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CO Reports: Hunting big game over bait is illegal

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - November 1, 2022

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Jim Guida (Brainerd East) continued working sport fishing and big-game baiting investigations. A reminder to (hunters) anyone convicted of hunting big game over bait is subject to a forfeited firearm/bow, a one-year big game hunting revocation including compact states, and approximately a $385 fine. Guida worked with another officer checking angling and sport netting activity. Numerous netters were catching decent numbers of large whitefish. Guida also issued a deer-possession permit for a car-killed deer.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) completed another week of training with COC Ohnstad. They spent time on ATV/ORV enforcement and checking hunters in the field. Some of the violations were failure to register ORVs, riding within the public roadway with Class I ATVs, and fishing with extra lines.


CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports the fantastic fall weather has allowed everyone to have several options for recreation over the past week. Area anglers reported having success fishing and hunters also had good reports. Enforcement action was taken for fishing, boating and recreational vehicle violations.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent the week checking anglers, archery deer hunters, and anglers. Enforcement action included deer hunting without a license. As a reminder, the state recreation area bike trails are closed Nov. 5-20 for the firearms deer season.

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time getting prepared for the firearms deer-hunting season. Multiple hunters have reached out with questions and concerns about the upcoming season. Cook also checked ATV riders and small-game hunters throughout the week.


District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked grouse and waterfowl hunters. Time was spent on area lakes and patrolling ATV trails. He followed up on a complaint of a deer being shot from a roadway and shining activity.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) continued working with COC Drown this week. They checked several groups of duck hunters, small-game hunters, and anglers through the week. Swedberg and Drown wrapped up an investigation involving unregistered bear baits and other issues. They also checked two anglers who did not have licenses, were in possession of marijuana, and one also had active warrants. Swedberg and Drown issued both citations and made an arrest for the warrant.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) received calls about elk sightings and complaints of litter, dogs chasing deer and trespass. Peterson also worked big-game and small-game hunters. Grouse numbers were reported as good.


District 4 - Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) encourages hunters to take the time to read the big-game regulations in preparation for the regular firearms deer season. He reports checking small-game, waterfowl and bowhunters this past week. Calls from the public consisted of possession-permit requests, injured-animal calls and big-game-related questions and concerns.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time preparing for the upcoming regular firearms season. Time was also spent on the water over the weekend as people took advantage of the nice weather. Most public access docks have been removed in the area and water levels are low on some lakes, making access tricky in spots.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked waterfowl hunters and anglers throughout the past week. The fishing bite remains slow, and the warm weather has resulted in poor waterfowl-hunting opportunities in the area. Enforcement action was taken for numerous waterfowl-hunting violations.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked small-game hunters, who were having better luck with the fallen leaves. Nice weather translated to increased angler activity and docks being moved. Deer-season complaints were investigated and various permits were issued.

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CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time answering questions concerning the upcoming firearms deer season. Time was also spent checking ATV riders and small-game and big-game-hunting activity. Small-game hunters seemed to have success with grouse throughout the week. The nice weather brought out heavy ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm and expired ATV registration.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) patrolled Aitkin County for hunting and fishing activity and continued field training with COC Bulthuis. Multiple small-game hunters were checked, with good compliance found. ATV activity continued at high levels and enforcement action was taken for failure to report the sale and transfer of an ATV, failing to display ATV registration, and juveniles operating ATVs without helmets. Multiple questions about the upcoming firearms deer season were answered.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on deer-shining problem areas and assisted local law enforcement with a variety of calls. A juvenile driver was coached on his poor driving decisions on country gravel roads. While checking a group of goose hunters in a field/pasture area, Starr found a rather shocking ordeal when crossing over several fence wires to get to the hunters. Not only was one wire hooked to a very strong electric fencer, but several geese were found in the blind, along with far too many violations. After getting shocked, enforcement action on the one group included no small-game licenses, no federal stamps, no state stamps, and no HIP certifications.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) followed up on investigations involving trespass and shooting from the roadway during the week. He spent the weekend patrolling the Camp Ripley archery hunt, with around 2,000 archery hunters taking part in the 2022 hunt. With warmer weather, fewer deer were taken but many hunters were able to bag deer. The heaviest buck weighed 220 pounds. Several complaints about deer stands and other personal belongings left out overnight on Camp Ripley property were handled. More trespassing complaints were taken ahead of the upcoming firearms deer opener as well. Time was also spent talking with CLC students about wildlife- and other DNR-related topics.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked area hunting activity. He took calls concerning injured animals and an overlimit of fish. He also issued a road-killed animal permit and took a complaint of operating a motor vehicle in a WPA.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports that tensions are running high for some people ahead of this year’s gun opener. It’s unfortunate that one big buck can turn neighbors into enemies. He advises hunters to make good decisions, be safe, respect your neighbor, and everything will be ok.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) and COC Tony Hams spent the week following up on bait-related complaints and checking small-game hunters and anglers. Small-game hunters continue to report limited success. Violations encountered were an overlimit of crappies, no license in possession, hunting over bait, possession of a small amount marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and no throwable device.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) followed up on trespassing complaints and answered questions related to CWD. Hanna talked with landowners near state property about how to deter trespassing.

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