District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Jim Guida (Brainerd East) Deer-hunting activity has picked up and hunters are reminded to purchase correct licenses and not risk hunting privileges and forfeitures by hunting over a baited area.

Guida worked waterfowl-hunting enforcement and big-game hunting enforcement this week. The Central Zone was closed for duck hunting and was monitored for activity. Compliance was good.

CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) continued to stay busy with several trespass-related questions and complaints in the area. Ladd worked a couple of deer-bait complaints and continued work on a background investigation for the next CO Academy.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked fall hunting, fishing and ATV activity this week. Enforcement action was taken for no helmets on juveniles, registration issues, transporting loaded firearms and staying longer than allowed in the forest. Assistance was also provided with an ATV crash with injuries.

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CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking duck and small-game hunters in the area. Warmer weather has not pushed duck migrations from farther-north areas yet. Enforcement action was taken for no small-game license, no PFDs, lead shot while waterfowl hunting, and unplugged shotguns.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) attended a community outreach event called Touch a Truck. Large trucks and heavy equipment from around the Brainerd lakes area were on display. Community members who attended were educated on how the equipment is used and had conversations with equipment operators. Sullivan also worked big-game violations that included trespassing and unregistered deer.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked anglers on area lakes. Fish seem to be biting well. Duck hunters checked seemed to have less success. The warm weather is not bringing any new birds lately. Flerage investigated a call about a dead swan.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) handled multiple calls and addressed various questions and concerns from the public.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking calls of off-highway motorcycles running on county highways and in the ditches. He also answered questions related to the archery deer season and trespassing. Vinton also continued work on a CO Prep background investigation.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for hunting and recreational vehicle activity. He assisted local law enforcement with the search for and apprehension of a person. Baum assisted the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office with an ATV accident. He continues to investigate a big-game violation. He assisted with an ATV class in Park Rapids and certified 13 youth riders.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked hunting and angling activity. Enforcement was taken for a fishing overlimit.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked area lakes for angling and boating activity. Anglers are reporting mixed success. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling violations.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) conducted training, answered numerous questions, and performed equipment maintenance. Outdoor activities were monitored and an increase has been seen in hunting participation as fall continues. As we enter into the last week of the bear season, hunters are reminded to clean up bait stations and leave the woods as you found them once you are done hunting.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) worked small-game, ATV, and big-game enforcement. Large numbers of hunters in the area report small numbers of grouse and woodcock being taken. Enforcement action was taken for numerous ATV-registration violations, allowing illegal operation of a side-by-side by a child, grouse hunting with no small-game license, grouse hunting with no small-game licenses in possession, and transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles. Questions related to small-game hunting were answered and miscellaneous hunting complaints were taken.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers and investigated complaints of litter, wanton waste, trespass and hunting after hours this week. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also taught the laws and ethics portion of a firearm safety class. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and transporting a loaded firearm.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked duck-hunting activity with a lull in the area action. It seems local birds have gone south and there hasn’t been any weather to bring ducks down from Canada. Enforcement action was taken on an individual who dumped a large amount of construction debris on private property. A citation was issued and the party cleaned up the pile.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) noticed varying success rates among area grouse and woodcock hunters. Hunters who were willing to walk and get off the main trail had better luck than those who stuck to the trail. Panfish anglers had some luck as the crappies moved off the weed beds and started to group up in deeper water.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity. Warmer-than-average weather resulted in a lot of anglers and dock removal. Leaves are starting to come off the trees, helping small-game hunters. Verkuilen also checked ATV traffic, issued nuisance-animal permits, and assisted with an arrest in a neighboring station.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored archery, small-game and waterfowl hunters, ATV riders and anglers throughout the week. Several of the anglers checked on Mille Lacs Lake stated the the fishing success has been slow. The Red Top and Solana Loop ATV trails remained busy through the weekend. Griffith would like to remind riders to stay on the designated trail. Assistance was given during the week with a search for a missing person. Time was spent through the week fielding calls on waterfowl hunting and the upcoming firearms deer season.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked on a background investigation for the CO Prep program. She received injured-animal complaints and questions about the upcoming youth hunt.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on two separate wolf-kill investigations where beef calves have been killed. Small-game and archery hunting activities were checked, as well as some shining work from problem areas. A wetland fill case was also worked on.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) reports working small-game, big-game, sport fishing, and ATV/OHM enforcement this past week. Time was spent assisting the Pine County Sheriff’s Office with a search. Time was also spent completing annual training. Calls were fielded regarding trapping, aquatic vegetation, and wetlands.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes for boating and fishing activity. Westby took calls about trespassing complaints and general DNR-related information. He worked the Spider Lake ATV Park over the weekend. He also located several small-game hunters and assisted at an ATV crash within the park.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) continue to monitor ATV and hunting activities in the station. He investigated a wetland-violation complaint, issued a permit for a black bear that was hit by a car, and arrested an individual for DWI.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked waterfowl enforcement this week with a focus on hunters out during the closed season. He is seeing fishing activity improving as well.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking hunters and anglers. A trespass call was handled where a person entered a neighbor’s property and closed a drainage ditch. A deer-shining complaint area was worked.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking small-game hunters and checking anglers. Krauel also checked migratory waterfowl hunters and patrolled for ATV activities. Enforcement action was taken for possession of marijuana, fishing with an extra line, and illegal transportation of migratory waterfowl.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a waterfowl survey flight and assisting with a search for a missing person in east-central Minnesota. Jensen also spoke to the Brainerd High School aviation class. Various wetland and waters potential violations were found and forwarded to local officers for follow up.

NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed trout stocking by helicopter in lakes north of Grand Marais. He also worked on helicopter maintenance, and attended an aviation webinar.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) completed required online training. He worked on training curriculums and training presentations.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases and following up on calls and complaints. Time was spent checking small-game hunters and waterfowl hunters. AIS compliance was checked at area public access. Equipment was maintained.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) continued working on a background for the 2022 CO Academy. Cases were checked and a firearms safety field day was attended.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement

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