Weekly Conservation Officer Report

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Highlights: 

(Thief River Falls) CO Hanson checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and found two non-residents who drove 15 hours, stopped at a local bait store for advice for fishing success, bought bait, but failed to purchase fishing licenses.

(Pelican Rapids) A call was also received about a deer that had gone through the ice on an area river. With the assistance of nearby neighbors they were able to lasso the deer and pull it to shore. The deer appeared to be only wet and cold as it ran off once the lasso was removed.

(Grand Marais) One day the COs observed a pack of 15 wolves on Gunflint Lake leaving the area of a fresh deer kill. None of the four COs there had ever seen a wolf pack that big.

(Carlton)While checking anglers on area lakes, one angler was found to be fishing with an extra line. He stated that another person had just left and forgot to reel up their line. The person he named happened to be a police officer for a local city and a quick check found that this officer was currently working and there was no way he was fishing. After being cited for angling with an extra line, the angler apologized for lying. The officer was later notified that this angler was using his name in this capacity.

(Cross Lake) While checking anglers Officer Lee observed parties taking illegal length northern pike on a slot restricted lake. The angler’s only comment was that they did not know there were any restrictions on this lake. Officer Lee explained to the parties that it was posted at the access they came onto the lake from, and also in the fishing synopsis booklet. When officer Lee stated that he would show them in the fishing synopsis booklet were restrictions on lakes were located, the parties stated they would appreciate that and a booklet was retrieved from one of party’s vehicles. When handed the booklet Officer Lee noticed that the booklet had been folded open to the lake restrictions area of the booklet, and was on the page with the lake the parties were fishing on already marked. As Officer Lee began to point this out, one party grabbed the booklet from Officer Lee, and stated, “Ya, write us are tickets.”

The rest of the reports:

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) followed up on a case originating on Lake of the Woods. Snowmobile patrol was conducted around Roseau County and training was attended in Warroad.

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked snowmobiling and angling enforcement throughout the area. Enforcement action was taken for the following: angling without license in possession, no vehicle permit and possession of an illegal length walleye.

CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) continued to check anglers on Lake of the Woods. Success is still limited, but a steady number of people are still out and about. Time was spent working angling activity on Upper Red Lake and patrolling the snowmobile trails in Beltrami Island State Forest. Enforcement action taken for the week included angling without a license, possession of dressed fillets, unmeasurable fish, no angling license in possession, and angling with extra lines.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) received a TIP complaint of a wolf being taken illegally but after investigating the complaint discovered that it was unfounded. Angling success on Lake of the Woods still appears slow despite some very determined anglers best efforts. CO Prachar was interviewed by two separate newspaper publications.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) checked area anglers, performed equipment maintenance and attended the deer committee meeting at Camp Ripley. Follow up was also conducted on an outstanding trapping case with enforcement action pending.

CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) worked snowmobiler, angling and trapping activity. The Firearms Safety clinic was attended in Thief River Falls. CO Hanson checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and found two non-residents who drove 15 hours, stopped at a local bait store for advice for fishing success, bought bait, but failed to purchase fishing licenses.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working snowmobiling and angling activity on special regulation lakes and Upper Red Lake throughout the week. Time was spent investigating a couple of TIP reports and assisting a neighboring officer with a trespassing investigation. Enforcement action for the week included angling license violation.

Baudette #2 -vacant.

Blackduck #2 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on a deer hunting case from the 2014 rifle season. Time was also spent checking anglers on local lakes. A detail was worked in Cook County with other officers. Trout anglers and snowmobile operators were checked.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) monitored ATV, angling, snowmobile and predator hunting activities. He received information about a fish house fire/explosion and continues to get questions of concern about the new AIS trailer sticker law.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked local anglers and spent time checking anglers on Upper Red Lake.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Anglers are reporting a slow walleye bite with perch making up a majority of the fish being kept. CO Vollbrecht worked details with CO Holt and CO McGowan on Upper Red Lake. Time was spent on an inspection of an aquaponics system.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked angling and recreational vehicle activity during the week. Time was spent working Upper Red Lake with Officer Vollbrecht. CO Holt also attended training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement activity for the week included angling with extra lines; possess over limit of walleye and illegal length walleye.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports working on TIPs of possible over limits, checking anglers and shelters for violations. A case of wanton waste and dumping of nearly 20 ducks, some in various stages of being processed was investigated. All of them appeared to be goldeneyes, most likely taken the end of the waterfowl season. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, no fishing licenses in possession and shelter marking and tagging violations.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted with a presentation in a science class which involved a skinning demonstration, carcass exam and mammal behavior. Follow-up on ongoing cases was also worked.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen. A call was also received about a deer that had gone through the ice on an area river. With the assistance of nearby neighbors they were able to lasso the deer and pull it to shore. The deer appeared to be only wet and cold as it ran off once the lasso was removed.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked snowmobile, ATV and angling activity on area waters. Low to no snow cover has contributed to very few snowmobilers on area trails. Anglers are reporting a slow bite with success going up just before dark. CO Warren followed up on ice house complaints. Area WMAs were monitored for activity.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling activity in the area. The officer investigated a complaint of a northern pike left on an area lake. The officer answered phone calls from the public regarding several area lakes that are experiencing an algae bloom and other questions regarding fish house licensing. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines.

WREO Joe Stattelman spent time working on open WCA and PW cases. Calls and emails were made to LGU’s regarding status and progress on cases. Time was spent answering AIS questions to the public and user groups regarding the AIS trailer sticker and training.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) monitored and checked anglers. Richards took reports of people driving vehicles on an area reservoir that is contained within a WMA boundary. The safety of this ice is a traditional hazard and this type of behavior may result in a tragedy or fine. Correspondence with the Otter Tail Co Attorney’s Office was performed along with the seizure of incidentally caught fisher. Overall fishing success has been very modest.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked ice fishermen and checked on coyote hunters. Plautz worked an area ice fishing derby with a great turnout. Plautz continues to work with a county attorney on a case from deer season. Fishing seems to be slow in the area with some pan fish showing up.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement activity checking fishermen and shelters. An ATV complaint was worked on the Central Lakes Trail along with checking a minnow dealer and coyote hunters. Questions continue to come in from the public regarding the possible AIS trailer training.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATVs and snowmobiles. The Alexandria Ice Fishing Challenge was worked with COs Lawler, Wahlstrom, and Oberg with over 1,200 fishermen in attendance. Several lakes were checked over the weekend and anglers are still reminded that they can only use two lines per licensed angler.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time monitoring ATV and ice fishing activity. Lots of anglers were out despite very limited success. Several people were found fishing with extra lines with citations issued. Lawler along with other COs worked the annual Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Lake Le Homme Dieu. Around a-thousand anglers braved cold wind chills and tested their luck. Lawler also attended training in Alex with several questions answered on AIS topics.

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to monitor fishing activity on area waterways. Additional time was spent monitoring predator hunting, trapping, and ATV activity. Interviews and investigation was completed on several open cases from the deer season.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ice fishing activity and ATV operation. COs Anderson, Baumbarger along with several other COs worked a nighttime work crew on Lake Minnewaska. Time was spent setting up a safety instructor appreciation banquet to be held in Morris next month as well as setting up the spring firearms safety classes to be held in Morris in April. A call was received regarding an incidentally caught otter. Additional time was spent inspecting commercial minnow harvest activity and answering calls about ice fishing and predator hunting.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports fishing success around the area has been spotty, but with no snow anglers are able to access lakes with ease. Enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, ATV operators, and coyote hunters. Baumbarger hosted a work crew on Lake Minnewaska. Several complaints were received about coyote hunters shooting from motor vehicles, trespassing, and recklessly shooting into cattail sloughs and brush. Over limit complaints were received as well as a shining complaint. Training was also attended at Camp Ripley.

Wheaton – vacant.

District 4 – Wadena area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked anglers and shelters on special regulation lakes.   Enforcement action was taken for slot fish violations, angling without a license and several shelter violations, including fail to display shelter license, no ID on shelter and no reflective material.

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on sport fishing activity. Nothing unusual to report. Received a call regarding an injured deer along a highway, but it was gone on arrival. He assisted neighboring CO with follow up deer investigation.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check many anglers; however, the fish aren’t biting very well. Background investigator and ice rescue training were also attended. Enforcement action was taken for unattended lines, extra lines, and marijuana possession

CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) worked sport fishing and spearing enforcement. Cold water/ice rescue training was attended in Cass Lake. Preparations were made for an upcoming snowmobile safety class. Time was spent investigating a TIP complaint of over limit of panfish. Enforcement action was taken for registration issues on ATVs and snowmobiles, and operation of an ATV with a juvenile passenger without a helmet. Angling violations detected were: illegal length walleye, no license in possession, angling with extra lines and angling with unattended lines. Several anglers were reminded that angling licenses need to be in possession while angling.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling and spearing activity. Angling and spearing success continues to be slow. Recreational activity remains low around the Longville area as the area is still lacking snow. CO Broughten fielded calls of a dead owl, dumped deer carcasses, and trespass. Enforcement action included no angling license in possession.

CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked the ice fishermen and had a vehicle drive past thin ice signs and end up on the bottom of Lake Alexander.

CO Colleen Adam (ATV REC) responded to complaints of overlimits and motor vehicles in closed areas. Completed reports, updated information and education handouts. Many area lakes are seeing heavier than normal pressure due to the ability to travel nearly everywhere. Contacts for no license in possession and no shelter identification.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the investigation of possible wolf depredation in the Littlefork area. U.S. Border Patrol snowmobile operation training program was attended in conjunction with a snowmobile enforcement operation involving several enforcement agencies which included U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Immigration, Koochiching Co. Sheriff’s Dept., and Voyageurs National Park. Enforcement action for the week was mainly snowmobile registration issues.

CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) continued to monitor angling and snowmobile activity throughout the area. The fishing report continues to be slow with many anglers struggling to put fish in the bucket. The snowmobile trails received a needed dusting of snow, which made them very enjoyable for riders over the weekend. CO Van Asch worked a snowmobile detail with CO Kittelson along with Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Border Patrol, and U.S. Customs Agents. A local radar run was held on Rainy Lake and brought many riders from across the state. CO Van Asch also handled calls regarding a car kill deer and snowmobile regulations. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display snowmobile registration and angling without a license in possession.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring outdoor activities. Very little angling activity observed. Snowmobile trails remain in very poor condition due to lack of snow. Public access sites were checked.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports checking on angling activity this week and very few fishermen were observed. A few snowmobiles were observed riding the trails earlier in the week however conditions deteriorated quickly due to lack of snow. Some equipment issues were dealt with.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reported fishing on Lake Vermilion has slowed for most anglers, and some are pulling their shelters off the lake. The trout bite in the area still seems to be pretty good. Snowmobile trails are still usable, and groomers are still operating. The Officer is investigating a complaint of live minnows being used in a designated trout lake. The Officer assisted COs Frericks and Fredin with a search warrant relating to illegal possession of a deer.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling activity, including working a fishing tournament and ATVs. The officer observed a dog eating on a freshly killed deer on an area lake. After examining the scene, it was obvious the deer was killed by wolves. The dog was taking a chance by having lunch courtesy of the wolves, as it too could have been wolf lunch. On a day off, the officer was angling on a designated trout lake where only one line can be used. An angler set up 30 feet away and decided to use two lines. Enforcement action for the week was taken on angling without a license, angling with more than one line on a designated trout lake, and ATV violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) took a TIP call informing him of two people who were seen dragging a deer and throwing it into the back of the pick-up. The TIP caller provided a license number and vehicle description. The owner of the vehicle was eventually found and two search warrants were executed and evidence was seized. The investigation is still ongoing. Some snowmobilers were seen out on Virginia area snowmobile trails but reports trail conditions to be in rough shape.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked a TIP call with CO Frericks where suspects were seen loading up a dead deer from the Whiteface Reservoir. Suspects were interviewed and search warrants were executed with evidence seized; charges are pending. Fredin responded to a complaint of an owner’s house dog came home with a snare around its neck. It was determined the neighbor’s had snares out attempting to catch fox that were eating the chickens. Fishing activity was checked and a few crappies are being caught. Fredin spent time searching for a cow and calf moose that were reported walking around Highway 135 and the calf appeared sick, stumbling and falling over.

Ray – vacant.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports snowmobile trails are in fair shape and are getting use. CO Bermel attended training to be a division background investigator. A couple investigations were completed with enforcement action taken for litter and for a dog chasing deer. Snowmobile registration and trail sticker compliance has been great, although some riding conduct violations were dealt with.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked fishing and snowmobile activity during the week. Lack of snow in the area has made for tough riding conditions on area trails. Murray assisted with a snowmobile detail in the Grand Marais station where riding conditions were more favorable. Enforcement action was taken for registration and no safety training certification.

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports lake trout fishing has steadily improved over the week with many anglers having at least some success. The trails in the Ely area are showing a lot of wear after a weekend of snowmobile events but are still very useable. Violations included possessing live minnows on a designated trout lake, and no angling license in possession.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked snowmobiles and fishermen throughout the week. Some of the lakes are beginning to get some slush, but nothing too terrible yet. The snowmobile trails were rough, but passable. Fishing has been somewhat slow as well. Stage assisted with the Ely youth snowmobile class at Vermilion Community College. The class was very well done by the instructors and well attended by students. It is always enjoyable to see the new snowmobilers just starting out.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked with COs from Minnesota and Ontario on a border lake detail. One day the COs observed a pack of 15 wolves on Gunflint Lake leaving the area of a fresh deer kill. None of the four COs there had ever seen a wolf pack that big. Enforcement action was taken for live minnows and extra lines on a designated trout lakes, extra lines and snowmobile registration violations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails. Manning investigated a complaint of snowmobiles operating inside the BWCAW and checked cross country ski passes at Pincushion Ski area.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. The officer appeared in court regarding past big game cases. Wahlstrom was involved in a work detail in the Alexandria area with Officer Osborne and Oberg. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, unattended lines, drug paraphernalia, ATV and snowmobile violations.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity. Time was also spent checking trails. The trails are starting to show wear due to the lack of fresh snow.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, investigated a big game complaint, and answered calls on nuisance animals. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) last week checked anglers on area lakes. He also spent time on an annual equipment inventory. CO Hansen worked on completing and finalizing administrative portions of investigations from the fall hunting seasons.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time last week checking angling activity. She also finished with a trapping violation investigation where enforcement action was taken. She reminds anglers to remember to take their garbage home when they leave a lake.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity in the Grand Rapids area with many sportsmen hitting the area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for possessing a northern pike within the protected slot, angling without a license, angling without a license in possession and failing to register an ATV.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, trappers and snowmobile trails. He also conducted a wildlife talk at the Nashwauk Library during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent time this past week working ice angling activity, as well as issuing car kill deer permits.

CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) checked ATV activity this past week. CO Velsvaag also checked anglers and snowmobilers after the last snow. CO Velsvaag also followed up on a license violation and took several calls on allowed tackle for trout fishing.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) fielded several questions from the public and returned several telephone calls. A complaint was investigated about a possible illegal possession of deer and work continued on a trapping violation. Officer Duncan also completed monthly paperwork.

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) returned phone calls regarding fishing openers and closures. A request for instructor classes was referred to the area training officer. A complaint of a problem bobcat was handled and landowner was advised of rights regarding protection of his laying chickens. Area lakes and rivers were worked and although people were enjoying the weather, angling was slow. Complaints of ATV traffic on snowmobile trails were investigated. Officer Schmidt assisted Floodwood PD with a call at the local high school.

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports seeing fewer anglers out on area lakes this past week. Fishing seems to have slowed with only a few anglers catching fish. A report of a wetland violation was investigated. Assistance was given to a motorist who had locked their keys in their vehicle. Although there are not many snowmobiles out on the trails, due to lack of snow, there were a very high percentage of violations found with the ones encountered. Be sure you have proper registration and display before heading out on the trail.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity on area lakes throughout the week. Anglers were reporting a slower bite overall. CO Humphrey patrolled the Fond Du Lac State Forest for OHV and trapping activity. CO Humphrey worked on station equipment inventory. Angling and OHV violations were encountered during the week.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) and K9 Schody assisted with a work detail near the BWCA. Fishing activity was slow and not a lot of fish were being caught. Enforcement action was taken for unlawful transportation of fish. While checking anglers on area lakes, one angler was found to be fishing with an extra line. He stated that another person had just left and forgot to reel up their line. The person he named happened to be a police officer for a local city and a quick check found that this officer was currently working and there was no way he was fishing. After being cited for angling with an extra line, the angler apologized for lying. The officer was later notified that this angler was using his name in this capacity. A TIP complaint was investigated where information was given that a person was violating several game and fish laws. After speaking with the suspect, the only violation found was taking a grouse without a license/permit. Enforcement action was taken on this violation.

WREO Mike Scott assisted DNR Eco Services with Lake Service Provider training for those who working waters of the state and transport water related equipment for others. Officer Scott assisted another CO in the investigation into a Public Waters violation complaint that was found to be unfounded. Officer Scott checked anglers and snowmobilers in the Duluth Area. Fishing was slow but anticipation was high. Enforcement action was taken for possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and no snow mobile safety training.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked anglers in the Duluth harbor. He observed few walleyes being caught. One group of anglers had a large sturgeon on the line for over one hour. They attempted to drill a larger hole and lost the fish. Area snowmobile trails are still not being used, due to the lack of snow. Shore anglers on the North Shore are fishing for kamloop trout. He assisted the sheriff’s office with a gun call in Normanna Township and responded to road kill deer permits.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers in Duluth and inland lakes. An angler was found keeping an undersized walleye in the Duluth harbor, and the paddler of an unregistered kayak who was out for a mid-winter paddle on Lake Superior was contacted. Further checks of anglers on rural inland lakes found poor compliance for having an angling license in possession while fishing. A few snowmobiles are out trying the trails, but there remains little snow in many of the southern trails along the lakeshore. Enforcement action taken for angling and boating violations.

CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked anglers, ATVs and snowmobilers throughout the week. He issued road kill permit, responded to a vehicle injury accident, spoke to the county attorney and reports were completed. Inventory and training was also completed. Phone calls were taken and questions answered.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) cautions that with no snow on the ice in most areas, drivers on the ice need to slow down as one driver found out the hard way. When the driver spotted open water ahead, an attempt to stop the vehicle failed and the driver bailed out before it went in, but was swept into the open hole after the vehicle anyway. Thankfully the water was only waist deep and he was able to get back onto the ice, wet and cold, but uninjured. A good Samaritan who witnessed the whole thing immediately put the driver in his vehicle to warm up and called for help.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) conducted routine patrol over area station lakes this past week. Vehicles are still going through the ice. A large amount of illegal garbage is showing up around area shelters. According to some anglers, fishing activity has slowed leading to use of illegal extra lines and consumption of illegal drugs. One group checked was using an electronic cigarette to inhale marijuana and also was in possession of illegal marijuana candies which according to other law enforcement officers are new to the drug scene. Enforcement action was taken on numerous violations. Anglers who had left their shelters on the ice overnight unattended were cited for no shelter tag on fish shelter. Officer Guida participated in the Brainerd Annual Turn In Poachers banquet and answered questions regarding current deer conditions and the upcoming deer population goal-setting public meeting held February 11at 6:30pm at the Franklin Arts Building at 1001 Kingwood Street in Brainerd. Deer permit areas discussed include: 241, 242, 246, 248, 251, 258, 259, and 287.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked fishermen throughout the week. Cases from the deer season were worked on and a deer committee meeting was attended. Enforcement contacts include an over limit of crappie and unattended lines.

CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) checked several anglers on area lakes enjoying some success with the warm weather. CO Peterson assisted the Sheriff’s Office with an injury crash in Aitkin County. Several ATVs were observed by CO Peterson crossing a hay field from a county road where they were attempting to access the snowmobile trail (all of which were illegal). She also brought the lasershot system to the “Dollars for Scholars” event in McGregor with CO Scott Fitzgerald.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing county lakes for angling activity. CO McGowan also patrolled Upper Red Lake and checked numerous anglers. Enforcement action was taken for angle with extra lines, illegal length walleye, walleye over limit, and possession of narcotics.

CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week with so-so success being reported by pan fishermen, and slow bite for walleyes on area lakes. Officer Lee spoke with a party in regards to setting up a “Take a Kid Fishing” event on an area lake. This event would be held next year during the winter fishing season. While checking anglers Officer Lee observed parties taking illegal length northern pike on a slot restricted lake. The angler’s only comment was that they did not know there were any restrictions on this lake. Officer Lee explained to the parties that it was posted at the access they came onto the lake from, and also in the fishing synopsis booklet. When officer Lee stated that he would show them in the fishing synopsis booklet were restrictions on lakes were located, the parties stated they would appreciate that and a booklet was retrieved from one of party’s vehicles. When handed the booklet Officer Lee noticed that the booklet had been folded open to the lake restrictions area of the booklet, and was on the page with the lake the parties were fishing on already marked. As Officer Lee began to point this out, one party grabbed the booklet from Officer Lee, and stated, “Ya, write us are tickets.” Other enforcement actions were taken for no angling license, expired ATV registrations, and no shelter tag.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking anglers and spearers, inspection of ice shelters for marking and licensing requirements, and looking into complaints of suspicious fishing activity. Enforcement contacts were made for shelter marking and license violations.

CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored angling activity in the Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area and investigated an angling TIP complaint near Nisswa.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked ice anglers generally dealing with slow results. The local snow is mostly melted away even on lakes producing very slick conditions and cooling problems for snowmobile traffic. Open fires were also addressed. Burning permits are currently required, and fires could easily spread with dry vegetation and winds.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working fishing enforcement throughout the week on area lakes. Fishing has been “hit and miss” on most lakes. A TIP complaint was followed up on and a car kill deer permit was issued. An investigation into a calf taken by wolf was done and a phone call regarding coyote hunting regulations was fielded. Assistance was given to a neighboring Officer in running a lasershot for a school event. Lots of kids had fun at trying the system. A call of a theft of firewood from a WMA was fielded and forwarded to the local officer in that station and a presentation was given about what Conservation Officers do and some law update information was given to the group. The Officer also attended Lakes Service Provider training in Brainerd where service providers were trained on AIS laws as it pertains to their work. A tip complaint of a fishermen trespassing to gain access to an area lake was investigated and a call of ATV’s operating illegally on the snowmobile trail was fielded. Lots of AIS, fishing, snowmobiling, ATV and wolf related law questions were answered throughout the week and weekend.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) and CO Staples investigated a TIP complaint of a couple taking over-limits of fish and illegally taking deer and small game. An investigation and interviews were conducted. One of the individuals was issued a citation for taking small game without a license and charged restitution for a grouse. The other allegations were unfounded. Speldrich also received calls regarding an injured fox and angling related questions.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked fishermen and trapping activities. Some walleyes are being caught, along with some perch, and pan fishing has remained stable. Enforcement for false application for license, no license, no shelter license, and no ORV registration was taken. Ice house owners are reminded to properly ID your house. Assistance was also given on a vehicle crash with injuries and with a dog that needed to be released from a trap.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent most of the week out on area lakes checking ice anglers. Once again, the most common complaint dealt with involved anglers leaving their trash behind. A majority of hours were spent checking anglers, talking to anglers about cleaning up behind themselves and removing garbage from the lakes. It was disappointing to find so much trash left on our lakes and everyone found fishing was urged to police themselves and others. Thanks go out to some lakeshore owners found cleaning up other people’s garbage.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week checking anglers and followed up on littering complaints. He checked areas of the Chengwatana State Forest, spent time monitoring local accesses for activity, and attended a wildlife meeting. CO Wynn continues to receive complaints of persons dumping garbage in local public accesses. Anglers are reporting a generally slow bite in the area, and pan fish have been the preferred target. Enforcement contacts included angling with extra lines, and no ice shelter ID.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) assisted with a trespass investigation in neighboring station involving fishermen gaining access to a private lake. The usual slower midwinter bite is occurring on most area lakes.

WREO Rob Haberman checked anglers on local lakes. Some anglers are having some success with tullibee. WREO Haberman also helped DNR Eco staff conduct Lake Service Provider Training in Brainerd with over 64 LSPs attending the training. WREO Haberman also worked on wetland and public water cases in his assigned area and scheduled meetings with SWCD staffs.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) attended training in the metro. CO Silgjord also assisted with a big game case from the past deer season. Follow up on open cases was conducted.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports slow angling success continued. Questions were answered about the delayed watercraft AIS sticker. A complaint of dogs chasing deer is being investigated.  Recreational activity was moderate to low.

WREO Keith Bertram spent the week conducting wetland follow-up and issuing restoration orders. Assistance was also given to neighboring officers regarding a big game investigation.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, and followed up on deer hunting investigations. Thesing attended training in Minneapolis for interviewing of suspects. Thesing assisted several other conservation officers with a large deer case where charges will be filed for over limit deer, unregistered deer, hunt without license and lend and borrow deer tag.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) had a St. Cloud college student ride a long for a day and encountered a group of anglers where one angler forgot their license, one did have not have a valid fishing license and two of them had an illegal husband/wife combination angling license though they were not married with the latter three getting citations. Another angler that CO Kuske and her ride along encountered was one who had an active warrant for their arrest. The subject was taken into custody with the help of the Minnesota State Patrol and Morrison County Sheriff’s Department.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity finding numerous people out. The officer assisted an owner of a vehicle that went through the ice on Lake Koronis. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, no license in possession, no spearing license, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this past week. CO Mies also worked on a tip call and information. CO Mies also gave a law talk at the sled class in Eden Valley.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) received a number of TIP complaints regarding the use of extra lines for fishing. The reports were investigated and enforcement action taken. Several ATVs and snowmobiles being operated on the lakes were found with expired registration. A couple of fish house owners were warned about the litter accumulating outside of their house which they agreed to clean up. CO Kuske assisted D11 officers with a big game case from the past deer season.

St. Cloud – vacant.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) conducted follow up on deer cases. Ice anglers and ATVs were checked. Violations were found for no ice shelter identification and ice shelter licenses. Several animal complaints were received.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes taking enforcement on a number of violations. He picked up a dead trumpeter swan and bald eagle. He followed up on a number of Big Game license violations. He did an interview for a reporter from the area on ice fishing. He took a number of nuisance animal calls.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked anglers on area lakes and found that most anglers are not finding a very good panfish bite. Reller also followed up on several investigation related to the past deer season this week. Several complaints taken about coyotes in some Wright County cities.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) spoke with two Cub Scout packs about being a conservation officer. Time was also spent on area lakes checking anglers. Ice cleats were a must have item on the snowless lakes in the area. Enforcement action was taken on possession of a small amount of marijuana, no angling license and a warrant for arrest.

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy weekend on area lakes. Center City hosted its annual Celebration of the Lakes snowmobile radar run and races. Numerous snowmobile and ATV operators came and attended the races with their machines. Also at the celebration, they hosted a kids fishing contest with prizes. Many young anglers participated in the contest. Anglers were checked on area lakes and found to have some success finding panfish. Violations included no license in possession, no shelter ID or license, no snowmobile safety certificate and fail to display ATV registration.

District 13 – West Metro area

 CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked anglers all week having good success. Off-highway motorcycle complaints were handled on area lakes. A presentation was given to a firearms safety class in Norwood Young America.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) patrolled the Mound station for fishing and snowmobiling activity. He investigated couple of dead deer complaints in Chanhassen and returned calls on nuisance animal complaints. He also talked to firearms instructors in the Hmong community regarding upcoming classes in the summer and talked to Asian Outdoors Heritage on Hmong youth ice fishing coming in March.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled two temporary assigned stations of Bloomington and Fort Snelling State Park for angling and trail usage. He attended background investigation training at Camp Ripley. He responded to calls regarding injured animals and handled law questions in the West Metro area.

Bloomington – vacant.

Mound – vacant.

Prior Lake – vacant.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he checked ice anglers and ice shelters during the week. He scheduled FAS classes and Turkey clinics. CO Johnson and CO Le assisted St. Anthony PD with a coyote in their city. He received calls on car kill deer, injured deer, and lake access questions.

 

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week checking anglers and ATV activity in Dakota County. He assisted another officer on a fishing and big game investigation. Calls were responded to for nuisance beavers, scheduling of Firearms Safety classes and a car kill deer permit was issued. Enforcement action for the week included ATV and angling violations.

 

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers mostly around Dakota county lakes. ATVs and sleds were also checked on area lakes. CO Pril also investigated two complaints of a possible fishing and big game violations.

 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent time checking anglers, trappers, and small game hunters.  He also worked with local law enforcement in monitoring recreational vehicle activity. CO Arntzen responded to an injured deer call, fielded calls about the AIS trailer decal and closed out cases from the deer season. Violations for the week included being in a WMA during closed hours, no fishing license, no license in possession and angling with extra lines.

 

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka and Washington counties for angling activity. CO Salzer dealt with a large group of anglers on Coon Lake over the busy weekend. Salzer also assisted Alaska State Wildlife Troopers in an investigation.

 

Eagan – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH radio. The officer also assisted the State Patrol with a car deer accident. Anglers are reminded to be extremely careful on the ice, due to the warm weather, numerous aeration systems have opened up well past the signs.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working ice fishing, ATV, and predator hunting enforcement. Aeration system inspections were completed with multiple lakes having issues with open water out past the thin ice signs as a result of the recent warm weather and high winds. Colder weather later in the week has iced over some of those open water areas so ice fishermen need to use extreme caution. Assistance was also given with a snowmobile safety class in Tracy.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ATV, ice fishing, predator hunting, commercial minnow and trapping activity during the week. A dumping complaint within the Lac qui Parle WMA was investigated, near the town of Appleton. A large amount of household garbage was found within the WMA. Ice anglers are reminded that fish houses cannot be stored at a public access.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports that the main focus of enforcement was on littering. CO Picht is finding beer cans and fish littered around fish houses. He found one dumping site on a public access and assisted CO Miska with a dumping investigation on a WMA

WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) worked with the Kandiyohi County Attorney on a long form complaint for an APM violation. Officer Hanson also checked ice fishermen and worked on AIS, WCA and PW cases.

Benson – vacant.

Madison – vacant.

Redwood Falls – vacant.

Worthington – vacant.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) checked ice anglers and ATV operators. He worked a snowmobile radar run. Denz also followed up on trespass complaints.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent part of the week at training. Calls and questions were taken regarding raccoon and coyote hunting. Time was also spent checking aeration systems. The fishing activity in the area is still slow and anglers were found using extra lines and not having the required licenses.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) investigated a TIP call of illegal fishing activity from Red Lake. Daily and possession over limits, illegal transportation of fish, and illegal length fish complaints were investigated. She followed up on a previous complaint of damage to a WMA parking lot. Mueller also took a complaint of an opossum in a window well and attended background investigator training at Camp Ripley.

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked an ice fishing detail in the Alexandria area. Several anglers decided to fish with extra lines and or leave lines down when they ran into town. Anglers had some success with a few nice walleye and crappie being checked. ATV enforcement was also worked. Aeration inspections were completed on area lakes.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked fishing contests at Hanska and Sleepy Eye Lakes. A few nice northern pike, walleye and panfish were caught. He also conducted commercial license inspections. A fish house and a vehicle have broken through the ice. Another fish house nearly went in when a hole opened nearby. Please use extreme caution while on the ice. Although ice thickness generally ranges from 8-14 inches, the quality of the ice is poor.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked anglers, ATV’s and small game activity. Gruhlke completed a radio program discussing AIS, area activity and information on the DNR webpage.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted aeration inspections. Anglers were checked along with their shelters. An ATV dropped through the ice on one lake. Investigations were conducted on animal complaints.

Willmar #1 – vacant.

Windom – vacant.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) followed up on a burning complaint. Ice fishing activity was checked on area lakes. The officer is also working on a trapping violation investigation.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) checked ice anglers and ATV operators this week. Additional time was spent monitoring trapping and predator hunting activity. Officer Ihnen also checked commercial minnow activity and completed a number of aeration inspections.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers on area lakes & rivers and patrolled for ATV activity. Aeration inspections were completed. Commercial inspections were also completed with a neighboring officer. The officer also worked on a wetland violation and a public waters investigation.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling and recreational vehicle enforcement this week. A Boy Scout fishing event on Lake Mazaska was attended. Taxidermy inspections were performed.

WREO Julie Siems worked on several WCA violations related to filling a wetland and not complying with a cease and desist order.

Albert Lea – vacant.

Mankato #1 – vacant.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports great week for ice fishermen, unfortunately spotty success. He worked with a WI Warden checking fishermen. Enforcement taken for extra lines, no PFD, and the use of auto sets

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working another busy week on the back waters checking ice fishermen who were having limited success. Time was also spent working on with the county attorney’s office regarding deer cases from the fall. Finally winter trout fishermen and trappers were checked and enforcement action in involved license, stamp, and registration violations.

CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the week checking anglers, snowmobile operators, and ATV operators. Officer George assisted district 6 with a joint border detail with Ontario Conservation Officers. Several snowmobile violations were detected along with angling with extra lines and no angling licenses.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Fishing success was mixed with some anglers doing pretty good. Heyn also worked on setting up and testing new equipment.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports time was spent preparing for upcoming court cases from the deer season. Time was also spent dealing with trespassing issues involving shed hunters. A few injured animals call were also taken.

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week checking anglers and working on vehicle maintenance issues. Time was also spent attending deer committee meetings at Camp Ripley and meeting with other area DNR staff.  Fishing success in the area has been slow.

Rochester #2 – vacant.

Training Section

Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of flying wolf pack surveys. Jensen worked on flight instructor renewal classes on bad weather days. He also spoke with various Fisheries personnel about the past year’s flights and upcoming spring flight needs.

Pilot/CO Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) reports flying wolf telemetry missions and fish house surveys on Upper Red Lake, Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake and Pelican Lake. A pre-moose capture meeting was attended at Carlos Avery and aircraft and equipment maintenance issued were addressed.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) finished up the helicopter moose survey and flew wolf telemetry.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) conducted a photo mission request from a local CO and flew a CO station recon flight with CO Nelson. Geving also attended a meeting regarding the up-coming moose capture project.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) helped complete the northeast moose survey. More moose were observed in the last few days to bring total counts up similar to last years. Continued poor weather patterns made it challenging to wrap up the survey for this year. Overall, moose had less hair loss than last year

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