Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - Jan. 8, 2019

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) focused the majority of the past week on a background investigation. Sullivan also investigated snowmobile trail violations and checked area anglers and snowmobilers.

CO Tim Collette (Brainerd) checked anglers and snowmobilers. An accidentally caught fisher was seized and a detail was worked in the Leech Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish area, where multiple violations were addressed. The most common violation was illegal-length northern pike, followed by possession of marijuana, using extra lines, and no shelter license.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports focusing primarily on snowmobile and ski trail enforcement with the recent snowfalls bringing out numerous snow sport enthusiasts and good early winter trail conditions. Other activity included checking ice anglers and responding to issues of illegal snowboarding in the CCSRA and suspicious hunting activity. Numerous enforcement contacts were made for snowmobile and ATV registration, skiing on GIA trails without a ski pass, fishing license violations, snowmobile speed, and operation of snowmobiles without safety training.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked angler activity on area lakes. Nice weather increased the numbers of anglers and snowmobilers. A work detail was done with numerous officers concentrating on angling violations and illegal-length fish. Guida worked on an applicant background investigation for the Division of Enforcement.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked snowmobile, angling and trapping activity. Fur tagging and other trapping-related information were given at a Minnesota Trappers Association meeting. He also made contacts regarding the deer-feeding ban.

CO Pat McGowan (Pine River) and CO Lerchen report patrolling local trails for snowmobile activity. Time was also spent working a detail on Upper Red Lake. Enforcement action for the week included no snowmobile registration, illegal-length walleyes, angling with extra lines, and narcotics possession.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working snowmobilers throughout the week and weekend. A lot of riders were out enjoying the trails. Please remember to make sure your registration is current and on your sled before venturing out on the trails. He also worked area lakes for fishing activity and found quite a few anglers out enjoying the warmer weather, but that also created some slush on area lakes. Time was also spent patrolling the SRA for illegal vehicle activity and for park violations. Enforcement action for the week included various fishing and snowmobile violations.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) took enforcement action this past week for registration and license issues as well as no helmets on riders under 18.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers, snowmobilers and tagged fur.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked angling and snowmobile activity on area lakes. Anglers reported mixed. He worked a detail on Upper Red Lake where several contacts were made. Vollbrecht continued work on a background investigation. Cross-country ski trails were monitored and skiers were checked for ski passes.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting other local law enforcement with the new snowmobiling while intoxicated law and whether or not a rider has their riding privileges revoked. Area snowmobile trails are groomed but due to temperatures in the 40s for a few days, some of the trails are rough in spots. Vinton continued to work on a background investigation for a potential new CO.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week doing snowmobile and ice-fishing enforcement. He also assisted the State Patrol with vehicles going in the ditch and attended training in International Falls. Most anglers report a very slow bite, but some are having success with pike during the day. Enforcement action for the week included fishing with extra lines, violation of posted speed for snowmobiles and no helmet for a juvenile on a recreational vehicle.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked local anglers and shelter enforcement, including a work detail on Upper Red Lake and Lake of the Woods.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. Ice anglers are out and report the bite has slowed. He worked on complaints of litter on the ice and an abandoned snowmobile on the lake. He checked trappers and picked up an incidental fisher caught by a trapper. The last weekend of archery hunting saw a few hunters trying their luck without much success. Snowmobiling in the Staples area continues to pick up and the riders are enjoying good trail conditions. Violations of expired registration, failure to stop at a road crossing and speeding were observed.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and snowmobile riders. Temperatures above freezing have caused lots of slush on area lakes. Snowmobile trails have held up well so far in the area. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked the increase in angling activity as the holidays wrapped up and the weather warmed. More cars and trucks were on the ice this past week but flowing runoff is still causing open water and thin-ice areas. Plenty of snowmobiles and ATVs were on the lakes including a sled that caught fire and melted onto the ice. ATV riders are reminded one-third of ATV registrations have expired.

CO Ben Karon (Isle) checked many anglers on Mille Lacs Lake throughout the week. Part of the week was spent on training. Snowmobile riders were checked as well.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) worked ice-angling enforcement on Mille Lacs Lake, as well as snowmobile enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with extra lines, illegal-length walleyes kept, anglers fishing without licenses, ice shelter violations, failure to register a snowmobile, small amount marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. She also spent time training with snowmobiles in International Falls.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked anglers on local lakes. She also assisted Mille Lacs Lake officers with a work detail. Enforcement action was taken for illegal-length walleyes, no ice house shelter license, no angling licenses in possession, expired snowmobile and ATV registration, and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. Speldrich also received a complaint of a dog caught in a snare. The dog was unharmed.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked ice-fishing activities and noted a dramatic increase in fishing pressure this past week. Nice weather and a good bite were found. Starr found numerous violations of unattended lines that folks did not pull up before leaving the fish house. Extra lines and snowmobile registration violations were also found, along with an illegal-length walleye just before it hit the frying pan.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) worked snowmobile and ice-fishing activity during the week and weekend. Trail conditions are fair but took a beating over the weekend with warm conditions. Ice fishing remains good on Mille Lacs with a number of keepers seen. A fair number of people are looking at last year’s slot regulation and have not kept on fish house licenses, which are required on wheel houses even if you are staying in it. Be sure to have the correct information.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) worked snowmobile trail enforcement and found the trails are starting to get down to dirt in quite a few places. Many anglers were checked in their fish houses/spear houses. A number of them did not have their licenses with them. Anglers are reminded that houses left overnight need to have reflective material on each side of the house. Kuske checked one fish house where a family with a young boy and girl were excited to be getting checked by a game warden for the very first time.

CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) reports finishing a big-game investigation. Kyllo also testified in court regarding a sport fishing case and attended training in International Falls.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week patrolling snowmobile trails. He also continued work on an assigned background investigation. Follow up was also conducted on fish house violations found while monitoring area lakes.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and trapping activity. He took calls and questions about the pike regulations. Fishing in the area remains slow, but a few anglers are finding some fish.

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports checking ice anglers and ATV and snowmobile riders. Deteriorating snow conditions limited snowmobile activity. Enforcement contacts were made for ATV registration issues, angling without a license, and possession of northern pike within the protected slot.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week working fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Citations were issued for no spearing license, no snowmobile registration, wanton waste, and burning tires. Bertram also spoke at a snowmobile safety class in Browerville.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) worked small-hunters and anglers this past week. Several trespassing complaints were handled. One group of small-game hunters was trespassing on land they previously had permission to hunt. Enforcement action was taken for expired ATV registration, no blaze orange and no license in possession.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) spent the majority of the week checking anglers, spearers, shelters, and small-game hunters. A few snowmobilers were checked on local trails, but they reported very poor trail conditions. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register, no reflective material on a shelter, no shelter ID, no shelter license, and trespass.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers. Krauel also spent time on the snowmobile patrolling area trails. Trail conditions deteriorated quickly with the warm weekend weather, but the warm weather brought out numerous anglers who found success with the temperature swing. Enforcement action was taken for taking an over limit, no angling license, possession of marijuana, and taking northern pike in the protected slot. Krauel also arrested an individual after a brief foot pursuit on several charges involving assault, possession of a controlled substance, illegal possession of weapons, and no fishing license.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) followed up on a big-game case. Violations were found for failure to register deer and illegally using a bonus tag. A litter case was received and investigated. Ice anglers were also checked.

Aviation Section

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) attended the first day of the moose survey for the safety briefings and survey protocol. Heineman also flew wolf telemetry.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) spent the week working on the northeast moose survey. Some flying was delayed due to unusually warm weather, causing heavy fog and low ceilings. Some very nice moose with large antlers were observed.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases and updating cases in RMS. Time was spent on a background investigation. Anglers were talked to and area questions fielded and answered for the public. Snowmobile activity has increased in the area and problem areas are being monitored.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked duty days during the week. Case files were updated in the RMS system. Snowmobile activity was monitored.

Reminder: Any resident born after December 31, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota must possess a snowmobile certificate. Two options are available to complete certification. Ages 11 and older can take the online course and hands-on day or attend the traditional youth course. Those 16 or older can take the online course.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement