Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Cuffs & Collars: Field reports from Minnesota DNR conservation officers

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) patrolled parts of Roseau County after receiving various trespass complaints regarding coyote hunters. Huener also patrolled Lake of the Woods with new COs Hams and Fontes.

CO Tony Hams (Warroad) spent the week checking area anglers. Violations encountered were no shelter tag displayed, angling with extra lines, no license in possession, and illegal-length fish.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored angling and snowmobiling activity in the area. He responded to calls about injured deer and snowmobiler trespass. CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working angling activity on area lakes and receiving reports from anglers that, for many anglers, fishing has been slow. Time also was spent working on closing out a fire investigation from this past fall and deer-hunting cases from the deer season.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing and snowmobiling enforcement. Time also was spent following up on licensing violations from the 2022 firearms deer season.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Area snowmobile and cross-country ski trails were patrolled. A deer farm inspection was completed. CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week working on a background investigation. Landmark also followed up on a TIP call about a possible fish overlimit.

CO Brett Fox (Bemidji) spent the week learning his new station as well as meeting local officers and DNR staff. Truck and radio maintenance was conducted, as were administrative tasks.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking snowmobilers and anglers. Many anglers were checked throughout the week, but many reported it was difficult to get the fish to commit.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling activity. A complaint about snowmobiler trespass was received and investigated. Questions were answered about angling regulations and an injured deer.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) primarily worked snowmobile and ice-fishing.

Additional time was spent responding to wildlife-related calls and answering general questions from people. With the presence of non-portable shelters increasing on certain lakes, Goodman would like to remind folks to clean up trash and waste frequently. New snow and wind often hides litter violations long after shelters are removed, so if you see an area of concern, please report it sooner than later.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time this week focusing on fishing enforcement and trail riders. Plautz continues to see a high violation rate of fish houseowners not displaying proper identification on their fish houses.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked busy trails and lakes this week. Anglers and snowmobile riders were out in full force with the beautiful weather. Enforcement action was taken on a few anglers for using extra lines and unattended lines and keeping illegal-length fish. Several groups of coyote hunters also were checked.

CO Felicia Znajda (Osakis) is seeing steady angling activity. Various enforcement action was taken for angling violations throughout the week.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) worked with a South Dakota warden on Lake Traverse and encountered numerous violations ranging from no angling license in possession, to extra lines, overlimits, and unattended lines.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent following up on cases from the deer season and investigating litter complaints.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on snowmobile checking anglers and trails. A litter case was investigated and resulted in additional violations related to the deer season.

CO Corey Sura (Remer) monitored trapping activity in the area, checked anglers on local waters, and patrolled area trails.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked trapping, snowmobiling, and ice-angling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for trapping, snowmobiling, and ice-angling violations.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports checking anglers this past week on area lakes and rivers. Snowmobile trails were patrolled, and trapping activity was monitored throughout the area.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) monitored angling and snowmobiling activities. The trout opener was worked. Equipment work and administrative tasks were completed.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling and snowmobiling activity.

Larson spent extra patrols working loud or modified snowmobile exhaust. Violations included fishing for trout before open hours, failure to have trap tags, trapping within 20 feet of flagging, top of the snare over 20 inches above the first ground surface, and various snowmobile registration issues.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Time also was spent at Camp Ripley, completing online training, and investigating a call regarding a deer illegally taken out of season. The winter trout season opened during the weekend, but few anglers were seen on local designated trout lakes.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time checking anglers during the inland trout opener and patrolling snowmobile trails near the North Shore. Several recreational vehicle and license violations were encountered. CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring ice-fishing and snowmobiling activity. Anglers reported moderate success on the trout opener. Broughten also fielded calls regarding dumped animal carcasses, trespass, and snowmobile regulations.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Much of the slush has frozen, but larger lakes are rough for snowmobiling. Fishing success was average and ice thickness varied a lot on the same body of water on several lakes.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais) reports opening weekend of the regular inland trout season saw mild success among most anglers. However, warm weather and light winds created ideal conditions to be out and trying your hand a catching trout.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy week and weekend of angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Trout opener saw high participation with the warm weather and great lake conditions. Violations were plentiful, including fishing with extra lines, unattended lines, fishing without licenses and trout stamps, litter, failure to transfer snowmobile ownership, expired snowmobile registration, and registration display violations.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a busy weekend of trout angling and snowmobiling activity in Cook County. Hill worked with other officers on Saturday and Sunday, contacting large groups of anglers chasing lake and stream trout. A trapping case was opened after Hill was notified of a pine marten trap left after the season.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked anglers and patrolled lakes and trails by snowmobile. With decent weather, anglers have been hauling in good numbers of fish. Enforcement action was taken for possession of drug paraphernalia, no shelter license, and license violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice anglers in the area. He took enforcement action on anglers for not having licenses in possession. Remember when venturing out on the ice to have your license with you, as the law states.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) worked a busy trout opener during the weekend. Weather and slush conditions were good, and the trout bite wasn’t bad, either. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no trout stamp, and other various violations.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) patrolled area snowmobile trails and angling activity. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license and no license in possession.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent most of the week working snowmobiling activity in the area. He assisted volunteer instructors at the Reservoir Rider Snowmobile Club annual safety class. Time also was spent checking anglers in the area.

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) continued follow-up investigations from this past deer season. Ice-angling and snowmobile patrols were conducted.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time this week working on deer-related cases. Time also was spent checking anglers and snowmobilers.

• Compiled by Joe Albert, Minnesota DNR Enforcement.


For a complete Enforcement report, visit




District 15 – Marshall area


CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working anglers and snowmobilers. Getting around on area lakes continues to be an issue in spots unless you have a plow. Temperatures in the 30s for most of last weekend started to cause flooding problems around fish houses.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spent the week on fishing, snowmobiling, and trapping activity. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, no shelter tag, and expired registration.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) responded to a fire on Roy Lake. Two fish houses were total losses due to the fire.

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) checked multiple anglers throughout the week on various lakes in the area. Violations found included failure to have angling licenses in personal possession, expired shelter licenses, and expired ATV registration. Multiple people took advantage of Take a Kid Fishing weekend. CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) worked a busy winter trout opener during the weekend. Most anglers reported having success, with many limits observed.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked snowmobile and angling enforcement this past week. Assistance was provided to the Nisswa 100 snowmobile race. Guida also worked with a local snowmobile club on signage and awareness of a trespassing complaint. Numerous snowmobile tracks were observed off-trail, running over young trees. That activity has threatened easements for snowmobile trails across private property.

CO Andrew Ladzinski (Pine River) conducted patrols on local designated trout lakes for the trout-season opener. A detail was worked on the Whitefish chain with other local officers for snowmobile speed enforcement and ice-fishing activity. When placing fishing shelters on lakes, please leave plenty of room away from marked snowmobile trails.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity where shelter numbers were gradually increasing. Snowmobile traffic was worked in different parts of the state and snowmobile riders were making use of mostly good trail conditions. Knowledge of snowmobile registration appeared to be regressing as some operators claimed they didn’t know how or where to display registration.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time on area lakes and snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, angling without a license, unattended lines, and illegal-length walleyes. CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) monitored trails and checked snowmobile riders in the area. Benkofske also seized furs and issued citations to several individuals who violated trapping laws.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Aitkin) spent time patrolling ice angling and snowmobiling activity. She took action for various angling and snowmobiling violations. Most lakes had 11 to 18 inches of ice, and there were still areas with slush.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes and trails for angling and snowmobiling activities. There were several complaints about snowmobile riders off trails. Many landowners are looking at closing trails.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored smallgame hunting and trapping, angling, and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. A report of an incidentally taken fisher caught in a bobcat set was taken, and the fisher was recovered.

CO Trent Anderson (St. Cloud) focused on angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Enforcement action for the week included angling with an extra line, no angling license, snowmobile trespass, and numerous snowmobile and ATV registration violations. Anglers are cautioned about driving vehicles on area ice as slush and ice thickness varies.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) patrolled the area for angling and snowmobiling activity.

Krauel also dealt with a truck driver driving down a snowmobile trail and a young snowmobile rider who fled from officers but left friends behind.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) focused enforcement efforts on anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent following up on investigations from the deer season. Enforcement action was taken for failing to display valid registration on a snowmobile, possessing drug paraphernalia, and hunting deer without a license.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled area snowmobile trails and area lakes. While on snowmobile, CO Hanna and CO Seamans spoke with a citizen who thought it was OK to burn prohibited materials. The person was educated.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) reports that many lakes still have lots of deep, heavy slush and people should use caution when heading out on them.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) spent most of the past week conducting angling and snowmobiling enforcement. One snowmobiler was stopped for trespassing and was also found to have registration more than two years expired. The rider was cited.

CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time checking ice anglers during the trout opener. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a trout stamp and angling with extra lines.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) dealt with a big-game investigation resulting in several violations. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time working the trout opener and monitoring traffic on snowmobile trails. Trout opener was successful for most anglers.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week patrolling area snowmobile trails and checking anglers. He also issued a carkilled deer possession permit, assisted a neighboring officer on a big-game case, and fielded calls about nuisance animals.

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) did equipment maintenance on his squad vehicle and snowmobile. Anglers on area lakes and rivers were checked. The slush below the snow isn’t as bad as it was a week ago. An injured-deer call was taken, but Tetrault was not able to catch up with the animal.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked snowmobiling and angling enforcement this past week. Time was spent on a back ground investigation for a new conservation officer candidate. Assistance was given to county law enforcement for a traffic-related incident.

CO Dallas Cornell (Ortonville) spent the week completing commercial taxidermy inspections. Cornell also checked multiple ice anglers in the area. A small-game trapping violation was investigated.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time working angling activity and following up with deer-related investigations. Time also was spent with ongoing litter investigations on local lakes.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working ice-fishing and snowmobiling enforcement. Time also was spent working coyote-hunting activity and conducting commercial license inspections.

Getting around on area lakes continues to be an issue in spots unless you have a plow. Temperatures in the 30s for most of the weekend have started to cause flooding problems around fish houses.

CO Mason Bulthuis (Madison) spent the week conducting commercial inspections and checking ice anglers.

CO Dustin Roemeling (Worthington) spent the week working angling and snowmobile enforcement. Commercial taxidermy inspections were conducted. Trespass complaints were investigated.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working snowmobiling and ice angling activity. He also followed up on a litter complaint regarding a couch left on an area lake. Vernier also spoke with several anglers about identification requirements for permanent fish houses.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) worked the trout opener, and it was busy. There is still lots of snow and slush on the ice, making it challenging to get around and causing a wide variance in ice conditions.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding sick and injured wildlife, as well as fishing and hunting law clarifications. He worked mainly fishing, snowmobiling, predator hunting, and commercial enforcement activities.

CO Jesse Drown (Jackson) patrolled his station working both snowmobile enforcement and ice anglers. Inspections were conducted of taxidermists and aerators in the area.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers and snowmobile and ATV operators during the week. Davis also completed taxidermy inspections.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) patrolled for fishing and snowmobiling activity this week.

He also checked ATV operators.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) spent time checking ice anglers and snowmobiling activity. Complaints about wanton waste and illegal burning of prohibited materials are also being investigated.

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on fishing and snowmobiling activity. The winter season for stream trout in lakes opened for fishing this past weekend. Some brook trout were seen in the bag, with most anglers reporting catching brook trout and northern pike.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week patrolling for area snowmobiling and ice-angling activity. Time also was spent completing area aeration inspections. An ice safety presentation was given to an area school’s fishing club.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports predator hunters continue to report success with coyotes coming to baits and calls.

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) worked a snowmobile detail in the Crosby area, patrolling trails for snowmobile violations and checking bobcat traps.

CO Ryan Christenson (Rochester) spent time checking anglers and snowmobiling activity. Violations found were fishing after revocation and unattended lines.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports heavy angling pressure with limits of panfish seen. The snowmobile trails in the area were closed. He received a complaint about people feeding deer, along with several calls about nuisance and sick wildlife.

There seemed to be many more Wisconsin anglers than Minnesota anglers on the border waters on Sunday afternoon.

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

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