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CO Reports: Numerous big game hunting violations reported

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - November 15, 2022

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked the busy firearms deer season. Waterfowl hunting in the area was also monitored. Guida received TIP calls of illegal dumping of deer carcasses. A sick deer was reported to Brainerd DNR Wildlife for examination. Guida worked with another conservation officer on the seizure of a large white-tailed deer from an area taxidermist that was taken in an overlimit violation. The violator shot the deer, their second buck in the season, with illegal equipment and also solicited an individual to purchase a license to tag it after the taking. Both individuals are subject to criminal charges with large fines, restitution, and forfeiture of the deer and used equipment.

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) continued checking deer hunters throughout the week. Success was average throughout the area. Multiple violations were found, including taking an overlimit of deer, transporting a loaded firearm and failure to register deer. Cook also responded to calls of hunters falling from deer stands.


CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spent the week checking hunters and trappers. Enforcement action was taken for various violations.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking firearms deer hunters throughout the week. Midweek rain had the deer up and moving and many hunters reported having success. Enforcement action included license violations and transporting loaded firearms.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) focused on contacting deer hunters throughout the area. Hunters reported some success but also stated that wind, rain and snow made hunting difficult on certain days. Enforcement action was taken for failure to validate a site tag, untagged big game, trespassing, illegal party hunting, illegal attractants and hunting deer with the aid of bait.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent most of the week focused on checking deer hunters. The second weekend had much better weather and fewer hunters compared to the opener. The lakes are freezing and ducks are moving through the area.


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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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District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored firearms deer season activity. Deer camps were visited and area trails were patrolled.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking deer hunters and duck hunters. Area deer hunters struggled to find deer, while battling some tough conditions in the woods. There was a big push of ducks and geese this week, but most duck hunters were unable to attract the big flocks and were left watching them fly over their blinds. Swedberg worked several big-game cases involving deer being shot off of roads and trespassing and those investigations remain ongoing.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked deer hunters and followed up on complaints and other ongoing cases. Most hunters reported a slower-than-normal deer season with fewer shots heard. Violations of unregistered deer, trespass, no license in possession and operating unregistered snowmobiles were handled.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) started field training COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Znajda. They continued to see many bucks and does taken by hunters. Hunting without licenses, shooting big game from the roadway, and instances of dog chasing deer were investigated, with various enforcement action taken.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports seeing fewer hunters and fewer harvested deer as the firearms deer season concluded. Some enforcement action for the week consisted of failure to validate a deer license/tag, failure to meet blaze orange requirements, failure to register deer as required, transporting a loaded firearm, and failure to display ATV registration. He also received numerous calls and complaints from people regarding trespassing, injured wildlife and miscellaneous concerns. He also reports assisting DNR Forestry and local fire departments with a wildfire.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked deer- and small-game hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for no federal duck stamp.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for big-game and waterfowl-hunting activity. Hunters are reporting mixed success throughout the area. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of violations.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) continued working a busy firearms deer season. Cross saw mixed success throughout the area. Enforcement action was taken for big-game violations, ATV violations, and DWI.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked deer hunters. Several deer hunters were looking for deer on the roadways, which isn’t the right place to be looking. Two separate TIP calls led to enforcement action taken in both incidents for shooting a deer from a roadway.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Roemeling worked a busy second week of the firearms deer season. A lot of hunters were observed in the field, but the deer harvest numbers appeared low. Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms and illegally transporting deer. Questions were fielded regarding CWD testing and carcass-movement restrictions.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) received littering complaints involving deer hunters discarding deer carcasses in random places such as public accesses, trailheads, public and private lands. Time was also spent checking deer hunters and monitoring recreational vehicle activity. Holt took several injured-animal complaints and followed up on open cases. Enforcement activity involved hunting license violations, no blaze orange and ATV violations.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to focus on deer-hunting activity. As the season goes on success rates have improved, but are still low overall. Most hunters contacted in the field were in good spirits and seemed to be enjoying themselves, but said they had been seeing very few deer. Violations included transporting loaded firearms and insufficient blaze orange clothing.

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District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) continued to check deer hunters and ATV-riding activity. Protected landings were starting to ice up but some anglers were still doing well during the late-season bite. The cold front also brought out duck hunters who were taking advantage of the Mille Lacs Lake open-water exemption.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) continued working a busy firearms deer season. Hunting success picked up throughout the week. Griffith responded to complaints of felons being in possession of firearms, hunting without a license, hunting over bait, and target shooting. Enforcement action was taken on multiple big-game violations.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) finished his training period with COC Bulthuis. Enforcement action was taken for no blaze orange, untagged deer, and trespassing violations. Benkofske also assisted with the recovery of the body of a missing man in the area.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) continued working deer-season complaints and monitored a decent amount of waterfowl that showed up. Waterfowl hunters were found with limits of ducks as snow and ice made for treacherous hunting. Deer hunting continued with some tagging violations found. Starr investigated a situation where a deer hunter looked through the scope of his rifle at another hunter. This type of action is not safe and could result in criminal charges.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) continued to work the deer season. It started slowly, but after the temperatures dropped more deer were seen by most hunters. Several calls were taken for trespassing and hunter harassment. Enforcement action included no deer license, shooting from the roadway, failure to validate, untagged deer, trespassing, buck overlimit, and transporting loaded firearms.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) continued focus on the rifle deer season, issued car-killed deer permits, investigated multiple deer-carcass-dumping cases, and assisted local law enforcement. Most hunters reported a slower-than-average season. Please dispose of your waste properly. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register deer.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) focused on deer-season activity and waterfowl-hunting activity. He assisted neighboring officers with baiting, lending and borrowing, and trespassing cases. He also completed some equipment maintenance.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) continued to work deer-hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for untagged deer, lending/borrowing licenses, failure to register deer, and transporting loaded guns. Calls this past week included trespass, late shooting, hunter harassment, and vehicle-hit deer permits.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled Isanti County for baiting complaints. Hanna came upon a vehicle with pumpkins in the back seat parked on the side of the road. Hanna investigated by walking in where the hunter was believed to be and located a male hunting over pumpkins. He was advised of the hunting laws and the firearm was seized.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking deer hunters. Hunters were reporting moderate success with the recent weather shift. Enforcement action was taken for hunting without a license, shooting from the roadway, hunting over bait, and several tagging/validation violations.

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