CO Reports: State Forests, Parks have remote camping regulations

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - September 14, 2021

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District 9 - Brainerd area

CO (Conservation Officer) Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked with local agencies to locate a person on state property who had a felony warrant. The person was taken into custody and advised of remote camping regulations.

Sullivan continued an ongoing litter investigation. Sullivan also made contacts with people violating invasive species regulations.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) worked the Emily/Outing ATV Trail, seeing few riders at the end of the weekend. He talked to teal hunters as they finished off the season. He reminded campers at remote sites of the current fire restrictions preventing campfires in the area.

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Your outdoor fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down -- pitch a tent and spend the night!

Camping is fun - Follow the rules; be respectful of your fellow campers. -

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CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking anglers and bear hunters. Nuisance-wildlife questions were answered. Several shoreline violations were also addressed.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked on a background investigation for a potential conservation officer candidate. Guida checked youth hunters attempting to hunt ducks and geese during the Youth Waterfowl Weekend. A large black bear was reported shot during the early morning hours and is being investigated. Car-killed-deer permits were also issued.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spent the week working bear and waterfowl hunters, anglers and ATV riders. Enforcement action was taken for no small-game license, no helmets on kids and riding on the bow.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked anglers on area lakes. He patrolled areas for bear hunting and ATV activity, and checked waterfowl hunters.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling area WMAs for early teal hunters and pre-season bowhunters. ATV enforcement patrols were also conducted. Vinton began work on background investigations for potential new COs and conducted annual EVOC training at Camp Ripley.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent time checking youth waterfowl hunters and assisting Becker County with several calls for service. Swedberg worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers to conduct investigations and interviews on several groups on whom they received TIPs during the teal season. Citations were issued for shooting mallards and wood ducks during the teal season, and several trespassing issues were addressed with hunters throughout the week. Always ask for permission before entering someone’s property.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked complaints of trespass, deer shining, and a turkey killed out of season. Peterson also worked OHV enforcement and bear-hunting/baiting activity.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked youth waterfowl, goose hunting, ATV riding, angling, and bear hunting. Cross also handled numerous complaints. Additionally, he assisted the Hubbard and Cass county sheriff’s offices. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and watercraft violations.


CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports conducting equipment maintenance and checking bear hunters/baits, anglers and ATV riders. He handled several calls regarding trespass complaints in WMAs as well as numerous calls related to the upcoming hunting seasons. Seifermann is also assisting with background investigations of future hires.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for bear and migratory waterfowl hunting and recreational vehicle activity. Baum patrolled a local fishing contest and found many anglers having luck. He was informed by the fishing contest staff there was a boat taking on water. Baum assisted the anglers getting their boat safely to the access.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) continued to patrol ATV and hunting activity in the area. Calls were received on ATV complaints and big-game violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) spent the week focusing primarily on bear-hunting activities. Time was also spent enforcing ATV activities and checking a few anglers and waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action was taken for fishing while fishing privileges are revoked, expired ATV registration, failure to display ATV registration, improper bear-bait signs, placing bear-bait warning signs, and for two people hunting over unregistered bear-bait stations.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked bear hunting, monitored OHV activity and investigated TIP complaints. Angler success was great this week. Enforcement action was taken for allowing illegal operation of ATVs by juveniles, illegal transportation of fish and license issues.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked bear-hunting activities, with the hunter success rate being very high. Sutherland also worked fall fishing activities. With the water cooling, fish are starting to become active again. Enforcement actions were taken for operating an ATV on a U.S. highway and not displaying valid registration numbers.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) responded to several nuisance-wildlife and injured-animal calls. Bear-hunting activity has slowed significantly after the first week. Assistance was given to other law enforcement agencies and enforcement action was taken for various violations, including burning prohibited materials.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent the week monitoring angling and ATV activity. Time was also spent checking bear hunters. Several calls were fielded regarding the upcoming hunting seasons. A possible shoreline violation was also followed up on.


CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating and ATV activity, as well as waterfowl and bear hunting. She also checked bear baits in area. Whiteoak followed up on a call in which a group of youth waterfowl hunters accidentally shot a cormorant. In that case, enforcement action was taken for allowing minors to hunt illegally/violate game laws, hunting waterfowl without a plug in a shotgun, taking a cormorant, and failure to have legal life-saving devices in a boat. She also assisted the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with a medical and an ATV crash.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on bear-season issues and attended training. A wetland restoration order and wolf-depredation cases were also worked on. ATV and dirt bike registration items were also taken care of.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked waterfowl hunting, bear hunting, sport fishing, boat and water enforcement, and ATV/OHM enforcement this past week. Enforcement action was taken for ATV/OHM violations and boat and water violations. One life jacket is required for each occupant of motorized and non-motorized watercraft, even in shallow water. More information on boat and water safety can be found in the Minnesota DNR Boating Regulations book. Calls were fielded regarding sport fishing, ATV use in a state forest, and bear hunting.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) continued working the early teal and goose seasons in the area, with lower numbers of birds and hunters this week. He received several calls about waterfowl hunters’ shots landing on buildings and reminds hunters to be aware of their shots. Westby also worked ATV riders, boaters, and bear-related complaints. Westby also gave a talk in Pierz for an ATV class.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked with neighboring officers on waterfowl work this week. He also focused on fishing, boating and AIS this week. Vehicle maintenance was also completed this week.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking hunters and anglers. Training was attended and a wetland complaint was also investigated.

Aviation Section

Standby NR (Natural Resources) Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports flying three Lake Vermilion creel surveys, continued coordination with a biologist and contract pilot, and attended to administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying creel flights throughout the week. Various violations were relayed to local officers for follow-up.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed the final plots for the helicopter spraying of invasive hybrid cattails on state WMAs. The Roseau River WMA was the last group of plots. All told, 2,500 acres were sprayed this season. He also did fire duty and training with the helicopter at the Brainerd Tanker Base.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) worked on upcoming flight schedules. He flew creel flights on Rainy Lake and Cass Lake and also attended to aircraft-maintenance issues.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on cases in his assigned area. Time was spent checking early teal and goose hunters. Time was spent instructing EVOC for current officers at Camp Ripley.

WREO Luke Belgard (SW) worked angling, boating, and waterfowl activity this week. Local WMAs were patrolled for activity and time was spent monitoring public access sites for AIS violations.

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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement


I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with numerous job titles since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently as Digital Editor. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work these 30+ years. I was present and worked on the our web page when our original website first went live on April 26, 1994.
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