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CO Reports: Reading for the Firearms Deer Opener

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - November 2, 2021

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc. / Brainerd Dispatch

District 4 - Walker area

CO (Conservation Officer) Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports that now is a great time to check your deer stand to ensure it’s safe and read the regulations book in preparation for the upcoming deer season.

CO Seifermann also was finalizing a background investigation. He answered numerous calls from people regarding trespass, injured animals and other illegal activity. Enforcement action was taken for failing to validate a deer license, hunting within a public water access site, unsigned federal stamp, no license in possession and several WMA violations. Wildlife-possession permits were also issued.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked hunting and fishing activity. Multiple calls were taken on the upcoming rifle season and other hunting questions.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for small- and big-game-hunting activity. He took enforcement action for various violations involving burning without a permit and operating a motor vehicle on a closed trail.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking small-game and waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV in a wildlife management area, failure to have life jackets in a duck boat and no license in possession. Kunst also received multiple questions about the upcoming deer season.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on equipment maintenance in preparation for the upcoming winter season. Time was spent on nuisance-animal complaints, illegal-burning reports, and preparation for the upcoming firearms season.


CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked waterfowl and big-game hunters throughout the past week. Numerous waterfowl hunters were checked on Leech Lake, with most hunters reporting slow success. Enforcement action was taken for hunting waterfowl without a license, stamp violations, and an overlimit of ducks.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked hunting activity. Two deer-related complaints and a trapping complaint were investigated. A littering case where fish carcasses were dumped was also checked. Mathy attended a Bear Committee meeting. Enforcement action was taken for waterfowl- and grouse-hunting violations.

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

Turn in Poachers (TIP) in Minnesota - Report a violation in progress:

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) prepared for the upcoming firearms deer season.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) patrolled area lakes for angling and waterfowl-hunting activity. He worked shining activity and worked with a neighboring officer on a case involving an individual archery hunting for deer over bait.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking duck hunters and small-game hunters. There are not many ducks in the area, but with cold weather and a strong north wind, a few more showed up. Other time was spent following up on some Wetland Conservation Act violations and assisting the county with calls for service.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted on a trespass and theft case, worked a baiting TIP that was unfounded, took enforcement action on a dogs-chasing-deer complaint and started an investigation of a deer hunter using a rifle during the archery season.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity with pheasant hunters finding a few birds. Angling activity was worked. Open investigations of illegal activity in WMAs were continued. Warren patrolled her station for shining activity.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked archery deer hunters and a few grouse hunters. With poor weather, activity was slow overall. Time was spent following up on wetland violations, yearly training, and preparing for the upcoming firearms deer season.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked small-game and deer-hunting activity. Time was also spent monitoring recreational vehicles in the area. Complaints were received regarding trespassing and littering.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, big-game and small-game hunters, boaters, and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies.


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked archery hunters over the past week. Enforcement action was taken for attempting to take an overlimit of deer, untagged big-game animal, un-validated deer tag and illegally transporting a big-game animal. Sutherland also gave a law presentation to an area youth firearms safety class. Waterfowl are still trickling into the area, but the northern push hadn’t happened as of this past weekend.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to focus on small-game and ATV activity. Several wildlife- and natural resource-related calls were responded to. Many deer hunters are beginning to see scrapes and rubs in the woods and are hopeful for the upcoming firearms deer opener.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking small-game hunters and following up on trespass complaints. A trapping case was completed and several violations were dealt with. Rules about unlawful tree cutting on state land and kids riding ATVs without helmets were also enforced. Assistance was also given to local departments with an ATV accident near Aitkin.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked a wide variety of calls related to small-game and big-game hunting. Reports included illegal taking of deer, possession of a firearm in a state game refuge, no blaze clothing, ATV operation in wetlands, and trespassing. Sullivan also investigated a wolf-depredation incident.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled for waterfowl- and deer-hunting activity. Guida monitored late-shooting and overlimit complaints. An ATV operator was stopped after Guida observed no registration and a youth not wearing an approved helmet.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, reports checking the state recreation area for illegal vehicle and ATV activity. He also checked fishing activity and found a few anglers having some luck. Time was spent patrolling the park for permit violations and illegal stands left on the SRA. Enforcement action was taken for various SRA violations.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) reports preparations for the firearms deer season are underway as hunters built stands, clarified regulations, and marked property lines. There’s an uptick in small-game hunters, with most of the leaves off the trees.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked small-game, archery deer, trapping, and ATV activity in the Isle area. A trespass complaint was followed up on. Fall anglers were checked. Fishing success has been slow on Mille Lacs Lake. Several contacts were made with hunters getting their stands ready for the upcoming firearms deer season. Hunters in the area look forward to the firearms deer opener next weekend.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for ATV activity and small-game and archery deer hunting. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations. She also assisted the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office and followed up on calls from people with various hunting questions.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) wrapped up some youth deer season violations that ended up with some good coaching sessions. Shining work continued with complaints a bit lower this year from past years. Hunter education questions were answered and a wetland violation was investigated.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked along the Mississippi River and located several people out fishing for muskies. He also worked the Camp Ripley archery hunt over the weekend, with over 2,000 hunters taking part. More than 270 deer were harvested during the hunt. Westby assisted with a hunter who had fallen from his deer stand. Officers were able to transport the hunter out of the woods. Westby also investigated a trespassing complaint in the impact area of Camp Ripley. Several phone calls were also handled over the weekend, and Westby would like to remind firearms deer hunters to double-check their deer tags. Hunters, not clerks, are responsible for purchasing the correct license.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked waterfowl, small-game and archery hunters. He also conducted equipment maintenance. An investigation was completed and enforcement action taken for discharging a bow and arrow from the roadway at big game.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked with neighboring officers and worked in vacant stations this week. The area continues to see a lot of angling and hunting activity. Vehicle maintenance and administrative tasks were also completed.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking hunters. He also handled litter and trespass complaints. A deer-shining complaint was worked.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking small-game hunters and migratory waterfowl hunters. Krauel also checked several anglers braving the cool weather in search of a good fish bite. He also handled several calls about the upcoming deer season.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) received information about a headless deer on Highway 169 south of Milaca on Thursday, Oct. 28. It is illegal to cut the heads off of deer for their antlers and leave their body in the ditch. If you see this type of activity, please report it to your local conservation officer.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a low-level training flight, attending a pilot meeting, attending a natural resource aviation safety webinar and flying various areas for baited deer stands. Jensen received a call to search for hunters trespassed into an impact area at the Camp Ripley deer hunt. Various baited stands and possible public waters/wetland impacts were detected and sent to local officers for review.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) attended the quarterly pilot meeting. Fall projects, safety, and training items were discussed. Winter projects were planned as well. He also completed a trout stream beaver dam survey for the Hinckley Fisheries office on Hay and Sand creeks and some tributaries. Nearly 45 miles of streams were observed. GPS waypoints recorded for a USDA trapper to come in and remove the beavers and the dams. Pooled water in streams is detrimental to trout, as it allows the water to warm. Native brook trout cannot survive in waters much warmer than 78-80 degrees for long periods of time.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) attended quarterly pilot meeting. He flew multiple requested enforcement flights. He provided yearly required training for an enforcement pilot.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week checking small-game hunters and working on lake service provider and AIS compliance. Time was spent on public water and Wetland Conservation Act cases. ATV riders and deer hunters on state and federal lands were patrolled.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) finished a background for the next DNR Academy. Case work was conducted and files were updated. Small-game hunters and other enforcement activities were worked. A TFO flight was conducted over the weekend with trespassing on Camp Ripley and bait flights.

WREO Luke Belgard (SW) worked angling, small-game, and waterfowl-hunting activity this week. ATV activity was monitored and a background investigation was completed.

WREO Julie Siems (SE) worked on public waters and wetland cases. A deer permit was issued and training was completed. An employment background investigation was also completed.

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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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