Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - March 27, 2019

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily worked on locating ice shelter owners who failed to remove the shelter by the deadline. The shelter owners have mostly removed the remaining shelters by hiring professionals or demolishing and removing their shelter. A Bear Committee meeting was attended. A few anglers are out looking for perch and sunfish with varying levels of success. Most anglers are still running into large patches of slush and water on top of the lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling and fish house violations.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on litter complaints. He continued investigations of blocks of wood and garbage left on the ice by anglers after removing their fish house. A few panfish anglers have been out trying their luck with mixed results. He worked with neighboring officers on Gull Lake checking anglers and also a TIP of folks leaving garbage on ice.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) investigated possible wetlands and shoreline destruction complaints. McGowan also spent time investigating ice shelters being left out after the deadline. Enforcement action was taken for ice shelter violations.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled area lakes for angling activity. Ice is rapidly deteriorating. Some all-terrain vehicles were observed operating on grant-in-aid snowmobile trails causing damage. A reminder the trails are not currently open to ATV traffic.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked ice anglers and saw very few snowmobiles out on some of the lakes. The deep slush on most lakes made travel difficult for some, especially later in the afternoons. Ladd fielded trespass calls and injured-animal calls.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) dealt with the final fish houses off the lake in the Crosslake area. Best also worked vacant stations in the Leech Lake and Remer areas. Enforcement action was taken for expired registration on ATVs and snowmobiles, and no fishing licenses. A complaint of dogs chasing deer was also handled.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity of collecting several deer called in by concerned citizens for disease testing and checking ice fishing activity.

CO Tim Collette (Brainerd West) spent considerable time this past week tracking down owners of fish houses and trash left on area lakes. Contact was made with most owners, but he ended up hauling some off and disposing of them. Enforcement action was taken on several fish houses still on the ice weeks after the deadline. A few late anglers were checked and some winter equipment was put away.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, ATV and cross-country skiing activity. An incidental otter catch was handled as well as a deer-feeding issue. An individual was arrested on a warrant and also faces gross misdemeanor charges of giving a false name.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) continued to follow up on abandoned fish houses. Ice anglers and beaver trappers were checked making use of the warmer weather. Verkuilen also helped staff a sportshow where winter kill, CWD, and the Mille Lacs Lake slot were all hot topics.

CO Ben Karon (Isle) had a short work week with upcoming training. He continued with equipment maintenance for upcoming spring and summer seasons. Equipment was also brought in for annual maintenance.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) reports assisting at a career fair at the Pine River-Backus High School. She answered many questions regarding her career as a CO and how to become one.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) followed up on two fish houses that were still on area lakes. Pike anglers were checked with a few fish that decided to cooperate. Wildlife is on the move with recent thaws. Motorists need to use caution when coming to known game crossings.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) monitored closed forest and WMA roads for illegal activity. Time was also spent doing vehicle maintenance and online training. Most anglers are reporting a slower panfish bite for now.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) spoke at the Little Falls firearms safety class and took calls of an injured three-legged deer and a dead bald eagle that had hit a power line. When Kuske retrieved the eagle, she found that someone had cut off the feet. Keeping eagle parts and/or feathers without a federal permit is illegal and can result in a fine of up to $100,000, imprisonment for one year, or both. A report of a landowner feeding deer shell corn and hay was looked into. The landowner was located and educated about the deer feeding ban that is still currently in place in Morrison County.

CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) reports working with CO Kuske to locate some corn and a hay bale that had been put out for deer. Morrison County is one of several counties with a deer-feeding ban in place to reduce the risk of CWD spreading. Kyllo taught and assisted with two firearms safety classes. Equipment maintenance was also performed.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring ice conditions and angling activity on area lakes. Ice has deteriorated rapidly with the warming weather. Anglers are reminded to exercise caution when fishing on late-season ice. It is not only your life you are risking but also those who may have to respond to rescue you if things go badly. A ride-along was provided to an area college student who applied for a DNR Enforcement internship and a presentation was provided to the Natural Resources Law Enforcement class at Central Lakes College. Silgjord also assisted a local sheriff’s office with a domestic assault complaint.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) monitored the high water in his station. He cleared out cases that court dispositions came back on. He also brought in boats and trailers this past week for annual inspections as well as an oil change on the patrol truck. Rivers in the station are very close to being clear of ice.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers and working ATVs. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, no ATV registration, and burning violations. Bertram also spoke at the Long Prairie firearm safety class.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers. He also did a law talk at a local firearms safety class where he had the honor of presenting a 30-, 40-, and 50-year instructor award to three of the instructors in the class. Krauel would like to thank all of the instructors for the incredible amount of work and dedication to the safety programs. Krauel also participated in a snowmobile detail on the North Shore and assisted with a firearms safety field day.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers and ATV riders, attended a district meeting, and provided a ride-along to a student. Complaints were also taken about litter remaining on the ice, carcasses that are reappearing with the snow melt, and a swan that hit power lines.

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports working various animal and burning complaints over the week. A snowmobile detail was worked on the North Shore. This is likely the last weekend of snowmobiling in the state. A firearms safety class was attended in Foreston as well as at Carlos Avery WMA.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and ATV riders. An animal complaint was handled. Musatov spoke at a youth firearms safety class.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of assisting field officers with locating abandoned fish shelters on area lakes. Aeration systems were inspected on these same flights as were telemetry searches for collared wolves. Jensen flew Camp Ripley environmental staff for collared wolf searches and eagle nest surveys.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew two wolf telemetry surveys and gave a low-level waiver check ride to a natural resource pilot. Heineman also picked up his aircraft from Brainerd after a radio upgrade.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on wrap up of deer survey season items as well as helicopter maintenance and administrative tasks. He also gave a presentation on aerial spraying of hybrid cattail on state lands at the Region 1 spring wildlife meeting in Bemidji.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) worked on open cases and caught up on calls and case status from DNR and local government officials.

WREO Mike Scott (NE) staffed the DNR information booth at the Northwest Sportshow on Saturday, where he talked to exhibitors and outdoor enthusiasts about general DNR information as well as hunting and fishing. Snowmobilers and anglers were checked on area lakes and trails. Both lakes and trails are icy. Work with Carlton County LGU and SWCD was conducted on an ongoing violation with discussion on the best way to deal with the issues.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) spend time training lake service providers in Brainerd and Hibbing. Case work was conducted with meetings with DNR Waters. Ice fishing activity was monitored. Haberman also helped District 9 officers getting boats ready for spring activity.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement