Turkey, Trout seasons off to good start, TIP program getting results - MnDNR CO Reports

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - April 21, 2020

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) patrolled Itasca State Park and checked trout anglers.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked area rivers and streams for spring fish-run activity. Several rivers in the area are closed for angling until fishing opener. He also spent time training in the airboat. Areas were patrolled for ATV activity.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) spent time working spring fish-run activity and patrolling for ATV activity. Time was also spent in the area state parks and talking with various supervisors within the parks. K9 training was also completed.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports concentrating enforcement activities on turkey hunters and the spring fish run. A turkey hunter called Vinton to report accidentally shooting two turkeys with one shot. The extra bird was taken and donated. Ice on many of the smaller lakes is gone and on the larger lakes the ice would not be safe. Area state parks have seen an increase in guests and Vinton talked with park staff to offer any assistance that may be needed.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week monitoring shore fishing and spring fish-run activity. Spring fishing closures are in place throughout the Detroit Lakes area and anglers should check the DNR website to make sure they know where they can and can’t fish. Other time was spent patrolling for fish activity and checking recreational vehicle activity.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked the turkey-hunting and stream-trout openers, patrolled state forest land, assisted with investigating several game violations and assisted local agencies with calls for service. Turkey season got off to a good start as local ice-fishing options ran out.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) checked wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas for activity. Patrol was conducted for ATV activity on area trails and forest roads. A fire without a burning permit was investigated. A complaint of illegal dumping of beaver carcasses was received. Warren monitored area lakes and ponds for anglers and leeching activity.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked ongoing game investigations with neighboring officers. The start of the turkey and stream trout seasons brought many people out. Enforcement action was taken for various violations related to fishing, hunting, boating, and litter.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) continued to checking fishing activity. She also took calls regarding trapping activity.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The recent open water brought out a fair number of panfish anglers. Expired watercraft registration was the most common violation observed. He received a complaint of a bowfishers shining lights too close to houses after sunset on the Crow Wing River. He also checked turkey hunters, who report seeing larger groups of turkeys. Toms did not want to leave the main flock. He also spent time checking beaver trappers and picking up accidentally caught otters. Flooding on area lakes, especially Lake Shamineau, is a significant problem for landowners and folks trying to access the lake.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time working ATV and trapping enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for an illegal water-set trap. Multiple incidental otters have been called in due to many people trapping spring beavers in her station.


CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked closed state forest roads for motor vehicle use, turkey hunters, and state park use. A wolf-depredation complaint was investigated. Two reports of litter – one household garbage and another animal-carcass dumping – were investigated. Things are getting dry in the area and a fire was investigated where enforcement action was taken for no permit, allowing a smoldering fire, and prohibited material burning. Patrol boats were readied for the upcoming season. A big-game case is also under investigation.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) patrolled the Foot Hills State Forest area, which is closed to all motor vehicle traffic. Enforcement action was taken with several subjects operating illegally. Turkey hunters were contacted this past week and most hunters reported successful hunts. He also contacted a suspicious vehicle that involved people illegally consuming and possession alcohol as well as controlled substances.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked ATV, trapping, fishing and spring turkey hunting activity. Best is still observing many people recreating and lodging far from their residences. Enforcement action was taken for expired registration, no helmets, no ATV safety, burning during a ban and untagged traps.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked angling activity along river areas as well as spring beaver trapping and turkey hunting. She patrolled state parks and handled a couple of illegal burning cases and ATV violations.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled area lakes and trails for activity. Turkey hunters were out in large numbers due to the availability of the new over-the-counter licenses. Some overcrowding was reported. Guida fielded a TIP call involving a group of unlicensed anglers harvesting bass out of season. The violators were located and enforcement action was taken. The bass were located in the back of their pickup and safely returned to the water.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked trapping, turkey hunting and ATV activity. Closed forest roads and fire restrictions were also monitored.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for open-water anglers and turkey hunters during the past week. Turkey hunting success was limited, and anglers are finding ample open water now. Time was also spent maintaining station equipment and training on an airboat.


District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked the cold turkey opener. Birds were uncooperative. Fire danger is high so burning activity was monitored. Small area lakes are clear of ice, resulting in the first boaters on the water and docks going in.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time maintaining equipment, working on office work, issuing possession permits, and following up on various complaints and questions.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked shore anglers on local rivers. She also investigated Wetland Conservation Act violations where landowners were excavating in wetlands. Resource protection notices were issued to the landowners.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) noted an extreme increase in outdoor recreation and folks out and about. A fishing complaint of rude behavior was investigated with casting into the same hot spot causing a riff. A public waters violation complaint was also looked into. State park and WMA areas were patrolled. ATV activity skyrocketed, with multiple complaints coming in from concerned citizens regarding road right of way damage. ATV users are encouraged to use some common sense and stay out of wet areas when higher-ground routes can be used. Turkey season got off to a good start with numerous birds checked. Enforcement action was taken for untagged turkeys.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) checked quite a few turkey hunters. A majority of them successfully harvested a Tom. Those who had not shot a turkey reported seeing a lot of birds. State parks, ATV trails and shore-fishing spots were extremely busy. Anglers out on the lakes struggled to find fish but those who spent time on area rivers had pretty good luck catching rough fish. Stream trout anglers were also doing surprisingly well. Most of the enforcement activity involved ATVs riding through restricted state forest areas and landowners allowing fires to burn out of control.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked spring turkey hunting, ATV/OHM activity, and sport fishing activity this past week. Various complaints involving wetlands were investigated as well. Enforcement action was taken for fire-related violations, ATV/OHM violations, and sport fishing violations.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time this past week patrolling public areas. There continues to be many people out recreating. Boaters and anglers were checked, with most reporting only slight success. Turkey hunting activity has been monitored. Patrol for ATV and OHM activity continues.


District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling, trapping and turkey hunting activity this past week. He fielded calls concerning injured animals. He also took care of vehicle maintenance and administrative tasks.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports investigating a possible wetland violation. He also received reports of target shooting at a WMA and received several TIP calls about possible angling violations. Enforcement action for the week included allowing a juvenile to operate an OHM in a road right of way, angling without a license, angling with an extra line, overlimit of crappies and several watercraft-registration violations.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking anglers. He also checked turkey hunters and spent time following up on several potential wetland violations.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) received numerous complaints on crappie anglers. Follow up was done on a turkey-hunting call. A dumping complaint and trespass call were received.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) worked a busy week investigating TIP calls. A turkey “hunter” was caught near Isanti after witnesses believed he shot a turkey out of the vehicle. Evidence was found and the subject confessed to shooting out of the driver seat of his truck and wounding a turkey. Another subject was caught possessing a 56-inch lake sturgeon in Pine City that ended up dying after the contact. Benkofske then assisted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on an investigation at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. The subject was found to have illegally hunted turkeys in a closed area, shot a hen turkey, threw all the meat in the trash, and only kept the tail feathers. Thank you to all the sportsman and sportswomen who continue to call TIP.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers, boaters, ATV riders, and turkey hunters. Calls were also taken on trespassing, carcass dumping, anglers targeting fish out of season, and illegal fires.


Aviation Section

Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) continued flight training with landings and commercial maneuvers.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf telemetry and two days of fire detection for Deer River Forestry. Heineman also worked on aviation training.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying an eagle nest survey at Camp Ripley and then flying numerous fire-detection flights. During the detection flights, numerous possible WCA and waters violations were noted and forwarded to local officers.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance items and completed a training flight in an airplane.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases and conducting site visits. Turkey hunting, wildlife calls, patrolling state parks, fishing and ATV activity were all worked.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued work on cases in his assigned area. Turkey hunting and ATV enforcement was conducted. State campgrounds where checked and a TIP call was investigated in the Backus area.


--- --- ---

Prepared by 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 website first went live on April 26, 1994.
What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads