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CO Reports: Be aware, fawns are venturing out on roads

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - July 8, 2022

Photo illustration / Shutterstock.com

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Jim Guida (Brainerd East) Newborn whitetail fawns are now being seen crossing public highways. Unfortunately, some have been struck and killed by automobile traffic. Please drive carefully.

CO Guida worked sport fishing and boating safety this week. Numerous anglers and boaters were checked and compliance was great. Guida worked with other COs on an AIS detail.


CO Calie Kunst (Crosslake) spent time checking numerous boaters and ATV riders throughout the holiday weekend. It was a busy but overall safe weekend for the holiday celebrations in the area. Violations addressed were operating an ATV on a closed trail, no helmets on juvenile riders, PWC after-hours and taking fish without a license.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) participated in an AIS event in Malmo, as well as an Operation Dry Water shift. Best took enforcement action for numerous violations including registration issues, no PFDs, PWC after-hours, no helmets, and careless operation. Nuisance-wildlife calls were also handled.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking anglers and ATV riders, and monitoring activity throughout the recreation area. A day was spent at the DNR Conservation Officer Academy as well as working aquatic invasive species. Enforcement action included recreational vehicle registration violations.

District 2 - Bemidji area


CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked a busy Fourth of July weekend. Area lakes were patrolled and numerous individuals were stopped for boating violations. Individuals are reminded to check for boating safety equipment before heading out onto the lake.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked boating and safety checks, angling checks, ATV enforcement and attended training. Activity levels were high and various violations were handled.

District 4 - Walker area


CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked recreational boating, angling, and enforcement of off-highway vehicles. Cross additionally responded to multiple nuisance-bear calls. Please secure all food sources that bears could possibly eat. Enforcement action was taken for angling, watercraft, off-highway vehicle, minor consumption, and minor possession violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing county lakes for boating activity. He also spent time investigating TIP calls on Leech Lake. Enforcement action was taken for numerous boating and angling violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily worked recreational vehicle activity on the busy Fourth of July weekend. Nuisance-bear complaints continue to come in. Enforcement action was taken for littering, underage alcohol, boating, angling, and AIS violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked boating and ATV enforcement during the week. Enforcement action taken for various violations including operation of a PWC after hours, illegal youthful operation, over capacity, no navigation lights, open container in a ATV, and a DWI investigation.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for angling, boating, and recreational vehicle activity. Baum observed increased activity with the holiday weekend on area lakes and trails. He spent a majority of time enforcing boat and water safety with Operation Dry Water this weekend. Baum took enforcement action for various angling, boating, and recreational vehicle violations. He wants to remind boaters to review the Minnesota Boating Guide prior to operating watercraft to ensure required equipment is onboard and operation is legal.


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked ATV, angling, and boating activity. Enforcement action was taken for multiple kids without helmets on ATVs, expired ATV and watercraft registration, and illegal use of an aqua thruster.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) worked boating safety and checked anglers during the past week. Time was also spent on recreational vehicle activity and assisting with a youth boating safety class in Grand Rapids. Holt worked a busy Fourth of July weekend in the Grand Rapids area. Enforcement activity involved ATV, boating safety and angling violations.


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy and long Fourth of July weekend with many anglers and recreational boaters on area lakes. Sutherland took enforcement action for boats that were overloaded, didn’t have enough life jackets on board, ATVs with expired registration, youth under 18 with no helmets and for angling without a license in possession.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) focused efforts primarily on boating and fishing activity. Area ATV trails are very wet and muddy due to recent rain storms. Hochstein followed up on several boating and ATV complaints. Enforcement action was taken for violations including angling without a license, extra lines, ATVs on state highways and juveniles not wearing approved helmets on ATVs.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity where warmer water and the holiday weekend resulted in more recreational boats. ATV traffic was also increased with operators dealing with muddy conditions, often with passengers. There seems to be an increase of road-killed animals in the area, possibly due to deer leaving vegetation to escape insects. Some of them needed to be dispatched.


CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked boating, ATV, and fishing activities. Heat and rain storms hampered maximum outdoor opportunities. Fishing without license, boat registration, and PWC violations were found. Nuisance-animal calls came in as well.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) patrolled area lakes and rivers. Time was spent on the Mississippi River investigating wetland violations and other non-permitted activity. Westby worked over the Fourth of July weekend and located several boats with not enough life jackets aboard. He would like to remind everyone that all watercrafts, motorized or non-motorized, have to have enough life jackets for all people on board. Enforcement action taken included no life jacket, no throwable device, not wearing a life jacket, expired registration, no registration, no fire extinguisher, off-highway motorcycle on the roadway, ATV registration, no ATV certificate, no headlights, and a closed trail violation.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATV activity, conducted AIS checks, checked anglers, and worked boat and water safety. Area lakes were busy with boaters over the holiday weekend and personal watercrafts/jet-skis have become increasingly more popular. Make sure you know the laws and regulations for personal watercrafts prior to operating or allowing youth to operate these watercrafts. Enforcement action was taken for operating an OHM on a roadway, various watercraft registration violations, no Type IV PFD onboard watercraft, PWC operating within one hour of sunset, and PWC towing without rearview mirrors or a spotter.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the holiday weekend checking anglers and boaters. Enforcement action was taken for no license, no registration, illegal PWC operation, and boating violations. Bertram encountered a homemade motorboat made out of barrels and a picnic table with a small outboard on the back. The four on board were found to have no PFDs, no angling license, and no registration. Bertram followed them back to shore where enforcement action was taken.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and working boat and water safety. He also worked ATV complaints in a neighboring vacant station. Enforcement action was taken for life jacket issues and no fishing license. A DUI arrest was made.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled the area heavily for boating enforcement. Hanna stopped multiple boats for issues ranging from expired registration to no life jacket. Hanna was able to remove two intoxicated boaters from the lakes in the area.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) continued with training in the Cessna 185.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying APM and angling enforcement flights. Numerous violations were detected and followed up on. Operation Dry Water utilized the floatplane for working boat and water safety.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) trained another helicopter pilot in the operation of the Bambi bucket for forestry fire fighting. He also completed a training flight in airplane, and worked on the upcoming cattail spray project.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) attended to multiple aircraft-maintenance issues. He provided emergency maneuver training to unit pilots. He continued work on transition training for a unit pilot. Weekly training modules were developed and sent to pilots.

Stand-by CO Pilot Jake Willis (Grand Rapids) completed ground training this week.

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) continued flight training in the MD500. She learned Bambi bucket techniques and procedures. She also attended to administrative tasks.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week assisting with local law enforcement and Fourth of July efforts. Angling, AIS and WCA activity were worked. Time was spent on boating and Operation Dry water. The TIP trailer was set up for the county fair.

WREO Jeff Humphrey (NE) conducted site visits on waters and APM violations in the Two Harbors area. Humphrey assisted with an AIS work detail at Mille Lacs Lake and worked public access sites on the St. Louis River. Humphrey continued to review Wetland Conservation Act, AIS, APM and protected waters cases within the assigned work area. Various AIS, APM, and OHV violations were encountered.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on open cases in his area. An AIS detail was worked at Mille Lacs Lake and he worked AIS enforcement around the Brainerd area. Violations regarding ATVs and OHMs were detected and TFO flight duties were conducted in Aitkin and Cass counties.

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