Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



CO Reports: Riders out in force on trails, snowmobile burns near Hill City

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - February 1, 2022

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO (Conservation Officer) Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) responded to a call of a snowmobile that was on fire on the trail. Luckily nobody was injured but the snowmobile had been torched so badly that it hardly resembled a snowmobile anymore. The only thing that was recognizable was a frozen pizza that the operator was carrying on the back of the snowmobile and was going to cook for dinner after his ride.

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked anglers, conducted snowmobile and ATV enforcement, and monitored trapping activity. Brown also assisted wildlife with fur registration/tagging. Enforcement action taken for operation of an unregistered ATV.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked heavy snowmobile activity over the last week with many sledding enthusiasts on area trails. Trail conditions have never been better in the Grand Rapids area with groomers actively grooming the already well established base. Enforcement action was taken for multiple snowmobilers that were speeding, failed to have current registration and failed to transfer titles. Enforcement action was also taken for anglers not having angling licenses in possession.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) focused primarily on snowmobiling and angling activity during the previous week. Time was also spent working designated trout lakes and following up on open cases. Holt assisted with fur registration in Grand Rapids and had the opportunity to speak with local trappers.


CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) – focused enforcement efforts on angling, dark house spearing, and snowmobile activities. A majority of the snowmobile trails in the area are still in decent shape. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speed, unregistered snowmobile, no angling license in possession, taking deer with illegal equipment, and taking deer with an invalid license.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) registered otter and checked ice anglers.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) spent time checking anglers on area lakes and patrolling snowmobile trails. Work was done on a background investigation.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) continued work on background investigations.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking ice fishermen and snowmobilers. CO Swedberg also assisted Becker county with a search warrant. Many snowmobilers were checked over the weekend on the trails around the DL area. Most riders were following all the regulations, but some citations were issued for speed, expired registration, and no trail pass.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling and ice house activity on area lakes, ice conditions continue to vary with top water making some areas difficult. An ice fishing tournament was monitored. Snowmobile activity was worked and patrol was conducted on area trails.


District 4 - Walker area

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) continued to check anglers and snowmobile riders throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken on small amount of marijuana, failure to display fish house license and failure to display snowmobile registration.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) attended fur registration and assisted with five vehicles that attempted to drive down a snowmobile trail and got stuck.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass county for angling and snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports attending training, assisting with fur registration and conducting aeration inspections. He also spent time with recreational vehicle and fishing enforcement.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent most of the week checking fishing and trails from a snowmobile. Fishing activity has been slow locally. The trails are in pretty good shape and several riders were contacted during the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for various violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked anglers and snowmobile trails. Anglers were finding some fish in shallow water and the snowmobile trails were busy; the trails are in great condition. Mathy primarily worked on a background investigation and also attended a bear committee meeting. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.


District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) attended the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza. Sullivan checked anglers and made contacts with snowmobile and ATV operators around the event. Sullivan also spent time presenting at a youth snowmobile class and worked on a background investigation.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) checked shelters and angling activity this week. Some permanent shelters were not licensed or displaying proper identification. The owners are subject to being fined. Officer Guida patrolled trails for snowmobile violations. Officer Guida fielded questions regarding ice and snow conditions.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking anglers and snowmobile riders. State parks were patrolled. Enforcement action taken for extra lines, snowmobile speed, failing to stop at stop signs, and expired registration. Slightly warmer temps brought increased recreation to area trails and lakes.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) Spent time checking ice anglers, snowmobiles, ATV, and working the Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Gull Lake. Enforcement action for the week included, expired registration, unattended lines, snowmobile speed, and license violations.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) found the lakes are getting easier to access for anglers. Crappies were being consistently caught in the area. Snowmobiling was busy with decent trails. Worked with other officers at the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza seeing many anglers enjoying the nice weather.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time over the weekend on a detail in St Louis County working Lake Vermilion and nearby snowmobile trails. Mille Lacs Lake was worked with fishing success being slow. Assistance was given to local deputies with a fish house that caught fire on Mille Lacs Lake. Enforcement action was taken on several snowmobile and angling violations.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on a background investigation and took care of various station calls. A work detail in northern MN found numerous snowmobilers enjoying good trails. Fishing was also found to be good for some dedicated fisherman. Failing to transfer ownership of snowmobiles continues to be an issue.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes for angling activity and snowmobile traffic. Officer Westby assisted with traffic control with Morrison County Deputies, and area fire departments who welcomed home troops from overseas. Officer Westby also spent the weekend on Red Lake, and Lake of the Woods assisting the area CO with heavy angling activity.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) along with CO Westby assisted with escorting and welcoming our brave men and women of the 1-194th Armor Regiment of the Minnesota National Gard home from their deployment overseas. Fishing and snowmobile activity has picked up with the recent warmer temperatures. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, no license in possession, and various registration violations for ATVs and snowmobiles.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) attended training this week. Questions concerning fishing regulations were fielded. Fishing shelter issues were addressed as well.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking fishermen and snowmobilers. Enforcement action was taken for no license, no registration, unattended line, over limit of crappies and operating an aeration system w/o “thin ice” signs. Snowmobile trespass complaints were also worked.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Hanna (Milaca) patrolled Green Lake and Elk Lake for angling. Some anglers had a hard time knowing northern pike slot but were educated for future fishing. CO Hanna also attended a snowmobile safety class in Isanti County.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking snowmobiles and patrolling for angling activity. CO Krauel also assisted a neighboring officer on a stop of a snowmobile with expired registration operating in the median of a divided highway. The operator stated he was unaware he could not operate in the median and also stated he had not taken the required DNR snowmobile safety training. If the operator had taken the required safety training, he would have learned about registration and the correct places to operate a snowmobile.

Aviation Section

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on deer surveys in permit areas 296, 299,252, and 253. Snow conditions held up well, and many deer were observed in the study. He also worked on helicopter maintenance items. Plans are in place for a CWD deer survey near Rochester when snow conditions improve for the survey.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying wolf telemetry flights and checking ice anglers from the plane. Enforcement action for no angling license in possession and expired ATV registration were found.

CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew fisheries surveys and attended to aircraft maintenance, flight safety and training issues.

Standby NR Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) assisted with the coordination of the Lake Vermilion Creel Survey and attended to administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) He worked on upcoming schedules. Aircraft maintenance items were attended to. He worked on manual updates.

Stand-by CO Pilot Jake Willis (Grand Rapids) continued to complete ground training tasks this week.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on interviews for a background check. Time was spent working snowmobile trails and crossings. State forests and campgrounds were checked. Fishermen were checked. Wetlands and PW cases were worked on. Several wildlife calls were taken.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) contained working on a division background for the upcoming CO Academy. Meetings were attended and an AIS project was worked on. Snowmobile and ice fishing activity was worked.

--- --- ---


What To Read Next
After a generally quiet January for most of the region we'll see a surge of bitter cold temperatures returning this weekend.
The Legislature is considering new laws on everything from boating, rough fish and copper mining to deer hunting and ATV trails.
The marathon starts Sunday, Jan. 29. Fifty-eight mushers are registered in the four race categories: the marathon, the 120, the Junior 120 and the 40.
Cass County Sheriff Bryan Welk grew up in the Remer area and started his career with the sheriff's office in 1997.