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CO Reports: We can do better - don't leave litter, garbage on the lakes

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - April 18, 2023

Photo illustration / Shutterstock, Inc.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) removed an abandoned ice shelter, chairs and equipment from a lake and removed dumped appliances from a stream on state forest land. Public lands and waters are not a trash can. Enforcement action was taken for no ATV registration and no helmets on kids. All state forest roads and ATV trails remain closed for the spring melt.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time attending training at Camp Ripley throughout the week.


CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) checked some early ATV riders out enjoying the warmer days over the week. Enforcement action was taken for juveniles without helmets, expired registration and operating an ATV without headlights. Remember to renew your ATV registration if you have not done so already.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked turkey hunters during the recent season opener.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing enforcement and assisted with Camp Ripley in-service training this week. Guida made an enforcement contact resulting in numerous ATV violations. A reminder to area riders the designated trails remain closed until deemed open, which usually occurs May 1. See the DNR website or DNR social media pages for additional details on trail conditions and openings.

CO Andrew Ladzinski (Pine River) attended annual in-service training at Camp Ripley. He also spent time patrolling local lakes for angling activity and checking turkey hunters and spring beaver trappers. He followed up on a complaint of a couch left on the ice on Upper Hay Lake. Anglers are continuing to have luck catching bluegills and crappies even with the deteriorating ice conditions.


District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) attended annual in-service training at Camp Ripley.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports receiving a radio call from local county dispatch that a pack of wolves had run across the highway near Perham, and one was struck by a vehicle and was injured in the ditch. Vinton arrived at the scene and discovered a person feeding the “wolf” some pizza. The “wolf” turned out to be an injured dog, and it was transported to a local vet where it was treated. The owner of the dog was notified. Area lake accesses have begun to deteriorate with the warm weather. ATV operators are reminded that operation of ATVs in county and state road right-of-ways south of U.S. Highway 10 is prohibited from April 1 to Aug. 1. An abandoned fish house was removed from an aquatic management area.

CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week patrolling for ATV and sport fishing activity. Fox also conducted radio maintenance and answered calls regarding dead and dying deer. Violations this week included ATV-registration issues.


CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked the turkey and stream trout openers. Both saw low participation and limited harvest. Peterson also readied spring and summer equipment and met with a county attorney about a case.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time patrolling lakes in the area. Very few anglers were out, but unfortunately a lot of litter was seen, including bags of human feces. Annual training was attended at Camp Ripley. Forest Roads are currently closed into Huntersville and Shell City campgrounds, with additional closures coming soon. Refer to the DNR website, and look for signage as the spring thaw progresses, for additional closures.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) attended training at Camp Ripley for a majority of the week. Time was spent fielding numerous questions and conducting equipment maintenance as well. Enforcement action was taken for driving violations.


CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked Cass County lakes for angling activity. Fishing pressure is low due to poor ice conditions. McGowan also worked a detail on the Rainy River. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check ice anglers. The ice has weakened considerably and conditions are quite variable. Extreme caution is advised. Enforcement action was taken for an ATV violation.

CO Corey Sura (Remer) checked a few of what likely will be the last anglers on the ice. Sura also worked the spring turkey season opener and spent a day patrolling the Rainy River during the catch-and-release walleye and sturgeon seasons. Violations encountered included expired boat and ATV registration, fishing without a valid license, fishing with extra lines, and possession of marijuana. A call was taken about a Canada goose holding a family hostage in their home.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports attending training in St. Paul. He also received several calls regarding injured animals as well.


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) received a call of an accidentally taken otter. Enforcement action was taken for litter left on the lake.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked angling activity and recreational vehicles during the previous week. Ice conditions have significantly deteriorated with the recent warm weather and rain. Time was also spent investigating a TIP complaint and handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints. Holt followed up on a big-game-hunting violation from the previous bear season.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time at Camp Ripley for annual in-service training. Time was also spent instructing the new State Patrol Academy in officer water survival training. Turkey hunting got off to a slow start with difficult weather conditions for the first weekend.


District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) attended in-service training and made firearms safety class plans. Lingering winter weather hampered spring outdoor use, but some ATV riders were out and about. Litter and fish house debris problems on Mille Lacs Lake were also investigated.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked the stream trout opener in the southeast part of Minnesota. Time was also spent at Camp Ripley for annual training. Griffith took calls regarding litter left out on Mille Lacs Lake.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked ATV riders and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for illegal ATV operation on the roadways and for ATV speed. Benkofske also investigated and cited a cabin owner for filling part of an area lake with sand.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) patrolled area lakes and rivers for snowmobile and angling activities. Ice is starting to recede on area lakes and there are several pockets of open water. All of the Mississippi River is open in the area and flowing heavily. Please stay off the river until water levels are lower. Several phone calls about bears were handled and are a good reminder that if you have bears in the area, bring in your garbage cans, bird feeders, and grills until the bear moves on. Please call if you are having any problems in the future. Time was spent preparing boats and other spring equipment.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) gave instructions and assisted with Division training at Camp Ripley. Training in officer water survival was also given to the cadets of the current State Patrol Academy at the Little Falls Community pool.

CO Trent Anderson (St. Cloud) attended annual in-service training. Time was spent assisting other local agencies and following up on TIP reports. The turkey season has been off to a slow start due to the variable weather conditions.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Adam Stennett (Sauk Rapids) spent most of the week working the turkey opener. Activity was slow but a few nice toms were seen in fields. A call of an injured loon on the University Avenue Bridge in St. Cloud was fielded. Stennett caught the disoriented loon and returned it safely to the Mississippi River. A firearms safety class was attended and assistance to other agencies was provided. Enforcement action for the week included transporting a loaded shotgun in a motor vehicle, hunting without a license in possession and various ATV-equipment violations.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) attended K9 training.

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