District 12 - Princeton area
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) captured three trumpeter swans this past week that could not fly due to lead poisoning. They were transported to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for treatment. Ice fishing has increased in the area with some good ice conditions for traveling on foot. Some anglers are using ATVs. Keep in mind some lakes still have areas of thin ice and extreme caution should be used.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking ice anglers, following up on a trespass incident, and patrolling for snowmobile activity. Some of the enforcement action taken was for agricultural land trespass, no angling license, expired recreational vehicle registration, angling with an extra line, possession of marijuana, and an overlimit of crappies.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers and hunters, as well as snowmobile and ATV riders. Enforcement action was taken for several lend/borrow deer-hunting cases, snowmobile registration violations, trespass, and fishing license violations. When ice fishing, please remember to take your garbage with you when you leave, and continue to check ice, as there are still several areas with thin ice and/or slushy conditions.
CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers and responding to calls about injured animals throughout the past week. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, angling without a license, illegal-length fish, and overlimits of fish. Snowmobile and ATV regulations were also enforced with violations for registration, running stop signs, and careless driving.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers, hunters, and snowmobile riders. A trespass complaint was investigated. Several animal-related calls were handled.
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District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports assisting the DNR Wildlife Section with annual fur registration. Time was also spent checking several anglers throughout the past week. ATV and snowmobile operators were contacted. Various angling, ATV-, and snowmobile-related violations were encountered.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers a few snowmobile riders and tagged some fur.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked anglers on area lakes. Snowmobile activity has increased with the recent snowfall. Time was spent on Upper Red Lake checking anglers.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports snowmobile and winter angling activity is picking up. Several riders have taken to area road rights-of-way to ride and have found some trails passable, though the snow base on those trails is still needing more snow. Anglers are finding 11 to 14 inches of ice and larger houses are starting to show up on area lakes. Anglers should always use good judgement and check ice conditions for themselves. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, failing to display valid snowmobile registration, no shelter license and no angling license.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week checking ice anglers and snowmobile riders. Area lakes were busy over the holiday weekend with anglers. Anglers were able to find some panfish and the occasional walleye. The first groomers were seen on area snowmobile trails, but more snow is needed for quality riding. Violations for the week included slot violations for walleyes and crappies on Lake Lida, registration issues on snowmobiles and ATVs, and no license in possession. Swedberg also assisted Becker County with several calls for service and a medical on area lakes.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked anglers, followed up on a possible kill of a non-game animal and worked ongoing cases.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working sport fishing, small-game and snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent responding to miscellaneous wildlife-related calls.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling activity and found anglers having fair success. Snowmobile and ATV activity was worked on area trails and lakes. Follow up on open cases was performed. Questions about fish house shelter tags, angling licenses and fish house reflective materials were answered.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) reports one of the busiest New Year’s weekends he’s worked in his career. A long weekend for most, warm weather, and more people enjoying outdoor sports led to the increase in activity. Snowmobilers were out, but the trails haven’t been groomed yet and were in poor condition. Anglers are finding decent success on walleyes and panfish on some lakes, while action is slow on others. Anglers need to check ice conditions and use extreme caution. Most lakes have 11 inches of ice and are flooding around houses. On more than one occasion, Landmark checked anglers in a permanent house on 11 inches of ice and they reported that just yards away they found 6 inches of ice. Anglers fishing special regulation lakes are also reminded to get a good measuring board and measure their fish with the mouth closed and tail pinched. Enforcement action included several citations for illegal-length crappies, unattended lines, unregistered ATVs and snowmobiles, angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling, and no walk-in-access validation.
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District 4 - Walker area
CO Mike Cross (Lake George) worked trapping, snowmobiling, ice angling, and big-game-hunting investigations, as well as ATV enforcement. Cross attended the Park Rapids fur registration and saw fairly good success among local trappers this season. Enforcement action was taken in a big-game case.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and snowmobile activity. She also followed up on a deer case and assisted with a vehicle off the road. Enforcement was taken for illegal possession of big game.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking multiple anglers and snowmobile riders. Snowmobile traffic and ice fishing activity was heavy over the holiday weekend. Many people were enjoying the warmer winter weather we had this past week. Snowmobile trails were groomed but still need more snow for a smoother ride. Enforcement action was taken on multiple expired registrations on both snowmobiles and ATVs, taking fish without a license and failure to have angling licenses in personal possession.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on fishing and snowmobile enforcement and assisted Wildlife staff with furbearer registration. The number of furs registered was up drastically from last year, which is surprising given the low fur prices. Some snowmobile trails were groomed, but conditions remain poor. Enforcement action for the past week included trapping without a license, taking fisher out of season, failure to validate a site coupon, angling with extra lines, no license in possession, and failure to display snowmobile registration.
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District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) continued field training with a conservation officer candidate. McGowan worked Crow Wing County lakes, Upper Red Lake, and Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling violations.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing and snowmobile activity this past week. Numerous folks were out enjoying the outdoors. Enforcement action was taken for no shelter license, no shelter identification, illegal-length northern pike, angling with extra lines, unattended lines, failure to display ATV and snowmobile registration, failure to renew snowmobile registration, and failure to transfer ownership of an ATV/snowmobile within 15 days. One vintage sled operator was given some mechanical assistance after he mistakenly bumped his machine’s cut-off switch. Having the same experience once himself, Guida pushed the switch and the sled started right up. The operator appreciated the assistance.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking snowmobile riders during the past week and weekend. The trails were rough by the end of the weekend but there were still quite a few sleds out. Time was spent checking anglers on area lakes and a few fish were seen. Fitzgerald also checked for anglers on the closed trout lakes; they’re closed until the trout season is open. Calls of illegal fishing activity, suspicious dead deer and trespassing were fielded. Time was also spent patrolling the CCSRA for after-hours use and parking permits. Lots of law-related questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend. Enforcement action was taken for fishing violations and illegal vehicle activity on grant-in-aid trails.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, spearing, snowmobile and ATV activity.
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked area ice fishing and snowmobiling activity. Anglers reported some success fishing and variable ice conditions. Sullivan observed several violations including unattended lines, extra lines, failure to display registration as required, underage alcohol consumption and possession of controlled substances.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked fishing, trapping and snowmobile enforcement this past week. A deer-season investigation was wrapped up with action taken for lend/borrow and site-tagging issues. She also dealt with license violations and registration issues. Commercial bait harvest investigations remain open.
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District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity and lake traffic as ice is well-formed but slush-covered. ATV regulations were enforced, with lots of registrations running out on the first of the year. A common violation was lack of helmets on juveniles. Small-game hunters were also out making use of the fresh snow.
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored angling activity on Mille Lacs Lake. ATV and snowmobile activity was also monitored. Fishing was slow on the south and east sides of Mille Lacs during the daylight hours, but seemed to pick up during the evening hours. Enforcement action was taken for possession of drug paraphernalia, fishing without a license, fishing with extra lines, expired snowmobile registration, failure to display ATV registration and failure to display a license tag on an ice shelter.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling Mille Lacs Lake and other area lakes for fishing activity. She also spent time patrolling snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for operating a snowmobile with expired registration, failure to display registration numbers on a snowmobile, extra lines, failure to display an ice shelter tag, unmarked ice shelter, and no license in possession.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked snowmobiling activity throughout the week and holiday weekend. Enforcement action was taken for registration issues and complaints of snowmobilers trespassing were investigated. Several 4x4 operators ventured into the Nemadji State Forest on a memorial ride. Their four-wheel drive vehicles were needed as many forest roads are not plowed. Speldrich checked traps and anglers.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked ice fishing, trapping, snowmobiling, and ATV activities. Numerous violations were found for extra lines, minors with alcohol, illegal fish, and fishing license requirements. Starr found a juvenile fishing with extra lines, only to find out the juvenile’s father was issued a citation three years prior, by the same officer, in the same fish house, and in the same location on the lake. A lengthy conversation was had with the father/son on how to break this family habit.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) continued with some investigations involving deer-season cases, checked trapping activity, registered otter and fisher pelts for area trappers, and spent time checking ice anglers. Lakes were very busy over the New Year’s weekend despite a lot of water and slush on most lakes. Most of the violations found involved ice anglers failing to register their ATVs and snowmobiles. Snowmobile trails throughout the area were rideable but ungroomed and after moderate use throughout the holiday weekend, conditions were poor.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, snowmobile, and ATV activity this past week. Fishing success on Mille Lacs Lake varied with a number of people catching keeper-sized walleyes. Enforcement action was taken for various sport fishing and recreational vehicle violations, including angling without a license, angling with extra lines, unattended lines, illegal-length walleyes, failure to renew ATV registration, no fishing license in personal possession, and a non-portable shelter without a license.
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent the past week checking anglers on various lakes. Time was also spent on snowmobile patrol. Illegal-dumping complaints in the Chengwatana State Forest were investigated.
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District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) investigated a wolf depredation of livestock, checked ice anglers and ice shelters, patrolled for snowmobile/ATV activity, and followed up on the deer season. Enforcement action taken for no angling license in personal possession, angling without a license, failure to display a shelter tag license, failure to display shelter identification numbers, expired ATV registration, failure to display ATV registration numbers and decal, and taking deer with invalid license.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked fishing activity in the area. He also saw a lot of activity in the past week among archery deer hunters and pheasant hunters. Vehicle traffic on the ice is limited to ATVs and snowmobiles, but a few smaller lakes are seeing ice thickness improving to hold some smaller vehicles.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports checking anglers, trappers and pheasant hunters. He assisted the Training Unit at Camp Ripley and completed snowmobile inspections/maintenance. He fielded injured-animal reports and investigated a big-game incident. Enforcement action for the past week consisted of ATV and angling violations. Ice conditions have been improving but it’s imperative to be aware of possible open areas due to waterfowl.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the past week checking snowmobile and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for no registration, illegal-length fish, and possession of marijuana. A case was made where a deer was taken without a license.
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NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew three wolf pack count telemetry flights and a Duluth fish house creel survey.
NR Standby Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports having to reassign a flight due to hangar door issues.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports giving continued training to a CO pilot and completing a night currency training flight.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on materials for an upcoming class and administrative tasks.
CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) continued to work toward completion of training tasks. He completed a Duluth creel survey flight. Night training and currency requirements were met. Ice anglers were checked on local lakes.
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Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week wrapping up efforts on a project updating an operational order. Time was spent checking anglers, small-game hunters and trappers. Snowmobile activity was worked and updates were made to open cases.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. Ice fishing activity was checked and snowmobile enforcement was conducted. Equipment maintenance was conducted and assistance to the training staff at Camp Ripley was given.