Thief River Falls – While checking a trio of anglers on the Red Lake River, two of the anglers asked CO Hanson if they could go to their house along the river to get their licenses. A short time later CO Hanson saw a vehicle back out of their driveway. Several minutes later the vehicle returned and the two men walked out to Hanson. The licenses they provided were shelter licenses, not angling licenses. They swore they had not just purchased the licenses until CO Hanson showed them the date and time stamp on the bottom of the license. The men were disappointed they had purchased the wrong licenses in haste.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) entered a fish house and noticed the sole occupant was using extra lines to fish. The CO stated to the person “So you are using four lines today.” The person replied, “Actually five, I have one more in the corner over here.” A citation was issued, but for his honesty in admitting the violation he was rewarded with being able to keep his fishing equipment.
Ortonville – One local ice angler was startled while ice fishing when a river otter decided to take a breather and swam up the hole the ice angler was fishing in. The angler and otter were both equally surprised and the otter swam back down the hole.
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) monitored area snowmobile activity and angling activity on Lake of the Woods. A group of anglers at the Northwest Angle was cited for possessing fish illegally taken in Ontario when they were found to be in possession of an over limit of crappies. Anglers were checked at U.S. Customs. Other violations for the week included anglers using too many lines.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked snowmobiling and angling enforcement throughout Warroad and the surrounding areas. Enforcement action was taken for the following: angling without a license in possession, unauthorized use of a snowmobile trail by a motor vehicle and unattended lines.
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) spent the week working snowmobile and angling enforcement. With the recent dump of snow, more snowmobilers are out and about, finally enjoying the trails. Fishing success still remains low for most of the lake. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, angling with unattended lines, possession of unmeasurable fish, and angling without a license in possession.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports an increase in snowmobile activity with the freshly fallen snow in the past week. Fishing on Lake of the Woods is still slow but persistent anglers are able to get enough fish for a meal or two. Time was spent working on Upper Red Lake with another officer. Enforcement action for the week included leaving lines unattended through the ice, angling with extra lines, possession of an illegal length fish, unmeasurable fish/ dressed fillets, and operating a snowmobile with a passenger under 18 without a helmet.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) saw the fresh snowfall bring out many area snowmobilers. Time was spent checking local angling and spearing activity and monitoring coyote hunters. CO Woinarowicz assisted an area drug task force with a probation search which yielded multiple illegal big game animals, the remains of a federally protected bird species, and an unlicensed taxidermy operation. Other enforcement action included angling license and snowmobile registration violations.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) checked anglers, snowmobilers and small game hunters. Hanson investigated a prohibited material fire and a dog chasing deer complaint. While checking a trio of anglers on the Red Lake River, two of the anglers asked CO Hanson if they could go to their house along the river to get their licenses. A short time later CO Hanson saw a vehicle back out of their driveway. Several minutes later the vehicle returned and the two men walked out to Hanson. The licenses they provided were shelter licenses, not angling licenses. They swore they had not just purchased the licenses until CO Hanson showed them the date and time stamp on the bottom of the license. The men were disappointed they had purchased the wrong licenses in haste.
Baudette #2 -vacant.
Blackduck #2 – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on a public waters violation complaint this week. Anglers and ATV operators were also checked. A few snowmobile operators were out. Predator hunting activity was also worked.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked angling, snowmobiling and predator hunting activities. He also dealt with concerns of compensation for wolf depredation and the AIS trailer sticker law.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) spent time on the snowmobile trails, checked anglers and assisted with enforcement efforts on Red Lake.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Anglers report a slow walleye bite, but have had success with panfish on most area lakes. CO Vollbrecht worked on Red Lake with CO Prachar and CO Holt. Several limits of walleye were observed while checking fisherman. An abandoned shelter was removed from Red Lake with neighboring officers. Time was spent submitting evidence to the county attorney for a case.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked anglers and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Time was spent working with CO Parthun checking commercial minnow trappers. The officer also attended a multi-agency meeting on the prevention of AIS in Itasca State Park. Additionally, Officer Holt worked Upper Red Lake with CO Vollbrecht. Enforcement activity for the week included angling and minnow trapping violations.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports following up on TIP information and fielding questions about local fishing regulations. He also took a litter complaint from a lake association member. Seasonable cold weather and some freezing rain early in the week slowed the fishing activity.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked angling, shelter enforcement and attended training at Camp Ripley.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen and working coyote hunters. A few sleds were out on area lakes and checks were made.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling activity on area waters with anglers reporting a slow bite. Snowmobile trails and activity was worked with a few more snowmobiles out and about after recent snowfalls. CO Warren followed up on complaints of possible wanton waste, take turkey out of season, and registration issues from the past deer season. CO Warren performed follow up interviews for neighboring conservation officers. Areas were monitored for predator hunting activity.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling and coyote hunting activity in the area. Angling pressure on area lakes has slowed down and several people have already started to remove their shelters from area lakes. The driving portion of Glyndon’s youth snowmobile safety class was attended as there was finally enough snow for the youth to drive on. The officer completed follow up investigation on a Norman County complaint where juveniles were caught trespassing and shooting at deer out of season. A complaint of a coyote hunter on a waterfowl production area was taken and it was determined that the coyote hunter was lawfully hunting and no violation had occurred. The officer also answered calls from the public regarding the lawful use of range finding scopes, permit requirements for a kid’s ice fishing derby, and a report of possible mountain lion sighting near Felton.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week attending LSP AIS training in Detroit Lakes. Time was spent reviewing and closing out WCA cases. Several site visits for WCA and PW complaints were conducted. Meetings and upcoming trainings were scheduled with ECO staff.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) checked anglers, spear fishermen and shelters. A report of suspicious behavior at one shelter was received. Walleye anglers have reported a slight increase in success during the past week. Panfish anglers continue to have moderate action.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) continues to monitor fishing and coyote hunting activity. Litter in the area seems to be lower than other years on area lakes. Plautz investigated a fish house that was blowing across the lake in the wind and came to a stop at a snow bank. Enforcement action was taken for no shelter license displayed. Plautz met with an individual who had several questions regarding public hunting land and operating ATVs on the trail within the WMA.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) worked fishermen and shelters throughout the week. CO’s Nelson and Anderson had a work crew in the vacant Wheaton station focusing on predator hunters and fishermen. Nelson finally observed the first snowmobile of the season on an area trail.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, snowmobiles and ATVs. Questions about fish house removal and the game fish closure were handled. Station equipment maintenance was performed along with returning seized equipment from adjudicated cases.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) focused on both ice fishing and small game activity this past week. Fishing success has been consistently slow the past few weeks, with the most luck coming on panfish. Citations were issued for an illegal length crappie and possessing drugs /paraphernalia while fishing. Lawler continued working on a coyote trapping investigation where the suspect is using untagged traps, failing to check them daily and is also trespassing. Assistance was given to the local Sheriff’s Office with a complaint on coyote hunters as well.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fishing enforcement on area waterways. The fish house inventory has started in preparation for litter and removal issues. Another fishing related trespass case was investigated with enforcement action taken. Another case from the firearms deer season was investigated and closed out with enforcement action taken as well. A ride along opportunity was provided for an area law enforcement student. Time was also spent working fire and predator hunting activity. A call was taken on possible wolf depredation in northern Douglas County.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on predator hunting, ice fishing activity, ATV operation and snowmobile activity. CO’s Anderson and Nelson had a work crew in the vacant Wheaton station with a focus on predator hunters and fishermen. Anglers are reminded that storing a fish house on the public access is illegal. Most snowmobilers have chosen to haul their snowmobile to the lakes just to ride a few miles. Calls were fielded from the public about requesting the TIP trailer for an event, firearms safety classes, walleye/northern/bass closure, fish house deadlines, expiring angling license dates and predator hunting questions.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) spent the week checking fishermen, ATVs, and a few snowmobilers. Additional time was spent setting up ATV and firearms safety classes for the spring, and returning calls about injured animals and fish house removal deadline. Fishing success around the area has dropped off lately.
Wheaton – vacant.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Colleen Adam (NW Region OHV Recreation Officer) participated in meetings and conference calls with user groups. She attended training during the week, completed reports and contacted very few snowmobiles. Officer assisted with a vehicle in the ditch and checked fish houses.
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) took a few nuisance animal complaints, worked some commercial minnow enforcement and checked anglers and shelters on area trout lakes. Anglers are reminded Crappie Lake is within an area with limitations. Motorized travel to this newly opened trout lake is prohibited. Parthun assisted other enforcement agencies with a search warrant and an investigation of a big game violation was initiated. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV in an area with limitations, no trout stamps, ATV registration violations, no shelter license, possessing illegal length crappies and no ID on ice shelter.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling and spearing activity. Angling and spearing success continues to be slow. CO Broughten assisted with a youth snowmobile safety class in Remer. CO Broughten also fielded calls concerning littering and fishing licenses. Enforcement action included: no angling license in possession and no shelter license.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) primary enforcement efforts this past week focused on sport fishing and snowmobile activity. He received a TIP call regarding a possible overlimit. The matter was referred to another CO as the suspect was no longer fishing in the area and lived in the southern part of the state.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports checking many anglers. Many are enjoying accessible ice conditions but angling success has been just ok. CO Mathy also finished a deer case investigation and processed accidentally caught fur. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, unattended lines, marijuana possession, and not having an angling license in possession.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked trappers and fishermen. Contacts were made for not checking traps and one deer was accidently snared.
CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) spent several days this week teaching youth snowmobile safety to area 6th graders. The class was well attended and all who participated passed the written and riding portions of the class. Their certificates will be arriving in the mail shortly. Area snowmobile trails received just enough snow for the groomers to make their inaugural run of the season. By the weekend, bare spots were showing up on the trails. No changes were noted in the area fish bite.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) checked on anglers this week and observed a fair amount of ice houses being moved off the ice. A permit was issued to an educational institution for a great horned owl that was found dead.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports continued snowmobile and ice fishing enforcement on Rainy Lake, Lake Kabetogama, and surrounding area. Minnesota Snowmobile Association Rendezvous was attended with many people enjoying one good day of snowmobiling; the second day being extremely cold limiting the number of snowmobilers.
CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) monitored angling and snowmobiling activity throughout the International Falls area. Anglers are reporting a slow bite both for spearing and angling on the big lakes. CO Van Asch attended the 2015 Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association Rendezvous held in International Falls. The cold temperatures did not stop the Rendezvous participants from enjoying the area trails and sights. Enforcement action was taken for angling with unlawful tackle.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports sub-zero temps coupled with strong winds resulted in very little weekend activity observed. Area lakes, rivers, and forest roads were monitored with little activity observed. Public access sites continue to be monitored. Equipment work is on-going. Computer and office items continue to be tended to.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports there were quite a few snowmobiles in the area over the long weekend, however the trails got quite beat up due to lack of snow. Very little ice fishing was observed and the few anglers talked to reported very little action. A deer had to be put down due to injuries received from being hit by a vehicle.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) and CO Grundmeier assisted two counties with a search warrant that stemmed from the burglary in process they came across. A number of stolen items were recovered along with narcotics. Officer investigated a wetlands violation complaint on Lake Vermillion. The snowmobile trails in the area are in pretty good condition, and a good number of sleds were out and about this past weekend. Violations addressed included speed; fail to display current registration, and failure to have current registration.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling and snowmobile activity, worked a fishing tournament, followed up on an ATV registration violation by an individual with a felony warrant, and documented/GPS’d fish houses for potential litter and removal violations. All of the fishing violations for the week occurred at a local fishing tournament. Enforcement action was taken on angling with extra lines, illegal tackle configuration, unmarked fish house, unregistered snowmobile and operate ATV on a snowmobile trail.
Ray – vacant.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports that activity slowed in the Ely area with the arrival of cold weather, although some anglers and snowmobilers did brave the subzero temperatures. Fishing success was limited for those who were out with only a few fish being seen over the weekend. Violations included: failure to yield on a snowmobile, and fail to display snowmobile registration.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling and snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. Upon checking two groups of anglers on a designated trout lake everyone was discovered to be using live minnows. One angler stated that they decided to take a chance in order to improve their chances of catching fish since they did so poorly last time out. After receiving citations and losing their minnows they figured the chance hadn’t been worth taking. Groomers are working hard to keep the trails in shape. Enforcement action was taken on a truck that drove down a groomed snowmobile trail and got stuck. Other enforcement action included angle with unattended lines, unmarked fish house, and expired snowmobile registration.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers and snowmobilers. Trails are shaping up with the fresh snow. Inventory and equipment maintenance was completed throughout the week.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity during the week. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration violations. High winds and drifting snow made for difficult travel on area lakes. Murray also assisted with a youth firearms safety class and responded to a vehicle roll over on Hwy 2 north of Two Harbors.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked anglers in remote trout lakes during the week. Frigid weather kept most people off the lakes, but there were some that staked down the portable shelters and fought the high winds. The bigger lakes are very rough from the high winds, but slush remains scarce.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) Worked on inventory, and checked angler and snowmobile activity.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers on area lakes, processed seized furbearers, investigated a trapping complaint, and instructed local students in winter survival skills. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, ATV and snowmobile activity, and did forestry and state park enforcement work. Violations included no firewood cutting permit, and no state park vehicle permit. Firewood cutting permits are required on state, county, federal, and private timber company lands.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, attended canine training, monitored snowmobile activity and assisted The State Patrol with vehicles off the road. The area panfish bite was on the down side. Enforcement action was taken for angle with extra lines, no license in possession and snowmobile registration issues.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) worked angling and snowmobiling activity this past week. Snowmobile trails close to Grand Rapids are still in poor condition even with the recent snowfall. Trails north of town towards the Balsam area are better. She also attended a meeting in regards to motorized trail use in Itasca County.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling pressure over the past week with plenty of anglers hitting the ice. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, no spearing license and failing to have a license on an angling house left on the ice unattended overnight. Snowmobile activity has begun to pick up with the recent snow storm, but trails still need one more good snowfall to be in top shape.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobile trails and trappers. He also worked snowmobile and fishing complaints during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) focused on sport fishing and snowmobile activity throughout the week.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) checked ATVs this past week. CO Velsvaag also checked snowmobilers as conditions have improved in some areas. CO Velsvaag also finished up on a case from deer season and took calls on collared deer and pine marten.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) followed up on a public waters complaint involving a fenced portion of a lake. Anglers were checked along the shore and on area lakes. The fresh snow got some snowmobilers out on area trails. The officer gave a presentation at Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College for a law enforcement class. The officer also attended a volunteer instructor meeting at the Grand Lake Town Hall.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports snowmobile trails are improving and many more snowmobiles are being seen out on the trail. The officer has noticed a very high violation rate of failing to display proper registration and numbers on the snowmobiles he’s seeing. Most of these contacts are being given costly reminders. The officer gave a presentation at a Firearms Safety Class and fish houses are again being GPS located and photographed prior to upcoming removal dates for future reference.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued to work snowmobile and winter fishing enforcement. Time was spent working a snowmobile trespass complaint and monitoring complaint areas for ATV’s on a state snowmobile trail. Area ski trails were also checked during the week. CO Duncan met with area safety instructors at a meeting put on by DNR Enforcement’s area training officer. Other activity included completing office work and returning several telephone calls.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity and monitored shelters for litter on area lakes throughout the week. CO Humphrey responded to a wolf depredation complaint where a calf was confirmed killed. CO Humphrey investigated a TIP complaint on the taking of Coyotes. CO Humphrey met with a trapper who turned in an incidentally caught otter. CO Humphrey worked trails at a vintage snowmobile event held in Mahtowa with Carlton County Snow Patrol. CO Humphrey investigated a wetland complaint in a neighboring station. Angling and snowmobile violations were encountered
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) and K9 Schody attended a K9 detection school in the metro. There is still a fair amount of fishing activity on area lakes. Success rates are fairly low. One fish house is being looked into because it does not have the required ID or house license on it. Some snowmobile activity to report in the area also. Trails have a small amount of snow, but local riders report they aren’t too bad for a low snow winter. Enforcement action was taken for speed, no safety certification and failing to display registration.
WREO Mike Scott worked with local LGU on potential new WCA violation where a person is clearing wetlands for a pasture. Checked anglers on area lakes, but cold weather and slow fishing had very few folks out. He completed office work and misc. case work on WCA/PW cases from summer.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) spent time checking increased snowmobile traffic in the Duluth area, due to the recent snowfall the area received. With the recent ice pack moving into the Duluth end of Lake Superior, anglers have been venturing onto the 4-5 inches of ice in pursuit of lake trout. Sunday approx. 35-40 anglers were checked. One angler bagged a 15 and 20 pound lake trout. Olson responded to a personal injury snowmobile accident north of Finland, met with the Carlton County Attorney’s office on an upcoming jury trail and met with his supervisor.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on a section of ice near Duluth. Some salmon, herring and lake trout are showing up for a few lucky anglers. A deer management public input meeting was attended in Two Harbors. A concerned citizen called about a deer with a broken front leg. After checking on the deer’s condition, it was decided to leave the deer alone. As long as the animal is mobile and can feed itself, action is not taken to intervene. Also, a strong reminder to those interested in feeding deer; feeding corn to a deer in a non-agriculture zone is likely to do more harm than good, and can add to winter stress on already weakened animals. Contact your local DNR Wildlife office for information on appropriate feeds for deer to help them through the winter. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) spent time checking anglers fishing the pack ice on Lake Superior. The officer has observed most anglers taking safety precautions with ice picks, chisels, and PFDs. He’s seeing ice thickness on Lake Superior from less than 4 inches to 8 inches or more. Some lake trout, herring, smelt, and salmon seeing caught. He observed up to 50 shelters on the ice. Remember, you need a trout stamp when fishing Lake Superior. He also worked snowmobile activity, issued road kill deer permits, and attended training and meetings. Reports and other paperwork were also completed. Enforcement action was taken for angling and drug charges.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) attended a deer input meeting at Brainerd and worked on timber trespass and litter cases. Anglers were also checked throughout the week.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Some snow machines are showing up in the northern part of the work station and operators were observed travelling over lightly covered road right of ways causing substantial damage to the ground below which could lead to upset adjacent landowners and trail closures. Officer Guida took enforcement action on anglers using extra lines, angling without licenses, and angling without license in possession. A case outcome involving an angler who was arrested for being in possession of methamphetamine was received. The angler is now spending his nights in the local county jail. Area DNR hosted deer input listening session and he attended with Officer Mlynar from the DNR Enforcement Deer Committee.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) reports a slow bite on most lakes but some anglers still came out with the cold weather. One angler had a tip up inside his portable to keep it from freezing up. He left the tip up set inside the shelter and traveled nearly a mile away in his car to check out another spot. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week with slow so-so success being reported by anglers. Officer Lee received a complaint of dog’s possibly chasing deer. Upon investigation it appears that along with dogs running in the area a couple wolves were also spotted, and they were chasing a deer at the time of spotting them. Officer Lee followed up on a littering case in which garbage was left on the lake and at the access. Officer Lee continued with an investigation in regards to failing to transfer ownership of an ATV, and expired registration.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers are out but many anglers are removing permanent houses because of a slow bite. Complaints of garbage and wood blocks left behind were reported and investigated. Some violations observed were no license and unattended tip ups. Ice pressure ridges continue to grow on area lakes and some snowmobile were damage because of them. Reports of fish house damage on Gull Lake continue to be reported. He worked on snowmobile enforcement issues. Violations observed were speed and expired registration. Trapping complaints also received some enforcement time.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing counties for angling and snowmobile activity. Several snowmobilers were observed using state grant-in-aid trails throughout the area with the recent snowfall. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) reports a few inches of snow are finally bringing out some snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken with “first time out this year” operators for expired registration and lack of required training. Anglers report marking plenty of fish but not getting them to bite. Extra line violations were addressed as people attempted to increase their chances.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) patrolled his station on snowmobile. With the newly fallen snow, the people are taking advantage of our late season snowmobiling. Compliance has been high, thank you. Anglers were checked and success has been low due to the unstable weather that has been moving through. Assistance was given to Isle PD and Mille Lacs SO with various items to include stalled vehicles and a disturbance at a local residence.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking anglers on area lakes and on Lake Mille Lacs. A few folks were catching fish but most reported the bite has slowed a little. The Officer worked on a question regarding beaver dam and beaver lodge removal in a drainage ditch and several wolf related questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend. The Officer had a law enforcement student ride along to show the individual what Conservation Officer’s do. Patrol was done on area trails with snowmobile but the trails are fairly rough due to lack of snow but a few sleds were seen out trying to a few rides in this winter. Assistance was given to a neighboring Officer regarding a possible poached deer but the call was found to be untrue. Time also was spent following up on a fishing related TIP and area county and state land was patrolled for forestry and ATV activity. The Officer assisted the County with a call of a possible suicidal individual and a wolf related call was also handled during the week.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on a controlled substance investigation. Several anglers were checked and reminded that their 2014 angling licenses are only valid through February 28. Unattended shelters with no identification and/or shelter tags were identified. Snowmobile trails were groomed for the first time this season. A few snowmobilers were out but no violations were detected. Several calls were fielded regarding registration requirements for vintage snowmobile rides.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) responded to a TIP call of poaching, only to find a permitted photo shoot opportunity by a clothing company. Fishing and snowmobile activities were worked with some keeper walleye showing up. Assistance was given to a stranded motorist and car-kill deer permit issues addressed. A youth was found riding an unregistered snowmobile and did not have the proper safety training certificate.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) checked anglers on area lakes throughout the week. Local snowmobile trails are still inoperable due to lack of snow. A beef rancher reported wolves attacking and harassing livestock. Further investigation confirmed that gray wolves had killed the rancher’s first calve of the calving season. Other time was spent on follow up from a recent burglary arrest and included assisting the sheriff’s office with a search warrant. The search warrant produced stolen items from multiple area residences.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent a majority of the week checking anglers in the Pine City area. He also traveled to Grand Rapids to pick up new equipment, attended a public input meeting regarding the deer season, and answered numerous questions regarding the upcoming ice shelter removal dates. The ice shelters must be removed from ice by March 2. Anglers can still fish overnight as long as they do not leave the shack unoccupied overnight.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking ice anglers and ice houses. Time was also spent on vehicle maintenance. Violations for the week included no ice house license, unmarked fish house, and no reflectors on fish house.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports frigid temperatures, once again, kept recreational activity minimal. Anglers observed were those who could drive their heated vehicles up to their larger, heavier, well-heated, shelters.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) checked an interesting group of anglers on Grand Lake this weekend. The officer was glad to see they were having so much fun without catching many fish. The officer also assisted the county with another vehicle that broke through the ice on Lake Koronis.
WREO Keith Bertram spent the past week serving wetland restoration orders and checking fishermen. Enforcement action was taken for license violations and extra lines.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) had another accidental caught fisher turned in by a trapper this winter and a 10-point buck that was found dead with no apparent injuries to it. A timely citizen complaint of a garbage dumping on a minimum maintenance road led CO Kuske and two other officers on a string of interviews in various towns to locate the suspect. The litter suspect was eventually found with a citation issued and orders to clean up the trash. A black garbage bag of northerns showed up on the same road north of Cushing and anyone with information about the northerns are encouraged to call CO Kuske or the TIP line with information.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) entered a fish house and noticed the sole occupant was using extra lines to fish. The CO stated to the person “So you are using four lines today.” The person replied, “Actually five, I have one more in the corner over here.” A citation was issued, but for his honesty in admitting the violation he was rewarded with being able to keep his fishing equipment. Finally enough snow for the coyote hunters to run their dogs, no trespass calls have been received yet, several were checked to see if they were transporting loaded firearms, while others were reminded about the need for a permit to use a radio.
St. Cloud – vacant.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a slow weekend on area lakes. Either Valentine’s Day or the cold weather kept many anglers off area lakes over the weekend. The number of permanent shelters that remain on area lakes is shrinking. The anglers that were out reported a hard time finding decent numbers of fish on area lakes. CO Langevin also handled several animal complaints. Violations included fail to display shelter ID, unattended lines, no license in possession and extra lines.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week. Fishing success has been low and cold temperatures has kept some anglers off the lakes. Recent snowfall has brought out some snowmobiles on area lakes and in some road ditches but trails are not groomed.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) followed up on a deer case from last fall which resulted in charges for failure to register deer. Two litter complaints were investigated. Several animal calls were received including an injured eagle, a dead eagle, and an injured owl. An incidental fisher was turned in.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes. He followed up on a number of Big Game cases charges pending. He followed up on a trespassing issue. He assisted with getting kids signed up for the upcoming FAS classes this spring. He answered question on spring turkey hunting. He located a dead swan that hit a power line in the Monticello area.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) attended the deer goal setting process and advisory group public input meeting, and spoke to students about natural resources issues at the Cambridge Isanti Middle School. Anglers, trappers, ATVs and were checked and wildlife management areas were patrolled.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) gave a ride along to a DNR Assistant Parks and Trails Supervisor and a Watertown/Mayer High School student. Aeration inspections were done on area lakes. State trails, parks and public access sites were patrolled. Permits were issued for a car killed deer and turkey. Several nuisance coyote complaints were handled. Anglers were checked daily having very good success on crappies and sunfish.
CO Brent Grewe (Osseo) spent the week checking anglers and responding to complaints. CO Grewe also spoke to a firearms safety class, investigated a suspicious dead deer and did some equipment maintenance.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) spent the week investigating litter complaints on various lakes, inspecting fish houses for licensing and performing angling enforcement. She also spoke to a large group of kids at the annual fishing clinic in New Prague. She has been focusing more time on littering enforcement and thanks everyone who has taken it upon themselves to help clean up after individuals leaving litter on the lakes. Enforcement action was taken on angle with extra lines, no angling license in possession and illegal ATV operations.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked anglers and snowmobilers in the metro area lakes and trails. He patrolled state parks, state trails, WMAs, and took calls on animal complaints. He also answered questions in the Hmong community regarding firearm safety classes and small game regulations.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked anglers in the Bloomington station. He returned calls for injured animals and set up upcoming firearms safety classes. He patrolled Fort Snelling State Park and took enforcement action for no vehicle permit and followed up on a report of turkey poaching from another law enforcement agency.
Bloomington – vacant.
Mound – vacant.
Prior Lake – vacant.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports checking anglers and monitoring recreational vehicle use. He patrolled wildlife management areas, worked deer shiners and assisted a neighboring law enforcement agency on a suspicious activity call. CO Arntzen also patrolled area lakes due to complaints of vehicles driving carelessly. Violations for the week included failure to display registration, no fishing license and careless driving.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers, snowmobiles and ATVs on the Metro area lakes. CO Pril checked on a reported dead deer in a backyard in his patrol area and responded to miscellaneous animal calls and other calls during the week. He also spent some time on equipment maintenance.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week monitoring ice angling and off-road vehicle use. Lake service provider training related to AIS was attended in Washington County. Time was also spent reviewing wetland related case files.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer also patrolled Carlos Avery WMA and attended meetings. Officer Salzer also investigated an incident on Forest Lake.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring angling activity in Dakota and Scott counties. Anglers saw very limited success. He patrolled area WMAs for illegal ATV activity, and investigated a littering case. Enforcement action for the week consisted of angling license violations, possession of marijuana, and illegal ATV operation.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) attended two days of training at Camp Ripley. She checked anglers on area lakes and handled nuisance animal calls and various TIP calls. CO Kruse talked to a local newspaper about ice safety and assisted with a deer removal program in Ramsey County.
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he checked anglers and ice shelters during the week. He spoke to a firearms safety class in Roseville. CO Johnson checked his station equipment inventory. He met with staff at The Belwin Nature Center in Afton. CO Johnson received a report of an individual illegally possessing a great horned owl.
Eagan – vacant.
Metro Officer – vacant.
District 15 – Marshall area
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) issued an extension on a WCA violation in McLeod County. Officer Hanson followed up on WCA and PW cases and worked on invasive species issues and gave a zebra mussel K-9 demonstration to 5th through 8th grade students
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked ATV, ice angling and snowmobile activity during the week. A TIP complaint involving illegally taken deer was investigated in Swift County. Littering issues continue on lakes and public accesses. Many anglers are becoming angry with those who refuse to clean up after themselves. One local ice angler was startled while ice fishing when a river otter decided to take a breather and swam up the hole the ice angler was fishing in. The angler and otter were both equally surprised and the otter swam back down the hole.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH radio. The Officer also assisted Lincoln County with a search on Lake Benton. Officer Lage also spoke with the 5th – 8th grade at Holy Redeemer School for community awareness class and attended a Firearms Safety Instructor form in Marshall.
Benson – vacant.
Madison – vacant.
Redwood Falls – vacant.
Worthington – vacant.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) spoke at a firearms safety class in Prinsburg. He checked ice anglers and ATV operators. Denz also documented fish houses with litter issues and conducted inspection of aeration systems.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent the week checking ice fishermen and following up on liter complaints where it was found that people were disposing on deer carcasses along public waters. Time was also spent following up on trapping issues.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) monitored and enforced ATV activity along the Crow River. Mueller collected an accidentally caught otter. She took a report of suspicious activity on a minimal maintenance road near Bird Island. She also received a complaint of dogs chasing deer in McLeod County.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) followed up on an accidental take of an otter. Time was also spent checking anglers and recreational vehicle operators. Predator hunters were also checked.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) checked aeration systems. He also spent time working ATV and angling activity.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked anglers, ATVs and small game activity. Gruhlke followed up on an angling complaint and conducted a commercial license inspection. Gruhlke also completed aeration inspections.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted aeration inspections. Recreationalists are reminded that these aeration systems have ice effects beyond the warning signs and should be cautious. A wetland violation report was investigated. Attendance was made at the South Central Dive Team meeting to debrief on recent occurrences. Anglers and shelters were checked. Early signs of waterfowl migrants were observed with common mergansers and pintails in open water.
Willmar #1 – vacant.
Windom – vacant.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) continues to check ice anglers in the area, ATV activity on area rivers and occasional snowmobile compliance on the lakes. A possible wetland violation was investigated.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) patrolled primarily for fishermen and ATV operators. CO Ihnen also investigated a possible public waters violation, as well as litter complaints on area lakes. In addition, a law and ethics presentation was given to a FAS class.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling and recreational vehicle enforcement. Time was spent monitoring trapping activity. The officer visited a local Boy Scout troop meeting in Lonsdale.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers on area lakes and rivers and patrolled for ATV and snowmobile activity. Small game hunting was monitored and injured wildlife complaints were received. Follow-up was completed on a wetland investigation.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working snowmobiling and angling activity. Assistance was given to the Minnesota State Patrol on a traffic accident. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports that there is still some angling activity going on. As the season winds down, ice anglers are reminded to clean up after themselves.
WREO Julie Siems assisted in Wetland Conservation Act enforcement and attended lake service provided training.
Albert Lea – vacant.
Mankato #1 – vacant.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking anglers on Rochester area reservoirs. Angling was poor. Time was also spent checking a few snowmobilers. Conditions were rough in most places. Coyote hunting success has picked up a little. Hunters are seeing multiple coyotes as the breeding season is underway.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Fishing success has been slower and the cold temps didn’t seem to help. Heyn also worked on equipment issues and attended meetings.
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports windy cold week put a damper on outside activities. Even the fish take slowed down. He helped with a snowmobile safety class in Houston.
CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the week checking some small game hunters and coyote hunting activity. Angling and ATV activity was monitored and a couple sick or injured animal calls were taken.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishing and snowmobile enforcement along with attending training at Camp Ripley. Several ongoing investigations were also worked on and a detail was also worked on Red Lake and Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action included take/possession over limits of walleye, fishing with extra lines, unattended lines, take/possess slot limit walleye, unmeasurable fish on the ice, no license, etc.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) returned from working the Lake of the Woods area where fishing was found to be poor. He followed up on snowmobile trespass and deer hunting complaints in the Winona area. Hemker also attended training at Camp Ripley.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending time this past week checking anglers and attending a meeting in St. Paul. Time was also spent talking at a firearms safety class in Cannon Falls and attending a local sportsman’s club meeting. Fishing success in the area has been spotty.
Rochester #2 – vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf and fisher telemetry. Heineman also located two collared den bears. The dens will be visited this winter and bears will be weighted, vitals taken and new replacement batteries for their transmitter.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) spent most of the week in northern Minnesota and conducted wolf and moose telemetry survey flights. Geving also attended to some maintenance issues and flew training activities with Pilot Jensen.
Pilot/CO Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) spent time supervising major repairs to an aircraft. Vendors were met along with other DNR Enforcement pilots in Grand Rapids. A thorough post maintenance inspection was completed along with a test flight returning the aircraft to service. Lofstuen and the aircraft pre-positioned to Ely for an upcoming moose project.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) flew mainly wolf pack survey flights. Jensen found various sized packs of around four wolves per pack on these flights. Jensen also served as safety pilot on a training flight. Trips to various customers including the wildlife research unit were conducted to see about future projects and the status of current projects.