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CO Reports: ATV operators and passengers under 18 must wear a helmet

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - June 29, 2021

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) Numerous contacts occurred this week with ATV operators who allowed passengers on the ATV without wearing an approved helmet. Guida patrolled area lakes for angling and boating activity. Guida also fielded miscellaneous wildlife-related calls this week, including a deer with growths on its face, an injured bear, and a bald eagle walking around in someone’s yard.

CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) worked several wetland and shoreline cases, many involving the removal of wild rice. None of the individuals contacted knew it was wild rice and referred to it as removing weeds from the lake. Ladd contacted several boaters and anglers on the water as well as many ATV riders along the trails.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked ATV, fishing, boating and forestry enforcement this week. A TIP was worked for a possible fish overlimit and assistance was provided for nuisance and injured wildlife. Enforcement action was taken for various ATV and burning violations.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked TIP reports of angling violations on area lakes. Public waters violations were also investigated.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) reports the fish have been biting well on the lakes and Mississippi River. He also spoke at an ATV safety class in Ironton.


District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity. Areas were patrolled for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Extra patrols were conducted in complaint areas. A complaint of dogs chasing deer was received. Information was provided for bear activity. She attended firearms training and qualifications.

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports helping staff the TIP trailer at a local county fair. Time was also spent assisting with an ATV safety class in Crookston. Public water and water appropriation cases were worked on. Anglers and ATV operators were checked.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked angling and boating activity on area lakes. He worked boat and water safety shifts with CO McGowan on Upper Red Lake.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) spent time training with K9 Storm and the other K9/handler teams at Camp Ripley. Firearms training was also completed. In addition, a radio interview was done with a local Bemidji station and a nuisance-bear complaint was handled.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports investigating TIP calls of possible overlimits and fishing without a license. Public-access-related complaints were taken as scuba divers and swimmers were blocking access to a boat landing. A video was shared with Vinton that appeared to show a wolf that had killed some chickens. The video was passed on to Wildlife staff and they agreed it did look like a wolf but behaved more like a wolf/dog hybrid. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, insufficient number of PFDs and watercraft-registration issues.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week patrolling for boating and AIS activity. Swedberg also spent time assisting the local 4-H group with a fishing clinic for kids. The kids caught a lot of sunfish and had a great time. Other time was spent doing administrative paperwork from previous cases.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked anglers and boaters and followed up on a possible wetland case and other ongoing cases. Peterson also assisted a local sheriff’s office with a probation violation arrest.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) investigated a wolf-depredation complaint. Time was also spent responding to public requests for information.


CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week following up on calls ranging from nuisance animals to possible poaching instances. In one case a deer was reported to have been shot. After Landmark investigated, it was determined the deer was struck by a car and moved from the scene of the crash. Landmark also attended court for a case from last deer season.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) had a busy week of water-related activity as both anglers and recreational users took advantage of beautiful weather. Lots of good contacts took place on the water, but a few resulted in enforcement action. Multiple people were cited for angling without licenses, using extra lines and operating personal watercrafts after hours. One angler was cited after being observed slamming a small bass off his boat motor cover simply because it swallowed the hook. An adult side-by-side ATV operator was also cited for driving down a paved county road with three juveniles onboard. None were buckled or wearing helmets.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and boaters and monitoring AIS law compliance. Additional time was spent on nuisance-animal complaints.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) worked boating safety and angling activity during the previous week. Time was also spent monitoring AIS compliance in the area. Complaints were received concerning nuisance and injured animals.

CO Emily Leeb (Morris) continued to work primarily fishing, boat and water, and AIS activity on and around area waterways. ATV and fire activity was also monitored. Nuisance/injured-animal complaints were received.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) worked ATV, angling, and boating enforcement. Anglers had a tough time this past week, with catches hindered by a large fly hatch on area lakes. Time was spent on Bear Committee items and taking-nuisance-bear-related complaints. Enforcement action was taken for illegal-length northern pike, nonresident ATV without a trail pass, juveniles on ATVs without helmets, and boating equipment violations.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) attended training in Hibbing for a majority of the week. Time was also spent patrolling local ATV trails, local lakes, and continuing follow up on an open case.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked area lakes for angling and boating activity. McGowan also spent time following up on TIP complaints. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling and boating violations.


CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked fishing and boating enforcement during the week. Nuisance-animal calls were also handled. Enforcement action was taken for numerous instances of illegal use of hydraulic jets to remove aquatic vegetation and excavation of public waters.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) checked anglers, boaters and ATV riders throughout the week. Kunst also responded to a call of a grass fire and received various nuisance-animal calls. Enforcement action was taken on various violations, including taking illegal-length northern pike, no angling license in possession and no throwable PFD in boat.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports focusing enforcement efforts on angling, watercraft and ATV enforcement. Calls from the public included ATV-related and nuisance-animal complaints.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity where increased water temperatures are increasing PWC use and water recreation in general. He also spoke at a hunter education class, responded to an ATV crash and investigated trespassing complaints.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked ATV activity, and angling activity on Mille Lacs and Cedar lakes. Griffith also attended training. Enforcement action was taken for multiple angling violations.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating, and ATV riding activity. Enforcement action was taken for failure to have a throwable PFD in the boat and illegal-length northern pike on Clear Lake. She also worked on equipment maintenance, followed up on some ATV-regulations questions, and assisted at an ATV/vehicle crash.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on a possible wolf-depredation report and took complaints about bear behavior. Muskie and smallmouth bass anglers are seeing some fish. ATV, boating, PWC, and lake shore questions were also taken.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) worked boating safety, AIS, and fishing enforcement. He also attended training. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display boat registration decal, no angling license in possession, and angling without a license.


CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) followed up on a public-waters complaint during the week. A car-killed deer permit was issued. An area access site was also worked for AIS issues.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking boaters and anglers around the area. Nuisance-animal calls were handled. Court hearings were attended. Wetland violations were looked into.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and working boat and water safety. He also spent time patrolling for ATV activities. Krauel also received numerous complaints about nuisance bears. Krauel would like to remind everyone that bears are attracted to bird feeders and any other type of wildlife food. He advises concerned individuals to remove all wildlife feed and potential food sources such as garbage barrels from areas where bears have access to.

Aviation Section

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew multiple survey flights for Fisheries.

Standby NR Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports continuing coordination and scheduling of Lake Vermilion creel flights. She also reports flying two creel surveys.

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying several Duluth-area lakes survey flights, as well as a wolf telemetry flight. A required yearly check ride was also completed.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed the annual airplane photo flight of the cattail spray sites. Plots are photographed at the request of Wildlife offices around the state to see the amount of success since they were sprayed. Varying degrees of success were observed around the state. He also worked on helicopter maintenance items in preparation for the spraying of hybrid cattails for this season.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) attended training in Hibbing. He completed a creel flight along the Canadian Border and in the Duluth area. He flew a telemetry flight checking equipment for an upcoming waterfowl project and attended to maintenance of an aircraft in for annual inspection.


Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NE) spent the week catching up and updating open cases. Assistance was given to area sheriff’s offices and the Minnesota State Patrol for accidents and calls. Fishing, AIS and ATV activity was worked in Region 1. Public accesses were checked in the Park Rapids and Bemidji areas over the weekend.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued to work on cases in his assigned area. Public accesses were worked for AIS enforcement and ATV activity was monitored. Site visits and reviews were conducted. Haberman also was a guest speaker at the annual Crow Wing County AIS inspector all staff meeting.

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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 BrainerdDispatch.com website first went live on April 26, 1994.
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