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Officer responds to illegal burning - MnDNR CO Reports

While working fishing and ATV enforcement, Conservation Officer (CO) Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) noticed black smoke coming from behind a residence. It turned out to be a family cleaning out a storage shed. The homeowner said they were just burning cardboard and old clothes but in checking the burn pile it was found they were burning household garbage, cans, bottles, metals plastic, furniture and old clothes. Photo Illustration

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - Sept. 10, 2018

District 11 - St. Cloud area

Conservation Officer (CO) Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) spoke at the Buckman ATV safety class and had the TIP Wall of Shame trailers at the Pierz Octoberfest and Little Falls Arts and Crafts Festival. While working fishing and ATV enforcement, Kuske noticed black smoke coming from behind a residence. It turned out to be a family cleaning out a storage shed. The homeowner said they were just burning cardboard and old clothes but in checking the burn pile it was found they were burning household garbage, cans, bottles, metals plastic, furniture and old clothes. Kuske stopped a Class 2 side-by-side ATV driving down a state highway and found there was also a toddler passenger with no helmet.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and hunting activity in the area. He worked with neighboring officers on boating enforcement. A cattle-in-an-area-WMA investigation continues with assistance from the Wildlife Section.

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports checking anglers and early season goose hunters. Complaints of illegal aquatic vegetation removal were also investigated. Enforcement contacts were made for possession of a smallmouth bass within protected slot limit, angling with extra lines, and angling without a fishing license.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week checking hunters. Enforcement action was taken for license violations and an unplugged gun. Bertram also assisted CO Thesing with a case were two swans were shot.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent time working early goose hunters and checking anglers on area lakes. With the recent cooler weather, both anglers and goose hunters are finding better success.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) continues to work on a background investigation. Time was also spent checking anglers, bear baits, hunters, and ATV riders. Londgren worked with other agencies on wetland and public waters violations, and took complaints on nuisance animals.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers, boaters, and goose hunters. Violations were found for no license, illegal-length fish and no PFDs. Musatov also spoke at a youth ATV safety class.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) spent the week out of the area while working on a background investigation for a CO applicant. An extra-line TIP on Cass Lake was referred to CO Regas.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) checked bear hunters in the area. Hunters are having success and several bears have been harvested so far this season. One bear bait was improperly signed and enforcement action was taken. Sullivan checked ATV operators who were enjoying the cooler weather and anglers who reported good success on remote lakes.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled area lakes for boating and angling activity. Numerous boating violations were detected. Guida checked area early goose hunters. Goose hunting was slow with very few migrant geese observed. Guida continued work with a COC.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) talked with a few youth waterfowl hunters and goose hunters and worked ATV and bear hunting activity. A weed roller issue was addressed and hunting information was given over the local radio station.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) continued training with COC Jacqueline Hughes. They worked on a case dealing with two individuals living in the CCSRA. They also did boat, water, and fishing enforcement. Fitzgerald and Hughes took the ATV to the Soo Line/Red Top ATV trail and looked for ATV and big-game hunter activity. They also looked into a possible wetland violation and determined it was unfounded. Enforcement action was taken for the various ATV and park violations.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked hunters prepping for next weekend’s openers. Some were putting up deer stands, which resulted in trespass concerns. Excellent weather continued to bring people out to the lakes but water temperatures are falling fast.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked on a background investigation. She also checked bear hunters and followed up on public waters violations.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took enforcement action for illegal fires and a pending ATV case from last week. Bear hunting activity was monitored with less success this year due to acorns dropping like a hail storm. Starr assisted local law enforcement agencies with various calls, worked wild rice harvest, and checked remote areas for marijuana grow operations.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) and COC Jacob Swedberg continued to patrol state forest areas for bear hunting activity and took complaints of hunters using ATVs in restricted areas. Nice weather also brought an increase in fishing activity. While checking some remote fishing spots late one evening, one small lake was found with a single boat and three occupants that had the lake to themselves. After visibly having a good time and catching northern pike, the trio quickly got quiet and nervous as they returned and found conservation officers waiting at the dock. The anglers had no fishing licenses and no life preservers in the boat.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) checked bear hunters and anglers during the week. He spent time checking WMAs and state forests for ATV and hunting activity. Wynn answered questions about upcoming hunting seasons and gave advice on nuisance animal complaints.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked bear and early goose hunting activity during the week and weekend. A few more geese are starting to show up but hunting has been difficult because of crops that are still in the ground. A few hunters were out scouting for the upcoming archery season and questions were taken on license issues.

Aviation Section

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed the final plots in the southwest part of the state for the hybrid cattail spraying for this season. More than 2 inches of rain that wasn’t in the forecast delayed some of the plots and made the crew shift to only one available landing zone to use. It was next to the historic Heron Lake management area. Many species of waterfowl were observed as they were beginning fall staging.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a waterfowl enforcement recon flight in northwestern Minnesota. Geese and hunters appeared to be sparse.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on AIS enforcement and angler checks. Haberman also worked on cases and closed out several WCA cases. Bear hunting activity was also checked and ATV enforcement was worked.

WREO Leah Weyandt (Central) spent the week updating wetland and public waters cases with extended deadlines and certificates of completion. A TIP was received about a possible wetland violation. Investigations found the homeowner’s son was pushing dirt into the wetland for a dirt bike ramp. Corrective action was taken to restore the wetland.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement