District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked early goose hunters around Roseau River WMA. Duck, goose, crane, grouse, and bear hunting activity were monitored throughout the weekend. Hunter success on Thief Lake was good, but access to the lake was very tough.
CO Jeff Birchem (Baudette) checked duck and goose hunters, finding many had a successful opening weekend with good numbers of ducks on Lake of the Woods. Diving ducks were the most present with redheads and scaup seen in the bag.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) responded to a call of a black bear caught in a predator controller’s wolf trap. An incident where an elk hunter shot a bull while only possessing an antlerless elk tag is being investigated.
CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) reports follow up on a TIP investigation was conducted.
CO Keith Backer (Blackduck) worked the waterfowl opener with hunters reporting low numbers of mallards. Goose hunters in corn fields did well.
CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) reports grouse hunters are reporting fair success on walking trails and waterfowl hunters are reporting a nice mixed bag of ducks and geese.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports that duck hunters during the opening weekend were reminded of invasive species laws.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) had complaints of trespass, car-killed deer, a fawn caught in a fence, and a large bear dead in a pasture.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) continues to investigate an aquatic plant management complaint and a site visit with the county environmental services was conducted on a wetland violation.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a citation was issued to a hunter who officers watched shoot more than 10 minutes early Saturday morning. His reasoning was since somebody else shot early, he could also.
CO Phil Seefeldt (Moorhead) followed up on a report of deer entrails being found on private property. County deputies reported a suspicious vehicle in that area earlier that morning. CO Seefeldt found the suspicious vehicle at the owner’s residence with blood on the tailgate. The deer was found to be legally taken but the licensee failed to tag the deer. The deer was seized and the licensee cited for failure to tag deer.
CO Joe Stattelman (Detroit Lakes) spent time checking AIS compliance. Several TIP calls were investigated.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked waterfowl hunters during the opening weekend. With assistance from COs Hunter and Stattelman, one hunter was cited for hunting after revocation and arrested for an active warrant. Four others in the same group were also cited for using a motorized decoy.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reported the waterfowl opener started with more hunters afield and good numbers of waterfowl in the area.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) spent time on a license fraud investigation resulting in a charge in Wilkin County.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) reports enforcement action was taken for using spinning wing decoys during restricted times and hunting waterfowl with an unplugged shotgun. A member of the Amish community requested Officer Plautz’s help in getting paperwork faxed to St. Paul to allow the purchase of a license.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) assisted Otter Tail County with an individual with a warrant.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) took complaints of trespass, a dead bald eagle, and numerous duck hunting questions from the duck opener.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) monitored fall fishing and boating activity, and time was spent instructing at the CO Academy at Camp Ripley.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Wheaton) reports enforcement action was taken for unplugged shotgun, no license in possession, unsigned federal waterfowl stamp, and shooting non-game migratory birds.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) handled a complaint regarding persons leaving boats and equipment on a federal waterfowl production area overnight. The group of hunters was surprised to find their three duck boats, shells, waders, and all hunting equipment missing on opening morning, after it was seized by officers the night before for being left on a WPA.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) reports two misinformed hunters learned it is important to know where you are, when they were cited for hunting on a closed game refuge.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) received a call of a group of trespassing hunters and spoke at a trapper’s education class.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) checked a pair of hunters at shore as they were just coming off the lake to their cabin. When asked how the hunt went, they stated they had capsized their boat and had pulled the boat to shore by swimming. The hunters estimated they had been in the water for three hours. The hunters were chilled and tired, but ended up with a shotgun missing. Boaters are reminded to wear your life jackets and be prepared for the worst.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) forwarded information to the Cass Lake CO regarding a turkey taken out of season.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports perch fishing remains good. In one instance it was too good and enforcement action was taken for an over limit. A TIP led to an investigation and violation of hunting turkeys before season and harvesting a turkey without a license.
CO Larry Francis (Remer) conducted follow-up investigation on a complaint regarding a “pet” raccoon.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) attended fall training at Camp Ripley and met with the county attorney concerning open cases.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) approached one group of hunters that were still duck hunting during closed hours. As he did so one of the hunters stated, “I thought you were supposed to be out in Montana elk hunting.” Halverson stated, “No I’m right here”, and took appropriate enforcement action.
CO Shane Siltala (Water Resource Enforcement Officer) investigated a report of a possible aquatic plant management violation, attended an annual APM meeting in St. Cloud, and performed equipment maintenance.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports opening waterfowl was uneventful with some people having a few ducks in the bag. Invasive species enforcement checks on waterfowl hunters found most hunters in compliance.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports a few muskie anglers were fishing Lake Vermilion.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) dealt with a road-killed bull moose. The officer also is looking for assistance in locating the suspects involved in the illegal taking and dumping of two large white-tailed deer bucks a few miles east of Hibbing. The un-harvested deer had been shot elsewhere, the heads removed, and dumped near a road.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time checking bear hunters and their baits, and also located some deer baits.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) reports a nuisance bear was reported getting into dumpsters within town. A hunter has been contacted to try to resolve the problem.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and hunters this past week.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked grouse hunters and ATVs throughout the week. Time was spent doing investigations, checking illegal baiting sites, and doing AIS work.
CO Brad Johnson (Silver Bay) attended training at Camp Ripley. He patrolled at state parks along the North Shore.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) reports complaints of low numbers of grouse in the area were common. The officer responded with advice, “get off the roads and get into the woods.” The roads were busy with tribal moose hunters and leaf lookers.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports a few snow falls and big bulls on the move during the week. The moose rut is on. One person reports that he saw a bull moose mating with a cow.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports salmon are running in Lake Superior tributaries and anglers were also numerous. One angler checked was relieved when the officer walked into the river to retrieve a Rapala lure that he had hooked on a rock declaring, “You just saved me four bucks!” He was not so happy when she replied, “Well, not exactly,” and proceeded to explain regulations regarding single hook requirements and then provided him with appropriate paperwork. Another angler was cited for failing to release two fish he had foul hooked, saying he didn’t think he should just let them go.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) reports low water levels hampered some waterfowler’s efforts.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) investigated a complaint of possible sewage discharge into a local lake.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) reports many different species of waterfowl were harvested over the weekend.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) and COC Wichmann reports an investigation was conducted on a person hunting waterfowl while under revocation. Enforcement action taken.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, watercraft, ATVs, small game and archery deer hunters.
CO Randy Patten (Northome) assisted the sheriff’s office on a welfare check and followed up on bear hunting cases.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) investigated a trespassing complaint. The removal of a beaver dam on private property also was investigated. Officer Schmidt worked the Carlton County Minnesota Deer Hunters Association banquet.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports a firearms safety presentation was given to a small group of newly certified hunters.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) and COC Mueller report that while working an AIS detail in Two Harbors, officers saw a pickup truck with a shopping cart in the back that was completely covered in zebra mussels. Upon further investigation, the driver had found the cart near a dumpster in the Duluth bay. He planned to transport the cart up the North Shore and then back home to North Dakota. The cart was seized and enforcement action was taken.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) assisted at the Carlton Chapter MDHA banquet staffing the TIP Wall of Shame.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spoke to a law enforcement class at Fond Du Lac College about the hiring process and duties of a conservation officer. A talk about new rules and regulations was also given at the Carlton County MDHA banquet in Carlton.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Mike Scott (NE MN) attended the 44th annual Conservation Education Days at the Carlton Forestry Center in Cloquet.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked river anglers targeting pink salmon, as well as archery deer hunters north of Duluth.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers taking advantage of a smaller-than-usual fall salmon run. Due to the floods in June, many rivers have a gravel bar stretching across their mouth that prevents any fish from entering the river.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reported activity included waterfowl opener related work, investigation of deer baiting cases, and work with ongoing shoreline violation cases.
CO Nikki Shoutz (Pine River) reports a firearms safety class law talk was given to over 20 students in Ideal Corners and a “found” canoe on the Pine River was reported.
CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) assisted CO Posner with TIP activity, injured animal calls, and attended annual firearms training at Camp Ripley.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) monitored all-terrain vehicle use on wildlife management areas where it is prohibited.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) assisted at the CO Academy and searched for two lost hikers at Savanna Portage State Park. A park staffer found the hikers but the three spent a cold, wet night in the woods before being helped out by an Aitkin County deputy.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) continued to work on weedroller complaints on Gull Lake.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) reports that among all the things waterfowl hunters need to stay legal, pulling their boat plugs was the most overlooked.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) received a TIP complaint on Lake Mille Lacs of an angler keeping over-length fish.
CO Dustie Heaton (Willow River) received complaints of loud music from campers at a WMA and individuals sighting in rifles close to the caller’s occupied dwelling.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent time checking waterfowl hunters over the weekend.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) assisted with two lost hikers in the Savanna State Forest. They spent the night in the woods but were able to fight off hypothermia until morning.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) worked on a wetland complaint along with other TIP calls.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) investigated a report of illegal shoreline work being done.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) reports attending firearms training and assisting at the academy.
CO Keith Bertram (WREO) took enforcement action for no ATV registration and possession of marijuana.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) assisted at the academy and attended firearms training at Camp Ripley.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) attended a public meeting regarding special regulations on Big Swan Lake.
Conservation Officer Mike Martin (St Cloud) assisted at the academy, was featured on a couple radio shows, and responded to several TIP calls as well.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) investigated a trespass complaint and spoke at a youth firearms safety class.
CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) took complaints of hunter harassment.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) checked goose hunters on the Mississippi River.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave presentations at Ney Park for conservation field day to 5th graders in Wright County.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports four hunters thought they had shot some teal but had actually shot four pied-billed grebes. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Brian Dobbick (Cambridge) worked angling and hunting activity during the week.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked bowhunters and investigated deer baiting complaints.
CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) patrolled Hennepin and Wright counties for waterfowl hunting activity.
CO Jackie Glaser (Metro Water Resources Enforcement Officer) attended a TEP meeting to discuss a wetland violation in Shorewood.
CO Aaron Kahre (Minnetonka) instructed a district shoot at Camp Ripley.
CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) continued as FTO for COC Arntzen who is in his last step of field training. They responded to a TIP call of a possible deer violation.
CO Adam Block (Prior Lake) handled several TIP calls throughout the week.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked duck opener, small game, and bowhunters in the metro area.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) issued two cease-and-desist orders in Anoka County to individuals at separate residences that each had 50-plus loads of dirt dumped in and on the edge of wetlands.
CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) reports a busy waterfowl opener.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) responded to a trespass complaint in Forest Lake and checked on a TIP complaint.
CO Travis Muyres (Ham Lake) talked to a youth group in East Bethel.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) worked a busy waterfowl opener, with many hunters checked in the Big Stone County area.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) had several media contacts regarding hunting season.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports preparation work continues for the upcoming Governor’s Pheasant Opener in Marshall.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) states that several unplugged shotgun violations were found along with unsigned stamps.
CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) reports light ducking hunting pressure in the area on opening weekend.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) reports crops are coming out of the fields quickly.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jim Steffen (Willmar) spent time working AIS issues and returning phone calls on the upcoming hunting seasons.
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) checked goose hunters, anglers, and boaters in addition to fielding animal complaints.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports working a very busy opener to the waterfowl season.
CO Greg Abraham (New Ulm) reports low water levels made hunting difficult. An exception was Swan Lake in Nicollet County, which still had good water levels on opener. Hunter success was good on Swan, with an average take of about 2.5 ducks per hunter on the north end and four ducks per hunter on the south.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) attended the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited, providing literature and answering questions. Gruhlke worked AIS and waterfowl opener weekend.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted investigations and assisted other conservation officers with big-game violations.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) responded to TIP calls and patrolled for AIS violations.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports that many waterfowl hunters were cited for failing to remove their plugs prior to transporting their watercraft. Virtually all of them said that they were aware of the law requiring them to have their drain plugs removed while transporting their watercraft.
CO Bob Geving (Mankato) assisted with an investigation involving a big-game violation and investigated a hunter harassment complaint.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports a productive duck opener this past weekend.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports several calls came in the past weekend that included a boater beaching his boat on a sandbar and a waterfowl hunter asking what the opening day shooting hours were. (The call came in on opening day about 45 minutes after legal shooting. He was going to wait until 9 a.m., which used to be the law before it was changed a couple of years ago. It’s reassuring to have quality hunters trying to do their best to follow the laws.) Officer also responded to a boat capsized from being overloaded. A wave came over the bow of a flat boat and it sank. A good reminder to all waterfowl hunters to make sure not to exceed weight limits on their watercraft. All made it to shore safely.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) assisted with teaching watercraft laws and operation at the CO Academy.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Zumbrota) reports a road-killed bull elk was given to DNR Wildlife staff for testing.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working the waterfowl opener on the Mississippi.
CO Phil George (Rochester) took calls of fawns harvested in the CWD zone. One hunter harvested an adult doe with an ear tag from a game farm.