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CO Reports: New snowfall extends snowmobile season

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - March 13, 2023

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked angling and snowmobile trail enforcement this week. Car-killed deer-permit was issued. The Brainerd lakes area was graced with another decent snowfall, extending the snowmobile trail riding opportunities.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked on abandoned ice shelter issues this week. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations. A firearms safety class talk for approximately 40 students was given.


CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) patrolled area lakes for ice shelters that have been left out overnight unattended after the shelter removal deadline. Recent snowfall in the area provided great snow cover for the snowmobile trails but made travel on area lakes very difficult. Sullivan also investigated coyote hunters trespassing and transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle.

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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 Andrew Ladzinski (Pine River) patrolled area lakes and trails for angling and snowmobiling activity. Questions were fielded regarding dogs chasing big-game animals and the penalties for that violation. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license. Anglers are having luck, with many bluegills, crappies, and an occasional burbot in their buckets.


CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time checking snowmobile riders and anglers throughout the week. Time was also spent following up on shoreline violations. Enforcement action was taken for various violations.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked anglers on area lakes. Time was spent competing aerator inspections and patrolling area snowmobile trails. He worked with CO Regas and stopped an ATV on a local grant-in-aid snowmobile trail. It was determined the machine was stolen from an area business last fall. Follow-up investigation will be completed and charges are pending.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking for late ice shelters, checking ice anglers, and completing aeration inspections. Most fish houses have been removed in both the north and south zones around the Detroit Lakes area, which is great considering over a foot of snow came down over the weekend. Many snowmobiles were also seen around the area, with trespassing and loud-exhaust complaints coming from area landowners. Swedberg also completed equipment maintenance throughout the week.


CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week patrolling for snowmobile and ice angling activity. Fox also completed annual POST training. Violations this week include fishing without a fishing license.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Corey Sura (Remer) checked area lakes for shelter removal and angling activity. Several calls were taken, including one regarding an individual cutting standing timber on Chippewa National Forest lands (and private lands), as well as nuisance turkeys getting into horse feed. Sura continued work on ongoing investigations.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked ice angling and snowmobiling, along with following up on open cases. Questioned were fielded through the week covering a variety of items. Enforcement action was taken for angling, snowmobiling, and feeding ban violations.


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and snowmobile activity. She also responded to an injured-deer call. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continues to check ice anglers and snowmobile trails as winter weather persists. Some time was spent completing required training. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) checked area lakes after the shelter deadline and found that compliance was 100 percent. Some litter was found, with more likely once the snow melts. Area trail conditions are very good with the recent snows and should be for some time. A law and ethics talk was given at an area snowmobile safety class.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports attending training in St. Paul.


CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for angling and snowmobile activity. Recent snowfalls have made travel on area lakes difficult. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and snowmobile activity. Sutherland took enforcement action for angling with unattended lines and angling without a license in possession. Sutherland also worked birch tree thefts where individuals cut down young birch trees and sell them for ornamental purposes. Enforcement action was also taken for operating a Class 2 ATV on a U.S. highway.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked angling and recreational vehicles throughout the past week. Time was also spent on a trespassing complaint involving theft of birch poles. Holt followed up on an open investigation and competed required training.


CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) monitored the first round of fish house removal in the area. Compliance rates were good, and no reports of excessive garbage left on the lake were fielded. Snowmobile enthusiasts were happy to see the mid-March snowstorm, which will extend the snowmobile season for another few weeks.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angler activity and followed up on issues found after the fish house removal deadline. Snowmobile activity was checked and an abandoned snowmobile was investigated. Verkuilen also assisted at the DNR booth at the Sportshow in Minneapolis.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time checking anglers and snowmobile activity. Griffith followed up on several fish houses that looked to be abandoned after the shelter removal deadline. Time was spent removing abandoned ice shelters.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked anglers and snowmobilers in the area. Enforcement action was taken for unattended lines, no licenses, and expired registration. Calls of fish overlimits and illegal camping were investigated.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) monitored fish house removal issues and checked panfish fishing activity. Mille Lacs Lake northern pike anglers were also checked. Some anglers were checked without fishing licenses for 2023, which resulted in enforcement action. Loud snowmobile exhaust on some machines continued to be a problem.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Aitkin) spent time patrolling ice angling, snowmobiling, and trapping activity. She followed up on a shelter left at a public access and a shelter left out on Mille Lacs Lake after the deadline. Whiteoak also spent time at Aitkin Schools Fishing Day. The area snowmobile trails were in good condition with the recent snow.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes and trails for angling and snowmobile activities. Complaints for feeding deer were handled after the heavy snow in the area. Several people have been putting feed out for the deer. Morrison County is in a deer feeding ban, so no feeding is allowed. If you wish to feed wildlife, please keep feed 6 feet up or higher or place a fence or other barriers to keep deer out. Time was spent assisting for the upcoming 2023 Academy and upcoming in-service training at Camp Ripley. Complaints of fish houses left out past the deadline were investigated. Fish houses were removed and several complaints were received of garbage and other items left on the ice.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored angling and snowmobiling activities, and investigated a case of potential deer feeding. Angling activity was down, but trail conditions continue to be good overall. A number of riders were seen taking advantage of what remains of the snowmobiling season. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display valid snowmobile registration.

CO Trent Anderson (St. Cloud) focused on angling enforcement for the week. Time was spent patrolling local snowmobile trails and presenting to a group of firearms safety students in the Kimball area. Overall, anglers did a good job removing fish houses before the required deadline. Enforcement action for the week included angling without a license and various other angling violations.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking lakes and dealing with fish house removal violations. Training was completed. There has been an increasing number of deer-depredation issues with the recent heavy snowfalls.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) followed up on the fishing shelter removal deadline. He worked on vehicle maintenance this week and also got a call regarding a local angler fishing in Florida.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Adam Stennett (Sauk Rapids) spent the week checking area lakes for ice shelters left out past the deadline. Two shelters were left on Briggs Lake and removed. Enforcement action was taken against the owner. Snowmobile- and hunting trespass complaints were fielded and followed up on. Training was completed and other agencies were assisted with various calls. Enforcement action for the week included snowmobile trespass, leaving ice shelters on lakes past the removal deadline and ATV equipment and registration violations.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) checked anglers and patrolled snowmobile trails. Shelter-removal compliance was good. Hanna will be at the Mills Fleet Farm in Cambridge answering questions about fishing on March 16.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) attended K9 training.

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