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CO Reports: Big buck illegally shot just for antlers, another walleye overlimit

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - November 16, 2021

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) is investigating a large buck that was illegally shot in the city limits of Baxter. The animal’s antlers were removed and the remaining portion of the deer was left. The incident occurred on Clearwater Road. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Turn in Poachers hotlines. Rewards are offered.

Other enforcement activity reported by Sullivan included hunting with the aid of bait, transporting loaded firearms, lending and borrowing licenses and taking big game without a license.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing and big-game enforcement this week. He was assisted by a neighboring CO with some angling checks. An overlimit of walleyes was detected where an angler had 23 walleyes in his possession, or 17 over the limit.

Guida also reported field contact with a deer hunter that resulted in a lend/borrow license case. The hunter was using his girlfriend’s license while she wasn’t afield in an attempt to take another buck. Hunter-harassment and trespassing calls were investigated. Baiting complaints investigated resulted in seized rifles and heavy fines.

CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) spent the majority of the week working deer-hunting activity. Several trespass issues were handled and many questions were fielded. Ladd also was surprised by the variety of activity with the mild weather, and checked some waterfowl hunters and anglers as well.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked mainly deer-hunting and ATV activity this past week. Enforcement action was taken for ATV use during restricted hours and on closed trails, hunting deer over bait, attempting to take deer overlimit, failure to validate and/or register, firearms/ammo restrictions during deer season, transport loaded firearms and drug/paraphernalia possession.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking deer hunters in the area. Enforcement action was taken for unlawful party hunting, transporting loaded firearms, hunting over bait, and trespass. A pair of lost dogs were also returned to their owner.


CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time working the firearms deer season. Hunters were excited about the snow that pushed through the area, allowing better visibility in the woods. A reminder that the Segamore Unit remains closed to hunters due to active construction in the unit. Enforcement action for the week included hunting over bait, failure to register deer as required, and various park violations.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) worked the second week of the firearms deer season. The repeated report from hunters is that few deer were shot. Many hunters said they felt lucky to see a deer. The cooler weather and snow helped brighten the mood over the opening weekend warmth.

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

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

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District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) took normal trespass, baiting and road-hunting complaints during the latter part of the 200 Series firearms deer season.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued working firearms deer season activity. Several TIP complaints were followed up on. Vollbrecht and CO Regas responded to a call of a missing hunter. They were able to locate the individual and get him back to his hunting group.


CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports weather changed drastically during the latter half of the rifle deer season with strong winds, colder weather, and snow. Hunters still braved the weather but the numbers of deer they saw dropped. TIP calls of trespass, possible hunting while intoxicated, and hunting from the roadway were investigated. Enforcement action was taken for failure to validate a deer tag, no blaze clothing and trapping without a trapping license.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking deer hunters. Success in the area varied from camp to camp, but most hunters were satisfied by the end of the season. There were also quite a few waterfowl hunters who were excited to see a big push of birds move into the area. Swedberg worked several TIP complaints throughout the week involving trespassing, shooting from the roadway, and overlimits of deer. Several cases are pending further investigation.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) investigated reports of an overlimit of bucks, lending/borrowing licenses, and late shooting. Violations of untagged, unregistered deer, use of radio equipment to take deer and hunting with an invalid license were also handled in the field.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked the firearms deer season. Complaints of shinning, deer shot on private property, suspicious vehicle activity, and untagged deer were received. WMAs and WPAs were patrolled. ATV activity checks were performed.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked deer-hunting activity. She also investigated multiple public land-related complaints.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked waterfowl and deer hunters throughout the past week. Hunters reported mixed success in the snowy conditions. Enforcement action was taken for numerous waterfowl and big-game violations.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area during the busy firearms deer season. Baum received some helpful TIP complaints and continues to encourage people to submit information using the TIP line. Baum took enforcement action on various violations ranging from failure to display ATV registration, failure to validate a deer tag, untagged deer, feeding ban violation, possession of a small amount of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Baum was dispatched to the area of a report of someone who shot and killed a deer from a motor vehicle. The individuals who called in this violation were able to gather information about the vehicle, which allowed Hubbard County deputies to stop the vehicle. Baum is grateful for the individuals who were willing to call this illegal activity in, which resulted in enforcement action taken for shooting from a motor vehicle, taking a big-game animal from the public road right-of-way, untagged deer, and failure to validate a deer tag.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports a busy firearms deer season with many hunters successfully harvesting deer. Calls from public consisted of reports of late night shooting, trespassing, road hunting and shooting from the roadway. Enforcement action consisted of untagged deer, failure to validate site tags, lending/borrowing licenses, taking/attempting to take a big-game overlimit, driving after suspension, operating an ATV during closed hours, abandoned property in WMAs, illegal possession of a car-killed deer, assisting with a walleye overlimit, and no license in possession. He would like to remind hunters to register their deer as required (see Page 63 in the regulations book).


CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked a busy second week of the deer season. Success improved over the second week for hunters with the cooler weather and snow. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, untagged big-game animal, hunting in a game refuge, hunting deer with the aid of bait, and numerous other deer-hunting related violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked several deer hunters and a few duck hunters. Deer hunters reported seeing few deer as the hunting remained slow. Mathy also worked on winterizing watercraft. Enforcement action was taken for various deer-hunting violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) continued to work the firearms deer season and saw mixed success across the station. The first measurable snow fell on the area over the weekend, and a few snowmobiles were seen already. It’s a good reminder to check registration on machines prior to receiving ridable snow. Enforcement action taken during the week was primarily related to big-game violations. Time was also spent on a public waters violation and OHV enforcement.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) continued to spend time checking deer and waterfowl hunters during the week. Enforcement action was taken for various violations. Numerous TIP calls were also received from the public in regards to big-game-hunting violations.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked deer-season activity including night hunting, trespassing disputes, and deer acting suspiciously. Snow cover revived interest in small-game hunting, making them easy to see and track. Verkuilen also checked muskie anglers, issued roadkill tags, and monitored ATV traffic.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling firearms deer season hunters and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register deer, failure to validate a deer tag, hunting with an invalid license, and operating an ATV without headlights. She checked many hunters who had success getting a buck in the area.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated deer-baiting complaints. She responded to trespassing complaints and a portable stand theft. Speldrich investigated a public waters violation where a waterfowl hunter used an abandoned, disassembled boat to create a path across a marshy area to open water. Speldrich assisted the county with a car-vs.-deer property damage accident. The vehicle was unoccupied and disabled, blocking the lane. Speldrich also observed a container of what appeared to be a controlled substance inside the vehicle. A reminder to deer hunters: Stands cannot be left on WMAs overnight.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) continued with a very busy deer season. Violations found included taking deer without a license, baiting, shining, transporting loaded guns, shooting from the roadway, unregistered deer, and ATV violations. Restoration orders were also worked on for a wetland violation.


CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) primarily worked the firearms deer season this week. Violations encountered included transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, failure to register deer, overlimit of deer, transporting illegally taken deer, and burning prohibited materials. A report of a car stuck in a wetland and trespassing/shooting from the roadway violations were followed up on.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) continue to check deer hunters through the week. Follow up was conducted on TIP reports, and he also patrolled for late-shining and shooting activity. Waterfowl hunters were also checked and reports indicate diving ducks are starting to move through the area. Enforcement action was taken for allowing youth to hunt without license, failure to register deer, transporting a loaded firearm, and hunting with the aid of bait.

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spent the week checking firearms deer hunters throughout the area. With cooler weather more deer were seen and harvested by hunters compared to the first half of the season. Several anglers were checked on the Mississippi River. The bite was slow. Several phone calls and trespassing complaints were handled. Enforcement actions included hunting over bait, failure to validate a site tag, untagged deer, lending and borrowing a license, and no license in possession.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) assisted neighboring officers with deer-season calls, including convicted felons out hunting. He did follow up on TIP calls and took care of administrative work. VanderWeyst fielded questions in regards to the upcoming muzzleloader season and crossbow usage.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports a busy second half of the deer season. Enforcement action was taken for untagged deer, loaded gun, hunter harassment, and invalid license. A hunter was also found smoking marijuana in his truck before heading out into the woods. He was cited and it was agreed upon that it was best for him to skip hunting that evening.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled the area for deer hunting and spoke with many successful hunters. Hanna checked one group of people who claimed to have not been successful. Through conversation it was found the group had three untagged deer. Hanna took enforcement action on the group and explained the rules.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week working a busy deer hunt. Hunters had moderate success and most hunters who were putting time in the woods were reporting seeing deer. Krauel also investigated a report of hunter harassment where an individual impersonated a law enforcement officer to secure his hunting spot.

Aviation Section

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) found baited deer stands that made cases for local officers.


CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying numerous flights to support firearms deer-hunting enforcement efforts. Baited deer stands were the primary targets. A few potential wetland violations were documented in these same flights.

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on administrative tasks and training. He also worked on planning for the moose survey in January.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) attended to aircraft maintenance and aircraft paperwork. He worked on updating training curriculums.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working firearms deer-hunting activity. Time was spent following up on calls and covering open stations. Assistance was given to neighboring officers.

WREO Robert Haberman (NC) worked the firearms deer season covering vacant stations. Several violations were addressed from hunting over bait, no license in possession and ATV use during closed hours. Guidance was given on a case involving ATV use in wetlands.

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