District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked duck hunters and began preparations for deer season. Duck hunters were breaking ice on Thief Lake and other small wetlands. Reports about bears in trees are coming in, and onlookers are encouraged to give the bears space until they can get down from the tree and leave.
CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) worked angling, waterfowling, and big-game enforcement. Training was attended at Camp Ripley, and assistance was given to the Lake of the Woods and Koochiching county sheriff’s offices with various calls this past week.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued training with COC Brown, monitoring waterfowl and small-game hunters. Woinarowicz and Brown attended annual training, monitored the Lake Bronson State Park youth deer hunt, and patrolled during the northwest Minnesota elk hunt.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working small-game hunting, trapping, and waterfowl-hunting activity throughout this past week. Time was spent monitoring shining complaint areas, issuing car-killed deer possession permits, assisting firearms safety instructors with a field day, and answering questions from the public regarding the upcoming firearms deer season.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) assisted Beltrami County with a DWI stop in the early morning hours. The driver was arrested by Beltrami County officers for being twice the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle. During that time, Prachar consoled an infant, who was unrestrained in the backseat. He found a couple of blankets and was able to comfort the child Social Services officials were contacted.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) continues field training with COC Corey Sura. They assisted with two firearms safety classes this past week and also attended annual training at Camp Ripley. The officers also investigated a wolf-depredation complaint.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Recent snowfall and wind have slowed activity. Vollbrecht also assisted the Forestry Division with addressing illegal balsam bough harvesting.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) investigated possible deer shot from the road, hunters hunting deer with rifles prior to the rifle season, and hunters camping in a wildlife management area.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working deer-hunting and small-game enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over a baited area and leaving portable deer stands overnight in a wildlife management area.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the week focusing on waterfowl, small-game and angling enforcement. Wood also went to Camp Ripley for annual training and received calls regarding deer limits, an injured eagle, trapping in a WMA, waterfowl hunting on Lake Traverse, and a complaint about waterfowl hunters.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week focused on checking bowhunters, pheasant hunters, and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent handling nuisance-animal complaints, shining complaints, and answering waterfowl-hunting-related questions.
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) and COC Charles Scott checked multiple waterfowl and pheasant hunters in the area. Duck hunters were moving to larger bodies of water with the colder weather.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) attended training at Camp Ripley during the past week. Time also was spent inspecting and maintaining Division-issued firearms.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued to monitor hunting and fishing activity in the area. Follow up was completed on calls, with complaints including a trespass/hunter-harassment issue.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked fishing enforcement this past week, as well as a fair number of hunters who were out despite the snowy weather. Muskie anglers report seeing good numbers of fish. Complaints about water appropriation and aquatic vegetation cutting without a permit were investigated. Hunting-related trespass and baiting complaints were also reported and received enforcement time.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked hunting and angling activity. She spoke at a firearms safety class and received multiple hunting-related calls. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) and a conservation officer candidate patrolled for small-game, waterfowl, and archery hunters. Mathy also worked ATV enforcement and responded to calls about trespassing. Complaints about hunter harassment, ATVs in wetlands, deer feeding/baiting, and littering also were received and investigated.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports that although the snow has slowed grouse activity, there were still plenty of hunters in the area chasing them. Whitefish netters have begun to brave the icy waters and their efforts were rewarded with a few nice fish.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports the water trapping opener was a non-event as most waterways froze over. Bays on lakes have frozen and waterfowl hunting appears nearing the end. Grouse hunting has slowed with multiple inches of snow on the ground.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reports possession of controlled substances was collateral damage for suspects during two incidents. One duck hunter was cited for drug paraphernalia and marijuana. Three people were arrested for felony-level drug possession during a spruce-top case. One passenger had syringes, meth, and two felony warrants (car theft and drugs). The driver and another passenger were in possession of enough meth and marijuana to be considered dealers.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) continues working on decorative forestry product cases and a walleye-overlimit case from the previous weeks. He also observed that waterfowl and small-game hunting screeched to a halt after several snow storms hit the region.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) reports some follow-up interviews were done regarding juveniles who were successful during the early youth hunt. The problem was that they used early antlerless tags and were nowhere near an early antlerless zone. Their excuse was that the guy at the gas station said that was what they needed. Frericks reminds all hunters to ask a CO if they have questions about licenses and not the guy at the gas station.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports hunting activity has slowed greatly in the Ely area after several days of snow and cold weather. Violations included taking an antlerless deer in a bucks-only zone, failure to register non-motorized watercraft, and no life-saving device on board a watercraft.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) attended and helped instruct at annual in-service training held at Camp Ripley. Manning also helped volunteer instructors and other officers with an ATV safety field day for students in Grand Marais. A few overeager snowmobilers were spotted this past week, although snow depths are not quite enough to prevent serious damage to sleds.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked trappers on the water-trapping opener, checked grouse and duck hunters, and worked a big-game investigation.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports conducting multiple commercial minnow retailer inspections throughout the week at area businesses. All paperwork was in order.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, small-game and waterfowl hunters, and boaters. He also patrolled campgrounds, ATV riders, and AIS activity.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) took a report about illegal birch pole harvesting this past week. She also checked big- and small-game hunting activity.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling, migratory waterfowl, boating, and ATVing enforcement.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) and COC Brown responded to a complaint that resulted in enforcement action for hunting with the aid of bait and for unlawful lend/borrow of a deer license. Enforcement action also was taken for no HIP certification, failure to obtain a burning permit, and insufficient blaze orange during a firearms deer season.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) focused work toward small-game hunters during the past week. Some pothole lakes in the area already have ice, which has limited some waterfowling activities. Complaints about baited stands were handled, and snowmobile issues were encountered.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent several days in the woods working archery deer and small-game hunters, and investigating possible hunting violations for the upcoming firearms deer season. Waterfowl hunters and water trappers were checked.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) and K9 Schody assisted with a deer-poaching case in the Detroit Lakes area. Annual training was attended at Camp Ripley where part of the training was giving trapping updates to the rest of the conservation officers in the state. Assistance was given to a local resident who was having problems with a bobcat killing pet ducks.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) assisted fellow district officers with a baiting case that resulted in an illegal deer and equipment being seized. AIS enforcement was focused on as pontoon boats, swimming rafts, and docks are being removed for the season with the recent snowfall and low temperatures.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ATV operators and shore anglers. Ice anglers are anxiously awaiting first ice, but need to be cautious as water temperatures are not yet allowing for the formation of safe ice.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled station public lands for archery deer-hunting and small-game/trapping activity. Some squirrel hunters were checked.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) and COC Victoria Griffith report high activity this past week. The officers spent time checking small-game, big-game, and waterfowling hunting. ATV activity was monitored as well.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing county lakes for angling and waterfowl-hunting activity. McGowan also attended training at Camp Ripley. Questions were fielded regarding the upcoming firearms deer season.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) reports deer hunters have been active hunting and preparing for the firearms season. Due to the increase in hunting activity, Sullivan started receiving property-line dispute calls and reports of deer that were taken illegally. Portable stands have also been set up illegally in the area.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) attended training at Camp Ripley. The area received enough snow to see the first snowmobilers of the season. Duck hunters checked saw the best days of duck hunting of the season.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated complaints about feeding deer during a feeding ban, archery hunting over bait, and trespassing.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked deer shining, small-game, ATV, and trapping activities. There was confusion about when the trapping season for the south zone opens, as several water sets were found to be set early.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found high numbers of archery deer hunters out enjoying the snow-covered ground. The earlier-than-normal snow and cold also had fall fishing activity way down from normal. Nuisance-animal complaints were received, including one regarding damage by wild turkeys. Farmers commented that a handful of turkeys in the cattle feed could be tolerated, but dealing with more than 50 wild turkeys sharing their livestock’s feed was starting to affect the pocketbook.
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent this past week patrolling for ATVing activity, checking for boat and water safety equipment, and investigating game law violations.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked complaints of shining and fishing overlimits this past week. He also attended annual training and online training.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent the past week checking pheasant and duck hunters, anglers, and ATVing activity. Enforcement action for the week included hunting without a license.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) and COC Curtis Simonson started the past week monitoring duck-hunting activity in the area. The cold weather had new ducks arriving. Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms in a motorized boat. Deer-hunting activity was monitored in the area as well, with enforcement action taken for unregistered deer.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking small-game hunters. He also assisted with armoring department shotguns and attended Enforcement Division training.
CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the past week working small-game, big-game, and waterfowl hunters. Time also was spent following up on an ongoing wetland issue.
CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports investigating unlawful deer-hunting and waterfowl-hunting activity. Trespass calls and injured-animal calls were handled.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) continued to work waterfowl hunters, anglers, and boating activity on area lakes and rivers. Maass also investigated a trespassing complaint involving deer hunting.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) monitored small-game and duck hunters in the metro area. Lee also answered questions from the Asian community on deer-hunting regulations.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) located archery deer hunters within the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, which is closed to hunting. When asked why the hunters were hunting in the closed area, the response was, “It’s public land.” Fogarty explained that not all public land is open to hunting. Fogarty also showed the hunters how to use the Recreation Compass (interactive map) DNR website.
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time checking waterfowl hunters. Many more diver ducks were observed in the area. Enforcement action was taken for no PFDs, unsigned federal duck stamps, and an unplugged shotgun.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked hunting activity in the district. He also attended annual training at Camp Ripley and completed online training. He spent time performing maintenance on state-issued equipment.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time patrolling for waterfowl hunters and following up on various TIP calls. Time also was spent on numerous wildlife-related calls and assisting local officers with big-game cases. Thomas also assisted local agencies with a domestic assault call, and numerous motorist assists were required due to slick roads.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) and COC Cassie Block patrolled Anoka County for waterfowl- and small-game hunting activity. Block also investigated a deer-hunting case from last season that recently came to light.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) issued a car-killed deer possession permit, investigated a public waters violation, and attended training at Camp Ripley. Violations included overlimits of ducks, unsigned federal duck stamps, hunting with the aid of bait, taking big game without a license, and lend/borrow of a license.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) and COC Tou Vang continue to investigate deer-baiting and hunter-trespass cases. They also worked anglers, waterfowl hunters, bowhunters, and small-game hunters.
CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) was patrolling for shining activity in Anoka County when he located a vehicle in a closed location. Hanna stopped the vehicle and ultimately identified the vehicle as stolen. The occupants also had warrants for their arrest. The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office assisted Hanna during the incident.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week continuing to follow up on deer investigations and complaints of shining after hours. Assistance was also given on a K9 call involving evidence recovery of shell casings.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the past week working pheasant-, waterfowl-, and archery deer-hunting enforcement. Most shallow sloughs have frozen over with nighttime temperatures in the mid-teens. Parts of the area have received 6-plus inches of snow, which has packed down prairie grasslands and made it challenging for pheasant hunters. Assistance was given over the weekend with a youth deer hunt held at Camden State Park.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) worked ATV and OHM enforcement and worked with the courts to follow up on a few cases. Waterfowl hunters were also checked as the ponds started to freeze.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) reports calls were fielded about retrieving wounded wild animals on posted private property. If the land is posted, you must have permission to retrieve a wounded wild animal.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) continued a focused enforcement effort on waterfowl hunting in the area. Deer and pheasant hunters were checked and appeared to have limited success.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) spent time checking waterfowl hunters, anglers, and pheasant hunters this past week. A shooting-from-a-motor vehicle complaint is being investigated.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports a joint investigation with a metro-area CO uncovered a violation of hunting deer without a license. Other deer-hunting violations were investigated.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) spent time checking duck hunters on North Lake of the Mississippi River. A good number of hunters battled the iced-up water to get some shooting in. Enforcement action was taken for license violations and possession of lead shells while hunting waterfowl.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) received information about illegal deer hunting and illegal transport of deer. Hemker also followed up on a fishing case from information received from Wisconsin wardens.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) received a call from an individual stating he had shot one of the DNR’s collared deer. Kyllo also assisted with a trespassing complaint, checked pheasant hunters, and attended annual training at Camp Ripley.
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