Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - April 10, 2019

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) had an angler ask if it was legal to use hotdogs as bait. She told the angler that it was legal and how she once encountered a person using breakfast sausage as bait. Kuske later received a photo from the hotdog angler who was holding a nice northern pike on a northern Minnesota lake, and a package of “fun dogs” claiming that his hotdogs caught more fish than his buddy using smelt.

CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) taught and assisted with two firearms safety classes. Equipment maintenance was also performed.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) attended in-service training at Camp Ripley during the week. A local gun club meeting was attended, as was an Honor Guard meeting. A car-hit-otter complaint was also handled. 

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked with landowners and watershed districts with beaver complaints. He also attended training and assisted Stearns County with a call in Kimball.

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports checking ATVs and anglers. Area creeks were also monitored for fish spawning activity and any evidence of violations. With warm weather and rain over the weekend, lake ice conditions have deteriorated rapidly. Due to poor/unsafe ice conditions, no ice anglers were observed during the weekend on any area lakes.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) received several calls this past week regarding fires, ATVs, and litter issues. Another wetland violation was located. An inspection was conducted on a commercial license holder.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check late ice anglers. The ice in the area is showing signs of significant deterioration as the ice season is nearing the end. All fish houses have been removed from area lakes. Some time was spent at the Bemidji sportshow talking with local residents at the TIP booth. Mathy also responded to a call of a person waving guns around. The matter was resolved without further incident. An aquatic plant destruction case from the fall was worked on. Enforcement action was taken for fish house violations.


Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) report checking multiple perch anglers throughout the week. She reminds people that the ice is never safe and to be careful while going out on the lakes. She also did a meet and greet organized by MDHA.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) checked anglers targeting panfish and tullibees on area lakes. Anglers reported mixed results and stated if the sun ever shines, fishing is better. Sullivan also worked a detail on the Rainy River and checked walleye and sturgeon anglers. He observed one angler fighting a sturgeon with walleye-angling gear for an extended period of time. The angler was clearly fatigued after the battle but was happy with his personal best 67-inch sturgeon. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled for angling activity. Ice is rapidly deteriorating. Guida spent time at Camp Ripley working with Division use of force instructor planning for an upcoming in-service training.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) assisted District 9 and 10 officers in hosting an appreciation banquet event in recognition of the volunteer DNR safety instructors in Crow Wing and Aitkin counties who teach the youth firearms, snowmobile, and ATV programs in those counties. Two people from the Pequot Lakes area were recognized at the event for 50 years of volunteer DNR firearms safety instruction. Other activity included monitoring spring beaver trapping, the fish run, ice-fishing activity, and hosting the DNR’s Lazershot simulated shooting system for youth at the annual Cuyuna Range Whitetails Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association annual fund-raising event in Crosby. Approximately 300 people attended that event, and a dozen lifetime deer hunting licenses were given away by area business sponsors to area youth deer hunters. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports attending instructor in-service in preparation for the Division’s upcoming annual spring in-service training. He also attended an instructor banquet for District 9 where a meal was provided as a thank-you to the area safety instructors. Fitzgerald spent time patrolling the SRA for closed trail violations and also illegal vehicle activity. Many law-related questions were answered throughout the week and weekend. 

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) checked ice anglers throughout the week. Anglers are urged to use caution as ice conditions are changing daily. Numerous angling and ATV violations were enforced. 

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked on fishing, ATV and fire activity this past week. Enforcement action was taken for illegal burning of prohibited materials and for allowing illegal youth operation of an OHM.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked some ice anglers as the ice continues to rot away. He also helped at an instructor banquet and changed equipment over for the summer. Calls were addressed regarding dogs chasing deer, the CO application process, and boat registrations.

CO Ben Karon (Isle) spent the week learning new areas of the station. Time was spent checking for safe OHV operation and OHVs being operated on closed trails/roads. Areas were checked for trapping activity as well. Fishing activity is slow, but there are still some people enjoying late ice.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time working ATV enforcement. She assisted the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with a domestic. She also helped fry fish at a firearms safety instructor banquet and had the opportunity to meet some safety instructors.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked for anglers on area lakes and streams. She attended LEMA Honor Guard training at the Law Enforcement Memorial in St. Paul for the upcoming May 15 Law Enforcement Memorial. Speldrich received turkey-hunting questions and ATV-registration questions. A reminder to OHV riders to check the DNR website for trail closures if you are planning to ride in the state forests. Many are closed due to wet conditions.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked panfishing activity and scouted for spring fish run areas. Other agencies were assisted on several items, including a hit/run ATV incident, domestic, and felon fleeing from a burglary in progress. Starr also met with an area fire warden on a burning concern and issued another road-killed fisher permit.


District 12 - Princeton area

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports handling animal complaints and working ATV enforcement. Anglers were checked along local rivers that have opened. An investigation of geese being run over with trucks was completed and citations were given. Benkofske also presented information at a firearms safety class and a turkey clinic.


CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week following up on ATV complaints. He also worked on equipment maintenance and followed up on garbage-dumping complaints.


CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and ATV riders. Several animal complaints were handled. Musatov also attended court.


CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) patrolled WMAs, state and county parks and public accesses, and spoke at firearms safety classes. Complaints were taken on injured animals, trespass, litter and carcass dumping.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports poor weather provided an opportunity to do some aircraft maintenance, training and presentation preparation for a pilot meeting he attended. Various other administrative duties were also accomplished.


NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance and attended the quarterly pilot meeting. Safety items and spring and summer work plans were discussed. Additional equipment and training specifications for purchase were gathered for consideration.


CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a trespass case photo flight and a recon flight for abandoned/past deadline fish shelters on Lake of the Woods. The flight assisted local officers who are busy with Rainy River anglers. Jensen attended a quarterly pilot meeting and flew the final fish shelter creel flight of the year. After the rains, ice on local lakes looks a little ominous. Jensen finished renewal of his flight instructor certificate as well.


NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew an instrument training flight and attended a pilot meeting in Brainerd. Heineman also worked on administrative tasks.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week at Camp Ripley instructor n-service. Time was spent catching up on new and open cases and prepping for upcoming trainings and meetings.


WREO Mike Scott (NE) checked anglers on the North Shore chasing steelhead. He saw an average number of anglers and some fish. WCA/PW work was completed with work conducted with LGUs. A restoration order extension was granted after conferring with the LGU and responsible party as well as a deed restriction to garner compliance with RO.


WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on open cases in Pine County and met with Pine County officials. Ice anglers were checked but ice conditions are changing rapidly. Calls for service where answered during the week.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement