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CO Reports: ATV's - No helmets on juveniles riding Class 2 machines continues to be a big issue.

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - July 20, 2021

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) attended training at Camp Ripley this week. Enforcement action was also taken for boating violations such as dangerous wake, no PFDs and gunwale riding. Numerous ATV violations were addressed as well. No helmets on juveniles riding Class 2 machines continues to be a big issue. Other violations included expired registrations, no non-resident trail passes, no ATV safety, no valid driver’s license on a roadway and allowing illegal operation by a juvenile on an ATV.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) fielded several complaints of jet skis operating carelessly and harassing wildlife. Recreational boating activity continued to be high. Sullivan also investigated illegal use of hydraulic jets.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked aquatic plant management vegetation complaints. Property owners were found spraying chemicals on aquatic vegetation in violation of current laws. Other APM violations have been received. Guida also issued nuisance-beaver permits and car-killed deer possession permits.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) spent time checking anglers and boaters on local lakes. Enforcement action was taken for no-wake violations, insufficient life jackets, and no navigation lights. A boater was arrested for DWI on Big Sandy Lake. Benkofske also held multiple ATV safety classes in Lawler with the help of the Evergreen PAC ATV Club.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) investigated shoreline-alteration calls, worked the ATV trails and the Mississippi River, attended training at Camp Ripley and worked in the Cuyuna recreation area.


District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling and boating activity on area lakes.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling area lakes for AIS and boating enforcement issues. Calls of injured eagles were taken, as well as orphaned animals. People should be reminded that very few baby animals are ever just abandoned by their parents. Calls were also taken for increased patrols on some lakes for personal watercraft violations. Jet ski operators need to remember to stay 150 feet from docks, shore and swim rafts. Vion assisted Wildlife staff with a possible dumping violation on an area WMA.

CO Jake Sntwedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working sport fishing and boating activity. Fishing improved across the area as temperatures cooled. Several muskie anglers were checked, including a couple who claimed to have caught a near-record fish. Swedberg also assisted Becker County with a welfare check of a nighttime swimmer, who witnesses believed never came back to shore. Thankfully, after an extensive search the swimmer was located safe on shore.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked a possible shoreline and aquatic plant violation, a potential trespassing case, and spoke to kids at a firearms safety class. Peterson took additional enforcement action on several ATV violations.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity, as well as ATV and ORV activity. Leeching activity was monitored and a deceased eagle was transferred to federal wardens. Warren attended the Island Lake Association meeting, provided regulation information, and answered many questions.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring boat and water safety, angling activity, AIS, and ATV activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Calls from the public included reports of nuisance animals and watercraft harassing wildlife. Landmark responded to a report of a grass fire, in which an individual ignited a small pile and ended up burning approximately 6 acres, including several acres of a neighboring property. The individual ended up being cited for a careless fire by a deputy on scene. Enforcement action was taken for failure to remove a drain plug prior to transport and gunwale riding on a watercraft.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports fishing continues to be strong on certain area lakes. Time was spent working on fishing and aquatic vegetation complaints. Many inquiries about nuisance-bear and -beaver issues were answered. Lake and river levels continue to drop with higher summer temps and no rain. Getting watercraft into the lakes and off of lifts may pose some challenges for some folks.

CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) conducted station equipment transfers and training throughout the week. ATV activities were monitored during his travels to the Bemidji area. Additional time was spent checking shore anglers and AIS compliance.


CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked recreational vehicle activity and AIS compliance. Time was also spent following up on open cases and an aquatic plant management violation. Holt continued working on organizing a firearms safety class. Enforcement action involved APM violations.

CO Dan Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, ATV operators and boaters. Additional time was spent on AIS enforcement and nuisance-beaver issues.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked boating and angling, and assisted the Aviation Unit on an angling survey. Enforcement activity consisted of angling, personal watercraft, and registration violations. Cross also worked with the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office on an arrest of a boater for BWI.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports focusing efforts on ATV, angling and watercraft safety. Enforcement action consisted of youth under 18 not wearing helmets, permitting unlawful operation by juveniles, ATV/OHM registration violations, no angling license in possession and insufficient personal flotation devices. He also continues to work with local governing units in regards to wetland and public water violations.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking anglers, boaters and ATV riders in the Remer area. Various violations were found, including no life jackets, angling license not in personal possession and taking fish without a license. TIP calls were also received. Kunst participated in public outreach at Federal Dams Days.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) worked at a community event, investigated fishing and jet ski complaints, and assisted with a DUI arrest.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) spent this week patrolling for boat and water safety, recreational vehicles, and fishing activity. Baum took enforcement action on various violations. Baum continued investigation of area shoreline and wetland violations. Baum encourages people to look at the regulation books before operating a recreational vehicle or boat.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked boaters and ATV riders. Time was also spent working on open public water alteration cases and Bear Committee items. Enforcement action was taken for boating, angling, and ATV violations.


District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked summer lake activity, including late and early PWC riders, a lot of non-resident anglers, and boat operators perpetually searching for safety equipment. Drought conditions are raising questions and concerns about shoreline alterations and fire use. Verkuilen also checked ATV traffic and monitored their use around a local community festival.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored angling activity throughout the week on Mille Lacs Lake. The live bait restriction ended, bringing more anglers out on the lake over the weekend. Time was also spent monitoring ATV activity on the Soo Line and nearby trails. Several wetland violations were followed up on throughout the week. Griffith worked with a neighboring officer on Saturday to help teach a firearm safety class. Enforcement action was taken on ATV, angling, and wetland violations.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating, and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for failure to have a fire extinguisher in the boat, failure to have life jackets for all passengers in boat, failure to display an ATV registration decal, failure to display ATV registration numbers, youth operating ATVs without helmets, youth operating ATVs without a guardian, no lights while operating an ATV, operating an ATV on a state highway, operating an OHM on a state highway, and operating an OHM without registration. She also followed up on a complaint of two landowners removing aquatic vegetation along their shoreline. Resource Protection Notifications and citations were issued.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked ATV and fishing activities and assisted local law enforcement. A case of a 14-year-old juvenile operating a 1000 CC machine on a busy county highway was found. The youth had no helmet, ran a stop sign across a state highway, no registration displayed, and was operating faster than reasonable. Starr took a call from a college student moving back to a second-story apartment. When a storage bag containing floor rugs was opened, a stowaway possum popped out and made a ruckus. Luckily, the transient marsupial was captured and released unharmed.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) primarily worked sport fishing, boating, and ATV enforcement this week. Enforcement action was taken for various ATV, boating, sport fishing, and aquatic plant-related violations. Time was spent investigating possible aquatic plant and wetlands violations. Calls were taken regarding injured animals.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATV activity, worked AIS and boating safety, and checked anglers. An investigation was conducted on an area lake dock and platform that was not in compliance. Enforcement action was taken for operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license, operating an ATV without safety training, failure to display registration on an ATV, expired ATV registration, no public use registration for ATV on the trail, youth passenger without helmet, operating a PWC within an hour of sunset, and no angling license in personal possession.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked the local area and assisted other law enforcement with cattle on the highway, vehicle off the road, and a traffic stop that resulted in a driver who was revoked from driving and his passenger with a felony warrant. Fishing in the area continues to produce TIP calls of overlimits and slot fish concerns. AIS work was also done this past week.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and ATV riders. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, no PFDs, operating an OHM on the roadway, and ATV helmet violations. Unpermitted weed rollers were located and addressed.


Aviation Section

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) continues survey flights for Fisheries. He also took CO Cross for a Lake George station flight.

Standby NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports attending to aircraft maintenance, updating maintenance forms and scheduling of creel flights. She also completed a training flight.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) continues Fisheries creel flights and also gave a station flight for a CO in the western area of Minnesota.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed preparations for the spraying of hybrid cattails on state WMAs. He flew a test plot with the flight computer and spray gear, and worked on administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) flew Lake Vermilion creel flights. He flew sketch mapping flights over the central part of the state. He attended to scheduling of upcoming mapping flights and had equipment maintenance completed.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on AIS activity and law compliance, as well as public water cases and complaints and Wetland Conservation Act cases. Time was spent checking anglers and ATV activity. Boaters and anglers were checked. Several waters-related calls and questions fielded. Injured-animal calls were fielded.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. Training was attended at Camp Ripley and a minnow harvester project meeting was attended. AIS enforcement activity was worked and calls for service were answered.

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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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