District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and the Roseau River. Enforcement action was taken on anglers who illegally filleted walleyes on the Lake of the Woods with the intentions of transporting them home. Enforcement action also was taken for possessing illegal-length walleyes, angling without a license, and angling with too many lines. One angler was found angling with 12 lines.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) checked anglers on Upper Red Lake and special-regulation lakes. A TIP report was investigated, and time was spent monitoring snowmobile trial activity. Several car-kill deer possession permits were issued, and a report of an accidental catch of a fisher was handled.
CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored fishing and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Numerous calls were handled, ranging from timber theft to fishing complaints.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on a deer-hunting case that resulted in a violation for an unregistered deer.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) checked trappers, anglers, and snowmobilers. He also handled a car-killed deer, was interviewed by a high school student, attended a sportsman club meeting, and assisted other agencies with weather and license residency issues.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) spent time checking anglers on area lakes. Ice conditions continue to improve with the extremely cold weather, but fishing has been spotty.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) monitored area angling, snowmobiling, and ATVing activity. Enforcement activity for the week included snowmobile registration violations.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) responded to a report of several deer with partially missing legs with the cause still unknown. CO Peterson also worked on a background investigation for a new applicant and attended training.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking fishermen, following up on s trapping complaint, tagging fur, and checking snowmobilers.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) assisted with snowmobile safety class in Battle Lake during the weekend. Due to less-than-desirable weather, few snow machines have been observed operating on the trails.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) focused enforcement activity on fishing and fish shelters without proper identification and shelter tag displayed. This continues to be a common problem in the area.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) investigated complaints of double-tripping for crappies on an area lake. Osborne also checked fishermen and snowmobiles and issued citations for various fishing violations.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fishing and spearing enforcement on area lakes. Despite the cold, the fish have been biting, and several overlimit complaints remain under investigation. Additional time was spent working ATV and snowmobile enforcement, as well as checking a few varmint hunters. Three deer were found shot and left in a field northeast of Miltona in Douglas County. Anyone with information is urged to call the TIP line at 1-800-652-9093.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, snowmobile operators, and coyote hunters. Calls were fielded regarding injured animals.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked anglers, snowmobilers, and dark house spear fishermen during the week. Parthun also began work on a background investigation of a conservation officer candidate.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked snowmobilers, fishermen, and trappers. Officer Hunter received a call about a fisherman who put his fish house 7 feet from someone else’s fish house. Remember that you must be at least 10 feet from someone else’s fish house.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) found few anglers on the ice. He also attended a meeting regarding the fisher/bobcat/pine marten season.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused primary enforcement efforts this week on ice fishing and snowmobiling activity. He also received a call regarding an injured wolf or coyote, which was gone upon his arrival.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) participated in a fishing enforcement detail on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with an invalid husband/wife license, unattended line, angling with an extra line, unregistered snowmobile, and angling without a license in possession.
CO Colleen Adam (OHV recreation officer – Park Rapids) reports that despite the arctic-like weather, snowmobile enthusiasts were still out trying to enjoy the trails. Reminder: Check the status of registration and trail stickers before venturing onto state and grant-in-aid trails.
CO Shane Siltala (Water Resource Enforcement officer) met with SWCD personnel to discuss ongoing WCA case files. He also spent time monitoring snowmobiling activity on local trails.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reports working snowmobiling, trapping, and angling activity, amongst severe cold weather that kept most people indoors. Follow-up on trapping and hunting violations continued, with citations issued in a number of cases. Numerous citations were issued for no state park permit, which were supplied to the officer from park staff for the previous summer’s delinquent permit purchase list.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time checking anglers and dark house fishermen on Virginia-area lakes. With the extreme cold weather in northeastern Minnesota, few anglers were seen.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports fresh snow fell after recent freezing rain and extreme cold, making trail conditions excellent for those who want to brave minus 30 degrees. Angling activity was scarce, and reports of success were rare. Violations included failure to display registration and speeding.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) reminds snowmobilers to make sure their registration decals are properly displayed. The lakes and trails are in much better condition than they were a couple weeks ago, but there is still a lot of slush in some areas, and now there is a fair amount of drifted snow, so use caution when traveling on the lakes.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked with other officers for the BWCA trout opener. Brutal temps and winds didn’t keep many from wetting or icing up a line. Several people were encountered winter camping. The CO is always amazed that people remember everything needed to survive, fish, and camp in the challenging conditions, but forget their fishing licenses and BWCA self-issue permits. One person said he didn’t think that he needed to bring his license into the BWCA because he believed he’d never be checked on a remote lake when it was 30 below zero. He thanked the COs for doing their job and proving him wrong.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a very cold and quiet BWCA trout-fishing opener. Cross-country skiers showed much-improved compliance with trail pass possession.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked mainly ice anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week. One evening while checking anglers, the officer observed an archery deer license with a site tag attached. The license contained a harvest registration number even though the site tag was not validated or removed from the license. Enforcement action was taken for tagging violations.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent time in the BWCAW with area officers, checking trout anglers during the opener. Snowmobile trails were monitored, and equipment maintenance was completed.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked area lakes and snowmobile trails, investigated a call about a deer that had been shot, and picked up furbearers that had been incidentally caught.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails, and assisted the State Patrol with vehicles that went off the road. Enforcement action was taken for expired registration and operating snowmobile on roadway.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice anglers and snowmobile activity during the week. CO Sutherland took enforcement action for spearing without a license, no license in possession, no license on a permanent angling house, no registration on a snowmobile, and speeding on a snowmobile.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working trapping and snowmobiling activity. Wichmann also assisted with an investigation that resulted in enforcement action taken for shooting from a motor vehicle.
CO John Velsvaag (Region 2 ATV officer) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. CO Velsvaag also followed up on a trapping violation and took a couple calls regarding road-killed animals.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) checked anglers, dark house spearers, and bait on infested and other area waters. Wetland Conservation Act and protected public waters caseloads were tracked. Early bobcat (shining) complaints and illegal trapping were investigated.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued working on a background investigation for a possible new hire as a conservation officer. Officer Duncan also spent several days working trout-fishing enforcement in the BWCA.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) reports working ice angling and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Subzero temperatures during the past week made outdoor activity difficult at times. Violations regarding angling, snowmobiling, and ATV operation/registration were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports two complaints about trespassing have been received and are being worked. One is on an agriculture field, the other is a person’s front yard near a road ditch that has newly planted trees.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked snowmobilers and ice anglers during a very cold and wintry week. Some anglers need to remember to purchase a fishing license before they fish and to measure their fish where a special size regulation is in place. A snowmobile detail was worked, with many sleds checked in the Duluth area.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) checked anglers and monitored snowmobiling activity. The officer responded to an accident in which a snowmobiler traveling on the Paul Bunyan Trail failed to stop at a road crossing and ran into a car. Nobody was hurt.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing and snowmobiling enforcement. Officer Guida checked some anglers who had not signed their licenses. Officer Guida offered his pen to one individual who proceeded to accidentally drop it down the hole. An attempt was made to recover it, but resulted in the angler getting wet. One of the anglers said that they hadn’t been checked in 15 years of fishing and blamed the other angler for the bad luck.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on fishing enforcement this week. He also worked on complaints regarding litter on the ice and fish houses abandoned at public accesses. He also checked trappers in the Pillsbury forest. Reports of deer carcass dumping continue to arrive.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area lakes. A complaint about a possible car through the ice was handled. The vehicle was partially through the ice when found, but eventually completely was submerged.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking snowmobilers and fishermen throughout the week. A lot of sleds were seen out at the beginning of the week, but there were fewer as the temperatures dropped to dangerous levels during the weekend. The officer also issued a car-kill deer permit and answered lots of fishing-, snowmobiling-, and small-game-related law questions. A call about someone putting barbed wire across a GIA snowmobile trail was investigated, and the barbed wire was removed. The officer also checked on the possible theft of firewood from a state forest and checked several parties who had permits for cutting firewood.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Mike Martin (St. Cloud) checked snowmobilers and anglers during the past week. Time also was spent on a pre-employment background investigation and unmarked fish houses, as well.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) reported that while checking anglers she encountered a number of fishermen who did not have their fishing licenses with them. CO Kuske had one couple who swore they had valid fishing licenses at home were found to have run to the store to buy their fishing licenses as soon as the CO left the lake.
WREO Keith Bertram spent the week checking anglers and conducting follow-up on wetland violations.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) received trespass complaints related to coyote hunters, which included shooting from a public road onto posted property, taking a wild animal on agriculture land without permission, allowing their hounds to pursue game onto private property without permission, and shooting from motor vehicles. CO Kuske heard from several people that were upset about the lack of respect these hunters showed toward private property, damaging the relationship between hunters and property owners. A snowmobile trespass complaint area was inspected; snowmobile club officials posted more signs to keep people on the trail and off an agriculture field. A few expired registrations were found, and one sledder was stopped for excessive noise. The operator had replaced the factory muffler with an after-market model because he wanted his sled to be louder. While patrolling area lakes CO Kuske noticed a high amount of trash left on the ice by fishermen, most of which was cans and bottles thrown out along the paths and roads plowed across the lake. One individual was cited for using four lines while fishing, while another individual was cited for using an extra line and leaving lines unattended. An ELS vendor expressed concern about the number of duplicate shelter licenses that are being purchased by people who have more than one house on the ice and don’t want to spend the extra money to buy a license for each house. CO Kuske also assisted a resort owner who is experiencing problems with the public trying to access the lake through his property. A reported wetland violation was investigated; a property owner plowed the snow and grass off a wetland area to provide a feeding/loafing area for cattle.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) followed up on a big-game case and a trespassing complaint. He also assisted with a vintage snowmobile permit.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) investigated a TIP call about a big-game case. Anglers and snowmobilers were checked.
CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) checked coyote hunters, anglers, and snowmobilers, and took trespass complaints. Officer Londgren continues to follow up and complete investigations regarding criminal offenses from deer- and pheasant-hunting cases.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked anglers on experimental lakes and rivers in Carver County. Enforcement action was taken for unmarked fish shelters and no reflectors on fish shelters left on the lake overnight, litter on ice around fish shelters, no angling license in possession, taking trout in designated trout lake during the closed season, and failing to display snowmobile registration.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week wrapped up an investigation that resulted in charges for lending and borrowing of archery tags and illegal party hunting. Other violations included license violations and overlimits.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked snowmobilers, ATVer, and ice fishermen. He also patrolled state parks and state trails, and did some equipment maintenance.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Amber Peterson (Maplewood) reports enforcement action was taken for several license violations and two separate cases of illegal-length walleyes on the St. Croix River.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent time checking anglers and working snowmobile and ATV enforcement. CO Arntzen also investigated a trapping complaint, which resulted in enforcement action being taken for failing to check traps daily. He also responded to TIP calls, answered questions about trapping, and arrested an individual who had a gross misdemeanor warrant.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week. ATV activity was monitored on the area lakes.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) finished working on a big-game case, handled calls with questions regarding snowmobile registration, and submitted a deer-hunting report to a county attorney.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) advises that wind, snow, ice, and subzero temperatures slowed outdoor activities during the week. A few smaller fish shelters were blown over as a result of the blizzard conditions.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ice anglers and sledders. Blowing snow, rain, and sub-zero temps are wreaking havoc on trails.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) reports assistance was given to a South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks warden regarding an investigation.
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) issued two WCA extensions, and a certificate of completion was issued in Renville County. Officer Hanson completed a site visit on a complaint in Murray County for a possible public waters violation.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) primarily checked ice-fishing activity in addition to snowmobiling and ATVing activity. He also followed up on a snowmobiling trespass complaint and a littering complaint. Denz also assisted the local sheriff’s department with a vehicle rollover.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked on a report about a snowmobiler driving in a WPA and possibly hunting from the sled in a neighboring station. Assistance to local departments was given during a period of poor road conditions.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) investigated reports of possible deer-hunting violations, injured wildlife, and trapping complaints.
CO Jason Beckmann (Windom) spent the week following up on investigations, and checking snowmobiling activity and sport fishing. He also worked the close of archery deer and pheasant seasons.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked anglers and snowmobile operators. Vehicles tires have gone through the ice on an area lake. Lots of vehicles had traveled through the area before this happened, further evidence of the phrase, “ice is never safe.”
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) checked anglers, fish houses, and snowmobilers. Various calls from the public were handled. Enforcement action was taken for angling and fish house violations.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) followed up on deer-hunting cases. An illegal burn was addressed.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports he’s received several trespass complaints. Finally, an investigation was completed regarding an unlawfully taken 10-point buck.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports continuing follow-up on deer-hunting season cases. There was an incident in which an occupied car went off the road onto the Mississippi River and through the ice. The car and two victims have been recovered.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the week checking ice-fishing activity. Some minor fishing violations were detected.
CO Scott Fritz (La Crescent) reports snowmobile trails need more snow. Squirrels were not active due to the cold weather. He continues to follow up on deer-hunting complaints.