Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - May 21, 2019

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) received a report of gill nets located in Boulder Lake near Nevis. The nets were located and removed. They contained several dead fish including walleyes, pike, and bass. Citizens with information regarding the net placement are encouraged to call the TIP line. An investigation was started on a separate incident where a lakeshore property owner removed cattails and filled portions of a lakeshore. A citation was issued and restoration work will be required. Crappie anglers continue to catch fish and a report of people taking an overlimit was worked. Enforcement action was taken for illegal-length northern pike and an overlimit of crappies.

CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) reports checking multiple anglers and boating activity. She also checked ATVs, took nuisance-animal calls, and assisted with a vehicle off the road.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Crow Wing, Aitkin and Beltrami county lakes throughout the past week. McGowan also submitted paperwork to the county attorney’s office. Enforcement action was taken for numerous walleye overlimits and boating violations.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) spent time enforcing laws for fishing, ATV, trapping and trespassing activity. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, operating ATVs on closed trails and trespassing. Best also assisted with a drifting watercraft and issuing nuisance-wildlife permits.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing and all-terrain vehicle enforcement this past week. Guida worked an enforcement detail with other conservation officers where overlimit and extra line violations were addressed.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working anglers throughout the week with most reporting catching some trout. She also investigated a call of someone living illegally in the SRA and patrol was done for SRA violations. Time was spent monitoring AIS activity as the boating traffic picked up, and ATV traffic was also monitored. Assistance was given to a person who had to change a flat tire along the road. He also helped a local agency with a call for service. A planning meeting for Academy instruction was attended.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) traveled as part of the DNR Enforcement Honor Guard to Washington, D.C. The Honor Guard participated in a watch at the Fallen Officer Memorial after the addition of Game Warden Olaf Pearson Lofquist, whose death in 1936 had been overlooked. He was heading to the courthouse to testify in a deer poaching case on Jan. 4, 1936, when his vehicle was hit by a passenger train in Aitkin. He also worked aquatic invasive species and a complaint of dogs chasing deer. Dog and cat owners need to mindful of their pets’ whereabouts as we enter the period of newborn wild animals around us.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) spent most of the week on the water checking anglers and working invasive species regulations. Anglers reported success catching walleyes in shallow water. Sullivan made several educational contacts about boating safety equipment and operation. Enforcement action was taken for no life jackets and overlimits of walleyes.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angler activity and the boats that go with it. “First time out” boats are still being found with inadequate registration or lack of safety equipment. Verkuilen also checked turkey hunters and answered calls regarding nuisance beavers.

CO Ben Karon (Isle) spent the majority of the week on and around Mille Lacs Lake checking anglers. Boat and water safety checks were done to ensure people are safe while boating. Checks for invasive species were also done.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) worked angling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without an angling license. She also assisted local law enforcement agencies with a vehicle off the road from an intoxicated driver, and a reported domestic.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked fishing activity and boating safety enforcement. ATV activity has picked up with warmer weather. Spring trapping issues were addressed, along with a nuisance beaver complaint.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked anglers on Mille Lacs Lake during the week and weekend. Fishing remains strong with a fair number of keeper-sized walleyes seen. Assistance was given to local sheriff’s office on a house fire and the State Patrol on a traffic accident. Time was also spent on a wildland fire investigation.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) worked with a neighboring conservation officer on a complaint involving unattended fishing lines. The COs located the lines, one of which was doing a slow bob when it was first located. It continued to do so through the whole observation process as the officers waited to see if anyone would tend them. Contact with the responsible people was eventually made and they admitted to going to town to run errands while leaving the lines out. Enforcement action was taken. Kyllo also investigated several wetland complaints and assisted with a firearms safety field day in St. Cloud.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity in the area. The fishing efforts slowed down over the weekend with the inclement weather. He worked on administrative tasks related to upcoming firearms safety classes and a presentation at the high school.

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports checking anglers and boaters. Injured-wildlife calls and calls about regulations were also taken. On Saturday, he assisted with a youth hunter education firearms safety field day.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers and boaters. Enforcement action was taken for unattended lines, no boat registration, and insufficient boating safety equipment. Wetland case follow-up work was also completed.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and working boat and water safety. Anglers were finding success on some of the area lakes even with the rain and snow coming down. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, extra line, overlimit, possession of marijuana, no navigation lights after sunset, and several PFD violations.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers on area lakes and Mille Lacs during the past week. Enforcement violations consisted of no licenses, overlimits, extra lines, and keeping bass out of season. The main boating violation was not enough life jackets. Benkofske helped respond to a call of bears inside a house in Kanabec County and assisted Mille Lacs County with the apprehension of a wanted person who climbed a tree to avoid detection before being arrested.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and turkey hunters. A dumping complaint was investigated. Several animal complaints were received.


Aviation Section

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew two wetland photos flights, checked on seven wolf pups with telemetry and flew a Leech Lake creel survey.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) continued assisting with maintenance for the helicopters. He also completed administrative tasks, and began coordinating the first fish stocking with the helicopter fish stocking tank.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports finishing spring fish stocking operations in northeastern Minnesota. Jensen also assisted with angling enforcement efforts in northeast Minnesota and flew a night angler survey on Leech Lake.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week focusing on fishing and ATV activity. WCA and PW violation site visits were conducted and cases updated. Time was spent working an AIS checkpoint. Very good AIS law compliance was noted. A lien was placed on a property at the request of a hydrologist due to progress and correspondence with the landowner stalling out.

WREO Mike Scott (NE) attended Police Week in Washington, D.C., last week with the DNR Honor Guard. Honor Guard members attended the Candlelight Vigil held on the National Mall with an estimated 30,000 people in attendance. Honor Guard members stood guard on the National Law Enforcement Memorial. Officers attended the 2019 Law Enforcement Memorial services on Wednesday with an estimated 50,00 law enforcement officers and their families from around the country as well as from Canada and the United Kingdom.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked AIS enforcement throughout the week. Site visits in Pine County were conducted for WCA and PW violations. Haberman also assisted District 11 officers with a firearms safety field day in St. Cloud.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement