District 4 - Walker area

CO (Conservation Officer) Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked deer hunters. Success rate appeared to be around 25% for groups checked. Complaints of road hunting, shining, hunters in refuge, baiting, and trespassing were investigated. Enforcement action was taken for deer tagging violations, loaded firearms in motor vehicle, ATV violations, and feeding ban violation.

CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) reports checking multiple firearms deer hunters over opener. She also responded to a trespass complaint, and dogs chasing deer. Enforcement action was taken on people hunting over bait.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) reports that he worked on deer hunting enforcement this past weekend. Hunters had mixed success. Some of the complaints include hunting over bait, shooting from a road, untagged deer and litter. Anglers that went out had fair success. Walleye and northern were the most active. Complaints of vehicles on closed trails in the Pillsbury forest were investigated. Campers in the forest were warned for unattended fires, alcohol at a state camp ground and litter.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked big game enforcement during the opening weekend of the firearms deer opener. Cases of illegal lend/borrow licenses were investigated. Officer Guida seized equipment used to take big game with the aid of bait. The penalties upon conviction include increased fines and revocation of hunting privileges. Complaints of road hunting and trespassing were taken. Officer Guida assisted local law enforcement agencies on a variety of trespass and hunter related calls.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) Opening day of deer season was busy with lots of hunters reporting average success. Sullivan addressed several big game violations including hunting with the aid of bait, transport loaded firearms, illegal attractants and untagged big game. Sullivan also assisted Cass County Sheriff’s Office with locating a lost hunter that was found to be in possession of controlled substances and taken into custody.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing counties for deer hunting activity. Hunters reported mixed success. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports focusing on the busy firearms deer season opener and related activities. Numerous hunters were checked over the weekend and numerous calls and issues were handled. Several reports of illegal deer baiting and feeding were looked into and illegal deer shining activity was worked, with numerous enforcement contacts made for hunting over bait, and deer shining.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked firearms deer, trespass and property line disputes. Time was spent on the radio with the Area Wildlife Manager and two funerals were attended with the DNR Honor Guard.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking the park for SRA and vehicle violations and did follow up on an ongoing case in the park. The Officer worked the deer opener and many hunters were out trying to bag a deer. The Officer responded to calls of baiting, trespassing, and other hunting related calls. The Officer answered many law related questions regarding the new 604 CWD zone rules. Enforcement action was taken for various big game law violations.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) and COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Mikeena Mattson worked nuisance animal and wetlands enforcement, deer baiting, big game hunting, and trapping activity. Multiple baiting complaints were investigated and enforcement action was taken this week for hunting deer over bait, untagged deer, failure to validate deer tag, direct/allow youth to violate game and fish laws, and violate feeding and attractants ban. Additionally, enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials.

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Reminder: Anyone born after December 31, 1979 cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate. In addition, many states have even more stringent mandatory Hunter Education requirements. Check before you go!

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District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked deer opener including illegal stands, baited areas, and hanging deer without tags. Illegal fishing and unoccupied boats were reported on Mille Lacs. Both cases turned out to be waterfowl hunters make use of layout boats. Area trappers were already getting use out of there ice spuds as shallow waters have frozen over and larger lakes have frozen around the edges.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time working deer firearms opener patrolling big game enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for hunters transporting loaded firearms, fail to tag deer, fail to validate deer tag, operate ATV during closed hours of firearm season, and trespassing.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) spent the firearms deer opener taking enforcement action for hunting deer over baited areas. Other violations included improper validation of deer tags, no license in possession, operating ATVs during closed hours, and operate an ATV without required equipment. Several trespassing disputes and questions were handled as well as complaints of putting stands too close to property lines. Officer’s Speldrich and Humphrey stopped to verify that the tags were on four deer which were hanging at a deer camp. One deer was a 110lb dressed adult with white spots throughout the coat. A hunter in the party was a little disappointed that the COs wanted a photo of the spotted deer and not his huge buck.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took numerous calls with the upcoming deer season and new CWD area. Deer opener was fairly quiet with a few issues addressed. Trespass continues to be the most common problem. Enforcement action was taken for untagged deer, fail to validate tag, and lacking blaze orange. A separate case of shooting from roadway, onto posted land, and directly in the direction of a legal hunter left the area residents very concerned.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week following up on a bear hunting investigation. The firearms deer season opener was worked and many hunters were seen afield looking to take a deer. A TIP report regarding a lend/borrow of a deer license was investigated with CO Lawler with enforcement action being taken and a sizeable buck being seized. Other enforcement action included untagged deer, blaze orange violations, and illegal use of a bonus tag.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked waterfowl and hunting activity this week. Trespass was the most prevalent calls for the week. The officer assisted neighboring officers with deer cases.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports having a busy deer opener. Enforcement action was taken for untagged deer, transporting loaded firearms, no ATV registration, and hunting over a baited area. Several calls including trespass, hunter harassment, and shoot from the roadway were handled as well.

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Reminder: Any resident born after December 31, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota must possess a snowmobile certificate. Two options are available to complete certification. Ages 11 and older can take the online course and hands-on day or attend the traditional youth course. Those 16 or older can take the online course.

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District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent a busy weekend checking deer hunters and responding to calls. Hunters were finding moderate success and CO Krauel was able to hear several good deer stories including stories about the “one that got away.” CO Krauel also worked on equipment maintenance and checked ice levels on local lakes. CO Krauel would like to remind excited ice anglers to be patient on area lakes and wait until ice levels thicken. No fish is worth a swim in ice cold water.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) worked the firearms deer hunting opener and reports seeing a lot of happy hunters who harvested deer in the area, and then some not so happy hunters who were caught hunting over bait. Multiple calls were taken on trespassing, dogs chasing deer, and hunter harassment. At the end of opening day Officer Londgren and Weyandt responded to a call of someone going through the ice on a local lake. The angler was able to get himself out of the water and back to shore, shaken up and cold, but lucky to be alive. Area lakes are not safe at this time and anglers are advised to stay off the ice.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked hunters and handled hunting complaints. Violations were found for hunting over bait, trespassing, no blaze orange, and hunting in closed Game Refuge. Several animal calls were received.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports working a busy firearm deer opener. Enforcement action was taken on hunting over bait, untagged deer, unregistered deer, hunting without a licensee, and transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle. On one stop, a subject fled resulting in a vehicle chase down the road and through an agricultural field. Despite the violations, CO Benkofske states that the majority of hunters were lawful and found good success in the woods if they could stay warm enough to be out.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying several flights to assist in locating illegal baited deer stands. Jensen also checked deer hunters during poor weather of deer opener. Enforcement action taken on invalidated tag. Jensen also flew a wolf telemetry flight before deer season opened.

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) reports flying proficiency flights as well as working on aircraft maintenance.

CO Pilot Tim Gray continues flight training which included looking for deer baits in region 1.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases and updating case notes. The FA deer opener was worked. The Becker, Clearwater, Hubbard and Otter Tail County areas were busy.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked the firearms deer opener in vacant stations over the weekend. Case updates where made and TFO duties conducted.

WREO Leah Weyandt (Central) investigated several new wetland violations. WREO Weyandt spent the firearms deer opener in Isanti County. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait. Assistance was given to Isanti County Sheriff’s Office for one falling through the ice. The subject was going ice fishing and fell through approximately 50 feet from shore

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Lisa Dugan, Safety Outreach Coordinator | Enforcement