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CO Reports: Spring turkey hunters having limited success

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - May 11, 2021

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Jim Guida (Brainerd East) Despite nice weather, turkey hunting success was limited over the past week. Guida patrolled the station to monitor angling bites. Some folks are catching crappies. Guida also performed maintenance on issued equipment.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked fishing, ATV and spring burning activities this past week. Pay attention to trail status, as spring closures are still in effect in some areas. Enforcement action was taken for no helmets, ATV registration issues, operating on closed trails, burning during a ban, and no fishing license.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked area lakes for spring angling activity and the high influx of ATV activity. Ladd also handled a call of wolf depredation and patrolled spring beaver-trapping activity.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked ATV and OHM activity in the Foothills State Forest. He also worked sport fishing TIP calls, nuisance-bear complaints and public water violations. Assistance was also provided for an ATV crash with injuries. Violations observed included possession of a controlled substance, failure to display registration as required and illegal operation of a hydro jet.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing county lakes for angling activity. McGowan also spent time on the Rainy River checking sturgeon anglers. Enforcement action was taken for numerous boating violations.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking area lakes for anglers trying their luck for panfish. He also checked designated trout lakes for illegal fishing on those closed lakes. Patrol was done for illegal ATV and vehicle activity in the park and time was spent with park staff working on problem areas in the park. Many outdoor law-related questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend.


District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked boating and angling activity on area lakes. He worked a boat and water detail on the Rainy River. Time was spent patrolling areas for ATV and off-highway motorcycle activity.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) attended training at Camp Ripley and followed up on a wolf-depredation complaint. Time was also spent fielding complaints about permanent stands on state land, illegal bear-baiting/dumping activity, and illegal spearing activity.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports spring panfishing has been picking up on area rivers and creeks while lake water temperatures stay pretty low. TIP calls were taken and investigated regarding dumping, fishing for species during a closed season, and OHM operations in county highway rights-of-way. Vinton had contact with anglers suspected to be using drugs and driving a vehicle with fictitious plates. The violations were turned over to county deputies. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a valid license, taking bass out of season and riding an ATV in the ditch south of Highway 10 before Aug. 1.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week working sport fishing activity, completing old cases, and working ATV activity. Panfish have moved into shallow areas and anglers are having success catching them. Swedberg also assisted Becker County with calls for service. Enforcement action for the week included fishing without a license, fishing in a closed spawning area, no helmet on a child while on an ATV, and operating an ATV without registration displayed.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity. Anglers reported a slow panfish bite. Area ponds were monitored for leeching activity. ATV and off-road vehicle trails were monitored for activity.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) Turkey hunters were also checked with success rates varying, like most springs. Richards reports crappie fishing has been good on several local lakes. He spent time checking boaters and anglers over the weekend. Compliance on boat safety items, along with current registration, was outstanding.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked area fishing, boating, AIS, and turkey hunting activity. Several wildlife management areas were monitored for litter and illegal deer stands. ATV and OHM activity were monitored as well. Lake service providers are reminded of the training and proper paperwork needed.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week focused on checking anglers and boaters and monitoring AIS law compliance. Additional time was spent checking turkey hunters and handling injured-animal calls.


CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the majority of the past week on the water working angling and boating enforcement. Lots of people were out enjoying the nice weather, getting their boats and gear ready for next weekend’s fishing opener. Several boaters were found without sufficient PFDs onboard, and a few with expired registrations. Turkey hunters were also monitored, and several injured-animal calls were taken throughout the week.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) spent this past week enforcing recreational vehicle and fishing regulations. Baum observed violations for no license in possession, operating an ATV without headlights and prohibited operations of a hydro jet. He also collected deer stands that were left on state land.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling activity. She also took a nuisance-animal call, and assisted a motorist. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) attended training at Camp Ripley during the past week. Several boaters and anglers were checked, with registration and PFD violations being the most common. Enforcement action was taken for failure to have a PFD, failure to display registration, no registration, no license in possession, and illegal sale of tree stock.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking ATV riders and anglers in her station. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV on a highway, operating an ATV without headlights, ATV riders under 18 without helmets, possession of a small amount of marijuana and taking fish without a license. TIP calls were taken about people targeting walleyes out of season and anglers fishing with multiple lines.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) primarily worked trapping, angling and boating. He also responded to calls. Cross investigated multiple animal-related complaints, responded to a public-access complaint, and assisted Hubbard County with a motor vehicle accident. Cross also assisted with a firearms safety instructor class and a youth firearms safety field day.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked anglers, AIS, and ATV activity. A few anglers were finding some crappies. Mathy responded to reports of an injured eagle and a public waters filling complaint. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked increased angler activity despite water temperatures that are slow to warm. Turkey hunters and ATV riders were checked making use of the sunny and dry conditions. Verkuilen also attended training and answered questions regarding trespassing.


CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) attended training at Camp Ripley. She also monitored angling, ATV, and AIS compliance in the Isle and surrounding areas. Griffith also spent time with her neighboring officers getting equipment ready for open-water fishing and the fishing opener. Nice weather throughout the week brought anglers to Mille Lacs Lake. ATV activity also picked up on the Soo Line. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with an extra line and using game fish as bait.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling area for fishing, boating, and ATV riding activity. She also worked on getting equipment ready for the fishing opener. She would like to remind anglers to check boats for proper safety equipment and up-to-date registration. They should also make sure to purchase an angling license and review fishing regulations prior to fishing opener.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on equipment items in preparation for opening weekend. Calls came in about bear-season questions. Time was also spent regarding firearms safety training requirements and on meetings with volunteer instructors.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, turkey hunting, boating, and ATV activity this past week. Violations were encountered for various boating, sport fishing, and fire-related issues.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATV activity and checked turkey hunters and anglers. The crappie and sunfish bite continues to be slow with the cooler weatrher. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession, open burning during a burning ban, operating an ATV without an ATV safety certificate, and allowing illegal youthful operation of an ATV.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and bowfishing activity this past week. He also worked on administrative tasks and vehicle maintenance. Bowfishers were reminded that AIS laws apply to them as well.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports anglers are having some luck crappie fishing as lake temperatures continue to rise. Enforcement action for the week consisted of angling without valid licenses, and watercraft and ATV violations. He also conducted several wetland- and aquatic plant-related investigations. Calls from the public included miscellaneous wildlife-related calls and TIP calls on anglers. He encourages anglers to check the condition of their safety equipment in preparation for the fishing opener.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the past week checking anglers and ATV riders. Enforcement action was taken for no license, no registration, and insufficient boating safety equipment. Nuisance-animal complaints were handled.


Aviation Section

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) prepped for upcoming summer survey flights with training flights.

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew photos for Forest Assessment and checked on wolf locations. Heineman also worked on administrative tasks and maintenance on his truck.

Standby NR Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports prepping for upcoming creel surveys and attending to administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports giving training to another CO pilot and flying a fire detection route for the Forestry Division.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter-maintenance items, and additions to the helicopter fish stocking procedure manual. He also attended aviation webinars.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) flew multiple fire detection routes in the Sandstone area. He observed numerous fires due to the high fire danger. He updated aircraft maintenance records preparing for the upcoming fishing opener.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on public waters and Wetland Conservation Act cases. Time was spent on site visits and following up with LGUs and COs. Anglers and lake service providers were monitored and checked. TIPs and complaints were investigated.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. AIS enforcement was worked on area lake accesses. Calls for service was answered.


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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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