District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked duck hunters on the Thief Lake and Roseau River WMAs.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) conducted a radio interview with a local station during which the public was able to call in with questions regarding regulations. CO Woinarowicz also spoke at Northland College regarding conservation officer roles and careers.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) reports assistance was given to a trapper in releasing an accidentally caught wolf. CO Hanson also investigated a possible wetlands violation. During a trespass complaint, a deer hunter explained that he knew he was on the correct land where he’d been given permission, as the owner lived up the road and had his sign at the end of the driveway. It was explained to the hunter the land he had permission to hunt was a mile away, and the sign at the end of the driveway was a political sign posted on several driveways across the county for the upcoming election.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking waterfowl hunters, small-game hunters, and monitoring AIS compliance throughout the week.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) and a COC worked hunting and fishing activity. A possible Wetlands Conservation Act violation investigation was started and is pending. A report about dumped waterfowl carcasses was handled.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked waterfowl hunters, boaters, and leechers. He also responded to complaints about hunter harassment, wolf depredation, car-killed animals, camping at a public access, possible deer baiting, and trespass/posting.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) continued training with a COC. They found two hunters who were indulging in marijuana while hunting. Citations were issued, and the drugs were confiscated. They also checked fishermen on the Cass Lake chain and found two fishermen with an overlimit of walleyes on their boat. Further investigation led to the discovery of two more party members and 51 walleyes in total. Citations were issued, and fish were confiscated. CO Vollbrecht also received a complaint about an individual burning garbage. After further investigation, it was determined the individual was burning a trailer and parts of a building. The fire department was called to put the fire out. Charges are pending.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) had contact with an angler who was fishing without a license and was wanted in Becker County for multiple violations. The angler was placed into custody, and CO Vinton transported him to the Becker County jail.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) continued field training with a COC. They responded to a report of shining. Two individuals were arrested, and three have charges pending. A truck and gun also were seized. Officers also responded to multiple tips/complaints and requests for car-kill permits for various animals.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl, bow, and pheasant hunters. A littering case was solved, with a citation issued.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) investigated complaints about people burning garbage and prohibited materials, with one suspect located and a citation issued. Assistance was given to CO Johanson with a possible deer-baiting investigation.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on small-game hunting activity surrounding MEA weekend, along with pheasant hunting, waterfowl hunting, and fishing enforcement.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked duck hunters, small-game hunters, and ATV operators. An aquatic plant violation was investigated, with charges pending.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked waterfowl and deer hunters. Officer Hunter also assisted the county sheriff’s department with a possible trespass violation.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) reports a wolf depredation complaint was investigated; a large cow was killed.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) investigated a TIP of wanton waste involving the dumping of around 100 northern pike.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) assisted the Cass County Sheriff’s Office with a controlled substance DUI arrest. CO Broughten also assisted the Cass County Sheriff’s Office with calls about a suspicious person, a burglary in progress, a lost child, a suicidal person, a stranded boater, and a lost hunter.
WREO Shane Siltala met with county SWCD staff to review possible WCA violations. He also assisted with a site investigation with SWCD staff and met with the landowner to discuss the potential violation.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) assisted CO Velsvaag in an OHM fleeing incident. The officer found two anglers in kayaks who disregarded the basics by not buying fishing licenses, followed up by both taking an overlimit of fish (with one also ignoring the importance of having a life jacket). A group of 10 ATVers and an OHMers ignored “no motorized vehicle” signs on a state trail until the officer got their attention after tracking them down.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time looking for deer baits. In one area, CO Frericks located more deer stands that were baited than ones that did not have bait at them.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked grouse hunters throughout the week. The officer enjoyed seeing a large bull moose with antlers that were right at, or very close to, the 60-inch-wide mark. The officer also observed three trumpeter swans on a small remote lake. He later found out that one of the swans had been poached and left to rot. Anyone knowing or hearing anything about the senseless waste of this beautiful threatened species is asked to please call the Ely COs or the TIP line at 1-800-652-9093.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that this was nuisance bear week. One bear was more than a nuisance when it critically injured a family dog. The owner of the dog shot and killed the bear. Reports about bears breaking into garage and a boat house also were taken. Another bruin wrecked three apple trees and destroyed a bird feeder when it found it to be empty. Wolves continue to walk around the city of Grand Marais during the middle of the day. Watch your pets closely, even in town.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) and his K-9 partner assisted in locating a lost hunter in the Remer station. A 21-year-old hunter had gotten separated from his father while grouse hunting. Darkness and lower temperatures set in, and the hunter had no flashlight or cell phone. CO Fairbanks, K-9 Si, and CO Broughton entered the woods where the hunter was last seen. After following K-9 Si through the woods, over severe blown-down trees, and into a swamp, the cold, wet, hungry hunter was located.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) followed up on a complaint regarding wolves harassing cattle in the Cohasset area.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) reports a waterfowl hunter misidentified his quarry and shot a trumpeter swan. Enforcement action was taken for taking a protected species.
Water Resources Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) investigated and tracked wetland and public waters violations and complaints. CO Arhart also responded to duck overlimits and swan-shooting complaints.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) followed up on complaints about trespassing, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) worked duck hunters during the week. Complaints about hunters shooting after hours were received. The officer participated in some nighttime work that focused on illegal shining.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked a tip call. Someone was reported to have killed a deer and only taken the antlers. It turns out it was a car-killed deer that was no longer good, and one person took the antlers.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked grouse hunters and responded to a call regarding a wolf caught in a coyote trap. Although not happy to see conservation officers approaching, the wolf was released unharmed. An ATV stop resulted in the finding of possession of marijuana, stolen property, and two truant high school students.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) reports a firearm that was seized as evidence in a late-shooting complaint was returned to the owner. The owner paid a substantial fine for not paying attention to his watch.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he received a complaint about a duck hunter leaving an infested water without pulling the plug on his boat. The hunter’s boat did not have a plug, and the hunter had done his best to empty the water.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports that two ethical and concerned waterfowl hunters who observed an individual shoot, injure, and fail to make any effort to retrieve a downed trumpeter swan did the right thing and reported the violation. The reporting hunters went further in assisting the officer with details in locating the violator, and capturing the injured swan. The violator now faces a mandatory court appearance, fines, and restitution in excess of $1,000, along with confiscation of a nice shotgun. The injured swan was taken to the Wild and Free wildlife rehabilitation program at the Garrison Animal Hospital for treatment and possible rehabilitation to be returned to the wild.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) received a complaint about a possible waters violation. Upon investigation, it appears a large amount of sand was dumped into a lake, creating a peninsula into the lake. Further investigation will continue with DNR Waters and the city of Crosslake.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports continuing work with a COC. They took enforcement action for juvenile ATV operations and DWI on an ATV. They also spent time investigating wolf depredation on a local cattle farm.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) and a COC spent the week checking waterfowl hunters and a few anglers. A few waterfowl hunters were found hunting without proper licenses and stamps.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) reports a shining and shooting complaint was investigated. The complainant stated he was eating dinner when a party stopped along the highway and shot near his house.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) handled several trespass calls relating to duck hunting and people placing deer stands on property lines. CO Kuske also assisted with the Camp Ripley archery hunt. Enforcement action was taken when an individual brought an untagged deer and unvalidated site tag to the check station. His hunting partner said tagging the deer wasn’t that important, but they changed their mind when informed that with those two violations comes a three-year revocation of big-game hunting privileges.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) dealt with a group of four youth duck hunters who were having a rough day. They first got talked to by the city police as they were hunting in a closed area within the city limits. While they were talking with the officer and CO Kuske, their duck boat floated away. They were able to retrieve the boat, and CO Kuske found that they had lost one of their dad’s life jackets that morning and one youth did not have the required federal duck stamp.
WREO Keith Bertram spent most of the week conducting wetland follow-up and serving wetland restoration orders.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Princeton) checked horse trail passes, followed up on trespassing and dogs-chasing-deer complaints, patrolled state and federal lands, and checked for AIS compliance at public accesses.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) followed up on a number of deer-baiting issues.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) received a call about an injured bald eagle stuck in a tree. The eagle was hanging upside down about 25 feet in the tree. It appeared the eagle’s talons were caught between two branches. CO Langevin contacted the Lindstrom Fire Department for help. The fire department responded with its ladder truck, which was driven within 40 feet of the tree. CO Brad Johnson was then lifted up in the ladder truck bucket and safely retrieved the eagle. The eagle was transported to the Raptor Center for care. CO Langevin also responded to a call about an alligator in a city park near Chisago Lake. The alligator ended up being a stuffed animal that was removed from the area without incident.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked waterfowl hunters for AIS violations. A landowner was assisted with beaver damage issues.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week monitoring waterfowl-hunting activity and following up with complaints. CO Grewe also responded to a TIP complaint in which a sandhill crane had been shot. Following an investigation, enforcement action was taken.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked waterfowl and bowhunters throughout the week. He responded to a complaint about an individual who cut and took firewood from a wildlife management area.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) continued working on deer and waterfowl cases. She also worked boating and fishing enforcement on area lakes and AIS enforcement at accesses.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) attended the annual Lyon County Pheasants Forever youth hunt. While waiting with the youth hunters and mentors for legal shooting hours, a hunter was observed out walking a WMA near the event. A license check was done, and it was discovered that the hunter had taken a rooster before legal hours. Enforcement action was taken, and the youth hunters were reminded of the importance of reading the regulations booklet before going out hunting.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) took a complaint about someone dumping rotten corn and salt on a WMA southeast of Montevideo. Anyone with information should call CO Picht or the TIP line.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received complaints about deer baiting, early shooting, wanton waste, motor vehicle trespass on WMAs, and illegal off-highway vehicle operation.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) received complaints about driving on an AMA and trespass relating to duck hunting. Gruhlke also cooperated with the Jackson County Central Ag class and accepted a job shadow during the week.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked archery deer, small-game, and waterfowl hunters. A litter case was investigated.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) spent time this past week checking WMAs and state parks for activity. Complaints about illegal dumping are being investigated.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) reports a number of possible public waters and wetland violation sites were investigated.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working small-game hunting, archery (deer) hunting, AIS enforcement, and the special youth deer season. A possible public waters violation along the Upper Iowa River was investigated.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Scott Fritz (La Crescent) reports fishing continues to be good. He fielded many calls regarding the youth and early antlerless regulations. Houston and Winona county sheriff’s departments both did great work helping to rescue four duck hunters from a capsized boat, and helping a group of lost hunters find their way in the dark.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports checking anglers and waterfowl hunters, and working shining complaint areas.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) worked with a COC. They investigated several complaints regarding illegal deer hunting, including people hunting deer during youth season without youth hunters. They also investigated boaters fishing in closed areas and found duck hunters taking protected birds and littering. They also were advised of duck hunters forgetting their guns at a public boat landing.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking hunters during the youth deer hunt and the early antlerless hunt. Trespass complaints were investigated, as were other deer-related complaints. Time was spent checking waterfowl hunters. Hunters were reminded of AIS rules and regulations.
CO Phil George (Rochester) worked waterfowling activity and angling activity, and checked ATV complaint areas. Enforcement action was taken for motors in a WMA.