Weekly Conservation Officer Report


(Perham): A father and young son were contacted angling from the road right of way near a culvert. The dad admitted they were new to fishing and asked if the CO had time to look over their gear. The dad was also quick to produce a fishing license. At the culvert, several bass were visible in the pool. CO Vinton saw a small, floating plug and suggested they try that. Unsure how to work it, the father asked if CO Vinton would show them. On the second cast a 13inch bass took the bait and CO Vinton handed the rod to the young boy. The child was all smiles as dad took his picture with the bass.

(Hinckley): While patrolling ATV trails, a pair of young dirt bike riders was found rolling giant logging equipment tires up a steep hill and returning them back to a logging site where they belonged. The two young men found the tires laying in the trail; likely left by vandals that had earlier removed them from the logging site. The two riders said they didn’t want anyone to run into the tires and get hurt on the trail and also commented that moving the heavy tires would help them get in shape for hockey season. It was good to see the honorable actions and extra effort put in by the two dirt bike riding hockey players.

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked bear baiting, AIS, angling and ATV enforcement. Fall is upon us, with the cooler nights we are going to see more campfires, this is just a reminder to be mindful of them. CO Benjamin came upon one campfire this past weekend that was left unextinguished while the campers went for a ride on their ATV. He was able to speak with them later in the day after they had returned. They stated that when they left earlier in the morning it was just smoldering ash with a log that was thrown on but there were no flames. The conditions that day were very windy and CO Benjamin explained that it doesn’t take much wind to reignite a smoldering heap of ash into a fire when there is a fuel source present, as was evident by the flaming log. Enforcement action was taken for the following: allow illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, passenger on an ATV under the age of 18 without a helmet and failure to extinguish a campfire.

CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) helped staff at Game Fair in Anoka. Multiple questions were answered regarding Mille Lacs Lake and the upcoming deer season. ATV, AIS and angling enforcement was also completed.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored the start of the bear baiting season and investigated the possible shooting of a deer out of season. He worked with CO Huener on the Red River of the North and on Lake Bronson. Enforcement action for the week included take over limit of catfish, angle without license, litter, PWC in closed hours, and ATV registration violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working AIS enforcement, angling and boating activity on special regulation lakes, monitoring ATV trail activity and monitoring the station for early bear baiting activity throughout the week. Time was spent teaching officer water survival to the COC’s at the CO Academy and handling calls and questions regarding the upcoming fall hunting seasons. Enforcement action for the week included no angling license, no PFD’s and ATV violations.

Baudette #2 -vacant.

Blackduck #2 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 – vacant.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports following up on TIP related calls involving fish and small game related complaints. Time was also spent working boating enforcement, checking ATV operators and contacting anglers. PWC complaints areas were checked. AIS enforcement efforts were conducted at area public water access sites. Violations included take fish over-limit, fail to display ATV registration, no fire extinguisher and operate PWC after hours.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked boaters, anglers and bear baiters.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity in the Bemidji area. Time was spent checking anglers on LOW with CO Huener. Complaints of ATV’s operating in a WMA were taken and extra patrol was done in the area. A booth was worked at the Minnesota Trappers Association (MTA) Summer Convention where several questions were answered. CO Vollbrecht conducted a follow up investigation on an individual that refused to allow a watercraft inspector to conduct an investigation.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) worked ATV activity throughout the week. A complaint was received regarding ATV’s riding through the Bemidji Slough WMA. Officer Holt also spent time speaking with the public and answering questions at the Minnesota Trappers Association annual convention in Bemidji. A good-sized female bear was found dead along the Wildfire Road in Fern Township, Hubbard County. The bear had a gunshot wound and it appeared to have been dragged by a motor vehicle for quite some distance. Anyone with information regarding this bear is encouraged to call the Turn In Poachers (TIP) line at 1-800-652-9093. Cash rewards for tips leading to an arrest are available. You can remain anonymous.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports concentrating enforcement activities on boating due to the extremely hot weather. A father and young son were contacted angling from the road right of way near a culvert. The dad admitted they were new to fishing and asked if the CO had time to look over their gear. The dad was also quick to produce a fishing license. At the culvert, several bass were visible in the pool. CO Vinton saw a small, floating plug and suggested they try that. Unsure how to work it, the father asked if CO Vinton would show them. On the second cast a 13inch bass took the bait and CO Vinton handed the rod to the young boy. The child was all smiles as dad took his picture with the bass. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, angling without a license and insufficient PFDs.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked bear baiters and anglers. He also worked ATV enforcement and assisted the wildlife division on authorizing for early nuisance bear hunts.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) spent time patrolling for ATV and OHM activity on area trails. Follow up was conducted on open aquatic vegetation cases. A call of a possible dead eagle was investigated which turned out to be a Canada goose. Anglers and boaters were monitored for regulation compliance. Assistance was provided to area wildlife staff in removing a permanent waterfowl hunting blind and duck boat left on a WMA. AIS compliance on area boats was monitored. CO Warren spoke with a lake association member in regards to buoys and boating activity on an area lake.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week working boat and water safety, AIS activity, intensive harvest goose season and checking anglers. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession, PWC within 150 feet of shore and youth under 18 on an ATV without a helmet.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) along with CO Plautz gave a presentation to enthusiastic waterfowl youth at the annual Minnesota Waterfowl Association’s Woodie Camp in Fergus Falls. Time was also spent checking anglers and boaters during the week. CO Richards received and responded to lake shore violations along with destroying aquatic weed complaints. Complaints of over limit panfish were investigated and resolved.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused law enforcement efforts on the August Canada goose season, anglers and AIS law compliance. CO Anderson spent time this past weekend checking a few August goose season hunters. Goose hunters have thinned out with hot weekend weather. CO Anderson received a request from a Division of Parks employee for a ride-a-long and completed it. CO Anderson worked Lake Minnewaska for AIS and boating violations. A number of minor boating violations were found on the water. CO Anderson also found a couple of AIS violations at Minnewaska public accesses. CO Anderson spent additional time reviewing and issuing interstate minnow transportation permits. CO Anderson handled calls from the public about a nuisance beaver complaint, ATV questions, deer lottery and fishing questions.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time working on a litter violation and focused enforcement efforts on fishing activity. Several aquatic vegetation and wetland complaints were handled through the week.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATVs and boaters. Several calls were taken involving deer hunting questions for the new seasons and zones. Osborne worked complaint areas at public accesses along the Otter Tail River. Boat access and trailer parking have become very difficult at area accesses with tubers parking in parking spots reserved for vehicles with boat trailers and tubers blocking the access ramps. Several people were cited for parking in front of signs that stated reserved for vehicles with trailers.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the past week on the water with most people as temps soared. Recreational boating, PWCs, and fishermen were monitored. Expired watercraft registration and angling with an extra line were a few of the violations addressed. A lakeshore owner was found to have sprayed a large stand of bulrush and cattail in front of his cabin with an agricultural herbicide to rid the area of vegetation. He was unaware of the laws protecting aquatic vegetation and received a citation. Good compliance was observed related to PWCs being off the water 1 hour before sunset on high traffic afternoons.

Wheaton – vacant.

District 4 – Wadena area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) investigated two TIP complaints, took care of some equipment issues and checked anglers, PWC operators and boaters. Parthun participated in the Minnesota Trappers Association convention, talking with trappers and answering questions. Enforcement action was taken for allowing the illegal use of an ATV.

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) reports working anglers and boaters, and responding to a TIP investigation. August Early Goose season activity was monitored and two separate trespass calls were investigated regarding goose hunters. A horse owner called to report his horse was attacked and injured by another animal. After looking around the property the likely suspect is a bear.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked anglers, boaters, and AIS. Information was provided at the DNR booth to participants of the Minnesota Trappers Convention in Bemidji. CO Mathy also received a call about a mink concern. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines and no angling license in possession.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling, ATV, and boating activity. Angling success remains poor. CO Broughten worked boating activity with Cass County water patrol where few boats were observed. CO Broughten completed a commercial taxidermy inspection and checked compliance with AIS laws. CO Broughten also fielded calls regarding bear hunting, ATV laws, and the 2015 deer season.

CO Colleen Adam (Rec Specialist) spoke about hunting ethics and game laws and at Firearms Safety training. She followed up on wildlife depredation issue and patrolled area forests and trails. Seeking information on who shot a large sow bear out of season, dragged it considerable distance down the road, judging by the missing hide and road rash exposing bone, and left it to rot in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. Anyone with information can call the TIP line.

Remer – vacant.

Walker – vacant.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports checking fishing activity on Rainy Lake and Rainy River, along with monitoring a sturgeon fishing tournament on the Rainy River in the Birchdale area (23rd Annual North American Sturgeon Championship). Bear hunters started establishing baits which were checked. Enforcement action for week included no angling license in possession, extra lines, and over limit.

CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) monitored angling, boating, and ATV activities throughout the International Falls area. CO Kittelson and Van Asch attended the annual Birchdale Sturgeon Tournament on the Rainy River this weekend. The tournament had a great showing although most participants gave in to the high temperatures and hung their fishing poles up for some recreational swimming to cool off. Several questions regarding bear hunting regulations were fielded from the public with the bear baiting opening up over the weekend. Officer Van Asch also spent time completing follow up work on several pending cases. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession, angle with extra lines, and over limit of walleyes.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked the Oak Narrows area of Lake Vermilion focusing on boating complaints from neighbors. Officer investigated a buck found dead, and determined no foul play. Bear baiting started last week and the officer devoted time to bear hunting enforcement. The weekend was warm and windy, but it didn’t seem to hamper the number of participants in the bass tournament. Enforcement action was taken on no PFD, no safety certificate while operating a personal watercraft, no license in possession, and possession of a slot length walleye.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked bear bait station checks, state park enforcement, put the finishing touches on a bear taken out of season case, and worked the DNR booth at the North St. Louis County Fair. Enforcement action was taken on ATV and state park violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) responded to the report of a person removing a large amount of cattails from an area lake. After locating the area and interviewing the subject, CO Frericks issued a cease and desist order. Activity on area lakes increased dramatically with the warm temps. Enforcement action was taken for insufficient PFDs.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) found very few anglers out fishing but a fair number of recreational boaters out trying to cool off from the high temps. A call was received of an injured bear around Aurora. Fredin took care of what appeared to be abandoned cygnet’s (baby swans) one of which died. Arrangements were made to bring the others to a rehab clinic. Assistance was given to a purchaser of a boat to locate proper registration and trailer title.

Cook – vacant.

Ray – vacant.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) had several reports over the past week of a large black bear being sighted inside the town of Ely. Officer Williams has recommended residents be vigilant about not leaving garbage outdoors and to clean up anything that might be attracting the bear into town such as bird seed and dog food. Violations included failure to display canoe registration, and operating a boat after sunset without navigational lights.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) spent time working in the BWCAW. There seemed to be a lot of traffic during the nice weather this past week. Interestingly, a couple canoe groups were found to be miles from civilization without PFDs. Another group admitted that they had tipped several of their canoes unexpectedly while running the rapids to save a little time. Lucky for them, the water is as warm as it can be right now.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) followed up on a dumping complaint in a state park where spilled paint cans, appliances and other household junk was thrown along a road. The man was tracked down after an investigation and he was cited for dumping a large amount of litter. He’ll h also have to pay for cleanup costs. A TIP complaint was followed up on. Bear baits were checked along with guides and soon to be hunters. A radio interview was completed on bear problems. More bear complaints were handled. ATVs were checked with enforcement action for not properly displaying the registration as required.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) noticed a down tick in bear calls as natural food sources increase and property owners are more careful about leaving out bear-accessible food sources.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports patrolling lakes and rivers in the BWCA, following up on several cases, and working baiting and early bear baiting activity. Enforcement action included several unregistered canoes, fishing without a license, and storing a boat at a public access. Wild rice stands look better this year in many areas, but so far that hasn’t seemed to translate to a higher waterfowl population. Assistance was given to Ely PD on a robbery case involving a gun.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) assisted with Academy 16 instruction. CO Schottenbauer attended instructor courses for handgun, and rifle training as well. CO Schottenbauer checked on bear baiting activity focusing on past issue areas.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) taught firearms training and tactics to the COCs at the academy. Time was spent checking bear bait stations and ATV activity.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling, bear baiting, and invasive species enforcement efforts during the week. Salmon and trout fishing success improved on Lake Superior with some nice fish being caught. Murray also responded to a car killed bear report on Hwy 61 and answered questions related to the upcoming bear season.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, boating activity, and answered various wildlife calls. He also assisted with firearms training at the academy. Violations included ATV on roadway.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored wild rice conditions, responded to injured wildlife complaints and gave a K-9 demo at the MTA convention. CO Fairbanks and his K-9 partner Si also assisted the county in locating a stabbing suspect. Enforcement action was taken for water craft equipment violations.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time checking boating and angling activity. She also spent time investigating a wetlands violation. She went to a firearms safety class and presented laws and regulations. Enforcement action was taken for boating and angling violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked bear baiting opener with some baiters out tolerating the very warm weather. Angling activity was also checked on with sportsman also hitting the lakes in the warm weather. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession, not having an angling license and failing to have enough lifesaving devices on board a watercraft.  One angler checked had a warrant for their arrest and they were transported to the Itasca County Jail.

CO Gary Lefebvre Pengilly worked fishermen, watercraft, ATVs, and bear baiters. He also attended department training during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing enforcement. He patrolled for ATV activity in northern Aitkin County. Bear baiting started in the hot weather.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) spent time checking anglers, recreational boaters, ATV users, and bear hunters. Several injured animals complaints were fielded, as well as nuisance bear calls. Time was also spent enforcing invasive species rules.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) assisted with academy training for a water confidence class. Duncan provided a ride-a-long to an individual that is interested in becoming a Conservation Officer. AIS and ATV enforcement efforts continued and time was spent working early bear hunting locations and monitoring bear baiting activity. Officer Duncan also answered many telephone calls from the public and gave answers to their questions.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked OHV, big game and fire enforcement throughout the week. CO Humphrey received calls and complaints on nuisance wildlife, continued a fire investigation in the Fond du Lac State Forest, checked bear baiting activity and patrolled local wildlife management areas and in the FDL State Forest.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) gave a talk and also did a K9 demo at the MTA Trapper Convention in Bemidji. Time was also spent working the information booth at the convention and giving a law talk to two separate youth Trapper Ed classes. K9 training continues with K9 Schody. Fishing activity was checked in the area and enforcement action was taken for failing to have license in possession.

WREO Michael Scott (NE Region Water Resource Officer) worked with Canadian National Railroad, Koochiching County and DNR Forestry on WCA violation where more impact was needed than originally applied for and site visit with all concerned parties present to discuss and see the issues that needed resolution. Several nuisance animal calls reference raccoons were handled one that dealt with a raccoon that was not acting normal. Officer Scott staffed an AIS booth at the Carton County Fair in Barnum with the Minnesota Sea Grant folks talking to folks about AIS issues and concerns. Officer Scott attended a meeting at Camp Ripley with other WREOs and management to discuss the Wetland Program and AIS Program.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) helped instruct a water survival and confidence class to the current Conservation Officer academy. Miller worked Lake Superior for boating and AIS enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for boat registration and safety equipment. Time was spent inland looking for bear baits north of Duluth, fielding questions on timber wolves and bear hunting regulations.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters along the Lake Superior Shore in Lake and Cook counties. A meeting was attended in Brainerd and training given to Academy 16 candidates in drown proofing and water survival. Enforcement action was taken for commercial records violations.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing counties for angling activity. CO McGowan also spoke to a group of people regarding the career of a Conservation Officer. Enforcement action was taken for multiple angling violations.

CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) was providing training at Camp Ripley

CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) assisted with academy firearms training, worked on a trespass case, checked boaters and anglers on area lakes.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) assisted with the DNR academy training. He worked on an investigation of an aquatic vegetation violation involving an individual using a watercraft to transport a large amount of cattails across a bay. They relocated the bog instead of removing it from the lakebed according to the permit. Officer Guida also answered some questions regarding nuisance bears.

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on boating and PWC enforcement this past week. Some violations he found were boats over capacity and PWC’s in violation of the 150 foot rule from swimmers. The anglers are out and the bite has picked up the largemouth bass fishing has been excellent. Some of the anglers he check reported that this past week had been the best week of bass fishing they have had in recent memory on Gull Lake. The pan fish have also been cooperative on area lakes. Violations he observed were no license in possession.

He worked on aquatic invasive species prevention on Gull Lake and aquatic vegetation was found on trailers.

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) investigated a report of someone removing aquatic vegetation in a large area around their dock, handled calls of an injured osprey and a possible wolf killed cow, and is working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on a turtle found crossing a road in the Gull Lake area that turned out to be a gopher tortoise, native to the far Southeast United States and a protected species listed as “threatened” under federal law.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) followed up on complaints regarding water levels, beavers, aquatic vegetation, and ATV operation. Warm weather brought out a lot of boating activity, but by this time of year many users have been checked before and compliance ran high. Verkuilen also issued road kill tags and helped staff the TIP Trailer at a local community festivity.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working boating and fishing enforcement around the Malmo station throughout the week and weekend. AIS enforcement was also done around the area and many Mille Lacs Lake fishing law related questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend. The Officer manned the TIP trailer at Wahkon days where many folks young and old came to see the mounts and stories in the trailer. ATV activity was monitored throughout the week and the Officer attended some training in St. Paul and picked up new equipment. Several calls of nuisance beaver were taken and permits were issued and ricing activity was monitored to make sure parties were not taking green rice. A call of a possibly injured eagle was investigated and a permit was issued for the upcoming rifle deer season. A ride along opportunity was given to a party who had an interest in becoming a Conservation Officer and a few bear baiters were checked during the weekend. Assistance was also given at the Conservation Officer Academy a Camp Ripley during the week and an ATV complaint was fielded.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated potential early bear baiting sites. She also handled an ongoing nuisance beaver/neighbor dispute. She answered bear baiting questions and closed an investigation on fencing of public waters for livestock.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) patrolled public hunting lands during the opening days of the bear baiting season. Bear baiting activity was high and many hunters were out placing bait and braving the 90 degree, humid weather. Fall calving season started for some area farmers and brought with it a few complaints of livestock being harassed by wolves. One wolf complaint investigation found a two day old calf that was likely killed by wolves. While patrolling ATV trails, a pair of young dirt bike riders was found rolling giant logging equipment tires up a steep hill and returning them back to a logging site where they belonged. The two young men found the tires laying in the trail; likely left by vandals that had earlier removed them from the logging site. The two riders said they didn’t want anyone to run into the tires and get hurt on the trail and also commented that moving the heavy tires would help them get in shape for hockey season. It was good to see the honorable actions and extra effort put in by the two dirt bike riding hockey players.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) handled a wolf depredation complaint and several calls of bears damaging corn. He assisted the Pine County Sheriff’s Department with a call of a suicidal subject, checked anglers, and spent time in the local State Forests. CO Wynn answered numerous questions about the upcoming hunting seasons, and spent time checking ATV complaint areas.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) handled a complaint of vegetation cutting on a local lake. It appeared heavy winds were the culprit washing up large amounts of vegetation on the complainant’s shoreline. It appeared to be a slow start for bear baiting activity with the extreme heat. A law presentation was given to approximately 25 students at the Wealthwood Rod and Gun Club and area rice beds were monitored.

WREO Rob Haberman conducted site visits on wetland cases in Aitkin County with zoning staff. WREO Haberman also worked AIS enforcement around his assigned work area. WREO Haberman also attended work planning meetings.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers and boaters this past week. CO Mies gave a law talk at the Annandale and Maple Lake Firearms safety classes. CO Mies checked ATVs along with conducting a wildlife count.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) reports the weeks activities included administrative tasks, vehicle maintenance and waterfowl enforcement. The officer took calls concerning deer season questions, and injured animal calls. Enforcement action was taken for boating violations.

WREO Keith Bertram spent the week working AIS in Todd, Douglas, and Isanti counties. Enforcement action was taken for AIS violations, no boat registration, and overlimit of crappies. WREO Bertram also testified in court regarding a public waters violation.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) started off the week attending the Academy 16 mentor dinner. Time was spent concluding an AIS investigation and working on a public waters violation that is currently under investigation. An attack on a domestic animal was reported with the caller believing the culprit to possibly be a mountain lion. Photographs secured by the caller were forwarded to DNR Wildlife staff that identified that tracks as belonging to a species in the canine family. Area access sites were worked for possible AIS violations and informational outreach. CO Silgjord attended the annual Big Birch Lake Association meeting to give a brief presentation and provide some Q&A time afterwards. Boat and water activity was also monitored over the weekend. Violations included angling without a license in possession, allowing illegal operation of PWC, PWC out after hours, and illegally transport aquatic macrophytes.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) continued investigations APM, WCA, and hunter harassment complaints. CO Friese attended a Todd SWCD TEP meeting. Angling, watercraft, and goose hunting activities were monitored.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) handled two garbage burning complaints where large amounts of items were found burned to include mattresses, plastic bottles, bags, cans and household garbage. The landowners learned it would have been much cheaper to haul the items to the landfill and also utilize the free recycling. CO Kuske investigated a wetland filling complaint of dump trucks dumping debris in a wetland and early goose hunters that were hunting in a closed area.  A well-deserved award was presented to a long standing DNR Volunteer Firearms Safety Instructor of the Year at Game Fair. Paulette Pappenfus of Little Falls was presented the Instructor of the Year award. Paulette has been a DNR volunteer Firearms Safety instructor since 1981 and heads up the Little Falls Instructor group.

St. Cloud – vacant.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports working fishing and boating enforcement in the area. Fishermen were finding low numbers of panfish and bass. Time was also spent investigating a possible wetland violation. The landowner brought in a large amount of fill and placed it in a wetland for a dirt bike track. Nuisance animal issues were also handled.

Violations included no license in possession, illegal length fish and no throwable PFD.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and boaters on area lakes and rivers. He took enforcement action on a number of violations. He did a commercial ginseng inspection. He issued a beaver permit for Sherburne County. He answered a number of questions on the upcoming deer season. He checked goose hunters and found no violations with a few geese being shot.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) spent the majority of his time at Camp Ripley with the new academy class. The week involved firearms training. Time was directed to high traffic ATV areas.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked goose hunters in the area. Harvest numbers were down greatly compared to the opening weekend, but several groups that put in the time to scout new fields still had some good shooting. A trespass complaint was investigated that resulted in a civil citation being issued. Angling activity has been slow in the area this week. Reller also worked on the St. Croix River where some enforcement action was taken for wake zone violations, no registration displayed and no PFD on watercraft.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) handled complaints of illegal goose hunting, wanton waste, and trespassing. Anglers and boaters were checked. Animal complaints were received and ATV complaint areas were worked.

Princeton – vacant.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked goose hunters all week who were having good success even with the hot weather. Anglers and boaters were checked on area lakes and rivers. Calls were returned daily on questions about the upcoming hunting season.


CO Brent Grewe (Osseo) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring boating activity. CO Grewe also spoke at a firearms safety class and attended active shooter training with multiple agencies in the metro area. Violations included gunwale riders and PWC’s violating the 150 ft. rule.

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) conducted boating, ATV and angling enforcement throughout Scott County. She also conducted a falconry inspection and was able to learn a few new details about the life of a falconer. Leuthardt attended the Game Fair where she received and answered numerous questions from the public on game laws, recreational laws, and more. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, slow no wake, and operating a class 2 ATV in a road ditch.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked fishing and boating activities in the Mound station. He worked AIS at public accesses and boating enforcement on the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. He also patrolled state parks, state trails, and took care of some equipment maintenance.


CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked in the Bloomington station and Fort Snelling State Park station for angling, boating and AIS activities. He took enforcement action for take/possess over limit of crappies, fail to remove drain plug, and using gamefish for bait. He responded to calls about people trapping squirrels and leaving them and underage drinking while fishing on a public fishing pier.

Bloomington – vacant.

Mound – vacant.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling and boating activity. CO Salzer fielded phone calls regarding early goose hunting. Salzer also patrolled Carlos Avery WMA.

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) handled a waters violation on Lake Johanna that resulted in a Cease and Desist Order being issued and two properties cited for doing work without a required permit. She testified at a trial in St. Paul and assisted an Ontario Game Warden with a fishing and trespassing case by interviewing a suspect in her work area. CO Kruse talked to a FAS class in Hugo with about 50 students, assisted a neighboring officer with a wildlife survey and worked boating and fishing enforcement on area lakes and streams. She received new equipment and training, handled nuisance animal calls and calls regarding hunting laws.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports doing falconry inspections and participating in the roadside pheasant survey. He handled several TIP complaints and continued monitoring fishing and boating activity. Violations for the week included parking in restricted areas and no navigational lighting.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week working boaters and anglers throughout the area. He caught up with some delinquent ginseng dealers, patrolled for AIS compliance and scheduled some FAS classes for the fall. Enforcement action for the week included angling without a license, fail to display watercraft registration, no throwable, fail to remove plug for transport, and fail to submit ginseng records.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) spent the week checking anglers and boaters around the metro lakes and rivers. He spent sometimes on AIS on enforcement around some metro lake accesses and assisted a neighboring Conservation Officer with the investigation of an abandon boat on the Mississippi river. He also spoke at two firearms safety classes and responded to injured/sick animal calls.

Eagan – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reported hot and humid weather was an added challenge for those August goose hunters trying to find geese in the intensive harvest zone. Goose hunters are reminded to check the intensive zone boundary lines before venturing out. Besides checking goose hunters time was also spent working fishing, boating, and ATV enforcement. Assistance was given with a firearms safety online field day in Tracy. Students in attendance traveled from as far away as Duluth.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) met with Charles Hanson and a local reporter at the Big Stone County Museum. Over Mr. Hanson’s life time he acquired every North American Waterfowl Duck and Goose. He mounted them and placed them in a family building and donated the display to the museum. Over the years local Conservation Officers donated birds to Mr. Hanson’s collection.

CO Doug Lage (Marshall) had his weekly radio show. He worked boating activity on Lake Benton where he assisted a boater with motor problems. Fishing activities on area lakes have been good.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working boat safety, checking anglers and conducting investigations. ATV and OHM operation on roadways continues be an increasing violation.

WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) attended a WREO meeting at Camp Ripley. He worked fishermen and AIS on area lakes. He assisted with an AIS K-9 news media event in Detroit Lakes.

Benson – vacant.

Madison – vacant.

Redwood Falls – vacant.

Worthington – vacant.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time during the week working AIS, boating safety and checking anglers. Goose hunters were checked, with many having some success for the early season. Klehr had an intern riding with over the weekend. While conducting a check on goose hunters another vehicle drove up and mentioned that there was a vehicle that started on fire close by. Klehr was able to respond and put out the fire for the driver and then wait for the fire department to come and make sure everything was out since the fire was in by the engine. Time was also spent at the Meeker County ORV Park with lots of OHM and ATVs taking opportunity of a great public park to ride in.

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) completed an August roadside survey. Pheasant numbers were fair but dove appeared to be very low. Oberg also spent time teaching firearms at the academy. Instruction was given on handgun, shotgun, rifle, and shooting at night. Nuisance animal calls were also handled.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked sport fishing, ATV, and turtle trapping. Gruhlke followed up on a wanton waste case of fish being left for dead on a floating dock and enforcement action was taken. He attended a meeting in Brainerd. Gruhlke also taught the law portion of the “All day FAS” class held in Trimont.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) patrolled lakes and conducted license inspections on anglers. A restoration order was issued in person in Watonwan County for a public waters violation.

Willmar #1 – vacant.

Windom – vacant.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked anglers this past week on area lakes and rivers. The officer also assisted with firearms instruction at the academy at Camp Ripley.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers and boaters on area lakes & rivers. The officer also monitored AIS activity and ATV activity during the week. A law & ethics presentation was given at a firearms safety range day. The officer attended a meeting at the 20 Gun Club and Straight River Archery Club where FAS volunteer instructors were presented plaques for 11 to 50 years of service.

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring ATV activity. CO Chihak worked the Turn in Poachers (TIP) Wall of Shame trailer at the Mower County Fair. An illegal dumping complaint was received. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and ATV operators. Officer Ihnen patrolled near area lakes and rivers for AIS compliance. In addition, time was also spent responding to various complaints and TIP calls.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling, boating, and recreational vehicle enforcement this week. Local anglers are finding some fish on area lakes. Time was spent checking public access sites for AIS violations.

WREO Julie Siems reports responded to a rollover crash and an injured eagle in separate incidents. Anglers were also checked with minimal success fishing. A public waters complaint site was also investigated.

Albert Lea – vacant.

Mankato #1 – vacant.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking boaters and canoers on the Root River. Activity was high due to the warmer weather and compliance was good. Bowhunter’s have been out scouting and preparing for the upcoming season. Multiple dumping complaints have been investigated. CO Boyum also spent time answering ginseng questions for the upcoming season.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports continuing to work boating and fishing on the river. The river was very busy and he checked two brothers from Indiana and Georgia that had set out to paddle the Mississippi River from its source to the gulf. After having some complications, they purchased an outboard motor and attached it to their canoe in St. Paul. There appeared to be good fishing success from contest fishermen.

CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the week checking anglers, watercraft operators, and ATV operators, some AIS work was done as well. Assistance was given to Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office arresting a fugitive on a parole violation. Officer George attended awards at the Straight River Archery Club in Owatonna where several FAS instructors were honored for their volunteer service to the community. Enforcement action included transporting watercraft with the plug in, no PFDs, expired registration on a watercraft, and no valid driver’s license on an ATV operator in the roadway.

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week checking fishing, boating, ATV and state forest activity. Time was also spent working with the county attorney on a waters case. Another American eel made the four thousand mile trip from the Sargasso Sea and was caught on the Miss River in the Red Wing area. The angler opted to keep the eel and take it home to eat.  A tip call was responded to where an individual reported people hunting geese while using spinning wing decoys in a field in rural Goodhue County. Upon responding to the call it was determined that hunters were hunting pigeons and using spinning wing pigeon decoys. They had harvested over 30 pigeons and stated they had gotten over 200 birds the previous weekend near Goodhue. They also said the landowners are very happy to let them hunt and have the birds removed. Some fishing, boating and state forest violations were detected this week and weekend,

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working another busy week on the river with the fishing and recreational activity at normal summer levels. He also worked with the county attorney’s office in preparation for an upcoming hearing from some spring fishing violations.

Rochester #2 – vacant.

Training Section

During week 5 for the DNR Cadets, they started their week off with instruction in regards to ethics and core values. Their second mentor dinner took place. They continued through the week with drown proofing in Little Falls and firearms training from the Use of Force instructors. The firearms training included a night shoot, handgun, rifle and shotgun training.

Aviation Section

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) attended water survival training with the other pilots and CO candidates. He also had a helicopter on display with CO Haberman at the Baxter Night Out for safety event and resumed helicopter flight training with one of the pilots.

CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying multiple missions last week. Several creel surveys along with enforcement and support flights were flown. Water egress training was attended and assistance was rendered with a staff move.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) is on western fire duty.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew two days of sketch mapping and wolf, fisher, marten and deer telemetry. Heineman also attended water survival training.

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