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CO Reports: Swamp water, ticket and tow bill

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - Aug. 19, 2020

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Tim Collette (Brainerd West) responded to calls of illegal cattail removal, public waters and wetland filling, injured deer, and an injured goose in the middle of a four-lane highway. A call of a four-wheel drive vehicle that had “slipped inadvertently” off an ATV trail into a wet area turned out to be an individual showing off to his passenger that he could drive his Jeep-type vehicle through a beaver pond. He got it buried, with swamp water up to the seats inside. After getting it pulled out, he got a ticket to go with his tow bill.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) patrolled the Foothills State Forest and observed a large amount of camping activity and high use of off-road recreational vehicles. Sullivan observed violations including litter, illegal operation in wetlands and a wide variety of registration violations.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked boating, fishing and ATV enforcement activities this past week. Local bear bait sites were also inspected. Aquatic plant control devices were inspected as well. Enforcement action was taken for no licenses, and assistance was provided for a deer-hunting case.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked Cass and Crow Wing county lakes throughout the past week. Area lakes are busy with recreational boating and angling activity. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling and boating violations.


CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) handled nuisance-animal calls. Bears and deer have been causing crop damage. Boaters and anglers were seen enjoying their time on the water.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked complaints involving altering the cross section of public waters, burning prohibited materials, and bears. Time was also spent working invasive species.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing and boating enforcement this past week. A detail was worked with district COs on the Whitefish Chain. Guida issued possession permits for a road-killed otter, bear, fawns, and adult deer.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked boating and angling activity on area lakes. He checked anglers on Lake Winnibigoshish and found an overall slow bite. He also patrolled area ATV trails and followed up on calls regarding nuisance bears.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting with emergency vehicle operation training at the DNR Enforcement Academy. The recruits were instructed on state law, Division and department directives, and safe operation of their patrol vehicles. They were provided scenarios that included emergency response driving and pursuit vehicle operations.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent a busy week assisting Becker County with multiple capsized boats and boats that broke free from shore during a week with high winds and storms. Swedberg also spent time following up on aquatic plant management cases. A hunter harassment and neighbor dispute was also investigated.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked ongoing cases and received complaints of aquatic plant removal, unsafe firearms discharge and trespass.


CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working sport fishing and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent at Camp Ripley assisting with EVOC instruction for the CO Academy.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling and boating activity. AIS compliance checks were performed. Area Trails were patrolled for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Information was provided on private boat accesses, coyote regulations, nuisance-bear activities, and lakeshore usage. Warren assisted local police and county deputies with a domestic disturbance.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week monitoring angling, off-road vehicle, and aquatic plant management activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Lakes continue to see higher-than-average use by mostly recreational boaters, although anglers are finding a decent panfish and walleye bite on some lakes. Calls from the public included bear-baiting questions and complaints about bowfishers. Landmark assisted local deputies with a boating crash on an area lake. The operator was making a turn and the edge of the tube he was pulling dug into the water, throwing him from the boat and overturning the watercraft. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but incidents like this highlight the importance of wearing your life jacket while on the water. Enforcement action was taken for juveniles under 18 on an ATV without a helmet and failure to affix valid boat registration.

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Please contact DNR Ecological and Water Resources if you plan to do work in the water and review the DNR webpage for when permits are required (https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/permits/water/needpermit.html). Remember, just because your neighbors are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s legal.

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District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on the ATV and in the boat. The amount of fishing activity appeared down in the area. While on the boat, however, Anderson observed numerous potential aquatic plant and public waters violations. Riparian property owners are reminded to research whether a permit is required for plant removal before potentially violating the law. Anderson assisted the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office in locating lost ATV riders who became stuck after taking a wrong turn. Enforcement action for the week included aquatic plant management/public waters violations, youth not wearing a helmet on an ATV, too many passengers on an ATV, and an ATV DWI investigation.


CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time working ATV enforcement. Violations found included illegal riding of passengers, operating an ATV on state highway, operating an ATV without headlights and a juvenile without a helmet. A wetlands complaint was received and investigated. A sport fishing TIP call was also received in regards to anglers using more than one line. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked anglers and ATV riders. She responded to lost jet skiers on Leech Lake and an ATV crash, and wrote a nuisance-beaver permit. Enforcement action was taken on various ATV, fishing, and OHM violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and boaters. Anglers were finding some perch but fishing success in general was pretty slow. Nuisance-bear complaints continue to come in and several bear-hunting-related questions were answered. Assistance was provided to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office on a theft call. Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) spent most of the past week working ATV and boating enforcement. Fall hunting questions were answered, and trespass complaints were followed up on.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) followed up on several nuisance-animal calls and a waters shoreline complaint. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and ATV violations.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers on various lakes. Camping sites were investigated for unlawful camping and fires. Enforcement action was taken for illegal parking at boat accesses and possessing controlled substances.

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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

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

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Aviation Section

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) worked on administrative tasks and training.


Standby NR Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports completing the east-central wild rice survey and preparing for northeastern Minnesota wild rice survey. Holmes also attended the online Natural Resources Summit and a training webinar.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying an APM enforcement flight, illegal tree stand in a state forest and a WCA photo flight. Jensen also assisted in attempting to locate a drowning victim near Detroit Lakes. A boat/water detail was also worked with enforcement action taken for no current watercraft registration displayed, insufficient PFDs, no observer while pulling tubes and allowing riders on the bow while underway. A fallen tree was also removed from a state trail.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued working on the hybrid cattail helicopter spraying project. Plots were completed in the Mankato area and at the Whitewater WMA northwest of Winona. Some weather delays due to potential storms and strong winds were encountered.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week working on AIS violations, public waters and WCA cases, and assisting Becker County with a drowning recovery.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) spent the past week assisting Academy staff with OHV/ATV enforcement training and emergency vehicle operations training.

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