Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - April 16, 2019

District 4 - Walker area

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on litter complaints. He continued with investigations of deer- and beaver-carcass dumping in the Philbrook and Staples areas. Panfish anglers have been out trying their luck with mixed results, but ice conditions are very dangerous. Posner checked trappers and talked to folks scouting for turkeys. He worked with neighboring CO Tim Collette regarding ATVs tearing up road ditches and causing damage in the closed Pillsbury State Forest. Burning without a permit and during closed hours violations were reported.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked a few remaining ice anglers who were having limited success. Several reports of injured eagles were received. Assistance was provided on accident calls related to the spring snowstorm. Some case files from the fall season were completed with enforcement action taken.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Tim Collette (Brainerd) monitored seasonally closed state forests, checked trout anglers, investigated a possible illegal wetland fill, seized an accidentally caught otter, and investigated calls of someone selling venison online and of a possible poached deer.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled the station for illegal all-terrain vehicle use and sport fishing enforcement. Equipment was maintained and training was delivered to conservation officers at Camp Ripley. Guida attended a statewide meeting with staff from the DNR Commissioner’s Office.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) spent the week checking for spring fishing and ATV activity. Many forest roads and local trails are closed for quite a while yet until things dry out. Best also attended annual training for three days at Camp Ripley.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) checked late ice anglers until the April snowstorm greeted the area. After the snow, ice conditions deteriorated rapidly and the ice fishing season came to an end. Sullivan patrolled the Foothills State Forest and confirmed the forest closure regulations were being followed. Sullivan also checked watercrafts for invasive species violations as they traveled through the area.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) attended training throughout the week. McGowan also worked on case follow up from last fall. He also spent time prepping watercrafts and speaking at a firearms safety class.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, ATV and spring beaver trapping activity. A complaint of deer feeding was handled, topics were covered on the local radio station and training was attended.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) assisted with the Enforcement Division’s annual spring in-service training at Camp Ripley. He also answered many outdoor law-related questions and issued a permit for a car-killed deer.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity this week of monitoring the fish run, responding to nuisance beaver and bear issues, and attending annual training at Camp Ripley.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked at Camp Ripley as a use of force instructor for annual officer training. During her travels, she observed a large amount of black smoke and investigated the source. She discovered a new homeowner burning some items discarded from cleaning out his new home, including a couch. The flame was quickly extinguished and revealed several prohibited items being burned.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) monitored ATV traffic and beaver trappers this past week. Lots of migratory waterfowl are in the area waiting for the snow to melt. He also assisted with armoring at annual training.

CO Ben Karon (Isle) spent the week checking for trapping activity. Time was spent patrolling for ATV use. The week was finished up helping at an ATV safety class.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time monitoring area lakes, rivers, and forest roads. She issued a wildlife possession permit for a bobcat that was hit by a vehicle. Violations that were encountered this past week included burning of prohibited materials and littering.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) attended in-service training at Camp Ripley. She patrolled the Nemadji State Forest for operation of vehicles during spring closure and found good compliance. She also checked shore anglers.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) attended yearly training at Camp Ripley and issued a bobcat roadkill permit. Weather hampered outdoor activities and mud is preventing safe travel on back roads. ATV riders are reminded that damage to trails looks bad and brings a bad name to the sport of ATV riding.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) responded to a large grass fire. Plumes of black smoke were easily visible approximately 14 miles from the fire’s location and visibility on a nearby road was almost completely obscured due to the smoke. No residences or livestock were damaged. Kyllo also spent time investigating a litter complaint, working ATV enforcement, and checking anglers.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week assisting with in-service training at Camp Ripley. A waterfowl-hunting complaint was received regarding an individual who had taken a goose out of season. Time was also spent preparing for an upcoming online field day being held in the district. A fire was also investigated, with violations being found.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) received calls concerning beavers doing damage and a request for a trapper. He took a call concerning shed hunting and trespass as well as possession of a big animal without a permit. He attended a Let’s Go Fishing program for elementary students.

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports checking rivers and area steams for angling and fish-spawning activity. Over the weekend, steam trout anglers and ATVs were. Rezac also fielded calls about turkey regulations and nuisance-animal issues.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week at annual training at Camp Ripley. He handled calls about nuisance and sick animals. Time was also spent preparing equipment for the upcoming open-water season.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) worked ATV enforcement, checked beaver trappers, and patrolled local WMAs. Complaints were taken about litter and wetland violations. She attended a firearms safety class.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week working angling activity. He also followed up on ATV complaints and attended Division training.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and snowmobilers. Animal complaints were handled. Follow up was done on a big-game case.

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports working ATV enforcement and fishing activity over the past week. A number of fire calls were worked and he helped a neighboring officer with a large field fire in Morrison County. A calf-depredation-from-wolves case was also investigated along with a federal trapper.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Christopher Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports moving an aircraft to Brainerd for maintenance, flying a prescribed burn pre-burn assessment flight with U.S. Forest Service personnel as well as flying a training flight. The majority of the week was dedicated to training while attending mandatory in-service training at Camp Ripley.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on annual training classes. The return of winter weather kept a maintenance flight in a helicopter from being completed. Vehicle maintenance was attended to as well.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a wolf pack telemetry count and a training flight.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying WCA photo flights and wolf telemetry. Jensen took an aircraft to maintenance and performed the season’s last ski landings with the latest snowfall.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on upcoming trainings, open cases, and in-service at Camp Ripley. Time was spent answering calls regarding fishing and the fish run. An injured deer was dispatched and removed from an area lake. Nuisance-animal calls are starting to come in.

Mike Scott (NE) attended in-service training at Camp Ripley this past week. Scott assisted other Division armorers with armoring handguns. Scott worked with the local SWCD on WCA cases. He closed out one and organized others. Scott worked with other COs on the Rainy River checking boaters and anglers fishing for walleyes and sturgeon. Fishing this year is catch-and-release only. Anglers were happy about the clear, warm weather but the turbid water was hampered fishing success.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on wetland cases in Pine County and public water cases in Crow Wing County. TFO duties were conducted for wetland cases in Districts 11 and 12. Nuisance-animal calls were addressed.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement