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CO Reports: Youth under 18 operating, or as a passenger on an ATV, must wear helmet

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - October 5, 2021

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Jim Guida (Brainerd East) while on patrol, stopped an adult operating a Class 2 ATV down a paved county roadway with four passengers under 18 who were not wearing approved helmets. Enforcement action was taken.

Guida worked waterfowl and all-terrain vehicle enforcement this week. Numerous boaters and anglers were also checked enjoying the warm fall weather. Guida took enforcement action on various license, shotgun, and stamp violations. A college student participated in a ride-along with Guida. Waterfowl activity was consistent but harvest was light.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) checked duck, archery and small-game hunters this week. ATV activity remains high during the fall color change. ATV riders are reminded to ride respectfully on public roads to stay safe and maintain a positive perception of the sport. Enforcement action was taken for careless operation of an ATV, unplugged gun, transport a loaded firearm, and license and registration violations.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) investigated reports of filling wetlands and altering the cross section of a lakebed. Deer hunters in the area reported issues with domestic dogs chasing deer. Enforcement options were provided. Sullivan also worked on litter complaints and was a guest speaker at an area firearms safety class.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent time conducting a background investigation for the current hiring process of new conservation officers. He also checked duck hunters and ATV riders.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on additional water-related cases this week. Time was also spent checking anglers, duck hunters, and bear hunters. Various waterfowl and big-game violations were encountered.


CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked area lakes for angling activity and followed up on complaints of individuals hunting waterfowl in the Bemidji Game Refuge. He also assisted Montana conservation officers with interviews related to a big-game investigation.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking archery hunters and following up on several ongoing cases. Swedberg also followed up on multiple burning complaints over the week and took enforcement action on fires containing prohibited materials. Other time was spent on squad maintenance and checking anglers.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working fishing, waterfowl- and small-game hunting and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent responding to miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking ATV riders and anglers on the lakes in the area. Various violations were found and enforcement actions were taken.

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

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for hunting, angling, and recreational vehicle traffic. He took enforcement action for various hunting and aquatic plant violations. Baum found varying success among small-game hunters. He met a lot of ATV riders out riding to view the fall colors.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked big-game hunting, waterfowl hunting, and angling. There was plenty of activity out and many people were seen enjoying the nice fall weather. Enforcement action was taken for multiple big-game violations and waterfowl violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) worked hunting activity. Enforcement was taken for trespass, hunting without a license, and various other waterfowl-hunting violations.


CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports it was a busy week with many hunters and anglers enjoying the nice weather. Anglers continued to have success while duck and grouse hunters were having a more difficult time finding birds. Mathy also assisted with a large big-game investigation.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time this week patrolling for ATV activity and small-game, archery, and waterfowl hunters. Time was also spent on Mille Lacs Lake checking anglers and recreational boaters. Griffith also assisted local agencies with calls. Enforcement action taken included angling without a license, boat safety equipment violations, and ATV and OHM registration violations.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for ATV activity and small-game, archery deer archery and waterfowl hunting. She also assisted an angler who was stranded on Mille Lacs Lake and followed up on other various calls.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on a waterfowl complaint of hunting in a state park. Upcoming deer-season concerns were also fielded. Work plans with the Mille Lacs Tribal DNR were also launched, as a new deer-season structure is coming to Kathio State Park.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) continued to deal with wolf depredation of livestock in the Hinckley area. Depredation investigations confirmed the losses of an adult cow and calves, along with non-fatal injuries to a calf. Several wolves were removed from farms where livestock were killed and injured. An investigation was also completed involving two individuals who attempted to steal money from a DNR campground. The two thieves were caught on camera attempting to take money out of a self-service pay tube. Charges are pending.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked the Mississippi River for angling and waterfowl-hunting activity. He investigated a complaint of filling a wetland and worked with Morrison County soils and waters. Westby received complaints of ATVs crossing Highway 10 illegally and located a fence that has been cut along the road right-of-way. He assisted with a firearms safety class in Eden Valley and helped out at the field day.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATV activity, bear, small-game and archery deer hunting, fishing and AIS. He also assisted local law enforcement with various calls. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession, allowing illegal youth operation of an ATV, and failure to renew ATV registration. He also arrested an individual with an outstanding warrant.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling and hunting activity in the station. A heavy rain in the area slowed the fish bite a bit, but most anglers were having some success. ATV and off-highway motorcycle violations were addressed while on patrol as well.


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) provided a firearms safety class for local youth with help from neighboring officers. He returned from a detail in northern Minnesota. Waterfowl in the area continues to be primarily wood ducks and geese found in successful hunters’ bags.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers and hunters. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, insufficient boating safety equipment, and possessing smallmouth bass. Training was also completed.

Aviation Section

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) finished a Fisheries survey flight and took care of some plane maintenance.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a wolf-telemetry flight and finding a waters violation on that flight. The information was passed to a local officer.

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on fish-stocking plans, helicopter-maintenance items and other administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) completed a support flight to remove fire-protection gear. He repositioned aircraft equipment in preparation for upcoming winter operations. He worked on training curriculums and training presentations.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases and following up on site visits and complaints. Time was spent checking anglers and AIS compliance.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. Background work was conducted for the upcoming DNR Academy.

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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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