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CO Reports: ATV Trail meant to be used by ATVs

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - September 9, 2022

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District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO (Conservation Officer) Victoria Griffith (Isle) Enforcement action was taken for various ATV violations and unregistered bear baits. Griffith stopped a car driving down an ATV trail. The driver stated that he did not notice the large, Soo Line Trail sign, but noticed the road seemed a little bumpy.

CO Griffith also spent time checking bear hunters and anglers and responding to complaints. The ATV trails were busy during the weekend. Assistance was given on an ATV accident on the Red Top Trail and at a firearms safety class.


CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) monitored lake activity over the holiday weekend. Hunters were back in the field due to several hunting openers during the past week. Verkuilen also assisted with a hunter safety class and the confiscated equipment auction.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reported checking waterfowl hunters, bear hunters, and recreational vehicle users throughout the holiday weekend. Wild Rice Days in McGregor drew a large crowd to the area. Enforcement action was taken for no federal duck stamp, unplugged shotguns, fishing without a license, expired ATV registration, driving with a cancelled license, and for children not wearing life jackets.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked bear season, wild ricing activity, duck season, goose season and ATV, watercraft, and fishing activities. Violations of insufficient PFDs were found, along with no boat lights at night. Bear hunters were found with some loaded guns in a motor vehicle, untagged bears, and unregistered bait sites.

District 9 - Brainerd area


CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked waterfowl, bear hunting, and ATV activities this week. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking anglers, recreational watercraft, ATV riders, and working the early teal and goose opener. Enforcement action included registration violations and taking wood ducks out of season.

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time checking early teal hunters, ATV riders and bear hunters throughout the week. She took enforcement action on numerous violations, including transporting a loaded firearm, hunting migratory waterfowl without a state stamp and operating an ATV on a state highway. Cook also helped instruct at the Academy.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked a busy holiday weekend with a focus on sport fishing, boating, all-terrain vehicle, migratory waterfowl, and bear-hunting activities. Guida addressed an off-highway motorcycle operator illegally operating in the public road ditch. A burning complaint was investigated. The landowner had been warned in 2018 for a similar violation but this time received a citation for the illegal burning. There were bottles, broken glass, iron, aluminum, wire, and plastics in the smoldering fire.


CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent the week at the CO Academy, helping to instruct about trapping. He worked a busy early teal season and saw a lot of hunters having success. He took calls and addressed trespassing, dogs-chasing-wildlife, and wetland violations.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on a variety of activities during the week. Few duck hunters were seen participating in the early teal season, and even fewer teal were seen in the bag. Unfortunately, ATV violations were far too prevalent with enforcement action taken for violations including, but not limited to, prohibited operation in the road right-of-way, allowing illegal youthful operation, no youth helmets, failure to display registration, operating an ORV on the roadway, operating an OHM on the roadway, too many passengers and several open alcohol containers.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked off-highway vehicles, angling, recreational boating, early teal and geese, and bear hunting. The week was very busy as people came out for Labor Day weekend. Case investigation and background investigation were conducted throughout the week as well. Enforcement action was taken for numerous off-highway vehicle violations.

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CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports it was a very busy holiday weekend. Bear hunters, ATV riders, anglers, and boaters were primarily checked. Some time was spent working on existing big-game and public-water alteration cases. Enforcement action was taken for many ATV, boat, and angling violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) responded to an ATV crash and a motorcycle crash. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, illegal-length fish, juveniles without helmets on ATVs, expired registration, and transporting aquatic plants.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for boating and hunting activity throughout the week. Numerous early teal hunters were checked. They had limited success, and the fish bite remains slow in the area. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports an influx of visitors to the area for the holiday weekend. He spent time working early teal, early goose, bear hunters and ATV activity/complaints. Enforcement action consisted of a variety of ATV-related offenses. He also reports assisting other agencies and assisting with the ongoing CO Academy at Camp Ripley.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked bear season opener and early teal season over the past week. Enforcement action was taken for bear hunting over unregistered baits, failing to register an ATV, attempting to take mallards while hunting for teal and for not having licenses in possession.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked anglers and ATV riders during the previous week. Time was also spent working bear and waterfowl hunters over the busy Labor Day weekend. Enforcement action was taken for unregistered bear baits, transporting loaded firearms, unplugged shotguns, AIS violations, overlimits of fish, and juveniles riding on ATVs without helmets.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) focused on bear hunting and ATV activity. Most bear hunters contacted in the field reported a slow start to the season. ATV activity was very high and several violations were addressed, including juveniles not wearing helmets and operating on state highways. Several instances of people transporting boats without removing the drain plug were addressed as well.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes and rivers for boating and angling activities. Westby spent time at the Academy in Camp Ripley and also attended the State fair and worked with the other divisions to answer questions. Westby worked the early teal and goose season and located hunters. Many had good success, and many ducks and geese were seen by all hunters.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) assisted a neighboring officer with instructions at a firearms safety certification class, completed online training and attended annual training.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked at the training center with the new officers. He took calls concerning hunters shooting early for the teal season. He worked angling activity this week and vacant stations to the west.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) checked a pontoon full of anglers where a female assured him that she had a license and would look for it. Bertram watched her try to buy a license on her phone while he checked the rest of the group Unfortunately for her, license purchases are date and time stamped and the cell service was terrible.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and working a busy real opener. He observed one group of hunters continuously shoot at every waterfowl species that flew into the area. Upon contacting the individuals, they stated they hadn’t shot much and had not hit anything. When Krauel advised them that he had watched them and had a K9 handler en route to check the area for downed birds, the hunters admitted to shooting at birds and not knowing what they were. They produced two mergansers that they had hidden.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) worked a late shift and spoke with some bear hunters late at night. The hunters had harvested a bear but through talking with them, they had not properly completed some steps. The hunters were educated on how to register a bait station, validate a tag and properly securing the tag to the bear.

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