District 9 - Brainerd area
CO (Conservation Officer) Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled for migratory waterfowl hunting and sport fishing. Hunters had varied success for ducks. Complaints were fielded regarding the new sunset close time vs. the traditional 4 p.m. closure. Assistance was given to a couple of individuals in determining who owned the cattle that were showing up on their game cameras and impacting their archery deer hunting.
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked a wide variety of activity this past week. Area archery hunters are reporting good success and looking forward to some cooler weather. A large number of waterfowl hunters were out the opening morning of waterfowl season. Also, area anglers reported that fishing was very good. Sullivan encountered a wide variety of violations that included angling without a license, hunting big game without a license, unplugged shotgun, possession of toxic shot and no life jackets.
CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) took enforcement action this week for various ATV-related violations. Other violations included no small-game license, unplugged gun, unsigned stamp, transporting loaded firearms and burning prohibited materials. Reports of unattended decoys and operating motor vehicles in public waters were also handled.
CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking bear, grouse, and duck hunters in the area. Mixed bags of ducks were seen in most areas. A mallard/widgeon cross was seen in a local hunter’s bag as well. Forgetting life jackets and not knowing which species hunters are shooting at continues to be a problem. Benkofske also returned a dock segment to a camp on Big Sandy that had floated away in a storm and become a hazard to other boaters.
CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) worked small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity. She also patrolled ATV activity in the area and contacted several juveniles who were operating illegally. Several trespass calls were responded to as deer hunters are beginning to put up stands and small-game hunters are afield.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked a variety of activity during the week including boating, fishing, big-game hunting, and waterfowl hunting. Hunters saw very few ducks in the area on the waterfowl opener. Water levels have increased lately, which is making access to some area lakes easier.
CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked Cass County lakes for waterfowl-hunting activity, with hunters reporting varying success. Enforcement action was taken for waterfowl stamp violations, unplugged guns, toxic shot violations, and boating violations.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking waterfowl hunters over the opening weekend. The majority of the hunters found success in the morning hunts. Enforcement action was taken for various violations. Small-game hunters were also checked throughout the week. Kunst also assisted Cass County with a search for a missing person.
CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for angling and hunting activity. He found varied success among hunters during the waterfowl opener, but found several successful anglers. Baum took enforcement action on various activities, ranging from waterfowl violations to an off-highway motorcycle violation.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and small-game hunters. Anglers were finding some perch and walleyes, while the duck hunters had moderate success finding ducks. Complaints related to bear and duck hunting were investigated. Mathy also assisted with a driving complaint. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of perch, unplugged shotgun, possessing toxic shot while waterfowl hunting, no federal waterfowl stamp, and boating violations.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked hunting activity. She also assisted in the search for a missing person. Violations included hunting without a license, no duck stamps, and no plug in a shotgun.
CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports continuing work on background investigations and checking anglers, small-game hunters, waterfowl hunters and archery deer hunters. He reports calls from the public regarding nuisance beavers and several hunting related questions. Some of the enforcement action he took consisted of no small-game license, no state stamp, no license in possession, keeping smallmouth bass during the catch-and-release-only season, and boating related violations.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking duck, goose, archery deer, and prairie chicken hunters this week. Time was also spent checking anglers on area lakes. Various hunting/license-related violations were encountered.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) attended first aid training.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked a busy opening weekend to the waterfowl season. Area lakes were patrolled and time was spent working Leech Lake with CO McGowan.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) had a busy week working anglers and small-game and duck hunters. Many duck hunters were checked this week and most were successful in finding ducks. Swedberg also followed up on a TIP complaint regarding a couple fishing multiple days in a row on the same lake. No overlimits were found, but the couple did have illegal-length northern pike. Swedberg also assisted the area DNR hydrologist with several site visits.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling and boating activity. A complaint of goose hunting out of season was investigated. Patrol for ATV and off-road vehicle activity was done. Waterfowl opening weekend was worked with hunters having mixed success and the law and ethics portion of firearms safety class was taught near Lengby.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) attended required annual training at Camp Ripley during the week. Duck hunting on the opener was poor to fair for most hunters checked. Green-winged teal appeared to be the species that was most prevalent. Other midseason migrant ducks were also observed. Fishing continues to get better, with overlimit complaints worked.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time this week monitoring fall angling activity, as well as several groups of waterfowl hunters. Compliance overall was very good with only a few instances of enforcement action necessary. Lots of boats are being taken off the water for the season and lakeshore owners are encouraged to remove all AIS from docks and lifts before transporting them to another location. Assistance was given to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with helping remove a horse that became stuck in a swamp while trail riding.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked small-game hunting and recreational vehicle activity. Time was also spent working the opening weekend of duck hunting. Holt followed up on TIP complaints and continued working on a background investigation.
CO Dan Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, bowhunters and waterfowl hunters. Record-low numbers of waterfowl and hunters were observed around the area for duck opener. He saw more anglers than hunters. Baumbarger observed fewer than two dozen birds harvested over the weekend. Additional time was spent training at Camp Ripley during the week.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) stayed busy with small-game, bear-hunting, angling, and waterfowl-hunting activities taking place. Some duck hunters had good success over opening weekend while others didn’t fare as well. Some hunters report a decent number of teal still in the area. Enforcement action was taken for expired ATV registration, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and taking a non-game migratory bird. A campsite was checked after grouse hunters had vacated the area and their fire was found still smoldering and smoking. The hunters were contacted and enforcement action was taken for failing to extinguish the fire.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, big-game and small-game hunters, watercraft operators and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked waterfowl opener with many ducks and hunters present in the area. Dry conditions in the Dakotas have seemed to push ducks east. Hunters had mostly teal and wood ducks in their bags, with a smattering of other species also present. A group of young hunters was observed shooting cripples while driving around the marsh with loaded guns. Enforcement action was taken and a lesson in firearms safety was given.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on migratory waterfowl, big-game, ATV, and small-game activities. Hunters participating in the opening weekend of the waterfowl season reported steady success despite low water conditions. Blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, and wood ducks were among the most common ducks hunters had in the bag. Enforcement action was taken for several waterfowl-hunting violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) focused efforts on checking duck hunters over the waterfowl season opener. Several hunters reported having a difficult time navigating to their traditional hunting spots due to low water levels. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored ATV activity, angling and the waterfowl opener. Griffith also followed up on a trespass complaint. Enforcement action taken included a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, minor on an ATV without a helmet, unplugged firearms, lead shot, life jacket violations, no state waterfowl stamp, and no HIP certification.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for ATV activity and small-game, archery deer, and waterfowl hunting. Enforcement action was taken for taking a wild animal with a firearm from a motor vehicle, transporting loaded firearms in a vehicle, no HIP certification, no license in possession while waterfowl hunting, operating an ATV without lights, and allowing unlawful operation for youth operators on ATVs. She also assisted with a firearms safety class at the Wealthwood Rod and Gun Club.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) primarily worked small-game hunting, waterfowl hunting, archery deer hunting, and sport fishing enforcement this week. Various violations were encountered, ranging from boating safety violations, to licensing violations, and firearms-related violations. Many waterfowl hunters were contacted over the weekend. Low water levels made it tough for some hunters, but most of them seemed to harvest some ducks. A firearms safety field day was also attended.
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time this week patrolling for big-game, small-game and waterfowl hunters. Boaters and anglers were checked as well. Background investigations for the DNR’s hiring process continues.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes for angling and boating activity. Westby also worked area ATV trails, where he located riders operating in wetlands. He worked the waterfowl opener on Rice/Skunk Lake, with high duck numbers and several mixed bags of waterfowl.
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATV activity, angling and small-game and archery hunting. He worked the waterfowl opener weekend. Waterfowl hunters were successful overall. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked a fire security detail in the northern part of the state.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports hunter numbers over opening weekend were below average. A few limits of ducks were found, with most being wood ducks and mallards. Bertram also responded to a car vs. bear crash near Browerville.
Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew survey flights for Fisheries.
Standby NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports flying several Lake Vermilion creel surveys, continued coordination with a biologist and contract pilot, and attended to maintenance issues.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying wolf telemetry and waterfowl estimate flights. One possible wetland impact was found and sent to the local officer for review. Mandatory first aid training was completed at Camp Ripley.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance items and completed a maintenance test flight. He also began plans for fall trout stocking by helicopter in the northeast.
CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) flew multiple creel flights for Rainy Lake and a wild rice survey flight. He also attended to aircraft and vehicle-maintenance issues.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on case cleanup and follow up with site visits and local government units and hydrologists. Time was spent working the waterfowl opener in the Becker and Otter Tail county areas. Some success was seen. Warm weather and sunny skies kept many of the ducks high in the sky.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on case work and background work for the upcoming Academy. Duck opener was worked with many hunters having success. Wetland water levels are down from the drought, so many hunters had to find new spots. ATV enforcement was worked over the weekend.
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
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