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CO Reports: "Cleaning up" your lakeshore most likely requires a permit

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - August 24, 2022

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing, ATV, and aquatic plant management enforcement this week. Complaints of landowners pulling emergent vegetation to “clean up” the lakeshore have been investigated and enforcement action has been taken. Some investigations will require landowners to revegetate the lakebed. Please check with the local DNR aquatic plant management office prior to doing any work in the lakebed. Most APM work requires a permit.

Guida responded to an injured bald eagle that was struck by a vehicle. It turned out to be a very large dead snapping turtle. Car-killed bear permits were issued. Bear hunters have begun bear baiting.


CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked fishing, boating, ATVs and bear-bait activity this week. Time was also spent at Camp Ripley assisting with the Academy.

CO Calie Kunst (Crosslake) spent time monitoring bear-baiting activity and checking ATV riders throughout the week. Various violations were found and enforcement action was taken.

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CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking anglers, recreational boaters, ATV riders, and investigating litter complaints throughout the week. As a reminder, life jackets are required for those in kayaks and on stand-up paddleboards.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked bear baits throughout the week and found good compliance. Lakes were checked for illegal plant removal. ATV Trails were worked and Flerlage checked complaint areas for ATVs speeding through controlled areas. He checked wild rice areas and found a low amount of rice and no one harvesting yet.


District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) spent time at Camp Ripley for the CO Academy. He worked on boat operations and reviewed Minnesota laws. He also patrolled area lakes and ATV trails.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked bear baits and recreational vehicles. A nuisance-beaver complaint was received. Some time was spent working on Bear Committee-related items.


CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on ATV and boating enforcement as well as Academy training. Enforcement action was taken for numerous recreational vehicle violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) assisted at Camp Ripley with instructing watercraft training for the new Conservation Officer Academy. He also spent time following up on cases from this past spring and summer.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports checking bear-baiting and ATV/ORV activity. He also assisted with training at Camp Ripley and continues to conduct a background investigation. Some enforcement action consisted of no headlights on an ATV, no headlights on an ORV, operating an unregistered ATV, and failure to complete an ATV safety course. He also did a law/ethics presentation at a firearms safety class.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked angling, boating, off-highway vehicle traffic, invasive species, and bear baiting. Additionally Cross investigated a nuisance-trapping incident, and assisted farmers with dead cattle. Finally, Cross continued working on a background investigation. Enforcement action was taken for angling and off-highway-vehicle violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checking angling and big-game activity. She also released a great blue heron from a foothold trap.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ATV and angling issues over the past week. Sutherland also started checking on bear-baiting activities in the area. With the start of the bear-baiting season, nuisance-bear issues have slowed in the area. Enforcement action was taken over the past week for bear-baiting issues with signage and registration.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time monitoring bear-baiting activity. Some bear hunters reported that their baits had been visited and others said that there has been no sign of bears at their baits. Most people talked to noted that there has been an uptick in mosquitoes in the woods in the last week or so due to recent rain.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) monitored ATV activity that included operators who were maintaining bear-bait sites and working on hunting stands. He assisted with some highway issues that included a crash. He also spoke at a firearms safety class and answered questions at the Game Fair booth.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reported checking anglers and bear baiters. Enforcement action was taken for life jacket violations, bear-bait-registration violations, and expired boat registration. Nuisance-animal calls were also handled in the area.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked numerous bear complaints and issued depredation permits for corn damage. One of the nuisance bears harvested was almost 500 pounds. OHM and ATV issues were addressed, along with a personal watercraft that was running out on a lake well after dark. Assistance was given to local law enforcement along with an illegal-fire citation being issued.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spoke at a firearms safety class in Little Falls with students preparing for the upcoming hunting season and went over the 2022 hunting regulations book. Time was also spent at Camp Ripley assisting with the Academy class. Westby located large amounts of garbage left out at Mill Park and Blanchard Dam areas and spoke with a local angler who was already picking much of it up. Whatever you pack in, please pack everything out.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) assisted with the DNR CO Academy this past week.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on TIP calls this week. He also followed up on administrative duties and ongoing investigations. He is starting to see panfish fishing activity increase and catfish continuing to be targeted on area lakes.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) fielded questions about barn swallows and bear baiting. In between the barn swallows and bear-baiting questions, Hanna assisted local agencies with emergency calls for service.

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