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CO Reports: Aquatic plant removal requires permit

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - Sept 2, 2020

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO (Conservation Officer) Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the past week field training with COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Zach Larson. Enforcement action was taken for no boat registration, no PFDs, failing to register bear-bait stations, littering, and ATV violations. An aquatic plant violation was investigated where cattails were pulled from the lake. The person was cited for removing the cattails without a permit.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent the week continuing to field train with COC Larson. Enforcement action was focused on patrolling area lakes and wetland violations. Shore anglers seemed to be enjoying the cooler weather and a good fish bite.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) received nuisance-animal complaints this past week. He observed fishing activity to be fairly consistent on area lakes. He also provided assistance to other law enforcement agencies.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports checking bear baits, anglers and people out recreating. He reports assisting another law enforcement agency with a barricaded suspect, issuing possession permits, and dealing with drug-related offenses and prohibited trailer lights. Upcoming fall weather will likely prompt hunters to begin prepping for the upcoming hunting seasons. Now is a great time to go over the 2020 Hunting and Trapping Regulations book.


District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time in the boat checking anglers and others recreating on the water. Compliance was good, but the fishing has been slow in the area. A littering complaint was received and the suspects were identified after digging through the numerous bags of household garbage. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports the lakes and trails remain very busy. Many ATV riders, including several juveniles, were violating ATV regulations. Anglers were out trying their luck but found little success. Several bear baits were also checked. He fielded two injured-eagle calls, one injured-swan call and one-injured loon call. He also received a report of a cougar sighting. Enforcement action was taken for several ATV violations and boating violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked multiple anglers and bear baits. She took a nuisance-bear complaint and investigated a netting complaint. Enforcement was taken for marijuana possession and no fishing license in possession.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, invasive species and ATV activity. Bear baits were also monitored.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing county lakes for boating activity. Numerous questions were fielded about the upcoming waterfowl season, and McGowan continued field training with a new conservation officer. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling and boating violations.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked bear baits and wild ricing activity in her area, as well as ATV activity.


CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) conducted boat and water safety checks and enforced fishing regulations around the Backus and the Brainerd lakes areas. Violations included angling without a license, possession of a controlled substance, no throwable and no license in possession. ATV traffic continues to be high and enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration, failure to transfer ownership and no headlights on.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled ATV trails and public waters for activity. Guida fielded a complaint of dirt bikes operating illegally within the road rights-of-ways. Extra patrol to increase visibility resulted in a contact leading to a citation and seizure of drug paraphernalia. Guida also participated in a detail out of station.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent time checking anglers on the river and lakes. A few people were seen collecting wild rice. Harvesters have said it’s been a fair year for rice so far. Hunters are eager to start the bear season. He received ATV complaints about riding recklessly, speeding, and without helmets.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) spent time enforcing laws for fishing, ATV use, wild rice harvest and bear-baiting activity this past week. A taxidermy inspection was also conducted and is ongoing. Numerous nuisance-wildlife calls were handled.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on bear-baiting activity this past week. Time was also spent working on wetland cases. Anglers and watercraft operators were checked. Various fishing related violations were encountered.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) investigated a wetland violation, checked bear baits and finished a wolf-depredation complaint.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued Step 1 of field training with COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Victoria Griffith. They worked angling and boating activity on area lakes and Leech Lake. They also worked bear baits and ATV activity on area trials. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession and providing false information by giving a fictitious date of birth. The officers also met with Forestry staff and followed up on complaints of yard waste being discarded on state forest land.


CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports week 2 of field training with COC Vincent Brown. Brown and Vinton patrolled the Perham station checking for various types of activity including ATV riding, boating, and sport fishing. Enforcement action was taken on anglers with fish overlimits and personal watercraft owners for failure to remove drain plugs. Enforcement action was also taken on property owners in violation of aquatic plant management regulations. They continue to patrol the Vergas area in search of an escaped deer-farm deer.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week checking bear baits, patrolling for ATV activity and following up on aquatic plant management and Wetland Conservation Act cases. Swedberg also responded to multiple calls for service with Becker County including a biking accident and person overboard. All parties involved are safe thanks to quick responses from the people around them. Other time was spent taking calls about upcoming hunting seasons.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked bear-bait enforcement, conducted a commercial game farm inspection, followed up on an ongoing trespass complaint and attended training.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling and boating activity. Areas were worked for bear-baiting activity. Patrol was conducted for ATV and off-road vehicle regulation compliance. AIS checks were performed. Warren attended a kids hunting and wildlife day at McCollum’s Farm and assisted with the aquatic invasive species station.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week monitoring bear baiting, angling, ATV and aquatic plant management activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Anglers are finding a decent panfish bite on some lakes, while anglers on others are eagerly waiting for the fall bite to turn on. Calls from the public included questions about the upcoming hunting seasons and questions about waterfowl feeding and resting area closures on an area lake. Assistance was also provided to staff at Maplewood State Park on a variety of calls throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for camping in a state park without a permit and other state park violations.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) scouted and prepared for the upcoming hunting seasons. He also assisted with the security detail for the Vice President’s visit to Duluth.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) spent the past week checking bear baits and responding to nuisance bears causing crop damage. Questions regarding bear-bait barrels on public lands were answered and complaints of OHMs were taken.


CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked bear baits as well as ATV and fishing activity. A felony drug case from last winter was also followed up on, along with a public waters violation. Enforcement action was taken for an unregistered ATV and use without helmet. Nuisance-bear complaints were also investigated, and Starr answered numerous fall hunting season questions.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, ATVs/OHMs, bear baiting, and wild ricing activity this past week. Time was spent in Duluth working security during Vice President Pence’s visit. Time was also spent conducting equipment maintenance. Assistance was given to the Minnesota State Patrol for a DWI arrest.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking anglers. He also worked ATV activity and bear-baiting activity. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and angling with extra lines. An arrest was made for possession of a handgun and methamphetamine.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers, boaters, ATV riders, and bear-bait stations. Calls were taken on trespass complaints, injured birds/deer, and dogs chasing deer.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and boaters. A wetland complaint was investigated. ATV complaint areas were worked.

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) spent the past week checking anglers. Benkofske also worked ATV activity and bear-baiting activity. Numerous bear-related complaints also taken.

Aviation Section


CO Pilot Bob Geving (Mankato) flew photo requests for early goose season baiting reconnaissance, public waters assessments, state land encroachment, tiling projects, and public ditch buffering. Geving also attended to administrative tasks.

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew a recon flight for a local CO and spent time training.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a wolf telemetry flight and took annual required flight checks. Heineman also gave training to another CO pilot.

Standby NR Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports completing the remainder of the northeastern Minnesota wild rice aerial survey. Holmes also reviewed survey data and attended to administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a night currency flight and assisted with a taxidermy inspection.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed removal of aerial application equipment and record-keeping after the hybrid cattail spraying project. He also did other administrative tasks.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on WCA and public waters calls with COs and local government units. Several cases were updated, new issues discussed and plans to advance and address issues established. Time was spent returning calls and cleaning up old files. Boating and AIS activity was monitored, as were ATV problem areas in the state forest.


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