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Area DNR Conservation Officer (CO) Reports

District 4 — Wadena area

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on sport fishing, boating, AIS, and OHV activity. In addition, he worked on a littering complaint and assisted DNR Wildlife with the removal of an animal from a highway.

CO Larry Francis (Remer) handled calls regarding a possible shot wolf (which was identified as a domestic canine), a party in possession of wild geese, and nuisance beaver. General summer time activity was observed. Enforcement action was taken for illegal possession of waterfowl, illegal operation of an ATV, failing to display ATV registration, and allowing illegal juvenile ATV operation.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring ATV, boating, and angling activity. Angling activity has slowed in the Longville area; however, boating activity still remains high. CO Broughten also fielded calls concerning nuisance beaver and nuisance geese. Enforcement action included: no angling license in possession, no Type IV PFD, operating an ATV on the roadway, no navigation lights on watercraft after sunset, and allowing illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile.

CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) handled bear and timber wolf complaints. He assisted Todd County Deputies Saturday night on a search and rescue on Crow Wing River. The person arrived safely back at the campground. Officer Halverson assisted on a domestic in Staples and assisted Cass County Sheriff on a gas drive off. He also monitored ATV, boating, and fishing activity.

District 9 — Brainerd area

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) station reports that invasive species enforcement work is a high priority in the Gull Lake area. The most common violation continues to be persons transporting aquatic vegetation on their trailers and boats. He received a complaint from an AIS inspector of a person transporting zebra mussels attached to aquatic vegetation that was stuck to the watercraft. Evidence was collected and the investigation continues. He worked with neighboring officers on the White Fish Chain of Lakes for the annual fireworks show. Navigation lights after sunset was the most common violation observed. CO Posner along with CO Halverson and CO Tischler assisted Todd County in the search for a 15-year –old female who was believed to be in the Crow Wing River. She was later found to be safe at a nearby residence. Fishing activity in the Brainerd area is slow however the summer pan fish bite continues to be fair. He checked horse riders and campers and talked with shooter looking for a safe place to shoot in the Pillsbury Forest.

CO Nikki Shoutz (Pine River) patrolled the Whitefish Chain and smaller lakes in her patrol area with the usual enforcement issues handled – fail to display registration, jet-skis operating in closed hours, boaters riding on gunwhales of watercraft, etc. Nuisance animal issues were handled including car injured fawn; “problem” geese in lakeshore yard, a small skunk with a trap on its head and a nuisance bear complaint. One deer that was hit by a car on the neighbor’s side of the road was dragged to the complainant’s side of the road. He didn’t like the smell (of course) and wanted it removed. A large amount of aquatic vegetation removed from a lakeshore property is also being looked into.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked checking compliance at public water accesses and all-terrain vehicle enforcement. Officer Guida scheduled upcoming all-terrain vehicle safety classes. A conviction notice was received from a previous driving while under the influence case. The violator paid substantial fines and received strict probation as a result from the DUI. Work was done on a patrol watercraft that sustained damage as a result of a rescue operation in turbulent waters.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, watercraft and AIS enforcement during the week. A hawk was delivered to the Garrison Animal Hospital and an illegally taken deer was investigated.

CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) intensively patrolled trailheads and rec. facilities in the Cuyuna SRA and Cuyuna Lakes State Trail for visitor protection, use levels were very high. Mountain bike use has increased dramatically. Assistance was rendered to bikers with minor personal injuries and riders with shredded tires. He also worked boating safety enforcement on Gull Lake and the Lower Hay Lake Fireworks detail. He worked AIS saturation around Gull Lake with CO Posner, and ATV and angling enforcement in the Cuyuna SRA and Pillsbury State Forest.

District 10 — Mille Lacs area

CO Mike Lee (Isle) continued checking anglers this past week with so-so success being reported for walleye on Mille Lacs Lake. Officer Lee also assisted the Isle Police Department with a domestic call while other officers were tied up with another call. Officer Lee brought the LaserShot simulator to “Isle Day’s” festivities. Isle area Firearms Safety Instructors assisted Officer Lee with operating the simulator. The LaserShot was enjoyed by all ages, with lots of good comments coming from people in the area. Officer Lee, along with Officer Verkuilen, received information on a possible wanton waste and possible over limit case on an area lake. Officers located the individuals and discovered an over limit. The individuals were in possession of 110 sunfish over their limits and in possession of six largemouth bass over their limits as well.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked fishermen on Mille Lacs Lake and other area lakes. Some nice walleye were seen along with crappie and sunfish on the smaller lakes. Time was spent investigating a trespass complaint where parties drove past no trespassing signs, onto private property, only to get stuck with multiple vehicles. A TIP complaint was also handled involving over length fish being cleaned on the lake. The party was found, stopped and asked if any fish were on board. Two perch were presented. After talking with the party, the location of the fish was disclosed. An illegal walleye fillet was then found in the rod locker. Other enforcement action was also taken on fishing and boating violations throughout the week.

CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked boating and angling activity which included a gross over limit of fish violation. Mille Lacs is still seeing a lot of activity along with PFD, boat plug, and running light violations. Verkuilen also enforced ATV traffic, investigated a wetland complaint, and transported an eagle that had hit a power line.

WREO Robert Haberman (Brainerd) worked AIS enforcement at area lakes. WREO Haberman worked with local SCWD on wetland violations. WREO Haberman also attended local TEP meetings.

District 11 — St. Cloud area

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) assisted staff at Camp Ripley work on setting up materials for the next CO Academy. CO Kuske worked on information for commercial inspections. CO Kuske took calls regarding wetland violations which included ATV’s operating in wetlands and nuisance beaver.

CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) conducted a game farm inspection. Bear complaints were followed up on. CO Friese attended the Todd County TEP meeting. Heat advisory weather kept water activity low. Areas were patrolled for OHV activity.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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