Don't forget your 2020 angling license, respect trail and road closures - MnDNR CO Reports

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - April 7, 2020

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored ice angling activity on area lakes. Time was spent patrolling area roads and trails for ATV activity. A boat and water detail was worked on the Rainy River.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) spent the past week focusing on angling and ATV activity and following up on fire-related complaints. Due to the stay-at-home order, state parks in the surrounding area have seen an increase in visitors looking to get outdoors and recreate. Extra patrol and presence at those parks was also a focus for the past week.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports usage is up in area state parks due to the stay-at-home order. Many of the people with whom Vinton spoke are trying to make the best of it during these very unusual times. A spring beaver trapper surrendered an accidental otter that was taken in a beaver set and questions related to the upcoming turkey season were answered. ATV operators are reminded the seasonal restriction of ATV operation in the right-of-way on state and county highways south of U.S. Highway 10 took effect April 1.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week checking ice anglers and preparing equipment for the spring season. He also answered questions on COVID-19-related topics and area wildlife-related concerns.


CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked ongoing cases and handled a fishing TIP and a wildlife-related call. Overall activity was low.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked area lakes for angling activity. Ice conditions continue to deteriorate and people must use caution. Patrol was conducted for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. She patrolled wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas. Warren also spent time monitoring area streams and rivers for fish run activity. Open cases were closed.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) handled a variety of calls during the past week and saw a decline in fishing activity in the area. Burning restrictions went on in all counties he covers, and forest road closures went into place in the Huntersville and Paul Bunyan state forests. Litter and illegal-dumping complaints were handled.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked fishing enforcement this past week. The sunfish and crappies have been most cooperative for anglers. The ice conditions are dangerous on area lakes. He also worked on ATV enforcement issues this past week. Lake-aeration-permit questions and inspections also received enforcement time. Complaints of bears in garbage cans and bird feeders were received.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) continued to check anglers. She investigated multiple TIPs regarding possible fishing overlimits. She also received a call of a dead eagle and responded to a call of a negligent discharge of a firearm. Enforcement action was taken for various ATV and fishing violations.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) worked ice fishing and ATV enforcement, as well as burning violations. Enforcement action was taken for angling without an angling license, driving an unauthorized vehicle on the Soo Line Trail, burning prohibited materials and failing to notify a conservation officer after killing a nuisance animal. Kunst also received a call from a person who was fishing near a culvert when he heard a gunshot nearby. Kunst determined it was a woman shooting chipmunks, not trying to scare off anglers

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports the ice fishing season is ending. Warm weather in the early part of the past week eroded ice at access areas on lakes. Anglers going out on the ice on foot found mixed success for panfish. Complaints of littering and birch-pole cutting were investigated. The warmer weather has also softened forest roads. Motor vehicle travel in area state forests is now temporarily closed.


District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) took enforcement action this past week for burning prohibited materials, failure to obtain a burning permit, and ATV registration issues.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled station lakes for angling activity. A few panfish anglers were contacted with limits of crappies. Ice is almost off area lakes. Please check regulations on possession limits vs. daily limits. Guida took enforcement actions on numerous ATV and OHM violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for late-season ice anglers. Ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly and anglers should use caution. McGowan also spent time prepping open-water patrol watercrafts.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) started out the week checking late-ice anglers and a couple who were trying to get on the river but found the water to be too high and fast to launch. Ladd also worked ATV activity in the area and followed up on some big-game cases from last fall.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked ATV, beaver-trapping and what was probably the last of ice fishing activity. Ditching work in a wetland was also addressed.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) patrolled the Foot Hills State Forest area, which is closed to all motor vehicle traffic. Sullivan checked spring angling activity and worked ATV traffic in the area. Sullivan also prepared open-water equipment.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) patrolled the state recreation area for park violations and also for trail closure violations throughout the week and weekend. Time was spent checking for anglers around the Crosby area. ATV activity was monitored throughout the week and weekend and many outdoor law-related questions were answered. Fitzgerald checked area state forests for spring road closure. Enforcement action for the past week included various OHM violations.


District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked what were likely the last ice anglers of the season as a lot of shores have open water. ATV traffic was monitored and busy due in part to rights-of-way being nearly clear of snow.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time maintaining equipment, working on office work, and followed up on various calls.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) patrolled local state parks. A reminder to park users that dogs must be on a leash at all times. She also patrolled state forests and local trails for recreational vehicle operation. Several warnings for operating ATVs without required equipment were issued. Time was also spent checking local rivers for anglers.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on equipment, late-season ice fishing, and recreational public areas. Incidental fur catches were reported. He issued a deer-possession permit. State forest roads are closed due to bad conditions. State parks were also checked.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) reported trapping, ATV, and burning activity this past week. There has been noticeable beaver activity. Likewise, trappers have been observed tending beaver traps. ATV activity was steady this past weekend on the Soo Line Trail. It should be noted that burning in Aitkin County is currently “restricted” and limited to variance permits. For more information on burning, visit the DNR’s website with the keywords “burning permit information.” Enforcement action was taken for failure to display ATV registration, operating an ATV without lights, operating an ATV without helmets on juvenile passengers, operating an ATV without an ATV safety certificate, and failure to obtain a burning permit.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling activity in the station. An incidental otter catch was handled and calls regarding bowfishing were taken. A complaint of a vehicle left at a public access site was also investigated.


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) reports the ice is either out or close to out at area lakes. He handled bowfishing questions and a complaint of driving in a WPA.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports an increase in outdoor activity during the past week. He spent time patrolling Charles Lindbergh State Park, Lake Maria State Park and several area WMAs. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, targeting game fish in a closed season, no life jackets, ATV passengers under 18 not wearing a helmet and failure to display watercraft registration. He also received several wildlife-related calls.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking anglers and patrolling for ATV activity. Krauel also spent time on equipment maintenance and handled several calls about nuisance bears and dogs on the loose.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) investigated a small-game violation. A dumping complaint was received. Musatov handled several animal-related calls.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) patrolled local lakes, rivers, state parks, and WMAs. Several inspections were conducted on public water and wetland violations. Enforcement action was taken for allowing illegal operation of an ATV by youth, fire-related calls, and taking frogs out of season.

Aviation Section

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) continued flight training. He flew the Rainy River for angling activity as well as a reconnaissance flight for District 5.


NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) attended a pilots’ meeting on Skype, flew a single-pilot training flight in the Scout and worked on training videos.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a rotary training flight and flying an equipment test flight for the upcoming wildfire season. Jensen partook in an online pilot meeting and also spent time in the Cuyuna Recreation Area to monitor grounds and usage.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) did administrative tasks and worked on helicopter maintenance forms and records. He also attended the first virtual Skype quarterly pilot meeting. Safety items, planning, and review of the aircraft operations manual were completed.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week working on open cases and preparing for the upcoming open-water season. Time was spent patrolling area WMAs and federal lands for activity.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) spent time working on open cases in his assigned area. A new violation was reported near Mille Lacs Lake and Haberman conducted a site visit. Ice conditions are deteriorating fast with the warmer weather.

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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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