District 1 – Baudette area
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) spent her time checking anglers and snowmobilers on Lake of the Woods and surrounding areas. One angler decided fishing was too slow, so he tried to increase his odds by using five lines. The angler, however, didn't catch any extra fish and wasn't happy when he received a citation.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports an increase in snowmobiling activity with the warmer weather. CO Prachar attended the annual AIS training for bait harvesters and dealers.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) reports a TIP complaint about anglers targeting walleyes during the closed season was investigated.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) found several people using two state parks without purchasing park passes.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) monitored angling, snowmobiling, shelter removal, ATVing, and a trapper/predator hunting. He attended a “Snodeo” event, assisted other agencies, and completed department training. Multiple people contacted him with concerns about the new wolf and AIS laws. Sightings of a coyote in a small town have pet owners on edge.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) patrolled local snowmobile trails during the week. Trails were in good condition, but deteriorated quickly with the warm weekend weather. Time was taken to do a follow-up investigation regarding an individual who failed to present a wolf carcass for inspection. Evidence was sent into the county attorney for a case from the past deer season.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports conducting commercial inspections, patrolling for fish house removal, and checking panfishermen.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked snowmobiling activity on area trails and waters. CO Warren also followed up on a complaint about possible wanton waste.
WREO Joe Stattelman reports a truck driver was contacted after he was seen throwing garbage out of his cab. The driver stated he was cleaning his truck out before returning to his home base in Fargo. Enforcement action was taken, and the driver was observed picking up his garbage in a road ditch.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) monitored ice shacks for deadline removal, issuing citations for those left on the lake. Coyote hunters were checked, and a few snowmobilers were observed after the recent snow. Plautz came upon what appeared to be a person trapped under a vehicle, only to find it was a stuffed pair of jeans and boots.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked ice-fishing activity, fish house removal, and litter issues. Three fish houses were left out on area lakes, along with litter. Osborne made contact with the owners and issued proper paperwork.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports several snowmobiles were observed with expired registration, while others had problems operating safely. Two snowmobilers went through thin ice, while another went off the trail, rolling into cattails and sustaining heavy damage. None of the drivers sustained serious injuries. However, an adult died after his ATV broke through thin ice on Lake Andrew. His young grandson (passenger) is still in intensive care in Minneapolis.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) reports working fish house removal and associated litter issues on area waterways. There is still plenty of fishing activity taking place, with enforcement action taken for fish overlimits and other cases still under investigation. Snowmobilers were out in force, but the snow didn’t last long. Several violations were handled, and there were several reports of snowmobilers breaking through the ice and crashing off the trail. No serious injuries were reported.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) spent most of the week involved in a jury trial for a case of hunting while intoxicated from last November. The jury returned a guilty verdict.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) reports traps and snares were checked, with many individuals targeting coyotes.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling activity. CO Broughten also assisted local law enforcement with a warrant arrest.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) monitored snowmobiling and angling activity throughout the Rainy, Kabetogama, and Namakan lakes areas. Many snowmobilers were observed enjoying the trail systems before the warm weather takes a toll on them.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports that things have slowed down with the close of the walleye season, and most ice shelters are off the lakes. The officer investigated a complaint about ravens being shot illegally. Three incidents involving snowmobiles occurred – one going through the ice, one crashing, and one burning up.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling and snowmobiling activity, and continued working a complaint of theft from a state logging sale.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) gave several presentations regarding furbearers in northeastern Minnesota to third-graders in Virginia and also spoke at a firearms safety class in Gilbert. Most people took advantage of the warmer weather to remove their ice shelters from area lakes. Only a few remain. Some people left behind litter and parts of their shelters. It’s a good thing CO Frericks already took GPS readings and photos of the shelters on the lakes. Anglers who leave behind litter can expect to receive a citation.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked snowmobile trails during the Aurora vintage sled run, and follow-up was conducted on a wolf-trapping carcass inspection.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) assisted area officers with trout angling enforcement inside the BWCAW. Violations included no shelter tag on an ice shelter, excessive speed on a snowmobile, and angling without license in possession.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked snowmobilers and trout fishermen throughout the week. An angler was found to be possessing and using undocumented ciscoes on a remote BWCAW trout lake. There is no way to know if the ciscoes he was using did or did not have the VHS disease since they were never tested as required by law. The angler said he felt no responsibility for having potentially infected bait and believed that it was too inconvenient for him to have the required packaging for the bait.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked anglers in and out of the BWCA and worked snowmobile enforcement. One group encountered in the BWCA had been walking for 18 hours to reach their fishing destination.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobiling activity during the week. Snowmobiling activity was high and trails were in pretty good shape but were deteriorating fast with the warm weather.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails, and conducted checks for commercial licenses.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) attended a career fair at Itasca Community College, where students from various local high schools got to see what kinds of career opportunities were available to them.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobile trails, and ATVers. He also taught a snowmobile safety class during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing and snowmobiling activities. Enforcement action was taken for unattended lines and operating a snowmobile in excess of the posted speed limit. Wichmann also monitored fish houses on area lakes.
CO John Velsvaag (Northeast Region ATV officer) worked ATVers and snowmobilers this past week. CO Velsvaag also checked trout anglers and received calls about litter around fish houses.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports enforcement was centered on snowmobilers. Speeding and registration issues were commonly seen. A large, local antique snowmobile run was attended, with lots of people enjoying seeing the classics from yesteryear. A presentation was given to a firearms safety class, a great horned owl with a medical issue was captured and brought to a rehabber for evaluation, and a person who processed a road-killed deer without a permit and then dumped the carcass on city property was interviewed, with enforcement action taken.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) checked several fishermen along the North Shore of Lake Superior. One check resulted in a citation for an overlimit of salmon.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) investigated calls about a nuisance bobcat that was killing chickens and a great horned owl that was caught in a trap.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) checked lakes to make sure fish houses were removed by the deadline and also that garbage was picked up on the ice. Compliance was fairly good in the area. Enforcement action was taken for leaving a fish house at a public access. Work was done on some of the station equipment to get ready for the changing season. K9 Schody and one of the other DNR K9s attended the Safari Club International convention in Bloomington, where several questions were answered and information was given regarding the DNR K9 unit, as well as other DNR-related issues.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on the last of the ice near Lester River and Brighton Beach. Although people are occasionally falling in at cracks in the ice, the spot continues to be popular with anglers making use of the rare opportunity for salmon and lake trout. Snowmobiles were checked, and another crash during the weekend required an injured rider to be transported by helicopter to a hospital. Complaints were received about deer stands left in an aquatic management area; they’ll be checked once the snow has melted.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) presented the laws and ethics portion of a firearms safety class, handled fish houses left on the ice after the legal deadline, and checked anglers on area lakes. A couple of anglers checked on an area lake with special regulations must have thought they were good to go after being checked, as one of the anglers left with both of their limits of fish and the other stayed to catch more. They found out differently when they were issued appropriate paperwork.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled area lakes for snowmobile and ice-angling activities. Enforcement action was taken for fishing for northern pike out of season, snowmobile registration issues, no angling license, leaving a shelter out past the legal deadline, and selling bait without a retailer minnow license.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) assisted with emergency vehicle operation training for CO-prep officers at Camp Ripley. This training is required by the Minnesota POST Board, and must be completed before the Minnesota POST Board exam can be taken by officer candidates. Officer Lee also completed follow-up investigations into minnow retailer license checks. Citations were issued to retailers for failing to have valid minnow retailer’s licenses.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) checked area lakes for shelters left out after the deadline, checked cross-country skiers, followed up with deer-hunting and lakeshore-alteration cases, and investigated reported suspicious trapping and fishing behavior. Enforcement contacts were made for leaving fish houses out past the March 2 deadline, ice shelter licensing and identification violations, skiing on GIA ski trails without state ski passes, and people fishing with recently expired fishing licenses.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) fielded questions about staying overnight in fish shelters. Officer Guida also issued a car-kill deer possession tag and followed up on a fisher that was accidentally trapped in a coyote/fox snare.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) checked anglers on area lakes and patrolled snowmobile traffic.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) assisted with snowmobile enforcement in the northern part of the state. He also attended the Mille Lacs input group meeting, worked on equipment electrical problems, monitored ice house removal, and answered questions regarding coyote hunting.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) conducted angling checks throughout the weeks. The officer fielded a call about an eagle caught in a trap; the eagle was not located.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen out on smaller lakes and on Mille Lacs. The CO attended the annual Mille Lacs input meeting, where lake data and possible regulations were discussed.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a TIP complaint about anglers tip-up fishing for northern pike after the close of the season. The anglers were located, and enforcement action was taken for attempting to take northerns out of season and operating a motor vehicle with a canceled driver’s license.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on multiple equipment issues and coordinated with instructors on plans for an upcoming firearms safety class. Time also was spent marking fish houses with GPS to ensure that litter will not be a problem.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent a majority of the week checking anglers and monitoring ice shelter removal. CO Wynn also took care of a dispute in which anglers were feuding over fishing too close to each other.
WREO Rob Haberman assisted with minnow dealer training in Brainerd. More than 25 dealers were in attendance.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) conducted minnow retailer inspections, taxidermy inspections, and a game farm inspection. CO Kuske also spoke at the natural resources class at Pierz High School and attended the Morrison County Fire Wardens Banquet. A call about a state snowmobile trail being blocked by a snow fence and barbed wire is currently being investigated.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) was invited to attend the annual sixth-grade ice-fishing trip from Pierz Elementary School. CO Kuske also found ATV enthusiasts out enjoying the nice weather. A law presentation was given to a snowmobile safety class
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) gave a law talk at the Kimball firearms safety class. CO Mies also did commercial checks and aeration checks.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) reports fish house removal went well, with only one house left past the deadline. A kids fishing contest was attended on Kraemer Lake in St. Joseph. An incident was handled in which a rider hit two deer with his snowmobile. He was thrown from his sled and both deer died. The snowmobile was a total loss.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) reports a TIP call was investigated in which anglers were found to have kept a northern pike and not having updated their fishing licenses.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) reports taking a TIP call regarding double-tripping. Commercial minnow retailer inspections also were conducted. Enforcement action for the week included an overlimit of crappies, wanton waste, and failing to remove fish houses by the deadline.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) seized an incidental mink turned in by a trapper. CO Musatov also spoke at the Minnesota Rural Water Association Conference in St. Cloud about legal rodent control for stabilization ponds. The CO also handled a complaint about a trapper not checking a trap and assisted in an investigation of private property on state land.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big lake) worked fishermen on area lakes. He assisted with an injured swan that was caught and sent to a rehabilitation center thanks to a volunteer rescue team.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers and snowmobilers, followed up on ice shelters left at public accesses, patrolled state and federal lands, and took complaints about trespassing. A call was received from a woman in the Grandy area who found a dead horse on her property. Anyone with information regarding this case should contact CO Londgren.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Brent Grewe (Osseo) helped out with a complaint about an aggressive turkey.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) helped a deputy investigate suspicious shooting near a WMA. Extra patrols in the WMA areas will be performed.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked anglers in the Mound station, cleaned up garbage, and removed a fish house left on Lake Minnetonka. He also answered questions from the Hmong community about the small-game season.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers around metro lakes and rivers. CO Joe Kulhanek and CO Pril spent some time removing a collapsed and abandoned fish shelter on an area lake.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) had a deer-baiting case that started with a TIP call in November. Evidence was found but there wasn’t enough information at that time to figure out a suspect until CO Kruse received another TIP call this past week. The suspect admitted to hunting deer over bait and not registering a deer. Enforcement action was taken.
District 15 – Marshall area
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) followed up on WCA violations in Lyon and Kandiyohi counties. Compliance was good in removing fish houses off area lakes.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked ATV, ice fishing, and snowmobiling activities during the week. Fish house removal was checked, with excellent compliance.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports an investigation into ATV operation on a wildlife management area near Montevideo is under way.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) educated ice anglers about needing a new angling license as of March 1. He also checked area lakes and addressed fish house removal issues.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked aeration systems in the area and is checking all the lakes for litter left behind after fish houses were removed.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked area lakes for shelter removal. All were removed, but a few felt that it was OK to leave them at public accesses.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) monitored lakes and accesses this past week for shelter violations. ATV activity was worked.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the majority of the week checking anglers and ATV operators. Officer Ihnen also spent time investigating incidents of fish shelters left on area lakes and at public water accesses after the removal deadline. A public waters complaint was investigated.
WREO Julie Siems followed up on Wetland Conservation Act and public waters violations. A citation was issued for failing to comply with a restoration order.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the week and weekend checking angling activity.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports the river is opening up. He used an airboat to rescue two dogs that ventured onto the ice and into open water on the river a couple hundred yards from the bank. Hemker also investigated two wetland violations and several deer-hunting issues, including a Wisconsin residency violation in which the Wisconsin warden will do follow-up. He found the responsible party regarding trash, including a license plate, that was dumped into a trout stream.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working a busy week and weekend on and around the big river. A boating and fishing detail was worked below the Red Wing dam during one of the first open-water tournaments of the year.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking numerous trout anglers. CO Boyum also worked a snaring case in which a subject failed to check his snares daily.
CO Scott Fritz (La Crescent) investigated calls involving shooting from a motor vehicle and unattended traps.