Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



CO Reports: ATV violations, nuisance bears and fishing reports

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - July 26, 2022

Youth under age 18 who are operating an ATV or as a passenger on an ATV must wear a DOT certified helmet.
Photo illustration / Shutterstock.com

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO (Conservation Officer) Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes for angling and boating activities with few fish seen in live wells. Time was spent talking with the Royalton MAP students at the Royalton Sportsman’s Club about boating and ATV safety. Students also were able to get hands-on with multiple furbearing pelts of animals in the area. Westby also took a couple complaints of bears causing damage. The best way to prevent bear problems is to bring all garage, bird seed or any other food inside the garage.

Westby also worked ATV riders in the area. He would like to remind people that Class 1 and Class 2 ATVs are not allowed on any county roads. Enforcement action included operating on a county road, no ATV certification, no registration, failure to transfer title, no headlights, no helmet on youth riders, failure to display registration, no life jacket, and no angling license in possession.


CO Tou Vang (Pierz) worked boating and fishing, monitored ATV activity, and talked to youths at a firearms safety class in Hillman. An aquatic plant management case was investigated and led to a cease and desist order for operating an aqua thruster/hydro jet without a permit. Enforcement action was taken for allowing youth to illegally operate a Class 1 ATV, youth without a helmet on a Class 1 ATV, youth operating an ATV within the road right-of-way without a valid driver’s license, operating an ATV without ATV safety training, and various other ATV-registration violations.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked in a neighboring station assisting with a TIP call. Enforcement action was taken for an extra line. He also worked on WMA trespass issues this week as well.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers and boaters. Calls including litter, ATV trespass, injured animals, and possible public water violations were handled.


District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Calie Kunst (Crosslake) spent time checking anglers, boaters and ATV riders throughout the week. Multiple violations were addressed including juveniles on ATVs without helmets, operating ATVs without headlights and failure to have life jackets on watercraft. Kunst also received calls in regard to aquatic plant management violations and ATVs causing damage to properties.

—- —- —- —- —-

Read the regs:

2022 Minnesota Off-highway Vehicle Regulations (MN DNR website)

—- —- —- —- —-

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking anglers, ATV riders, and recreational watercraft throughout the week. Enforcement action included violations for no state park pass at the recreation area and youth passengers on ATVs without helmets. A couple days were also spent at Camp Ripley helping with the Academy.


CO Chelsey Best (Pequot lakes) worked on fishing, boating and ATV activity this week. Enforcement action was taken for registration issues, failure to stop at a road crossing, and no helmets on kids. Time was also spent helping out at Camp Ripley for the Academy class of new COs.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) patrolled area lakes for boating activity and checked anglers. The area bite has slowed some, but area lakes are still busy with activity. He patrolled area ATV trails and took nuisance-bear-complaint calls.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week enforcing boating and AIS laws. He also investigated a complaint of an individual who was in the process of burning down a trailer house on their property. The landowner admitted to setting the trailer house on fire and was cited for their actions.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) spent time at Camp Ripley training the new cadets at the Conservation Officer Academy. Time was also spent patrolling area lakes for boating and fishing activity and investigating multiple wildland fires.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports checking anglers, boaters and ATV riders. Calls from the public consisted of nuisance-bear complaints and injured-animal calls. He also reports spending time on equipment maintenance.


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) spoke at a firearms safety class. She investigated multiple aquatic plant concerns. Enforcement action was taken for no permit for a mechanical aquatic plant control device.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked the majority of the week on the lakes and ATV/OHM vehicle trails. Cross assisted with a youth firearms safety class in Park Rapids that included more than 20 area youth. Enforcement action was taken for angling, boating, and recreational vehicle violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and recreational vehicle riders. Some time was spent working on Bear Committee-related items. Calls of an injured eagle and ATVs operating on a highway were received. Enforcement action was taken for angling, boating, and ATV violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time during the past week assisting with training at the CO Academy. A lot of OHV traffic was observed in Huntersville State Forest. Enforcement action was taken on numerous ATV and OHM violations, as well as possession of controlled substances.


District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity and boats leaving lakes. Aquatic vegetation is most lush this time of year and large quantities can attach to trailers. He spoke to a hunter education class and assisted with an invasive species check station.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time working angling and ATV activity in the area. Griffith worked a detail with local officers focusing on aquatic invasive species. Assistance to local agencies was also given on a car accident and a domestic-in-progress call.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports spending time patrolling ATV trails and lakes. Enforcement action was taken for not having life jackets, no angling licenses, jet skis driving too close to docks, expired ATV and OHM registration, and juveniles on Class 2 ATVs without seatbelts. Benkofske also spent time training the new cadet class at Camp Ripley.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) focused on fishing and ATV activities. Numerous animal-related complaints came in, which included beavers, bears, woodchucks, cranes, and a possible cougar. ATV registration violations were found, along with youth without helmets. Failing to transfer ownership of ATVs, boats, and snowmobiles continues to be a large problem.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, boating, aquatic invasive species, and ATV/OHM enforcement this week. Time was spent working an aquatic invasive species check station on Mille Lacs Lake this weekend.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled the area for ATV use and boating. Hanna fielded questions about dead critters and complaints of shooting animals out of season. Some complaints were not substantiated, but others were true.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Bob Geving flew Wetland Conservation Act and weed roller recon flights.

CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew wood duck and prairie chicken telemetry flights.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) began the annual spraying of invasive hybrid cattails on state wildlife management areas. He was also training another pilot on the project as well. The Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area was first on the list, and only a few plots were completed initially as strong winds and some rain moved through. He also did administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) completed multiple sketch-mapping flights. He also completed scheduled maintenance updates. He worked on future sketch-mapping routes and aircraft repositioning.

Standby CO Pilot Jake Willis (Grand Rapids) completed multiple training tasks this week and continued planning for upcoming training as aircraft maintenance issues are addressed.

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) worked on the cattail project in Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area restoring the waters of Thief Lake. She sprayed 280 acres of the invasive species despite some technical setbacks and weather holds.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on open cases and updating case statuses. Time was spent talking to anglers and boaters regarding AIS laws as well.

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked at the Academy with instruction of ATV operation and EVOC training. An AIS check station was worked with officers at Mille Lacs Lake. Many aquatic vegetation violations were detected.

WREO Jeff Humphrey (NE) investigated a litter-dumping complaint and assisted local law enforcement in searching for a suspect who fled on foot from deputies. Humphrey continued reviewing various Wetland Conservation Act, AIS, aquatic plant management and protected waters cases within the Northeast Region. Humphrey also worked public water accesses for AIS education and compliance.

--- --- ---


What To Read Next
Get Local