District 9 - Brainerd area
CO (Conservation Officer) Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked with COC (Conservation Officer Candidate)Stephen Westby this past week. An archery deer hunter, hunting with a permitted crossbow, was checked afield hunting over a baited area. The hunter had a crossbow and a handgun seized for this violation. The hunter faces a one-year license revocation from the date of conviction, a hefty fine, and forfeiture of firearm/archery equipment used in the violation.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) investigated a shoreline-alteration violation on Gull Lake. He also worked waterfowl hunters and enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm. Deer-hunting activity was high this past week with several archery hunters in the area and other hunters getting prepared for the firearms deer opener.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked waterfowl and big-game hunters throughout the past week. Waterfowl hunters are finding icy conditions and numerous small lakes are frozen over. Enforcement action was taken for numerous waterfowl-hunting violations.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) answered calls about trespassing and deer baiting and issued permits for car-killed deer. There are lots of ducks in the area. The warm weather has kept water open for duck hunters. Bowhunters have been in the field and seeing good deer movement.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked various enforcement types this past week, including small-game and archery deer hunters, who saw very limited successes. Waterfowl-hunter and trapping checks were also conducted. Baiting and trespassing cases remain under investigation.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, waterfowl, grouse and archery activity. A timber-trespass complaint was worked and an injured swan was captured and brought in for rehab.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) prepped for the upcoming deer season. Waterfowl hunters were monitored and a trespassing issue was addressed. He also completed training, assisted with the DNR auction, and issued road-kill tags.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on a potential archery hunting over bait TIP complaint. Speldrich attended a TEP meeting for ongoing wetland and public waters issues. Several questions regarding the upcoming firearms season were answered. Please remember that all recreational vehicle riding in state forests is closed during the firearms deer season and will be enforced. Speldrich investigated a trespass case and assisted the county with a water rescue for a family of five on a local lake.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on shining complaints and issued several permits for deer hit by vehicles. Trapping activity appears to be down as fur prices are very low. Fall anglers were checked, with some walleyes being caught from shore. Assistance was given to a novice motorist who blew out a truck tire and was driving on the rim.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) took complaints of feeding deer in areas with CWD restrictions, poaching deer at night, and other illegal taking of deer. One suspect was interviewed about a poached deer and initially denied any wrongdoing. After explaining strong evidence, which included the finding of a dead deer and a blood trail that led to the suspect’s back porch, the poacher finally admitted to shooting a deer over bait, from the porch, and with no license.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked small-game, big-game, and waterfowl-hunting activity this past week. Calls regarding stolen hunting stands, feral pigs, wolves, and trespassing were taken.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking archery deer hunters and small-game hunters this past week. Time was also spent contacting waterfowl hunters and answering hunting related questions. Various big-game and duck-hunting related violations were encountered.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) prepared for firearms deer season and checked small-game hunters.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) spent time checking waterfowl and grouse hunters. Time was spent preparing for the upcoming firearms deer season. Area forest roads and ATV trails were patrolled.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports warmer weather has melted much of the snow and many of the lakes are reopening after freezing with light ice. Several car-killed deer permits were issued for deer struck by cars. Drivers are reminded that over the next few weeks, deer will be moving as bucks start seeking does. Vinton assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office with the rescue of three duck hunters who lost power in their trolling motor battery and became stuck in wild rice and ice. Before the officers could reach the hunters, another hunter contacted Vinton and advised he was hunting close to the group and offered to tow them to the launch. The hunters were uninjured and very thankful for all involved. Hunting this time of year requires more preparation than when temperatures and conditions are milder. Those who venture out should be prepared and have a plan if they get into trouble.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week working on ongoing cases and preparing for the upcoming firearms deer season. There are still plenty of ducks in the area and area hunters are finding bluebills, ring necks, and some buffleheads.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted with a search warrant, checked waterfowl hunters and followed up on a shooting from the roadway complaint.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working deer-hunting and small-game enforcement. Time was also spent speaking to a group of Royal Rangers with the River Valley Church in Moorhead on what a career as a conservation officer is like.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity. Colder weather has most of the smaller ponds frozen over and, as a result, there’s less hunting activity. Area forest trails were worked for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. WMAs and WPAs were monitored for activity. Complaints of possible trespass and illegal activity on a WMA were received, with investigations ongoing. Area lakes were monitored for angling activity.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week checking deer- and duck-hunting activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Late-season divers frequented area lakes and those hunters searching for a late-season duck hunt were rewarded with some good success on scaup, redheads, canvasbacks and buffleheads. An overlimit of scaup was discovered among hunters who did not identify the birds prior to shooting and waited to retrieve them until after the morning activity subsided. Waterfowl hunters are reminded that party hunting is illegal for waterfowl and that it is their responsibility to identify waterfowl prior to shooting. Calls from the public included trespassing complaints, questions about duck hunting, questions about the upcoming deer season, and nuisance-beaver complaints. Enforcement action was taken for illegal party hunting of waterfowl, an overlimit of scaup, hunting within a state park, insufficient life-saving devices, unsigned federal stamp, and hunting without licenses in possession.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked big-game, migratory waterfowl, small-game and trapping enforcement during the past week. Several waterfowl hunters and archery hunters were checked and several trappers were out even though fur prices are at historically low levels. The deer are on the move with numerous car-killed deer permits being issued during the week. Several complaints were received regarding violations of the feed/attractant ban in Hubbard and Wadena counties.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) and a conservation officer candidate patrolled for small-game and archery hunters and trappers. Mathy responded to a call of waterfowl hunters stuck on Lake Placid. Mathy took possession of a bobcat that was accidently caught in a snare. He also spoke with an individual who had come across a car-killed wolf. Complaints of illegal deer stands and unattended lines were investigated.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time working big-game, waterfowl and small-game enforcement. Multiple questions were answered due to many calls coming in about the upcoming firearms deer season. Enforcement action was taken for feeding in a CWD feeding ban zone, failure to tag and validate a big-game license and transporting untagged big game.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked complaints of fish overlimits, possible baiting and trespassing. He handled vehicle maintenance and end-of-the-month administrative tasks. He answered several calls regarding the upcoming firearms deer season.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent time working the second Camp Ripley archery hunt. Hunters had great success despite the windy weather. The bucks were on the move and many nice bucks were taken, as were many does. Pheasant and duck hunters and were worked. Many car-killed deer permits were issued over the week.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports an increase in phone calls related to the firearms deer season. He also fielded trespass concerns and issued car-killed deer possession permits. He would like to remind hunters as they prepare for the upcoming firearms deer season to review the rules and regulations to ensure a safe and ethical hunt.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) and COC Curtis Simonson started the past week checking small-game hunters. Many people were out pheasant hunting during the week, but were having limited success. Enforcement action was taken for hunters hunting pheasants without a pheasant stamp. A commercial taxidermist inspection was completed. It was found the taxidermist was doing taxidermy work without a license. Enforcement action was taken for doing taxidermy work without a license. With water trapping opening Saturday, time was spent looking for water sets and making sure no one was starting early.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) checked small-game hunters and prepared for the upcoming firearms deer season. Krauel also spent time investigating a wetland complaint and working on equipment maintenance.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked hunters, anglers, and ATV riders. Time was spent working baiting and littering cases. Londgren also took calls on injured animals, dogs chasing deer, and trespassing.
CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) spent the past week checking pheasant and duck hunters. Injured-animal calls were handled and questions from the public were answered. Enforcement action was taken for trespass violations.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and hunters. Hunting complaints were investigated and animal-related calls handled. Complaints of stands left in WMAs were received.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for waterfowl hunters and archery deer hunters. Additional time was spent fielding questions on the upcoming firearms deer season. Seamans received a call from a waterfowl hunter on the Mississippi River who supposedly found a dead swan. The hunter claimed that someone upriver shot the swan and it floated by his decoys. While on the phone with the hunter, a nearby landowner called to report that a hunter just shot a swan. The waterfowl hunter who accused someone upstream of shooting the swan was now being accused of the crime. The hunter eventually admitted to shooting the swan and making up the story. He was cited for shooting a swan and his firearm was seized.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) observed an influx of diver ducks migrate into the area this past week, with bluebills, ring necks, and some canvasbacks in the bags. Enforcement action was taken for no small-game license, no federal stamps, unplugged shotgun and using lead shot.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (Mankato) flew training and deer-baiting recon flights. During inclement weather, Geving assisted ground units on big-game details.
Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) reports flying fall big-game-related flights for area officers.
NR (Natural Resources) Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf telemetry and gave annual low level wavier ride and flight review to a CO pilot. Heineman also attend a helicopter safety webinar and checked on aircraft maintenance.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of big-game-enforcement support flights and a shining-enforcement flight. Jensen also responded to a possible-missing-persons flight in the BWCA.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance and attended a three-day International Helicopter Safety Conference webinar. Safety, aeronautical, maintenance, and many other topics were covered.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week working on open cases. He also looked into and reviewed new cases. He also updated RMS entries. Time was spent working big- and small-game hunters. Equipment was dropped off at the region shop for inspections. TIP calls and complaints were taken and investigated.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area with closure of completed restoration. Time was spent checking small-game hunters, with ice hindering some waterfowl hunters. Haberman also investigated an illegal burning, with enforcement action taken.