District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods. A detail was worked on Lake of the Woods with neighboring officers, Lt. Znajda, and Ontario conservation officers. Violations for the week included operating an unregistered snowmobile, possessing an overlimit of walleyes/sauger, angling with extra lines, angling without a license, and possession of marijuana.
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) worked a detail on Lake of the Woods with several other officers from the district, as well as two Ontario officers. High temperatures caused the snowmobile trails to deteriorate, but did not discourage people from getting out.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) spoke at a local sportsmen’s club banquet. An area snowmobiler was stopped for lack of registration. The CO later learned the operator had an active warrant and a subsequent arrest yielded marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The subject was taken to a local law enforcement center where he posted bond and was issued citations for the drugs and registration.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working angling activity on Upper Red Lake with neighboring officers, special-regulation lakes, and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Time was spent conducting commercial inspections, answering numerous questions from the public regarding the regulation changes for Upper Red Lake, and investigating a TIP report.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at a sportsmen’s banquet in Red Lake Falls. Anglers, ATV operators, and snowmobile operators were checked.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) checked anglers, trappers, and predator hunters, and took a call about a dead owl.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) helped out a work crew on Red Lake. He also assisted at a Clearwater County snowmobile safety class and checked area lakes.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked angling activity on area lakes. CO Vollbrecht also worked a detail on Leech Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish with CO Holt.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) continued to monitor area angling activity and checked a few snowmobilers. A complaint was handled regarding an injured deer.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) took a report from a resident that his dog was bringing home what looked like fresh deer parts. The leg of a deer was collected and appeared to be old enough to be from this past deer season. Another dog owner was contacted after it was reported that her dog was chasing deer. She agreed to watch her chihuahuas more closely. CO Vinton assisted a local State Patrol trooper after he’d stopped a vehicle for speeding and discovered several walleye fillets without patches of skin.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) reports a few thrill-seeking snowmobilers were observed skipping open water and received citations for their actions. Yet again, many anglers were reminded that they need to have their licenses in possession while angling.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) collected and tagged incidentally caught otters and fishers. Enforcement efforts focused on fishing activities.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) attended an area appreciation dinner for the Battle Lake Lions Club. Fishing and coyote-hunting activities were checked. A possible wetland violation was investigated.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATVers, and snowmobilers. Several fishing-related complaints were received and investigated. CO Osborne also attended court for a boating while intoxicated case from last summer.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) reports a complaint about garbage being dumped on a WMA was investigated, and interstate minnow transportation permits were issued.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) is investigating a case involving the taking of a deer out of season. Please call the TIP line with any information. Enforcement action was taken for numerous ATV violations, angling with extra lines, over-length fish, possession of immeasurable fish, and unattended lines.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) received a call regarding a northern pike carcass (not cleaned) dumped in a road ditch.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. The warm weather and accessible ice drew a crowd. Pressure ridges are continuing to win the battle with angler’s vehicles; be careful where you drive on the ice.
CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) worked ice-angling enforcement on area lakes. ATV and snowmobile operators were checked on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for juveniles operating snowmobiles without helmets, adults operating snowmobiles without safety training certificates, and registration issues.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked ice fishermen and checked aeration systems on area lakes.
CO Colleen Adam (ATV Rec) checked shelters, recreational vehicle registration, and licenses this week. She also attended user group meetings.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports snowmobilers out in full force, even with trails deteriorating because of warmer weather. Enforcement action was taken for no snowmobile registration and operating a snowmobile in excessive of the posted speed limit.
CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) monitored angling and snowmobiling activity in the Rainy, Kabetogama, and Namakan lakes area. Runners for the Arrowhead 135 Ultra Marathon were seen gearing up for the start of this year’s race on Jan. 26.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and snowmobile activities. Forest roads and timber sales continue to be monitored.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports that the warm weather made some of the snowmobile trails in the area a little rough. Even though this was the case, a number of snowmobilers traveled to the area for the Fun Run. The officer worked the Fun Run with a number of other officers from around the region.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobilers, and ATVers. The officer also finished up two big-game cases from November and December and finished the investigation of the shooting of a gray wolf.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) received a call from a concerned angler who suspected he caught an invasive species called a round goby in a Virginia-area mine pit. CO Frericks met with the angler and examined the catch. After close examination of the fish it was determined it was a fish native to Minnesota waters called a sculpin. The angler was contacted, was informed of the true identity of the fish he caught, and was thanked for his concern.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked into the cause of death of a wolf found under the snow, and determined it was an accidental death.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports last Thursday through Saturday brought out a large number of snowmobilers, but the warm weather and high traffic took their toll on the trails. Many of those stopped for speeding had excuses, such as: they should get a break because they’re a “local,” their snowmobile wasn’t running right so they needed to open it up and clean it out, it’s too dangerous to look down at your speedometer when you’re going that fast, and they’re an experienced rider.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) patrolled remote trout lakes by snowmobile. The CO encountered a couple of fellows out moose antler hunting during the week as the antlers were beginning to fall as of last week.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) reports a member of a mixed snowmobile and ATV group was cited for not having ATV registration. Then about an hour later, the group was found operating on the highway to get from place to place.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) attended a meeting regarding a wetlands/public waters violation and pending restoration work.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) caught a group of ice anglers fishing with extra lines. After the officer issued the proper paperwork and was walking away, he heard one of the anglers address the rest of the group: “When I tell you to reel up the extra lines, I mean it!”
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobiling activity, investigated deer-related complaints, and assisted the local police department with a domestic incident.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) is currently investigating a trapping violation. She cautions people who wish to travel on area lakes with highway vehicles, as ice conditions vary due to recent weather and naturally occurring springs and water currents. A vehicle was reported as going through the ice off of Stony Point on Pokegama Lake this past week.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked local angling pressure, with many individuals on area lakes.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) conducted a wildlife program at a local library during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for possession of marijuana and a controlled substance.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent time checking anglers on area lakes and rivers. A timber theft and trespass complaint were investigated, along with recreational trespass from a snowmobile trail.
CO Officer Randy Hanzal (Duluth) issued citations for angling with extra lines, angling without a license in possession, operating an unregistered ATV, operating an unregistered snowmobile, operating an ATV with improper display, and no shelter license. The officer also assisted with the recovery of a stolen recreational vehicle.
CO Officer Kipp Duncan (Duluth) assisted a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent with an investigation. Officer Duncan also assisted area wildlife offices with miscellaneous wildlife calls and complaints during the week.
CO Officer Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) received calls about an injured eagle and an incidentally caught fisher. CO Humphrey also attended a funeral service for retired CO Russ Johannsen.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports enforcement action was taken for illegally set and untagged snares. One incidentally caught wolf was turned over to the USFWS.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) attended the United Northern Sportsmen’s annual ice-fishing contest on Island Lake. For the 20th year, this officer helped weigh fish, checked licenses, and field DNR questions. The winning fish was a 6-pound, 4-ounce catfish. It was the first time in recent history that a catfish had been caught in Island Lake.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice and shore anglers. An incidentally snared wolf was seized in the city of Two Harbors and turned over to DNR Wildlife for educational use.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) reports work has begun regarding the illegal dumping of deer carcasses on a state wildlife management area. One of the deer legs that was illegally dumped in the parking area still had the DNR tag with the hunter’s name attached to it. CO Guida also interviewed a trapper who admitted to falling short on the required daily check of above-ground snares. CO Guida recovered an accidentally caught fisher and worked the fishing contest on Gull Lake with other area COs.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling and spearing enforcement during the week. Assistance was given to a South Dakota warden working a license fraud investigation.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity including follow-up work on deer season cases, handling incidentally caught fishers, inspecting ice shelters for marking and license compliance, checking fishermen, monitoring the new winter trout season on the mine pit lakes in the Cuyuna Country State Recreational area, and working with the USFWS on an alleged wolf coming into a town.
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) helped with a work detail at the fishing contest on Gull Lake where several people unfamiliar with the lake conditions drove vehicles onto thin ice and broke through. All were able to escape without injuries, including one truck where the occupants crawled out as it was sinking and stood on top of the truck, where they were rescued by a couple of local anglers who were passing by.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports ice conditions are good but snow drifts and pressure ridges continue to be trouble for some anglers. This past week three pickups, one SUV, two snowmobiles, and two OHVs either broke through thin ice or cashed into a pressure ridge. No injuries were reported, but significant damage was observed.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) received a call this past week from a local trapper in regards to catching a gray wolf in a snare set for coyotes. Officer Lee met with the trapper at the site, where the wolf carcass was removed from the snare and disposed. Officer Lee also followed up on a TIP in regarding a party taking an overlimits of crappies. Through the investigation, CO Lee learned that the party also was using unregistered shelters on area lakes to hide identification. Officer Lee also assisted the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department with locating a suicidal male in the Cuyuna Mine Pits area, and a motor vehicle crash with injured parties.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) responded to a crash on Hwy 65 in which a vehicle struck and killed a moose. The occupants of the vehicle were not injured. The moose hide was donated to the Long Lake Conservation Center, and the meat was donated to several locations though out the state for volunteer instructor banquets and similar events.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports assistance was given to the sheriff’s office after the CO found some stolen property at a local access. A TIP regarding some deer carcasses that were dumped and also some suspicious activity on state land were investigated during the week.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) received a call about a black bear acting aggressively and entering the caller’s attached garage. The bear ended up being dispatched.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) worked angling and ATV activity on area lakes. A dumping complaint was received, and upon investigating, CO Silgjord located multiple pheasant carcasses that had been illegally dumped on an individual’s land without permission.
WREO Keith Bertram spent the week working on Benton County and Morrison County wetland violations.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) received a TIP call about unattended lines on an area lake where two anglers had tip-ups out and went to the bar on the lake. CO Kuske waited an hour, and the two anglers showed up. They had three tip-ups out and also were found to have three additional lines down in the fish house. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with extra lines and unattended lines, and the brand new tip-ups and rods were seized.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes. He issued summonses and written warnings for a number of violations. He also assisted with an injured owl. He also assisted the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Department with a criminal damage to property incident on an area lake.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a busy week on area lakes. Numerous permanent shelters remain on area lakes without identification. CO Langevin also handled several animal-related complaints.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) handled several animal-related calls including owls, swans, coyotes, and raccoons. A State Patrol dispatcher was given a ride-along to show him what COs do in the field.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) spent the week checking anglers on local lakes and patrolling WMAs for signs of late-season small-game hunters.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Anthony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka and Washington counties for angling activity. CO Salzer also patrolled Carlos Avery WMA for off-road activity.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) handled a trespassing complaint and a call about dogs pursuing big game, and patrolled Carlos Avery WMA. He also handled a call about a possible wolf track that later was found to be from a domestic dog.
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) responded to a TIP complaint about an illegal deer in St. Paul. He also responded to several injured wildlife-related complaints during the week. One involved a muskrat that traveled in the undercarriage of a car from the Sax-Zim bog in northern Minnesota to Minneapolis. The muskrat was captured and was taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville.
District 15 – Marshall area
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) worked at the AIS booth at the Minneapolis Boat Show and continued to answer questions in reference to the new trailer sticker and AIS training for 2015.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) reports litter issues continue on lakes. Angling and snowmobile violations were encountered.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) reports an investigation of hunter harassment was conducted in the Canby area in which coyote hunters were confronted by a landowner.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) received several complaints about coyote hunters shooting out of windows and trespassing. With warm weather, CO Picht spent time marking fish houses and checking them for license and identification.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) followed up on trapping complaints and other tip calls, with some investigations ongoing. Time was spent checking ice fishermen, and it was found that some did not have angling licenses and some were using extra lines.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding injured wildlife and a possible poached deer.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted aeration inspections. Anglers were checked, along with their shelters. Area lakes and public accesses were patrolled for litter.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked anglers with neighboring officers. Information on a deer-poaching case is being investigated.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working coyote hunting, snowmobiling, ATVing, and angling activity.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers, as well as ATV and snowmobile operators. Time also was spent checking small-game and predator hunters.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports checking anglers. Ice conditions have improved, but remain variable. Some anglers pulled their shelters off during last week’s warm spell.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Scott Fritz (La Crescent) reports the warm weather gave trappers another good opportunity to get some active raccoons. Coyote hunters continue to have success. The CO received a call concerning young turtles. La Crescent police assisted, and they discovered several young painted turtles had come out from their wintering area. The high temperatures, along with the sun reflecting off the side of a building, caused the ground to warm up and caused the young turtles to get active.
CO Phil George (Rochester) followed up on some cases from the deer season and checked anglers, and with ATV and snowmobile operators. Several ATV and snowmobile violations detected along with angling with unattended lines.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking coyote hunters. Time also was spent on calls about injured eagles and injured deer.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working ice fishermen in the backwaters of the big river. Some trapping activity also is taking place, and coyote hunters are having some success.