Conservation Officer Report: Beaver bite brings concern
Conservation Officer Jim Guida (Brainerd No. 2) worked sport fishing and all-terrain vehicle enforcement this week. A nurse contacted Guida to report concern over a beaver biting a toddler in the abdomen. The beaver was reportedly dispatched on site by the child's father. The nurse and treating physician were concerned about the transmission of rabies to the child. Rabies treatment for the child was started immediately. The beaver was tested for rabies by the Minnesota Department of Health, and the test results were negative. Rabies treatment for the child was stopped at that time.
Conservation officer Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked off highway vehicle activity in the area. A nuisance deer call was received. The ice on small lakes in the area is gone and the larger lakes should be ice free within days. Enforcement action was taken for off-road vehicle in closed area, off-road vehicle causing damage in a state forest, all terrain vehicle and off-highway motorcycle registration, and operate off-road vehicle's in closed areas.
Officer Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling activity. Anglers reported poor success. Small lakes are open but some of the larger lakes still have ice on them. Broughten investigated several wildfires and multiple wetland violations. Broughten fielded calls regarding nuisance animals and injured eagles, which were returned and forwarded to the appropriate division.
Officer Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked spring crappie fishing and reminded boaters of aquatic invasive species concerns. Halverson also handled the first bear call. The bear hit beehives and the neighbor's garbage cans.
Reports of nuisance bear are starting to come in. Information about living with bears can be found on the mndnr.gov website.
Officer Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) reports ATV trails and forest roads continue to be closed. Sullivan spoke with several people in watercrafts who had forgotten to check for safety equipment prior to launching. Sullivan observed anglers targeting panfish in shallow bays with good success. He also responded to grass fires that had gotten out of control.
Officer Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked the Rainy River and checked numerous walleye and sturgeon anglers. Overall, most anglers were experiencing a slow bite. McGowan also attended training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for possession of narcotics and numerous boating violations.
Officer Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked the end of the ice fishing season and ATV activity. A complaint of an individual shooting near geese was addressed and time was spent on the local radio station covering spring topics. Burning issues were also handled.
Officer Tim Collette (Crosslake) worked fishing and ATV enforcement this week. Panfish are starting to bite as the ice comes off the lakes and the water warms up. Enforcement action was taken for ATVs in closed areas, as many trails are closed due to wet and soft trail conditions, as well as allowing illegal juvenile ATV behavior, unregistered ATVs, youths operating ATVs without helmets, and a potential fish over limit case that turned into illegal taking of deer when investigated.
Officer Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports he worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The anglers are out looking for panfish but the bite is slow. Violations he observed were angling for northern during closed season and no fishing license. He worked on aquatic invasive species prevention on area lakes. Most boaters are doing well cleaning, pulling plugs, and draining live wells.
Officer Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity, including several boats and shoreline crappie anglers. The ATV riders were out. While most legal, ATV traffic on soft ground generated damage complaints. Verkuilen also fielded questions on beaver season, the DNR gun auction and fishing opener.
Officer Chris Tetrault (Isle) attended Wildland Arson Investigator refresher training early in the week. The officer patrolled his station area and found people scouting for turkeys as the season nears. Juveniles on dirt bikes were found operating on public roads without proper training. The officer also answered a lot of questions regarding the upcoming Mille Lacs Lake angling season.
Officer Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working state and county land for ATV and forestry activity. The officer also patrolled area lakes for fishermen with many lakes now clear of ice.
Fitzgerald took a complaint of ATVs tearing up the ditch on Highway 47 and many outdoor law related questions were answered. A ride-along opportunity was given to a college student who is interested in becoming a conservation officer. Several permits were issued to a commercial minnow dealer along with tagging their equipment for the season. Patrol was also done around the Malmo station for the burning restrictions and permits were checked.
Officer Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a Turn In Poachers report regarding an otter found in a trap. As a result of the investigation, enforcement action was taken on the trapper for failing to notify an officer that an otter was incidentally taken. That otter, as well as others were seized from the trapper. Officer Speldrich also continued to check traps in her station, check anglers, and responded to several wildfires along with DNR Forestry. Enforcement actions were taken for negligent acts in some of these fires. Speldrich worked ATV operation in the Willow River area, as well as other state forests, and responded to area trappers who were reporting incidental catches and were turning them in.
Officer Dan Starr (Onamia) checked early panfish anglers and ATV activity throughout his station.
Fire activity has been high and people are reminded to make sure they get a burning permit and make sure no restrictions are in place prior to burning. An investigation continues into illegal waterfowl and small game activity.
Some clarifying information was added to the brief concerning a beaver biting a child. Conservation Officer Jim Guida clarified the child was treated for rabies immediately, while testing on the animal was done to determine whether it was infected. The test result for rabies was negative.