering deer feeding questions, and worked some snowmobile enforcement. Contacts included snowmobile registration issues, snowmobile speed, and angling without licenses. CO Wynn reminds anglers that their 2013 angling licenses expired on the last day of February and new ones are now needed.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) patrolled area lakes for ice shelters that may be left on the ice after the deadline. An investigation was conducted after receiving reports of plow trucks intentionally hitting deer. She worked on equipment maintenance and answered calls regarding open roads in the Nemadji State Forest. Lessees were concerned about their cabins collapsing due to the weight of the snow on their roofs.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) monitored fish house removal and worked some perch action on Mille Lacs. Fishing without license, unattended lines, extra lines, and possessing drug paraphernalia issues were addressed. Snowmobile activity was also monitored with lack of proper registration and riding on roadway violations found. CO Starr completed inventory needs and testified at a hearing.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) participated in a district meeting & training session. CO Friese attended an annual Fire Warden meeting. Equipment inventory was worked on. Angling and snowmobile activity was monitored.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked fishing shelter removal finding several anglers struggling with the snow depths and large amounts of slush. An injured deer was also handled. Administrative tasks, training and a meeting were attended.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) received a call from a trapper that they had accidentally caught a deer by the leg in a snare. As the trapper and CO Kuske approached the deer it pulled the snare off the tree and ran off with the snare attached. CO Kuske made the strong suggestion to the trapper that they should think about getting deer stop snares (the snare doesn’t close down as tight) to prevent this from happening. CO Kuske is receiving quite a few calls of people not being able to get their fish houses off the lakes though many anglers were seen working hard and were able to remove their houses.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) checked area lakes for fish house removal issues. Some anglers were out trying for pan fish, but found limited success. A few snowmobilers were out but cold weather kept most indoors. District training was attended.

WREO Keith Bertram spent the week attending training and assisting with fish house removal issues. A commercial turtle seller licensee was also inspected.

CO Mike Martin (St. Cloud) checked anglers and snowmobile operators during the past week. Officer Martin did several radio interviews about ice shelter removal and angling license expiring on the last day of Feb. as well. Calls about Pelican Lake in Wright County were fielded and time was spent preparing for the upcoming academy too. Officer Martin had a snowmobile operator flee while trying to stop him on Hwy 10. It turns out that the operator has four outstanding warrants in the local counties and didn’t want to take care of them so he is now facing another felony charge.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) conducted an inventory of fish houses on area lakes. Houses in jeopardy of being left were marked. Many people were found making attempts at removing their house and all were finding the process to be labor intensive. CO Kuske gave a law talk to a snowmobile safety class and attended district training.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) attended district training. CO Mies also worked on fish house information. CO Mies checked sleds in Stearns and Wright counties.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes and issued summons and written warnings for fish house registration, failure to display registration, and no reflectors. He checked snowmobilers on grant-in-aid trails. He also took enforcement action on a number of snowmobile violations.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) spent time making sure fish houses had litter picked up around their house before they needed to be off the lake. A lot of anglers forgot to get their 2014 fishing license before heading out on the lake this past weekend. 2013 licenses expired February 28, 2014. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and drug possession.

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports receiving calls regarding the ice shelter removal date. A few anglers were having trouble getting shelters off due to snow depth and drifts. Most anglers had prepared for the shelter date in advance and by the weekend, most shelters were off area lakes. Ice shelters left at public accesses are still a problem in the area. Anglers are reminded that shelters cannot be left on public accesses at any time.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers, snowmobilers, and marked ice shelters. Time was spent working on material for the upcoming academy. A TIP call was investigated for snowmobiles chasing coyotes.

CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) checked anglers, snowmobiles, and coyote hunters. Officer Londgren also received calls of injured animals, requests to speak at various events, and trespass complaints.

Cambridge – vacant.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Steve Walter (Waconia) assisted with a VIP detail at Fort Snelling State Park. Game farms were inspected for proper paper work. Fish houses were documented for possible litter left behind.

CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) patrolled Hennepin County for angling activity and Snowmobile activity. There are still many houses left out on the lakes in northern Hennepin County and all owners are encouraged to remove the houses by the deadline. There were several off trail issues with snowmobiles over the weekend and riders should be reminded to stay on trail. Going off trail can lead to the snowmobile trails being closed in Hennepin County.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. CO Grewe also monitored fish house removal activity and answered several questions on the topic. Violations included failure to display valid snowmobile registration and other license issues.

CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) assisted with training at a District 11 meeting. He checked fishermen in Hennepin and Dakota counties. CO Neitzke talked to a Cub Scout den. He patrolled and worked complaints at Ft. Snelling State Park. He also checked snowmobiles in Dakota County.

Bloomington – vacant.

Prior Lake – vacant.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) patrolled Dakota County for snowmobile activity. Trails remain in excellent condition. CO McGowan also spoke at a firearms safety class, and at a turkey clinic which had new turkey hunters. Remaining ice shelters and litter on lakes was also noted.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) monitored area lakes as ice shelters were being removed and checked on complaints of litter left behind. Time was also spent checking anglers, ATVs, snowmobiles and cross country skiers at William O’Brien State Park. Enforcement activity included fishing without a license and cross country ski on a state designated trail without a pass.

CO Amber Peterson (Maplewood) reports checking area lakes for ice shelters left on past removal date and working with anglers on options for removal. CO Peterson conducted media interviews on Lake Jane. While on the lake, she checked a group of anglers and discovered they had kept a northern pike after the season was closed. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) reports that he checked local lakes for ice shelter removal. A few shelters remained on the ice due to heavy snow and slush conditions. He checked snowmobilers throughout the week. CO Johnson investigated reports of Snowy Owl baiting in Ramsey. He received a call on a dead deer in a yard in Ham Lake.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) spent time checking fish houses on area lakes. CO Pril checked anglers in Scott and Washington counties with CO Scott Arntzen. CO Pril responded to calls on fish house removal questions and other calls throughout the week.

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) submitted a nomination for firearms safety instructor of the year. She assisted with a deer removal program in Ramsey County and handled nuisance animal calls. CO Kruse handled TIP calls including one where individuals were using tip-ups and taking northerns out of season. She marked fish houses and assisted with stuck vehicles on area lakes.

WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week patrolling for snowmobile and ice shelter removal activity. A safety committee meeting was attended at Camp Ripley and an interview was provided to a media outlet regarding ice shelter removal. Shelter owners are reminded to contact their local conservation officer if they are having difficulty removing their shelter ahead of the deadline.

Eagan – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) focused enforcement efforts on ATVs, ice fishing, and commercial minnow activity. This officer also checked ice shelters for the pending removal deadline. Anglers are reminded to clean up garbage near their shelters and that shelters may not be left at a public access. This officer also provided a ride along to a local high school senior who has aspirations of becoming a Conservation Officer.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) advises that subzero temperatures once again affected outdoor activities. Questions dealing with the shelter removal deadline and licensing continue to be answered. A volunteer firearms safety instructor clinic was held in Balaton with 15 instructors getting certified. A Lyon County Parks meeting was also attended in reference to the bow hunting only season in Garvin Park. Commercial enforcement work was completed.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking fishing shelters and snowmobiles.   Most shelters have been removed.  Coyote hunters continue to struggle with only fair success. No snow geese have been seen.

CO Doug Lage (Marshall) completed aeration system inspections over the weekend with checking of house removal about to begin. Via a radio station call-in program, CO Lage provided local citizens with an update on outdoor activities in the Lake Benton, Canby and Pipestone areas.

CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) investigated a variety of TIP calls that were received throughout the week. A few inches of fresh snow improved trail conditions and brought out a few more snowmobilers. The officer and his supervisor attended an ice-rescue training event put on by the Worthington Fire Department.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports that with little snow on area lakes most people had little problems removing their houses from the lake. Many people are still targeting crappies with good success. Remember that the 2013 fishing license expired on February 28.

WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) attended a meeting in Forest Lake and a second meeting at Camp Ripley. Seven restoration orders for WCA violations were received from the McLeod County SWCD to be approved and sent out to responsible parties. A possible WCA violation was discovered in Murray County.

Benson – vacant.

Madison – vacant.

Redwood Falls – vacant.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) followed up on commercial inspections. Denz spoke at a firearms safety class and field questions regarding ice house removal. He also checked ice anglers and snowmobilers.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) assisted another officer with a turtle inspection. Mueller dealt with some issue regarding ATV registration during the week. She conducted aeration inspections. During the week she checked anglers and answered questions on the upcoming deadline to have shelters removed from area lakes.

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) focused on aeration and commercial inspections. Time was also spent working trapping and angling enforcement. Oberg trained officers on rifle maintenance.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding shelters. He assisted State Patrol with a crash. Nelson spent the rest of the week on angling, predator hunting and trapping enforcement.

CO Jason Beckmann (Windom) spent the week working snowmobile activity and sport fishing. Area aeration systems were inspected. In spite of the cold weather and deep snow drifts, ice shelters were mostly removed from area lakes with the exception of two on St. James Lake by Sunday evening.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked ice fishing activity, predator hunters, and commercial records violations. Gruhlke also coordinated with local firearms safety instructors in advertising their classes and getting needed material to them.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) monitored angling, trapping, predator hunting and snowmobile activity. Shelters are almost off area lakes. A reminder of the shelter deadline was placed in a local newspaper. Snow and ice conditions in the area should not be a factor as there are no obstructions preventing them from coming off on time. Commercial activity and inspections were performed. Assistance was given to local law enforcement agencies for numerous vehicle accidents. March aeration inspections were completed.

Litchfield – vacant.

Willmar #1 – vacant.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked on snowmobile and angling enforcement. Howe recorded an interview with a local TV station regarding shelter removal from area lakes. Shelters are coming off of area lakes, though many anglers who have not kept their shelters blocked up over the winter have had trouble getting them off the lakes. Anglers are reminded that they are not allowed to store their shelters on the public access after removal from the ice. Work on commercial enforcement was also completed.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week patrolling for fishing, snowmobile, and ATV activity. Time was also spent completing case work from last fall’s deer season, checking public accesses for ice shelters, and completing aeration inspections.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) continued to work angling and snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent documenting all remaining fish houses on area lakes for Monday’s removal deadline.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) fielded several calls regarding ice shelter removal issues. Anglers were checked on area lakes. The return of sub-zero temperatures has limited snowmobile activity in the area.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked ATV, snowmobile, small game, and angling activity during the week. Davis also assisted a neighboring officer with a commercial inspection. A public water access violation was also investigated and enforcement action was taken.

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week monitoring snowmobile and ice fishing activity. Requests from the public for information on shelter removal dates were returned. A firearm safety field day was attended at the Cedar Valley Conservation Club.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) conducted outreach to non-certified Lake Service Providers.  Preparation for the upcoming academy was also started.

Albert Lea – vacant.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the week checking small game hunters, anglers, and snowmobilers. Officer George took complaints of trespass. Enforcement action included possession of drug paraphernalia and small amount of marijuana, no small game license, take rabbit during the closed season, and transport a loaded rifle in a motor vehicle.

CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports fishermen didn’t have any issues removing their fish shelters by the deadline. Fish bite has remained slow. He found ice that is now 36 inches thick. He finished up details for upcoming airboat class that will be taught by district officers. He gave a presentation to a firearms safety class in Houston. Coyote hunters continue to have some success.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports good snowmobile trails in the area. He had very few problems with shelters being removed from both the border waters and inland waters. Hemker did receive some calls with reports of dead and sick deer in the area.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly snowmobiles and anglers during the week. Trails were in good shape but the cold weather slowed down snowmobile activity and fishing. Heyn also attended meetings and other calls.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working heavy use snowmobile areas. Despite the 0 degree temperature good numbers of snowmobilers were out. Compliance was high and trails were reported as being in very good condition. Violations encountered were fail to display registration and illegal operation. Coyote hunters were out in numbers. In one instance three groups were checked hunting the same coyote. Violations encountered were no radio permit. CO Boyum also attended a ginseng meeting with DNR Forestry staff.

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending time checking anglers and working with anglers to get fish houses removed from the border waters by the March 1st deadline. N Numerous calls were received from anglers requesting a little extra time to get their houses off the ice. Time was also spent preparing for some upcoming airboat training.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working mainly snowmobile and fishing enforcement, as well as documenting fish houses remaining on both area lakes and boarder waters. Fishing has remained a little slow but the trails have been very busy. Numerous fishermen have been working hard at removing fishing their house from the waters with some success.

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 flying a moose calf telemetry flight in NE Minnesota as part of the moose capture project. Jensen also flew fisher telemetry and wolf pack count flights. Jensen took photos of a waters violation for a local officer during the survey flights. Jensen also spoke to wildlife management students at Central Lakes College and assisted with positioning vehicles for the upcoming academy.

CO Pilot Bob Geving flew wolf telemetry and conducted some flight training activities.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf telemetry and helped finished  up the helicopter deer survey in PA 239  which is between Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes.

NR Standby Pilot Brad Maas helped complete the deer surveys in permit area 239. Snow conditions were still very good for being late in the season. Some plots had no deer, while a few had 20+. There were difficult conditions with extreme cold and very strong winds.

CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) continued with various flight training tasks.

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:

NE RTO Shelly Patten set up ATV and Snow instructor training in Grand Rapids and Duluth areas. Patten worked on a newsletter article. Patten met with FAS instructor in Brainerd and discussed new online field day site.

West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports attending a District 11 meeting in Sauk Rapids and teaching a Firearms Safety/Hunter Education Instructor certification clinic in Onamia. During the week he also planned for upcoming instructor appreciation events, worked on instructor backgrounds, and reviewed officer training material.

SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez started working on backgrounds from a Volunteer FAS Instructor clinic he hosted a few days ago. The RTO also worked on preparing some lesson plans for the upcoming in service training. RTO Gutierrez continues to receive requests from volunteer instructors to register for upcoming forums.

East Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence hosted an Instructor forum meeting at Carlos Avery wildlife management area headquarters for area safety instructors. Participant’s feedback was well received and updates found to be very useful. RTO Lawrence answered calls from public on snowmobile training and spring firearms safety training classes. RTO Lawrence continues to work on spring instructor training calendar and upcoming academy and in-service training. RTO Lawrence spent time on background paperwork processing for new firearms safety instructors.

Southern RTO Dan McBroom attended a meeting to plan upcoming airboat training in District 18. Time was spent on instructor backgrounds, HEFAS instructor training in Balaton, ATV instructor training in Rochester, and ATV/Snowmobile instructor training in Spring Grove. Use of Force Training was received at the ATOM winter conference in Bloomington.

NW RTO Jon Paurus presented a training class for new and recertifying firearms safety instructors. A couple of the instructors had attended one of the forums and were excited about the online course and the corresponding field day. Background paperwork for new instructors was completed. Assistance to local field officers was provided regarding the upcoming fish house removal deadline.

Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens last week reviewed and updated Trail Ambassador training components for the upcoming classes. He did the same with off-highway vehicle Conservation Officer Academy training items. Owens also prepared for and attended division quarterly safety committee meeting at Ripley one day last week. Over the past weekend he took part in the All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota annual vision meeting. Numerous email and phone calls related to snowmobile and ATV safety programs were handled throughout the week.

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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3 thoughts on “WEEKLY CO REPORT: From the DNR

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