District 4 - Walker area
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked the muzzleloader deer-hunting opener. He checked a few hunters but most stayed in because of the winter storm. Complaints of deer-carcass dumping and unregistered deer were investigated. A complaint of road hunters in the Pillager area was also received. Ice angers were out and are catching some fish, but the ice conditions are poor and dangerous as most area lakes still have open water. He checked snowmobilers riding the ditches trying to get in their first rides of the season.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily worked on open deer-season cases. Ice fishing was checked in the area. Lake ice thickness is extremely variable with open water showing on many lakes where there was once ice. Some anglers are walking out on foot and finding up to 8 inches on shallow-water lakes that froze early. Safety precautions should be taken if venturing out on the ice. Recent heavy snowfall in the area will prevent the ice from getting thicker for the foreseeable future.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked muzzleloader hunting activity and snowmobile and trail enforcement. Guida continued training COC Ryan Hanna during Step 4 of the field training process. Guida and Hanna assisted a local police department with a fatal snowmobile crash investigation.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for late-season small- and big-game hunters. Time was also spent investigating cases from the firearms deer season. Station patrol watercrafts were also winterized and stored.
CO Tim Collette (Brainerd West) followed up on big-game cases from the deer season, checked muzzleloader hunters and anglers, and monitored some of the first snowmobilers of the season. A TIP call of possible poached deer and reports of deer feeding in the CWD zone were handled.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) and COC Leeb report patrolling for big-game hunting and fishing activity. Few individuals were found due to weather conditions. With increased snowmobile activity, officers urge riders to check their registration before heading out. The SRA was patrolled for any illegal activity. Enforcement action was taken for park violations and calls for service were answered.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) and COC Mikeena Mattson worked muzzleloader deer hunting, trapping activity, ORV activity, snowmobile activity, and fishing activity. Hunting and fishing activity was lower due to weather conditions. Enforcement action was taken for possessing and transporting a protected animal without a permit and failure to display current snowmobile registration.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) followed up on firearms deer cases and worked muzzleloader activity. Seasonal equipment changes were also handled.
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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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District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling ATV riders and conducting hunting-related enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for duck hunting during the closed season, duck hunting with toxic shot, duck hunting with an unplugged shotgun, and allowing youth to hunt illegally. Whiteoak also spent time following up on various deer-hunting and public land questions.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) spent the past week following up on investigations from the deer season. She answered muzzleloader-hunting questions and completed reports.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) finished up on some deer-season cases and trespass violations. The muzzleloader deer season started with trespass and hunter-harassment calls coming in. Ice fishing has been hampered by deep snow. Starr took enforcement action for failing to register deer, which seems to be a common violation.
District 11 - St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week checking pheasant hunters. A background investigation for the upcoming Academy was initiated and time was also spent following up on complaints from the deer season. The first substantial snow brought out some snowmobilers, who were seen out riding area ditches.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) continued to work on deer cases this past week. He worked a lend-and-borrow case and discovered that several other deer were illegally harvested. An additional deer case continues to be looked into.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the past week working deer-season follow up. Calls about dogs chasing deer and carcass-dumping complaints were handled. The first snowmobile riders of the season were also checked.
District 12 - Princeton area
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) enforced snowmobile laws on the roads and trails. Local agencies were assisted with vehicles in the ditches. Class presentations were given at Princeton High School about a career as a conservation officer.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week following up on deer-hunting cases. Krauel also checked several ice anglers and spent time patrolling for snowmobile activity.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked hunters and anglers. Hunting complaints and animal-related calls were handled. ATV complaint areas were worked.
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If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador or one of the Advanced Hunter programs, contact your local conservation officer or regional safety training officer. Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR website.
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NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) worked on Aviation training and attended to administrative tasks.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a wolf telemetry flight and conducting winter flight planning.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance items and completed a post-maintenance test flight on a helicopter. He also worked on administrative tasks.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the past week working on ongoing public waters, Wetland Conservation Act and aquatic plant management cases. Updates and status notes were made and many cases were closed out. Many hunting and fishing questions were fielded and answered.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) worked on case updates in his assigned area. Meetings where conducted and calls for service answered. A conference call was conducted with fellow WREOs.
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Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement