CO Reports: Many snowmobile trails still closed - snow, cold impact activities
Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - December 28, 2022
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO (Conservation Officer) Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports area snowmobile trail groups continue to work hard on clearing area trails. Thank you to all who volunteer to help clear trails. Ice anglers are starting to get fish houses out on area lakes after challenging ice conditions. Anglers are reporting mixed results with catching fish.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) spent the week training with COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Ulrich. Activity levels were down this week due to the cold weather and windy conditions. Anglers and snowmobile riders were observed out in small numbers. Permits were issued for collector snowmobiles.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued field training with COC Andrew Ladzinski. Multiple days of a patrol were conducted on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for multiple people angling with extra lines. Angling activity has slowed due to the extreme cold weather.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) continued field training COC Znajda. They are starting to see more snowmobiling activity in the ditches and on lakes. Snowmobile education and ice safety continues to be enforced as ice is never safe. They responded to a snowmobile through a lake due to thin ice in areas. Recent blizzard weather is keeping some anglers away, but not all. They are still seeing fish in the buckets.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Corey Sura (Remer) worked trapping and angling activity in the area.
CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) continued training a conservation officer candidate for the final phase of field training. The officers worked Cass, Itasca, and Lake of the Woods county lakes and trails. High winds, snow, and low temperatures have impacted lake accessibility. Enforcement action for the week included possession of drug paraphernalia, snowmobile registration, shelter tag, and numerous angling violations.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily worked on a background investigation of a CO applicant. Some time was spent checking anglers and snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.
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Snowmobile Use Reminder: Any resident born after December 31, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota must possess a snowmobile certificate. Two options are available to complete certification. Ages 11 and older can take the online course and hands-on day or attend the traditional youth course. Those 16 or older can take the online course.
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CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) reports ice varies on lakes. With added snow, people should continually check ice while traveling on lakes. Snowmobile trails have multiple trees down, making some trails impassable.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling activity in the area over the past week with moderate success being had by anglers. Ice conditions are still spotty with the snow cover very deep for this early in the season. Enforcement work was done by checking spearing and trapping activity. Individuals who have been able to get their spear houses out have been seeing a fair number of northern pike.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports low outdoor activity levels with few people willing to brave the sub-zero temperatures and wind. Both big-game and small-game follow-up investigations were worked on. Assistance was given to other law enforcement agencies on calls for service.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) checked ice anglers on area lakes. Trapping activity was monitored in deep snow conditions. Snowmobilers were also checked.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) monitored very little outdoor activity with extreme cold temps making it miserable to be outside. A trespass case was worked on along with a fail to register deer case. Slush was making lake travel treacherous. Trapping, hound hunting, and snowmobile activities were also monitored.
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Turn in Poachers (TIP) in Minnesota - Report a violation in progress:
To report a violation: call 800-652-9093 24 hours a day, or key in #TIP on your cell phone.
To report a violation that isn't time sensitive: Use the form at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/tipreportingform.html
Don't let poachers spoil your future hunting or fishing enjoyment - or success.
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CO Ashley Whiteoak (Aitkin) maintained equipment and patrolled for ice anglers and snowmobilers in the area. Snowmobile trail cleanup was making progress. There were still many trails, blocked with trees, which had not been groomed. A majority of trails along roads and outside of the woods had been groomed.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked are lakes and rivers for angling and snowmobiling activity. Many lakes have heavy slush on them, so it has been making angling activity tough. With the colder weather, it has frozen most of the slush. Ice conditions are getting better, but continue to use caution. Some of the snowmobile trails have been groomed but many are still in rough condition with the heavy snowfall received and the holiday weekend. Most trails should be open by the end of the week.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked complaints of road hunters trespassing to shoot pheasants. Vehicle maintenance, training and administrative work were completed this week.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers, snowmobile riders, and trappers. Aeration-system inspections were conducted and follow up was done on open cases.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week tracking anglers. Krauel also spent time on snowmobile maintenance and clearing evidence from old cases.
CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled area lakes to see if there were any anglers. Hanna also received multiple complaints of snowmobiles trespassing on agricultural fields. Stay on the trail or stay at home.
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