Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Cuffs & Collars: Field reports from Minnesota DNR conservation officers (Jan. 11, 2023)

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Tony Hams (Warroad) successfully completed field training and has settled into his station. He spent time checking anglers and following up on deer-feeding complaints. Violations encountered were no shelter license, possession of a small amount of marijuana, illegal-length walleyes, and possessing dressed fish while on the water.

CO Coby Fontes (Baudette) successfully completed field training and has settled into his station. Time was spent getting familiar with the area and working ice-fishing activity. He reports that violation rates were high.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored angling and snowmobiling activity. He also conducted follow-up investigations from this year’s deer season and responded to calls about possible wolf depredation and car-killed deer.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at a snowmobile safety class in Crookston and attending a meeting at Itasca State Park this week. Time also was spent working deer hunting-related violations. CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Ice conditions vary greatly, but individuals are finding places to sneak out and fish.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports the completion of training with CO Znajda. Vinton attended a district meeting and received a report about a snowmobile that went in the open water on Otter Tail Lake. There were no injuries, and the person was asked to advise the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office about the location.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working area snowmobile trails and anglers, and continued looking into deer cases from the previous season. Swedberg also worked with other area COs on details in Otter Tail County. Activity levels were high, and plenty of enforcement action was taken, including a DUI after a motorist drove into a ditch while the COs were returning to the boat access where they were parked.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) reports that ice conditions have improved on area lakes, but there are still small pockets of slush that anglers need to be aware of. There are more fish houses on area lakes than in most years. An angling detail was worked on Lida Lakes with CO Swedberg and CO Goodman. The officers took enforcement action for numerous violations, including illegal-length fish, possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, as well as angling with extra and unattended lines.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Felicia Znajda (Osakis) is seeing a lot of angling activity on most surrounding lakes. A lot of crappies and sunfish were in the buckets, though there was slower activity in the spearing houses. Anglers are reminded to lock their shelters and not leave valuables behind due to recent burglaries in fish houses.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the past week focused on angling and snowmobiling enforcement.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent investigating deer-feeding and littering complaints.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on area lakes and followed up on some big-game cases from fall of 2022. Preparations were made for local safety classes.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked ice angling, snowmobiling, and trapping enforcement. Outdoor activity remained steady throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for angling, snowmobiling, and trapping violations.

CO Corey Sura (Remer) patrolled area snowmobile trails, checked ice anglers, and monitored trapping activity in the area throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for violations including no shelter license, unattended lines, no valid fishing license, expired snowmobile registration, and targeting trout on a designated trout lake prior to the open season.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports an angler-harassment complaint was investigated and possible charges are under review. A snowmobile-related complaint was received. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports ice fishing, spearing, and snowmobiling activities continue to be the main focuses of the workload, along with handling various animal-related complaints.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports another week of little activity noted. Snowmobile trails remain in poor condition. Area lakes have varying ice thickness, but slush and recent winds have caused significant drifting, which has now refrozen and is making travel extremely rough, to say the least. Little angling activity was observed during the week.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily snowmobile and trails enforcement.

Larson spent time investigating snowmobile violations resulting in several infractions. He also spent time working on wetlands violations.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Time also was spent speaking at a snowmobile safety class in Chisholm and assisting the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office with a fatal snowmobile crash.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring ice fishing and snowmobiling activity. Outdoor recreational activity was lower than expected. Anglers continued to report limited access on area lakes as well as limited success. Lake ice thickness varies greatly from lake to lake, and in some cases varies significantly depending what part of the lake you’re on.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking snowmobilers on the North Shore State Trail and local trails. Time was spent in the BWCAW, checking trout anglers. The lake trout were cooperating for most anglers.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais) reports both cross-country ski and snowmobile trails are in great condition, and with mild temperatures and sunny skies, lots of folks were seen out and about. Another successful Gunflint Mail Run sled dog race was held during the weekend.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a variety of activities throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for extra fishing lines, underage possession of alcohol, untagged deer, failure to register deer within 48 hours, and failure to acquire an aeration permit or sign areas of thin ice.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers. A complaint was received about an injured deer stuck in the rocks along a rugged piece of Lake Superior shoreline. The badly injured animal was located and dispatched. Complaints about snowmobilers operating with loud exhausts and on closed trails were received and will be monitored.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobiling activity this week. Grooming of area trails is in full swing. Area lakes have areas of slush, making angling opportunities more difficult but some anglers are still finding fish.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) spent the week patrolling area lakes. Brown checked anglers and answered questions regarding fishing regulations. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, fishing without a license, unattended fishing lines, and no permanent shelter licenses. Several anglers were cited for fishing with extra lines.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling activity in the area. With improving ice conditions, anglers are seeing some success. Enforcement action was taken for having expired snowmobile registration and for not having a license in possession while angling.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) monitored angling and trapping activity. Time was also spent patrolling area snowmobile trails.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent most of the week patrolling snowmobile trails and checking ice anglers. Violations included illegal-length fish and expired snowmobile and ATV registrations.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw heavy snowmobiling activity this past week as more and more trails continue to improve. Registration violations are still common both in improper display and expiration. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration, improper display of registration, and operating without registration.


• Compiled by Joe Albert, Minnesota DNR Enforcement.

For a complete Enforcement report, visit www.outdoornews.com


Report of the weeK

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) worked with other area COs on details in Otter Tail County. Activity levels were high, and plenty of enforcement action was taken, including a DUI after a motorist drove into a ditch while the COs were returning to the boat access where they were parked.


CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked snowmobile activity and snowmobile trails during the week. Time was also spent checking anglers, but slush has been limiting angling activity.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked snowmobiling activity on area trails and anglers on area lakes. The fishing conditions have improved.

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) saw more action on area lakes this week. Most lakes are still seeing some issues with slush, resulting in snowmobiles being the primary mode of transportation on the ice.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time this week checking ice anglers and snowmobile riders. He also continued working on a background investigation.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked snowmobile, fishing, and trapping activity this week. Trapping investigations are ongoing. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, no shelter tag, registration issues, and a panfish overlimit on a special-regulation lake.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports winter outdoor activities are in full swing in the Brainerd lakes area. Snowmobile trails have been extremely busy, and riders should travel with care and always be ready for oncoming traffic. Ice-fishing activity remains constant with some anglers having success. Sullivan also continues to investigate deer-hunting and trapping violations.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking ice anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week. Enforcement action included unattended lines and license and registration violations.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) monitored angling and snowmobiling activity. Trespass complaints of snowmobiles off-trail are being reported. Heavy snow has created slush on area lakes.

CO Andrew Ladzinski (Pine River) began station familiarization in the Pine River and Whitefish Chain areas. Time was spent patrolling area lakes and public accesses.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) worked on a background investigation of a potential new employee. He took complaints about snowmobilers trespassing off-trail.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity where rough ice, slush, and snow continued to impede access. Snowmobiles and ATVs have been the preferred means of access, resulting in violations for registration, safety training, and no helmets on juveniles. Trapping activity was monitored, where deep snow was making some furbearers easier to track.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) responded to a call about a snowmobile that went through the ice on Lake Mille Lacs. Griffith also assisted with a local snowmobile safety class. Shelter license violations were a common theme throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, expired snowmobile registration, and ice shelter violations.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) monitored ice fishing and bobcat trapping. Work continued on a trespass case. Other enforcement action taken included failing to transfer ownership on recreational vehicles.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Aitkin) spent time patrolling for ice-angling activity. Snowmobilers and trappers were also checked. She also followed up on an aerator violation and a trapping complaint.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week working snowmobiling complaints such as trespassing and loud exhaust. A group of coyote hunters was found transporting loaded guns. Slush has returned to area lakes.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) took calls concerning snowmobile trespassing where newly planted trees were destroyed. He also is investigating shelters that have been frozen into the ice and had their identification and license removed.

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) continued to work area lakes and rivers for angling and snowmobiling activities. A trapping investigation was conducted with a local officer with citations issued.

CO Trent Anderson (St. Cloud) was stationed in his new field area. Time was spent patrolling Stearns and Meeker county lakes and trails. Enforcement action taken for the week included possession of drug paraphernalia, snowmobile registration, snowmobile trespass, and numerous angling violations

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored angling, snowmobiling, and small-game activities during the week. The recent snowfall has made it more difficult for anglers to get back out on the ice, and trappers in the area also are reporting a slower season as well.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week working snowmobilers and ice anglers. Time also was spent responding to nuisance-animal calls.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. Krauel also spent time on snowmobile maintenance and clearing evidence from old cases.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Ben Ulrich (Osseo) spent the week working snowmobiling and ice fishing enforcement. Snowmobile activity was up due to the snow conditions in the area. Common violations included no license in possession, failure to display ATV registration, and failure to transfer snowmobile title.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) spent most of the past week on the snowmobile patrolling the trails and lakes. Riding offtrail and trespassing persists as an issue.

Enforcement action was taken for expired registration, riding off-trail, and no license in possession.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers, monitoring ice conditions, and patrolling snowmobile trails. Grewe reports ice conditions are still sketchy, and many lakes have several inches of slush on top of the ice.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time checking ice anglers and snowmobilers. The deep snow throughout the week made fishing a challenge for many. Multiple calls related to the CWD deer-feeding ban were handled.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for snowmobile and angling activity. Salzer also conducted interviews for a big-game violation that resulted in enforcement action being taken. He received information regarding another big-game violation that is currently under investigation.

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) checked area anglers and monitored snowmobile traffic. Some of the deeper snow is making it more difficult for anglers to move around. He is also assisting another agency with an ongoing big-game investigation.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Dustin Roemeling (Worthington) spent the week working angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Hunting violations from this past season were investigated.

CO Dallas Cornell (Ortonville) spent the week getting familiar with the Big Stone County area. He completed multiple commercial taxidermy inspections in Big Stone and Swift counties. The rest of the week, Cornell checked area ice anglers.

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) primarily worked angling and snowmobiling enforcement this past week. Deep snow at area lake accesses has made it difficult for anglers to get their shelters onto the ice.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working ice fishing, snowmobiling, and coyote-hunting enforcement.

Commercial license inspections were completed. Snow on area lakes is causing problems with travel, and the pressure on the ice is causing slush issues.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) reports that fishing activity is still being monitored, but not much is going on with all the snow and slush on the lakes making it challenging to get around.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) took calls pertaining to snowmobile violations and injured animals. He also received questions concerning fishing, access use, and predator-hunting regulations.

CO Jesse Drown (Jackson) began patrolling his assigned station. Time was spent checking ice anglers and snowmobile riders. Inspections were conducted on aerators operating within the county.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked angling and snowmobiling enforcement this week. Cold weather helped solve some of the slush issues on area lakes, making access easier.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on snowmobile and ice fishing activity. Numerous shelter violations were encountered. VanThuyne also assisted local agencies and checked predator hunters.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) checked anglers, ATV operators, and snowmobile riders this week. Additional time was spent patrolling for predator-hunting activity.

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) spent time checking anglers and snowmobile operators. A handful of trout anglers were out on the streams as the winter catch-and-release season started.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers and snowmobile and ATV operators during the past week. He took a hunting complaint, completed an aeration inspection, and patrolled aquatic management areas, wildlife management areas, state parks, and waterfowl production areas.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports a deer case was wrapped up with charges pending.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week patrolling area snowmobile trails for activity. Time also was spent checking area ice anglers.

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) reports deer-feeding complaints were handled, as was a report of a deer taken out of season.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working snowmobile, ice-fishing, and predator-hunting enforcement this week. Coyote hunters are having success with both calling and hunting over bait piles. Backwater ice anglers were found with limits and overlimits in spots.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Some snowmobilers were out as well.

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) spent time following up on deer-season investigations and an ongoing small-game investigation. Kyllo also spent time checking ice anglers.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking coyote hunters during the week. Success has been good.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports some of the snowmobile trails in the area are open and some of them are closed. He checked fishing activity and saw good numbers of fish. Red foxes hanging around town continue to generate calls.

• This symbol denotes reports that Outdoor News editors find of special interest.

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