Weekly Conservation Officer Report

Highlights:

Pierz: Two duck hunters found out what happens when you don’t read the regulations, they thought shooting hours ran until sunset opening weekend and the Sandhill crane season was open statewide. They eagerly showed the CO their crane permits for the bird they shot and wondered why nobody else was out hunting ducks as they banged away at birds just before dark.

Winona: While checking a fisherman on the river, the angler made small talk by telling Hemker about trout he had caught and kept in the previous days on a local creek. Hemker advised the talkative angler that the season for keeping trout had been closed for a couple weeks

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers, goose hunters, and grouse hunters early in the week, and duck and grouse hunters during the weekend. The regular waterfowl season was quite productive. Hunters were checked on Lake of the Woods, Thief Lake, Roseau Lake WMA, and other smaller bodies of water. Large numbers of redheads, ringnecks, and pintails were found on Thief Lake. Grouse hunting success in the area State Forests has been fair. Violations for the week included over limits of redheads, transporting a loaded shotgun, and hunting in a state game refuge.

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked boat and water safety, migratory waterfowl, along with big and small game. CO Benjamin joined neighboring officers in assisting at an Outdoors Club event in Baudette. At this event kids were given instruction on safely utilizing canoes and kayak and they were then allowed to explore the river in both, under the supervision of numerous volunteers that showed up to help. Waterfowl opener proved to be a busy one with lots of happy hunters, most making away with their limits of red heads. Enforcement action was taken for the following: transport a loaded firearm in a vehicle, failure to validate a federal waterfowl stamp and shooting before legal hunting hours.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports another busy week in Lake of the Woods County. Time was spent with a Kids Canoe Safety Day in Baudette. Youth were able to gain experience in both canoes and kayaks, as well as learn about safety equipment associated with the sport. Waterfowl hunters were checked with varying success rates. Enforcement action was taken on ATV violations.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) worked the waterfowl opener seeing moderate success. An attempted stop for an ATV registration violation lead to felony charges for an individual that fled on his ATV. Thanks goes out to the DNR Aviation Section, Marshall County Sheriffs Office, and Minnesota State Patrol who all assisted in the search for the individual who was apprehended hiding in the woods. The subject faces felony fleeing charges as well as a DUI charge. Other enforcement action for the week included federal waterfowl stamp violations, license violations, and the taking of non-game migratory birds.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working bear hunting, small game hunting, ATV trail activity, commercial fishing activity, AIS enforcement, and angling activity on special regulation lakes throughout the week. The busy waterfowl opener was worked with hunters having varied success, wood ducks accounted for a number of ducks harvested. Time was spent attending a work shop hosted by the US Fish and Wildlife Services and the Upper Red Lake Citizen?s Advisory meeting. Various wildlife calls were handled and a TIP call was investigated. Enforcement action for the week included over limit of crappie, shooting during closed hours, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, AIS violations, and watercraft registration violations.

Baudette #2 -vacant.

Blackduck #2 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

Thief River Falls #2 – vacant.

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports contacting several duck hunters during the opening weekend. Hunters reported mixed success depending upon what waterbody they were on. Prairie chicken and bear hunters were also checked. Time was also spent at the DNR Enforcement Academy, assisting with big game enforcement training. Violations encountered included unsigned stamps, no state duck stamp, and no ID on bear bait station.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked waterfowl hunters, grouse hunters and few ATV?ers.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked a busy opening weekend of the waterfowl season. Several groups of hunters were checked with mixed bags and results. Time was spent checking anglers on area lakes. CO Vollbrecht attended a “Breakfast with Cops” event at BSU where college students were able to meet local law enforcement and ask questions. ATV trails were patrolled.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) worked the opening of waterfowl hunting. Time was also spent checking grouse hunters, archery deer hunting and bear hunting activity.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) patrolled the station scouting for ducks prior to the state duck season opener. Very few ducks were located, though the wild rice crop was still very thick and locating ducks was difficult. The duck opener saw lots of hunters and surprisingly lots of ducks. All hunters contacted had ducks, mostly teal and wood ducks making up most of the bag. Mallard and even a few red heads were seen. Most common violation was an unsigned federal stamp. Even though most federal stamps were purchased through the ELS system hunters need to remember to sign their stamps in ink.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked duck hunters, grouse hunters and spoke to kids at an ATV class. Assistance was also given to local law enforcement on the execution of a search warrant and call of a domestic disturbance.

CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports a good start to the duck opener with an average of 3 birds per hunter. Some groups were found with limits or close to. Sunday’s hunt was a little slower with the amount of birds taken less. Time was also spent working burning complaints, litter dumped on a WPA, shoreline issues, and assisting Pelican PD with an intoxicated individual. Fishermen were also checked and a complaint of motor boats in a waterfowl feeding and resting area was investigated.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling and boating activity. AIS compliance was monitored, information provided and inspections were performed. The public is reminded to take time to inspect waterfowl hunting equipment as well as boat and trailer. CO Warren worked the opening weekend of waterfowl season. Most hunters checked had a few birds in the bag but mentioned the warm temperatures and clear skies were making hunting a bit slower. CO Warren continued follow up on open cases. Early in the week CO Warren helped transfer an injured eagle for possible rehabilitation. A game farm was inspected for permit issuance. Archery deer and small game hunting checks were performed.

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports a busy waterfowl opening weekend with numerous hunters checked. Hunter success was estimated to be above average for the area with teal and mallards dominating the bag. However, wood ducks, redheads, canvasbacks, and ring necks were observed. Fishing pressure continues to be relative with nice temperatures persisting. Enforcement action was taken for early shooting, unplugged guns, no stamps, AIS, and angling violations.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) finalized a wetland restoration order and sent it out. Plautz instructed at the academy and investigated a horse with a broken leg to see if it was attacked by an animal. Plautz took calls of an injured hawk, trespass, answered several deer season questions, checked fishing and boating activity, and worked a busy duck opener finding many hunters with good success. Several hunters were limiting out on wood ducks in the area.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) focused enforcement activity checking waterfowl hunters, fishermen and small game hunters. Complaints were received about the lack of ducks/geese in the area. Equipment maintenance issues were attended to and a FAS class was attended in Elbow Lake.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl hunters, fishermen, ATVs and bow hunters. The fewest numbers of ducks were seen in the bag on opening weekend for the past 10 years. Fishing has been spotty on most lakes with a few sunfish being caught. Osborne answered several trespassing calls over the weekend along with an injured deer call near Evansville. A case of an untagged/unregistered bow-killed deer was also handled.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) answered several calls with questions regarding the waterfowl opener. Follow up was conducted on several bow hunting violations in the area as well. Time was also spent working with DNR watercraft inspectors educating boat owners on AIS laws as they were being removed from station lakes for the season.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on the 2015 Waterfowl Opener. Additional time was spent assisting the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office with finding a missing motorist. Anderson found the individual and notified the S.O. Anderson worked with the USFWS on the duck opener working complaints of campers on a WMA and WPAs. Questions from the public were handled regarding FAS certificates, questions about WMAs/WPAs and other waterfowl hunting rules.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports a large number of hunters were out for the waterfowl opener, the most common ducks in the bag were mallards, teal and wood ducks. Enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, ATV operators, waterfowl hunters, and monitoring AIS compliance. Additional time was spent assisting DNR Wildlife with a lake survey. Complaints of early and late shooting were the most common complaint received during the opener.

Wheaton – vacant.

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked anglers, small game hunters, archery deer hunters and ATV operators. He assisted local enforcement officers in locating a suspect in a 2nd degree assault.

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) checked hunters over the waterfowl opener with compliance being generally good. A public waters complaint was investigated, as well as a nuisance animal complaint where holes were being torn in feed storage bags. Assistance was provided at the scene of car and semi-truck collision.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked many hunters and anglers during the warm fall week. Grouse hunters, duck hunters, and the anglers all had some luck in the area. Calls were received about wolf depredation, illegal water appropriation, anglers violating fishing laws, and an injured eagle. Enforcement action was taken for unplugged shotgun, no federal duck stamp, transport loaded firearm, no HIP certification, angle without license, and illegal size walleye.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling, ATV, waterfowl hunting and boating activity. Anglers continued to have good success. Opening of waterfowl season yielded moderate success with a mixture of ducks in the bag. CO Broughten investigated a trespassing complaint. Enforcement action included: no small game license in possession and no state waterfowl stamp.

CO Colleen Adam (Rec Specialist) checked grouse hunters, waterfowl and archery hunters over the weekend; found most hunters satisfied with the outcome. She came upon a group of ATV riders in the road ditch assisting a member who had a rollover. The person refused medical attention but was understandably shaken by the incident. Watercraft registration issues were addressed as well as abandon property on public land.

Remer – vacant.

Walker – vacant.

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports a slow waterfowl opener in area with few ducks flying despite the best wild rice crop in many years. Youth ATV Safety Class was conducted for area youth along with riding component. Enforcement action taken for week included angling with extra lines and transport loaded firearm.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (International Falls) focused on the 2015 waterfowl opener. A work detail was attended with other officers from around the state. Duck hunters were out in full force eager to hit the marsh for the first time this year. The opening weekend produced enough action for hunters to keep busy and a few youths were even able to shoot their first ducks. CO Kittelson and Van Asch also attended an ATV Safety field day for the International Falls area. Nuisance animal calls were taken and handled. Enforcement action was taken for toxic shot, no small game license in possession, and hunting protected birds.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the week working small game hunters; foliage is still making grouse hunting difficult. Officer did see parties with one or two birds in the bag. The weekend was spent working the duck opener with CO Starr and Van Asch around Mille Lacs area. Enforcement was taken on illegal taking of migratory non game birds, possession of toxic shot, and various license violations. The officer also issued beaver permits to local road authority and took a couple complaints of nuisance bear.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked waterfowl opener, small game seasons, anglers, ATVs, served a WCA Restoration Order, and taught two Firearms Safety Classes in Hibbing and one in Buhl. Duck hunters in the better locations averaged two to three ducks per hunter. A parked vehicle encountered on a trail with both doors open were believed to be hunting nearby; however the occupants took a break to smoke marijuana and drink beer inside of it. The driver had several driving violations with the most serious being a gross misdemeanor for driving after cancellation. Other enforcement action was taken on unplugged shotgun, transport loaded firearm, take waterfowl in open water, operate motor vehicle on state trail, and ATV violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) responded to the report of a processed deer carcass that was dumped at the intersection of Hwy 169 and Spirit Lake Road west of Mt. Iron. The large deer was dumped in plain sight of every vehicle that passed by. Practices such as this give every sportsman and woman who practices legal and ethical hunting a bad image. If anyone knows of a large deer that was taken in the Mt Iron area very recently and privately processed please contact CO Frericks at (218) 404-0600. Your information will be kept confidential. Area duck hunters were out in full force. Very few hunters came back without anything in the bag. Enforcement action was taken for no state and federal stamps, and transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. A bow hunter thought it would be okay to put out apples in front of his tree stand and hunt over them. The bow hunter’s day ended when CO Frericks checked his license and found the pile of apples. The bow hunter was issued a citation for hunting over bait and his bow was seized.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked waterfowl opener over the weekend and primarily concentrated time on rice lakes and the St Louis River. Very few hunters were encountered and even fewer birds seen. Grouse hunters are reporting very few birds and birds seen are singles (no coveys). Fredin checked into a possible wolf going after domestic fowl.

Cook – vacant.

Ray – vacant.

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports it was a busy week with small game and waterfowl hunting both open. About half the amount of duck hunters were observed compared to previous years, although hunter’s who were out, reported a fair amount of birds. Violations included possessing lead shot while waterfowl hunting, no federal waterfowl stamp and possession of a short barreled shotgun.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked duck hunters throughout the weekend. There were very few ducks around and very few duck hunters as well. There were way more fishermen and canoers. One group encountered was shooting ducks almost two hours late and another was observed chasing ducks with a boat. Very few grouse were observed. The weather has been fantastic and the leaves are turning.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports a very busy weekend with lots of activity. He stopped three high performance sports cars that were playing follow the leader and issued Careless Driving citations as they were using the Gunflint Trail as their own race track. A few waterfowl hunters were out and a lesson was given in identifying grebes which are federally protected migratory birds. Too bad for the grebe the lesson came too late. Loaded firearms were encountered in motor vehicles. One couple was thrilled at the CO’s timing as a monster bull moose stepped out in front of their vehicle during a license check. He hung around just long enough for a couple of photos. Speaking of big bulls, the CO found a moose wallow and heard from others that they’ve seen some nice bulls on the move as they get ready for the mating season.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the waterfowl opener in southeast Minnesota on the Mississippi River with CO Prodzinski. Success and hunting pressure was high. Enforcement action for the week included a group of anglers who kept 13 closed season trout including three fishing without licenses in Whitewater State Park, taking waterfowl during closed hours, possession of lead shot, unsigned federal stamp, insufficient PFDs, no license in possession, fail to display ATV registration, and a traffic citation. Time was also spent teaching game laws at the academy.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked small game hunting activity. Time was also spent checking ATVs in the forest, and anglers after their last chance for trout on inland lakes.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked hunters during the waterfowl opening weekend. The officer handled wildlife complaints, checked ATV riders, small game hunters and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for hunting and fishing violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked the waterfowl opener with only a few birds seen in the dense fog of the North Shore. Big game investigations continued and several calls of nuisance animals were handled. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations and failure to have licenses in possession.

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, grouse hunters, waterfowl hunters and ATV riders. He worked ongoing cases and a possible fishing overlimit. Enforcement action was taken for failing to display ATV registration.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, boating activity, worked ATV activity, checked small game hunters, waterfowl hunters, and worked commercial enforcement. He continued to work on various investigations. CO Hansen also prepared for upcoming academy training

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time checking small gam and big hunters this past week. She focused efforts on waterfowl and deer hunting enforcement. She is currently investigating a deer that was shot by the fairgrounds with archery equipment, in a non-hunting area, from the road. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the TIP line. Enforcement action was taken for duck hunting violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy week of small game activity with the added season of waterfowl hunting beginning over the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for hunting waterfowl with a shotgun cable of holding more than three shells, hunting during closed hours, hunting ducks without a state waterfowl stamp and hunting without a license in possession. CO Sutherland also attended the local Minnesota Deer Hunters Banquet where the Wall of Shame was displayed. A youth firearms safety law talk was given over the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working waterfowl and grouse hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for not operating ATV on closed trails, possession of marijuana and hunting while under revocation. Wichmann also assisted with the academy at Camp Ripley.

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked on a public waters complaint. A falcon facility inspection was completed. Time was spent working the waterfowl opener and most hunters had some success. Misidentification of waterfowl was a problem for some hunters. ATV complaint areas were worked.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked off-highway vehicle, big game, and small game hunting activity throughout the week. CO Humphrey worked area lakes for waterfowl opener over the weekend. Hunter success varied with some limits observed. Teal, wood ducks, mallards, pintail, widgeon, red heads, and ring necks were most commonly seen in hunter’s bags. Only a handful of geese were observed. CO Humphrey also received calls on nuisance wildlife, trespass, unlawful ATV activity, and car killed deer. Violations encountered included ATV and OHM equipment, registration, operation, unplugged shotgun, possession of toxic shot, no HIP certification, no license in possession, and public water access violations.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked waterfowl hunters in the area. Some success noticed on area lakes. Complaints of hunter harassment and shooting towards a campground were investigated. A trespass complaint on archery deer hunters was looked into. No trespassing violation was found. A complaint of turkeys damaging property at an area farm was received and forwarded to the local DNR wildlife office. Assistance was given at a K9 testing event in Grand Rapids. Other time was spent checking compliance on aquatic invasive species violation. Good compliance with the laws was found. A complaint of goose carcasses dumped on private property was looked into in the Barnum area. This case is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call turn in poachers.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent a couple days working at the academy helping with training for new hire Conservation Officers. A firearms safety class was also attended. Opening waterfowl was worked with possession of lead shot, unplugged guns, and taking protected species were some violations encountered. Many grouse hunters were checked over the weekend. Night deer shining complaint areas were also worked.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports investigation of deer baiting and trespass complaints, and work focusing around the waterfowl season opener. Opening day success was found to be good amongst hunters checked with mallards, wood ducks, and teal being the most common birds in the bag. Enforcement contacts were made for possessing toxic shot and insufficient PFDs.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked the migratory bird opener. Numerous groups were checked and license/stamp violations were detected and other hunting violations were addressed. Officer Guida contacted a group of hunters who had capsized their watercraft while in route to their hunting location. The small Jon boat was carelessly overloaded with a large homemade hunting platform that the hunters were going to place on public ground, numerous decoys, shotguns, shells, and a hunting dog. In addition to other violations, there was only one personal floatation device. Luckily, other observing hunters were able to offer assistance to the group.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked the fall hunting seasons throughout the week. Lots of shooting was heard coming from the waterfowl hunters. Based on observations about half of it was for birds out of range. Trespass complaints were also handled. Assistance was also given to the Sheriff’s Department with a lost hunter call which had a good ending. The group of twenty hunters had one compass amongst them.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) reports a busy waterfowl opening weekend. Numerous hunters were checked and the average bag limit per group was about four birds. Law enforcement action was taken for several violations.

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) checked grouse and waterfowl hunters. The officer received a TIP call of duck hunters shooting long after the 4pm closing time. The officer was able to intercept three youths after they finally picked up their decoys and headed to shore long after dark. The teenagers did not have required licenses, did not have any life jackets on the boat, and had unplugged shotguns in addition to not only shooting after legal hours, but also long after dark. The youths parents were back at the house, oblivious to it all. The youths got a much needed educational lecture on hunting laws and safety, and the parents got a citation for allowing the illegal behavior.

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The anglers are out and the fall bite is picking up. Waterfowl opener went well good numbers of hunters and a fair amount of ducks. Most common duck in the bag was wood duck and the mallard was a close second. No lights, no PFD and no State of Federal stamp violations were found. He checked grouse hunters and the report was poor. The hunters explained that is still too many leaves on trees to see all of the birds they flushed. The archery hunters report the deer are becoming more active with the cooler weather. He worked with AIS inspectors on Gull checking boats and lake service providers. Violations were water in ballast tanks and duck hunters not pulling the plug in there duck boat.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working the 2015 Waterfowl opener over the weekend. Quite a few hunters made it out over the weekend and a few of them were able to get some birds. Small and big game hunters were checked throughout the week and weekend and ATV activity was monitored throughout the week. TIP calls of over limit of ducks, illegal shooting of a swan and a possible shooting of ducks from a moving boat were investigated. Assistance was also given to the Sheriff’s Office on a lost hunter. Enforcement action for the week included various small game and waterfowl violations.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) patrolled area state forest areas for OHV issues and problem areas. While traveling down a known problem area in the General Andrews State Forest she located several belongings placed on the side of the road. One of the items contained personal identification and prescription drugs. Computer checks showed that the individual listed on those items had an active felony warrant. The items were secured and placed in the custody of Pine County Sheriff’s Office who arrived to assist with the call. Speldrich received several calls regarding public waters violations, waterfowl hunting and archery deer season.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked abandoned property in Kathio State Park, Mille Lacs WMA projects, road kill deer and bear, fishing, and duck opener. Questions came in about wolf encounters, as well as deer season confusion. Duck opener yielded moderate success for teal, with enforcement action taken for unsigned stamps and failing to retrieve waterfowl. Overall, compliance was found to be very good. A dead swan was found on Lake Onamia and is being looked into, please review your wildlife ID skills before heading out water fowling. CO Starr would recommend videos or search for action clips of swans in flight on the internet.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) worked the unseasonably warm duck hunting opener and found quite a few groups of hunters out but not a lot of ducks moving around. Those that did find a few ducks in the Hinckley area harvested mostly mallards and wood ducks. Fall fishing activity picked up a bit with the warm weather and many anglers had good luck finding crappie and bluegill. Time was also spent at the Conservation Officer Academy instructing game hunting laws to the new candidates.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week following up on a wetland complaint, and answered numerous questions about waterfowl season. He checked small game hunters, fishermen, and assisted fisheries with an electroshocking survey on Pokegama Lake. CO Wynn spent the weekend checking waterfowl hunters and monitoring OHV activity in the area.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area WMAs and ponds checking waterfowl hunters. Mallards, Wood Ducks and Teal were the main ducks seen harvested. Hunters reported a slow start to the season. A number of complaints ranging from hunter shooting at a swan, possible over limit and shooting from a boat underway were investigated. Assistance was given to the local sheriff’s department in locating a lost hunter. Enforcement action was taken on a number of waterfowl violations.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked a detail outside his station with focus efforts in off-highway vehicle enforcement, small game, waterfowl and AIS education. The officer also received calls concerning over limits, baiting and burning prohibited materials.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) taught the law portion for Swanville FAS. Work continued on open cases. Small game activity was checked. Opening of waterfowl season had great potential. A cool, foggy morning brought waterfowl within range for hunters. None of the hunters checked complained of not seeing ducks, or being out of range. Some did admit, however, their skills may have been a bit lacking. Overall, hunters were in good spirits
OHV laws were enforced.

CO Brian Mies (Annandale) last week checked anglers. CO Mies gave a law talk at the South Haven firearms class. CO Mies checked waterfowl hunters and worked on tip calls.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) investigated a complaint of hunter harassment which actually took place during youth waterfowl day. The complaint involved questionable placement of private property signs in public waters and verbal intimidation of people hunting in the area. CO Kuske patrolled the area on duck opener without any serious conflict other than some spirited words from the property owner reminding people to stay off his land. Several complaints of shots being fired late at night were investigated and will continue to monitor the areas for future incidents. Assistance was provided to D11 officers investigating reports of deer baiting. Instruction was provided at the academy relating to community and school involvement and its importance in the job of conservation officer. The fall walleye bite is picking up on area lakes and several boat lifts were inspected for AIS when removed from the lake for the season. Two duck hunters found out what happens when you don’t read the regulations, they thought shooting hours ran until sunset opening weekend and the Sandhill crane season was open statewide. They eagerly showed the CO their crane permits for the bird they shot and wondered why nobody else was out hunting ducks as they banged away at birds just before dark.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) assisted at the CO academy for game week. Duck hunters were worked with success for most groups checked. Wood duck was the main duck seen, with a few mallard, teal, and Canada geese. Enforcement action taken for use of lead shells, transport loaded gun, no state stamp, and no PFD.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week patrolling for ATV activity, monitoring access sites for AIS violations and worked on big game activity in the station. A law and ethics presentation was given to a youth firearms safety class and an area Rod and Gun Club meeting was attended. On one evening patrol CO Silgjord happed upon a farmer in need of assistance after blowing a tire on a gravity box. After securing the pieces of tire CO Silgjord returned to the farmer’s location to find that the remaining piece of tire had caught fire. CO Silgjord was able to extinguish the flames and assisted with changing out the rim. Assistance was also provided to Academy 16 with late night shining scenarios. The waterfowl opener was worked with most hunters finding some success. Bags consisted mostly of mallards, wood ducks and teal. One party was unfortunately in possession of a pied billed grebe that was seized. Other violations included no license in possession, unplugged shotgun, and no federal duck stamp.

St. Cloud – vacant.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked waterfowl hunters and anglers. Violations were found for hunting before season, shooting non game birds, and no licenses/stamps. CO Musatov investigated a wetland complaint and handled several hunting related TIP calls. CO Musatov spoke at a youth firearms safety class.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked deer, small game and waterfowl hunters. He issued a number of summonses for hunting deer over a baited area. He issued a number of summons and written warnings for leaving deer stands in WMA overnight. He followed up on a beaver complaint. He answered a numbers of waterfowl hunting question pertaining to the Mississippi River Islands. He took enforcement action on a number of waterfowl violations. He issued written warnings and summons for illegal operation of an ATV and registration violations.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) assisted at the CO Academy and worked the busy waterfowl opener. Duck hunters did pretty well in the Wright County. Most hunters checked had harvested several ducks each. A couple groups limited out. Most common species were blue wing teal, mallard, green wing teal and wood duck, but a canvasback and pintail was also found in the bag. Enforcement action was taken for hunting without small game license, no federal stamp, no state stamp, and shooting non game migratory bird.

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy waterfowl opener. A large number of hunters were out on area lakes and swamps. Most hunters found very few numbers of ducks. Two hunters came into access with two birds they thought were ducks. The hunters were informed that they had shot a green heron and a pie-billed grebe, and enforcement action was taken.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) spent time at Camp Ripley assisting with the academy. Time was spent on duck opener in the field checking hunters. Ducks were seen in the bag and many enjoyed the nice weather. Enforcement action was taken on shotgun capable of containing more than three shells, transporting a loaded firearm, and various ATV violations.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked waterfowl and small game hunters, assisted with a BOW event, and checked anglers/boaters. Enforcement action was taken on public waters violations and hunter harassment.

Princeton – vacant.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers, duck hunters and doing some equipment maintenance. CO Grewe attended a multi-agency exercise in Dakota County, assisted in cadet training at Camp Ripley, and spoke to a group in Plymouth about Conservation Officer duties. Violations included taking a protected migratory bird, no state waterfowl stamp and no license in possession.

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) had a busy week leading up to the waterfowl opener. She answered numerous calls from people with questions about the opener as well as other general DNR questions. Leuthardt worked with a neighboring CO during the waterfowl opener and checked dozens of hunters with varying degrees of success. She also worked a bridge detail on the St. Croix River. Enforcement action was taken on an unplugged shotgun while hunting migratory birds, taking protected non-game species, no license in possession and also investigated reports of possible trespassing.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked the duck opener in the west metro area and found many hunters having good success with wood ducks and teal. He checked some bow hunters and took a call on a dead bird in Bloomington. Many questions were answered in the Asian community on small game hunting regulations and firearm safety classes. Violations included unsigned federal duck stamps.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the stations of Waconia and Fort Snelling State Park for angling, hunting, and state trail usage. He provided a ride along to a college student who expressed interest in becoming a Conservation Officer. CO Le took enforcement action for illegally transporting a firearm, no small game license, no state and federal duck stamps, and failing to sign federal duck stamps. He responded to calls regarding violations of waterfowl hunting regulations.

Bloomington – vacant.

Mound – vacant.

Waconia – vacant.

Conservation Officer Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for waterfowl and archery hunters on the busy opener weekend. CO Salzer also attended a water rescue exercise in Ramsey County. Salzer also assist the Anoka County Sheriff?s Office on a call.

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) checked numerous waterfowl hunters over the weekend, finding pretty good compliance. She handled numerous calls regarding waterfowl hunting questions and where hunting is legal on the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes. CO Kruse assisted the Fridley Fire Department with their open house, worked AIS enforcement at area accesses and continued working on aquatic vegetation cases in Ramsey County. She checked archery deer and small game hunters in Anoka County. Violations included insufficient number of PFDs, no Federal waterfowl stamp, no HIP certification, unsigned Federal waterfowl stamp and failure to pull drain plug on boat.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports participating in a water rescue training exercise on Pig?s Eye Lake. He also worked the waterfowl opener and spent time handling TIP calls. Violations included hunting without a license, stamp violations, unplugged shotgun, possession of toxic shot and entering a WMA during closed hours.

CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he worked the waterfowl opener with CO Leuthardt in Scott County. The weather was great, the ducks were flying, and most hunters had ducks in the bag. CO Johnson and Leuthardt also rescued a barred owl from McMahon Lake that had been tangled in fishing line. He spoke to a firearms safety class at The Oakdale Gun Club. CO Johnson reports that he encountered an unusually high violation rate this past week. He wrote citations for various hunting and fishing violations five days in a row.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked waterfowl opener weekend in Dakota County. Several duck hunters were seen out hunting on some of the metro lakes and some were successful. He worked angling and boating enforcement around the metro lakes and rivers. He also responded to a tip complaint and nuisance animal complaints.

Eagan – vacant.

Metro Officer – vacant.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working archery deer and waterfowl hunters. ?Swan? was the word of the day for Waterfowl Opener. An investigation is pending on a Trumpeter Swan shot from the sky above Robbins Slough. CO Robinson observed the shooting from a great distance. Also on the opener, an injured swan call was also handled; however, it was discovered to be an immature swan on his maiden voyage that got tired. Antlerless deer licensing questions abound. Enforcement action was taken for fishing license violations, waterfowl license and stamp violations, unplugged shotgun, and party hunting waterfowl.

CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH Radio. An AIS check point was administered near Lake Benton, several boats were inspected and a few citations were issued. A prohibited burn was detected and a citation was issued. Waterfowl season had a great day with a lot of ducks being taken. Enforcement action was taken for shooting from open water and license issues. Several duck boats were found with plugs in the boats and action was taken

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reported sloughs were full of hunters for the waterfowl opener. Temperatures around 60 degrees, clear skies, and light winds made it about a 2 1/2 hour hunt for most. Windy conditions on Sunday forced some duck hunters off bigger sloughs early. As expected, most of the ducks harvested were teal with some mallard, wood duck, gadwall, and shovelers mixed in. Time was spent during the week working fishing, boating, archery deer, small game, and ATV enforcement. Assistance was given with an AIS check station near Lake Benton.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked many hunters during the busy opening weekend of the waterfowl season. By far the most waterfowl hunters, this officer has seen on opening day. Hunter success varied amongst the groups checked. Puddle ducks were the predominant species taken. Hunters and landowners are encouraged to update themselves regarding legal water access for recreational use. Multiple violations related to waterfowl hunting were encountered.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports two blue bird days for duck opener resulted in an initial flurry for the first hour then action died down. A few limits of teal and wood ducks were seen. Complaints of shooting before hours and leaving decoys on public water were investigated. Enforcement action was taken for unplugged firearm, no license in possession, littering, leaving decoys on public water, and angling with extra lines.

Benson – vacant.

Madison – vacant.

Redwood Falls – vacant.

Worthington – vacant.

CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) worked the waterfowl opener and noted moderate success. Denz also checked anglers, boaters, and ATV operators.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent most of the week getting ready for the duck opener. Klehr had the chance to fly over the Litchfield station with a DNR pilot and get a different view of everything from the air. Several potential wetland violations were checked on with more follow up needed. Over the opener there were a lot of hunters checked that were having luck early in the morning before it got to warm. Multiple duck hunting violations were detected, including hunters not having their licenses with them, not enough PFDs in boats, not having all the right licenses or stamps, and a few unplugged shotguns.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) worked the TIP line for the opening weekend of the waterfowl season. Mueller also assisted at the academy during the week.

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked a fairly successful opening of the 2015 waterfowl season. Oberg checked lots and lots of blue wing teal in the bag. Several limits of ducks were checked in the Green Isle area. Violations observed ranged from not enough PFDs to trespassing and illegal party hunting of waterfowl. Oberg also spoke at the Gopher Campfire firearm safety class this week. A TIP call is also being followed up on.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) gave two firearms safety presentations. He investigated the shooting of a trumpeter swan. Nelson answered questions regarding waterfowl and deer hunting regulations and trespassing concerns. He also spent time on archery deer, waterfowl, small game hunting and boating activities.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked sport fishing, small game and archery deer hunting, and the waterfowl opener. There were a good number of waterfowl hunters out in the county and they had good opportunity to harvest ducks. Gruhlke observed mallard, blue wing teal, green wing teal and wood ducks in the bag. He also noted that local producers are getting a good start on the soybean harvest as well.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked a variety of hunting related activity. Waterfowl season started with hot/humid temperatures and a few ducks being taken. Many of ducks were juveniles and hunters had a hard time identifying them in the hand. Angling and boating activity was monitored. TIP reports were received for angling violations and citations were issued. A variety of violations were observed and documented for waterfowl hunting activity.

Willmar #1 – vacant.

Windom – vacant.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) worked a busy waterfowl opener. Trespassing complaints were handled. TIP calls are being investigated. The officer continues to check anglers and boaters on the river.

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working small game and archery deer hunting, ATV enforcement, and AIS compliance. The waterfowl opener was worked over the weekend. Most hunters checked had experienced success. Wood ducks and Canada geese made up the majority of game bags. CO Chihak attended a youth Conservation Day at Forestville State Park sponsored by the Fillmore County SWCD.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking deer, waterfowl, and small game hunters. Time was also spent investigating a number of TIP calls and other complaints from the public. Fishermen and ATV activity were also worked.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked, hunting, fishing, and recreational vehicle enforcement. The fish bite continues to be steady and many anglers are taking advantage. The officer reports a busy waterfowl opener with early shooting, plug, and PFD violations being the most common issues. Waterfowl hunters experienced limited success in the warm weather. An early trapping complaint was worked with a neighboring officer.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent much of the week in preparation for the opening of waterfowl season. Waterfowl hunting pressure was moderate, as was the number of birds harvested. COs Howe and Nelson took enforcement action on a party for taking a trumpeter swan.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked a busy waterfowl opening weekend. The officer also checked anglers, boaters, ATV operators, small game and archery deer hunters. A law & ethics presentation was given at a FAS field day for 83 students at the 20 Gun Club. TIP calls were received regarding a person trapping out of season in Dodge County and someone shooting a trumpeter swan in Steele County. Anyone with information on the killing of the trumpeter swan is asked to call the Turn in Poachers line at 1-800-652-9093.

Albert Lea – vacant.

Mankato #1 – vacant.

CO Phil George (Rochester) assisted with academy training during game week. He checked anglers and waterfowl hunters. One angler using an extra line was arrested on an outstanding probation warrant. Other enforcement action included no PFDs in a watercraft and unplugged shotguns.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a good duck opener with 2-3 ducks per hunter. Hunter numbers were very high but most said it was a very good opener. Fishing in the area was also good. While checking a fisherman on the river, the angler made small talk by telling Hemker about trout he had caught and kept in the previous days on a local creek. Hemker advised the talkative angler that the season for keeping trout had been closed for a couple weeks.

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the weekend checking waterfowl hunting activity. On Saturday there were large numbers of hunters out taking advantage of the opener. North Lake had 62 vehicles parked at the access. Numerous limits of ducks were seen in the bag on Saturday. Sunday there was about half as many hunters out and less than half the numbers of ducks seen in the bag. Ducks that were seen harvested included wood ducks, teal, widgeon, pintail, mallard, canvasbacks and shovelers. A complaint was received in the Frontenac area of someone dumping large quantities of nails and screws in front of the ramp area where people would typically launch their boats to a small lake. Time was also spent talking at an ATV safety class in Bellchester and checking fishing activity. Numerous waterfowl hunting violations were detected.

CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports another good duck opener. There were more hunters in the area than in past openers. Hunters averaged about three birds. Wood duck was the most common bird shot. One large group had 43 wood duck opening day. He checked a duck hunter that hasn’t hunted for over 30 years. He found his shotgun still shot straight and had a limit of wood duck within five minutes. Enforcement included on small game license and taking protected song birds.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly hunters and anglers during the week. Fishing has slowed, but continues to be good. Lots of duck hunters were out over the weekend and did fairly well. Heyn also had court on two angling cases from the spring.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working a very busy opening weekend of the 2015 waterfowl season on the Mississippi River. Teal and wood ducks dominated the bag along with a goose or two. He also reports checking some limits of bluegill and perch on the river as well as taking a few more trespass calls. The state forest and Wildlife Management areas were also worked. Enforcement action included license, stamps, lead shot violations as well as late hunting issue.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working a slow waterfowl opener. About a duck per group was the average. Compliance was high. Small game hunters were also checked as were archery hunters. Success was fair to good. Time was also spent assisting at the academy.

Rochester #2 – vacant.

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