Weekly Conservation Officer Report

Highlights: 

(Ely): CO Marty Stage worked a TIP complaint throughout the week concerning fishermen taking illegal slot walleyes. Stage located the boat tied to the shore and crawled through the woods to get to the boat. The fishermen were giggling saying they would just tell the game warden they only had beans at the cabin. After 6 hours, the officer observed  the fishermen keeping illegal slot length fish, using extra lines, using game fish for bait, sinking fish guts in the lake with lead sinkers, and chopping designs in a 200-year-old red pine on private property. Many thanks to those who paid attention to the resource and called in the TIP information the weekend before.

(Grand Marais): While the CO was handcuffing the subject, he began to boast about his criminal past and the fact he had done time in prison for armed robbery. A sheriff’s deputy arrived and he was arrested for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol which was his third drunk driving arrest in less than a month. He was also found with marijuana.

(Duluth):One contact with an anger that had a walleye clearly outside of the slot tried to explain that he didn’t know how to properly measure the fish. However, several attempts by the angler bending the fish and manipulating tail he was still unable to change the length enough to make it into a legal length fish. The angler was issued a citation.

(Lake Superior Marine Unit): A car was found parked blocking an access ramp at the McQuade Safe Harbor, less than a car length from the water’s edge. Upon eventual contact, the driver said he thought the lines marking the boat ramp were there to delineate a parking spot, but he now saw that they didn’t

(Winona):One person, after finding a dead hen mallard, dropped several ducklings at the county courthouse and explained her frustration with the drake mallard not talking care of the brood. 

District 1 – Baudette area

 

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) monitored angling activity on the Roseau River and at the Northwest Angle. The walleye bite seems to be picking up and fish of all age classes are being caught.  A calf depredation was investigated and USDA wolf trappers were called to help prevent further losses. CO Huener completed his “Employee Right to Know” training.

 

CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River and did multiple AIS checks. Boat and Water safety was also focused on. A presentation was given to the Lake of the Woods High School Careers Class on what being a conservation officer entails and how to become one. Some of the kids were very interested in the possibilities. Late spring season beaver trapping was also monitored.

 

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) had a busy week of checking angling activity. The walleye bite has been slow on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River. Time was spent working boat and water safety while on the water. Remember to check your boat for safety equipment before you head out on the water. CO Prachar worked Invasive Species time and found a high compliance rate. A few people have forgotten to pull drain plugs but most people seem to be aware of AIS laws and make a conscious effort to follow them.

 

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) responded to multiple nuisance bear complaints and issued special beaver permits for nuisance beavers. Area waterways and trails were patrolled for angling and ATV activity. Enforcement action for the week included angle without license, use game fish as bait, no ATV registration, allow illegal operation of ATV by juvenile, operate ATV on public highway, and burn prohibited materials.

 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) worked boat safety and angling activity on Upper Red Lake and special regulation lakes, AIS enforcement and monitored ATV trail activity throughout the week. Time was spent investigating TIP calls, numerous wolf depredation complaints, patrolling for groundwater violations and attending a Safety & Security meeting at the USFS office in Blackduck. Enforcement action for the week included boating equipment violations, AIS violations and angling license violations.

 

Blackduck #2 Vacant

 

Baudette #2 Vacant

 

District 2 – Bemidji area

 

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at a FAS class in Crookston and giving a radio interview about AIS laws. Time was also spent checking anglers, boaters, and ATV operators. A dogs chasing deer complaint was worked. Nuisance beaver permits were issued. An illegal fire was checked. Violations included no angling license, insufficient number of PFD’s and burning prohibited materials.

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked anglers, fire and minnow trapping. Concerns of an unlawful culvert and a wetland being filled were received. Wild animals are making their way into town. Nuisance bear complaints have increased. Plans were also made for a spring firearms safety class and he attended a law enforcement memorial event.

 

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) assisted with two youth ATV classes and monitored ATV activity.  CO Gray also checked anglers on area lakes.

 

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Anglers are enjoying a good walleye bite on most lakes. CO Vollbrecht patrolled ATV trails and checked boats for AIS compliance on area accesses. CO Vollbrecht responded to a complaint of an individual hiding walleye in a cooler and filling a minnow bag with lake water before leaving Upper Red Lake. The individual was talked to about proper ways to transport minnows and was found to be in compliance with their walleye possession.

 

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) worked angling activity during the week. Numerous complaints were received regarding nuisance bears and injured eagles. Time was also spent working the Cass chain of lakes with Officer Vollbrecht.

 

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports contacting boaters and covering basic boating safety regulations and AIS prevention. CO Vinton received a call from a local minnow trapper that has had his minnow traps tampered with and his complaint is under investigation.  Patrols of local AMAs and WMAs for vehicle trespass and OHMs were conducted along with a dumping of household items on an access.

 

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted with a “Hooked on Fishing” event that involved taking over 60 4th grades fishing. The fish bite was good for northerns with most kids catching multiple fish. CO Peterson also worked with DNR Forestry on a timber trespass, checked anglers and worked commercial minnow and leech trapping enforcement.

 

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen. Activity slowed with the wet weather. Time was also spent working shoreline issues and aquatic plant removal complaints.

 

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling and boating activity on area waters. Areas were patrolled for ATV and AIS activities. Calls of possible illegal angling and AIS activity were handled. CO Warren taught the law and ethics portion of a youth firearms safety in Frazee and also assisted with the 5th grade Conservation Days in Frazee. CO Warren also attended a COLA meeting in Detroit Lakes.

 

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring AIS violations, angling, and ATV activity in the area. An ATV safety class was attended in Moorhead where the officer taught the law and ethics portion of the class. Assistance was also given to the Ulen firearms safety class. Angling pressure was low due to the in climate weather throughout the week, but several people were checked catching a few sunfish. The officer had several contacts with juvenile dirt bike riders throughout the course of the week and would like to remind everyone that the use of OHMs is limited to designated trails and private property only. Calls from the public included a moose sighting and requests for beaver permits. Enforcement action was taken for allowing the illegal use of an OHM by a juvenile, fail to display OHM registration, and no OHM safety training.

 

WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week focusing efforts on AIS activity and law compliance.

Time was spent closing out open WCA and PW cases. Several files of closed cases were cleared. A meeting was attended at Camp Ripley. Time was spent checking shore fishermen.

 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

 

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports angling pressure remains high in the area with reports of over limits taken. A litter complaint was also handled with follow-up needed. AIS information was provided to anglers and boaters.

 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked area fishermen and boating enforcement through the week. Plautz swapped out equipment in Bemidji and worked on a trapping compliant. Nuisance beaver permits were issued as well. Investigation of a large muskie killed by bow fishing is being conducted. Any information on this violation is much appreciated.

 

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement activity checking fishermen, boaters and AIS compliance. Complaints were handled regarding bear in the area and dead fish rotting on the creek banks. Nuisance beaver complaints were dealt with along with working on a FAS clinic.

 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) focused enforcement activities on checking fishermen, boaters, ATV operators and AIS compliance. Additional time was spent working on crappie overlimit complaints and handling a complaint on a dogs chasing deer situation. The dog’s owners were located and the appropriate action was taken.

 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked sport fishermen this past week. Compliance with licenses and PFDs was very good. Time was also spent working AIS enforcement, garbage burning complaints as well as answering questions about youth operating watercraft.

 

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fishing and boating enforcement on area waterways. AIS enforcement and education continues to be a priority and time was spent following up on suspected violations from watercraft inspectors. Additional time was spent patrolling for turkey hunting activity, monitoring ATV and fire activity, and following up on nuisance beaver activity and a suspected wetland impact. Use of force training was instructed in the metro area.

 

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on anglers, boating safety and AIS law compliance.  One subject was cited for fishing without a license while his privileges were suspended for failing to pay fines. A possible wetland violation received from the enforcement aviation section was investigated. The incident was forwarded to the local LGU for a possible WCA violation. Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials at a local farm place. A call was received regarding a deer that appeared healthy, but died in a person’s yard. RMS questions were handled for local COs and calls from the public were also handled including a dead deer, goose depredation permits, a road-killed otter and nuisance beaver.

 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) spent the week checking fishermen, boaters, and monitoring AIS compliance. Additional time was spent checking ATV operators, turkey hunters, investigating a public waters complaint, and responding to injured animal calls.

 

Wheaton – vacant.

 

District 4 – Wadena area

 

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) handled a few wildlife complaints and checked anglers and ATV operators.  Much needed rain has come to the area in the last week.  Additional time was spent assisting with an open container with the sheriff’s office and marijuana grow with the local drug task force.

 

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen, boaters and ATVs. Officer Hunter participated in the “hooked on fishing, not on drugs” campaign in Menahga. Hunter received a call from an AIS inspector regarding aquatic vegetation on a boat trailer and assisted the SWCD on a site inspection of a wetland restoration.

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) responded to a number of beaver complaints where fields and pastures were being flooded. A TIP call was received and investigated regarding a possible overlimit of turkeys. Safety training and a “hooked on fishing” program was completed for a 4th grade class. Time was spent at the Law Enforcement Memorial ceremonies in St. Paul for fallen officers.

 

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) reports primary enforcement focused on sport fishing and ATV activity. Calls were received regarding a dead deer in a lake, worked with the area hydrologist on a violation, and assisted with an overlimit of walleye case.

 

CO Mark Mathy (Bemidji) primarily worked angling and AIS enforcement. Commercial minnow retail checks and ATV enforcement were also worked. Walleye fishing was excellent on some area lakes the first week of the season. One group of six anglers was found to be in possession of 34 walleye over limit. The anglers now face substantial fines and restitution as a result. Enforcement action was also taken for AIS violations, sell minnows without a retailer license, and boating violation.

 

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling, ATV, and boating activity. Angling success slowed with poor weather hindering recreational activity.   Broughten spent time checking compliance with AIS laws, completed commercial minnow inspections, and investigated two public waters complaints. Broughten also responded to a boat taking on water on Leech Lake. Enforcement action included no angling license in possession, angle with extra line, failure to remove drain plug, transport aquatic vegetation, and no minnow retailer’s license.

 

CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) assisted with a Firearms Safety class in Staples. Halverson also taught ATV and Boating safety at Farm Safety Day at the Staples High School. Wildlife nuisance complaints were handled as well as calls on coyotes and an injured otter was picked up.

 

CO Colleen Adam (NW Regional Recreation Officer) attended a monthly OHV monitoring meeting with very little concerns expressed. Weekend patrol found many groups out enjoying the trails. Recent moisture helped to keep dust to a minimum making group rides much more enjoyable. Mushroom hunters having been searching for edibles between rain showers. Violations found for expired registration, more passengers than allowed, and snorkel device on ATV.

 

Remer – vacant.

 

District 5 – Eveleth area

 

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports public waters violation investigations were followed up on; people are reminded that permits may be needed if they are working below the ordinary high water level on public waters. Fishing activity for the week was minimal with the cooler and rainy weather keeping most people closer to shore. Several nuisance animal complaints were also handled throughout the week.

 

CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) reports assisting Voyageurs National Park Rangers in a search and rescue on Kabetogama Lake after officers received a call from two concerned parties. The two fishermen were found to be doing just fine and catching fish. The angling activity has slowed down with fishermen having moderate success throughout the weekend.  CO Van Asch also completed waters violation investigations and handled several nuisance animal complaints.

 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports rain and wind most of the week; very little outdoor activities noted. Area lakes were monitored with generally poor fishing and little observed caught. Coordination with DNR Forestry on various issues is ongoing. Computer based training was completed. Free time was spent on computer data entry with new record system.

 

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) Anglers are catching fish, but most of them are still in the smaller size range. The officer spent the week working commercial bait enforcement, and a number of citations were issued. Investigation is ongoing in relation to garbage and hazardous materials being dumped near Tower. Enforcement action was taken on the illegal use of a public water access, no license in possession, no watercraft registration, fishing without a license, PFD violations, and narcotics.

 

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling, ATV, and invasive species activity and completed online training. The week saw little activity due to persistent, but needed rains. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, unregistered watercraft, transport aquatic macrophytes, OHV trespass, unregistered OHM, and a number of ATV violations.

 

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) worked on equipment maintenance issues and patrolled area lakes checking anglers and boaters. Numerous anglers were issued citations for angling without a license. The excuse, “I was just going to release anything I caught anyway” does not work. CO Frericks would like to remind potential anglers that it is much cheaper to buy an angling license than pay a fine of around $135. CO Frericks attended the annual Law Enforcement Memorial in St Paul to honor peace officers who died in the line of duty.

 

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) reported that rain was present throughout most of the week bringing lake levels up significantly. Due to the rain throughout the week little fishing activity was observed some anglers were having good success on walleye and northern pike. Fredin attended a public forum on proposed Waterfowl Refuge on Butterball Lake. Violations of no life jackets, no throwable, and angle with extra line were found during the week.

 

Ray – vacant.

 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

 

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports water levels in the Ely area have risen considerably after a week of extremely rainy weather. In spite of the on and off rain and cooler weather ATV activity stepped up in the city. Violations included operating an unregistered off-highway motorcycle, operating an ATV on a county road, and operating an unregistered ATV.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked a TIP complaint throughout the week concerning fishermen taking illegal slot walleyes. Stage located the boat tied to the shore and crawled through the woods to get to the boat. The fishermen were giggling saying they would just tell the game warden they only had beans at the cabin. After 6 hours, the officer observed  the fishermen keeping illegal slot length fish, using extra lines, using game fish for bait, sinking fish guts in the lake with lead sinkers, and chopping designs in a 200-year-old red pine on private property. Many thanks to those who paid attention to the resource and called in the TIP information the weekend before.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) encountered an intoxicated individual in a car at a public lake access. It was determined there was a warrant for his arrest and he was taken into custody. While the CO was handcuffing the subject, he began to boast about his criminal past and the fact he had done time in prison for armed robbery. A sheriff’s deputy arrived and he was arrested for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol which was his third drunk driving arrest in less than a month. He was also found with marijuana. His vehicle was littered with empty beer cans. At least they weren’t thrown onto the roadside ditches like some drinking drivers do. The CO also assisted at an ATV field day.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers and boats on inland lakes. The officer took reports of illegal dumping of trash on state property and garbage burning at a residence, and helped teach ATV safety class in Grand Marais to a small, but attentive class of students. CO Manning also participated in the DNR Honor Guard for National Law Enforcement Day in St. Paul honoring fallen peace officers at the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports the rainy weather kept most people off the lakes during the week, but traffic was high on Saturday. Assistance was given to CO Stage on a complaint which resulted in several violations. Enforcement action for the week included no minnow retailer license, extra line, no watercraft registration, and no license in possession.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity. Time was spent monitoring watercraft for safety equipment and AIS compliance.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking anglers on inland lakes and steelhead anglers along the North Shore. The Officer saw some nice walleyes in the bag during the night bite. AIS was worked with Officer Schottenbauer. Wahlstrom helped teach ATV safety, both in the classroom and out in the field, where the kids showed their skill to demonstrate they know how to ride safely.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and boating enforcement activities along Lake Superior during the week. Cold and rainy weather slowed fishing activity but a few nice fish were still seen. Enforcement action was taken for various licensing violations.

 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

 

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers and boaters, investigated a wolf complaint, and looked into several calls on dead birds. Enforcement action taken for an over limit of fish, illegal length fish, and no skin patch left on fillets.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, and boaters. He patrolled area campgrounds and areas of ATV activity. Violations included no license in possession, over-limit, and take protected slot fish.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity, attended K-9 training, handled nuisance animal complaints and assisted the county with a vehicle accident. The much needed rain brought the area water levels up. Compliance was good.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) finished working on a trespassing case and also checked anglers. She worked invasive species enforcement at public accesses. Enforcement action was taken for trespassing violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity over the past week. CO Sutherland took enforcement action for possessing multiple walleyes from within the protected slot, angling after being revoked from angling in Minnesota and fishing with more than one line. Commercial checks were also performed on area bait shops.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, watercraft, state parks and campgrounds. He also handled fishing and litter complaints during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing and ATV activity. A complaint was received about an ATV operating in closed areas. CO Wichmann also took a wolf depredation complaint.

CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV Officer) worked ATV complaint areas. CO Velsvaag also worked OHM enforcement.

 

District 8 – Duluth area

 

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) continued to work fishing and boating enforcement. Several nuisance animal complaints were received. Officer Schmidt assisted with Officer Duncan with an informational talk to a group of outdoorsmen talking about the job of a Conservation Officer and answering many questions. Other activities during the week involved AIS, ATV and wildfire enforcement.

 

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports his activities centered mostly on water safety and fishing enforcement. A few tough questions had to be answered by some boaters in regards to required safety such as life jackets for each occupant, fire extinguishers, horn and throwable flotation devices. One contact with an anger that had a walleye clearly outside of the slot tried to explain that he didn’t know how to properly measure the fish. However, several attempts by the angler bending the fish and manipulating tail he was still unable to change the length enough to make it into a legal length fish. The angler was issued a citation.

 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the majority of the week working fishing and boating enforcement. Several bear complaints were received, with wildlife feeders and garbage cans left outside being the reason for the bear activity. Officer Duncan talked with a local outdoor group about the job of a Conservation Officer and answered many questions. Time was also spent working AIS and ATV enforcement.

 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling, boating, AIS, OHV, and turkey hunting enforcement throughout the week.CO Humphrey received calls and complaints on wolf depredation, wetland impact and nuisance bear. Angling, boating, AIS and OHV violations were encountered.

 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) issued a possession permit for a bobcat that was killed by a car and spoke to a bow hunter education class in Carlton. K9 Schody assisted the sheriff’s department in locating a wallet that was stolen. The suspect threw the wallet off of a local bicycle trail. It was located in a matter of a few minutes and turned over to sheriff’s deputies to be collected as evidence. Interviews were conducted in the Barnum area where someone is suspected of poisoning wild animals

 

WREO Michael Scott (NE Region Water Resource Officer) worked with DNR Eco Services and local conservation officers in the International Falls area on several new Public Waters violations where landowners were altering the shoreline and lake bed near their property. A meeting at Camp Ripley was attended with other WREOs. Officer Scott attended the 2015 Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in St. Paul honoring all police officers who have died in the line of duty. DNR Enforcement Officers honored two fallen Game Wardens who died in the line of duty by purchasing a wreath for each one and placing it at the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial with family members of the fallen Officers present. Officer Scott assisted Eco Services with training new watercraft inspectors in Brainerd for the DNR and local county government units for summer work at public accesses.

 

Lake Superior Marine Unit

 

Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked anglers along the North Shore and on inland Lakes. Enforcement action was taken for several boating and fishing violations. Olson attended change of command for the Duluth USCG station. Master Chief Pump is assuming OIC of a cutter off the East Coast. Many thanks for the dedication of the Marine Unit’s mission and goals. The Marine Unit welcomes the incoming Sr. Chief to the Duluth station.

 

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on the St Louis River. AIS compliance was monitored at local access sites. A car was found parked blocking an access ramp at the McQuade Safe Harbor, less than a car length from the water’s edge. Upon eventual contact, the driver said he thought the lines marking the boat ramp were there to delineate a parking spot, but he now saw that they didn’t. Advice was give about situational awareness and rules regarding parking at public accesses. Enforcement action was taken for angling and AIS violations.

 

CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) worked AIS, boating and angling enforcement throughout the week. Ter Meer reports overall, he is seeing good compliance with AIS regulations from out of state boaters bringing boats into and through the state this year. He also worked on fire investigations and reports. Enforcement actions were taken for boating, angling and AIS regulations.

 

District 9 – Brainerd area

 

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports the anglers are out trying their luck. The cold water temps made the fishing slow. Some pan fish have moved in to the warm bays but still reluctant to bite. Violation he observed were no license in possession, expired registration, not enough PFDs, and taking bass out of season. He spent time in the Pillsbury Forest he found vehicles operating on closed forest roads and causing damage. He checked horse passes and follow up on litter complaints. He checked few turkey hunters and they report seeing and hearing a fair amount turkeys. He checked boats at accesses and found boats with the plugs still in and transporting live fish. He also found watercraft with aquatic vegetation in the boat.

 

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, ATV, AIS and turkey hunting activity.

He also assisted Aitkin Fisheries with a presentation on water safety for Aitkin fourth graders.

 

CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) kept busy checking anglers and boaters enjoying the water this week. She also patrolled state forests and trails on ATV and responded to a wolf depredation case. She put in time patrolling area roadways for AIS violations and received several request for beaver permits.

 

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing counties for angling activity. CO McGowan also spent time checking turkey hunters, and patrolling for invasive species violations. CO McGowan also towed a pontoon off a rocky shoreline that had drifted across the Whitefish Chain.

 

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports follow up work on cases from the fishing opener, reaching closure on two lakebed alteration cases that have been ongoing for the past three years resulting in successful restoration and criminal fines, and checking fishing. Also follow up work on sucker spearing, bow fishing, and turkey hunting activity. And, patrol of the Cuyuna State Recreational Area and designated trout lakes, and working with the Cuyuna Range Riders ATV club on presenting a youth and adult ATV safety training course.

 

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) checked anglers and commercial minnow dealer’s activities. Time was spent at lake accesses monitoring aquatic invasive species issues, and in the Foothills State Forest with ATV activity. The officer also worked together with DNR Wildlife with a problem bear that keeps returning to a resort, making campers nervous.

 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled lakes for angling activity and checked turkey hunters.  The officer completed a report for the county attorney regarding a drunk driver arrest. Numerous boating and angling violations were detected. An angling bite was monitored and some anglers were practicing catch and release.

 

CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked angler this past week with so-so success being reported by anglers. Officer Lee assisted with training held in the metro were Officers completed firearms qualifications, Taser yearly recertification, and other training per state requirements. Officer Lee also patrolled lake access for AIS compliance, with good compliance observed around area lakes. Enforcement actions taken this past week included Operate ATV on roadway, Under 18 with no helmet, and Fail to remove watercraft plug in transport.

 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

 

CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) worked boating and angling activity despite cool and wet conditions for the week. Lack of Personal Floatation Devices was still a common violation and even more critical with windy conditions and cold water this time of year. Verkuilen also assisted with an ATV Safety Class, monitored boat trailers for invasive species, and answered questions regarding problem beavers.

 

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked Mille Lacs anglers throughout the week with reports of mixed success. ATV traffic was monitored as the officer hosted an ATV work detail. A large group of people were out having fun and enjoying the trails. A common issue that was found were juveniles on ATVs without helmets. It is required for anyone under the age of 18 to wear helmets. Law enforcement action was taken for such issues. Other enforcement action included boats being transported with drain pugs in, aquatic vegetation on the boats no ATV safety training and failing to display ATV registration.

 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen on Mille Lacs Lake and smaller station lakes. The Officer assisted a neighboring Officer with an ATV work detail in the Red Top Loop trail where quite a few ATVs were seen out enjoying the opening weekend for the trails. The Officer also worked Aquatic Invasive Species enforcement around the Mille lacs lake area and several stops were made including one where the driver was taken to jail for a driver’s license violation. A lot of questions concerning the night ban on Mille Lacs Lake have been answered. Please remember that at the current time no one can be on Mille Lacs Lake after 10 pm with any fishing related equipment. The Officer also gave a fishing law presentation to the 4th graders at Rippleside Elementary School in Aitkin for their annual fishing day where kids were taught fish identification, boating safety, fish line tying and other fishing techniques. A call of a possible waters violation was investigated and found that it was permitted work. Enforcement action for the week included various fishing, boating, AIS and ATV violations.

 

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) attended the Law Enforcement Memorial on May 15th with the LEMA Honor Guard. She also attended Elk River Officer Todd Besser’s funeral with the LEMA honor guard. Speldrich worked ATV activity in General Andrew’s enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV in a day use area. She checked anglers at local accesses. Violations encountered were failure to remove a drain plug and fail to display current registration. Speldrich followed up on ongoing investigations and assisted the sheriff’s department with a disturbance at a campground where a woman had an altered mental state and had a knife. There were no injuries.

 

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) continued to deal with an increase in black bear activity.  Property owners have been reporting bear damage and multiple car vs. bear crashes have occurred on area roadways. In almost all bear complaints, the common factor was birdfeeders, dog food or garbage causing a bear to keep visiting. Stowing these items away usually solves the bear problems. Fishing activity was busy and enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, using too many lines, unregistered boats and keeping fish out of season. Time was spent talking to the public at the annual Pine County Safety Day and assisting the county with search and rescue of missing persons.

 

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week checking anglers, monitoring boating activity, and checked state forest areas. He attended the Pine County Sheriff’s Department Safety Day over the weekend. Numerous agencies were involved with showing the public the different types of equipment used for law enforcement, emergency, and medical responses in Pine County. CO Wynn also followed up on litter complaints, fishing complaints, and several calls regarding nuisance bears.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area lakes and Mille Lacs Lake. Cooler temperatures slow the walleye bite but fish were still seen. A fire investigation was finalized and time was spent enforcing invasive species laws. Enforcement action was taken on boating and fishing violations.

 

WREO Rob Haberman conducted education outreach at the Minnesota’s Sea Plane Association’s annual meeting about AIS laws and the importance relating to sea planes. WREO Haberman also attended the 2015 Camp Ripley Rendezvous for Boys Scouts teaching scouts the importance of AIS laws and species identification. WREO Haberman also conducted AIS law enforcement and worked on cases in his assigned work area.

 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

 

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) took a call of an injured eagle and many calls and questions regarding the AIS training for boat owners that has not gone into effect. On last week’s fishing opener CO Kuske watched a very experienced five-year-old casting from shore and he caught a good sized smallmouth bass that was about as big as he was. The youth didn’t miss a beat and picked the heavy fish up by the mouth for the photo opportunity. CO Kuske asked the youth if they knew what kind of fish it was and he said, “A smallmouth!” Many adult anglers wouldn’t have been able to answer that fast.

 

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) checked anglers and watercraft. A concentrated effort was made on a bow fishing complaint area. Rain and wind kept activity minimal over the weekend.

 

WREO Keith Bertram spent the weekend working AIS in Dakota, Scott, and Hennepin counties with WREO Block. Enforcement action was taken this week for AIS violations, possess bass during closed season, no angling license, insufficient boat safety equipment, and overlimit/double tripping on crappies. Wetland restoration orders were also served.

 

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) took a TIP complaint regarding a double tripping incident that resulted in an over limit. CO Silgjord received multiple calls regarding bears damaging bird feeders and roaming the City of Melrose. To keep bears from returning residents should refrain from feeding birds or other wildlife for several weeks. This will usually get the bear to move on. CO Silgjord also assisted with a nuisance bear issue.

 

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked turkey hunters. CO Mies gave fur and trapping talks at Ney Park over 250 kids were present. CO Mies also checked anglers and AIS on area lakes.

 

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked bow fishing activity finding high violation rates, including shooting and wasting game fish, litter, navigational light issues and PFD issues. Second time check on bow fishing group from two weeks ago that had six violations had most things corrected except the throw type floatation, in which they used a wearable life vest with a rope tied to it thinking that would suffice; enforcement action taken.

 

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) received a complaint from a livestock owner about two calves being attacked and killed, presumably by a wolf. After looking at the type of injuries and tracks left in the area it has been determined that the kills were made by someone’s dogs left to roam the area unattended. Assistance is being given to the farmer in identifying the dog’s owner. CO Kuske issued a Resource Protection Notice to an individual that built a road through a wetland, dug a pond and placed fill in the wetland and created a ditch to drain the wetland. AIS inspections were completed at area public access sites, but boating and fishing activity this past week was slow.

 

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked boaters, anglers and nuisance animals. TIP calls were handled dealing with over limits. Bear sightings were noted in Melrose and Albany areas. Crappie action on most lakes has been good with a few walleyes being seen as well.

St. Cloud – vacant.

District 12 – Princeton area

 

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) investigated a wetland complaint and an ATV trespassing call. Anglers and boaters were checked. Time was spent on an aquatic vegetation issue and enforcement work on aquatic invasive species.

 

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes and rivers enforcement action taken on a number of violations. He followed up on three wetland and public waters violations. He issued two Resource Protection Notifications to the property owners for the violations. He assisted Sherburne County and Elk River PD with security on Lake Orono during the Elk River Police Officer’s Funeral. He assisted Elk River and Wright County on the arrest of a possible robbery suspect. He took a number of nuisance animal calls. He wants everyone to know just leave the fawn deer alone; the doe will not abandon them the doe will return and take the fawn away during the night hours.

 

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) attended Wright County Environmental Field Day held at Ney Park. Reller gave presentations about Minnesota mammals to 5th graders in Wright County. Several TIP calls were followed up on and equipment repairs and inspection were completed.

 

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy week on the area lakes and rivers. Many anglers are still out for early season fishing. CO Langevin also responded to numerous TIP calls in the area. Violations included bass out of season, no license in possession, angle with extra lines and trespass.

 

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week. Time was also spent at a spring qualification shoot held in Dakota County. ATV’s were also out in force and many were checked. Several burning complaints were taken and investigated. Enforcement action was taken on burning without a permit and burning of prohibited materials.

 

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) spoke at Francis Lake Association meeting, multiple ATV safety classes, a Becoming an Outdoors Woman event, and the Isanti County Conservation Day. Anglers and boaters were checked on local lakes and rivers. Officer Londgren received numerous calls about people picking up injured/abandoned young waterfowl and wildlife. It is illegal to possess a wild animal/bird without a license. Please leave them where you found them and contact a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, DNR Wildlife Office, or a Conservation Officer.

 

Princeton – vacant.

 

District 13 – West Metro area

 

CO Steve Walter (Waconia) attended spring training in Rosemount. Several complaints were taken on bow fishermen shining lights on houses late at night. Boaters and anglers were checked all week for fish, safety equipment and AIS violations.

CO Brent Grewe (Osseo) spent the week checking anglers and worked an ATV detail in the Mille Lacs area.  Violations included fail to display ATV license, operating ATV without required equipment and fishing license issues.

CO Traci Hanson (Minnetonka) spent the week checking shore and boating anglers on Lake Minnetonka, Long Lake and Parker Lakes. Hanson worked Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) follow up on information from AIS inspectors as well as AIS enforcement on Lake Minnetonka accesses. Hanson responded to a complaint of a citizen dumping grasses and cattails into Christmas Lake that turned out to be a resident who was replenishing a loon nesting platform habitat after a wind storm. That same evening Hanson responded to a concern over a concrete restoration project was going to threaten a hen mallard who was sitting on a clutch of 12 eggs. Hanson met with the contractor the next morning to discuss concerns over the project and a short while later, it was discovered the ducklings had hatched. Later that day the mother and ducklings made their way to a watercourse naturally. A complaint of a lakeshore owner who placed his dock over the neighboring property owner’s lakeshore was investigated and turned over to local law enforcement officials for enforcement. Hanson checked watercraft operators for safety equipment and registration.

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) had a busy week checking boaters and anglers around Scott County. She attended her district’s annual shoot and defensive tactics training. Leuthardt also spoke to three New Prague High School groups about natural resource law enforcement and the importance of conservation and resource management. She also answered calls about nuisance fox. Enforcement action was taken on no fishing license in possession, taking beardless turkey, over limit of crappies, and no state park parking permit.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked fishing and boating activities in the Mound station. He attended metro firearms training in Dakota County and attended the Law Enforcement Memorial at the State Capitol. He did a presentation at Como Park High School in St. Paul to the Southeast Asian students on CO duties, hunting and fishing regulations. Officer Lee also participated in Trista Day at the Minnetrista PD answering questions to public on hunting, snowmobiling, and other DNR general questions.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled for angling and boating activities in the district vicinity. He spoke at a Firearms Safety Class in Richfield for approximately 40 students. He also attended district firearms qualification.

 

Bloomington – vacant.

 

Mound – vacant.

 

District 14 – East Metro area

 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers, watercraft users and patrolling wildlife management areas. CO Arntzen attended training in Dakota County and responded to TIP calls. He also issued a nuisance beaver permit, investigated a littering complaint and did equipment maintenance.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring angling and ATV activity throughout the area. He issued a nuisance beaver permit, as well as attended divisional training and active shooter training. Enforcement action for the week included, angle with extra line, transport boat with drain plug in, no license in possession, and operate vessel without legal fire extinguisher.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked fishing and boating enforcement around the Metro lakes and rivers. He attended use of force training at the Dakota Gun Club in Rosemount and spoke at a firearms safety class in Farmington. CO Pril worked at the “Take Aim at Summer Fun” event at the DNR region in Saint Paul where he showed kids how to use firearms properly and safely. CO Pril also responded to a complaint of a possible big game violation and other complaints during the week.

CO Anthony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling and boating activity. CO Salzer dealt with equipment issues. Officer Salzer also set up another school talk at a local elementary school.

WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week working AIS, angling, boating and wetland activity. WREO Block attended a meeting at Camp Ripley and attended divisional training in Dakota County. Several site visits were completed regarding wetland and shoreline work throughout the week in Scott, Anoka, and Ramsey counties.

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) attend an area boat and water meeting in Ramsey County. She worked AIS enforcement, worked a Stillwater bridge detail and handled “abandoned” fawn calls and nuisance animal calls. CO Kruse attended a day of use of force training, did equipment maintenance and worked boating and fishing enforcement on area lakes.

CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he participated in the “Take Aim at Summer” event held at the regional office. He investigated a waters violation on Sunfish Lake. CO Johnson completed firearms qualification in Dakota County. He responded to phone calls about turkey hunting and fishing violations.

 

Eagan – vacant.

 

Metro Officer – vacant.

 

District 15 – Marshall area

 

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) responded to a call for assistance after three fishermen were stranded on Lac Qui Parle Lake in a tornado warning. Heavy rains in the area have changed river and stream conditions considerably.  An increase of walleye and northern harvest was observed over the last week.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked AIS, angling, boating, and OHV activity.  This officer was a guest speaker at a 4th Grade Youth Conservation Day, held at the Bonanza Ed Center at Big Stone State Park. The students were informed about the duties of a CO. Angling violations for illegal length walleye were encountered.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, boating, invasive species, and ATV enforcement. Fishermen continue to battle poor weather conditions with plenty of rain and wind. Some areas received over four inches of rain during the week. A TIP call dealing with an illegal shining incident was investigated with enforcement action being taken.

 

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers and conduction investigations.  Firearms Safety was taught in Luverne. The walleye bite on area lakes has been slow.   Several license and registration violations were encountered.

 

CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH radio.  Wind and rain were the talk of the week; however, it did not stop the walleye bite. Area lakes were very good with large amounts of fish being taken. Enforcement action was taken on over limits and length issues. An AIS check point was performed on Lake Shetek.

 

WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) assisted with a WCA violation in Sibley County and a WCA violation in Nobles County. A meeting was attended in Marshall. A qualification was attended in Lyon County. Officer Hanson assisted with AIS in Murray County/Lake Shetek.

 

Benson – vacant.

 

Madison – vacant.

 

Redwood Falls – vacant.

 

Worthington – vacant.

 

District 16 – New Ulm area

 

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) followed up on a hunting violation. He followed up on TIP reports of anglers keeping bass out of season and clarified confusion involving the new catch and release season for bass. Denz attended training and received multiple reports of a bear in the area.

 

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent most of the checking anglers and boating safety. AIS activity was also worked, with questions answered. Klehr responded to a fire that was reported to the county. The person who started the fire had a burning permit for natural vegetation but was using the permit to burn a structure which is illegal. Time was spent working with another officer to check late night anglers and carp shooters. The carp shooters had multiple boating safety violations again and were also caught shooting game fish again.

 

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked anglers and AIS regulations throughout the week. She also checked turkey hunters. Mueller finished up an investigation of a goose shot out of season and spoke at an adult turkey clinic near Morton.

 

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports local anglers are having a slow go of it so far this spring. Some crappies and sunfish are being caught but most hope the warm weather will help pick things up. FAS talks were given in Green Isle and Glencoe. Oberg also testified in court on a baiting case from last fall.

 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) gave presentations to high school natural resource classes. He also presented for National Peace Officer Memorial Day. Nelson spent the remainder of the week on fishing, boating, ATV, and invasive species enforcement.

 

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked fishing, boat and water safety enforcement, turkey hunting, and AIS enforcement throughout Jackson and Cottonwood counties. Gruhlke responded to a complaint of a person that shot a pelican. With the help of deputies in Cottonwood County the suspect was stopped and enforcement action was taken. He also did his radio program discussing topics including a recap of fishing opener, AIS and other area activity.

 

Willmar #1 – vacant.

 

Windom – vacant.

 

District 17 – Mankato area

 

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked accesses for activity with a focus on invasive species violations. A lake fair was attended with the TIP trailer. Calls concerning dead birds in the area were taken. The officer also set up an ATV class.

 

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers on area lakes and rivers. AIS and boating activity were also monitored. County and township roads were patrolled for ATV activity.  Turkey hunters continue to be checked and report limited success.

 

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) checked anglers, boaters, ATV operators, and turkey hunters this week. Time was spent monitoring public access sites for AIS violations. A division training and firearms qualification was attended.

 

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week checking anglers, working AIS enforcement, and boat and water safety. CO Chihak attended a kids fishing tournament at the Preston Trout Days with over 100 parents and children enjoying the festivities.

 

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and turkey hunters. Additional time was spent monitoring AIS compliance near area lakes and rivers. CO Ihnen also investigated a litter complaint at a public water access.

 

WREO Julie Siems reports working AIS and boating enforcement. Yearly use of force and firearms training was also completed. Violations included failing to pull drain plugs.

 

Albert Lea – vacant.

 

Mankato #1 – vacant.

 

District 18 – Rochester area

 

CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports fawns started showing up this past weekend. Please leave them alone. The doe may not come back until sunset. River fishing is slowly picking up. Bluegills have not spawned. He received several complaints of morel trespassers. He investigated an ATV trespass complaint. Enforcement included transport boat without removing drain plug and no registration on an ATV.

 

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishing enforcement on the big river during this week as well as assisting with enforcement efforts on the St. Croix. Another investigation was completed with charges filed and a vehicle trespass issue was addressed. Fishing has remained good on the river with mainly panfish, bass and northern checked this week. Finally, some division training was attended.

 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports many nuisance and baby animal calls and questions. One person, after finding a dead hen mallard, dropped several ducklings at the county courthouse and explained her frustration with the drake mallard not talking care of the brood. Fishing in the area continues to be relatively slow, turkey hunting is hit and miss, but the mushrooms were out, which had many people in the woods. He did receive trespass complaints.

 

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers and rec vehicles during the week. Fishing success was good for some with a number of tournaments being held over the weekend. Heyn also attended training and handled wetland calls.

 

CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the week checking watercraft users and anglers. Officer George attended a FFA trap shooting invitational where over 100 kids took part. Enforcement action was taken for over limit of crappie and failing to release a bass along with various boating issues.

 

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the week checking fishing and ATV complaint areas. Fishing success in the area has been pretty slow. Time was also spent checking commercial fishing activity. Turkey hunters are having a tough time locating birds. Some ATV violations were detected.

 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working ATV state trails. Violations encountered were illegal operation of OHM’s on an ATV trail, unregistered ATV and illegal operation on highway. Time was also spent checking a few turkey hunters. Hunting has been tough as the toms are not responding well according to hunters. Trout fishing has also been difficult with the low water levels.

 

Rochester #2 – vacant.

 

Training Section

 

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

 

Aviation Section

 

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of mostly missed flights due to weather.  Two Lake Vermilion boat surveys were conducted and some anglers were checked via floatplane upon completion of the survey. Some watercraft violations were found with a citation issued for insufficient PFDs on watercraft. Flights were rescheduled for this week dependent on better weather.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued working on the northwest sandhill crane survey. Poor weather conditions postponed many of the flights. Hopefully better weather will allow completion of the remaining 52 plots.

CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) reports the nesting waterfowl survey was put on hold over the week due to inclement weather. Geving spent the down time completing the department’s yearly mandatory “Employee Right To Know” training and reviewing other aviation related topics.

 

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew fisher and wolf telemetry. Heineman also a Lake Vermilion creel survey, helped reposition aircraft, trained for instrument flight and arranged for maintenance on the aircraft.

CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) reports that generally poor flying weather caused the cancellation of scheduled survey flights resulting in time spent on operational tasks. Despite the weather, DNR aircraft were ferried across the state in preparation for maintenance.  A night currency flight was flown and several training flights were flown with NR Pilot John Heineman.

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