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CO Reports: Early season goose hunters see some action

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - Sept 9, 2020

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking early goose hunters this past weekend. Time was also spent checking anglers and dove hunters. ATV operators were also contacted. Various waterfowl and ATV violations were encountered.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued Step 1 of field training with COC Victoria Griffith. The officers worked ATV activity on area trials, bear baits and early goose season. The officers worked angling and boat activity on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for goose hunting without the required licenses, shooting from a motor vehicle, and angling with extra lines. The officers also assisted the local police department.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports another week of field training with COC Vincent Brown. They patrolled the area, conducting ATV, aquatic plant management, sport fishing, and goose-hunting enforcement. Enforcement action was taken on several ATV operators over the course of the week for violations relating to helmet use and operating Class 1 ATVs in road rights-of-way. Enforcement action was also taken on several lakeshore property owners for violations relating to weed rollers and hydro jets. Brown and Vinton report a slow opener for the early goose season. Several hunters were contacted and all were in compliance with waterfowl-hunting regulations.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week working bear-hunting activity and patrolling for ATV activity. A lot of ATVs were seen out and about over the holiday weekend. Most were law-abiding, but on an ATV detail with COs Peterson and Landmark two ATV operators were arrested for drunk driving. Other violations included no helmets on juvenile passengers or operators, operating without registration, and no ATV safety training. Other time was spent assisting local agencies with a crash and other calls for service.


CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling and boating activity. AIS inspections were performed for compliance. Areas were checked for bear-hunting activity. Early goose hunting was worked with few hunters and few birds out and about. Patrol was conducted for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. A call of a bear cub in a field was received and the caller was advised to leave the cub alone as the mother will usually return.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week checking dove and early goose hunters, following up on aquatic plant removal violations, and ATV enforcement. Goose-hunting success was spotty and fewer hunters and geese were observed in area fields at the start of season. Emphasis was placed on ATV enforcement over the holiday weekend. Landmark worked with several other local officers on ATV work details in the White Earth and Two Inlets state forests. Most ATV operators were following the regulations and enjoying a nice holiday weekend, but youth operation and helmet violations were two of the most common violations observed. Parents are reminded that their children under the age of 18 need to have DOT-approved helmets and if the children are under the age of 16 they must have a parent or guardian with them. Conservation officers enjoy seeing youth involved in the sport of ATV operation, but they must do so safety and legally. During one of the ATV work details, officers stopped a pair of ATVs for operating on the paved portion of a state highway. Both were found to be intoxicated and arrested for 3rd degree ATV DWI. Enforcement action for the past week included a variety of ATV and OHM violations, failure to stop at a stop sign, speeding in a motor vehicle, and failure to obtain a burning permit.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports many people enjoyed the outdoors during the holiday weekend. Bear hunters, goose hunters, boaters, anglers, and ATV riders were all out in high numbers. Enforcement action was taken for boating, angling, goose-hunting, and ATV violations.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking bear hunters, ATV riders and anglers. With the holiday weekend and early goose opener, things are busy on the lake, fields and trails. Kunst took enforcement action on unregistered bear baits, litter, a small amount of marijuana, operating an ATV on a highway, using a PWC to harass wildlife, juveniles failing to wear helmets on ATVs, and unattended fishing poles. Kunst is continuing to find multiple anglers without angling licenses.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) continued to check anglers, boaters, ATV riders, and hunters. Enforcement action was taken on various ATV and fishing violations, such as fishing with extra lines and fishing without a license.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked bear-hunting, ATV, and early goose-hunting activity.

District 9 - Brainerd area


CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, bear-, ATV and goose-hunting activity. Nuisance-bear and sick-animal calls were also handled. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s office on an assault and stuck-ATV calls.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled area lakes and rivers checking anglers, recreational boaters, and early goose hunters. Guida addressed boaters failing to display navigational lights as late as one hour after sunset. Guida also addressed an off-highway motorcycles complaint where numerous operators were contacted for illegally operating within the public road right-of-way. Car-killed deer and bear permits were also issued this past week.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked a busy holiday weekend with a lot of activity in the McGregor station. She worked bear opener, handling a lot of issues related to unregistered baits and some hunters with no-quota licenses hunting in Permit Area 51. Ladd also worked boating activity and ATV activity, and checked some early goose hunters over the holiday weekend.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports patrolling the park over the busy holiday weekend. Lots of people were enjoying the bike trails and the area mine lakes over the weekend. The park was checked for illegal vehicle activity and for fishing and boating activity. Lots of recreational law-related questions were also answered throughout the week and weekend. Fitzgerald assisted several agencies with calls for service and a call of a litter complaint was fielded. The park was also checked for bear hunting and early goose-related activity.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked Cass and Crow Wing county lakes throughout the past week. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling and boating violations. McGowan investigated a possible public water violation. He continued field training with a new conservation officer and checked early goose hunters.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked ATV use on area trails and roads. It was encouraging to see many people wearing helmets while riding, but some needed to be reminded that it’s required for everyone under 18. Goose hunters saw some action during the early goose season.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) saw a high volume of ATV traffic in the Foothills State Forest this past weekend. ATV regulations were enforced. Sullivan conducted watercraft and angling checks on the Gull Lake Chain and area lakes. Anglers reported to not be having much luck locating the fish. Recreational boaters were enjoying the last days of summer but conditions were cold and windy.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area


CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked hunters during the early goose-, bear-, and dove-season openers. The holiday weekend brought out ATV and OHM activity, including underage people riding unregistered machines. Boats were getting moved around and some were bringing aquatic vegetation with them.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked bear hunters. Enforcement action was taken for failing to sign and register bait stations. Speldrich encountered many ATV operators over the Labor Day weekend. Violations included no registration displayed, OHMs on roadways and youth under 18 without helmets. She assisted with an ATV fire in the Nemadji. Several bear-hunting related questions were answered and boats were checked at area accesses.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked bear-hunting, ATV, and boating activities. Enforcement action was taken for failing to display boat registration. A domestic dispute in a state park was handled, and a bobcat road-kill permit was issued. Starr assisted an elderly couple that needed help with a harvested bear. Starr reminds bear hunters to take good shots to avoid losing a wounded bear.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, boating, ATV, bear hunting/baiting, early goose hunting, and wild ricing activity this past week. Throughout the week, violations encountered included burning prohibited materials, fishing without a license, no fishing license in personal possession, youthful ATV-operation violations, juvenile ATV operators/passengers without helmets/seatbelts on, operating an ATV without lights on, allowing illegal ATV operation by a juvenile, failure to transfer watercraft ownership, no valid watercraft registration, and illegal ATV road right-of-way operation. Possible hunting violations were investigated.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) continued to field train with COC Zachary Larson. Time was spent focused on angling and watercraft enforcement along with checking early goose hunters, some of whom were having success. Enforcement action was taken for failure to have a federal waterfowl stamp, operating an ATV with children under 18 without a helmet, and operating watercraft without proper navigation lights.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling, boating and AIS activity this past week. He also focused weekend work around dove and goose hunters. Multiple groups did well.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports monitoring anglers and boaters on local lakes and rivers. He reports seeing bear-, dove- and early goose-hunting activity. Calls from the public consisted of injured animals/birds and trespass-related issues. Enforcement action consisted of hunting geese over bait, no federal and state stamps, no HIP validation, no license in possession, and children under 18 riding an ATV without a required helmet. He also served a Wetland Conservation Act restoration order and worked on squad/equipment maintenance.


CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the holiday weekend checking hunters, anglers, boaters, ATV riders, and wild rice harvesters. Early goose hunters had poor success overall. A few bears have been taken in the area.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) worked the early goose-hunting opener and saw a good number of hunters having success, despite the majority of crops still standing. Time was also spent checking bear hunters, boaters and anglers, and checking for AIS compliance. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, unplugged shotgun, no HIP certification, and illegal-length northern pike.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and goose hunters. Violations were found for no stamps/licenses and an unplugged shotgun. A wetland violation was investigated.

Aviation Section

CO pilot Bob Geving (Mankato) flew several baited field reconnaissance missions for the early goose season and a few public waters and wetland photo missions. Geving also attended a Safety Committee meeting and worked on administrative tasks.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a wolf telemetry flight tracking wolf pups. Heineman also worked on training and administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a WCA photo flight and checking anglers on local lakes.


NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on aircraft equipment and maintenance records, attended an aviation webinar, and did administrative tasks.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week working on new and ongoing water-related cases. Time was spent checking ATV activity in the Smokey Hills State Forest. Anglers and boaters were checked and AIS law compliance monitored. Bear hunters were checked. A trespass call was investigated.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked ongoing cases in his assigned area and AIS enforcement. Early goose hunters were checked, with some having success. A teenage hunter was warned for not having a plug in the gun he borrowed from his grandpa and was taught how to make a plug using a pen. ATV activity was busy over the holiday weekend with many violations addressed.

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