District 9 - Brainerd area
Conservation Officer (CO) Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity this past week of taking enforcement action on illegal wildlife feeding and a person trying to block ATV traffic in a road right-of-way. He also worked an AIS road check in the Mille Lacs Lake area, where numerous violations were found with people transporting aquatic plants and failing to remove drain plugs from boats. In one instance, a lady came driving down the state highway with her kids riding in the boat on the boat trailer. She thought that was OK.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) assisted with locating an ATV operator who became disorientated and got lost. The operator traveled off trail, got stuck and did not have any means of communication. The operator was located and safely transported home. Sullivan also worked on background investigations and assisted with training cadets at the CO Academy.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) assisted with the DNR Conservation Officer Academy this past week. Guida worked with District 9 conservation officers around the Brainerd International Raceway focusing on all-terrain vehicle violations including alcohol-impaired driving. He also fielded a nuisance-bear complaint and monitored bear-baiting activity.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, invasive species and ATV activity. Bear-baiting activity and a complaint of watercraft chasing geese were also handled.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled area lakes for angling and boating activity. He also assisted with training at the Conservation Officer Academy and worked around the Brainerd International Raceway for ATV enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports assisting with teaching sport fishing week at the CO Academy, where Cadets learned about fishing laws and apprehension techniques. Time was also spent addressing SRA park violation issues and answering many outdoor law-related questions. Several calls regarding nuisance and injured animals were fielded and assistance was given to a local agency on a call for service. Vehicles were checked in the SRA for park passes and questions regarding park-related rules were answered. Enforcement action was taken for various state park-related violations.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. Sunfish and bass have been biting. The nice weekend brought out a lot of boaters and PWC operators to area lakes. Boating enforcement and safety occupied most of Posner’s time. No lights after sunset, insufficient PFDs, and expired registration violations were found. He also worked on aquatic invasive species prevention on lakes Alexander and Shamineau. A complaint of ATVs causing damage to road ditches and driving carelessly near Pillager was also investigated. He responded to a camping complaint at Rock Lake.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily taught new conservation officers fishing-related statutes and rules at the Academy. Work continues on a background investigation of a CO applicant. Some time was spent checking bear baits and anglers in the area. Complaints of nuisance beavers and a jet ski chasing loons were received.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked lake activity where algae and weed growth appears to be peaking. He assisted with an aquatic check where several boats were observed with dangling vegetation. He also attended training, checked bear-baiting activity, and answered questions at Game Fair.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) patrolled fishing, big-game, and ATV enforcement. She spent time giving presentations on hunting regulations and hunting safety at two local firearms safety classes. Whiteoak also worked at the TIP booth at Wahkon Days and worked at Game Fair, answering many questions regarding the upcoming hunting seasons.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on equipment issues, attended training, and continued recruitment efforts for possible future CO applicants. Bear baiting has started, with trespass and WMA issues addressed. Starr also coached an elderly lakeshore owner who became upset with people fishing near his dock. The dock owner brought rocks in his hand to possibly defend his property from being damaged by large lures. Luckily, the situation came to a peaceful end.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked anglers for the last time on Mille Lacs Lake with CO Verkuilen. Fishing was fairly slow, which it should be for August. Croatt ran into an angler who said he had been fishing Mille Lacs for 40 years and this was only the second time he had ever been checked. He was grateful for Croatt and Verkuilen being out and working the lakes, which was nice to hear. This was Croatt’s last week after nearly 32 years in law enforcement.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent the past week assisting with Academy instruction during the sport fishing theme week. COCs received in-depth instruction about checking anglers and conducting angling investigations. Time was also spent assisting with Academy scenario and firearms training. The annual Big Birch Lake Association meeting was attended with multiple questions and concerns being addressed by lakeshore owners. ATV violations were addressed also during the week, including one machine that had not been registered since 2014.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) attended training this past week and worked in his office on training. He checked anglers, AIS and boating activity. Calls for service included assisting local police with a muskrat-related call, and burning prohibited materials.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) responded to TIP calls of extra lines and illegal fish. A public water violation was handled and a lake association meeting was attended. A person was also found to be fishing after his license privileges had been revoked for not responding to another DNR citation that he received last year.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked angling and boating activity on local lakes and rivers, patrolled complaint ATV areas, and took complaints on trespass/litter. Time was also spent working with local government units checking for compliance on wetland and public waters projects.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and working on boat and water enforcement. He also handled several animal-related complaints.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) assisted with Academy training at Camp Ripley. Follow up was completed on a solid waste case. Anglers were checked and ATV complaint areas were worked.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports working area lakes and rivers. Citations were issued for angling without a license. Other violations were related to boat safety. A trespass case was also investigated.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a wolf telemetry flight, a night boat creel on Leech Lake and giving instruction to another CO Pilot. Work continues on a background investigation.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued with more helicopter spraying of herbicide on invasive hybrid cattail on state wildlife management areas. Good progress was made on the plots, and the crew is moving to the southern area of the state. Weather cooperated with mostly light winds and favorable temperatures.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a Leech Lake creel survey and wolf telemetry. He also finished up the sketch mapping for Forest Assessment and did a 50-hour lube and inspection on one of the Division’s helicopters. Heineman had the opportunity to fly a new Cessna 206 to see if it might work as a replacement aircraft in the future.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) conducted two AIS check stations over the weekend. Between the two, over 200 watercrafts were checked with an average violation rate of 40 percent. Time was spent on WCA cases in his assigned area
WREO Leah Weyandt (Central) conducted a site visit on Lake Minnetonka. A public water violation was found where the contractor added four to six feet of fill into the lake to make a new, flatter shoreline. Weyandt assisted on fishing scenario day for the Academy at Camp Ripley.
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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement