District 4 - Walker area
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked deer-hunting enforcement this past week. The nice weather brought out large numbers of hunters. Folks who hunted in wooded areas seemed to do better. Violations observed were trespass, untagged deer and shooting from a road. He also checked anglers. Muskie anglers on Lake Alexander report being cold but having fair success catching muskies. He received complaints of people dumping a deer carcass, baiting and shooting before and after legal shooting hours.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) primarily focused on enforcement around big-game hunting activities including off-highway vehicle use and forestry enforcement. Fewer hunters were contacted during the week than opening weekend. Violations investigated during the week included hunting over bait, trespassing, hunting without a license, shooting at big game from the roadway, no license in possession, erecting a structure on a WMA, ATV use outside legal hours, and prohibited persons possessing firearms.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking multiple deer hunters throughout the past week. With the cooler weather, the deer have been moving around more than opening weekend. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, failure to have a hunting license in personal possession and transporting a loaded firearm. Kunst also received multiple phone calls in regards to dogs chasing deer in the Remer area.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked deer hunters in the area. The deer harvest seems to be lower than prior years. Mathy received complaints of deer feeding ban violations, ATV use in a WMA, and a couple road-hunting complaints. Enforcement action was taken for failing to validate a deer site tag, feeding ban violations, and ATV violations.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO (Conservation Officer) Tom Hutchins (Crookston) spent most of the past week checking firearms deer hunters. Various deer-hunter-related complaints were handled. Many deer were checked throughout the week. Violations encountered included hunting over bait, shooting at big game from the roadway, illegal transport of a big-game animal, transporting loaded guns in motor vehicles, and various license-related violations.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) investigated hunter-harassment and trespassing complaints.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked deer-hunting activity throughout the week. Several calls of individuals hunting on the Bemidji Game Refuge with firearms were taken. Individuals are reminded to check where they are hunting and not use hunting apps to determine if areas are open to hunting as they do not show state game refuges in the area. Calls of baiting and shooting big game from the roadway were taken. Shining activity was worked.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) spent the past week field training COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Vincent Brown in the final step of the field training process. Brown and Vinton spent the week focusing on deer-hunting enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for leaving deer stands in a wildlife management area overnight. Enforcement action was also taken for failure to validate deer licenses and failure to register deer. COs report mixed success among deer hunters and have been seeing large flocks of geese and ducks arriving in the area.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week working a busy rifle deer season in the Becker County area. Several trespassing complaints were handled and most were easily resolved. Swedberg also assisted Becker County and the Detroit Lakes Police Department with several calls throughout the week. Area deer harvest numbers seem to be low, but overall many groups had some success.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked various calls including complaints of baiting, trespassing and shooting from the road. Charges are pending for all three, and two rifles and one large buck were seized. Overall, deer were active in the start of the rifle season but slowed as the season progressed.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working the firearms deer season. Hunter participation was good. The harvest appeared to be down. Enforcement action was taken for shooting from a motor vehicle, trespassing, transporting a loaded firearm and hunting in a scientific and natural area.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent the past week working deer-hunting activity with hunters reporting poor success. Assistance was given to the Becker County Sheriff’s Office with a search for a lost hunter. Complaints of trespass and illegal ATV use in a WMA were investigated. Warren assisted the Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office with a search. A car-vs.-moose call was received. Unfortunately, due to its injuries the moose was euthanized.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week working deer-hunting activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Most hunters reported seeing more deer than the previous year and were happy with the opportunities they had. Calls from the public included property boundary disputes, trespassing complaints, license questions, and questions about injured deer retrieval. Landmark and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer conducted an investigation that resulted in multiple deer-hunting violations, including shooting from a roadway and an overlimit of deer. A trespassing complaint was also investigated and it was found that the hunter shot from the road. The deer and the hunter’s firearm were seized and he was issued a citation for the violation. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of deer-hunting violations including trespass, shooting from the roadway, deer overlimit, failure to register deer, and lending and borrowing licenses.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) took complaints of trespassing throughout the past week. Deer hunters had a mixed week, with few deer seen on the weekend but good numbers on the weekdays. Dumped deer carcasses on the roadside was seen too frequently.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) stayed busy this past week continuing to work deer-season cases. Ladd had several contacts involving loaded firearms in motor vehicles, untagged deer, tags not validated, trespass and shooting from roadways. She worked several baiting cases. Ladd fielded several questions and, like every deer season in Aitkin County, is investigating a wetland violation.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) took enforcement action this past week for trapping issues, transporting loaded guns, baited stands, hunter harassment, trespass, operating motor vehicles on closed trails, and timber theft. Hunter success was slow to start during the warmer days, and has since picked up with the change in weather.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked the busy firearms deer season. Numerous hunters were contacted. They were having varying success. One hunter in the moments before sunset was able to take three deer out of one herd. The hunter told Guida the moment of the harvest “got pretty wild.” Guida interviewed a suspect in a shooting from the roadway/trespass complaint where a rifle and a fawn that was shot were seized in the violation. The poacher faces substantial fines, forfeiture of equipment, and loss of hunting privileges if convicted. Numerous other enforcement actions were taken over the past week.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked firearms deer-hunting activity. Three incidents of shooting from the roadway are being investigated.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked a busy second weekend of the firearms deer season, and time was spent checking late-season waterfowl hunters. Deer hunters are reporting decent success throughout Cass and Crow Wing counties. Enforcement action was taken for numerous deer- and waterfowl-hunting violations.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking deer hunters throughout the week and weekend. Calls of trespassing, illegal recreational vehicle activity, and dumped deer carcasses were fielded. He checked the state recreation area for illegal vehicle activity and also for park passes. Many outdoor law-related questions were fielded during the week and stands left in the SRA overnight were investigated.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) started Step 4 of field training COC Brown. They saw a quieter weekend of deer hunting this past weekend. Enforcement actions included possession of marijuana, not registering deer within the 48-hour timeframe, transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, and ATV illegal operation.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked deer-hunting activity, including trespassing issues, baited areas, and illegal access on public lands. After last weekend’s thaw, waterfowl hunters were back to dealing with thin ice and slush. Some small-game hunters were checked and they appreciated the snow cover, lack of leaves and moderate temperatures.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked firearms deer hunters and small-game hunters throughout the week and weekend. Violations encountered included failing to properly tag a big-game animal, operating ATVs during closed hours, and no small-game license in possession. Speldrich assisted the county with a disturbance call and a property damage accident. Hunter-harassment, trespassing, and baiting complaints were taken and investigations are being conducted.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked deer-hunting activities and found overall compliance good. Deer were moving mostly at night. An overlimit of buck deer was found, along with illegal party hunting. ATV operation during closed hours and expired ATV registration were also found. Starr would like to remind hunters to register their animals within the law requirements, as lack of registration seems to be an ongoing problem.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) primarily worked firearms deer-hunting activity this past week. Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms, juvenile ATV passengers without helmets on, operating an ATV during restricted hours, failure to register deer, directing/allowing a juvenile to violate game and fish laws, and hunting deer without a license. Calls were fielded regarding ATV/snowmobile use during the firearms deer season and aging a bear.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week checking deer hunters throughout the station. COC Zach Larson returned for his final phase of field training. Deer-hunting violations were addressed during the last weekend of the season. Trespassing, hunter harassment, lend and borrow and failure to register were among the many issues handled. One hunter was arrested for DWI after being found behind the wheel at over three times the legal limit.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on follow up from deer season calls of concern. There were mostly trespassing concerns this year but also some non-fish-and-game violations were found. He found a lot of hunters doing well once the weather cooled.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) focused on investigating TIP calls and calls from the public related to the firearms deer season. There was a decline in hunters afield this past week but many reported having a successful hunt.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) continued with a busy deer season this past week. Enforcement action was taken for lending/borrowing a license, failure to validate a tag, failure to register deer, and transporting loaded firearms. Several trespass calls were handled.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) worked the firearms deer season and responded to numerous hunting related complaints. Enforcement action was taken for lend/borrow, illegal party hunting, hunting without a license, failure to register deer, failure to validate site tags, and dogs chasing deer.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking deer hunters and investigating calls. Enforcement action was taken for untagged deer, transporting loaded firearms, illegal party hunting, and hunting deer without a license. CO Starr and Benkofske observed an individual shoot an overlimit of bucks and then wait in his tree stand for an acquaintance to show up from his house to unlawfully tag it.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking deer hunters. Hunters were finding moderate success with the fresh snow and cooler weather. Krauel also assisted local law enforcement with a foot pursuit.
Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew more bait flights, checked for illegal use of ATVs on a scientific and natural area, and checked for tracks across a field related to a complaint of a truck being used to chase deer.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of big-game-enforcement support flights.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance planning and administrative tasks. He also attended an aviation webinar.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week focusing efforts on the firearms deer season. Time was spent assisting neighboring officers and covering open stations. WCA complaints were taken and calls held with local government units. An accident was responded to and assistance given to local law enforcement with traffic control.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) spent the past week working deer-hunting activity and assisting area officers with deer-hunting activity. Haberman also worked on cases in his assigned area.