Bowfishing participation growing, Forest roads, trails still closed - MnDNR CO Reports

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - April 30, 2020

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) took a wolf-depredation complaint and a TIP on stolen long guns that a hunter found under spruce blowdown. Gray turned over the guns to the sheriff’s office.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked two boat and water shifts over the weekend with CO McGowan. Anglers enjoyed a good sturgeon bite during the first two days of the season.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) worked spring fish-run activity with CO Al Peterson and checked area anglers. Assistance was given to the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office with an ongoing investigation. Turkey hunters were checked and turkey hunting-related complaints were worked. Mishler also received and followed up on a complaint of vehicles and ATVs intentionally tearing up WMA land and forest roads. Enforcement action was taken for driving after revocation and operating a motor vehicle in a manner that causes damage.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a busy fish run and bowfishing/spearing opener. The number of people engaging in bowfishing has increased noticeably. Vinton and RTO Greg Oldakowski contacted a group of bowfishers who had begun fishing a few hours before the midnight opener. Enforcement action was taken. A permit for a car-killed turkey was issued. ATV activity has also increased.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working spring fishing activity. Lots of people have been out enjoying the spring fish run and watching walleyes, suckers, and other fish. Spring fishing for panfish has been slow to start the year, as many area lakes just lost all of their ice and water temperatures remain cool. Swedberg also helped the State Patrol with a traffic stop that resulted in an arrest for controlled substances and paraphernalia. Several TIP calls were taken regarding the spring fish season involving individuals targeting species during the closed season.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) made a DWI arrest on an ATV operator at night. The intoxicated driver also had a loaded firearm in his possession. Charges are pending. Peterson also encountered two driving-after-revocation violations in state forests, which are closed for the annual spring closure. He responded to complaints of untended traps, theft of traps and a turkey-related call.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked ATV and fishing enforcement with many bowfishers on the lakes during the weekend opener. Big-game and litter cases were worked. Make sure to check the DNR website for trail and campground closures before venturing out.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) worked ATV and trapping enforcement. ATV activity was high with the warm weather this past weekend and many people up at their cabins. Enforcement action was taken on expired ATV registration, failure to display valid registration, and operating without headlights. Trapping violations included illegally set water sets and trapping in a state park.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked anglers, turkey hunters, and boaters. She investigated a report of a wantonly wasted turkey and various fishing violations. She also received calls of otters accidentally caught in beaver traps.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports the ice on most area lakes will soon be gone and a few are completely ice-free. Turkey hunters and traps were checked. Many ATVs were seen. Mathy took a call about two eagles that were stuck together. They eventually separated themselves without assistance. Enforcement action was taken for taking bass in the closed season, allowing illegal operation of ATVs by juveniles, driving on closed state forest roads, unregistered ATV, operating an OHM in the road right of way, operating an ATV on a roadway, and fire violations.

District 9 - Brainerd area


CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) patrolled state parks and checked turkey hunters. Ice recently went out on area lakes and Ladd spent time in the boat patrolling some spring angling and boating activity as well as high ATV activity in the area.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled station lakes for fishing activity. Some anglers were out for the first time trying their luck with crappies. A reminder to all anglers to verify PFDs and other required safety equipment before going out. Guida issued possession tags for car-killed turkeys and deer.

CO Tim Collette (Brainerd West) checked “B” season turkey hunters, panfish anglers, and ATV riders. Many people were out recreating.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) spent the past week enforcing ATV, fishing, trapping, forest closure and fire ban activity. Enforcement action was taken for untagged traps. Investigations also began for illegal fill in public waters, operating an unauthorized vehicle on a snowmobile trail and causing damage, as well as an egregious case of lake erosion. Best had located two illegal hydro-jet devices, meant to clear the area of unwanted vegetation that had been running for days or possibly weeks. Once the damage can be evaluated, enforcement action will be taken.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) patrolled the Foot Hills State Forest area, which is closed to all motor vehicle traffic. Enforcement action was taking with several subjects operating illegally. The spring crappie bite was active and overlimit reports were investigated.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, turkey hunting, trapping and ATV activity. Closed forest roads were worked and outdoor topics were covered on the local radio station.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for turkey hunting activity and crappie anglers throughout the past week. McGowan also worked the Rainy River for the sturgeon opening weekend. Numerous anglers were found to be having good success. Numerous violations were detected.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area


CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time maintaining equipment, delivering equipment, working on office work, and following up on calls. The calls she followed up on included shoreline alterations, private boat ramps, wolf depredation, ATV permits, and trapping incidentals.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) noted an extreme increase in outdoor activities this past week. Fishing and bowfishing activities were worked with enforcement action taken for no license and shooting bows within a restricted area. ATV use continues to increase. Starr found another stolen vehicle and assisted the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office and Savage Police Department with the case. Turkey hunters are having good success.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked ATV, trapping, sport fishing, and spring turkey hunters this past week. Additionally, equipment maintenance and multiple investigations were completed.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week checking anglers and bowfishers on area lakes. Silgjord assisted CO Musatov with a significant crappie bite in the Sauk Rapids station, where multiple anglers were cited for overlimits of fish. Watercraft maintenance was also conducted.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity this past week. The nicer weather has brought a lot of people out enjoying lakes and shore-fishing spots. Turkey hunters are having some luck. He assisted a neighboring officer with an evening detail.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports responding to several wildlife-related calls and assisting a local police department. He also spent time patrolling General C.C. Andrews State Forest by ATV. Enforcement action for the past week included angling without a license, targeting game fish in a closed season, crappie overlimit and several ATV-related offenses.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) received a complaint of a pheasant shot from a vehicle and left to waste. The shooter was located and charged. Bertram also responded to trespass complaints, wetland violations, and injured-animal calls.


District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling for ATV activity. He also spent time following up on wetland violations. Enforcement action was taken for taking an overlimit of fish, angling without a license, operating an OHM in the roadway, and possession of marijuana.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports a busy past week of enforcing angling and ATV laws in the area. Many grass and structure fires were assisted at. Please do not burn as we are under restricted burning status. Calls of nuisance bears were handled. Benkofske also lassoed an injured eagle near Zimmerman. The eagle seems to be making a good recovery at the Raptor Center. Lastly, with the help of Baldwin Fire, a horse was rescued after being stuck in a marsh.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers, boaters, ATV riders, and turkey hunters. Investigations were conducted on angling for bass out of season, carcass dumping, fill/excavate wetlands, and illegal ATV operation.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) worked the spring crappie bite with cases for overlimits. Wetland complaints were investigated. Nuisance animal-related calls were handled.

Aviation Section

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) continued flight training with landings and commercial maneuvers. He also flew the Rainy River for angling activity.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf telemetry and pilot-training flights.


CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of flying fire detection routes.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance progress and completed pilot training videos. He also completed a training flight in a helicopter.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week checking turkey hunters, fishing activity, working on open cases and monitoring fish-run locations. Public lands were monitored for activity and ATV traffic. Assistance was given to local law enforcement agencies with calls. Calls regarding docks, boats and wildlife were fielded.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) spent the past week working on cases in his assigned area. Turkey hunters and ATV riders were checked. Haberman also responded to a pelican with fishing line wrapped around its body on the Whitefish Chain.

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Prepared by Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement

I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with numerous job titles since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently as Digital Editor. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work these 30+ years. I was present and worked on the our web page when our original website first went live on April 26, 1994.
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