Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars

Field reports from Minnesota DNR conservation officers

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods as well as coyote hunters and bobcat trappers around Roseau County.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) gave a presentation to the Stephen Lions and taught the law and ethics portion of a youth snowmobile safety class in Grygla. He monitored area snowmobile trails, area angling activity, and conducted follow-up on deer-season violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working angling and snowmobiling activity throughout the past week. Time was spent issuing possession permits for car-killed deer.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports time was spent working angling and snowmobiling activity, as well as assisting with CO Academy snowmobile training. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with extra lines, and felony possession of narcotics.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending most of the week checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Time also was spent working ATV enforcement. Various angling and snowmobile-related violations were encountered.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails. He assisted the Bemidji Police Department with a report of a stolen snowmobile. The machine and suspect were located.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports continuing work on a background investigation for a potential new conservation officer. Vinton took several calls ranging from dogs chasing deer to angler harassment during pre-fishing for a local, permitted tournament.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports responding to wildlife-related concerns, complaints, and general calls. He also checked ice anglers.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time working ice fishing, snowmobiling, and coyote hunters. Incidentally caught fishers were seized and donated to the Minnesota Trappers Association. Plautz continues to investigate duplicate deer license sales from the deer season and finalized upcoming snowmobile safety classes.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent a lot of time this week on the ice and on area snowmobile trails. Several anglers were issued citations for leaving rattle reels and jig poles down in their houses while they went to shore for dinner. One shelter even had two tip-ups set up right outside a shelter. There was nobody around, and one even tipped up while Lawler was standing there. However, there wasn’t anybody around to reel it in. The owner was located and was cited.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) focused enforcement efforts on anglers and snowmobile operators this week. Follow-up from the fall deer season, minnow permits, and wetland violations also were given attention. Wood and other nearby Minnesota wardens met with South Dakota-area wardens to discuss enforcement efforts on border waters.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked snowmobiling enforcement, trapping, ice angling, and cross-country ski patrol. Cross encountered an illegal fish-dumping in the cross country ski lot where violators dumped filleted crappies, walleyes, packaged bacon, and a package of seasoned chicken breast. Please reach out if you have information on this.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continues to work on a background investigation of a CO applicant. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATVing, and snowmobiling violations.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and snowmobiling activity. Fishing activity was light during the week as lake travel remains difficult and rough. Large pockets of slush remain.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked a trapping violation and worked on an ongoing angling violation.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and snowmobiling activity. Minimal angling or spearing success has been seen over the past couple weeks, but the quality of ice on area lakes continues to improve.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora)
spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Anglers
continued to report limited success. Broughten also fielded calls
regarding injured animals, dogs chasing deer, and timber trespass.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

Sean Williams (Ely) reports trout-angling activity dropped off
drastically during the week. Angling success was again slow for the few
people found fishing. Violations included angling without a license,
taking trout without a stamp, and failure to display snowmobile

CO John
Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Fishing
was slow, and slush continues to be a problem on many lakes.

Matt Miller (Silver Bay) monitored snowmobile activity and checked
inland trout anglers. Signage issues were discussed with state park
staff, and loud snowmobile exhaust complaints were worked. Lake Superior
commercial items were handled with DNR Fisheries staff.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

Vinny Brown (Northome) checked anglers, monitored snowmobiling
activity, and completed follow-up. Four anglers were found in possession
of sunfish overlimits. Enforcement action was taken for the overlimits,
and the sunfish were seized. Enforcement action also was taken for
angling with extra lines.

Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling, snowmobiling and
trapping activity in the area. As ice thickness continues to increase,
larger fish houses are being seen on area lakes. Even tandem-axle fish
houses are showing up.

Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) reports time was spent following up on
complaints involving trespassing and illegal trout-fishing activity.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked snowmobile trails and area lakes for anglers.

Fishing has been alright, and the slush issues seem to be improving.

Kipp Duncan (Duluth) reports area lakes were checked for angling
activity. Duncan also spoke about the job of a conservation officer to a
group of residents at their monthly meeting.

District 9 – Brainerd area

Andrew Ladzinski (Pine River) conducted snowmobile patrols on Upper and
Lower Whitefish Lake. Anglers are reporting a slow bite, with many
perch showing up on their graphs. Snowmobile training was attended at
the U.S. Border Patrol Station in International Falls.

Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports deer-hunting violations continue to be
investigated. Contact was made with people who were illegally
harvesting decorative materials from federal forest land.

Enforcement action was taken.

Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled station lakes and snowmobile trails this
past week. Enforcement action was taken for shelter license and
identification violations. Guida fielded miscellaneous wildlife-related
calls and issued car-killed deer possession permits.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) reports fish house numbers increased despite challenges with lake access.

Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked area snowmobile trails. Activity was
busy throughout the weekend. Time was also spent checking area lakes for
angling activity. Angling success varied. Violations encountered
included transporting a loaded firearm, driving ATVs on grant-inaid
snowmobile trails, angling without a license, ice shelter violations,
and expired ATV registration. A reminder to anglers that all
non-portable ice shelters must be licensed.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes and rivers for angling
and snowmobile activities. Heavy snow has made many of the lakes and
rivers dangerous to travel on because of all the slush and weaker ice.
Please use caution while traveling on the ice.

Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring
angling activity and patrolling snowmobile trails in the station. An
influx of anglers was seen over the weekend with a modest crappie bite
on Big Sauk Lake.

Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity in the area and
found ice conditions inconsistent, with a lot of slush on top of the

• Compiled by Joe Albert, Minnesota DNR Enforcement.

For a complete Enforcement report, visit


District 18 – Rochester area

Tom Hemker (Winona) received a call about a sighting of a bull moose in
the area. Neither he nor local law enforcement were able to confirm it.
It was seen in an area where a bull elk had been observed by several
people and cameras recently.

Chad Thesing (Albany) followed up on deer-hunting cases from the past
season. Angling success in the area has been slow and slush continues to
be a problem.

Trent Anderson (St. Cloud) reports calls were fielded regarding
injured-animal and ice-condition concerns. Anglers, please use caution.
Area ice conditions have changed dramatically with weather fluctuations.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers. Krauel also spent time working on deer cases.

Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and snowmobile
operators. Additional time was spent patrolling state lands and working
on evidence processing. Area lakes have been quieter than usual with
excessive slush.

District 13 – West Metro area

Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time checking anglers. Lerchen also
spent time working cases from the deer season. Enforcement action was
taken for taking deer with an invalid bonus permit, taking deer with an
invalid license, and hunting without a license.

Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports the recent warm weather and
subsequent snowfall caused extremely poor conditions on local lakes.
Anglers should exercise extra caution.

Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) continued follow-up with deer cases from last
season. Violations this week included an improperly marked ice shelter
and taking two bucks in an area where not allowed.

Thephong Le (ELCOP) assisted DNR staff with an uncooperative individual
who interfered with staff while work was being done on the agency’s
Eagle Cam.

District 14 – East Metro area

Garrett Thomas (Eagan) continued to patrol local lakes and snowmobile
trails. Rain and slush are making angling a challenge for most. The
trout lakes, though, are still producing a solid bite. Multiple ongoing
investigations continued.

Matt Paavola (White Bear Lake) attended snowmobile training in northern
Minnesota. Time also was spent following up on deer-feeding complaints.

Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week doing fishing and
recreational vehicle enforcement. He dealt with a
nuisance-animal-trapping complaint, fielded calls about accessing lakes
from the road right of way, and worked on open cases.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Mason Bulthuis (Madison) conducted commercial taxidermy inspections and checked ice anglers.

Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working
angling and trapping activity. Commercial inspections were conducted
throughout the week. Investigations of litter were conducted in multiple

CO Matt
Loftness (Marshall) reports time was also spent checking coyote hunters.
Travel continues to be the main topic of conversation amongst ice
anglers, with areas of slush and deep snow on lakes.

District 16 – New Ulm area

Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working ice angling activity. He
also followed up on violations from the 2022 deer-hunting season.

Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this week checking anglers on area
lakes. After reports of poor ice quality, Block would like to remind
anglers that ice is never 100% safe and to check the ice frequently.

Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) reports calls keep coming in about thin ice
areas on area lakes and anglers are reminded to check ice conditions
before going out and know that no ice is 100% safe.

Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked mostly fishing, snowmobiling, and
commercial enforcement activities. The rain created dangerous access
conditions on area lakes. Nelson advises against vehicle and Class 2 ATV
use until conditions improve.

Dustin Miller (Windom) reports deer-hunting investigations are ongoing
and TIP calls continue to be fielded related to coyote hunters

District 17 – Mankato area

Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on fishing and snowmobiling activity.
VanThuyne also conducted a taxidermy inspection. Area lakes are in poor
condition for travel. Numerous vehicles were stuck on lakes throughout
the week.

CO Jeremy
Henke (Albert Lea) checked anglers and snowmobilers this week. Anglers
are reporting a difficult fish bite with few fish making it above the
ice. Snowmobile riders have found enough snow to keep this interesting,
with weekend traffic pretty heavy in parts of the area.

Anglers are reminded to check ice conditions and pick up their trash.

District 18 – Rochester area

Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent time patrolling area snowmobile trails
for activity. Time was also spent assisting in the removal of vehicles
from the ice in an area where conditions deteriorated, causing multiple
vehicles to break through (See Hunting and Fishing Report on Page 15.)

Annette Kyllo (Rochester) spent time on angling enforcement and
patrolling area snowmobile trails. Kyllo also did several routine
taxidermy inspections.

Tom Hemker (Winona) received a call of a sighting of a bull moose in
the area. Neither he nor local law enforcement were able to confirm it.
It was seen in an area where a bull elk had been observed by several
people and cameras recently.

Aviation Section

Resources Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on the moose survey in the
northeastern part of the state. Once again, poor weather grounded many
of the flights. Some plots were completed, but still there are 22
remaining to complete the project. More moose were observed – some bulls
still with antlers and some additional cow-calf pairs.

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

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