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MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Report - March 6, 2018

District 9 - Brainerd area: CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) assisted with an injured eagle that was struck by a vehicle. The eagle was transported to the Raptor Center for surgery and is recovering.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) completed arrest reports from previous Eelpout Festival cases. Sullivan also assisted with an injured eagle that was struck by a vehicle. The eagle was transported to the Raptor Center for surgery and is recovering. Warm weather deteriorated snowmobile trails rapidly and snowmobile activity decreased in the area. Area anglers were also checked and advised of the shelter removal date.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports patrolling snowmobile trails, monitoring fishing activity and fish house removal, and investigating illegal use of area public accesses. A deer shining case from last fall was wrapped up with an individual pleading guilty to gross misdemeanor shining. Penalties included a several hundred dollar fine, three-year revocation of hunting privileges, and confiscation of a very expensive bow. Numerous enforcement contacts were made for snowmobile speed, registration and muffler violations, people fishing with expired fishing licenses, and illegal storage of a fish house on a public access.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd #2) worked snowmobile enforcement and monitored fish shelter removals. Compliance was good. He also worked an enforcement detail with CO Hadrits. The officers had numerous enforcement contacts on an area snowmobile trail. Guida came upon a couple of snowmobilers on the trail who had just helped another sled get unstuck from a deep road right-of-way ditch. The snowmobiler very much appreciated the assistance and continued on his way. Trail conditions were very good until the warm weather showed up.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) reports checking several anglers this week, some of whom had forgotten to get a 2018 license. One angler was on a designated trout lake without a trout stamp and was using two lines. Ladd also patrolled area snowmobile trails and talked to folks enjoying the late-season snow.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for snowmobile and angling activity. McGowan also worked a detail on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for possession of narcotics, snowmobile violations, and numerous angling violations.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working area snowmobile trails throughout the week and weekend.The officer saw some traffic and by the end of the week the trails were starting to show the effects of the warm weather. Fishermen were checked on area lakes and a few trout and panfish were seen. The recreation area was patrolled and some minor park violations were addressed. Assistance was givento a local agency on a call for service and many outdoor law-related questions were fielded during the week and weekend. A fishing-related TIP was taken; follow up is still being conducted. A call on a snowmobile registration question was fielded. Enforcement action for the week included various fishing, ATV, snowmobile and state park law violations.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and snowmobile activity.An incidental bobcat was taken in and two injured eagles were also handled.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angling and snowmobile activity as last week’s snow quickly deteriorated. Ice houses were checked. The majority came off before Monday’s deadline.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked area lakes and reminded anglers to purchase their 2018 license and to have permanent shelters off the ice by March 5. Snowmobile trails are in fair to good condition. Enforcement action was taken for failing to properly display registration. Speldrich received complaints of ATVs ruining ATV and snowmobile trails in the Nemadji State Forest by rutting them up and operating at dangerous speeds.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) continued to mark fish houses and work panfishing activity. Some small perch are showing up, but very few jumbo perch. Assistance was given to a gentleman who ran into the ditch on his way to his cabin. He was a long way out into a swamp. Snowmobile activity was also monitored, and there is some ATV activity starting. A career class interview was also completed.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) looked into snowmobile trespass complaints in which snowmobilers illegally drove across farmers’ alfalfa fields and snowmobilers driving in wildlife management areas. She also spoke at the Swanville snowmobile safety class. Kuske assisted the police department with locating a person who unknowingly had sent a 911 text from a cell phone and investigated information about someone putting out shell corn to feed deer in the central Minnesota zone where deer feeding is banned. The pile of shell corn was found by a deer stand and enforcement action was taken.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent much of the week working fish house removal-related activities. Enforcement action was taken for no license, no fish house ID, and no snowmobile registration.A few coyote hunters were also checked.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week working snowmobile activity. He also followed up on big-game cases and worked on a complaint of a cable placed across the public water.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) spent time on area snowmobile trails at the beginning of the week. Some trails were groomed and were in excellent condition until warm weather deteriorated them. Anglers were busy removing fish houses but many enjoyed warm weather and hole-hopping was the strategy. Enforcement action was taken on snowmobile registration issues.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers. Violations were found for no snowmobile registration and no ice shelter ID. Follow up was done on a big-game case and an animal complaint was handled.

Aviation Section

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) attended the Tristate Aerial Applicator Convention in Grand Forks. This is an annual requirement in order to be able to continue applying herbicide to hybrid cattails in state wildlife management areas. Classes on techniques, equipment improvement, and safety items were attended. Communications with some of the other helicopter sprayers will enable improvements in our efficiency and operation this coming summer season. He also worked on helicopter maintenance.

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying missions related to moose collar recovery, telemetry, late-season ice fishing, maintenance and proficiency.Aviation training tasks were accomplished as well.

Standby NR Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) continued training out of Brainerd.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew two wolf telemetry flights, attended to administrative work and conducted maintenance on aircraft.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of more wolf telemetry flights. During these flights, Jensen assisted field officers with various photo requests, angling reconnaissance and inspecting aeration systems. Jensen also was called to assist with a report of a plane crash and finding the location, and looking for an overdue vehicle in NW Minnesota. Both incidents were unfounded. Jensen also flew a rotary training flight.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Chelsey Best (Remer) patrolled via snowmobile after the new snowfall. Fishing was slow and many people were taking their houses off in preparation for the March 5 deadline for those in the southern two-thirds of the state. Best is still receiving complaints of motor vehicles other than snowmobiles operating on groomed snowmobile trails. Remember, grant-in-aid snowmobile trails are closed to other uses through April 1 annually.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Fishermen reported limited success with the panfish bite. Recent warm weather has created slush on area lakes and resulted in deterioration of the snowmobile trails. Snowmobile trails are in poor shape after the weekend and snowmobiling will be tough unless the area receives more snow. Anglers and snowmobilers are advised to check ice conditions before venturing on area lakes.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked perch anglers. Some snowmobiles were out but trails have gotten worse with the warm weather. Some time was spent preparing for the Bear Committee meeting.Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of perch.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) reports working on fishing enforcement this past week.Ice anglers are finding some active panfish, but ice conditions are poor and slushy. He worked on a trespass complaint of snowmobilers on agricultural fields. A complaint of trash left on the ice by anglers on Fish Trap Lake was also investigated.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area snowmobile trails, checked activity on area lakes, and investigated calls about angler harassment, litter and trespass.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) focused on snowmobile and angling activity.Anglers are having a difficult time maneuvering around area lakes due to large amounts of slush accumulating after the warm weekend. Van Asch gave the law presentation and assisted at the riding test for the Greenway Snowmobile Club’s annual snowmobile safety class.Fish houses were also documented prior to the shelter removal dates. A number of anglers have already removed shelters in an effort to stay ahead of the coming weather. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no angling license in possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement