Remer: CO Shroyer assisted State Patrol with a call of a snowmobile that fell off of a trailer on State Hwy 6 while being towed 55 MPH. The snowmobile slid approximately 250 feet down the asphalt before stopping, apparently unharmed.
Pequot Lakes: While checking anglers on an area lake, the officer found three senior ladies fishing by themselves out of a portable fish house that they had set up. After finding out that they had the licenses needed for the new license year, the officer asked about the expired registration on the ATV that they had pulled out all the gear with. After learning that the registration was indeed expired, the officer didn’t have the heart to issue a ticket after all the work they went through to go fishing. When a warning was handed out instead of a ticket, the officer got a “grandma hug” and a promise to update the registration the next day.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) Jensen also flew pine marten telemetry and on the way back to the Brainerd airport he documented a possible WCA violation and stopped to check some ice anglers via plane. The anglers were surprised to see the plane pull up next to them for a license inspection. Some very nice pan fish were inspected and many of the anglers were non-residents who were very happy that they had purchased angling licenses so their meeting with a Minnesota Conservation Officer was a pleasant experience
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked snowmobilers and anglers on Lake of the Woods. Fishing has been slow which seems to have led to several anglers using extra lines to help their odds of catching fish. Enforcement action was also taken for possessing marijuana and angling with unattended lines. Training was attended in Thief River Falls.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked snowmobiling and angling enforcement throughout Warroad and the surrounding areas. A regulatory check was conducted at the Warroad Point of Entry. Enforcement action was taken for the following: angling without a license in possession, angling with an extra line and driving after revocation.
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) checked anglers and snowmobiles and worked compliance checks at the Warroad Port of Entry. Wolf training was attended in Thief River Falls. Enforcement action taken for burning prohibited materials, transporting uncountable and unidentifiable fillets, angling with extra lines, unattended lines, angling without a license, and no angling license in possession.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports slow fishing success on Lake of the Woods. Gray Wolf training was attended in Thief River Falls. Some time was spent working in the Willow River station for snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle, and fishing enforcement.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) patrolled the area during the Thief River Falls I300 snowmobile race and responded to two car struck deer complaints. Area fishing was monitored along with and ice shelter removal. Anglers are reminded that it is unlawful to intentionally fish for a species for which the season is closed. Enforcement action taken for take fish in closed season, excessive speed on snowmobile, snowmobile registration violations, possess drug paraphernalia, and possess small amount of marijuana.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) worked anglers, snowmobilers and assisted with an elk survey. CO Hanson attended wolf depredation training, made arrangements to speak at an upcoming snowmobile safety course and assisted checking snowmobilers and anglers on Lake of the Woods.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports monitoring snowmobile trail activity and checking anglers on special regulation lakes throughout the week. Time was spent conducting commercial inspections, investigating reports of a vehicle which had driven down a state snowmobile trail, monitoring fish house removal progress and assisted with instruction and taught the laws and regulations presentation at the Blackduck youth snowmobile safety class. Enforcement action for the week included angling license violations and for snowmobiles failing to stop when crossing a roadway.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports assisting others officers with a commercial related enforcement detail. Time was also spent attending a training session in Thief River Falls. Anglers, ATV operators, and snowmobile operators were also checked. Various angling and snowmobile violations were encountered.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) monitored ATV, snowmobile, angling, hunting and trapping activities. He continues to answer questions almost daily on the AIS sticker laws. Wildlife possession tags were also issued for wildlife displays.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers on area lakes and attended wolf depredation training.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Anglers are reminded that the fish house removal date is quickly approaching. CO Vollbrecht patrolled snowmobile trails, which are in fair condition. CO Vollbrecht had a BSU student ride along for the day to see what the duties of a CO consist of.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked snowmobiling and angling activity during the week. Area snowmobile trails are mostly in poor condition due to lack of snow but a few snowmobiles were checked. Time was also spent working on a case from the 2014 firearms deer season. Officer Holt attended training at Camp Ripley and spent time working in Itasca State Park. As a reminder, ice houses must be removed from lakes in the northern part of the state by 11:59PM on March 16th.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a quiet week after the close of the fishing season with many anglers taking advantage of the good conditions to remove their shelters. CO Vinton monitored shelter removal and noted those that might have issues like litter. A TIP of illegally set snares was investigated and evidence collected and taxidermy inspections conducted. CO Vinton also prepared for the CO Prep EVOC instruction.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked anglers and coyote hunters. Fish bite was slow and coyote hunters slowed by wind and cold. Several violations of hunters using radios without permit were found. CO Peterson also attended search warrant training and a forfeiture hearing.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen and fish house removal. Time was also spent doing commercial minnow dealer inspections, attending wolf depredation training and handling a fisherman trespass complaint.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling activity on area lakes with a few anglers picking up pan fish. Ice house removal has picked up and anglers are reminded to clean litter up from around their houses. Anglers are also reminded that they cannot leave the ice houses on public accesses. Area snowmobile trails were worked with riders reporting rough trails in most areas. CO Warren monitored activity around the polar plunge activities on Detroit Lake.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobiling activity in the Clay and Becker county area. CO Landmark attended gray wolf update training with several other officers in the district. CO Landmark would like to remind people to take a few minutes and pick up any trash you may see on the ice as you remove your shelters from area lakes. Enforcement action for the week included failure to display valid registration on a snowmobile, no registration numbers on a snowmobile, and failure to display a license tag on an unattended portable fish house.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week working on new PW and AIS cases. Time was also spent preparing for upcoming training and sport shows. Several cases were closed and several cases opened. A civil hearing phone conference was attended.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) monitored fish house removal and checked anglers. Richards observed some snowmobile activity over the weekend. Sufficient snow cover is limited to the lakes. Enforcement efforts were related to snowmobiles, ATV’s, ice shelters, and angling violations. Anglers are reminded to purchase their 2015 fishing license.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked fishermen and monitored ice houses for litter and removal dates coming up. Plautz responded to an injured pileated woodpecker. Coyote hunters were checked and a complaint of trespass was handled.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked fishermen, fish shelters and predator hunters. Additional time was spent helping set up a local FAS class and returned phone calls regarding when fishermen need new fishing licenses. Some ATVs and snowmobilers were checked also.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, snowmobiles and ATVs. A presentation was given at the Eagle Lake Lutheran Church Men’s Group. Osborne checked area lakes for the fish house removal deadline with several lakes having numerous houses on the ice.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports good pan fishing around the Alex area as many lakes are showing success on both crappie and sunfish. Lots of anglers were checked with good compliance overall; a few citations were issued for extra lines and no fishing license. One individual, while in a fish house on Lake Miltona, was found to have an active arrest warrant. The individual was transported by snowmobile to the nearest lake access where a deputy was waiting to finish transporting to jail. The majority of ice houses came off this past weekend with a few staying out right up until the deadline. A Volunteer Instructor Forum was attended by Lawler where several instructors from the area asked lots of good questions.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fishing activity and inventory shelter and litter concerns on area waterways. Several aquaculture and minnow dealer inspections were completed this week. Additional time was spent monitoring predator hunting and trapping activity. Follow up was completed on pending wetland and aquatic vegetation cases.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ice anglers, fish house compliance and snowmobile activity. Time was spent checking and marking houses for the upcoming removal deadline. The officer attended a District 3 meeting in Fergus Falls and picked up needed supplies. Calls were fielded from the public about an injured great horned owl, canoeing the Minnesota River, upcoming firearms safety classes and fish house removal deadline.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) received training this past week. A large group of students were spoken to about fishing regulations and boating safety at the Minnewaska Area High School. Time was also spent working on commercial records audits.
Wheaton – vacant.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked snowmobilers and anglers. An injured animal call was handled.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) checked ice anglers and shelters in preparation for the removal deadline. Anglers are reminded that new angling licenses are required. Accidental furs were received and turned over to a fur education program. Equipment maintenance issues were addressed this week and training was received.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on sport fishing and snowmobile activity; nothing unusual to report. He attended wolf depredation training.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked perch and crappie anglers. Some anglers possessed closed season walleye and northern pike. A few snowmobiles were out despite poor riding conditions. CO Mathy also attended a bear committee meeting. Enforcement action was taken for possessing game fish during closed season and snowmobile registration violations.
CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) reports drug evidence seized at the Eelpout Festival was delivered to the BCA lab in Bemidji. A grey wolf class was attended in Thief River Falls. The class was an update on wolf management and depredation compensation after the re-listing of the grey wolf as threatened in Minnesota. CO Shroyer also re-certified to operate the breath test for DUI cases. Field work included ATV, snowmobile and angling enforcement. A hearty beaver trapper was checked as he tended snares placed under the ice. CO Shroyer assisted State Patrol with a call of a snowmobile that fell off of a trailer on State Hwy 6 while being towed 55 MPH. The snowmobile slid approximately 250 feet down the asphalt before stopping, apparently unharmed. The snowmobile owner stopped in Remer (6 miles away) to fuel up. He was relieved to return to the scene to find his machine resting safely on the narrow shoulder. Snowmobile owners are reminded to use more than one point of contact when securing their sleds on trailers or the back of a pickup. A tip call was investigated on Lake Winnie with a neighboring officer. The case was closed with two anglers being cited for taking northern and walleyes in closed season. Illegally taken fish were seized. Other enforcement action included license and registration issues on recreational vehicles, angling license issues, and a citation to an ice angler for littering on the ice
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling activity. Angling success continues to be poor in the Longville lakes area. CO Broughten fielded calls concerning fishing licenses, tree cutting, and fish house removal. Anglers are reminded to check fish house removal dates. CO Broughten also spent time following up on incidents from Eelpout.
CO Colleen Adam (ATV REC) completed reports and required online training. Officer Adam checked fishing activity and found many out enjoying the weather and the last weekend for walleye and northerns. Snowmobilers are trying to salvage some riding opportunities current conditions are poor.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports snowmobiling and ice fishing continue to be main emphasis for enforcement action. Activities during Rainy Lake Sport Fishing Clubs Annual Fishing Derby in the Sand Bay region were monitored. People are reminded new 2015 fishing license needs to be purchased now.
CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) assisted Voyageur National Park staff in locating several radio collard wolves in the surrounding area. On Saturday, CO Van Asch monitored the Rainy Lake Sport Fishing Club Ice Fishing Derby. Many anglers were seen having some success and even those that were not couldn’t complain given the enjoyable weather. Officers encountered an interesting group of people who were observed over the weekend trying their hand in kiteboarding on Rainy Lake. Questions from the public were answered regarding fish house removal dates and expiring angling licenses.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports time was spent monitoring lakes and forests roads. Very little fishing observed – equipment work is on-going. Computer training was completed
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports quite a few snowmobiles were in the area over the weekend. The area trails were in quite good shape going into the weekend; however, they deteriorated rapidly due to heavy use. Anglers are reporting a slow bite and quite a few have started removing their fish houses from area lakes. They also have been doing a good job of picking up any trash from around their shacks.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling and snowmobiling activity and continued working a complaint of a logging stockpile theft on state land. One individual was encountered cutting firewood off a chipping pile in the same area and was dealt with. Anyone cutting firewood on public land needs a permit from the respective agency. The officer attended an informational meeting regarding future uses on the Taconite State Trail. Enforcement action was taken on possess live minnows and using extra lines on a designated trout lake, theft, and for violations of snowmobile registration and speed.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spoke at a snowmobile safety class in Gilbert and ran the students through the riding portion of the class. CO Frericks patrolled very busy snowmobile trails over the last weekend and observed high numbers of snowmobilers taking advantage of the nicer weather. The high numbers of snowmobilers took their toll on the trails though and CO Frericks cautions people riding the trails in the Virginia area that the corners are very slippery. Many people also took advantage of the nice weather to remove their ice shelters from the ice of area lakes. Almost all of the ice shelters have already been photographed and GPS’d by CO Frericks so he reminds the owner of the ice shelters to take their litter with them when they remove their shelters.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked for any fishing activity and found little to none. Many have been pulling houses off the lakes due to the slow bite. Time was spent on snowmobile tails and many compliments were given to the area trail groomers for the job they are doing. Violations of speed and operating an OHM on a State Grant In-Aid tail were addressed.
Ray – vacant.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports that with the close of the walleye and northern pike season, trout angling has picked up in the Ely area. Although fishing was generally slow, several lakes were seen producing excellent size fish. Violations included: angle with extra lines, take trout with no stamp, and possessing live bait on a designated trout lake.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked from snowmobile last week. Trout fishermen were out and having fair success. Some litter on the lakes from fishermen removing their houses. The snowmobile trails were in pretty good shape considering the amount of traffic they received. The lakes are bumpy due to the new snow and high winds. Remember to buy your new fishing license and trout stamp, and don’t rely on the clerk at the gas station to make sure you have what you need. Check it yourself before you head out.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked snowmobile trails and lakes, completed computer training, and answered questions about camping in the BWCA and the recently approved Tilbury Trail re-route. CO Manning participated in a joint BWCA patrol with US Forest Service Personnel utilizing sled dogs. The officer also took a report of a goat killed in the owner’s yard by a wolf.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt/Ely) spent several days in Two Harbors preparing and testifying in a jury trial in which the defendant was convicted of all six charges. A fish house was burned on Birch Lake between Vintage Bay and Bob’s Bay on the north side. Anyone with information please call this officer as a terrible mess of hardware, glass, plastic, tar paper, etc. was left. Time was also spent on angling, snowmobile, and litter enforcement with enforcement action taken for litter, snowmobile speed, loud exhaust, and angling without a license.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) spoke at North Shore mining about winter safety issues. Time was spent at Camp Ripley assisting with a shotgun armoring class. Anglers and snowmobilers were checked as well.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked area trout lakes and snowmobile trails. The officer taught an armoring class on the Remington 1187 at Camp Ripley with officers Oberg, Robinson, and Schottenbauer. Snowmobile trails remain in good condition with a lot of riders out enjoying them.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity over the busy weekend. Fishing success improved with many anglers having good luck with salmon and lake herring. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations and failure to stop at road crossings on snowmobiles.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area snowmobile trails, checked anglers, attended a bear committee meeting, and checked snaring activity in the area. Enforcement action taken for failure to display snowmobile registration and transport fish without a patch of skin.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, ATV and snowmobile activity, and did commercial enforcement. Fish houses are being monitored for litter and the approaching deadline. Violations included snowmobile on roadway. Remember to purchase your new angling license.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked angling and snowmobiling activity this past week. She checked an ongoing complaint at Caribou Lake. She followed-up with a big game investigation. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobile and angling activity over the past week. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and for littering. CO Sutherland also attended a Taconite Trail Planning meeting where future plans and ideas were discussed for the Grand Rapids portion of the Taconite Trail
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ski trails and trappers. He also taught a snowmobile safety class and worked a school event during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working snowmobile and fishing activity. Fish houses were monitored for removal date. Wichmann also assisted with a fishing investigation.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) checked for ATV activity on snowmobile trails and lakes while checking anglers. CO Velsvaag also worked snowmobile enforcement on trails and lakes. He saw poor fishing success overall and had several complaints on speeding snowmobilers.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent time working snowmobile trails in the area. Lake and rivers were checked for angling activity. A TIP report resulted in locating a couple of parties catching and keeping walleyes after the season closure. Questions regarding nuisance and injured animals were answered.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports snowmobile activity has increased substantially throughout the station. Most trails are in fair to good condition. Many issue with registration and failing to display registration on both snowmobiles and ATVs were encountered. Several citations were also issued for speeding on snowmobiles. Please know the rules before partaking in an activity such as snowmobiling or you could learn an expensive lesson. Anglers taking advantage of the ice conditions on Lake Superior.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent some time working snowmobile enforcement on area trails and complaint trespass areas. Area lakes were checked for fishing activity. Several telephone calls were answered and returned. Officer Duncan also worked on an ATV trespass involving an ATV that was left on posted private property. The ATV was removed from the property with the assistance from CO Schmidt and the US Border Patrol. At this time, the owner of the ATV is unknown and is under investigation.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity and worked OHV and snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. CO Humphrey monitored fish house removal from area lakes. CO Humphrey assisted with snowmobile work details in the Duluth and Vermillion areas. CO Humphrey received and investigated complaints of wolf activity. CO Humphrey attended an aquatic invasive meeting held by Carlton County officials. CO Humphrey completed division online training. Angling, ATV and snowmobile violations were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) and K9 Schody finished up a month long training where assistance was given in preparing detection dogs for working. A detail was worked in the Ely area checking fishing and snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for speed, no safety certificate and registration violations.
WREO Mike Scott worked with Lake County Sheriff’s department setting up a training date for their officers for Aquatic Invasive Species training so that they can assist lake associations and others in Lake County this summer by enforcing state AIS laws. Officer Scott attended a planning meeting with Carlton County LGU, Lake Associations and Carlton County Sheriff’s Department reference the new AIS money allotted to the counties from the Legislature for AIS enforcement. A detailed plan on AIS was work was developed and will be put into effect this year.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) met with his supervisor, started required online training and checked anglers on Lake Superior. The recent pack ice had many anglers trying for trout during the week. Several large lake trout have been caught. The WSW wind over the weekend deteriorated some of the ice pack near Brighton beach. Snowmobilers were checked on the Duluth area trails. The milder weekend temps had people out enjoying the trails and lakes. Olson checked two designated trout lakes north of Duluth. A reminder to anglers that a new 2105 license is now required as of March 1st. Walleye and northern season has ended on the Wisc./MN border waters to include the St. Louis River and Duluth harbor.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked anglers on the shifting ice on Superior. Some success was found for salmon, lake trout and herring. Complaints were received from a logging company who are hauling near the North Shore State snowmobile trail. They had experienced multiple close calls with snowmobiles blowing through stop signs and forcing logging trucks to attempt evasive action on an ice-covered road. A detail was worked in the area, with very poor compliance found for stopping at stop signs and before crossing a road. Some poor attitudes were also found from riders who didn’t seem to think that a loaded log truck was a threat to them. Enforcement actions were taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) spent most of the week checking anglers fishing the ice on Lake Superior. Still a few people getting wet but not injured, when a crack opens up and then is not fully froze over when they try to walk over. Use caution. Seeing herring, salmon, whitefish, and lake trout from some anglers. Also worked snowmobile trails and injured animal complaints. Also located two anglers keeping walleyes during closed season on an in land lake. Enforcement action taken for angling without trout stamp, no license in possession, keep walleye during closed season, and fail to display snowmobile registration.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers with slow success being reported by anglers at the end of the season. Officer Lee received a report of a possible bear being shot out of season. Officer Lee located the bear hide which turned out to be a legally shot bear that’s hide was placed out to thaw for the completion of a European mount completed of the skull. Officer Lee completed minnow retailer license inspections in the area with violations encountered for failing to have a Minnow Retailers License. Officer Lee was able to close an investigation into a shelter license violation in which the owner was located and citations issued to the party for no shelter tag and no shelter identification.
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) checked fish houses prior to removal date, checked anglers, and conducted interviews for an on-going big game case. Some days are better than others in a CO’s life. While checking anglers on an area lake, the officer found three senior ladies fishing by themselves out of a portable fish house that they had set up. After finding out that they had the licenses needed for the new license year, the officer asked about the expired registration on the ATV that they had pulled out all the gear with. After learning that the registration was indeed expired, the officer didn’t have the heart to issue a ticket after all the work they went through to go fishing. When a warning was handed out instead of a ticket, the officer got a “grandma hug” and a promise to update the registration the next day.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) spent time patrolling area lakes for angling and snowmobiling activity. With several fish houses coming off the ice, she patrolled the lakes for littering as well as reminding anglers to purchase their new fishing licenses. She encountered two separate incidents of anglers keeping bass and walleye out of season. CO Peterson also assisted with a vehicle that became stuck after trying to cross over an ice ridge.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled area lakes for sport fishing enforcement. Pan fish angling has been slow. Snowmobile activity also remains slow with minimal amounts of snow on the north station trails. One area snowmobile club cancelled their vintage sled ride and opted for riding class II all-terrain vehicles instead. Officer Guida monitored fish shelter removals. Garbage removal and compliance has been good.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers that are out are finding some active pan fish. The ice conditions are good but the frozen snow drifts and large pressure ridges continue to be a problem. He worked on a trespass complaint by coyote hunters. Some of the violations he found this past week were anglers with unattended lines, no license and fishing for northern during the closed season. Complaints of trash left on the ice by anglers were reported.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and commercial enforcement throughout the week. Fish house removal appeared to be very good and nearly complete on area lakes. The officer also responded to a snowmobile fire. Time was also spent assisting Ely Officers with angling and snowmobile enforcement.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity including monitoring fishing and ice shelter removal activities, investigating a complaint of suspicious trapping, and work on ongoing waters cases. An individual plead guilty in court to charges resulting from an incident this past fall where the adult took a nine-year-old and an eleven-year-old deer hunting without valid licenses or safety training, and gave the youth’s the go ahead to fire several shots at deer with a high power rifle, while there being an occupied residence directly behind the deer, in the line of fire and in plain sight of the hunters, resulting in a bullet entering the residence and penetrating several walls.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) conducted commercial license inspections throughout the week. CO McGowan also spent time completing arrest reports, and patrolling for snowmobile activity. CO McGowan wrapped up a big game case from this fall which resulted in a hunter being charged for taking a deer without a license, transporting an illegally taken big game animal, and fail to register a big game animal.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) assisted with snowmobile enforcement in the northern part of the state. He also attended the Mille Lacs input group meeting, worked on equipment electrical problems, monitored ice house removal, and answered questions regarding coyote hunting.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) conducted angling checks throughout the weeks. With the inconsistent weather, angling success has been low. The Mille Lacs input group meeting was attended. The officer fielded a call of an eagle caught in trap; the eagle was not located. The officer answered question regarding northern pike angling on Mille Lacs Lake. Ice houses that remained on Mille Lacs lake were also monitored; the deadline for removal nears.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen out on smaller lakes and on Mille Lacs Lake during the week and weekend. A few folks were catching some perch and tullibee, and with the northern pike season extension on Mille Lacs Lake some fishermen were trying for some northern pike. Please remember before venturing out fishing that you purchase a 2015 angling license being 2014 licenses are now expired. The Officer attended the annual Mille Lacs Lake input meeting where lake data and possible regulations were discussed. Area snowmobile trails were monitored for snowmobile traffic and lots of fishing, trapping, AIS and snowmobile related law questions were answered throughout the week and weekend. Area lakes were also checked for houses remaining out on them in preparation for the upcoming removal date of March 2nd at midnight and the Officer also looked for litter left on the lakes also. Please remember to remove all the debris from lakes as you remove your fish house for the season.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a TIP complaint of anglers tip up fishing for northern after the close of the season. The anglers were located and enforcement action was taken for attempting to take northern out of season and operating a motor vehicle with a canceled driver’s license. Anglers were reminded of the angling license expiration as well as the upcoming ice shelter deadline. Speldrich attended a bear committee meeting in Grand Rapids.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on multiple equipment issues and coordinated with instructors on plans for an upcoming Firearms Safety Class. Time was also spent marking fish houses with GPS to ensure that litter will not be a problem. CO Starr met with Mille Lacs WMA staff on joint divisional projects, goals, and an illegal fire in the WMA. A reminder that the license expiration date of Feb 28th has arrived; new fishing licenses are due March 1st.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) attended a meeting with local DNR, volunteer safety instructors. Information and updates were provided on DNR safety training programs. Anglers started removing their ice houses due to the fast approaching removal deadline. Time was also spent tracking down those ice shack owners that left behind garbage and other debris.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent a majority of the week checking anglers and monitoring ice shelter removal. CO Wynn attended a Safety Instructor forum in Sandstone, checked ATV and snowmobile complaints, and took care of a dispute where anglers were feuding over fishing too close to each other. CO Wynn also answered questions about shelter removal, shelter licensing, and questions about nuisance and injured animals.
WREO Rob Haberman assisted with minnow dealer training in Brainerd. Over 25 dealers were in attendance. WREO Haberman also went to the Mille Lacs Lake input meeting near Garrison. WREO Haberman also worked on cases in his assigned districts.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking ice anglers. Ice shelters were also monitored for the removal deadline. CO Silgjord attended shotgun armorer’s training and also conducted commercial inspections.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) reports most shelters were removed from area lakes over the weekend. Other than a few anglers and shelter removal, recreational activity was borderline nonexistent.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) handled a call of a sick trumpeter swan on the Mississippi River and calls regarding upcoming youth firearms safety classes. CO Kuske attended the annual Camp Ripley conservation meeting and conducted minnow retailer license checks on area gas stations that sell leeches or minnows. A number of area bait sellers were not in compliance of having a current DNR Minnow Retailer license.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked angling activity, fish house removal checks, and commercial checks throughout the week. Work was done on a deer over limit/lend borrow investigation which resulted in citations being issued. Violations detected for the week included northern pike out of season, many people fishing for walleye and northern out of season, expired ATV registration, angle without a license and fish house license and ID violations.
WREO Keith Bertram spent the week checking fishermen and assisting with commercial inspections. CO Thesing and WREO Bertram checked two anglers on a small lake only to find one possessing a northern during close season and the other to be smoking marijuana. Citations were issued and the items were seized.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers. CO Mies gave a law talk at the Cokato firearms class. CO Mies investigated a dumping case and inspected aeration system permits.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) continues to document fishing shelters and litter issues for removal deadline. The officer took care of road kill deer calls. Fishing enforcement and ATV registration issues were addressed this week as well as training and administration duties.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) completed commercial license checks in Districts 9 and 11. Several minnow retailers were found without proper licensing along with follow-up investigations involving record keeping violations. CO Kuske worked fishing activity on area lakes, inspected fish houses, and checked several groups of coyote hunters.
St. Cloud – vacant.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy weekend on area lakes. Last minute fishermen were out before getting their shelters off the lakes. Anglers found some panfish in the area. CO Langevin also conducted a taxidermist, fur buyer and game farm inspections. Litter complaints on area lakes were also handled. Violations included no license in possession, WI resident buying MN resident licenses and no shelter license.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and marked fish houses on area lakes. He followed up on a number of littering issue. He answered a number spring turkey hunting question.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) presented at the Isanti County Forestry Landowners meeting, checked snowmobiles and anglers. Officer Londgren also received calls on injured animals, trespass, and litter being left on lakes.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) spent most of the week checking anglers and monitoring possible litter problems on the lakes as ice shelters start to come of the for the removal deadline. Reller also worked some commercial enforcement and checked on possible sand blanket violations on local lakes. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration, littering, angling without a license and allowing illegal operation of an ATV by youth.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and marked ice shelters for the upcoming removal date. CO Musatov followed up and a litter case and a separate deer case from last fall. An otter was seized for failure to register the animal. Several anglers contacted were confused about the expiration dates of their licenses.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week. Time was spent on area lakes while many started removing fish houses. Time was directed towards litter left behind on lakes after fish houses were removed. Fishing success was relatively slow and most anglers blamed cold weather.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) monitored fish house removal on area lakes. Anglers were checked all week with the crappies still biting very well. Game farm inspections were completed.
CO Brent Grewe (Osseo) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring fish houses. CO Grewe spoke to a group of preschoolers at a local daycare facility. Violations included litter and fish house ID issues.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) continued angling enforcement, snowmobile enforcement and fish house compliance checks. Fishing pressure has dropped off drastically with the slower bite and the fish house removal date coming up fast. Leuthardt investigated two solid waste/litter dumps in her area which included the disposal of nearly 20 paint cans in a state park area. She wants to remind citizens that numerous local hardware stores, as well as many county entities, will take used paint cans and other solid waste for free. Those paint cans were disposed of at a local hardware store for free, and that service would have also been available to whoever disposed of the paint cans in the park. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession, improperly marked fish house and no fish house shelter tag.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked anglers in Mound station and investigated a littering complaint at Harrison Bay. He took a complaint on littering in Robbinsdale and answered questions on firearms safety classes in the Hmong community. He also participated with the Asian Outdoors Heritage youth ice fishing event at Bald Eagle Lake along with the Commissioner.
Bloomington – vacant.
Mound – vacant.
Prior Lake – vacant.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers, ATV, and snowmobile activity on area lakes and the St. Croix River. The bite remained very spotty. Enforcement action for the week included, angle with extra lines, no valid fishing license, and angle for fish out of season, as well as ATV violations.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week monitoring ice house removal and checking anglers. CO Arntzen assisted a neighboring officer on a stolen ice shelter investigation and spoke to students in Forest Lake about firearms safety. Violations for the week included careless driving, angle without license and no license in possession.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers and monitored fish shelters on area lakes. He continued to monitor snowmobiling and ATV activity on lakes. Violations found this week included fishing without a fishing a license, taking fish in closed season, no fishing license in possession, failure to display valid ATV registration and passenger under 18 years of age on ATV without a helmet.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) marked fish houses and litter for the upcoming removal date. She handled calls of dead and sick trumpeter swans, checked on an aquatic vegetation violation on White Bear Lake and assisted with a deer removal program in Ramsey County. CO Kruse worked on a deer case, handled various TIP calls, checked anglers and ATVs on area lakes and did equipment maintenance.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent much of the week check angling activity and shelter compliance on area lakes. A media interview was completed with metro TV stations regarding the shelter removal deadline. Calls were received regarding the upcoming boating season and animal nuisance complaints.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer checked lakes for ice houses still on the lakes. Officer Salzer also attended a meeting at Camp Ripley.
Eagan – vacant.
Metro Officer – vacant.
District 15 – Marshall area
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) investigated a possible WCA violation in Lyon County and assisted with AIS Lake Service provider training in Kandiyohi County. Officer Hanson also checked ice fishermen and houses on area lakes and rivers and worked on other AIS issues.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working investigations and ice anglers. Area lakes display poor ice conditions.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked ice fishing, snowmobiling, predator hunting and trapping activity during the week. Fish houses were checked for the impending removal deadline. More litter was found on the ice and at public access locations. This officer was also the featured guest on MNDAK Outdoors weekly radio show. Angling violations were encountered.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) wants to remind anglers to purchase a 2015 license and remove fish houses from the lakes. Anglers continue to have success on LqP catching crappie. Violations included over limit, angling with extra lines, and unattended lines.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week monitoring fish house activity on area lakes in preparation for the March 2nd fish house removal deadline. Extreme caution needs to be used on area lakes as cold temperatures have caused some open water areas to refreeze. Parts of the area received a couple inches of fresh snow which was enough for those eager snowmobilers to fire up the sleds. Time was also spent setting up spring firearms safety classes. Interested students are reminded that they can view schedules of upcoming classes on the DNR website.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH radio. There are still several houses on area lakes. The officer reminds anglers to take time and clean up the area around their house. Snowmobile activity was high with several contacts for no license displayed. Fishing violations for unattended lines and distance from unattended lines seemed to be a problem.
Benson – vacant.
Madison – vacant.
Redwood Falls – vacant.
Worthington – vacant.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) educated ice anglers about needing a new angling license as of March 1st. He followed up on litter complaints and conducted commercial inspections. Denz also followed up on trespass complaints.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked ice fishermen and fish houses that were out, checking around them for litter. Time was also taken to attend the Cedar Mills Rod and Gun Club meeting to answer questions from the members. Aeration Systems were also checked during the week. Snowmobile enforcement was worked on the river since that is the only area to drive snowmobiles in the area.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) reports fishing activity was slow with the cold temperatures. She took a call of a strange smell coming from some fish houses and a large coyote in the Glencoe area. Mueller also attended training in St. Paul and Camp Ripley during the week.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) instructed new division armorers at Camp Ripley. Time was also spent returning calls regarding trapping and coyote hunting. Aeration inspections were also completed.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received training at Camp Ripley. He followed up on deer hunting violations. Nelson also spent time working angling and snowmobile activities.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked anglers and small game. Gruhlke checked on fish house issues. He also completed his radio program with KKOJ discussing fish house removal and garbage removal at fish houses. Also discussed was MN/IA border water continuous opener beginning March 1, as well as ice safety. Some snowmobile and ATV activity was observed and checked.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) attended the Martin County Conservation Club banquet in Fairmont. The indoor Wall of Shame was on display. Many questions were answered for the public. The main topic revolved around frustration on new AIS legislation pertaining to recreationalists and the commercial perspective required of them. Anglers and shelters were checked. Anglers were reminded of the shelter removal deadline and also to remove all that they brought out including trash. A little snow fell allowing a few snowmobiles to ride in ditches.
Willmar #1 – vacant.
Windom – vacant.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers on area lakes & rivers. The officer patrolled for atv and snowmobile activity. Small game hunting was monitored.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. The officer attended the Tri-Lakes Sportsman Club monthly meeting. A snowmobile radar run was worked in Waseca with a neighboring officer.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week monitoring snowmobile and angling activity. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked angling, ATV and snowmobiling activity in the area. A snowmobile safety class was handled. Wildlife Management Areas were checked.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers as well as ATV and snowmobile operators. Officer Ihnen also attended a safety instructor forum for area firearm, snowmobile and ATV instructors. Additional time was spent working a snowmobile detail at a local radar run.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent time monitoring shelter removal. Aeration inspections were conducted, and a television interview was recorded regarding shelter removal. CO Howe recovered a tandem axle cargo trailer that had been stolen from a construction site, and abandoned at a Public Water Access. The trailer was turned over to the local Sheriff’s Office.
WREO Julie Siems followed up on Wetland Conservation Act and Public waters violations. Participation in a court hearing was also completed. Anglers were also checked.
Albert Lea – vacant.
Mankato #1 – vacant.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked anglers during the week. Fishing success continues to be slow overall. Officer Heyn also finished up case paperwork and worked on new equipment.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the week checking anglers and marking houses in preparation for the fish house removal deadline. Ice anglers have been doing well for some species of fish in the area. Time was also spent talking at a snowmobile safety class in Bellchester, transferring equipment and doing some computer training.
CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the week checking anglers, snowmobile operators, ATV operators, and took calls and questions from the public. Enforcement action for the week included some angling violations and registration issues.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) continues to check area taxidermists. He continues to do follow up on hunting, fishing, trapping, and trash dumping complaints. Officer Hemker is also trying to locate the responsible party of an abandoned vehicle left at a State Forest. The fishing shelters in the area appear to have very few problems.
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports completing mandatory training. Fishermen did a great job with cleaning up garbage and getting their fish shelters off by the deadline. Fish catch continues to be slow. Officer Fritz helped the Houston county chapter of NWTF with upcoming banquet preparations.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working ATV and fishing enforcement on and around the backwater of the Mississippi River. Fishing success has been slow on the big river but some crappies are still being found on Lake Zumbro. Another case from the fall was investigated and some additional information was provided to the county attorney’s office.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working snowmobile grant and aid trails. Activity has been low and the trails are in poor condition. CO Boyum checked a few small game hunters closing out the squirrel season with some success. Rabbit hunters were also checked having success as well. Shed hunting trespass complaints have been coming in.
Rochester #2 – vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of continued wolf pack counts. A wolf capture project was completed at Camp Ripley were six wolves were collared as part of an ongoing study. Jensen also flew pine marten telemetry and on the way back to the Brainerd airport he documented a possible WCA violation and stopped to check some ice anglers via plane. The anglers were surprised to see the plane pull up next to them for a license inspection. Some very nice pan fish were inspected and many of the anglers were non-residents who were very happy that they had purchased angling licenses so their meeting with a Minnesota Conservation Officer was a pleasant experience. Some youth got a photo opportunity with the plane before it departed. Jensen gave a training flight, a ski plane check ride and attended a MNDOT aviation class.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) flew as the spotter plane for the DNR and Grand Portage moose capture projects. Geving also conducted a photo mission for a wetland violation situation.
Pilot/CO Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) reports flying multiple wolf telemetry missions around the state. Ski plane training was also received. Aircraft maintenance issues were addressed.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew the northwest elk survey. The survey is broken down into three locations: Lancaster, Caribou and Grygla.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) helped complete the elk survey. Terrible winds blew some of the remaining snow from a lot of the fields, but conditions were good enough in the wooded areas to finish the count of the three herds. Elk numbers were similar to last year’s count. Many nice bulls were observed.