District 2 - Bemidji area

CO (Conservation Officer) Chris Vinton (Perham) reports nice weather has really helped with shelter removal. Few lakes in the Perham station still had shelters on the ice with just one day left before the deadline. Vinton assisted Otter Tail County Land and Resources with a complaint and received TIP calls of coyote hunters possibly trespassing. The panfish and tullibee bite is picking up. Area snowmobile trails are getting pretty rough. Enforcement action was taken for shelters being left at public water accesses and license violations.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked anglers and worked ice house and snowmobile enforcement. The shelter license and ID compliance was poor and the panfish bite is picking up. Snowmobile activity was light and trail conditions are holding up in wooded areas but deteriorating fast.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked snowmobile activity with area trails in fair condition but starting to show deterioration. Angling activity was worked with anglers having mixed results but finding a few crappies. People are reminded as they remove ice houses to clean up all portions of the ice house and litter.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes and patrolled snowmobile trails. He worked a detail with COs Huener and Johnson on Lake of the Woods. While approaching one house, Vollbrecht heard occupants moving around and some banging around. After further investigation and a short interview, it was found the two individuals were attempting to hide the fillets of a 24.5-inch walleye and a 26-inch walleye under the fish house. The carcass of the 24.5-inch walleye was found in a garbage bag with several other plastic bags containing fecal matter outside the house. It was later determined one of the two anglers had their angling privileges revoked for unpaid fines from last summer. Proper paperwork was mailed to both anglers. Vollbrecht received a phone call regarding a bear cub at a private residence. Vollbrecht interviewed several individuals and later found a small bear cub weighing less than 5 pounds in a residence. The cub was picked up after logging equipment hit the den site and the sow left. The bear cub was taken to the Garrison Animal Hospital for rehab. Later, it will be placed in a den site with a foster mother.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) focused primarily on checking panfish and trout anglers and snowmobile riders over the course of the past week. A detail was worked with other Minnesota COs and Ontario COs. Enforcement action was taken for various angling and snowmobile related violations.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week patrolling area snowmobile trails and checking anglers. Trail conditions have been deteriorating with the warm weather, but are still rideable. Swedberg also checked area lakes for litter as houses are starting to come off.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) checked anglers, snowmobile riders, and trappers. She responded to a call of turkeys pecking at and damaging vehicles. She also investigated complaints of people feeding deer.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The bite remains slow. He checked fish houses left on the ice, as well as reports of trash. Posner patrolled the area on snowmobile and checked trails and sleds. A few violations of speeding and failure to stop at stop signs were observed. He investigated a report of people burning trash in Pillager. Posner also advised folks on nuisance animals and illegal deer feeding.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked fishing and snowmobile activity. Trails in the area are starting to wear down. Shelters were documented in preparation for the removal dates. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of fish, ATV registration, operating a motor vehicle on a grant-in-aid trail, and dogs chasing deer.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) worked ice fishing and snowmobile enforcement. A reminder to anglers with fish houses on lakes in the Remer/Outing area: Be sure to have them off by March 2 (south of Highway 200) or March 16 (north of Highway 200). Another reminder is to purchase a new angling license as the 2019 season licenses have expired. Kunst took enforcement action for an overlimit of fish, angling without a license, violating the deer-feeding ban, and disposing of bait in state waters.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. Perch and sunfish anglers found mixed success this past week. A deer-possession tag was issued and some work was completed for the upcoming Bear Committee meeting. Enforcement action was taken for using illegal minnows for bait, extra lines, no angling license, no fish house license, and expired snowmobile registration.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and snowmobile activity. Fish house removal was also monitored with few remaining houses noted. He also attended a retirement gathering for long-time Crosby CO Karl Hadrits.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked snowmobile trails and sport fishing activity. Violations observed on the trails were stop sign and speed violations. Anglers in the area are starting to target panfish and reported a slow start. Ice shelter removal deadline compliance appeared to be good.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for snowmobile and angling activity throughout the past week. A meeting was also attended in preparation of upcoming officer training. Enforcement action was taken for numerous ATV, snowmobile, and angling violations.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled area lakes for angling activity and began checking new 2020 angling licenses. Shelter removals were monitored. Conditions are deteriorating fast on area snowmobile trails. A vintage sled ride was monitored with numerous collector snowmobile permits issued.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working anglers throughout the week and weekend. He also checked and marked fish houses in advance of the removal deadline. Fitzgerald also assisted with a traffic stop on a vehicle and fielded many outdoor law-related questions. Time was spent patrolling the SRA for illegal vehicle activity and also for state park permits. Snowmobile activity was monitored and a few sleds were out enjoying the warm weather. Most were trying to get the last few rides in before the trails deteriorated. Enforcement action for the week included traffic and state park violations.

CO Tim Collette (Brainerd) checked and marked fish houses for litter and potential removal issues and checked anglers. A TIP call was received about an out-of-state angler possibly taking too many fish. The investigation found the angler had been stockpiling fish in a rental unit freezer to take back home. The angler was issued citations totaling more than $1,500. The public’s help in cases like this is always appreciated and helps to protect our natural resources.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement. Remember trails are closed to ATVs until posted open or after April 1, depending on the property type. Best also assisted with a felony drug stop, search and test collection in Jenkins.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) patrolled area snowmobile trails and checked anglers on area lakes. She observed a portable fish house that, upon further investigation, was unattended. There was no identification on the shelter or shelter license displayed. There was also a tip-up out near the house with the flag up. Through the windows she was able to see several lines down in the house. Later, the anglers returned and advised her they had to go in to the bar to get lunch. They said they were super hungry, so they forgot to pull in their lines. They also explained that they were targeting crappies with the tip-up. There was a northern pike hooked on one of the lines that was down inside the house. Enforcement action was taken.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked anglers making use of the Mille Lacs Lake extended northern pike season. He also followed up on refuse becoming apparent as snow melts away. Questions were handled regarding ice houses getting left out and tapping trees on public property.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling ice angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Time was also spent working at the Garrison Winter Fest on Mille Lacs Lake. She reminds anglers to remove ice shelters by the deadline, and to pick up any litter off of the ice.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked a detail in the Nemadji State Forest in an effort to educate ATV users on groomed snowmobile trails. Several other COs assisted with the detail. Speldrich checked for ice shelters on area lakes as the deadline is fast approaching. She also checked anglers on area lakes and found 100 percent compliance with anglers remembering to buy their 2020 license. A few crappies and perch were seen. Speldrich investigated a littering complaint where the suspects dumped household garbage over a bridge onto the frozen river below. The suspects were identified. A deer-feeding ban is now in effect for Pine and Carlton counties.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) covered safety class responsibilities in the Pierz station and marked fish houses that have litter potential. Starr worked a detail on Lake Vermilion and found overall compliance to be good. Violations for snowmobile registration, speed, and allowing illegal youth operation were encountered.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling activity in the station. A rod and gun club meeting was attended where attendees had the opportunity to ask various DNR-related questions. A litter complaint was handled and a dog-chasing-deer call was also fielded.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on fish house removal. He took calls of dogs chasing deer and snowmobile registration and transfer of ownership. He also worked on month-end administrative tasks as well.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking ice anglers as the hard-water season winds down. Enforcement action was taken for possession of controlled substances and extra lines. A snowmobile safety class in Hillman was attended and presented at. Benkofske also aided Isanti County deputies with an arrest of a subject with multiple felony warrants who was hiding out at a lake cabin.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers. He also assisted neighboring officers with a snowmobile saturation detail in a state forest and spent time working on equipment maintenance.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers and recreational vehicles. Calls were taken on trespass, litter and injured animals. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, taking northern pike out of season, expired registration, and shelter ID violations.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and worked ice shelter removal. A fishing TIP call was investigated. Follow up was done on a trespass complaint.

Aviation Section

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot John Heineman assisted in moving the Aviation Section office from Brainerd to Grand Rapids. Wolf telemetry flights were also flown.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a wolf telemetry flight and a fish shelter removal flight. Jensen spoke to a natural resource law enforcement class at Central Lakes College. During the shelter flight, Jensen also found a potential Wetland Conservation Act impact and a possible unmarked aeration system in operation.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) moved a helicopter for maintenance to Staples, and worked on other helicopter items. He also helped move the office for the Aviation clerical from Brainerd to Grand Rapids.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week checking anglers, snowmobile activity and litter on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials. He attended meetings and fielded calls. He also worked on ongoing public water, aquatic plant management and Wetland Conservation Act cases.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. A deed restriction was placed on a property in Aitkin County for failure to comply with a restoration order. Snowmobile and angling activity was also checked.

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Prepared by Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement