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CO Reports: Bowfishing currently only open south of State Highway 210

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - April 6, 2021

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) worked a late-night shift monitoring bowfishers in the Sauk Centre station. While standing a short distance away, Silgjord observed an angler shoot a largemouth bass. The group was also found to be in possession of sunfish that had been taken with archery equipment. The group was surprised to see the game warden, to say the least.

Silgjord spent time working with CO Vang during the past week. They followed up on a dumping complaint and addressed ATV violations in the Little Falls station. Other violations addressed included watercraft-registration issues and navigation lights.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked anglers and monitored ATV activity. A complaint of trash being dumped on state land and a complaint of illegal ATV activity on a snowmobile trail were investigated. Enforcement action was taken for youthful operation of an ATV without wearing a helmet.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) monitored shore angling activity this past week. He took calls concerning bowfishing activity and new sunfish regulations. Administrative tasks and vehicle maintenance were also taken care of.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports focusing on fire-related incidents due to dry conditions. He also reports monitoring the spring pike run and the local crappie bite. He recommends conducting a full safety and equipment check prior to hitting local lakes and rivers for the season.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO (Conservation Officer) Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking anglers throughout the past week. Time was also spent working on a wildfire-related case.


CO Tim Gray (Bagley) assisted with a security detail, monitored the spring fish run and beaver trapping, and took a wolf-depredation complaint.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) patrolled area forest roads and trails for ATV activity. He followed up on a complaint of a possible wetland violation and fielded calls regarding use of public lands.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) and K9 partner Storm attended training at Camp Ripley. The team also participated in the K9 detection trials in St Paul, where they certified for another year in detection of various wild game species and zebra mussels. Time was also spent following up on fire-related incidents. Two incidental otter catches were handled.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting neighboring officers with a search warrant and patrolling for fire activity during times of fire restrictions. Conditions are extremely dry in the Perham area and caution should be used. Area creeks were monitored for spring fish-run activity.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent time in the Two Inlets State Forest and in Itasca State Park monitoring ATV activity. Swedberg also investigated several reports of illegal burning in the county. Swedberg reminds people they need a permit to have a fire bigger than a campfire and that having a permit only allows for the burning of certain things. Permit holders must also follow all other forestry and fire regulations.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked ongoing cases and assisted with a search warrant execution. Off-highway motorcycle and forest road closures was also worked, as was a wildlife call.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked ATV and off-road vehicle activity. She monitored wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas. Angling activity was worked with ice on area lakes beginning to break up. Rivers and streams were monitored for spring fish run. Area ponds were worked for leeching activity. A patrol was conducted near Itasca State Park.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked primarily ATV and fire enforcement. Forest roads/trails remain closed due to trail conditions and the potential for fires given the dry conditions. Miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints were handled. Several questions were fielded about the bowfishing season, which currently is only open south of State Highway 210. Make sure to check your ATV and boat registration before going out.


CO Calie Kunst (Remer) primarily worked ATV and trapping enforcement. ATV violations that were found included failure to display registration, operating an unregistered ATV, allowing illegal operation by a juvenile and operating without headlights. Kunst also received a call about a mountain lion sighting in the Remer area.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked trapping, angling, and ATV enforcement. Cross also responded to a nuisance-bear call, trapper-trespassing incident, and to a gray wolf that had been hit by a car. Enforcement action was taken for operating motor vehicles in a closed state forest, youth helmet violations, trapping without a license, trespassing, target shooting in a game refuge, and operating an ATV with too many passengers.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports the ice largely went out on area lakes this past week. A few ATVs were seen moving around, but the forest roads and trails remain closed to motor vehicle use. Mathy followed up on waters-violations cases and received reports of accidentally taken otters. A litter violation was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked all-terrain vehicle traffic and sport fishing enforcement. Some lakes are opening up. Guida assisted the sheriff’s office with a traffic stop on a suicidal suspect who had made terroristic threats toward another person.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) was accompanied by COC Nicholas Baum. Sullivan and Baum patrolled for recreational vehicle activity, with violations for too many passengers on a Class 1 ATV, no headlights while operating, allowing illegal operation, no helmet for youth operators/passengers, and operating on a closed forest road. Sullivan and Baum patrolled the Rainy River and observed violations for extra lines, no life-saving device, unserviceable safety equipment, no license in possession, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and underage possession of alcohol.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing counties for angling activity. He also worked a detail on the Rainy River, where numerous violations were encountered. McGowan also assisted local agencies with calls for service.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked ATV, angling and trapping activity. Complaints on the blocking of a stream and deer feeding were also investigated. He also assisted with an off-highway motorcycle accident.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) (Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area) reports checking some panfish anglers who were looking for some early spring panfish. He also patrolled the park for vehicle park permits and illegal vehicle activity. Time was spent patrolling for ATV activity, and many outdoor law-related questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend. Fitzgerald assisted park staff with some illegal trail issues and trail closure issues.


CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) reports the area lakes are nearly ice-free. Time was spent getting boats ready for the open-water season. He received an otter caught out of season by a beaver trapper.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) monitored burning activity and checked burning permits due to all the dead and dry vegetation in the area. Beaver trappers were out making use of mostly open water along area shorelines.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) focused on angling and ATV activity in the Isle and surrounding areas. With the warm weather and area trails opening up, ATV activity picked up. Griffith also got a call to respond to a land fire. The rising temperatures, high winds and low humidity have put fire danger into the high-risk category. Griffith would like to remind everyone to check the DNR website daily for the current burning restrictions. Assistance was given to other law enforcement agencies throughout the week on calls. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of sunfish, a minor on an ATV without a helmet, and being in possession of a controlled substance.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated Wetland Conservation Act violations. Resource protection notices were issued. She also issued a cease and desist order for a public waters violation. Speldrich investigated a trapping violation and answered questions regarding the Nemadji State Forest being close to recreational vehicle riding.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) checked waterways for spring fish-run activity and checked ATV traffic. Firearms safety classes are full and the need for extra classes is abundant. Wind and dry weather are creating some safety concerns for illegal fires.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and worked ATV complaint areas. Violations were found for an overlimit of crappies, no angling license, and no PFDs. A litter complaint was investigated.

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports working ATV enforcement across the area. Anglers were checked with ice coming off and panfish moving into the shallow bays. Wetland impact cases were looked into and a firearm safety class was presented to near Bradford.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking anglers and patrolling for ATV activity. Panfish anglers are finding success with the higher water temperatures bringing the panfish close to shore. Krauel and CO Griffith had a stop that proves no stop is "routine." Upon stopping two individuals for illegal operation of an ATV and an OHM, the two individuals gave Krauel a false name. Upon discovery of their true names, Krauel found they had several felony warrants. During the arrest, Krauel also found several controlled substances, an illegal weapon, and that the ATV was stolen.


CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) has received numerous complaints of litter and dumping. Violators will be prosecuted. Please dispose of your trash responsibly. Warmer weather and dryer conditions mean increased fire danger. Check the DNR website for the most up-to-date burning restrictions, and to obtain your burning permits.

Aviation Section

Standby Enforcement Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) took aerial photos of violations for work in public waters and obstructing navigable water investigations for another CO.

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) arranged for the skis to be removed from both airplanes based at Bemidji and also had their radios updated at Grand Rapids. Heineman also attended a virtual helicopter firefighting training session given by Forestry and set up the airplane for photos so that Forest Assessment could check out their new camera and make sure everything works.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of flying fire detection flights and speaking to a natural resource law enforcement class at Central Lakes College. Aircraft maintenance was completed so the aircraft can stay available for fire duty due to dry conditions.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on completion of all the aerial application records, and worked on helicopter maintenance. He also attended a fire training online meeting and worked on fuel trailer issues.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week checking area public access for activity. Anglers were checked. They were having little success. A fire was responded to and assistance given to fire crews for access through gates. New and old cases were worked on. Light goose hunters were checked.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. A site visit was conducted in Pine County. ATV activity was worked and meetings conducted.

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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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