Lake slush limiting anglers; snowmobilers, skiers busy - MnDNR CO Reports

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - Jan. 7, 2020

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District 2 - Bemidji area

CO (Conservation Officer) Tim Gray (Bagley) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked angling and snowmobile activity in the area. Snowmobile trails are in excellent condition after a lot of hard work by the area snowmobile club, which groomed trails and cleared downed trees from the trails. There’s a lot of slush on area lakes, which has limited the number of ice anglers. Area cross-country ski trails were patrolled. Skiers are reminded to purchase a ski pass before using the grant-in-aid ski trails.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) spent the past week focusing primarily on snowmobile and angling enforcement. Ski passes were also checked at Bemidji and Itasca state parks and a fire complaint was handled. Mishler also spent time training with her K9 partner Storm.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked at fur registration, as well as on a background investigation and ongoing cases.


District 4 - Walker area

CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) continued to check snowmobile and fishing activity. Enforcement action included expired snowmobile registration and failure to display current registration.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports high snowmobile activity in the area. Conversely, angling activity for this time of year is at very low levels due to large amounts of slush and ice that won’t hold vehicle traffic. A deer-season case was finished that resulted in citations for hunting deer without a license and a registration violation. A possession permit was given to a school for a road-killed barred owl. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and angling violations.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. Sunfish, crappies and walleyes have been the most productive for anglers on area lakes. He worked on snowmobile enforcement issues this past week and found trespass and expired registration violations. Lake aeration permits and system inspections also received enforcement time. Some violations included no thin ice signs and expired permits.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked fur registration after the close of the fisher/pine marten season with around 30 trappers attending. Fishing activity was limited, but snowmobiling activity picked up. Snowmobilers are reminded to be aware of trespass violations as many agricultural fields are covered with snow making it unclear what is beneath. Enforcement action for the past week consisted of snowmobile registration violations, no license in possession, and transporting a loaded firearm.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked snowmobile and cross-country ski trails and sport fishing enforcement. Guida also worked with a local snowmobile trail club member on trail-condition improvements. Water appears to be a problem in numerous areas for numerous clubs. Enforcement action was taken along the trail for speed, registration, and off-trail violations. Ski passes were checked. Guida also checked anglers who were using extra lines and who were unlicensed.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) observed a large number of people enjoying snowmobile trails in the area. Sullivan observed several registration violations, including expired registration, failure to transfer ownership and failure to display as required. Sullivan also assisted with a snowmobile crash that included personal injury; the crash investigation showed alcohol was involved. Angling in the area remains slow due to poor ice conditions.


CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports patrolling the CCSRA, area snowmobile trails, and fishing activity. Slush and poor ice conditions are the sore subject on nearly all area lakes, keeping ice fishing activity minimal. Two incidents of injured deer were responded to, and enforcement contacts were made for no vehicle permits in the CCSRA and possession of marijuana.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, snowmobile, and ATV activity. Assistance was given to DNR Wildlife with fur tagging and a vehicle on a grant-in-aid snowmobile trail was addressed. A law presentation was given to about 25 young snowmobilers at their safety class.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for snowmobile and angling activity. Numerous snowmobilers were observed enjoying good snow and trail conditions. Enforcement action was taken for numerous snowmobile violations.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity. Layered ice and slushy conditions are still making access challenging. Some upland bird hunters were out making use of the season’s final days. Verkuilen also monitored snowmobile activity, including a trespassing complaint.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling ice angling, snowmobile, and ATV enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for a small amount of marijuana, unattended lines, failure to properly ID a fish house, failure to display ATV registration, and failure to stop an ATV at a road crossing. She also spent time assisting at the local DNR office for fur registration.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked area trails for snowmobiling activity. Enforcement action was taken for failing to properly display registration, expired registration and modified exhaust. She answered questions regarding collector snowmobile registration and continued work on a background investigation.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked fishing, trapping, and snowmobile activities. An overlimit-of-walleyes case was made, along with several protected-size-walleye violations. Snowmobile activity increased with enforcement action taken for loud exhaust, registration, and allowing illegal youth operation. Starr also worked the Pierz station with a slow bite found and overall compliance good.


CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked primarily sport fishing and recreational vehicle enforcement. This past week, violations encountered included no fishing license in personal possession, fishing without a license, no shelter license on a non-portable ice shelter, no shelter identification, failure to display ATV registration, possessing unmeasurable fish, and litter.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) attended an Honor Guard meeting during the week. A deer-possession tag was also issued for a found deer.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on lend/borrow and illegal deer-hunting investigations this past week. He also worked with the Wildlife Section in regards to nuisance animals. He also did administrative tasks and reports this past week.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week checking anglers. Enforcement action was taken for no ATV registration, illegal-length fish, and lend/borrow a deer license. A complaint was also handled where a person blocked a public road ditch with a snow fence to stop snowmobile traffic.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and snowmobiles. Complaints of tree stands left on state land were investigated. Animal-related complaints were handled.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent time following up on deer-hunting cases. Krauel also checked ice anglers and patrolled for snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of deer, no angling license, possession of marijuana, lend/borrow a big-game license, expired ATV registration, and angling with an extra line.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking ice anglers on area lakes with improved conditions. Snowmobile safety classes were also attended for area youth. A subject fled from Benkofske on their snowmobile, which led to a pursuit. The subject was caught and faces felony charges based on his actions.

Aviation Section

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf telemetry and had skis installed on the airplane. Heineman also helped move the helicopters to Ely for the start of the moose survey.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) helped reposition two helicopters to Ely for the start of the annual moose survey. Snow conditions are very good this year all across the moose range.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases. Time was spent working snowmobile trails and lakes for activity. Anglers were checked and he fielded lots of questions regarding ice conditions.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on case updates and office work. Haberman also spent time working snowmobile enforcement on local trails. Some area trails are rough due to groomers not being able to cross wetland areas. Haberman also checked area anglers, but numbers are low with heavy slush on lakes.

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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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