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Conservation Officer Report: ATV driving laws stressed for safety

Conservation officer Jim Guida (Brainerd 2) worked sport fishing, all-terrain vehicle, and nuisance wildlife complaints this week. Over the weekend, a 40- to 50-pound beaver was removed from a window well. Nuisance bear complaints are coming in reminding everyone to remove available food sources like garbage, bird feed, and dog/chicken foods. An injured owl was also transported to the Garrison Animal Hospital for rehabilitation. A 15-year-old and 11-year-old were stopped in the right of way operating all-terrain vehicles. They had no safety training, no accompanying adult, no registration, and no helmets. Enforcement action was taken before any accidents occurred.

Officer Tim Collette (Crosslake) attended an appreciation banquet for instructors that teach the DNR firearms, snowmobile, and all-terrain vehicle safety classes.

Other activity included checking anglers, and fielding complaints of partiers leaving trash on state forest land, ATVs operating in closed forests, and ATVs ripping up and down a state highway. Enforcement activity included angling without a valid license, possession of marijuana, allowing illegal juvenile ATV activity, operate Class I ATVs on public roadways, operate ATV on public road without a valid driver's license, and passengers under 18 on ATVs without helmets, including one that had an infant strapped in a car seat in a Class II ATV without any kind of helmet.

Officer Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) spent most of the week enforcing invasive species laws and educating lake service providers of invasive species regulations. Sullivan attended a DNR instructor appreciation banquet. A homeowner caught a raccoon in a live trap, Sullivan was in the area and assisted with relocation at home owner's request.

Officer Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for angling and ATV activity throughout the week.

Officer McGowan also spoke at a firearm safety class, and attended a firearm safety banquet as a thank you to dedicated safety instructors. McGowan took enforcement action for boating violations.

Officer Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen and ATVs. Hunter took complaints on injured eagles and problem bears. Hunter received calls of a local taxidermist that will not return mounted game to their rightful owners.

Officer Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports this week that District 9 officers hosted an appreciation banquet at the Nisswa Legion for over 115 volunteer instructors who teach the DNR youth firearms, snowmobile, and ATV safety programs in Crow Wing and Aitkin counties. Other activity included checking sucker spearers and bow fishermen on the rough fish opener, turkey hunting activity, fish run, spring panfish bites, ATV's, patrol of the Crow Wing State Forest and the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, responding to miscellaneous wildlife issues, and attending firearms training at Camp Ripley.