From Richard Sprouse, MN DNR
Isle: One angler was found angling with two extra lines. The angler proceeded to tell the officer that his son ran to town to pick something up. When the officer inquired as to how the long his son had been gone and when he would come back the angler said shortly. The officer asked for his son’s phone number to verify; however, the father didn’t know his son’s phone number. The officer then said, “Your son isn’t out here is he?” To which the angler replied, “No, I’m not good at this.”
Willow River: The caller was very upset that dead animals were being propped up and almost posed in the ditch near their home. This happened on multiple days throughout the week. The animals included fox, coyote and a possible wolf. The fox and the wolf had disappeared and on the date of this call a coyote was “posed” at the same location. Speldrich responded to the location. A dead, frozen coyote was placed in the ditch standing up. Speldrich was able to locate the individual who took possession of the other two animals. After a short interview, it was determined that the individual was not responsible for shooting or placing these animals in the ditch and that he just didn’t want them to go to waste. The wolf was actually another coyote. All of the animals had been shot.
Little Falls: CO Kuske received a call from a homeowner that said they have a cat door in their garage and had thought they had been feeding a stray cat for quite some time but then realized the stray cat was actually an opossum and they didn’t want it living in their garage.
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) patrolled area WMAs, completed follow up on angling cases, and assisted with fur registration.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked trapping, snowmobiling and angling enforcement throughout Warroad, Lake of the Woods and the Beltrami Island State Forest.
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) spent the week focusing mostly on angling enforcement on Lake of the Woods and following up on a few ongoing trapping complaints from previous weeks. A snowmobile safety course was completed and snowmobile enforcement was also worked. Enforcement activity for the week included operating unregistered snowmobile, operating snowmobile without snowmobile safety training, and angling with extra lines.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) participated in computer and snowmobile enforcement training. Assistance was provided to the State Patrol on a commercial vehicle driver operating carelessly. Enforcement action for the week included angling with extra lines, fail to display snowmobile registration, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) attended divisional training on a new Records Management System (RMS) and conducted follow up on a bobcat trapping investigation. A detail on Lake of the Woods was worked with area officers. Fishing success was marginal at best with bitterly cold temperatures limiting angler participation. Enforcement action for the week included angle with extra line, angle with unattended line, no shelter license or identification, possess dressed fillets on special regulation lake, and snowmobile registration violations.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) worked ice angling activity, snowmobile activity and trapping activity. A deer poaching complaint was worked and a detail was worked on Lake of the Woods.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working angling activity on special regulation lakes, monitoring trapping activity and snowmobile trail activity throughout the week. Time was spent with a follow up investigation on a bear hunting case from this past season, a trespassing complaint, handling a call of a deer caught in a fence and vehicle maintenance issues were addressed. CO Regas attended the signing of the Upper Red Lake Memorandum of Understanding and gave the laws and regulation presentation at the Snowmobile Safety class in Kelliher. Enforcement action for the week included angling and ATV registration violations.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on deer cases from the 2014 deer season. Time was also spent working predator hunters and checking anglers on local lakes and rivers. ATV and snowmobile operators were also checked.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) monitored snowmobiles, anglers, trappers, and predator hunters. He was able to attend a sportsman club meeting along with DNR Wildlife staff.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and ice shelters. He also answered some snowmobile law questions.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Anglers are reporting an improved perch bite, while most anglers are having a tough time finding walleye. CO Vollbrecht worked with CO Holt on Red Lake. Anglers are reminded to use caution when traveling on lakes and to avoid ice ridges.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji ) checked anglers and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Officer Holt also assisted with a snowmobile safety class in Bemidji and attended training. An incidentally trapped fisher was seized and time was spent working on Upper Red Lake with Officer Vollbrecht. Enforcement activity for the week included angling without a license in possession, angling with extra lines, illegal length walleye, possession of unmeasurable walleye, over limit of walleye, persons under 21 possessing alcohol, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling area lakes for fishing activity, following up on TIP reports and taking a call of a possible wolf near a captive deer herd. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession, failure to mark shelter, extra lines and leaving a fish house on a public access.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked angling and trapping enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for failing to register a bobcat, and lending and borrowing a license.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked ATV and snowmobile activity. Anglers were checked with some anglers having success. Follow up was conducted on a complaint of an angler with a possible over limit. CO Warren assisted the local PD with a vehicle stalled on railroad tracks.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling activity on Clay and Becker county lakes. Anglers are experiencing a slow but steady panfish bite on most area lakes with walleyes being few and far between. Many anglers were reminded that they need to have their license in possession while out angling. The officer also attended snowmobile safety training with the remainder of Academy 15 at Bear Head State Park. The officer fielded calls from the public regarding an injured deer and nuisance turkeys. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession and take fish without angling license.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week working with Local Gov’t Units (LGUs) on open case files and looking into new potential violations. Time was spent researching an ongoing case and property leans that exist on the due to failure to restore a violation. Several waters cases were reviewed.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports vehicle travel has become the norm on most area lakes. Caution is still advised near current and pressure ridges and navigation should be plotted prior to venturing out. Richards talked about a career as a Conservation Officer for a natural resource class at the Fergus Falls High School. A snowmobile safety class was postponed due to lack of snow in the area. Enforcement for the week was related to angling activity.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) seized several fishers from trappers throughout the week and donated them to the Minnesota Trappers Association. Plautz checked ice anglers and coyote hunters during the week. An investigation was completed on a trapping complaint with the trapper being cited.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) participated in fishing work crews with COs Baumbarger and Anderson with ATVs and shelters checked as well. Truck inspections were completed as well as handling complaints of litter and a fish house through the ice.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen and fish houses on area lakes in Otter Tail and Douglas counties. Several violations were encountered including failure to display shelter license, illegal length fish, no fishing license, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, expired registration on an ATV, fishing with extra lines, unattended lines, no identification on fish houses, litter and fish over limits. Anglers are reminded that they are to use the fish they catch and not throw them on the ice to rot.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time working small game and trapping activity with an illegal coyote set found and reported. Ice fishing activity was monitored with slower activity due to frigid temps. Angling with extra lines and unlicensed fish house issues were addressed.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fishing activity on area waterways which included investigation of a couple of TIP complaints. Additional time was spent working ATV and predator hunting activity. A snowmobile safety class was completed in Osakis and snowmobile operation training was given to the COs that graduated from the most recent academy.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ice fishing activity and ATV operation. COs Anderson and Baumbarger worked an ice fishing workcrew in the Glenwood station during near whiteout conditions. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines and unmarked fish houses. Anderson and Nelson had a work crew in the Morris Station with a good number of anglers checked. Enforcement action was taken for failing to display ATV registration, fishing with extra lines and unmarked fish houses. Calls were handled regarding shooting from motor vehicles, burning prohibited materials, ice conditions and AIS sticker questions.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, ATV operators, trappers, and coyote hunters. Time was also spent on a workcrew on Lake Minnewaska, equipment maintenance, and investigating a trespass complaint. Questions were handled on the new AIS sticker requirement, and a FAS instructor training class was set up.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) worked a detail with area DNR Wildlife officials, took care of some equipment issues and checked anglers and shelters on area lakes. A trapping case was concluded and assistance was given to an area sheriffs’ department. Enforcement action was taken for no shelter ID, no shelter license, fail to display shelter licenses, expired snowmobile registration, no snowmobile safety certificate and no reflective material on ice shelters.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen. Ice conditions are improving due to cold weather.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) monitored ice angling and shelter activity. The cold weather seemed to reduce the outdoor activity. A few predator hunters were out in the cold. A fur registration station for the close of bobcat and otter season was manned, and a road-killed bobcat was seized and sold.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on trapping, and sport fishing activity. Nothing unusual to report. Received a call regarding a dog which showed up on someone’s deck with a trap on its snout, the dog was released; received a call regarding how to get a replacement deer tag which was lost so the deer could be brought to a taxidermist; received a call wanting to know what to do since they lost their fishing license; received a call regarding what to do with a lost otter tag.
CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) checked ice anglers on area lakes. Ice shelter permits were checked on permanent and portable shelters left unattended. ATV and snowmobile registrations were checked incidental to checking ice anglers. Enforcement action was taken for operating/transporting an unregistered snowmobile, leaving a portable fish house unattended, angling without a license in possession, taking fish without an angling license, and taking illegal length fish. Two angling high school students were found to be in possession of marijuana and prescription pills without a prescription. Parents were notified, and charges are pending. A minor Wetlands Conservation Act violation was detected. The property owner was contacted. He agreed to correct the problem. CO Shroyer will follow-up to ensure compliance. Snowmobile training was attended in Ely.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on trapping, spearing, and ice angling activity. Ice anglers continue to report poor success. Recent snowfall did not amount to enough for snowmobiling. While checking anglers on Lake Winnie, CO Broughten encountered three individuals fishing with seven lines inside a fish house. One of the anglers disagreed with the enforcement action taken, citing since a person can only have two lines the line in question was an extra one and didn’t really belong to anyone. Enforcement action included no angling license in possession, angle with extra line, and no shelter license.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked the ice fishermen; some good crappies are being caught. Halverson registered fur for local trappers.
CO Colleen Adam (ATV REC) assisted at fur registration day and checked fishing activity. Ice conditions have improved greatly and bigger shelters are becoming common place offering a comfortable setting for the recent frigid temperatures. Officer Adam fielded nuisance animal complaints and continued work on past deer season cases.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports ice fishing activity on Rainy Lake is slow and snowmobile activity is starting to pick up with increased snow levels and conditions. Enforcement action for week involved assisting State Patrol and Koochiching Co. Sheriffs with an impaired driver.
CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) monitored fishing and snowmobiling activity in the Rainy and Kabetogama Lake area. Anglers are having good success on Kabetogama with nice looking walleyes and perch being caught. Spearing activity on Rainy continues to be productive with several pictures of large fish being shown to CO Van Asch by proud individuals. CO Van Asch attended a division snowmobile training class with several other officers from across the state. Time was also spent closing a deer season case that had been ongoing; citations were issued. Enforcement action included angling without a license in possession, wanton waste, and parent or guardian responsibility violation.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports little activity over the week with temps -20 and colder throughout the week. Snowmobile trails remain poor due to lack of snow. Computer work, equipment research, and equipment repairs were worked on.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the snowmobile trails in the area are now groomed however they are in less than ideal condition and more snow is needed. A snowmobile safety class was attended and 26 students from the Cook, Orr, Virginia, and Britt area participated. Ice fishing activity was monitored; however, few folks were fishing, likely due to the cold temperatures.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) attended snowmobile training and worked snowmobilers and angling activity in the area. Low temperatures kept both activities at a low participation rate.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling, spearing and trapping activity and worked snowmobiles that have shown up since accumulating snow has finally allowed riding. The officer registered otter and bobcat and found one trapper registering a limit of bobcats did not have a trapping license. The officer also dealt with a call of a deer with a snare around its leg. Other enforcement action was taken on angling with extra lines and snowmobile violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) checked anglers on Virginia area lakes. It appears that the larger number of ice shelters and dark houses CO Frericks has been seeing seem to be directly related to the lack of snow on local snowmobile trails. Of the higher number of anglers and shelter owners a common violation encountered was failure to display ownership information on the ice shelters. Trapping violations continue to be followed up on and investigated.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked some snowmobile trail enforcement and found little sled activity due to limited snow amounts. Fishing was checked and some nice pan fish were seen. A complaint was received of a “sickly wolf” hanging around a residence and foot prints in the snow clearly show the wolf walked into the garage and within 5 feet of the residence main door. Time was spent on equipment maintenance and office work.
Ray – vacant.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports wolves are still grabbing suet balls off of bird feeders. One wolf ate about a gallon of sunflower seeds out of a bucket under a bird feeder. CO’s ask people not to feed birds in the summer so as not to attract bears. Attracting wolves hasn’t been an issue until lately. If you feed with suet balls, hang them high.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and ATV activity in the area. Freezing temperatures and lack of snow have prevented much snowmobile activity in the area but Officer Murray assisted volunteer safety instructors with a youth snowmobile safety class which certified 26 youth snowmobilers.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling, and snowmobile activity. CO Schottenbauer spoke at an event in Silver Bay for a Veteran’s snowmobile ride. Time was also spent on equipment issues.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling activity and some snowmobile activity. A few of the trails have been groomed once, but trail conditions are not ideal. The cold weather kept angling activity low as well, although some success was noted. Enforcement action for the week included no shelter license, unmarked fish house, and angle with an extra line.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked fishermen and snowmobilers throughout the week. People are starting to venture out on snowmobiles and many are getting ready for the trout season next weekend. The ice is in good shape and there is a pretty reasonable base of snow, but the portages are still a little rough. Fishermen are asked to please take the litter home with you when they are leaving the lake.
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reported fishing activity remained steady despite the severe cold weather with a fair amount of walleye and crappie success reported. Snowmobiling activity has increased but the cold weather is still deterring some riders. Violations included: angling with no license in possession, and fail to display snowmobile license.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled lakes and checked anglers. Officer Manning also patrolled GIA snowmobile trails and forest roads. Extreme cold temperatures made for light traffic on the trails and vehicle issues for many. Travelers are reminded to prepare their vehicle with emergency supplies and talk to a local person before venturing onto forest roads as logging activity changes and roads plowed last year may not be plowed this year.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers on area lakes and a few sleds out on the trails. Trails still could use more snow. The officer spent time at Camp Ripley armoring the division’s shotguns.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers and worked on cases from the firearms deer season and recently closed trapping seasons. Enforcement action taken for untagged snares.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) last week checked anglers. He handled road kill deer permits. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration violations.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, assisted with fur registration, investigated trapping complaints and attended K-9 training. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession and trapping violations.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time finishing a trapping violation investigation. She continues to work on another trapping and big game case. Another vehicle went through the ice on Pokegama Lake, please use caution heading onto the ice. Fishing activity is good on many lakes right now. She and CO Lefebvre handled a call concerning a bobcat that was causing property damage in Pengilly.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling activity during the past week with no shortage of anglers out trying to catch fish. The fish didn’t seem to be cooperating though with the typical January slowdown present on most lakes. Due to the low snowfall totals snowmobile activity has been at a minimum with most sleds being used to transport ice angling gear.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobiles, trappers and ATVs. He also attended a division of trails meeting during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) worked on investigations and reports. CO Wichmann followed up with small game and fishing questions. Snowmobile activity has been slow due to minimal amount of snow accumulations.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) checked ATV activity and snowmobilers this past week. CO Velsvaag saw few fish while checking anglers. Activity was low due to cold weather.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent much of the week working snowmobiles and anglers on area lakes and rivers. Trespassing complaints were investigated and questions regarding postings were answered. The officer completed investigations from deer season, equipment maintenance was completed and nuisance/injured animal complaints handled.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports checking anglers. Staying warm seems to be most anglers concern as fishing seems to have really slowed. Issues with litter are being reported. A talk was given at a local snowmobile safety class where over 20 young students received their certificates.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent time working snowmobile enforcement around the Duluth area. A trapping and deer hunting investigation continues to be worked. Several telephone calls from the public were also taken during the week. Officer Duncan assisted with several road kill deer.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity on area lakes throughout the week. Anglers were reporting a slow to fair bite. Ice conditions varied from 12-24 inches. CO Humphrey attended fur registration in Cloquet. He received numerous questions and comments on the wolf relisting. CO Humphrey also followed up on trespass and burning complaints. Angling, OHV, and illegal burning violations were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted the DNR Wildlife division with tagging otter and bobcat fur at the Cloquet office. Complaints were signed at the county attorney’s office on cases from the past deer season. Fishing activity was fairly slow in the area. The few anglers checked were not having much luck. A complaint of a van left on an area lake for weeks was looked into. Turns out the van was completely gutted out and made into a fish house. There was no violation. Deer possession tags continued to be issued for car hit deer in the area.
WREO Mike Scott attended a meeting in Carlton County discussing current wetland violations in Carlton County as well as current project for a person improving a current road on state land to access their private property. Officer Scott staffed an AIS booth at the St. Paul Sports Show at the River Center in St. Paul. Discussion with people at the show about AIS issues in the state and the new AIS decal for transporting trailers in that state was had with most everyone stopping at the booth. Various comments and acceptance or not of the new law was heard from people and the release of the information website for compliance with the new law was discussed at length. Officer Scott conducted a 15 minute Radio interview with a local radio station in the Twin Cities area about AIS issues and the new trailer decal law which goes into effect July 1, 2015.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked anglers in the Duluth Harbor area.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers braving the cold wind. A multiagency meeting was attended in Duluth and questions answered about the changes in wolf management. Assistance was given to a local agency with two daytime burglaries. Enforcement action taken for public access, ATV and angling violations
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) worked snowmobile and big game enforcement throughout week. Reports were completed and court preparation was done.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored angling activity in the Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area and Brainerd Lakes area.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing counties for angling activity. CO McGowan also worked the fur registration in Brainerd, and attended division training. CO McGowan also met with the county attorney’s office regarding a big game violation case from this past fall.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked angling and small game enforcement. Investigations were started on potential fish over limits and trapping violations. Numerous anglers were driving out on the ice to try their luck at angling. Some anglers checked had their extra line attempts foiled and were issued expensive citations. A pre-trial meeting was done with the DNR hydrologist, county wetland staff and the assistant county attorney on a land use violation work monitored by 2Lt. Rob Haberman back in 2013. The individual was granted extensions but failed to meet the deadline on the restoration order.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week with so-so success being reported by anglers. Officer Lee assisted with fur registration at the Brainerd DNR Wildlife Offices. While assisting with fur registration a couple violations were encountered by Officer Lee, with one violation needing further investigation. Officer Lee gave a presentation to law enforcement agencies in Crow Wing County on updates on snowmobiling laws and regulations. Enforcement actions included littering, trapping violations, and expired ATV registration.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, spearing and ATV activity during the week. Fur registration in Aitkin was also attended.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) reports checking anglers on local lakes. There were a few that braved the cold and wind last week; however, the bite was a bit slow. CO Peterson also attended fur registration in Aitkin.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers are out and report the bite has slowed. He worked on complaints of litter on the ice and fish houses abandoned on Pillager Lake. Litter from ice anglers continues to be a problem. Some anglers setting garbage or gear on the ice and either the material blew away or the snow covered it up. He checked trappers in the Pillsbury Forest. He checked predator hunters and they report poor success. The reports of deer carcass dumping continue to come in. Snowmobiling activity in the Brainerd area continues to be slow. Some riders are enjoying the riding on area lakes. Violations of expired registration and speeding were observed.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) reports another inch of snow last week is gradually bringing out more snowmobiles. Snowmobiles out “the first time this winter” often come out lacking current registration or properly displayed numbers. Some rabbit hunters got checked as they were making use of the light coating of snow for tracking. Beavers are starting to prime up nicely but additional ice every night is making trappers earn their pelts with more chisel work. Verkuilen also responded to a trespassing complaint and answered questions regarding the invasive species trailer decal.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked anglers on Mille Lacs Lake; angling was sluggish with the cold weather. One angler was found angling with two extra lines. The angler proceeded to tell the officer that his son ran to town to pick something up. When the officer inquired as to how the long his son had been gone and when he would come back the angler said shortly. The officer asked for his son’s phone number to verify; however, the father didn’t know his son’s phone number. The officer then said, “Your son isn’t out here is he?” To which the angler replied, “No, I’m not good at this.” Other enforcement action included unattended lines, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and angling without a license.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports giving a law presentation to a Snowmobile Safety Class at the Mille Lacs Trail Snowmobile Club. The kids did a good job at the class and had just enough snow to do the riding portion of the class. A big thanks to the club for putting on the class. Fishermen around Mille Lacs Lake were checked and the bite was still fair even with the colder temps. The Officer assisted the DNR Wildlife Division with their fur registration day at the Aitkin DNR Office. Quite a few bobcats were seen that had been trapped. A meeting with the county attorney’s office was attended where some big and small game cases were discussed and charges are pending. The Officer fielded many questions regarding ATV, fishing, snowmobiling, and trapping related questions throughout the week and weekend. Enforcement action was taken for various fishing related violations.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a complaint in a neighboring station. The caller was very upset that dead animals were being propped up and almost posed in the ditch near their home. This happened on multiple days throughout the week. The animals included fox, coyote and a possible wolf. The fox and the wolf had disappeared and on the date of this call a coyote was “posed” at the same location. Speldrich responded to the location. A dead, frozen coyote was placed in the ditch standing up. Speldrich was able to locate the individual who took possession of the other two animals. After a short interview, it was determined that the individual was not responsible for shooting or placing these animals in the ditch and that he just didn’t want them to go to waste. The wolf was actually another coyote. All of the animals had been shot. The incident is still under investigation.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) attended fur registration and checked for trapping activity. A few bobcats were registered, but harvest would appear to be down this year. Fishermen were checked with a few small walleyes showing up. The spear fishermen on Mille Lacs are still having some luck, despite thick ice to cut the holes. Violations included extra lines, no license in possession, and lacking fish house identification.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) gave a presentation for the natural resource science class at East Central High School. Students were provided with information on how game and fish laws regulate the populations and seasons of wild game in Minnesota. Ice conditions improved greatly and a lot of full-sized pickup trucks were found driving out on area lakes. Time was also spent tagging furs for the end of the bobcat season.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent a majority of the week checking anglers on Cross and Pokegama lakes. He also spent time checking lakes around Finlayson and assisted CO Bret Grundmeier with complaints of early trout fishing. CO Wynn also followed up on littering complaints and monitored local accesses for activity.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) received a call from a concerned pet owner having trouble with a wolf standing outside of his dog kennel. The owner stated the wolf was growling at his dog and pacing outside of the kennels chain link fence. After yelling and beating a broom on his deck, the wolf growled and walked away. Fishing seemed a bit slower with a few perch and smaller walleye seen. Time was also spent assisting a neighboring officer with a snowmobile safety class.
WREO Rob Haberman worked on local lakes checking anglers, shelter licenses and ATV registration. Snow conditions are low so little snowmobile activity is present. WREO Haberman worked on wetland case updates and had a pretrial meeting with Crow Wing County staff. WREO Haberman also conducted aerator inspections with the aviation unit.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time monitoring angling activity throughout the station. Frigid temperatures kept some anglers off the ice. Some panfish were being caught but a fairly quiet bite was seen. Fish house/shelter checks were conducted and a very high rate of violation was seen for shelters not showing ID, a license or bearing reflective material.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports moderate angling activity. Areas were checked for hunting and trapping activities. ATV activity was monitored. Snowmobile activity was nonexistent.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, ATVs, and coyote hunters. Angling success in the area was generally slow. Time was spent following up on some deer season cases.
WREO Keith Bertram spent the week conducting wetland follow-up and serving restoration orders. Enforcement action was taken for license and registration violations.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) investigated a TIP call of a hunter out with a rifle hunting deer and a trapping complaint of someone illegally taking bobcat. CO Kuske received a call from a homeowner that said they have a cat door in their garage and had thought they had been feeding a stray cat for quite some time but then realized the stray cat was actually an opossum and they didn’t want it living in their garage. Enforcement is being taken for fish houses on area lakes that are found with no identification and with no shelter license. One fish house was found in the roadway missing a tire and when the owner was contacted it was determined that their fish house had been stolen. The tire had fallen off when it was being towed away and the thieves decided it was too much work to fix and left it right there.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) received calls concerning over limits and people littering fish on the ice. The officer also fielded calls concerning fishing shelter ID questions.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers during the past week. CO Mies also assisted with fur registration. CO Mies also worked on a trespassing complaint.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) checked fishing activity on area lakes. Failure to have proper identification on fish houses was addressed with several individuals.
St. Cloud – vacant.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports checking anglers on area lakes. The recent snow fall also brought out a few snowmobile riders in the area. Violations included no license in possession, unregistered snowmobile, no snowmobile safety certificate and operating snowmobile in WMA.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week. Most fishermen had only a few fish on the ice and most reported a very slow bite. Ice conditions range from 12 inches of ice on Lewis Lake to 16 plus inches on Knife Lake. Most folks commented that additional snow would nice to go with the 15 below zero temps.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) took enforcement action on a case that resulted in five lend/borrow of deer license’s, and multiple failure to register deer charges. Officer Londgren also checked anglers, shelters, trappers and spoke at several snowmobile safety classes.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) investigated a wetland violation. Several animal complaints were handled. CO Musatov assisted with fur registration.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a presentation in Delano to a Snowmobile Safety class. Reller also checked area anglers out on the lakes that have finely gotten better ice conditions to get their bigger wheel houses out on. Fishing has been fair for crappies on several lakes, but walleye fishermen have found that bite to be slow.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) continued working on a Big Game case. He followed up on a trapping complaint. He checked fishermen on area lakes. He checked on a deer feeding complaint and on deer crossing the road where the caller was concerned for motorist safety. He picked up an accidentally trapped fisher
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) gave a presentation to students at Norwood Young America High School. A ride along was given to a student from Holy Family High School. State trails and parks were patrolled for snowmobile activity. Car killed deer permits were issued. Anglers were checked on area lakes and rivers having good success.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring snowmobile activity. CO Grewe spoke at a snowmobile safety class and did some equipment maintenance. Violations included angling with extra lines, license issues/possession and no snowmobile safety certificate.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked anglers in the Bloomington Station and patrolled Lake Minnetonka for snowmobile activity. He assisted Fort Snelling State Park staff during the winter trail event (sponsored by REI) with more than 1,000 people in attendance. He took enforcement action for no vehicle permit in a state park and ice angling more than 200 feet from a tip-up.
Bloomington – vacant.
Mound – vacant.
Prior Lake – vacant.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent time monitoring recreational vehicle activity and checking anglers. CO Arntzen also did an interview with WCCO about ice safety on the St Croix River. He responded to an injured deer call, did equipment maintenance and continued work on a case from the deer season. Violations for the week included angling without a license, not being within 200 feet of tip-ups and unattended lines.
CO Anthony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka and Washington counties for angling activity. CO Salzer patrolled Coon Lake for angling and ice shelter violations. Several violations were observed and enforcement action taken. Ice house owners are reminded to have the shelter license visible and the proper personal information on the outside of the shelter.
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he checked ice anglers and snowmobilers. He took enforcement action for an unregistered snowmobile, and loud/altered exhaust. CO Johnson investigated a complaint of littering on Lake Demontreville. He assisted St. Paul park staff with an ice shelter violation. CO Johnson set up the TIP Wall of Shame at the St. Paul Sportshow.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling for snowmobiling activity on trails and lakes. He provided a ride along for an individual who was interested in law enforcement. CO Pril also spoke at a snowmobile class in Inver Grove Heights and continued checking aerator systems around Dakota County lakes and ponds.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week checking angling, snowmobiling and small game activity. WREO Block assisted the Scott County Sheriff’s Department with snowmobile training. A meeting regarding invasive species was attended in St. Paul and an AIS presentation was given to a group in Richfield.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) reports working anglers and snowmobilers throughout Dakota and Scott counties. He gave a presentation to a snowmobile safety class, as well as attended snowmobile training himself. He patrolled area lakes by snowmobile with the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office. Enforcement action for the week included, snowmobile and ATV registration violations, fail to have license in possession, angling without a license and wanton waste.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) checked numerous anglers on area lakes over the weekend. She assisted DNR Wildlife with fur registration at Carlos Avery WMA, continued working on deer cases and handled a wetland complaint. CO Kruse worked with two Century College students that she is a mentor for, did equipment maintenance and issued a road kill deer permit. Violations encountered this week included no fishing license, unregistered snowmobile, possess drug paraphernalia, fail to transfer ownership of snowmobile, unregistered ATV, fishing license not in possession, no fish shelter license and no reflective material on fish house.
District 15 – Marshall area
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) worked at the St. Paul Sportsman Show at the St. Paul River Center. Lots of questions were answered on the new AIS trailer sticker and the on-line mandatory course. Ice fishermen and trappers were checked and follow-up was done on WCA and PW cases.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked ATV, ice fishing, and predator hunting activity during the week. A locally sponsored predator hunt, garnered numerous complaints of hunters trespassing and shooting from motor vehicles. Hunters are reminded that if cell phones or radios are used to assist in the taking of unprotected species – such as coyote, a permit is required. Violations encountered: transport loaded/uncased firearm, no radio permit to take unprotected species, angling w/out license in possession, failure to display ice shelter license.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) worked ice fishing, coyote hunting, and snowmobile enforcement. Calls were returned dealing with the spring turkey application deadline on January 9. Wind chill advisories and winter storm conditions caused problems throughout the week. Aeration system inspections were conducted. Time was also spent working with local firearms safety groups getting ready for spring classes. A radio interview was done with KLOH Radio in Pipestone.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports there is a lot of fishing activity on LqP with people catching mainly crappies. He investigated several reports of trespassing by coyote hunters and spent time monitoring coyote trappers. A detail was worked to specifically address the complaints of trespassing and failing to tend snares.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) attended division training. He followed up on a trapping complaint. Denz also checked anglers and noted very slow fishing. He continues to follow up on cases from the deer season in addition to complaints of dogs chasing deer.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent the week checking ice fishermen. Klehr also was able to attend snowmobile training up north during the week. Time was also spent taking phone calls and answering questions from the public about coyote hunting.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) attended training at Camp Ripley in preparation for the new record management system. She also attended snowmobile training in Ely. Mueller followed up with thin ice issues outside the warning markers on Lake Marion. Mueller also spoke at snowmobile safety classes near Brownton and in Olivia during the week.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reported predator hunting enforcement continues to be worked. Snowmobile activity has picked up some while fishing in the area remains slow. Armoring of department firearms was also done this week.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) assisted out of state enforcement officers. He also followed up on deer cases. The majority of the week was spent working ice fishing and snowmobile enforcement.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked anglers and snowmobile activity within the county. Gruhlke assisted with a traffic situation during the blizzard this past week. He noted that snowmobile activity is occurring on the Des Moines River and to limited degree in road ditches. Some wheel houses are starting to show up on area lakes again.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) reports ice conditions are very good but still watch out for a few iffy spots. Ice was measured on an area lake, with 12-16 inches found. Anglers were using full-size vehicles for their transportation. Snowmobilers and ATVs were checked. Snow conditions are not good at all. Commercial inspections were performed.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, trapping, ATV, and snowmobile activity. Anglers are continuing to find fish on local lakes. Snowmobile trail conditions are poor with the lack of snow.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked ice anglers this past week. Ice conditions are improving. The officer assisted with several accidents during last week’s winter storm. A trespassing investigation was completed.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working coyote hunting, winter trout fishing, and trapping activity. A trespass complaint was received and enforcement action taken. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports checking anglers. Cold weather has improved ice conditions substantially. Panfish are coming off area lakes, and there are some snowmobiles operating in the road ditches. CO Howe worked a predator hunting detail with other officers, and assisted the State Patrol with an intoxicated driver. Enforcement action taken for snowmobile violations and a crappie overlimit.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week patrolling his station for predator hunting, fishing, ATV, and snowmobile activity. In addition, Officer Ihnen responded to TIP calls along with answering a variety of questions from the public regarding hunting, fishing, and recreational vehicles. A law and ethics presentation was also given to an enthusiastic group of students at a local snowmobile safety class.
WREO Julie Siems worked snowmobile and AIS enforcement. A sports show was also attended and information provided on the new trailer decal requirement.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working the last day of the goose season and finding the hunters that braved the cold and wind killed a few last minute geese. Time was also spent working backwaters ice fishermen on the big river and finding limited success on pan fish but the pike were cooperating with the tip up guys. Enforcement action involved license/stamp violations as well as extra lines.
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) did some follow up investigation involving deer cases from this past fall. He also registered otter. Recent cold weather has brought out lots of walleye fishermen below the dams. Remember to use good caution on thin ice, it’s just a fish. The severe cold slowed down the number of anglers. No snowmobile activity with the lack of a good base. Coyote hunters had good success this past week. Many hunters using calls did encounter the best luck.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked anglers during the week. Fishing was ok but the cold didn’t help. Heyn attended training at Camp Ripley on the new Records Management System (RMS). Heyn also spoke to a snowmobile safety class.
CO Phil George (Rochester) checked anglers and snowmobile operators. He attended some training at Camp Ripley for the new computer RMS system and took a few calls of sick or injured animals. He spoke at a couple snowmobile safety education classes held in the area.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) checked snowmobiles, ATVs, and fishermen. He also spent a large amount of time on deer hunting investigation follow ups. Hemker also attended a snowmobile safety field day checked on a stranded airboat operator that had mechanical problems.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking multiple coyote hunting groups. Success was fair as most hunters had at least seen a coyote. One coyote taken was black in color. Time was also spent checking a few snowmobilers running the ditches. The trails do not have enough snow and are too rough at this time. A few anglers were checked but success was limited.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week and weekend checking ice fishing and commercial fishing activity. Time was also spent checking snowmobiles, ATVs and working with the county attorney on a case related to deer hunting violations. A call was received about a person who hit and killed a bobcat with a motor vehicle. Some fishing violations were detected.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
Pilot/CO Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) reports picking up an aircraft after a major alteration and then flying the return-to-service test flight and returning the aircraft to Bemidji. Time was also spent doing maintenance and updates to get the aircraft ready to return to mission status. With a much better weather pattern, multiple wolf and fisher telemetry flights were flown, as was an enforcement request for aerial photos on a lakeshore resident who was altering the lakeshore.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of flying for moose whose GPS collars have stopped transmitting. There is a VHF telemetry backup on these collars that allow for traditional telemetry location efforts. Jensen also performed aeration system inspections via aircraft where he found some lakes that did not seem to have the proper warning signage. Jensen also flew a fish shelter census with the Park Rapids Fisheries office to document the number of shelters on the area lakes in Hubbard County. A call of trespassing was responded to while airborne to assist ground officers with the investigation.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on administrative tasks and training material, and final equipment prep for a moose survey.