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CO Reports: Bear baiting issues, youth waterfowl hunt success

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - Sept 15, 2020

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District 2 - Bemidji area

CO (Conservation Officer) Tom Hutchins (Crookston) worked on public water and wetland cases this past week. Time was also spent working bear-hunting activity and checking anglers. Early goose hunters were contacted. Various waterfowl-related violations were encountered.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked youth waterfowl, goose and bear hunters.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) finished Step 1 of field training with COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Victoria Griffith. The officers spent the past week working sport fishing and boating activity. Multiple anglers reported they have not had luck locating fish. ATV activity and bear-baiting was also worked. Throughout the week, some of the violations encountered included fishing without a license in possession, no PFD (Personal Flotation Device) onboard a watercraft, and an operator under 18 on an ATV without a helmet.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) completed the final week of the first step of field training with COC Vincent Brown. Brown and Vinton patrolled the Perham station and took enforcement action for several aquatic plant management violations relating to weed roller and hydro jet operation. Brown and Vinton conducted ATV and fishing enforcement, taking enforcement action for ATV violations. They have been receiving reports from goose hunters that hunting has been slow. In addition to slow goose-hunting activity, Brown and Vinton didn’t see many hunters having success over the youth waterfowl weekend.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week working ATV and waterfowl-hunting activity. This weekend was an awesome success for multiple groups of youth hunters and many limits were seen. Unfortunately, the hunting was so good a couple of adults felt the need to get in on the action. Their hunt cost them more than it was worth in the end, with each receiving tickets for taking out of season.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked commercial enforcement on bear outfitters, checked anglers and worked other ongoing cases and wildlife-related complaints.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling and boating activity. She also monitored a fishing tournament. Early goose and youth waterfowl weekend was worked with few hunters out and about. Area trails were patrolled for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) inspections were performed and information provided.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked waterfowl-hunting activity, including the youth waterfowl hunt. Surprisingly few number of hunters were encountered in the station. Questions were fielded regarding upcoming deer hunts and ongoing investigations were worked. Anderson also assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office with an injury ATV crash involving juvenile operators. Helmets are recommended to be worn all the time but are required when operating on public lands or trails.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked several anglers this past week. Walleye and perch fishing is starting to pick up. Time was also spent on two public-water-alteration cases. A complaint of wanton waste was checked and nine geese were found dumped in a ditch near Lake Plantagenet without any meat removed. Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time following up on bear-baiting violations, checking anglers and riding the ATV trails in her station. Violations included failing to register bear baits, failing to register a deer harvested in 2019, and placing water-related equipment into waters with aquatic macrophytes, and prohibited invasive species attached to equipment.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) continued to check hunting and fishing activity. She investigated an illegal gill net and received a call regarding an unoccupied boat that came untied from the dock.


CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked fishing enforcement this past week. Sunfish, crappies and bass have been the most productive for anglers on area lakes. He worked on boating enforcement issues this past week. Complaints of personal watercraft riders chasing loons and careless operation of wakeboard boats received some enforcement time. Violations observed were no fishing license and expired registration. Complaints of bears damaging corn fields were received.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked bear activity, attended training and assisted with educational videos highlighting safe ATV operation.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) reports a busy past week working bear hunters, early goose activity, and youth waterfowl hunting, as well as angling and ATV activity in the area. Ladd also responded to a wolf-depredation call.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked goose hunters during the week. He saw good compliance during AIS checks after the busy weekend. He checked hunters during the youth duck season over the weekend. Plenty of ducks were around to provide shooting opportunities. Flerlage also addressed trespassing issues.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing and migratory waterfowl enforcement this past week. The youth waterfowl season was worked with some success seen. A complaint of trespass was investigated and deer-baiting complaints are now coming in. A complaint of a sick deer was forwarded to DNR Wildlife staff.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) (Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area) reports checking the park for vehicle permit violations and for illegal vehicle activity throughout the week and weekend. Time was spent patrolling for early goose hunters and for bear hunters in the area. He also checked several anglers looking for some fall trout and panfish. Lots of outdoor law-related questions were fielded, and Fitzgerald also prepared for upcoming Division training. Enforcement action was taken for park violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing county lakes for angling activity. McGowan also continued field training a new conservation officer and checked early season goose hunters. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.


CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) observed low activity of ATV traffic in the Foot Hills State Forest this past week. Sullivan investigated deer carcasses found on public land. Enforcement action was taken. Sullivan also assisted with taxidermy inspections.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity. Cooler water temperatures resulted in an uptick in fish activity. A few youth waterfowl hunters were out moving the local ducks around. Verkuilen also checked ATV traffic and assisted with setting up the DNR confiscated property auction.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on bear-bait violation investigations. She also patrolled local complaint areas for recreational vehicle violations. Questions were answered regarding youth ATV operation and waterfowl hunting.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) focused on the lack of bear-bait registration requirements, as numerous “test baits” are showing up in violation. ATV enforcement action was taken on registration and operating against traffic at night. Starr assisted local law enforcement with a felony flee case and assisted a neighboring CO with an ATV DWI. Violations for aquatic vegetation transportation, slot walleye, slot northern pike, and no license in possession were also found.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, AIS, boating, ATV/OHM, bear hunting, early goose and youth waterfowl hunting this past week. Enforcement action was taken for AIS, fire, sport fishing, and ATV-related violations.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) continued to field train with new officer COC Zachary Larson. Activities the past week included checking early season goose hunters, youth waterfowl hunters, and anglers on area lakes. Enforcement action taken was for failure to have a federal waterfowl stamp, keeping an illegal-length walleye, and operating an unregistered Class 1 ATV.


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked with neighboring officers on goose-hunting activity. He is seeing fall fishing activity increasing. The youth waterfowl weekend was a great success again this year even though a large number of teal left the area with the colder weather during the week.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports seeing anglers having better luck angling with the recent cooler weather. Mixed bags of walleyes, pike and catfish were observed this past week on the Mississippi River. He reports issuing deer-possession tags, responding to a report of a dead eagle, and investigating several big-game-related complaints. He also assisted with the upcoming online DNR confiscated equipment auction.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the past week checking hunters and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for license violations and extra lines. Many questions were taken regarding upcoming hunting seasons.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked several groups of happy kids over youth waterfowl weekend. Londgren also investigated complaints of bait, trespass, and a public waters violation.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking goose and youth waterfowl hunters across the east central part of the state. Moderate success was seen. Benkofske attended a local MDHA meeting. An individual was also arrested for DWI on his ATV.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking early goose hunters and following up on bear-baiting violations. Krauel also worked ATV activity and spent time doing equipment maintenance.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and hunters. Animal-related calls were handled and a dumping complaint was investigated. Hunting calls were received for hunting too close to a residence and failure to retrieve game.


Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports checking local anglers and goose hunters, and spending time at Cuyuna Recreation area to monitor park users.

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on more helicopter maintenance, records, and administrative tasks.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. Early goose hunters and youth waterfowl hunting were worked. ATV enforcement and AIS enforcement was conducted.

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