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CO Reports: Officers release bear caught in beaver trap

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - May 11, 2023

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Andrew Ladzinski (Pine River) assisted another CO in releasing a bear caught in a beaver trap. He also attended training and patrolled his station for trapping, turkey hunting, and angling activity.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spent the week on trapping investigations and forestry related calls. Nuisance-wildlife issues were handled as well.


CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time monitoring activity at the recreational area with the trails opening for the season. Complaints of ATV use within the rec area are being monitored. Enforcement action for the week included angling without licenses, intentionally fishing for northern pike in a closed season, failure to remove a drain plug from watercraft in transport, and various wildlife-related complaints.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked ATV and sport fishing enforcement this week. Guida and CO Dirks assisted the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office with an ATV crash resulting in property damage and personal injury. The driver unknowingly launched the ATV over a steep road approach. According to the witnesses, the machine rolled over the driver. The driver admitted to consumption of alcohol and an investigation on alcohol impaired driving was completed. Guida monitored the area crappie bite activity. Most anglers indicated the water was still too cold for the bite to be on.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored spring fish run activity, beaver trapping, and ATV trails. He also attended training.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working bow fishers, conducting commercial leeching checks, and monitoring recreational vehicle activity. Swedberg also attended training and prepared equipment for the upcoming open-water season.

CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week patrolling for ATV and angling activity. Fox also attended training and responded to calls concerning incidentally caught otters, a road-killed bear, and sick deer.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training, monitored the spring fish run, checked bow fishers, and investigated a report of a possible illegal deer kill.

District 4 - Walker area


CO Michael Cross (Lake George) had a busy week attending training, checking turkey hunters and beaver trappers, and monitoring the spring fish run. Beaver-trapping activity has increased dramatically over past years. Cross has seen trapping activity in almost all areas that contain beaver activity. Cross reminds trappers to stay familiar with the regulations and consistently check their traps for legality, such as if there is identification on the trap.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time working bowfishing activity and responding to unpermitted and uncontrolled fires. Anderson spent time training at the CO Academy and completed additional training. Enforcement action was taken for burning without a permit, failure to control a campfire and fishing related violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County lakes for angling activity. Most lakes in the area are becoming ice-free. McGowan also attending training, completed a wildland fire investigation, and prepped for upcoming boating trainings that will be taught to other agencies.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and recreational vehicle riders. A dogs chasing deer complaint was taken. Mathy also responded to a wildfire incident. Patrol boats were prepared for the upcoming season.


CO Corey Sura (Remer) attended training. An ATV operator was stopped and cited after being observed operating a Class 1 ATV on a state highway while also driving southbound in the northbound lane. The ATV’s registration was expired, and the operator’s driver’s license was suspended. Sura is beginning to take a few calls of black bears meandering near residences. This is a good reminder to keep any potential food sources such as bird feeders and garbage stored where it is inaccessible to bears.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked trapping activity and collected multiple incidentally caught otters.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports attending training and an outreach event at Aitkin Elementary, assisting with a crash with injuries, and checking turkey hunters and anglers. Time was spent investigating an incident that garnered numerous TIP calls regarding early walleye angling. He also received calls about incidentally trapped otters and a TIP complaint of possible game fish being speared. He also fielded a report of an injured/sick deer, which was likely the result of giving birth to a fawn. He would like to remind people that young fawns are very rarely abandoned and that the mother will almost always return. Wildlife-related calls should be directed to Area Wildlife when feasible.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ATV and early season panfish fishing activity. All ice is off area lakes just in time for fishing opener. Sutherland took enforcement action for operating an unregistered ATV, failing to transfer the title of an ATV and allowing a youth under 18 to ride on an ATV without a helmet.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) worked angling and trapping activity during the previous week. Time was also spent checking turkey hunting and ATV riders. Holt followed up on open cases and continued to monitor closed roads and trails.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports most area lakes are now ice-free. More and more people are taking to the rivers and streams to try to catch suckers and redhorse but continue to have limited success due to very cold water. A law and ethics talk was given at a local ATV safety class and open investigations were worked on.


District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked trapping, ATV riding, and angling activity. Assistance was given at a Kindergarten DNR event in Aitkin and at an ATV safety class. Enforcement action was taken for ATV-related violations and an illegally taken muskie.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked anglers, turkey hunters, and ATV riders. Benkofske investigated calls of shoreline violations and injured animals. Benkofske also attended training.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked spring fish run activities and night-time bow fishing action. ATV activity was up with the nice weather. Sucker anglers were having success on the rivers. A reminder to boat owners to check registration before the busy opening weekend to avoid a law violation.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes and rivers for boating and angling activities. All lakes in the area are free of ice and boating activity is high. Now is a good reminder to get your safety equipment together and double check you have all the items needed. Please read over the boating requirements and wear your life jacket as the water is still very cold. Time was spent investigating a litter complaint and game farm complaint.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) conducted equipment maintenance, attended training, and checked shore anglers. Anglers report a slow bite.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked complaints of ATV activity and fishing. AIS education was provided at the accesses in between anglers and boaters prepping equipment for the season. A firearms safety class was also attended in Paynesville.

CO Trent Anderson (St. Cloud) focused on angling enforcement and assisting other agencies. Time was spent monitoring bow fishing activity and presenting to an ATV safety class in western Stearns County. Enforcement action taken for the week included angling without a license and various boating related violations. Boat operators are advised to review their life-saving equipment before launching. The water remains cold despite warmer air.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers and trappers. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, ATV violations, and an illegally set trap. Bertram also followed up on wetland-related complaints.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Adam Stennett (Sauk Rapids) focused on spring fishing activity this week. A TIP complaint was taken regarding anglers in Sauk Rapids targeting walleyes out of season. Stennett made contact with four anglers the next evening in the same location and saw them casting crankbaits and actively catching smallmouth bass. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without licenses and taking fish out of season. The TIP caller was notified of the outcome and thanked for the information. While working bow fishers, Stennett encountered a pontoon operating on the Mississippi River at 1:50 a.m. without any navigation lights on. The pontoon was being driven on plane and was a significant safety violation for other boaters on the river. The operator was stopped and enforcement action was taken for operating without navigation lights and expired registration. Enforcement action for the week included fishing without a license, no license in possession, taking fish out of season, lack of boat registration and operating without navigation lights.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) attended K9 training.

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