District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) worked with two state trappers regarding the trapping of nuisance wolves. A law and ethics presentation was given to the Warroad firearms safety class. Anglers were checked on the Roseau River and Hayes Lake, and enforcement action was taken for fishing with extra lines.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) responded to calls regarding a car-struck bear and an injured hooded merganser. He investigated complaints about ATV trespass and early bear baits. During the first weekend of bear baiting, Woinarowicz monitored baiting activity, finding violations for using ATVs in WMAs and non-biodegradable bear bait.
CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) worked AIS enforcement on the Red River, Red Lake River, and Thief Lake River.
CO Keith Backer (Blackduck) focused efforts handling calls about nuisance bears. Several nuisance bears were shot by hunters (nuisance permit) and landowners. Additional time was spent checking fishermen on experimental-regulation lakes and checking ATV operators and ATV registrations.
CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored fishing, boating, and bear-baiting activity throughout the week.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time touring his new station and meeting with other law enforcement partners and DNR staff.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked ATVers, anglers, boaters, and invasive species enforcement. A wolf depredation case was completed, while complaints about bears continue to increase. The CO responded to an illegal dock, an injured baby squirrel, and a wildfire that was determined to have been started by a bad bearing on a hay baler.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling and boating activity on area lakes. CO Vollbrecht assisted the sheriff’s department with the search of a wooded area for an individual. The individual later was found deceased. Time was spent patrolling closed forest trails and roads for illegal ATV operation.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports following up on weed-roller permit inspections, checking anglers, and issuing restoration orders for the county soil and water conservation district.
CO Joe Stattelman (Detroit Lakes) spent the week finishing field training with COC Lawler. Fishing and boating activities were monitored. Contacts were made with the Becker County attorney regarding pending cases.
CO Stacey Sharp (Bemidji) monitored angling and boating activities on area lakes. He responded to calls about injured animals and patrolled state parks and primitive camp sites along the Mississippi River.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Traci Hanson attended a township meeting to discuss invasive species. Hanson also met with Pennington County officials to look at a wetland complaint, attended an aquatic invasive species training session for tribal members, picked up a possible snail located in bait, and patrolled for WCA and invasives violations in Pennington, Marshall, and Otter Tail counties.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) spoke to youth attending the Minnesota Waterfowl Association’s “Woodie Camp” at the Fergus Falls Prairie Wetland Center and assisted with a firearm safety class in Underwood.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked fishing and boating enforcement. Depredation complaints were handled as we complaints about nuisance beavers.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) worked a complaint involving a fence across a river/wetland. Fish overlimit complaints were received and worked with CO Richards.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) reports several weed-roller cases were investigated, and in one case a lake homeowner was found to be operating two unpermitted weed rollers on his lakeshore. The man admitted to having operated the rollers in past years without permits, and also admitted to moving and operating the weed rollers on neighboring rental properties that he owns.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Wheaton) began training COC Beckmann this week. Baumbarger and COC Beckmann attended a border water fisheries meeting in Ortonville and another meeting in Fergus Falls. Enforcement action was taken for various boating safety equipment violations, angling without a license in possession, angling with extra lines, and illegally operating an ATV on a state highway.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) and COC Lawler spent time on the Alexandria chain of lakes where multiple violations were found, including fishing without a license.
CO Kurt Nelson (Glenwood) spent the week on AIS and fishing enforcement. Activity has dropped off considerably on area lakes due to summer vacations drawing to a close.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) began checking bear baits. Many areas are still inaccessible because of trees blown down during the July storm. ATV activity has increased, and time was spent riding and monitoring ATV trails.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked area bear baiting and ATVing activity. She patrolled area lakes, checking boaters and fishermen.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on sportfishing, boating, AIS enforcement, and OHV activity. He also responded to a call for assistance from the Cass County Sheriff’s Department regarding a missing person. The person was located prior to the CO’s arrival.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring ATV, boating, and angling activities. Angling success seems to be picking up in the Longville area. CO Broughten observed several bear hunters taking to the woods with the start of baiting. CO Broughten also fielded several calls concerning nuisance bears and assisted with firearms safety in Longville.
CO Colleen Adam (OHV recreation officer – Park Rapids) worked forest areas, checking bear baiting issues. Many “limited” state forest areas are seeing illegal cross-country motorized travel to access remote locations for placing bait. Hunter/trapper off-trail travel exceptions do not apply to placing bait for bears.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Shane Siltala reports working at the Douglas County Fair this weekend, where he spent time answering many hunting and fishing questions.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes during the week. Public access sites and area forest roads were monitored, with limited activity noted.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) checked bear baiters and answered questions from them. Area lakes and rivers were patrolled. Enforcement action was taken for failing to display current registration.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) continues to receive nuisance bear reports. The CO received a call questioning if there was any recourse for someone whose old Lab was shot by a neighbor claiming it was chasing deer. The caller believed the dog wouldn’t chase deer.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers. Fishing activity is still slow. CO Velsvaag also checked bear-baiting activity and handled a protected waters violation on an area lake.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) investigated a complaint of tampering with fish nets. Anglers were checked on inland lakes and Lake Superior tributaries. The officer also taught the law and ethics portion of the Silver Bay firearm safety class and presented an award to one of the volunteer instructors. Wahlstrom responded to calls about injured wolves and checked bear bait stations.
CO Dan Thomasen (Two Harbors) responded to a bear complaint in which a bear had entered a homeowner’s porch in search of food. Bear baiting activity is in full swing, with some baits appearing to be hit. A few successful moose applicants have been seen out scouting their moose zone.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Brent Speldrich (NE ATV Rec) worked a detail at a local event during the weekend. During the detail he had enforcement contacts for no ATV registration, failing to display current registration, operating an ATV against traffic after sunset, operating an ATV with too many people on it, youth operating without a helmet, parents allowing illegal operation, and operating an ATV without required lighting. During the detail, he also arrested two intoxicated ATV operators. One, while getting a free ride to the Crow Wing County jail, found out that he was losing his ATV because of his driving history and level of intoxication. The state is retaining this machine, as it is in the process of being forfeited. Officer Speldrich also patrolled local ATV trails and worked early bear baiting areas.
CO Randy Patten (Northome) dealt with wolf livestock depredation problems, bear damage, a road-killed moose, an ongoing wetland case, and an injured deer.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) removed a party from a state forest campground, and issued a verbal trespass notice to the party for issues in two different state forest campgrounds. The party will be served a formal notice in the near future.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) took an interesting call during the week. He was called to a local sports complex where a young man decided to get a closer look at some Canada geese. As the man approached, the flock of geese started to take off from the grassy location. The young man threw his baseball bat at the flying geese. One goose was struck and knocked to the ground. The goose’s wing was broken, and another individual standing nearby thought that he should dispatch the goose since it could no longer fly. An individual living nearby saw the events unfold and called TIP. Enforcement action was taken for taking a goose out of season and by using an illegal method of take.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked area accesses for invasive species. Early bear-baiting complaints were investigated.
CO Randy Hanzal Duluth (Duluth) reports bear baiting has begun in the area and several baiting sites were inspected. Officer Hanzal worked with an 1854 Treaty officer. While they were on patrol together, a small fire was spotted. The two officers worked together to put the fire out before it could spread to a nearby forest and grassland.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports assistance was given to a nuisance-wolf trapper who had incidentally caught a bear. By using a piece of plywood, the CO was able to release the bear without any injury. Time was also spent working on closing out an old case from the previous hunting season and checking anglers along the St. Louis River in Cloquet.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Mike Scott completed paperwork and other required information for the aquatic invasive species road check held in the Duluth area last Sunday.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. State park construction projects were checked, with people encouraged to follow the signs showing access points and parking areas designed for visitor safety.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Nikki Shoutz (Pine River) reports an injured osprey was found on the shore of Whitefish Lake, was taken to a local animal hospital, and is expected to make a full recovery from a gunshot wound. Officer Shoutz also took a report about a horse attacked by an animal that left long scratches down its neck and flanks. Early bear baits were investigated. ATV enforcement was conducted during the weekend.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) assisted the Aitkin Sheriff’s Department with a reported watercraft fire on Mille Lacs Lake that turned out to be someone burning leaves on shore.
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) checked bear-baiting activity, monitored boat landings for invasive species, and checked anglers. One individual who was issued a ticket for an overlimit of sunfish was found a few days later bringing three other people back to the same spot. When checked again, the four anglers had a total of 194 sunfish, 114 over their limit. All received citations.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dustie Heaton (Willow River) received many calls regarding bears damaging corn crops, bird feeders, and an ATV. She investigated a call about a dead lynx that ended up being a very large, car-killed bobcat.
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) helped staff the DNR booth at Game Fair. Verkuilen also assisted with a Lake Mille Lacs road check for invasive species.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reported working an AIS checkpoint in the area of Mille Lacs. A complaint about a party putting up bear bait signs early was investigated. The officer also assisted a neighboring officer with a TIP complaint.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) fielded numerous calls about nuisance bears, questions about the upcoming hunting seasons, and wetlands complaints. He followed up on complaints associated with bear baiting and wetlands, and worked ATV enforcement.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) continued to deal with gray wolves harassing and killing livestock. Also, many farms were visited that had trouble with black bears damaging cornfields. Several complaints from bear hunters were investigated, and time was spent enforcing aquatic invasive species laws near Mille Lacs Lake.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked AIS, fishing, and boating enforcement. Compliance was excellent. The officer also worked on a protected waters/wetland investigation.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spoke at the Big Birch Lake Association’s annual meeting, the Albany firearms safety class, and spent a day at Game Fair answering questions from the public.
CO Mike Martin (St. Cloud) initiated a felon in possession of a firearm report that resulted in an arrest late in the week.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Brian Dobbick (Cambridge) checked boaters and anglers on area lakes and rivers. Complaints about animals were handled, and a wetlands violation was investigated with a cease and desist order issued.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) reports bear baiting has started, with few complaints. Some trespass calls were handled, along with a complaint about dogs chasing deer.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) and COC Mueller had a busy start to Phase 3 of training. The officers investigated two possible wetland violations, patrolled a state park, and checked multiple shore fishermen. A violation was found during an AIS detail for failure to remove a boat’s drain plug. A TIP complaint regarding netting of fish was investigated and resulted in two citations being written.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) reports enforcement action was taken for constructing illegal permanent duck blinds with wooden pallets in a wildlife management area.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked anglers and boaters on the metro area lakes and rivers. He patrolled state parks, state trails, and gave a presentation to a firearm safety class at the Hmong Cultural Center.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) completed an investigation that involved an individual who took a furbearer during the closed season and with no small-game license.
CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) responded to a call about someone placing fill into a wetland. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Thor Nelson (Bloomington) responded to calls regarding angling violations, wetlands destruction, and sick/injured animals.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) patrolled Dakota County for angling activity. Several TIP calls were investigated, and numerous questions were answered for this upcoming hunting season. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations, and one individual was cited for an illegal turtle trap.
CO Travis Muyres (Ham Lake) worked with the county attorney on charging cases from last fall. CO Muyres also talked to a firearm safety class in Andover.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) attended a presentation at the Game Fair at which Mr. Frank Przybilla received the Firearms Safety Instructor of the Year award.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) finished up annual roadside wildlife counts in the area. The officer issued several out-of-state minnow transport permits.
CO Neil Henriksen (Benson) reports a local police department was assisted in locating a bullet fired through a residence.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) reports a shoreline violation is under investigation on Lake Benton.
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) worked invasive species checks on area lakes and rivers, handing out information and educating the public and checking fishermen.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) followed up on a TIP call that turned out to be a legally possessed car-killed deer. He assisted the sheriff’s department with recovering a stolen ATV, and also checked a suspicious vehicle that turned out to be coyote hunters.
CO Jim Steffen (Willmar) spent the week checking fishermen, boaters, and PWC operators. Violations encountered included no boat lights after sunset, no license in possession, failing to display boat registration, and an AIS violation.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted angling and boating checks on area lakes. ATV activity is on the climb, with many being operated in ditches.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports completing his August roadside surveys in the area. Survey results seem to indicate similar numbers as last year.
CO Greg Abraham (New Ulm) assisted in the successful search for a lost 2-year-old in a cornfield. Abraham also investigated a TIP report, checked water and waterfowl conditions on Swan Lake, and dealt with litter problems at public water access sites.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and ATV operators. Officer Ihnen received training in the new firearm safety all-day, field-day classes, responded to an OHM crash, and handled various complaints regarding injured animals.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) completed his training of COC Wichmann and sent him on to step three of his training. The officer attended a work detail on the Minnesota River with neighboring officers. An AIS detail also was worked in the district, with a violation rate near 40 percent.
CO Bob Geving (Mankato) attended firearms safety field-day training and a district meeting. Geving also worked ATV, angling, and boating activities. Enforcement action was taken for unsigned licenses and boating equipment infractions.
WREO Julie Siems (southeast Minnesota) reports several site inspections were conducted with local SWCDs and LGUs. A meeting also was attended regarding the concern about how invasive species are entering Minnesota.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Scott Fritz (La Crescent) reports finishing up a pheasant survey during which he didn’t count a single pheasant.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Zumbrota) reports working another busy week of fishing and boating enforcement. Numerous fall-related calls were taken. Enforcement action addressed license and method violations.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) investigated the first baiting complaint of the year.
CO Phil George (Rochester) followed up on a protected waters complaint and taught the laws and ethics portion of a firearms safety class. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, possession of illegal-length fish, and burning prohibited materials.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports illegal shining complaints have begun to arrive.
While CO Scott Moran (Wabasha) was speaking with some campers at the Zumbro Bottoms Unit, he was called to intervene in a disturbance at a campsite. All was settled, and the disputing family decided to leave the campground and go home.