District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked anglers, waterfowl hunters, and bear hunters over the past week. ATV enforcement was also done with many violations related to youth drivers or youth passengers. Wild rice harvesters were still out collecting rice in area lakes and rivers. Benkofske assisted with a car crash caused by alcohol near Lake Minnewawa. He also stopped a driver going 100 miles per hour in the rain near Rat Lake.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked many ATV riders over the holiday weekend. Bear hunters were checked to start off the hunting season. The new teal season was worked, with few birds seen in the bag. Bike patrol through the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area saw many people enjoying the trails.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) checked area bear baits and bear hunters. Sullivan also conducted observation during the teal and early goose seasons. During observation, Sullivan observed two hunters shoot a trumpeter swan. Hunting equipment was seized and enforcement action was taken. Other violations this week included angling without a license, extra lines and possession of a controlled substance.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spent the busy holiday weekend enforcing fishing, waterfowl and bear-hunting regulations. A three-officer detail was worked in the Foothills State Forest. Enforcement action was taken for no licenses in possession, no PFDs, registration and transfer issues, no helmets, operating OHMs and ORVs on non-designated trails, operate off-trail in a state forest, careless operation and burning during a ban. One ATV contact began when officers came around the corner on one of the Spider Lake ATV trails to see a class 1 ATV buried in a beaver pond, and a second machine’s operator attempting to attach a tow strap to remove the swamped machine. The officers assisted the pair with directions how to safely tow the stuck machine out of the pond. Both operators received enforcement action for various violations.

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CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing, all-terrain vehicle, and migratory waterfowl enforcement this week. Guida assisted the Section of Wildlife with a teal hunt observation focusing on waterfowl species identification, flock surveys and bag limits. Teal and goose hunters were checked and some had forgotten small-game licenses and to unload their shotguns prior to motoring to their next location. Numerous wild rice harvesters were checked with decent picks.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending training in St. Paul. Time was also spent checking waterfowl hunters, anglers and watercraft operators. Work continues on various wetland- and public water-related complaints.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked the bear, teal and early goose openers. Area lakes and ATV trails were patrolled. He responded to a call of an individual being shot.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports providing security for the Greenwood Fire complex near Isabella. Rain and cooler weather made conditions better for those fighting the fire. The early teal season saw lots of hunters taking advantage of the early duck-hunting opportunity, with a lot of teal being taken. Cabin owners found higher water levels on area lakes after measurable rain this week and used those conditions to pull docks, lifts and boats for the season. Vinton followed up with the area hydrologist and issued several restoration orders for work done in area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for use of a motorboat in a WMA, failure to pull boat plugs and no helmets on youth ATV riders.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) checked many hunters enjoying the early teal season. For the most part, there was good compliance with the laws, but some hunters still need to work on their species identification. Swedberg also checked ATV riders, bear hunters and anglers this week.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked the bear opener and the early teal season. The teal season participation appeared to be low. Some ricers and duck hunters reported more difficult access due to lower-than-normal water levels. Peterson also worked ATV enforcement during the weekend and followed up on a trespass case.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking angling, early teal, early goose, bear hunting, and ATV activity. Early goose hunter numbers were down and it is likely that a lack of geese in the area drove more hunters to try the early teal season. Early teal hunters in the area had some success and the average number of teal harvested was six per group. While on an ATV detail with CO Swedberg, the officers ran across an 87-year-old passenger in a side by side. She said it was the first time she had ever been on an ATV and was having a great time. Additional enforcement time was spent following up on wetland and aquatic plant violations and complaints. Calls from the public included reports of early shooting during the teal season and reports of illegal aquatic vegetation cutting.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked angling, ATV riding, bear hunting, waterfowl hunting, and the harvesting of wild rice. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV riding, and waterfowl violations.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for bear and waterfowl hunting this week. He found increased ATV activity with the recent rain and long weekend. Baum took enforcement action on various violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) has spent time on fire-related activities, as well as OHV enforcement. Numerous hunting seasons are underway. All hunters are encouraged to read the updated regulations books before venturing out as some things have changed from past seasons.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking multiple hunters over the week with the bear, early teal and early goose seasons opening. Multiple people had success with all three and violations found included failure to validate license, failure to register bear harvest and failure to register bear baits. Kunst also worked ATV riders and enforcement action was taken for various violations found throughout the busy holiday weekend.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports a quiet start to the early goose and experimental early teal-hunting seasons. A few groups were checked but there was little success. The area had an increase in ATV activity over the holiday weekend. Enforcement action consisted primarily of ATV-related violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken on various ATV and fishing violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) spent the week focusing primarily on bear-hunting activity. He also spent time on ATV enforcement and checking anglers and teal hunters. A hunter was assisted with tracking a bear that was harvested, which resulted in a successful recovery. Enforcement action was taken for youth operating ATVs without helmets, bear-bait sign/registration violations, transporting loaded firearms, illegal party hunting, using artificial lights to take wild animals, and taking a bear without a license. A bear and firearm were seized as a result of several bear-hunting violations.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked the early teal/goose opener, monitored ricing activity, checked bear hunters and assisted with a personal watercraft that washed up on shore. Lots of teal were seen in the area with a few hunters. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also provided a demonstration and searched for a possible firearm thrown during a pursuit. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, no HIP certification, taking wood ducks in a closed season and illegal bear baiting.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the early goose and teal season, with very limited success had by hunters. Enforcement action was taken for hunting without the appropriate licenses. Sutherland also worked bear opener activities with a very good success rate had by area hunters. Despite the hunter harvest looking good, Sutherland still took multiple calls of bears destroying bird feeders and garbage cans.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) talked with a lot of folks who were headed to either the woods to try their hand at bear hunting, or to the water for the early teal and goose seasons. Success for both bear hunters and waterfowl hunters was moderate. ATV activity in the area was way up with great trail conditions.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time this week checking bear hunters and early teal hunters. Angling activity and ATV activity was also monitored in the Isle and surrounding areas. The ATV trails stayed busy through the long holiday weekend. Several ATV and boat safety violations were encountered. Wetland violations were followed up on. Assistance was given to local law enforcement agencies on medical calls and an ATV crash.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating, ATV activity, waterfowl, and bear hunting. She also checked bear baits in area. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV with a loaded rifle, ATV with a youth passenger without a helmet, ATV with a youth passenger without a seat belt, ATV with expired registration, failure to transfer sale of an ATV, ATV without lights on, OHM with a youth passenger without a helmet, and OHM operating along the public road right-of-way.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked bear opener, ATV traffic, ricing, and fishing activities. Violations for loaded gun in a motor vehicle, lack of ATV registration, and license issues were also found. The early teal season found undeveloped birds, which were hard to identify. Starr also assisted local medical staff with an ATV crash.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked high-activity areas this past week. Early goose and early teal seasons opened this past weekend, which brought hunters to the fields and water. Low success was seen among the hunters who were checked. Time was also spent patrolling for bear-hunting activity. Many ATVs were contacted recreating this holiday weekend. Most common violations included illegal operation of ATVs by juveniles, operating an ATV without headlights on, failure to display current ATV registration, and illegal ATV road right-of-way operation. Enforcement action was also taken for boating violations, including insufficient PFDs for passengers on a motorboat and no Type 4 throwable device onboard a motorboat. People harvesting wild rice were also contacted and were in compliance.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spent the week checking bear baits and bear-hunting activity. Westby also worked with a local beaver trapper who was dealing with nuisance beavers in the area. Westby worked the local lakes for angling activity. The bite was very slow along the Mississippi River, but water levels had risen slightly after the past rainfall. Westby also worked the early goose and early teal seasons. He reminds hunters they need to make sure they have enough life jackets when hunting from a watercraft.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATV activity, worked AIS, and checked bear-bait stations and hunters during the early teal and goose seasons. He investigated a TIP call about shooting prior to legal shooting hours and a litter/dumping case in Mount Morris Township. Most hunters were having good luck during the early teal season. Enforcement action was taken for no small-game license, no HIP certification, no state waterfowl stamp, and no federal duck stamp.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) worked the busy holiday weekend. Many goose and teal hunters were seen out enjoying the weather. All hunters were having some success. Violations addressed included no federal duck stamp, unplugged shotgun, taking mergansers out of season, no waterfowl stamp, no personal flotation devices, and ATV and OHM violations.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking hunters and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, unplugged shotgun, extra lines, and burning tires. Goose-hunting success was slow in the area, but bear-hunting success was high. Bertram investigated a trespass complaint where the trespasser ended up being a crop insurance adjuster who the farmer requested to check on his crop.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers. He also worked a busy early teal-hunting opener. Hunters were seeing lots of ducks and were being very cautious to ensure they were not shooting illegal ducks. Krauel also worked on several bear-hunting violations and patrolled for ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for fishing after revocation, unplugged shotgun, possession of marijuana, and transporting a loaded firearm.

Aviation Section

Standby NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports flying Lake Vermilion creel surveys and tending to administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying Fisheries creel flights. Various aquatic plant management/wetland violations were found and sent to local officers. One assist with an ATV chase was given and a flight was given to the Crow Wing Sheriff’s Office to document dock ordinance violations. Assistance was given for a bear-hunting violation as well.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) had cooperative weather and was able to complete the Thief River Falls area plots for the spraying of hybrid cattail on state wildlife management areas. The crew will be moving to Roseau to complete the final plots for this year. He also worked three days of fire duty at the Brainerd tanker base, completing additional fire bucket training.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) worked on upcoming flight schedules. He flew creel flights for the Rainy Lake area, and a fire support flight was completed in the Arrowhead. Scott completed one day of a multi-day wild rice survey. He also attended to aircraft maintenance issues.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working the Greenwood Fire near Isabella. Time was also spent working on new and open cases and updating case notes.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked the early goose and teal season over the weekend. AIS and ATV enforcement were conducted. TFO duties were worked with the Aviation Unit.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement