District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO (Conservation Officer) Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked small-game hunting, big-game hunting, and ATV/OHM activity this past week. Enforcement action was taken for no license in personal possession, operating an ATV without headlights on, juvenile passenger on an ATV without a helmet on, failure to display valid ATV/OHM registration, and failure to transfer OHV title. Missing hunters were located safely after getting lost in the Wealthwood State Forest. Hunters, and those recreating in the woods/waters, are reminded to inform someone who isn’t recreating with them of their plans: where they are recreating, who they are with, and what time they will return home. Packing basic survival tools like a compass, flashlight, map, charged cell phone, and matches can make a big difference if you find yourself in an emergency situation.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) handled trespass calls and ATV complaints. She checked small-game hunters and investigated a littering complaint. Speldrich responded to assist with a detail in the metro and responded to assist with traffic control in an incident on Interstate 35. Speldrich received a complaint from a hunter who attempted to hunt small game in the Nemadji State Forest but ended up leaving due to the amount of ATV and OHM traffic in the area.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took a variety of calls about upcoming seasons and confusion with the youth hunt. A TIP call of a possibly poached deer was investigated. He also responded to a call of lost hunters in a WMA (Wildlife Management Area). Several small-game hunters were checked, with good squirrel-hunting success found. Fall anglers were also checked. They had poor success, and in some cases were not using watercraft lights when they should have been.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO (Conservation Officer) Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports continuing work on a big-game-related case. Time was also spent checking grouse, pheasant, duck, and archery deer hunters throughout the past week. Anglers were contacted at various river access points.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked hunters and off-road vehicle riders who were enjoying the great fall weather. He also handled a potential hunter-harassment complaint.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored boating and angling activity on area lakes. The bite continues to improve with limits of crappies and walleye observed. Area ATV trails and forest roads were patrolled. Nuisance-bear complaints were taken and grouse hunters were checked.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking area WMAs and waterfowl production areas for small-game, archery deer and waterfowl hunters. A commercial game farm TIP was looked into and contact was made with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent with regard to the case. The nice weather saw many cabin owners pulling docks, boats and lifts. They are reminded that equipment pulled from infested waters must be inspected, which the owners may do, and that all aquatic invasive species need to be removed.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working fishing and small-game hunting activity. More grouse hunters are making their way to the area as most of the leaves have fallen off the trees. More migrant ducks have been seen in the area with a few pintails, buffleheads, and ringnecks being shot. Other time was spent assisting the county with an ATV crash and other calls.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked small-game enforcement and ATV enforcement. Registration and trail pass violations were handled and a warrant arrest was made.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working sport fishing, big-game, small-game, and waterfowl enforcement. Time was also spent responding to TIP calls and miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity with anglers having mixed results. AIS compliance checks were performed with many people removing seasonal recreational equipment. Waterfowl- and small-game hunting activity was worked. Warren worked the pheasant-hunting opener. Areas were patrolled for shining activity. Calls of an eagle hit by a car and an incidental otter catch were received.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) continues to work with COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Meng Moua on the last week of Step 2 of field training. Time was spent working on fishing and archery deer-, waterfowl- and pheasant-hunting enforcement. Anglers checked were seen with good numbers of crappies and sunfish. Pheasant opener was busy with mixed results among hunters, with some getting their birds within half an hour, while others spent all morning without seeing a rooster. The officers also responded to TIP calls of hunting after hours and trespass. Enforcement action taken included taking illegal-length crappies, unplugged shotguns, hunting waterfowl after legal shooting hours, insufficient number of life jackets on a watercraft, and leaving decoys overnight on public waters.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) continued to check small-game hunters and ATV riders. Grouse hunters have been more successful this week than previous weeks due to better visibility in the woods. Kunst also assisted with a detail in the metro. Enforcement action was taken on various ATV violations.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked small-game hunting activity. She received multiple calls regarding possible hunting violations and assisted the county with a fraudulent DNR license investigation.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) working boating, fishing, ATV and game enforcement this past week. Numerous boat owners took advantage of the warm weather over the weekend to get their boats removed for the season. Time was also spent completing annual training and equipment maintenance.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports outdoor activity remains high. Several hunters were checked. Four big-game investigations are being worked. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked duck hunters, as well as small-game and ATV enforcement. Ladd continued to train with COC Bechel. They taught a firearms safety field day in preparation for the youth deer season. Ladd and Bechel had contact with an ATV operator who traveled on the snowmobile trail in the state forest. Upon seeing the officers, the operator threw his open beer can hoping to avoid a citation. Enforcement action was taken, but the operator avoided a littering citation as officers allowed him to pick up the can.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled lakes and trails for outdoor activity this past week. Some hunters were checked with migratory waterfowl and other small game. Guida received complaints of hunting deer over bait and trespassing. A large fire was investigated and it was determined that the permittee had not activated his permit. The large fire would have required a variance. DNR Forestry and the Brainerd Fire Department helped extinguished the blaze.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aikin) worked angling, grouse hunting, shining and ATV activity. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s office with an ATV accident.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked waterfowl hunters and anglers throughout the past week. McGowan also fielded numerous questions regarding the upcoming deer season.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) worked a detail in the metro over the past week. He also issued a permit for a road-killed deer and took a complaint of hunters baiting deer and using attractants for deer. A few duck and grouse hunters were checked, but not a lot of birds were found. Flerlage assisted with a call of lost hunters and talked to ATV riders on trails and roads.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked duck, grouse and deer hunters during the past week. She also patrolled fall ATV activity. Shoreline alteration complaints were investigated and documented. Best also began two baiting investigations.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area reports checking small- and big-game hunters throughout the past week and weekend. He also attended Division training an assisted an agency on a call for service. Assistance was given to neighboring officers on a work crew and some fall fishing activity was monitored. Time was spent checking the SRA (State Recreation Area) for vehicle permits and illegal activity. Enforcement action for the week included big-game violations.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked ATV activity in the Foothills State Forest. Sullivan also worked deer-hunting activity and assisted with lost hunters. Fall anglers are reporting good fishing as water temperatures fall.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week monitoring angling activity in the station. A decent walleye bite continues on a couple area lakes. The busy pheasant opener was worked, with a large number of hunters seen in the area. Success seemed limited for most hunters as standing crops were prevalent throughout the area.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) saw numerous hunters and very ambitious dogs out during the pheasant opener. He saw mixed success. With the nice weather, fishing was also popular this past week.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) and COC Tou Vang report checking anglers, duck hunters, and pheasant hunters. They investigated a deer carcass being dumped at a boat launch and an aquatic plant management violation. Baited deer stands were worked. Enforcement action was taken for no small-game license, no personal floatation devices, use of motorized decoy during a prohibited time period, and operating an off-highway vehicle in unfrozen waters.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the past week checking hunters and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for license violations and no ATV registration. Calls regarding dogs chasing deer and wetland violations were handled.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked hunters, anglers and ATV riders, and followed up on wetland violations. Several calls of trespassing were responded to. People should review the trespass law and how to legally post your property to prevent trespassing. Enforcement action was taken for dogs chasing deer, license violations, expired ATV registration, and waterfowl stamp violations.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking anglers and small-game hunters and patrolling for ATV activity. Krauel also spent time at a metro detail.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking small-game and archery deer hunters. Enforcement action was taken for hunting waterfowl in a closed area. Benkofske assisted with instructing an ATV safety class in Cambridge. Calls regarding illegal deer hunting were also investigated.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and hunters. Hunting complaints were investigated, including trespass and leaving stands in a WMA. Several animal-related calls were handled.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf pup telemetry and a training flight. Heineman also attended to administrative tasks.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a night deer shining detail in central Minnesota. One person was found illegally shining deer on the detail.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed the annual trout stocking by helicopter for Grand Marais Fisheries. Eight lakes were stocked with brook trout and splake. Administrative tasks were completed as well.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on assigned cases in his work area. Haberman also worked with officers on a deer-shining detail, with one individual cited for illegal shining. He also assisted the Aviation Unit with remote refueling of fish stocking in the Grand Marais area.