FROM THE DNR: Weekly Conservation Officer Report

MN Whitetail Classic_MN Sporting Journal_web_468x60

District 1 – Baudette area


CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked area anglers and snowmobilers. Fishing success remains slow and fish house removal has begun on Lake of the Woods. Some anglers are facing some rough conditions getting their houses off the lake. He made a law and ethics presentation to the Roseau Firearms Safety Class. CO Huener attended the public information meeting in Greenbush regarding the elk herds. He also assisted a neighboring CO with a drug investigation on LOW.  Violations for the week include angling with extra lines, possessing illegal length walleyes and pike, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, and operating an unregistered snowmobile.


CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) responded to calls of dogs chasing and killing a deer and a deceased bobcat. He also investigated litter issues left by anglers removing ice shelters, although anglers did seem to be more conscientious about what they left behind this year in the Thief River Falls area. Enforcement action was taken for litter and allowing a dog to chase and kill deer.


CO Angela Warren (Thief River Falls) monitored ice house removal from area waters. She worked area snowmobile trails, which continued to degrade due to some warmer days. CO Warren also taught the law and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class in Middle River and assisted a motorist who had run into the ditch.


CO Demo Regas (Blackduck) checked anglers and monitored fish house removal progress on Upper Red Lake and special regulation lakes. He also investigated TIP calls and spent time making preparations for the upcoming Firearms Safety Classes in Blackduck and Kelliher. Enforcement action was taken for fishing violations.


CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored fishing and snowmobiling activity throughout the week, most of the time on Lake of the Woods. While checking anglers on Lake of the Woods he checked one fish house and observed through a window an angler reel up an extra line. When the anglers inside eventually opened the door, CO Gorecki detected a strong odor of marijuana. After subsequent questioning and search, he seized a significant amount of various narcotics, cash, and other contraband. Charges are pending on three individuals, including one for felony possession. Other enforcement action taken during the week include angling without a license, illegal length walleye, extra lines, and snowmobile registration violations.


Baudette -vacant.


Blackduck #2 – vacant.


Karlstad – vacant.


Warroad #1 – vacant.


Warroad #2 – vacant.


District 2 – Bemidji area


CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending airboat training in Winona. Time was also spent checking ice anglers. Few fish houses remain on area lakes. Commercial taxidermy inspections were completed and a road-kill fisher was seized.


CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) assisted other agencies, investigated a trespass and conducted a taxidermy inspection. He also removed a dumped coyote from a road edge, and monitored snowmobiles, angling and shelter removal. On the way to teach laws & ethics at a snowmobile safety class a large moose crossed the road in front of the officer adding some variety to the week.


CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers, marked shelters and returned calls for service.


CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity and the progression of fish house removal. CO Vollbrecht attended airboat training in Winona and taught a snowmobile safety class. Snowmobile trails in the area were patrolled.


CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) monitored ice house removal, angling activity and area trapping activity. Time was spent patrolling snowmobile trails. CO Holt also assisted CO Vollbrecht with a snowmobile safety class.


CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports attending airboat operator training in Winona and monitoring fish house removal in the vacant Detroit Lakes station. Most shelters had been removed. A TIP of possible sunfish over limit is under investigation. CO Vinton received a call from the Detroit Lakes PD on deer heads dumped in town. Anyone with information please contact TIP or CO Vinton directly.


CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked two fishing TIPs of possible over limits. Shelter removal was monitored and miscellaneous wildlife calls and season/law questions were handled.


CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen, working on fishing tips and talked at the Rothsay firearms safety class about laws and ethics


Moorhead – vacant.


Detroit Lakes – vacant.


District 3 – Fergus Falls area


CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports maple syrup enthusiasts have begun their activities and Canada geese have started migrating back to the area. Reports of light geese have been heard of in eastern North Dakota, but no concentrations have been seen in the Fergus Falls area. Traditional pan fish lakes have seen more pressure with decent weather. After the snow melted away on our lakes, garbage has been exposed near where fish houses were present.  Fishermen are reminded to remove all fish house blocks and other types of litter to help keep the lakes clean.


CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked on setting up an upcoming instructor banquet for volunteer instructors throughout the area. Plautz donated some incidentally taken fisher to the MTA. Ice anglers are out but scattered success was reported.


CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) prepared his station snowmobile for summer storage.  Additional time was spent investigating work being done in wetlands and checking coyote hunters and ATV operators. A meeting was scheduled with the local county attorney.


CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) attended air boat training in Winona on the Mississippi River. Fishermen were also checked on area lakes. Area lakes were checked for litter after fish house removal with lots of wood found left on the lakes. Please pick up after yourselves after removing your fish houses. Remember your fish house might be private but the lake is public.


CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time monitoring anglers over the past week. Panfish activity picked up substantially on area lakes. Complaints of lots of wood left on the ice after the dark house removal date were received. Remember, litter sheds a bad light on all fishermen. A dead deer caught in a snare was investigated as well as seizing an incidentally trapped fisher. A citation was issued to an individual who still had not removed his ice house from the public access of a station lake.


CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to check fishermen on area waterways. Additional time was spent checking ATV operators and predator hunters and follow up work was completed on deer cases, a litter investigation, and a dogs chasing deer complaint. Snowmobile activity has come to an end in the station and there is a lot of water and slush on the ice.


CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ATV operation, ice fishing and burning. Ice conditions are still pretty good on area lakes. The officer checked on a complaint of a dead owl in the vacant Traverse County station and handled several complaint calls on illegal OHV operation. The Morris safety class will be held on April 24-26. Students will need to complete the online firearms safety course before attending the class. Calls were fielded regarding legal ATV operation, angling licenses, and fish house questions.


CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports fishing success is spotty on area lakes, but with the recent snow melt, travel on area lakes has become very easy. The officer checked fishermen, ATV operators, and minnow trappers. Time was also spent assisting DNR Wildlife with marking springs on Lake Simon.


Wheaton – vacant.


District 4 – Wadena area


CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) handled a deer complaint, attended a district meeting, and obtained some division training during the week. He also checked area lakes for ice shelters and anglers and conducted equipment maintenance. Enforcement activity included snowmobile safety certificate violations.


CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked snowmobilers and fishermen during the week. A reminder that fish houses can no longer remain on the ice unoccupied overnight. Fish houses froze into the lakes need to be removed to avoid fines/penalties. Shelters and contents left on the ice may be confiscated or destroyed by the DNR. Please contact Officer Hunter if you know of any remaining fish houses on lakes.


CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) took calls of dumping that were also related to game and fish violations. He provided information to a local church men’s group on game and fish laws. Officer Oldakowski noted a few anglers were out on the remaining good ice, but the shorelines show evidence of deterioration. He also provided a ride-along opportunity to a college law enforcement student.


CO Gary Sommers (Walker) reports primary enforcement efforts this past week focused on ice fishing and snowmobile activity. He marked fish houses for the removal deadline and attended training. Officer Sommers received two calls regarding starving and/or dead deer; he referred the matters to the area DNR Wildlife office. He also received a TIP call regarding a possible fishing violation from nearly a year ago; the matter remains under investigation.


CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check perch anglers during the week. Travel on the ice has generally become easier with the recent snow melt. CO Mathy participated in the bear committee meeting and attended a district training session. A tip by observant citizens led CO Mathy to a group of anglers that were 80 perch over limit, resulting in citations issued to all individuals in the party. Other enforcement action was taken for angling with an unattended line.


CO Larry Francis (Remer) noted snowmobile trails are in questionable condition after the recent warm weather. Fish houses north of Hwy 200 were coming off with regularity and little issue. He did identify a couple of owners of questionable ones. Officer Francis also attended a mandatory meeting, provided a FAS instructor with guidance, and followed up on road kill deer calls.


CO Colleen Adam (OHV Recreation Officer – Park Rapids) checked fishing activity and fish house identification on area lakes. She also took nuisance animal complaints, worked on equipment issues, and attended district meeting.


Water Resource Enforcement Officer Shane Siltala monitored late ice angling activity over the past week. He provided AIS education to anglers and answered questions on solid waste and proper disposal. He also attended a district meeting and training session.


District 5 – Eveleth area


CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports working snowmobile enforcement detail with US Border Patrol, National Park Service, US Customs, and St. Louis County Sheriff’s in the Kabetogama, Namakan, and Ash River Trail Areas. A law and regulation presentation was given at a Firearms Safety Class in Int’l Falls. A wetlands restoration order was issued to an individual for impacting wetlands on state, county, and private lands. Enforcement action for the week was taken for snowmobile speed; several speeds were recorded in the 85-90mph range.


CO Troy Fondie (Orr) monitored angling and snowmobile activities and noted very little due to slush and deep snow. Equipment work and administrative tasks rounded out the week.


CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the area snowmobile trails are starting to show signs of wear. The corners of the trails are quite icy and the open areas are showing bare ground in places. Assistance was provided to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office on a snowmobile crash where one person was injured. An incident of someone cutting firewood where they shouldn’t have been cutting firewood turned out to be a misunderstanding.


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ATV’s, anglers, fish house removal and litter issues, investigated a report of deer taken out of season, finished a forest resource theft case, taught a Firearms Safety Class in Hibbing and spoke at the 92nd Annual Chisholm Sportsman’s Club Banquet. Enforcement action consisted of a number of ATV violations and theft.


CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) patrolled area snowmobile trails and spoke with snowmobilers about trail conditions. Most riders report busy trail activity but rough riding conditions. Most anglers have abandoned area lakes with the exception of a few trout anglers. A majority of ice shelter owners have taken the time to remove them from lakes prior to the removal deadline. A pair of anglers fishing on an area lake were checked by CO Frericks. Neither of the anglers had a current angling license and had taken a northern pike during the closed season. The pike was seized and the anglers were cited.


CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) monitored fish house removal from area lakes, many removed prior to the last large snow fall. Snowmobile trails have been groomed and are still in good shape. Reports were prepared and sent to the County Attorney’s Office for upcoming court appearances from previous charges.


I. Falls # 2 – vacant.


MN Whitetail Classic_MN Sporting Journal_web-2Ray – vacant.


Tower – vacant.


District 6 – Two Harbors area


CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports warmer weather and melting snow has opened sinkholes on several area lakes in the past week, making it difficult to navigate in areas. Trout fishing continues to be fair to good with most anglers having something to show for their efforts. Violations included operating an ATV on a county highway.


CO Marty Stage (Ely) spent time working the lakes and trails. The lakes are much better than they were and most all the fish houses were off before the deadline. The weather has been getting better and the snow is starting to get a crust for the first time all winter. Be aware that this is the time that even the small dogs can and will chase deer. The deer are in bad shape and don’t need any more stress from family dogs that aren’t attended by their owners. For this reason, please keep track of your dog as we ease into spring.


CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked remote lakes and areas during the week by snowmobile and snow shoes. He checked anglers in and out of the BWCA and snowmobilers. Violations for snowmobile and fishing were encountered. Assistance was given to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled state and GIA snowmobile trails; registration compliance was very good. The officer also checked area lakes, attended a district meeting and training and answered questions regarding big game and wolf hunting.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports a busy weekend of snowmobile activity. Trails are a little hard and icy but otherwise holding up well. Training and meetings were attended early in the week. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speed, registration violations, no state trail sticker, fail to transfer ownership, and fishing without a license. Most anglers seem aware about fishing licenses expiring at the end of February this year.


CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked a snowmobile detail on area trails. Trails are in great shape and snowmobile registration compliance was excellent. There were a lot of snowmobilers out enjoying the nice weather. Wahlstrom attended a district meeting and trained officers on patrol rifle maintenance.


CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement activity along the North Shore. Lake Superior anglers are still enjoying trout and salmon fishing on rare ice formations on the big lake. Ice shelter owners are reminded to take all wood blocking and other debris with them upon removing their shelters for the season to help keep our lakes clean.


Silver Bay – vacant.


District 7 – Grand Rapids area


CO Randy Patten (Northome) attended a bear committee meeting, checked anglers, monitored fish house removal, and processed incidental furbearers.


CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked angling and snowmobile activities. He also marked fish houses for the pending deadline.


CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored shelter removal and patrolled the area snowmobile trails. Area panfish anglers are having success. Enforcement action was taken for angle without license and fail to display registration on snowmobile.


CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time checking anglers this past week. She also worked some commercial enforcement and did an interview for the local radio station. She assisted one of the local snowmobile clubs with a safety class. She also helped a neighboring officers with an overlimit case that resulted in confiscation of fish and charges for overlimits. Enforcement action was also taken for angling license violations.


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and snowmobile activity over the past week with things beginning to slow down for the winter season. Some anglers were out catching panfish while others were out trying to land some tullibee and whitefish in the deep holes of area lakes. Snowmobiling has slowed down some with the harder trail conditions. There is still plenty of base on the area trails.


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) spent the week working snowmobile and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for possession of small amount of marijuana. Wichmann also assisted with the Polar Plunge in Grand Rapids.


CO John Velsvaag (NE ATV officer) checked anglers this past week and saw very few fish. Slush conditions have improved on most lakes and snowmobile trail conditions are moderate. CO Velsvaag also attended a meeting in Grand Rapids and took several calls on deer feeding and trout season.


Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) checked anglers, snowmobilers, and ATVers on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angle without a license and for unregistered snowmobiles. Fishing success was good before the cold fronts moved through. A few anglers forgot to buy the 2014 angling license. CO Arhart also worked Wetland Conservation Act and public waters cases. A ticket was issued for non-compliance of a wetland restoration order. The first migratory Canada geese and trumpeter swans were observed in open parts of Third River. The next day it was -12 degrees and the birds disappeared. Dead white tails were observed in the woods via snowmobile and area pilots are reporting dead deer as well, apparent winter casualties.


District 8 – Duluth area


CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked area snowmobile trails. Trails deteriorated rapidly with warm weather but most are still snow covered. Ice shelter removal is progressing and most are off the ice. Follow up on litter, garbage, and blocking from shelters continues.  A Boy Scout meeting was attended and the officer assisted with a ‘Fishing for Knowledge’ event in the Moose Lake area.


CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued to check inland winter fishermen trying to catch pan fish. He also checked winter fishing activity on Lake Superior. A couple days were spent on snowmobile working the area trails. Lakes were checked for ice shelters, remaining on lakes.  All shelters were documented and will require follow up if the shelters are not removed by the deadline. Officer Duncan was also interviewed by a middle school student for a class project. Several calls were returned during the week.


CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked on K9 detector training and tracking down the owner of one fish house that was left on an area lake. With melting snow and freezing temps at night, people are reminded to keep your dogs restrained. They have a very easy time running on top of the snow this time of year and the deer are having a very difficult time with it. Even chasing a deer for a short distance can kill it this time of year. One complaint was received of a possible shot deer which is still under investigation. A follow up investigation continues with a bear hunting violation from last fall and a complaint of early fishing last spring was passed along to another officer whose area it was supposedly in. Extra time was spent organizing upcoming details for the K9 unit. A talk was given at a local fishing event, called Fishing for Knowledge, for Moose Lake and Willow River 6th graders on fishing and invasive species rules and regulations.


WREO Mike Scott worked with Ecological and Water Resources AIS on providing Lake Service Provider Training for local providers and resort owners in the Ely area for the upcoming open water and tourist season. Information on updating AIS laws in the state was discussed with DNR Fisheries folks in St. Paul.


Lake Superior Marine Unit


CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) reports the ice continues on Lake Superior in the Duluth area. Anglers continue to venture out. Some catches of lake trout, herring and salmon are being seen. Local snowmobile trails are still getting plenty of traffic. Fish house removal is looking good on inland lakes.


CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers and snowmobile riders. Questions were answered about open water angling regulations on Superior. With warmer temperatures on the horizon, people are starting to think about trolling again. Enforcement action taken for angling and snowmobile violations.


CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked anglers on Lake Superior, checked on ice shelter removal on area lakes and followed up on bear guide issues.


District 9 – Brainerd area


CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing enforcement and dealt with nuisance animal complaints. Officer Guida worked on lesson plans for upcoming in-service training and assisted with the Brainerd Outdoor Expo. Officer Guida worked with Little Falls CO Joyce Kuske who interviewed and obtained a confession from a suspect on an overdue fish shelter violation. Enforcement action was taken.


CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked anglers and a few die hard snowmobilers during the week. Time was also spent working on a timber trespass case.


CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) reports spending time acquainting her with her new patrol area spending time patrolling area lakes and trails. She spoke with students at Cuyuna Range Elementary School and manned the laser shot booth at the Brainerd Outdoor Expo.


CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored ice angling & shelter removal litter on Brainerd area lakes. He investigated a coyote hunting trespass complaint in Cass County and answer wildlife information calls.


Pine River – vacant.


District 10 – Mille Lacs area


CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked crappie anglers and one person setting out tip-ups trying to catch northerns. Several people were still fishing with licenses that expired February 28.  Some snowmobiles were still out but conditions have deteriorated and some lakes don’t have adequate snow cover. Verkuilen also checked some beaver trappers and responded to a dogs chasing deer complaint.


CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) attended the annual bear committee meeting. She also participated in a talk given to the local Kiwanis Club regarding deer population with the area wildlife manager. Speldrich attended the second day of Moose Lake Willow Rivers ‘Fishing for Knowledge’ event. The 6th graders had a great time even though the fish weren’t cooperating. Speldrich investigated a dogs killing deer call and issued car-kill possession tags.


CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen on area lakes throughout the week and weekend. A few sleds were out enjoying the area trails but the warm weather is melting them away fairly quickly. Patrol was done in area state and county land for ATV and snowmobile activity and also fuel wood permits were checked. Questions regarding trapping, ATV, fishing and snowmobiling laws were fielded during the week. Phone calls regarding Mille Lacs Lake were also fielded throughout the week and weekend. Area public accesses were checked for fish houses and any litter or dumping of garbage. Patrol was done at area state parks. Enforcement action for the week included a juvenile operating an ATV on a roadway and allowing illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile.


CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) finished paperwork, conducted equipment maintenance and wrapped up open cases. Several phones calls were fielded regarding deer that were struggling. Enforcement action was taken for ice houses left on Mille Lacs Lake after the removal deadline and an improperly marked ice house left on the lake as well.


WREO Rob Haberman worked at the Brainerd Sports Show over the weekend. He answered many questions about the upcoming fishing season and turkey hunting rules. WREO Haberman worked on wetland cases in Aitkin County. WREO Haberman also spoke to a couple of ATV riders about operating ATVs on grant-in-aid snowmobile trails.


CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) helped out with a ‘Fishing for Knowledge’ program where a group of sixth graders learned about Minnesota’s lakes and fish and then got to go ice fishing. Several complaints of dogs chasing deer were taken along with a complaint of gray wolves harassing cattle. One local farmer was able to remove a 110 pound gray wolf that he found circling his pasture and trying to get at the livestock within. Sn Snowmobile trail conditions have slowly degraded after a week of warm weather.


CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent time checking anglers during the week. He answered questions about nuisance animals, assisted Wisconsin Wardens with licensing information, and met with Firearms Safety instructors regarding upcoming classes. Recent warm weather has deteriorated many of the snowmobile trails in the area. In addition, slushy conditions exist on many local lakes.


CO Dan Starr (Onamia) continued to monitor lingering fish house issues and observed very little fishing activity. Snowmobile trails deteriorated rapidly with warm weather. An

investigation of a dog chasing and attacking deer led to enforcement action and observation of a wounded family dog. Two separate neighbors of the dog owner saw the springer spaniel attacking the deer, which they both shot at the dog and one of them wounded it. The dog ran home and needed veterinarian attention. The deer was bleeding, but ran off. This is a good reminder for dog owners to keep them at home. Firearms Safety plans were also made for an upcoming class.


CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) spent time checking smaller lakes finding a few parties catching crappies. Snow conditions on local trails have turned to mud in some locations making trails sketchy to ride on. Fishermen have traded the snowmobiles for ATVs to traverse lakes that have thawed and refroze to a hard pack.


District 11 – St. Cloud area


CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) checked angling and snowmobiling activities. Snowmobilers tried to get the most out of what is left of the trails. Overall activity was low.


CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this past week. CO Mies gave a law talk at a turkey clinic in Kimball. CO Mies worked on fish house info on area lakes, and also checked sleds.


CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) assisted a neighboring officer with locating a fish house owner that still had not removed their fish house from a local lake over two weeks past the removal deadline and investigated  an illegal brush pile that was full of household furniture that had been burned. Angling and ATV enforcement was worked with enforcement action taken for a parent allowing a juvenile to operate a motor bike on a county road.


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked anglers and predator hunters. Administrative tasks and vehicle maintenance were also completed.


WREO Keith Bertram spent the week updating wetland cases and checking anglers. Questions were answered regarding beaver trapping season and a nuisance bear call was handled.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) provided instruction to a couple of FAS classes on laws related to hunting and trapping. CO Kuske continued to monitor panfish bites on area lakes and addressed rumors of lakes being opened to liberalized fishing. Curriculum and materials for the upcoming CO Academy is being reviewed and CO Kuske met with DNR License Center to create licenses for classroom and scenario instruction.


District 12 – Princeton area


CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave presentations to Youth Firearms Safety Classes in Waverly and Buffalo this past week. CO Reller followed up on several fish houses either left on the lake or on public accesses. Litter complaints were also investigated on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for no trapping license, improperly marked traps, past deadline on fish house removal and no angling license.


CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) continued to do follow up on ice shelters left after the deadline. CO Musatov spoke at a youth firearms safety class. A call of snowmobilers water skipping was handled.


CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) took complaints of local lakes with winterkill and taking fish illegally from these lakes, as well as trespassing around the lakes. Officer Londgren also checked snowmobiles, ATVs, anglers, and received calls on injured animals. Enforcement action was taken on leaving shelters at public accesses, unlawfully taking fish, snowmobile without registration, and angling without a license.


CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports all ice shelters were finally removed from area lakes and accesses. The anglers willing to brave the standing water on area lakes found some panfish success. CO Langevin reports receiving calls on two area lakes having fish dying. Fisheries was informed and the lakes were tested. Both lakes had severe oxygen depletion.


CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area rivers and lakes. He issued summons for taking fish by snagging on the Mississippi River. He assisted with locating a fish house owner that was storing it on a public access. He followed up on a report of an injured swan.


Cambridge – vacant.


District 13 – West Metro area


CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) patrolled Hennepin County for angling activity. Salzer continued to deal with ice houses that had been abandoned on area lakes. CO Salzer also assisted with a turkey clinic and a firearms safety class.


CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week monitoring fishing activity and removing litter from lakes that were left by some ice fishermen. CO Grewe followed up with a case regarding a deer taken out of season.


CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) checked fishermen in Dakota and Hennepin counties. He patrolled for snowmobile violations. CO Neitzke patrolled Ft. Snelling State Park. He also talked to a firearms safety class.


CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked fishermen and snowmobile activity this past week. He patrolled state park, state trails, and WMAs in the metro area. He answered questions regarding fishing and state park regulations, and firearms safety classes.


CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the Bloomington station for angling activity. He returned calls regarding injured and dead animals. Several deer were delivered to the needy families in the Karen Community.


Bloomington – vacant.


Prior Lake – vacant.


District 14 – East Metro area


CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) conducted follow up on an ice shelter still left on the lake, where enforcement action was taken. CO Arntzen also did an interview with WCCO about litter left behind on the lakes from the ice fishing season. CO Arntzen continued to do recreational vehicle enforcement and set up firearms safety classes.


CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) talked to a firearms safety class at the VFW in Blaine. She finished up a couple litter cases, handled nuisance animal calls and injured deer calls. CO Kruse assisted with a deer removal program in Ramsey County and took care of a couple fish houses still left on area lakes.


CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) patrolled Dakota and Washington counties for angling activity. CO McGowan also attended airboat training which was conducted on the Mississippi River.


WREO Adam Block (Metro) inspected aeration systems in Scott County and checked angling activity. WREO Block spoke to a group of Cub Scouts in New Prague regarding Conservation Officer duties and assisted the Scott County Sheriff’s Department with horses loose on a county road. WREO Block also completed administrative duties and attended a meeting with area law enforcement agencies.


CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) reports that he took enforcement action for a case involving taking a red fox without a license in Oak Grove. He spoke to two firearms safety classes in Coon Rapids. CO Johnson also spoke to a Turkey Clinic in Coon Rapids. He responded to a call of an injured deer in Ramsey. CO Johnson investigated a litter case on Egg Lake in Hugo.


Eagan – vacant.


Maplewood – vacant.


Metro Officer – vacant.


District 15 – Marshall area


CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) checked ice anglers, coyote hunters, trappers and light goose hunters throughout the week. ATV and commercial enforcement was also worked. The numbers of migrating snow, ross’s, and white-fronted geese increased during the week. Light goose hunters are reminded that it is illegal to shoot white-fronted “speckle belly” geese during the light goose season. Extra caution should be used watching out for swans.


CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ATV, light goose hunting, and ice fishing activity throughout the week. A trespassing complaint was taken, which resulted in a hunter receiving numerous hunting violations. The public is reminded that fish houses cannot be left at public access locations.


CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports that anglers continue to fish crappie and perch through the ice. Anglers are reminded to use caution when venturing out on area lakes and rivers as the ice is starting to honey comb. Migratory birds are starting to show up on their trip back north.


CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working investigations, ATVs, and light goose hunters. Only one flock of snow geese was seen. Fields are extremely muddy.


CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) issued numerous out of state minnow transport permits throughout the week and followed up on various TIP calls. Recent thaws have brought all snowmobile activity in the area to a complete halt. Large flocks of geese have been moving through the area.


WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) met with a county attorney reference a WCA violation. Follow-up investigations were completed on WCA and Waters cases.


Benson – vacant.


Madison – vacant.


Redwood Falls – vacant.


District 16 – New Ulm area


CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) continued to work on issues related to fish house removal. He followed up on a trapping complaint. Denz also checked anglers and ATV operators.


CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) investigated a large amount of Canada geese dumped in a dumpster at the Outpost in Hutchinson. She took a call of shots fired off the road in the middle of the night. Mueller did some commercial checks in the Hutchinson area and aeration checks were completed on local lakes. Mueller also took updated DWI training.


CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) followed up on phone calls related to coyote hunting activity.  Coyote hunting activity was worked in the area. Snowmobiling and fishing activity in the area were down due to poor snow and ice conditions. A road kill otter call was also handled.


CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding sick/injured wildlife and ATV questions. He attended airboat operation training and gave a presentation at a Brown County Citizen’s Academy meeting. Nelson spent the rest of the week on angling and Wetlands Conservation Act enforcement.


CO Jason Beckmann (Windom) spent the week working trapping activity and patrolling for snow goose hunters. Large numbers of snow geese for the area have been seen moving through along with a few flocks of Canada geese. Very few hunters were encountered.


Litchfield – vacant.


Willmar #1 – vacant.


District 17 – Mankato area


CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked angling activity. Howe removed an abandoned fish house from an area lake. Howe also helped neighboring officers with abandoned shelters. Airboat training was attended in the Winona area. Howe also spoke on laws and ethics at a youth Firearms Safety class.


CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week patrolling for fishing and ATV activity. Time was also spent continuing to respond to complaints of litter on lakes and PWAs.


CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) checked anglers and coyote hunting activity. Angling activity has continued to be busy with the recent warm weather. Calls from the public regarding coyote hunting issues were handled. A Firearms Safety field day in Medford was worked with neighboring officers.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) along with COs Howe and Ihnen pulled remaining ice houses off of area lakes this past week. Anglers were checked and having moderate success. A trespassing complaint is being looked into.


CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked ATV, small game, angling, and litter activity during the week. Airboat training was attended in Winona. Davis also gave the Law & Ethics presentation at a Turkey Clinic in Owatonna and assisted at a range day for online firearms training students.


CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week monitoring ATV and snowmobile activity.  Several sick or injured deer reports were received and resolved. Airboat training was attended on the Mississippi River near Winona. A firearms safety field day was also attended in Spring Valley.


WREO Julie Siems (SE) conducted outreach to non-certified Lake Service Providers.  Preparation for the upcoming academy was also started. Zebra mussels were obtained for training of detector K9s.


Albert Lea – vacant.


District 18 – Rochester area


CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week checking angling activity by ice and open water. Time was also spent assisting with an airboat training class and working on removing fish houses from the ice. Some fishing and boating violations were detected.


CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports assisted with instructing an airboat class that included Minnesota COs, Wisconsin Wardens and Minnesota Sheriff Departments. He gave a presentation to a Cub Scout pack. Fishing remains slow. He received several reports of starving deer. Each report was of single deer in farm yards. Snow has left most of the south facing slopes.


CO Phil George (Rochester) attended airboat operation school and taught the laws and ethics portion of a Firearms Safety Class. Officer George checked anglers and ATV operators and assisted another officer with deer poaching investigation. Enforcement action included a trout over limit.


CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly ice and open water anglers during the week. Fishing success was mixed with some nice fish seen taken. Heyn also assisted with airboat training for officers.


CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking crow hunters, shed hunters and coyote hunters. Shed hunters were out in numbers with the nice weather and melting snow. Time was spent checking anglers. Success was better as a few fish were seen. CO Boyum assisted with airboat training on the Mississippi. CO Boyum assisted in investigating a deer that was shot near Spring Valley as well as a case were subjects wasted multiple deer from the deer season.


CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports the panfish fishing picking up while the ice in areas with current is starting to get bad. People continue to ice fish while some open water fishing has started. He did receive several wildlife calls including one where he was able to get deer untangled from a fence. Hemker also attended 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 Bob Geving flew pine marten telemetry missions in the northeast and a fish shelter reconnaissance flight over the Mississippi River. Lots of ice anglers still active on the river and noticed one fishing boat.


NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) provided training for a new CO Pilot. Heineman also had three aircraft radio programs updated.



CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) spent time at Bemidji on aviation training with John Heineman. Several wolf telemetry missions were flown as well. A day was spent with Andy Schmidt on training tasks.


NR pilot Luke Ettl (Grand Rapids) brought the FM / 800 radios to the Brainerd MNDOT office to be reprogramed with the new frequencies.


Water Resource Enforcement Officers


WREO reports are now placed within district reports.


Enforcement Education


Please check the DNR WEB SITE at for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Education Courses and instructor training sessions


If you missed a fall class and are over 18, check on-line for Adult Home Study or On-Line course information is also located at


Please check the DNR WEB SITE  for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Youth Snowmobile Safety Courses and instructor training sessions. Adult Snowmobile Safety Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.


Youth ATV Courses (12 to 15 years old) class postings for around the state are posted on the web site at  Students are reminded that they must complete the CD portion of the course before attending the classroom portion of the course. Youth/Adult ATV Safety Training Course CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR


Reminder—anyone born after December 31st, 1979 cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate.  In addition many states have even more stringent mandatory Hunter Education requirements.  Check before you go!!!


Reminder—Any resident born after December 31st, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota, must possess a snowmobile certificate.  Two options are available to complete certification. Ages 11 and older can attend the traditional youth course.  Those 16 or older can take the at home CD course.


Reminder—Anyone born after July 1st, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota, must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training CD course.  Persons under age 16 must complete the ATV CD Course and riding component before riding on public lands. Youth/Adult ATV Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.



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

See Also:




NE RTO Shelly Patten set up ATV, Snowmobile, MBEP and Firearms Safety Instructor clinics in Grand Rapids and Duluth areas. Patten filmed snowmobile safety riding course video for YouTube channel. Patten set up Bear Outfitter Training to be held in June. Patten worked on Use of Force items and presentation for Instructor development and in-service training.


West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports assisting area Firearms Safety/Hunter Education Instructor teams with field day planning and set up. He also assisted with instructor appreciation banquet planning and planned for upcoming instructor certification training. Use of Force lesson plans were also reviewed in preparation for upcoming officer in-service training.


SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez conducted a Bow Hunter Ed Volunteer Instructor clinic in the Jordan area. The RTO had seven folks show up, most of which were very interested in continuing their education with the Advanced Hunter Ed Program. RTO Gutierrez also scheduled a FAS volunteer instructor clinic for the end of April in the Rogers area. The RTO checked the Minnesota Valley State Rec area to potentially schedule an online FAS Field Day. Much of the area is currently unusable as there is a lot of snow and flooding in the lower lying areas. The RTO will continue to check the location for potential dates in the near future.


Southern RTO Dan McBroom assisted with airboat training for multiple agencies from Minnesota and Wisconsin near Winona. Time was spent on backgrounds for safety instructors. A class was held in Medford for HEFAS instructors on Friday followed by a HEFAS field day for on-line students on Saturday.



Rec. Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens      763-753-1887

NE RTO Shelly Patten                        218-244-8051

West Central RTO Frank Rezac 320-230-8549

NE Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence 651-674-6184

Southern RTO Dan McBroom 507-843-2032

NW RTO Jon Paurus 218-298-4000

SW Metro RTO Alex Gutierrez 651-464-7773


Curriculum Specialist:  Vacant


Education Specialist:  Vacant


Curriculum Coordinator:  Vacant



Leave a Reply