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CO Reports: Bear season ends with reports of shot and dumped bear, dumped bear hide

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - October 18, 2022

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) An investigation is ongoing regarding a shot-and-dumped bear in the Backus area. Information can be given anonymously by calling the TIP line (1-800-652-9093). CO Best took enforcement action this week for registration issues and no helmets on kids on ATVs. .

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) checked grouse hunters in the area. They reported seeing some birds. Activity on area lakes has slowed but anglers reported having success.


CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time working small-game and waterfowl hunters, anglers, and ATV operators throughout the week. Enforcement action included operating ATVs on a posted closed trail, shooting after hours, and license violations.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) talked with hunters enjoying the fall seasons. Grouse, duck, and deer hunters were checked. ATV use was up, even with the cold weather.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area


CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) Follow-up investigations continued for a bear hide that was left in a logging area. CO Taylor began field training with COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Andrew Ladzinski. Small-game-hunting activity has slowed due to the cold and windy weather that has moved in this week. Those hunters who continued to stay out were successful in taking ruffed grouse and woodcock. Reports of muddy trails came in from local ATV riders in the Hill City area.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) worked grouse and waterfowl hunting throughout the previous week. Time was also spent patrolling ATV trails and assisting the public with questions on the upcoming firearms deer season. Holt attended training at Camp Ripley and investigated a TIP complaint. Enforcement action involved hunting license violations.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes and patrolled ATV trails. Time was spent checking waterfowl hunters and completing deer farm inspections.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) began training with COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Jesse Drown this week. They spent the weekend checking duck hunters and pheasant hunters. Duck hunters were able to find plenty of ducks, but pheasant hunters had a hard time finding birds, with a lot of the area corn fields still standing. Enforcement action for the week included trespassing, not having PFDs in a waterfowl boat, and some licensing issues.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked small-game hunters and worked ATV enforcement and ongoing cases. He also spoke to a group of outdoor enthusiasts about CO duties, hunting laws and ethics.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports checking small-game, waterfowl and deer hunters. He also patrolled local lakes for angling activity. He investigated a deer-dumping complaint, walk-in access violations, assisted other agencies and provided advice in regards to trespassing. Training was attended and equipment maintenance was also completed.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time completing required training, assisting with firearms safety training classes and handling miscellaneous animal-related complaints. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations, transportation of loaded firearms and failure to register deer.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked small-game and waterfowl hunters. She also took calls regarding an injured hawk and nuisance beavers.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) continues field training with a conservation officer from the past Academy. They worked waterfowl hunters and anglers throughout the week in Cass County. Numerous violations were addressed.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and hunters. Grouse hunters were seen doing well while angler success slowed down after the cooler weather arrived. Mathy also attended training, issued a wildlife-possession permit, and received a nuisance-beaver complaint.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked angling, small-game, waterfowl, and big-game enforcement. Many questions were fielded about the upcoming deer season and current seasons. As a reminder, all feeding and attractants for deer are banned in Hubbard County. (Page 82 of the hunting regulations book.) A large number of filleted walleye carcasses were also found on Grace Lake. If you have any information, please contact the TIP line. Enforcement action was taken for failure to stop at a stop sign, no proof of insurance, and driving after suspension.

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District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity where the fall bite was producing some crappie limits. Archery deer hunters were making use of leaves falling off the trees and increased deer movement. Verkuilen assisted with pheasant opener in the western part of the state where birds were still hiding in standing crops and a late hatch made it difficult to differentiate roosters.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time checking small-game and waterfowl hunters. ATV activity was busy through the weekend. Griffith responded to litter, trespass, and burning complaints. Several disputes between neighboring landowners were handled. Assistance was also given to local agencies.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reported checking hunters and anglers with COC Bulthuis. Enforcement action was taken for federal duck stamp violations, transporting dressed grouse without a wing attached, and early and late shooting. Deer-feeding ban violations were also addressed.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked waterfowl, small-game, and bowhunting activities. Assistance was given to local law enforcement on a variety of items. Cold weather pushed some waterfowl south but some adult birds were seen in the harvest. A bobcat-possession permit was issued and a stolen vehicle from Cass County was found in a wooded area near Mille Lacs Lake. Night anglers were also checked but low water hampered public access use.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spoke with students at St. Cloud Tech High School about conservation officers and their role in the community. Time was spent preparing equipment for fall and winter use. A complaint of dead sheep was received. It was verified they were killed by wolves. Several pheasant hunters were checked over the weekend. Very few roosters were taken. Most waterfowl hunters in the area are doing well, with a mixed bag and more divers being seen.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) conducted equipment maintenance, worked AIS, checked duck and pheasant hunters, and investigated a wildlife-feeding complaint. Enforcement action was taken for prohibited feeding of wildlife while under a county feed and attractant ban.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked pheasant opening weekend with not much for hunters to brag about. About one bird for every three hunters was observed. One recreational dope smoker thought it would be a good idea to park in the wildlife management area parking lot to smoke his marijuana. VanderWeyst advised him it is still not legal in Minnesota and issued proper “coupons” for such illegal activity.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) checked several pheasant hunters on opening weekend. One was hunting without a license and transporting a loaded shotgun. A group of anglers was keeping smallmouth bass during the release-only season. Bertram spoke at the Long Prairie firearms safety class. A wetland violation was found. Diver ducks have moved into the area with several species being seen in bag checks.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) followed up on trespassing complaints and hunting small game without blaze orange. Upon arrival to both calls, the suspect was gone. Trespassing is illegal and not wearing blaze orange when required is dangerous.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) and COC Tony Hams spent the week checking small-game hunters, following up on bait complaints, and investigating a poaching complaint. Small-game hunters reported little success. Violations encountered were possession of a small amount of marijuana and public nuisance.

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