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CO Reports: Cooler weather: Fishing picking up and beginning phases of fall rut

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - October 11, 2022

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District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked fall fishing activities with many anglers on the water. Enforcement action was taken for angling with two lines, using a bluegill to attempt to take northern pike and angling in a closed area. Sutherland is also beginning to see multiple car-struck deer incidents with the beginning phases of the fall rut.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports that grouse hunting continues to improve as the trees and shrubs slowly lose their leaves. A couple of anglers were out enjoying the fall weather and some found pockets of crappies that were willing to bite. Several instances of people transporting loaded firearms were addressed.


CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) spent the week checking grouse hunters and ATV riders. Time was also spent working area waterfowl hunting and following up on a wildfire arson investigation. Enforcement action was taken for trespassing, possession of drug paraphernalia and transporting game birds without a fully feathered wing attached.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued field training. Time was spent on the Cass Lake chain of lakes checking fall anglers and boaters. Many perch and an occasional walleye are being caught. As the colder weather moved in at the end of the week, waterfowl hunters had a higher success rate with most groups bringing in their daily limits of waterfowl. A complaint was handled regarding two tree stands left unattended in a WMA. One of the stands was legally placed off the WMA and the other stand was seized.


CO Chris Vinton (Perham) continued field training with COC Znajda. Anglers were checked with various enforcement actions taken. WMAs were patrolled for archery and small-game hunters. Complaints were taken in regards to an incorrect bear tag being issued and an inability to change it. Hunters are encouraged to double check that they have been issued the correct license prior to leaving store.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking migratory bird hunters and small-game hunters. With the cold weather moving in, many ducks have started moving through the area. Many hunters checked over the weekend had a very successful hunt, and many different species were seen. Many muskie anglers have also been seen in the area, but not many are having luck getting them to bite. Swedberg also worked an ATV detail with CO Chihak in northern Becker County. Many small-game hunters and ATV enthusiasts were seen.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) focused on angling, small-game, and big-game enforcement. Numerous calls for service and complaints were taken and handled. Enforcement action was taken for small-game violations, angling and watercraft violations and a fish overlimit.


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) attended a firearms safety class and assisted with the field day. She also responded to a buck that got its antlers stuck in a hammock.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports the outdoor activity remains high in the area with both anglers and hunters enjoying the seasonable conditions. Most time was spent checking anglers and duck hunters. Some training items were completed. Enforcement action was taken for angling, waterfowl, AIS, and state forest violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) continued training a new conservation officer from the recent Academy. The officers worked Cass County area lakes, focusing on angling and waterfowl-hunting enforcement. Time was spent on vehicle maintenance and patrolling area forest roads. Enforcement contacts for the week included fish overlimits, boating safety, and waterfowl-hunting violations.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports checking grouse, squirrel, deer and waterfowl hunters. Hunters had some success. Local lake temperatures have fallen, which has increased the walleye activity. He responded to complaints of property left on public land, trespass, littering, injured animals and hunting related issues with neighbors.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) checked small-game and waterfowl hunters this week. Trespassing, nuisance-wildlife and licensing related calls were handled.

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time checking anglers and small-game hunters throughout the week. Various violations were found and enforcement actions were taken.

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CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) and COC Ryan Christenson spent time patrolling ATV trails and checking anglers, deer hunters, and waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action included leaving equipment overnight in a state recreation area, no ATV registration, waterfowl-related violations, and hunting over bait.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) continued working his field training assignment with COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Ben Ulrich. Numerous waterfowl and archery deer hunters were checked this week. Violations included hunting during a closed season, no license in possession, and transportation of loaded firearms in motor vehicle. The officers participated in a local live radio interview and also instructed students at a firearms safety class.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked deer and duck hunters. He found anglers doing well with the fall bite. He investigated calls of people feeding and baiting deer in the CWD Zone.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked hunting activity that included trespassing complaints and reports of duck hunting during the split-season break. Aquatic invasive species were monitored as dock and lift removal was going strong.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time checking waterfowl and game hunters. Nuisance-animal complaints were followed up on. Griffith assisted with a firearms safety class. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, hunting without a license, driving after revocation, and failure to display current registration on an ATV.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked anglers, hunters, and recreational vehicle riders. Enforcement action was taken for unlawful off-highway motorcycle riding, juvenile passengers without helmets, no federal duck stamp, and transporting loaded firearms. Trespassing violations were also looked into.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spent the week in Minneapolis for a defensive tactics instructor school. Westby assisted partners over the weekend for a deer that was taken illegally over bait and many other issues. A complaint of hunter harassment was handled at Rice/Skunk WMA over the weekend as well.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) attended use of force instructor training this past week.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) covered multiple station calls this week – mostly calls related to the closed waterfowl season. He assisted a neighboring officer with a TIP call. Class 2 ATV operators still continue to be under the impression that they can operate on a highway. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers and hunters. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, extra lines, illegally taken deer, burning tires, and allowing dogs to chase deer. Training was completed and a shining complaint was also worked.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking small-game and waterfowl hunters. He also spent time on equipment maintenance. Krauel also spent time checking anglers on area lakes.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) instructed an ATV law enforcement class in Benton County to assist with understanding the ATV laws in Minnesota. After the class, Hanna received a TIP complaint about bear hunting. Hanna worked the case, which resulted in taking bear without a license and littering.

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