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CO Reports: Shelters left on ice removed, snowmobiling season continues

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - March 23, 2023

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Andrew Ladzinski (Pine River) patrolled area lakes and trails for angling and snowmobiling activity. He worked with other local officers to remove a frozen-in hub shelter that was left on the ice after the shelter removal deadline. Enforcement action was taken for the shelter violations and for an out-of-state snowmobile rider operating without a trail pass.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports area snowmobile trails were busy again this past week. Trail conditions have been very good, but warm weather toward the end of the week started deteriorating them. Fishing activity on area lakes continues to be minimal due to large amounts of snow. Sullivan also continued investigating big-game-hunting violations.


CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spent the week on trapping, fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Registration and license violations were dealt with. Best also attended a township meeting to discuss ATV issues surrounding the Foothills State Forest.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) checked trail activity and sport fishing this week. Snowmobile trails were again busy and were in fair condition. Guida worked with the area hydrologist on a citizen complaint. Guida also fielded a complaint of someone plowing up snow and blocking a public water access.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time working snowmobile riders and conducting investigations throughout the week. Trails were in great condition for snowmobile activity over the weekend.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) continues work from the snowmobile. The trails have been good and are seeing high use with consistent new snow in the area. He handled cases of fish houses left out or abandoned past the removal deadline. Other calls included burning complaints, sick animals, and deer feeding ban violations.


District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes and marked fish houses that remain on the lakes. Anglers are reminded to pick up their garbage when pulling houses off the lake. Time was spent patrolling snowmobile and cross-country ski trails. A detail was worked on Lake of the Woods.

CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week patrolling for snowmobile and ice angling activity, and on work related to the ice shelter removal deadline in the northern part of the state (11:59 p.m. on March 20). Enforcement action was taken for issues concerning snowmobile registration.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking ice anglers and snowmobile riders around the Detroit Lakes area. Ice conditions continue to deteriorate in the area and most anglers were fighting deep snow and slush on lakes to find fish. Some anglers were able to find fish, but most were struggling as most areas are only accessible by long walks or tracked vehicles. Snowmobile trails are in good condition and riders continue to enjoy the longer season. Swedberg also spent time working on cases from the previous year’s deer season.


District 4 - Walker area

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) assisted with a snowmobile safety class and also received a report of two snowmobiles that went through the ice. Enforcement action was taken for failing to register a deer.

CO Corey Sura (Remer) helped 14 new students from the Remer area pass and obtain their snowmobile safety certificates this week. Area trails were patrolled and remain in overall good condition. Violations encountered included snowmobiles with unlawful muffler/exhaust, expired ATV and snowmobile registration, and fishing without a valid license.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) reports working snowmobile patrol and late-season ice angling, and completing training. Activity was slow throughout the week. Calls for service were taken. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV, snowmobile, and feeding ban violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County lakes and snowmobile trails for activity. Lake conditions are poor, with heavy snow and slush in spots, which has reduced the amount of angling pressure. Snowmobile trails remain in excellent shape. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.


CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports attending training in St. Paul.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continues to check anglers and snowmobile trails as winter conditions continue. Snowmobile trails are in good shape but slush is starting to show up on many lakes, making things difficult for lake travel. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended K9 school with his K9 partner Fennec.


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling and snowmobile activities. Ice conditions are great. Sutherland worked birch-pole thefts in the area and also took a report of dogs chasing deer.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked angling activity and monitored ice shelter removal from area lakes. Time was also spent on dogs-chasing-deer complaints and snowmobile activity. Holt continued to follow up on open cases.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports that cold weather and high winds hampered outdoor activities for most of the week. When the weather allowed, it was fun to see several youth anglers out with their parents finding success catching panfish. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.


District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked snowmobile activity where additional snow made good riding conditions. Anglers were checked, but angling success was slow. Verkuilen addressed trespassing concerns and continued to follow up with fish house removal.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored angling and snowmobiling activity. Local trails were in good condition and remained busy through the weekend. Time was also spent following up on fish houses left on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, expired snowmobile registration, and failure to transfer ownership of a snowmobile.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked anglers, ATV riders, and snowmobilers in the area. Enforcement action was taken for registration violations, allowing unlawful youth operation, and failing to stop for stop signs. Abandoned fish houses on lakes were dealt with and trespass calls were followed up on.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on required training items and equipment maintenance. Snowmobile and ATV riders and anglers were checked. An investigation continued involving some Mille Lacs Lake fishing violations.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Aitkin) spent time patrolling ice angling and snowmobiling activity. She removed a shelter and litter left out on a local lake. The area snowmobile trails were in good condition.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spent time on the river and lakes for angling and boating activities. The Little Falls Police Department requested help with unwanted people in a local park. Westby attended an ice water rescue training in Cass County and worked with several other agencies. With warmer weather coming, please use caution on the ice.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored angling and snowmobiling activity, conducted equipment maintenance, and fielded a snowmobile-trespass complaint. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile trespass.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and snowmobile activity this week. He completed some training, vehicle recall work and administrative tasks. Extra-line and “can” mufflers violations were most common this week.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobile riders. Complaints included dogs chasing deer and coyote-hunter trespass. Training was completed.

CO Trent Anderson (St. Cloud) focused on angling and snowmobile enforcement for the week. Time was spent conducting aeration inspections and assisting local agencies. The recent snowfall has made lake travel difficult. Enforcement action taken for the week included angling without a license and various snowmobile-related violations.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled area snowmobile trails and state forest lands. Hanna received and followed up on a TIP complaint of a hawk in a person’s freezer. Hanna also fielded a complaint about exotic animals in cages.

CO Adam Stennett (Sauk Rapids) spent the week working the Mississippi River due to multiple complaints of anglers targeting smallmouth bass out of season. Calls regarding nuisance beavers were fielded and other agencies were assisted during the latest round of winter weather. Equipment maintenance was also completed. Enforcement action for the week included fishing without a license, extra lines and fishing without license in possession.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) attended K9 training.

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