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CO Reports: Black bear cub rescued, spring turkey hunt continues

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - April 25, 2023

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District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO (Conservaton Officer) Vinny Brown (Northome) enforced trapping activities, checked anglers, and responded to animal-related calls. CO Brown received calls of an abandoned bear cub hanging out near the road. The bear was seen in the area for a few days with no signs of its mother. Brown was able to capture the bear cub and turn it over to a wildlife rescue. The bear was found to be starving, dehydrated, and with a broken foot. The cub will be released when it reaches a healthy weight.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ATV activity over the past week with riders finally out and about enjoying some spring weather. Sutherland took calls about deer being hit by motor vehicles as they are now on the move with most of the area snow gone. Ice conditions on area lakes are making venturing out very dangerous and at most landings the ice has pulled back a long ways.


CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked angling and recreational vehicle activity during the previous week. Time was also spent on wildlife-related complaints. Holt attended training at Camp Ripley.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time patrolling the area looking for turkey hunting and beaver-trapping activity. Few turkey hunters were out, and beaver-trapping activity was lower than normal as well due to high and fluctuating water levels. Assistance was given to local law enforcement agencies on multiple calls.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked spring beaver-trapping activity. Time was spent patrolling for ATV use and checking rivers/creeks for spring fish-run activity.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting local police departments with boat hull identification number verifications and patrolling the station for ATV and turkey hunting activity. Vinton received a call from a local trapper who accidentally caught an otter. The otter was seized and sold to a local fur buyer. Ice conditions are deteriorating in the area but colder weather has slowed ice-out. Car-injured deer were dispatched.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) attended a conference with South and North Dakota game wardens where officers discussed past cases, trainings, and rule changes in their respective states. Swedberg also spoke at the Frazee firearms safety class and attended the funeral for Pope County Deputy Owen. Other time was spent checking area streams for fish run activity and performing equipment maintenance.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking a few remaining anglers and turkey hunters in the Pelican Rapids station. Ice has deteriorated to the point where access in unsafe and anglers should wait for open water. Landmark spent time training with North and South Dakota officers during a border warden meeting. He also attended the funeral for Pope County Deputy Josh Owen. Landmark spoke to 15 youth at a Pheasants Forever turkey hunting event. The youth were paired with mentors for a hunt and success rates were good, with all hunters having some action. Landmark also handled seasonal equipment maintenance and seized incidentally taken otters.

CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week patrolling for ATV and angling activity. Fox responded to a call concerning an injured swan, which turned out to be healthy. Fox also conducted an investigation into swans that were suspected to have been shot. Violations this week included ATV registration issues.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training and worked trapping enforcement and ongoing cases.


District 4 - Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) checked numerous beaver trappers, conducted equipment maintenance, completed training, and handled multiple calls for service. Cross also followed up on and worked on open cases.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent the week preparing equipment for the upcoming ATV and open-water seasons. Time was spent completing training and preparing for CO Academy instruction. A turkey hunting related investigation was completed with enforcement action taken.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County lakes for angling activity. Fishing pressure is very low due to poor ice conditions. McGowan prepared equipment for the upcoming open-water season.


CO Corey Sura (Remer) checked on spring beaver-trapping activity and took reports of incidentally caught otters. Routine equipment maintenance was taken care of. Sura patrolled the Rainy River for sturgeon anglers. Overall angler numbers appeared lower than usual, as was fishing success.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and turkey hunting activity. She also assisted with a vehicle rollover.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports attending training and collecting incidentally taken otters. He also reports investigating an ongoing big-game case.


District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spent the week on trapping, turkey hunting, ATV and fishing enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for operating a motor vehicle on a closed forest road.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) monitored turkey hunting and sport fishing this past week. A large, active burn was observed from a roadway during a windy, warm-weather day. A daytime variance burning permit inspection revealed the individual burning a large number of prohibited materials including painted boards, pressed board furniture, particle board, cement blocks, aluminum cans, steel frames, and cardboard – in violation of his permit. The individual was issued a citation. The following day, Guida received an email from the area forester who had issued the individual the burning permit. The forester said that the permittee had called and asked for another copy of the citation Guida had issued because after Guida left, the citation blew into the large fire and burned up.

CO Andrew Ladzinski (Pine River) spent time patrolling local lakes for angling activity and checking turkey hunters and spring beaver trappers. He searched the Pine River after a report of a missing watercraft. Ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly on local lakes.

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time assisting with preparations for the upcoming CO Academy. She also took various phone calls in regard to trapping beavers in the spring.


CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking turkey hunters and anglers chasing panfish. Hunters are having some success, but snow late in the week slowed down activity.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) attended the funeral for Pope County Deputy Josh Owen as part of the Honor Guard. What a fine community Deputy Owen got to serve. He will be missed by family, partners, and friends.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time checking turkey hunters. Trapping and ATV activity were monitored. Griffith also continued to follow up on ongoing cases.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) patrolled for ATV riders and checked turkey hunters. Enforcement action was taken for illegal ATV operation on the roadway. Injured-animal calls were also handled.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) assisted the Isle officer with a littering case on Mille Lacs Lake and monitored spring fish run activity. Several wildlife-possession tags were issued throughout the area for deer and other wildlife being killed on roadways. Incidentally caught otters were also handled. Numerous otters were observed throughout the area. Assistance was given to local law enforcement with a stolen ATV incident.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Aitkin) spent time patrolling for ATV riders, turkey hunters and trappers. She also presented a 30-year firearms safety instructor award to an instructor in the area. The Mississippi River water level was high and caused some flooding issues in local areas.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) patrolled area lakes and rivers for angling and boating activities. Most of the lakes in the area are starting to see open water along the shore and all ice is very weak. No one should be on the ice. Time was spent at Central Lakes College speaking with college students about becoming a conservation officer. He received several complaints of high water and runoff in the area. Westby also spent time speaking at a firearms safety class in Royalton.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) assisted with equipment maintenance at Camp Ripley, talked to youth and parents at ATV safety training in Buckman, checked spring turkey hunters, and responded to a report of a bald eagle trapped and hanging upside down from a tree in Mille Lacs County. Prior to Vang’s arrival at the location, the eagle was able to untangle itself and flew away. Spring turkey hunters report a slower and more challenging season with the lingering cold and snow, but are optimistic, because they are seeing turkeys while out hunting.

CO Trent Anderson (St. Cloud) focused on turkey hunting and angling enforcement for the week. The variable weather conditions have impacted area activity. Time was spent on wildlife-related calls and presenting to firearms safety groups in the Howard Lake and St. Stephen areas.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Adam Stennett (Sauk Rapids) worked the station for turkey hunting and fishing activity. Turkey hunting continued to be slow but spring fishing activity was picking up. A motorist who struck a bald eagle was assisted with removing it from the grill of his truck. Firearms safety classes were attended and 30-year awards were delivered to two instructors from Rice. A special thanks to all of our volunteer instructors. Equipment was maintained and other agencies were assisted. Enforcement action for the week included fishing without a license and fishing with extra lines.

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