District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled for angling, archery, and small-game hunting activity this week. Guida investigated a hunter-harassment report and served as a mediator between two archery deer hunters.

Guida also worked with the area hydrologist on a public waters case where an individual placed a bridge across public waters, limiting boating and hunting access.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked ATV, hunting and fishing activity this week. Enforcement action was taken for various ATV and license violations.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) spent the last week at the Fur Takers of America Trappers College in Wolcottville, Indiana. Conservation officers, biologists, and trappers from across the country attended to learn principles and benefits of trapping in managing wildlife. Many topics were learned and will be used in Benkofske’s career working with wildlife, working with trappers, and in teaching new cadets.

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CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked a variety of TIP calls over the past week that included illegal traps, taking migratory waterfowl out of season and hunting deer with the aid of bait. Area lakes also continue to be busy with angling activity and recreational boating.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) attended the LEMA Honor Guard Camp this week. The small-game opener saw a decent number of hunters, but not many grouse in the bag.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking early goose, archery deer, and grouse hunters this week. Time was also spent following up on some wetland- and public water-related cases. Complaints about stands left out on area wildlife management areas were addressed. A few fall anglers were contacted throughout the week.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked a busy opening weekend of the grouse and archery deer seasons. He assisted the Clearwater County Sherriff’s Office with a search for a missing individual on a local lake. An airboat was used for the search. The individual was located and safe. Area lakes were patrolled.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports beginning work on a conservation officer candidate’s background investigation. Vinton conducted the initial interview and began with other reports. He also assisted other officers with annual emergency vehicle operations training at Camp Ripley.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week patrolling area ATV trails, lakes, and assisting the county. ATV trails were busy throughout the weekend with small-game hunting open and beautiful fall weather for the riders to enjoy. More squirrel hunters were checked than grouse hunters in the area, and all of the groups had squirrels in the bag. Swedberg also assisted Clearwater County with a report of a lost wild rice harvester. When the person was found, he did not want to be rescued and said he was just taking his time harvesting rice.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity. Patrol was conducted for ATVs and off-road vehicles. Early goose season hunters were checked. She also worked the opening of the small-game and archery deer seasons. A complaint of a grey wolf depredation of a calf was investigated. Training was attended for emergency vehicle operation certification.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports assisting with a firearms safety field day, conducting a background investigation and monitoring archery deer hunters, small-game hunters and early season goose hunters.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) finished work on cases from 2020 hunting seasons and prepared for the upcoming seasons. Time was spent on equipment maintenance and questions were answered on various license and law changes for this year.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for angling, big-game, and small-game activity. He also assisted the Becker County Sheriff’s Office and spoke at a firearms safety class about the current laws. Baum responded to a call about two bucks locked together, with one buck still alive. Baum safely separated the bucks. That buck that was alive ran off into the woods, while the other was salvaged and given to a family.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked hunting and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time working ATV riders, as well as the small-game and archery deer opener over the weekend. Multiple contacts with hunters were made, with few birds harvested. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, operating an ATV without headlights and other various ATV violations. Kunst also received many questions about the upcoming deer season due to the changes that were made for the 2021 firearms deer season in the Remer area.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County lakes for angling and boating activity. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked hunters and anglers. An aquatic plant management alteration was checked and a deer-hunting related complaint was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for removing emergent aquatic vegetation without a permit.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) continued monitoring bear-hunting/baiting activity and patrolled ATV trails. Brown worked small-game and archery deer-hunting opening weekend and saw smaller numbers of grouse and deer hunters in the area than he anticipated. The remains of a bird of prey were seized from a small-game hunter who said he thought the bird was a grouse. Hunters are reminded to know the species you are hunting before heading to the field.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, big- and small-game hunters, boaters and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked the small-game/archery deer opener, investigated a forest fire, monitored OHV activity and assisted the county with a motor vehicle accident. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in searching for a firearm that was thrown as a suspect evaded law enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, youth under 18 without helmets on ATVs and insufficient number of PFDs.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the small-game and deer archery opener over the past weekend with quite a few hunters out and about. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, aiding and abetting hunting deer over bait and for operating ATVs in closed areas. With hunters seeing many young grouse over this past summer, early success seems good and may lead to a very promising fall for hunters.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) monitored the opening of small-game and archery hunting. Hochstein responded to a large fire that required several aircraft to assist with containment of the flames. ATV traffic in the area remains high with good compliance rates among riders.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time this week monitoring angling and ATV activity in the Isle and surrounding areas. Walleye fishing opened again on Mille Lacs Lake, which brought more anglers onto the lake. Small-game hunters and archery deer hunters were also checked throughout the weekend. Assistance was given to local agencies on calls as well. Violations encountered during the week included failure to display ATV registration, several life jacket violations, fishing without a license, fishing with too many lines, ATV helmet violations with minors, and transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating, ATV, bear-hunting, and small-game activity. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm in a vehicle, expired ATV registration, and operating an ATV without lights. She also assisted the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with various calls.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked ATV/OHM, sport fishing and small-game, bear, and archery deer enforcement this past week. Many squirrel, grouse, bear, and archery deer hunters were contacted this past weekend. Enforcement action was taken for various violations found when boating and checking hunters, including angling without a license, angling with extra lines, ATV helmet violations, illegal ATV operation, no hunting/fishing license in possession, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and no blaze orange on while hunting.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATV activity, goose hunters, bear baits, and the archery deer and small-game opener. Enforcement action was taken for hunting bears in the wrong zone, failure to transfer ATV title, failure to renew ATV registration, and failure to display valid ATV registration.

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes for angling and boating activity, with a slow bite and fewer people on the water. Westby worked trespassing and nuisance-animal calls over the week. Westby also worked the small-game and archery deer opener, with many people out enjoying the warm weather. Westby assisted a bowhunter in locating a deer that was shot and ran into a posted area.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) assisted with water survival training for the State Patrol Academy. A TIP call of a bowhunter out before the start of season was fielded and investigated.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) handled administrative duties and vehicle maintenance this week. He assisted with security for the Greenwood Fire in northern Minnesota this week.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking small-game and goose hunters. Compliance was generally good. Many questions were answered regarding upcoming hunting seasons.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports completing the Duluth-area creel project. Jensen flew night creel flights over Cass Lake and gave an AIS presentation to the Minnesota Seaplane Association annual meeting.

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on removal of aerial application equipment and helicopter maintenance. He also took care of administrative duties.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) flew multiple creel flights on Rainy Lake. He also attended to aircraft and vehicle-maintenance issues.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on a fire in the Greenwood Lake area. EVOC training was attended. Case work and administrative work was completed for Wetland Conservation Act and public water violations.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on case files and AIS enforcement in his assigned area. Small-game hunters were checked over the weekend. EVOC instruction was given to officers at Camp Ripley and a background investigation was worked on.

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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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement