District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) A Class 2 ATV operator was cited for reckless operation when he came off the forest road and proceeded to spin donuts on the blacktop county road on the centerline with traffic coming. When stopped, the operator stated he just couldn’t help himself after such a good day of riding.

Best worked a busy week talking with lots of people recreating outdoors over MEA break. Enforcement action was taken for kids on ATVs without helmets, operating OHMs in non-motorized areas, allowing a juvenile under age 10 to operate an ATV on public lands, hunting with firearms in a game refuge, blaze orange violations, operating an OHM in the road right-of-way and registration issues.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) responded to a call of a bear and two cubs that were planning to winter under a deck. Sullivan was able to encourage the bears to move along. Sullivan also worked activity associated with the youth and early antlerless firearms seasons. Most deer-hunting issues were related to trespassing, illegal stands and no blaze orange/pink.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked deer hunting, sport fishing, and on a background investigation this week. An illegal dumping of deer carcasses within the road right-of-way is being investigated. Guida checked archery deer hunters and youth hunters during the youth firearms deer season. Enforcement action was taken for failing to immediately validate a site tag and hunting deer without a valid license.

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CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) spent time working fall angers, youth deer hunting, grouse hunting, and a deer-baiting case. ATV activity is also still busy in the area.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked youth deer hunters enjoying the season. The parents were glad for the opportunity to get the kids out and try for their deer. At the same time, the early antlerless season was popular, too. The cold weather has brought fresh ducks down to the lakes and hunters have been having good luck finding birds.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked small-game, waterfowl-hunting, deer-hunting, and sport fishing activity this past week. Youth hunters participating in the youth firearms deer season were checked. Enforcement action was taken for taking an overlimit of deer and ATV and license violations. Questions were fielded regarding ATV use in state forests and trespassing.

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity where a fall crappie bite was observed on several lakes. The youth deer season generated concerns from people not anticipating rifles and orange in the woods yet. Verkuilen also looked into suspicious dead deer and assisted with a highway crash.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked small game, archery deer, and the youth firearms deer season. Fall anglers were checked throughout the week. Griffith also gave the laws and ethics talk at a firearms safety class.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for ATV activity, small game, deer archery, and the youth firearms deer hunt. Enforcement action was taken for youth operating ATVs without lights, as well as wanton waste. She also assisted the Aitkin County Sherriff’s Office with the search for a lost hunter.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) took calls of feeding deer in a CWD monitoring area. She also received a nuisance-beaver complaint and gave the landowner technical advice. Speldrich responded to a call on state-owned public property where someone had posted No Trespassing signs. Other calls were answered regarding the youth early deer hunting season and WMA rules.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) checked multiple waterfowl hunters, with very poor success found. The early antlerless deer season and youth season were also monitored, with registration violations found. A youth deer hunter mistook a gray wolf for a coyote and killed it. An accidental river otter was also killed in a nuisance-beaver trapping site. Enforcement action was also taken for solid waste litter.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) checked duck hunters and also found a lot of pheasant-hunting activity. Trespassing complaints were handled, along with a large number of calls and questions about the youth deer season. There seemed to be an increase in popularity and participation in the early youth deer season in comparison to prior years. A lot of kids used the MEA school break to go deer hunting.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked small-game and youth firearms deer hunters.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling and waterfowl hunting on area lakes. He received complaints of deer shining and questions regarding CWD. Shining activity was worked.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working deer hunters and duck hunters, and following up on some bear-hunting cases. Not many hunters were seen throughout the week, and the ones who were seen did not have much luck. Some youth hunters were successful over the weekend getting their deer. Enforcement action for the week included WMA violations, trespassing on a wildlife sanctuary, and not having a hunting license in possession.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted with a trespass case, worked deer hunters and handled calls of late shots and hunter harassment.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity. Complaints of possible illegal activity in area WMAs were investigated. The youth deer season was worked. Patrol was conducted for shinning activity. ATV and off-road vehicle activity was worked. Lakes were monitored for angling activity.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) worked hunting and angling around the area. Enforcement action was take for a crappie overlimit and a big-game violation.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for small-game, big-game and recreational vehicle activity. He saw a few successful youth hunters during the youth firearms deer hunt this weekend. Baum took enforcement action for various ATV-related violations.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) checked multiple hunters and ATV riders throughout the week. Youth deer hunters were checked and some were successful in harvesting their first deer over the weekend. A crappie-overlimit case was also worked.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked the youth/early antlerless deer seasons as well as fishing activities. Many people are getting ready for the upcoming deer season. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, allowing illegal youth operation and PFD-related violations. Illegal possession of a big-game animal, excavations in a public water and wetland violations were also investigated.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked deer hunting, small-game hunting, and fall angling. Cross saw a successful youth deer hunt and lots of excited new hunters in the field. The success rate was pretty high with the recent colder weather and increased deer movement. There was lots of activity with all the fall hunting seasons in full swing. Cross reminds archery hunters and trappers in the field that blaze orange clothing must be worn during open firearms deer seasons.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked waterfowl hunting and fishing activity throughout the week. Waterfowl hunters are reporting slow success. Enforcement action was taken for numerous waterfowl-hunting and angling violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked hunting activity. The forests were busy with activity during the busy MEA weekend. Several youth were out hunting for deer, grouse, or ducks. One duck-hunting group had to be assisted getting unstuck from thick muck on the shore of Leech Lake. Mathy also worked on a fishing investigation and taught at a firearms safety class.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) monitored grouse-, waterfowl-, and deer-hunting activities while also conducting ATV enforcement. Numerous hunting related complaints were received and investigated over the weekend as well as complaints on illegal ATV operation. A possession permit was issued for a roadkill moose and enforcement action was taken for several youth ATV helmet violations and ATV registration issues.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, big-game hunters, small-game hunters, boaters, and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked hunters, investigated baiting complaints, worked a detail and assisted the county with a suspicious-activity call. Youth hunter success was good this weekend. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, illegal OHV operation and trespassing.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked waterfowl activity over the past week with limited success had by hunters in the area. Northern flights are starting to come down, but not in big numbers. Enforcement action was taken for not having a small-game license and operating an unregistered ATV.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spoke with several hunting parties who were headed to the woods to scout and hang stands in preparation for the upcoming firearms deer season. Violations addressed included transporting a loaded firearm and shooting from a motor vehicle.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked waterfowl hunters and took several calls about trespassing and complaints of waterfowl hunters shooting towards buildings. Westby worked the youth early deer season and early antlerless deer season in the area, with most hunters seeing many deer. Westby would like to remind all hunters to check over their license before they go out to make sure they have the proper tags for the area they plan to hunt.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked waterfowl hunters and youth deer hunters during the early season this past weekend. It was great to see that a good number of youth hunters were successful.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked youth hunting and the early antlerless deer season. He also took calls concerning upcoming hunting seasons and completed annual training.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports a busy early antlerless season. Enforcement action was taken for untagged deer, lending and borrowing a deer license, taking a legal buck instead of an antlerless deer, and leaving stands in a WMA. A cease and desist order was also issued to stop work on a wetland violation.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled his area for small-game and youth hunting. A lot of youth were out taking advantage of the early deer season. Hanna followed up on a shooting-from-the-roadway complaint.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking waterfowl hunters and small-game hunters. He also spent time checking youth deer hunters. Krauel also spent time following up on a hunter who shot a turkey vulture. When he realized someone saw him doing it, he took off running into the woods. The witnesses called it in and Krauel was able to find the shooter walking out of the woods an hour later.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports completing helicopter training, flying a waterfowl survey, assisting MNDOT Aviation with seaplane base inspections and flying a deer-shining detail. Two potential waters violations were forwarded to local officers for review.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed a training flight with a pilot in a helicopter and did administrative tasks.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on a background for the upcoming Academy. Haberman also checked anglers, with one angler having an extra line on a trout lake. Cases were worked on in his assigned area.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement