Bear baiting, bear vs. vehicle and nuisance bears - it's that time of year - MnDNR CO Reports

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - Aug. 26, 2019


District 4 - Walker area

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The sunfish and bass have been the most productive for anglers. Some of the violations he observed this past week were no fishing license, expired registration and insufficient life-saving devices. He worked on aquatic invasive species prevention on the Crow Wing River. A complaint of ATVs causing damage in the Pillsbury forest was investigated. He also worked on a bear and wolf complaint this past week.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued work on a background investigation of a CO applicant. ATV and OHM riders were checked. Some bear baits were also checked in the area. A complaint of a landowner filling a public water was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for an unregistered OHM and a nonresident riding an OHM without a trail pass on the OHM trails.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) assisted with recreational vehicle enforcement training at the DNR Conservation Academy. Guida assisted with the donation of a car-injured black bear to a person who wanted it. Station angling activity was also monitored.


CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked bear-baiting, ricing and ATV activity. Angling and invasive species were also worked. Assistance was given to the State Patrol with a motorcycle accident.

CO Tim Collette (Brainerd West) followed up on a public waters violation, addressed several weed roller and aquatic blower violations, checked bear-baiting activity, assisted the county with a physical domestic situation in a state forest, and investigated a report of feral hogs.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) assisted with Academy training at Camp Ripley for ATV enforcement week. She also handled nuisance-bear problems and checked several people harvesting wild rice on area lakes and rivers.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) patrolled the Foot Hills State Forest ATV trails and completed background investigations. Illegal road right-of-way operation was the most common violation observed.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports assisting with teaching at ATV week at the Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley. Cadets learned operating and enforcement techniques. He spent time patrolling the SRA for park violations and also for illegal ATV and vehicle activity. Time was also spent checking boaters and anglers and also checking for AIS violations. Fitzgerald also assisted a local agency with a call for service.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) assisted with training at the Conservation Officer Academy. The new officers learned about emergency vehicle operations throughout the week.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity as cooler weather starting slowing down water recreation. Aquatic vegetation remains lush. He also followed up on some lakeshore-related complaints and monitored bear-hunter activity.


CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) followed up on nuisance-bear issues. Whiteoak spent time teaching hunting regulations and hunting safety at a local firearms safety class. She also assisted controlling traffic following a motorcycle crash.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) responded to a call of an injured bald eagle. The reporting party witnessed the eagle get hit by a car. The eagle died en route to the Raptor Center. Speldrich patrolled state lands for bear-bait compliance. Several were found and a few were unregistered. ATV riders were reminded to operate with their headlights on. Speldrich also followed up on ongoing Wetland Conservation Act violations.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) had a busy bear week, with a nuisance bear shot, a cub up a tree by a house, and two other depredation complaints. Bear hunters are reporting that baits are getting hit hard by multiple bears. A wetland resource protection order was issued and enforcement action was taken for transporting aquatic vegetation on watercraft/trailer.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) checked an individual fishing. During the contact, a second pole was observed completely submerged in the water. The individual admitted that both lines were his. The individual’s buddy was fishing farther upstream with two lines as well. Enforcement action was taken. Kyllo also took the TIP trailer to Pierz Oktoberfest.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking anglers on area lakes. Assistance was provided to the State Patrol with a call on Interstate 94. He worked boat and water activity on an area lake. High winds kept activity limited but many people were still seen out enjoying the water.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on preparing for a firearms safety class. He also prepared for upcoming hunting seasons and received calls concerning those seasons. VanderWeyst worked with a neighboring officer on a fishing TIP call.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) observed a plume of black smoke coming from a building site. When Bertram arrived, he found a large fire containing mattresses, wiring, a plastic picnic table, and many others things that shouldn’t be burned. Enforcement action was taken.


District 12 - Princeton area

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers and enforcing ATV safety. A case of individuals selling fish was investigated, leading to a search warrant. A trapping education class was also attended.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers and boaters on local lakes and rivers, patrolled state and county lands, and took complaints about ATVs and trespass. Londgren also worked with other officers on an ongoing case, and local government units on potential wetland/public waters violations.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week assisting at the Conservation Officer Academy. New officers were learning skills with ATVs and vehicle stops. Krauel also spent time assisting a neighboring officer investigate illegal sales of fish and game and also assisted with a search warrant on a property.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) spoke at a youth firearms safety class. An AIS complaint was received and investigated. Boaters and anglers were checked and an animal-related complaint was handled.

Aviation Section

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) finished the last of the helicopter spraying of hybrid cattail on state wildlife management lands. The last plot was also a demonstration for members of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and a member of the Legislature, which provides funding for the project. They came to ask questions and see the equipment being used to complete the work. They watched as the crew completed spraying of the last plot. The aircraft will be cleaned and spray-equipment removal has begun.

NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew a day of the northeast wild rice lake survey and wolf telemetry. Heineman took his annual low-level check ride and also gave training to a CO pilot.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports work continues on a background investigation. Jensen gave instruction to another CO pilot, assisted Pine County with a call of missing canoeists on the St. Croix River, gave a station familiarization flight to a field officer and flew in support of wild rice enforcement efforts.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week out of state on a background investigation for the current hiring process.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) trained Academy cadets in EVOC and ATV operation at the Academy during the week. Haberman also worked on cases in his assigned area.

WREO Leah Weyandt (Central) attended a day of site visits in Isanti County. Several wetland violations are nearly completely back into compliance but needed some fill removed and erosion control in place. A site visit was also conducted in Todd County where a farmer has placed drain tile that is draining a public-water wetland.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement

I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with numerous job titles since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently as Digital Editor. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work these 30+ years. I was present and worked on the our web page when our original website first went live on April 26, 1994.
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