Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



CO Reports: Be safe, not sorry, on first ice

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - November 24, 2022

Photo illustration / Shutterstock.com

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time checking deer hunters throughout the week. Success rates were low but people were still happy to be out in the stands. Cook wants to remind people now that ice is starting to form on lakes in the area, it does not mean it is safe to go out. Be safe about choosing when to go fishing and wait until there is sufficient ice.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) wrapped up investigations from the deer and bear seasons. Enforcement action was taken for deer- and waterfowl-related violations.


CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports deer hunters and waterfowl hunters were in the area enjoying time outdoors as the firearms and waterfowl seasons come to a close. Hunters reported that deer movement was minimal but reported some success. Waterfowl hunters reported good activity but cold weather and icy conditions presented some challenges. The area has some snow but snowmobile activity was minimal.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled for deer-hunting and waterfowl-hunting activity this past week. Some diehard duck hunters are finding open water and a large number of migratory birds. A reminder to waterfowl hunters the North Zone (north of Highway 210) closes at sunset on Nov. 22. Guida addressed deer-feeding complaints and also checked on baited deer-hunting stands. A patrol boat was winterized. Cold and windy conditions slowed most activity over the weekend.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent the week checking deer hunters. There were fewer hunters than the past two weekends, and those who braved the cold weren’t seeing many deer. Not many ducks were left to end the season, and most of the waters are frozen.


CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent the week working deer hunters for the final week of the rifle season. Hunters reported having some success, but overall success rates were low. Anglers are getting restless waiting for ice-up as smaller lakes and backwaters are beginning to lock up. Please check ice often if you venture out on early ice.


District 4 - Walker area

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for big-game- and waterfowl-hunting activity. Hunters reported varying success throughout the area. Enforcement action was taken for numerous waterfowl and big-game violations.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked deer hunting, OHV enforcement, and small-game hunting/trapping. Activity seen was much less this week as the firearms season ended. Enforcement action was taken for big-game violations and OHV violations.


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked and investigated big-game-hunting activity. She also served a restoration order. Enforcement action was taken for an untagged deer.

--- --- --- --- ---

Turn in Poachers (TIP) in Minnesota - Report a violation in progress:

To report a violation: call 800-652-9093 24 hours a day, or key in #TIP on your cell phone.


To report a violation that isn't time sensitive: Use the form at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/tipreportingform.html

Don't let poachers spoil your future hunting or fishing enjoyment - or success.

--- --- --- --- ---

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check deer hunters. Some late-season duck hunters were also checked. They reported slow hunting. A report of an injured swan was received. Some ice is showing up on the lake shorelines and smaller ponds.


CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports conducting equipment maintenance and follow up from the firearms deer season.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) continued field training COC Znajda. They handled multiple dogs-chasing-deer complaints, with various enforcement action taken. People are reminded, as a safety precaution, that it is a good idea to wear orange when walking in public woods during firearms deer seasons. Enforcement action taken for cutting down vegetation on WMAs.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Roemeling worked a busy last week of the firearms deer season. Enforcement action was taken for taking a deer out of season, overlimit of deer, unregistered deer, tags that weren’t validated, ATV-related violations, deer-feeding ban violations, transporting loaded firearms, and theft of spruce tops.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) focused on big-game hunting during the previous week. Time was spent investigating TIP complaints and assisting a neighboring officer with a deer-baiting investigation. Holt took trespassing complaints and miscellaneous injured-animal calls. Enforcement activity involved big-game-hunting violations and transporting loaded firearms.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) monitored the second week of the deer firearms season. The success rate seemed to improve slightly from the first week. Snow and wind made it challenging but several determined hunters still made it out to the woods. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, lending and borrowing licenses, and transporting loaded firearms.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) continued checking deer hunters. There were complaints of baiting, trespassing, and hunting after the season closed. Some waterfowl hunters were still out despite shallow waters freezing over.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) continued monitoring firearms deer season activities. Fewer hunters were observed throughout the week with the cooler weather. Griffith followed up on trespass complaints, littering cases, and burning prohibited materials violations. Enforcement action was taken on violations found.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reported a slow deer season with lower numbers of hunters around for the third weekend of the season. Enforcement action was taken for untagged deer, borrowing licenses, and taking overlimits of deer. Benkofske also investigated waterfowl-hunting violations.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked the last weekend of the rifle deer season and found some tagging and registration issues. Ice fishing had started and some anglers were found throwing common sense to the wind with regards to what safe ice truly is. Waterfowl hunters were getting in some last-minute hunting before freeze up.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) conducted follow-up investigations from the firearms deer season. Westby assisted partners with their investigations in the Little Falls area. Time was spent preparing for the winter season. Many lakes in the area have started to freeze over but still are not safe for travel. Please travel safely on early ice and prepare for thin ice with changing weather.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) conducted seasonal equipment maintenance. He reports a slower week in the field with few archery and small-game hunters out.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked a variety of outdoor activities, including snowmobiling, fishing, pheasant hunting, waterfowl and deer hunting. Follow-up investigations continuing revolving around deer-hunting issues. He handled calls concerning injured animals as well.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week following up on post-deer-season complaints and reports. Equipment maintenance was also completed.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent a busy week checking deer hunters. Deer hunters were finding it difficult to spend time in the woods with the frigid temperatures. However, those that did were often rewarded with a successful hunt. Krauel was also surprised to see multiple anglers out on one lake with extremely dangerous thin ice. Krauel would like to remind anglers that the DNR suggests at least 4 inches of clear, new ice before walking out onto the ice, and that no ice is ever 100% safe. Krauel would also like to remind anglers that no fish is worth a cold November swim in the lake.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) continued to check late-season hunters. One hunter was observed carrying a rifle and shotgun but only wearing a partial blaze orange hat. The hunter advised they were grouse hunting but would shoot a deer if they saw one. They were advised of the blaze orange/pink rule and how unsafe it is to wear only a hat during hunting season.

--- --- ---


What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads