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MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Report - Dec. 19, 2017

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd #2) worked sport fishing, background investigations, and snowmobile enforcement. Officer Guida addressed ATV registration display violations along with numerous anglers without angling licenses in possession. Some larger fish shelters are being observed on area lakes. New shelter licenses are in effect and enforcement action was taken on unlicensed shelters and shelters not displaying required information. Check the shelter regulations at

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) continued follow-up on big game cases and checked anglers on area lakes. The ice is inconsistent and CO Ladd recommended caution to those venturing out.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked spearing and angling activity. Incidental fur and marijuana issues in fish houses were addressed. Assistance was given to southern Minnesota officers with a firearms deer investigation.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked on big game investigations that are pending from the deer season. Ice anglers are fishing on area lakes but ice conditions are very poor and unpredictable. CO Sullivan received reports of ATV’s and snowmobiles that broke through the ice on area lakes. Some snowmobiles have started traveling through ditches in the area but snow conditions are poor.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking ice fishing and trapping activity, patrolling the Cuyuna Country State Recreational Area, and responding to issues of a deer caught in a fence, a dog caught in a leg hold trap, blockage of a public access, wanton waste and illegal dumping of deer carcasses, car kill deer, and illegal OHV use of state forest land.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for ice angling activity. CO McGowan also followed up with TIP calls and cases from this fall’s firearms deer season.

CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) monitored ice conditions as anglers venture onto area lakes. Many lakes continue to have open areas and areas very recently frozen over. No motorized travel on lakes is recommended and anglers going out on the ice on foot should check ice thickness frequently. A light snow covering has brought out a few snowmobiles.

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District 4 - Walker area

CO Chelsey Best (Remer) worked on several investigations that remain ongoing. Ice fishermen were checked with some having moderate success in the area. Ice conditions remain unpredictable and multiple vehicles went through during the past week.

CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) handled a call on a truck that broke through the ice in a swamp; the load of fire wood was too much for the ice to handle. Office Halverson also had a wonderful meeting with retired CO’s in Pillager.

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) reports that three ATV’s and four people have fallen through the ice in Hubbard County over the last week. One of the incidents resulted in a fatality. Many Hubbard County lakes have springs/current in them making the ice unsafe. Please be careful.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring fishing and trapping activity. Anglers reported limited success. Ice conditions vary greatly from lake to lake. This week there were multiple reports of ATV and snowmobiles falling through the ice. Anglers reported finding open water in some locations. Snowmobilers continue to wait for snow.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports seeing more ice anglers on area lakes. However, the ice is extremely uneven and unpredictable. Some lakes have as much as 12 inches of ice. Inexplicably, other lakes, including many small lakes that historically have held strong ice, still have open water in areas. Two incidents of ATVs driving into open water from the ice at night occurred the past week. One on Lower Sucker Lake where the ATV occupants escaped serious injury, the other on Grace Lake where the two occupant’s condition is critical and unknown. Portage Lake near Bena had open water as did Little Twin Lake. It is essential to wear proper safety equipment, including life jackets, when venturing out onto ice of unknown depth. Night travel on lakes is very risky. Other activities for the week including work on a background investigation and recreational vehicle enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.

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District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) received a few incidental fisher that were caught. A fire that was intentionally set to a structure was investigated with charges pending. A stolen fish house was recovered that was stolen from Pine County. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV with juveniles not wearing helmets.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on some WMA issues, forestry concerns, and snowmobile enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration, no safety certificate, and riding on the roadway. Fishing activity was monitored with some pike and pan fish providing action. A fisherman dispute was handled when an ATV operator circled two fishermen that he thought were fishing too close. Enforcement action was taken for reckless operation of ATV and a long coaching session on being courteous to other fishermen that were legal.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area lakes and Mille Lacs Lake. The pan fish bite has been fair and ice conditions remain very unpredictable. It is strongly advised to check ice as you continue out on area lakes. Some open spots remain and thin ice on others. Some snowmobile activity was seen even with only two inches on the ground. Remember to check registration before heading out.

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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources