District 9 - Brainerd area
CO (Conservation Officer) Jim Guida (Brainerd East) informs that area lakes and ponds are freezing fast, pushing waterfowl to the large waterbodies and rivers. A reminder that the North Waterfowl Zone (north of Highway 210) closes Tuesday, Nov. 23.
Guida monitored migratory waterfowl hunting activity. One hunter was checked attempting to recover a crippled duck in a small kayak in freezing cold water, large waves, and wind. The hunter did not have a personal floatation device on or within the watercraft. Enforcement action was taken.
Guida worked the close of the busy firearms deer season. A TIP call was investigated with CO Sullivan resulting in the seizure of a deer rifle, a buck, and a small sample of the illegal bait they were using to harvest it.
CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) worked several cases during the last week of the area’s deer season. One included a trespass case where a hunter was unable to resist the buck sign observed on posted private property and later discovered a trail camera which the hunter, knowing he was certainly caught, opted to remove the SD card. The hunter failed to notice the second camera on the property and later was identified and enforcement action was taken.
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports waterfowl hunters reported good success but area waters are starting to freeze. Big-game TIP calls included a deer being taken by rifle in an archery only area, taking big game with the aid of bait, taking big game from the roadway and taking big game in the wrong zone.
CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking firearms deer hunters, waterfowl hunters, trappers, and following up on cases. Enforcement action for the week included license violations, failure to register deer, and transporting loaded firearms.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) finished the firearms deer season. Participation for the last weekend was low. Many hunters voiced disappointment about deer numbers seen. The small lakes are mostly closed with ice, with few ducks in the area. He performed Honor Guard duties at State Trooper Rob Veldkamp’s funeral.
CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking deer hunters during the last week of the firearms season. Low numbers of deer were harvested in the area. Enforcement action was taken for borrowing licenses, not registering deer, and drug paraphernalia. A deer that was shot in the head from the roadway was also investigated.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) worked the end of the firearms deer season.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked firearms deer-hunting activity. Several calls were taken from individuals who had questions regarding CWD.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking follow-up rifle deer season questions, patrolling the station for trapping activity and completing some required department training. Questions were answered about hunting predators at night with the aid of lights and deer parts dumped in ditches. A case involving litter/dumping on a public water access was referred to the Parks and Trails Division. Some seasonably cold weather has begun to freeze area lakes and winter anglers are eager to venture onto the ice. Anglers need to check ice thickness carefully and remember the minimum recommended ice thickness for foot traffic is 4 inches.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working the end of the rifle deer season and following up on cases from the deer season. Other time was spent assisting the county with calls for service. Swedberg also started an investigation involving a potential walleye overlimit.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked deer hunters and responded to reports of late shots, a possible out-of-season deer kill and trespass. Hunters reported deer activity was slow, and tagging and party hunting violations were handled.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) continued to check deer hunters throughout the week. Calls received included deer being shot off private property in the middle of the night, deer carcasses being dumped illegally and various hunting questions. Kunst also followed up on big-game violations from opening weekend, including shooting from the roadway and taking antlerless deer without a permit.
CO Michael Cross (Lake George) spent the week working primarily big-game and small-game hunting. Time was also spent on case work and equipment maintenance as winter approaches. Enforcement action was taken for no deer license in possession, shooting from a motor vehicle, illegally transporting a loaded firearm, and shooting from a public road right-of-way.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent the week following up on and completing big-game investigations from the regular firearms deer season. Preparations also began for the winter season with the impending colder weather; station equipment maintenance was completed. Reports of incidentally-taken animals were handled.
CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports conducting squad maintenance and following up on investigations and reports from the firearms deer season. Calls from the public included assisting with the retrieval of a wounded deer and providing deer-possession permits.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) continued to check deer-hunting activity. Hunters had limited success. Multiple calls were taken from people who had questions about hunting.
CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked deer and waterfowl hunters throughout the week. Several lakes are starting to ice over, and hunters reported limited success. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of waterfowl- and deer-hunting violations.
CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for hunting activity. Baum took enforcement action for firearms deer hunting in a game refuge open for only archery. He took time this week to conduct maintenance on patrol vehicles.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked deer-hunting activity, including complaints of trespassing and hunting form a vehicle. Shallow waters have mostly frozen, causing trappers to adjust and waterfowl hunters to move to larger lakes. Verkuilen also checked night-hunting activity and assisted with deer-vs.-vehicle crashes.
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent most of the week checking firearms deer hunters. Success seemed to slow down from the first two weekends of hunting. Trapping activity was also monitored. Enforcement action was taken on several big-game violations.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for ATV, small-game, and firearms deer-hunting activity. She checked many deer hunters who didn't have success and were trying to fill their tag before the end of the firearms season. Whiteoak also followed up on a hunter-harassment call between a small-game hunter and firearms deer hunters. Smaller lakes in area are now covered with thin ice.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) responded to a call where a waterfowl hunter self-reported accidentally shooting a swan. The swan was injured but appeared to be doing OK. Enforcement action was taken for the incident. The last weekend of deer season produced few hunters and few harvested deer. Speldrich worked complaint areas for shiners and answered questions about ATV operation on state forest lands. A hunter left a portable stand on a local WMA for several days. An investigation is ongoing. Speldrich assisted a small-game hunter, who was new to the area, in finding public land to take his kids for the day.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) continued to work deer-season items and continued work on wetland cases. Some last-minute waterfowl hunting is taking place, with hunters having very little success. Deer hunters are reminded that hats worn in the field need to be legal color and that deer carcasses need to be disposed of properly.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked big-game enforcement this week, contacting many deer hunters. Enforcement action was taken for lending/borrowing licenses/tags, taking an overlimit of deer, failure to validate a tag, failure to register deer, and various ATV violations. Calls were fielded regarding shining, hunting in a state park, and hunter/trapper ATV exemption.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) handled several phone calls from people with complaints regarding trespassing and other game violations. Westby assisted a neighboring officer with a baiting and a big-game lending/borrowing license violations.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked hunting activity this week. He assisted a neighboring officer with a wetland TIP call. VanderWeyst also assisted with an investigation from a neighboring state.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week working on complaints from the firearms deer season. A wetland complaint was investigated. Training was also completed.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) worked another busy week of deer hunting. Some hunters were having a little too much success and were found to be purchasing tags for and borrowing tags from non-hunters in order to take more deer than allowed. Krauel also assisted local law enforcement at crash scenes. Enforcement action was taken for lending/borrowing tags, taking an overlimit of deer, hunting without a valid tag, and failure to register deer.
CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled the area for deer hunting in the late season. Hanna received a TIP complaint of someone baiting and shooting a deer over the bait. Hanna promptly responded to the area and addressed the violation. The hunter believed it was legal to bait on your own property.
Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew a bait reconnaissance flight, and located bait.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying big-game-enforcement support flights, including some potential Wetland Conservation Act violations. The first wolf-pack count flight was flown in northern Minnesota and a rotary training flight was flown. The last angler checks were performed from the seaplane with minor watercraft equipment violations found.
NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed a training flight in a helicopter with one pilot, and worked on helicopter-maintenance items. He also completed the trout stream beaver dam survey for the Duluth Fisheries Office. This covers 75 miles of trout streams near Two Harbors, recording beaver dams for removal by a U.S. Department of Agriculture trapper. Beaver dams pool the water and allow it to warm. Brook trout and steelhead cannot survive temperatures above 78 degrees.
CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) flew enforcement flights checking for bait. He updated aircraft manuals and worked on flight training courses.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases and checking activity around public lands and forests. Time was spent following up on information from the firearms deer season and working with other law enforcement departments on potential leads.
WREO Robert Haberman (north Central) worked the firearms deer season covering vacant stations. High winds and changing weather patterns had many hunters not going out in the woods. Assistance was given to local government units on open cases and new cases were updated.
--- --- ---