CONSERVATION OFFICER WEEKLY REPORT 03-07-2016
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) patrolled Lake of the Woods and Lake Bronson. Violations encountered included possess over limit of saugers, angle with extra lines, operate ATV on snowmobile trail. Assistance was given to CO Mishler removing an illegal fishing shelter.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. Warm weather has arrived and according to the local forecast, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Although anglers have until the 31st on Lake of the Woods (weather/ice conditions permitting) to remove their ice houses from the lake, it is suggested that they pay real close attention to the ice conditions and mirror the activities of the resorts, if they’re pulling theirs, you probably should be too. Heads up, if you’re angling license has a 15 on it, it’s a week past expiration and time to get a new one. Enforcement action was taken for the following: angling without license in possession, take fish without a valid license, operate an unregistered snowmobile, operate a vehicle other than a snowmobile on a Grant-in-Aid trail, angle with extra lines and angle with unattended lines.
CO Hannah Mishler (Warroad) checked anglers and snowmobilers around the Lake of the Woods and Lake Bronson areas. Many snowmobilers enjoyed the warmer temps and took advantage of many area trails, while they were still in good condition. With the help of CO Landmark, CO Mishler has also been following-up with an ongoing case, involving potentially illegal smelt being imported from Alaska and used for bait on Lake of the Woods. Please remember, if you are buying frozen bait, to use for fishing, the package MUST have VHS certification and you need to retain that package while fishing with the bait. Enforcement action for the week included angling without a license, no license in possession, operating snowmobile in excess of speed limit, fail to display snowmobile registration, and angling with unattended lines. An ice shelter was also removed from Lake Bronson.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working angling activity on special regulation lakes and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Time was spent making preparations for upcoming Firearms Safety classes and handling a call of an accidental catch of an otter. Enforcement action for the week included angling license violations.
CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck) reports working snowmobile, ice fishing, and ATV activities. A fish house was removed from Upper Red Lake that appeared to be abandoned and did not have any form of identification, a license, or reflectors on it. The recent warm weather deteriorated snowmobile trail conditions. Enforcement actions for the week included: leaving a fish house unattended overnight without a license, and angling without a current 2016 angling license. Remember to get your new 2016 fishing licenses!
Baudette #2 -vacant.
Blackduck #2 – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
Thief River Falls #2 – vacant.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking ice anglers. Time was also spent checking ATV operators and working late season trapping activity. Illegal stands were removed from an area wildlife management area. Various informational calls from the general public were returned.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) made plans for a FAS class, worked snowmobile and angling activities. Calls about car killed animals, a calf killed by coyotes, work in wetlands, and things left on frozen lakes were received. The highlight of the week was a work detail shared with CO Gray checking trout anglers and monitoring snowmobile trails in the Gunflint Trail area.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and participated in a work detail on the Gunflint trail.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. The perch bite continues to heat up with the warm temperatures. CO Vollbrecht investigated several complaints of individuals leaving garbage on the lake after removing their shelters. CO Vollbrecht responded to a complaint of an individual dumping walleye carcasses on public property and leaving them in a plastic bag. A detail on Lake of the Woods was worked with several other officers.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports many anglers took advantage of the colder temperatures firming the slush to remove shelters before the removal dates. Warmer temperature later in the week accelerated the removal. Anglers should be reminded that shelters can’t be stored at the public access. A couple of anglers were reminded the new license year had arrived. Issues between a permitted aeration permittee and neighboring lakeshore owners were addressed. A call was returned to a person that was concerned the eagles were killing local Canada geese. The caller had seen up to five eagles feeding on two dead geese. The caller was assured that the goose/eagle relationship was just as it should be and the caller was good with that. Improper signs were removed from a public access.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling activity in the Pelican and Moorhead stations. The Red River Valley Sport Show was attended and numerous questions from the public about invasive species were answered. A minnow investigation was worked and a complaint of a deer killed by dogs was addressed.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling activity on area lakes with a few anglers finding pan fish. Time was spent monitoring ice house removal and public accesses. The public is reminded that storing ice houses on public accesses is not allowed. The public is also reminded to clean up all items around their ice houses. Northern snowmobile trails were worked with trails deteriorating quickly. A call of dogs chasing deer was received. CO Warren assisted a local police department on a traffic stop.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) monitored shelter removal south of Hwy 34, checked anglers and worked ATV enforcement. Follow-up completed on one deer season case with over limit of deer charges. Assistance was also given on a medical requiring CPR.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) monitored recreational vehicle activity and angling throughout the area. A good number of snowmobiles were out but trail conditions quickly deteriorated by the end of the weekend due to warmer weather. CO Holt continued working on a TIP complaint.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports most fish-houses have found their way off the lakes with most leaving no litter behind. Ice conditions have become weakened and large vehicle travel is not recommended. With above average temperatures forecasted safe ice angling for the area may have to wait until next winter. Enforcement efforts were related to fishing and ATV violations.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) monitored fish houses still on area lakes. Fishing enforcement and ATV use was the primary focus during the week. Plautz investigated litter left on area lakes. Equipment maintenance was performed when the officer found a flat tire on her squad after returning from the lake on ATV.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) worked checking fishermen, fish shelters and ATVs throughout the week. Additional time was spent setting up a FAS class with local instructors. Ice conditions have deteriorated considerably this past week and caution is advised for vehicle travel on area lakes.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) received complaints in the Alexandria station of ATV’s on the Central Lakes Trail accessing Lake Aldrich. The complaints were investigated and enforcement action was taken for operating a motor vehicle on a state trail. Area lakes were checked for fish house removal and litter for the upcoming deadline. There are a few houses still on area lakes but litter this year is down. Computer training was completed along with driving to Camp Ripley to get computer parts replaced.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent most of the week checking station lakes for angling activity as well as ice house removal. With the deadline approaching, Lawler has been advising people to plan ahead. Angling pressure has reduced with the warm weather and deteriorating ice conditions. ATV activity was monitored as well with vehicles now not advised to drive out on the ice.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work angling and rec vehicle traffic on area waterways. The remaining fish houses and potential litter violations continue to be documented in preparation for the upcoming removal deadline. Lake ice is deteriorating rapidly and with the forecasted continued mild temps, vehicle traffic is cautioned. Additional time was spent monitoring predator hunting activity and following up on calls for service regarding dead deer. Training was presented to DNR employees at the regional office.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ATV activity, fish house removal process and ice fishermen. Unseasonable weather continues to rapidly deteriorate ice conditions on area lakes. Fish house removal has gone smooth on area lakes. Anderson attended the funeral for CO Craig Miska’s mother. Calls were fielded from the public on firearms safety classes, fish house removal requirements and area ice conditions.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, ATV operators, and OHM operators. Additional time was spent setting up an upcoming firearm safety class. Area lakes were checked for any remaining fish houses, and complaints were investigated about litter left on area lakes. Equipment maintenance was performed on station equipment.
Wheaton – vacant.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked ice anglers and researched easements on forests roads.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) reports the ice anglers have removed most houses of the ice prior to the removal deadline. A high school class was given assistance at a reality day with making life choices. Assistance was provided at a First Responder/ medical call, and a wolf complaint was received.
CO Eric Sullivan (Walker) checked area lakes for remaining permanent shelters on the ice. Most shelters were removed and sites were cleaned up properly. CO Sullivan observed that most fishing activity was on Leech for perch and cisco. Limits of perch were observed but size was small and anglers were getting a few jumbo perch. Cisco bite was also pretty slow but anglers with success were catching big fish. Enforcement action was taken for shelters not displaying shelter licenses, improperly identified shelter, no angling license in possession and failure to purchase new 2016 angling license and transporting loaded firearm.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked perch and pan fish anglers. Most anglers found angling success to be on the slow side. Ice conditions in the area are currently good; however, forecasted warm temperatures and rain will eat away at the ice quickly. Those with fish houses on area lakes should strongly consider removing them well before the March 21 deadline. Assistance was provided to a Wisconsin Conservation Warden with a fur investigation. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and unattended line.
CO Chelsey Collette (Remer) took a flight of her station to identify enforcement areas. Collette also handled a beaver nuisance complaint as well as some local ATV issues. A tip call was handled in the Hill City Station with CO Mlynar. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing licenses and no ATV registration. Due to continued issues with the following situations, Collette reminds the public that it is illegal to operate highway-licensed motor vehicles and ATVs on designated snowmobile trails from Dec. 1 until April 1.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling, ATV, and snowmobiling activity. Snowmobiling activity was nonexistent due to lack of snow. Ice conditions will likely start to deteriorate soon. Anglers continue to report poor success. Anglers are reminded to check ice shelter removal dates. Enforcement action included: no angling license in possession and no angling license.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked ATV’s and fishermen. CO Hunter investigated a complaint of fishermen harassing each other on a lake. Officer Hunter attended training and had a ride along from a local high school career class.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports a busy weekend with lots of people out enjoying the nice weather. A law presentation was given at a snowmobile safety class in Littlefork. Snowmobile and ice fishing enforcement took up most of the work weekend. CO Van Asch and he assisted with a snowmobile enforcement detail which included officers from Voyageurs National Park, US Border Patrol, and St. Louis County Sheriff’s Dept. on Lake Kabetogama, Namakan Lake, and Ash River. Fishermen are reminded to purchase a new 2016 angling license.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Ray) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobile activity in the surrounding areas. CO Van Asch assisted Koochiching County deputies with a vehicle that had broken through the ice on Rainy Lake. Both driver and passenger were lucky enough to exit the vehicle safely before it sank. This should serve as a reminder to the public that there is still no such thing as safe ice out there. Time was also spent attending a local snowmobile safety class teaching the laws and ethics portion of the class. Enforcement action was taken for several snowmobile violations and no angling license in possession.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area snowmobile trails and checking area lakes with little angling activity observed. Snowmobile trails have deteriorated.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports with the trails in great condition and good weather, this had been the busiest week of the season for snowmobiling activity. The water skippers also were out on Vermilion. The officer took a number of complaints about the skips. The complaints were about garbage being left on the site, late evening noise, trespassing, and snowmobile trail markers being run over intentionally. Most of the ice shelters are off the ice, however with the warmer weather coming, it is better not to wait to get them off.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling, snowmobile, ATV, and OHM activity during the week. Snowmobile water skipping was again occurring on Lake Vermilion and officer’s found snowmobiles, ATVs and off-highway motorcycles in use. One OHM driver wiped out in front of three officers in the rough, rutted up snow on the ice. He had no registration on the machine. The driver arranged for another way to get back as he hurt his hip in the spill. The officer found litter left on the ice from a fish house removal project and followed the tracks in the snow to his home, followed by addressing the litter and the 10 year expired snowmobile registration on the sled he used. Enforcement action was taken on a number of snowmobile, ATV, and OHM violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time checking the few anglers seen on Virginia area lakes. Warmer temps have brought out high numbers of snowmobilers and the trails are really showing wear. Water skipping has started on Lake Vermilion already. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration decal and operating an unregistered snowmobile. Some owners of ice shelters who left litter behind will be receiving citations for the violation.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) found the snowmobile trails to be in good shape the beginning of the week but deteriorated with the warm weather. Anglers were out in the nice weather and a few crappies are being caught. Time was spent having to update office equipment.
Cook – vacant.
International Falls #2 – vacant.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports the most active snowmobiling weekend of the winter was also possibly the last with spring like weather beginning on Saturday large patches of trail have already starting to melt down to mud. Although they are still passable, the trails were very rough and the high level of traffic was causing them to disappear quickly. Violations included: fishing without a license, angling on a designated trout lake with no trout stamp, and operating an unregistered snowmobile.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports a busy weekend of activity. By Sunday afternoon spring snowmobile conditions had arrived. Some fish bites were noted. The officer worked inside and outside the BWCA. Violations included fishing without a license, motorized equipment in the BWCA, driving a truck on a GIA snowmobile trail, snowmobile speed, and loud exhaust.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) checked on area anglers and monitored ice house removal. Time was spent checking snowmobile activity as well. Many lakes and trails are seeing the end of season snow and ice with the warm weather and heavy traffic.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers and snowmobilers on Lake of the Woods. Fishing was slow with few walleye and sauger on the ice. A joint operation with the Ontario Officers was coordinated and worked along the border. The Officer attended a meeting with reference to the proposed deer regulations along the North Shore. Wildlife calls were handled. Enforcement action was taken for angling, drugs and snowmobile violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked fishing and snowmobile activity during the past week. Area trails were in good shape and very active over the weekend but have now deteriorated with the warm temperatures. Enforcement action was taken for licensing and road crossing violations.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails, and completed equipment maintenance. Also, investigated a litter complaint which is ongoing and documented probable problem fish houses.
CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked snowmobile, ATV, and sport fishing. Violations for the week included fail to display registration and operating a snowmobile on the county road.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked snowmobile activity and assisted the county with a warrant pick up. Enforcement action was taken for license issue and arrest for outstanding warrants.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time working snowmobile enforcement this past weekend. The trails were still in pretty good condition. She also worked angling activity on local lakes. She followed-up on some big game violations. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of fish.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice anglers with many individuals getting out on the early March ice. Ice conditions are still good on most lakes and many opportunities exist to get in on a great panfish bite. CO Sutherland attended a career day at Itasca Community College where area high school students were exploring career options. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV without valid registration and not having an angling license in possession.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATV’s, snowmobiles and state trails. He also taught a snowmobile safety class during the week.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region 2 ATV officer) checked ATVers and snowmobilers this past week as snow conditions turned to slush. CO Velsvaag checked anglers not having much success and received fish house litter complaints and speeding snowmobile complaints.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) continued to work snowmobile activity during the week. Several lakes were also check for angling activity and ice houses were documented if garbage was around them. Many calls were returned and assistance with other DNR agencies was also worked during the week.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) snowmobile trail quality has diminished substantially with the recent warm weather. Most area fish houses have already been removed prior to the northern deadline of March 21. Good reports of pan fishing throughout the area. The officer also attended the end of year Duluth City bow hunt meeting. No major changes for next year.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent time working winter fishing along the north shore and also inland lakes. Officer Duncan checked lakes for ice houses and garbage around them. Snowmobile activity was also worked on area trails and Lakes. Several calls were returned and a small game violation continues to be investigated. Time was also spent working on investigations with Wisconsin, Ontario, and the USFWS.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity and worked snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. Area anglers reported mixed results on pan fish. Lakes were checked for shelter removal and litter. CO Humphrey worked a special detail on Lake Vermilion assisting with snowmobile enforcement and a water skipping event. Reports on a baiting case were submitted to the county attorney for a pending hearing. A Wetland restoration order extension letter was sent. Angling, snowmobile, and ATV violations were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent time checking fish houses on area lakes to make sure they are removed by the deadline and any garbage left behind is picked up. A K9 talk and demo was done at an area school with K9 Schody and Cloquet PD and their K9 Raja. A complaint of deer believed to be poached in the Wrenshall area was looked into and is currently under investigation. Assistance with recreational vehicles and fishing activity was worked in the Tower area. Enforcement action was taken for registration and speeding violations.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore anglers along the North Shore in the Duluth-Two Harbors area, some small boats are also showing up on Lake Superior trying to find and catch coho salmon. The warmer temperatures have taken a toll on the area snowmobile trails, a reminder that ATV’s are not allowed on snowmobile trails. An injured deer that was suspected of being shot was investigated. The deer was not located in the area and is pending further investigation.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore anglers and a few early boats out trolling for salmon. Southwest winds gave the anglers a challenge, but a few herring and salmon were caught. Warm temps have quickly deteriorated snowmobile trails, and a few ATV complaints were received. A reminder that grant-in-aid snowmobile trails are closed to ATVs from 12/1 – 4/1, and if the trail crosses private land, most landowners have only granted easements for snowmobiles. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and ATV violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers who were reporting a slow pan fish bite on area lakes. Officer Lee received a complaint of prohibited material being burned at a residence. Upon arrival at the residence Officer Lee discovered that nothing was burning at the time, but prohibited material had been being burned. Items ranging from recliner chairs to automotive oils and greases and other prohibited materials. The area that the items were being burnt were along the lake and run off of some of the chemicals had occurred. The individual involved was not located at the time but further investigation is continuing. Officer Lee also prepared for upcoming presentations at Eagle View Elementary and Pequot Lakes High School.
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) monitored fish house removals from area lakes where some issues of litter left behind were seen, but overall most people did a good job of cleaning up. The officer met with the county attorney’s office on pending cases and investigated a complaint of a landowner on a small lake posting property that they did not own in an attempt to keep people off the lake.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Crow Wing County lakes for angling activity. CO McGowan also worked Lake of the Woods, and the NW Angle area with several other Conservation Officers. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling violations.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing enforcement and wildlife complaints. Officer Guida checked an angler on a remote lake that accessed the lake by aircraft. The angler was unsuspecting of the contact and expressed his appreciation on the contact and proudly displayed his new 2016 angling license. Officer Guida also worked with the Wildlife Division on a deer that was located within a corn crib. The deer, which was extremely emaciated, displayed an injury on his hoof consistent with an accidental snare catch and also had an injury to its neck likely restricting consumption of food. The deer was dispatched and examined by wildlife staff. An eastern screech owl was recovered and donated to a local educational institution.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling enforcement. Perfect weather helped with shelter removal. Work was also completed on a case from the deer season.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails. Some ATV riders at a local establishment were reminded that ATVs are not permitted on designated snowmobile trails. Anglers were reminded to remove all debris from the ice. While discussing this with one group of angles, CO Ladd was told they wouldn’t dare leave litter on the ice since they believed she GPS’d their fish houses.
Cuyuna SRA – vacant.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) worked angler activity which included an improving crappie bite and the extended northern season on Mille Lacs. he most common violation was lack of valid fishing licenses likely due to the February 29 expiration of 2015 licenses. ATV traffic was out on the lakes but should watch out for the expanding open water around inlets and outlets. That same open drew some trapping activity as they made use of beaver sets they didn’t need to chip out.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) attended training at the St. Paul BCA.The officer is currently investigating big game violations from the fall of 2015. The warm weather has knocked down the snow; please remember that the Soo Line is a designated snowmobile trail until April 1. Be aware when traveling on area lakes as the recent warm up may make unsafe ice.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen on area lakes in the Malmo station. Please remember to purchase a new angling license being licenses expired on February 29. A few sleds were seen out but the trails were almost gone by the weekend. The Officer checked area lakes for litter and also for identification on area fish houses as the removal date approaches. Please remember the shelter removal date for the southern zone is March 7. Follow-up was done on some cases from the early winter and the County Attorney was consulted on the matter. The Officer attended a computer training in Grand Rapids and many fishing, trapping and ATV related law questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend. Two calls of calves taken by wolves were investigated in Pine County and the investigation found the calves were taken by wolves.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked area lakes for anglers and noted any ice houses that may be left after the removal deadline. She assisted the State Patrol with traffic control and accidents during heavy snowfall that hit the area on Friday. Speldrich investigated a complaint of someone burning prohibited materials. It was discovered that a large amount of prohibited materials including furniture, appliances and plastics were burned. An investigation is being conducted.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) assisted a state trooper with a possible stolen fish house on the roadway and assisted with a county search warrant. Ice is melting fast; caution should be used. A vandalism case was also worked on, as well as a big game case from last fall.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) checked anglers and ATV activity throughout the week. Warm weather and lack of snow has long since replaced snowmobile riding with ATV riding. A few anglers were found fishing without licenses and had to be reminded of the requirement to purchase a new fishing license on March 1. The approaching fishing shelter removal deadline also had many anglers working on getting their fish houses off the lakes.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked area lakes for shelter removal. Area state forest and WMAs were patrolled for illegal ATV use and time was spent doing computer updates.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring ice angling and ATV activity. Most of the area lakes are clear of shelters with a looming deadline and quickly deteriorating ice conditions. A diseased deer call was taken where a deer had wandered into an area farmer’s machine shed. Samples from the deer were secured by wildlife staff for testing. A career presentation was also provided to Central Lakes College Students. Violations for the week included no angling license, allow unlawful operation of an ATV by a juvenile, no burning permit, no ATV safety, fail to renew ATV registration, and fail to display ATV registration.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) checked area lakes for shelter removal progress. Equipment matters were handled. A car hit fisher was taken care of. A probable APM violation is under investigation.
CO Mike Krauel (St. Cloud) spent most of the week checking anglers, handling burning complaints, and following up on trapping complaints. With the nice weather, people have been starting numerous fires to discard yard waste.CO Krauel would like to remind people to get the proper burning permits and to pay attention to local burning bans. Enforcement action was taken for burning without a burning permit, failure to register an ATV, failure to display registration, and no angling license.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, fish house removal issues, ATVs and TIP calls. Nice weather had many people out over the weekend. Ice conditions continue to go downhill. Thesing assisted the local police with extra patrol at the Albany district schools for a possible threat. Enforcement action for the week included angle with extra line, expired ATV registration, no angling license and no trout stamp.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and trapping activity. The officer followed up on administrative tasks. The officer also completed required training.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) investigated a complaint of someone blowing up a beaver lodge with Tannerite. Fish houses were inspected with the removal deadline right around the corner. Reports and evidence were presented to the County Attorney’s Office reference a prohibited materials fire. CO Kuske completed maintenance and repair to his state issued computer.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers. CO Mies worked on trapping information with neighboring COs. CO Mies checked lakes for fish houses and marked houses.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) checked area lakes for fish house removal and found that almost all anglers had removed their fish houses well before the removal deadline.
CO Kuske investigated a complaint call of two landowners possibly draining a wetland due to drain tile being installed and ditching adjacent to a wetland. A call of illegal burning is being checked into and calls were fielded on ATV law questions pertaining to legal ages youth can operate ATV’s in the roadways.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers and ATV operators throughout the week. Fishing success remains slow and most ice shelters are off the ice. Ice conditions remain stable but some areas along the shore and accesses are weakening. Enforcement action was taken on ATV and off-highway motorcycle offenses.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a Firearms Safety presentation at Hasty-Silver Lake Sportsman Club this week. Most of the fish houses are off the local lakes with the warm weather bringing a slow down to the ice fishing season. Several wildlife complaints were followed up on and a litter case was investigated.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) patrolled local lakes checking anglers, worked ATV enforcement, repairs were made to equipment, and a funeral was attended. A reminder with the lack of snow, burning permits are required. Officer Londgren investigated a fire that was negligently started by throwing out ashes from a wood burner, turning into a grass fire.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and checked lakes for litter and illegal fish houses. He picked up an accidentally caught otter. He assisted an Officer with an interview of a suspect on an illegally taken deer. He took enforcement action on an illegal fire, Illegal operation of an ATV. He attended a computer update at Camp Ripley. He continued patrolling the Sand Dunes State Forest for illegal OHVs.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) investigated a trapping complaint. CO Musatov worked ATV complaint areas and handled several animal complaints. Anglers and ice shelters were checked.
CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked ATV and fishing activity. Anglers are still finding a decent panfish bite on Chisago Lake. Many of the lake accesses have open water and are unsafe for vehicles to drive onto the lakes. Enforcement action was taken on fishing without a license, expired registration, littering and reckless driving.
Princeton – vacant.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring fish houses. CO Grewe spoke at a firearms safety class and helped with a detail at the central office. Violations included failing to display ATV registration and other license issues.
CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) took enforcement action on a deer being kept in captivity. Anglers are braving the deteriorating ice conditions to catch some late season panfish on Lake Minnetonka. A firearms safety class was taught at Cabin Fever in Victoria. Aeration units were checked for compliance and recommended to be shut down due to the increase in temperatures. Ice is getting too thin to keep the signage compliant.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked anglers and fish houses in the station of Waconia. He also patrolled Fort Snelling State Park for trail usage and vehicle permits. He returned calls for service including nuisance animals doing damage and questions on wetland regulations. He completed an investigation of a deer that was kept as a pet and completed training related to accessing to data of privacy information. He also delivered several deer to the Karan Organization of Minnesota for needy families.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) talked at North St. Paul High School on Conservation Officer duties and hunting and fishing regulations. He checked fish houses around the Bloomington station to make sure they are out of the lakes before the deadline. He took care of equipment maintenance on his state truck and took calls on nuisance animal complaints in south Minneapolis and Coon Rapids.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) worked angling, ice house and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent investigating trapping violations in a wildlife management area. Leuthardt took advantage of the warmer weather and walked several of the area lakes checking anglers and also picking up garbage left behind by anglers. She wants to remind everyone to take their garbage with them when they leave the lake. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, failure to display valid ATV registration, and no helmet on a youth ATV passenger.
Bloomington – vacant.
Ft. Snelling – vacant.
Osseo – vacant
Waconia – vacant.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity and checked area lakes for ice houses still on the lakes. Thanks for removing your ice houses in a timely manner. Salzer also patrolled Anoka County for ATV activity.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) talked to a firearms safety class at the Davinci Academy in Blaine. She had an intern from Century College do a ride along, worked fishing and ATV enforcement on area lakes and handled fish houses stored on accesses. CO Kruse assisted Wildlife with a call regarding WMA boundaries and legal access, handled a few TIP calls and did equipment maintenance. She documented fish houses still on lakes and assisted with a deer removal program in Ramsey County.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports doing ATV enforcement, checking anglers and patrolling the wildlife management areas. CO Arntzen also assisted a neighboring officer with a big game investigation and handled a TIP call of several deer carcasses that were dumped along a roadway.
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that after 28 years in law enforcement, the last 22 with DNR Division of Enforcement, he is retiring.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers throughout the area. He assisted a neighboring officer with enforcement activities as well as spoke at a firearm safety class. Enforcement action for the week included angling with extra line.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) spent the week checking anglers on area lakes and on the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. He provided a ride along to a college student who was interested in becoming a conservation officer. CO Pril also scheduled with firearms safety instructors for a CO presentation at their classes and responded to miscellaneous animal calls.
Eagan – vacant.
Metro Officer – vacant.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent the week following up on numerous littering/dumping cases in the area. Thank you to the many volunteers who spent time picking up over two truckloads of trash which had been left on the lake. It is your efforts that will allow future generations to enjoy the resources we have today. Assistance was given to the Lac que Parle Sherriff’s Office with a vehicle which had fallen through the ice on Lake Lac que Parle. A Minnkota Sportsman’s Club of Marietta meeting was also attended.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent most of the week working ice fishing, ATV, and light goose hunting enforcement. Ice conditions continue to deteriorate rapidly on area lakes. Time was also spent working on minnow, game farm, and taxidermy licensing. Assistance was given with a turkey clinic near Marshall.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers and conducting investigations. Despite early week snow, most has melted creating sloppy conditions. Ice conditions continue to worsen on area lakes.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ATV and ice fishing activity during the week. The public is reminded about fish house removal. Ice conditions are deteriorating quickly and caution is urged if venturing out.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) assisted a group of citizens and businesses that were upset about the amount of trash on the lake. The two dozen volunteers worked for about three hours and picked up about two pick-up loads of garbage from the ice and shore. Included in the trash found on the ice were rugs, cans, bottles, and over 50 plastic bags with human feces. Please do your part and pick up your trash when you leave the lake. If you know of someone depositing trash in, on, or around area lakes please contact your Conservation Officer.
CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) spent time monitoring night raccoon hunting after receiving complaints of illegal shining and hunting activity. Hunters are reminded that they can only use lights to locate raccoons after they have been treed or put at bay by dogs. Ice conditions are very poor and extreme caution should be used if venturing out on remaining ice.
Benson – vacant.
Worthington – vacant.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) followed up on litter complaints, aeration inspections, and monitored lakes for ice house removal. He checked anglers and ATV operators in addition to conducting inspections of commercial activity. Denz noted deteriorating ice conditions throughout the area.
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) focused enforcement efforts on ice angling, trapping, and ATV activity. Vernier spent time with a fish dumping complaint and a turtle trapping investigation. Time was also spent on other calls including a wounded hawk and a wounded deer. Vernier also talked with party at length regarding wetland drainage.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time during the week checking anglers and area lakes for fish houses left out with the dead line approaching for removal. A few anglers had to be reminded that they needed new angling licenses for the year since their 2015 license expired. Time was also spent checking ATVs and going over training for the new DUI requirements.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked on making sure all ice houses would be removed by the upcoming deadline. Oberg also spent time working ATV enforcement due to the increase in activity with the milder weather. Ice anglers were also checked trying to get out before the thaw and some nice panfish were checked. Time was also taken to schedule firearms safety classes and answer questions regarding the use of night vision and thermal devices.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding shed antler hunting and fishing rules clarifications. He gave a presentation concerning CO duties and answered questions at a law enforcement citizen’s academy. Nelson also spent time assisting another state DNR officer with a case, and worked snowmobile, predator hunting and fishing activity.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) spent the week conducting aeration and commercial inspections. A steady migration of Canadian geese has begun in the Talcot Lake area. Time was spent checking angling activity and enforcement action was taken for angling license and ice shelter violations.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) reports that he worked anglers and light goose hunters. Gruhlke completed his radio program discussing topics including the light goose order, license expiration date, surplus turkey license availability, and area activity. He also worked with his supervisor surveying areas in which to conduct AIS inspections.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) investigated hunters taking waterfowl and big game out of season. Anglers were checked on both open and ice covered waters. ATV riders were checked on GIA trails. Operators are reminded to respect trail rules and operate responsibly. Enforcement action was taken for out of season poaching activity.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) checked angling, trapping, and recreational vehicle activity. Ice conditions continue to deteriorate with the warmer weather. Time was spent monitoring WMA activity.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) focused enforcement efforts on checking anglers, small game hunters, and ATV operators during the week. Trapping and predator hunting activities were also monitored. The officer also attended a Volunteer Safety Instructor Forum held at the New Richland Area Sportsmen’s Club.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week monitoring primarily angling activity on area lakes. Ice conditions continue to deteriorate, so extreme caution should be taken if you choose to venture out onto the ice. Additional time was spent checking ATV operators. CO Ihnen also attended a local safety instructor forum.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked ATV and angling activity. One snowmobiler was observed operating his brand new sled back and forth in a sheltered section of road ditch which still held snow. CO Howe also attended a Volunteer Instructor Forum in New Richland.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent the week focusing activity in many different areas. Time was spent monitoring anglers, predator hunters, trappers, and light goose hunters. CO Henke received a call of an otter that was accidentally caught in a trap, with help from other area law enforcement the otter was released and was doing well. There are many people enjoying the outdoors, but success while hunting and fishing has been limited. CO Henke reminds anglers that 2016 fishing licenses were required at the beginning of March 1.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week checking anglers and coyote hunters. Complaints of dogs chasing deer were received. An incidental catch river otter was seized. Preparations were made for upcoming firearms safety classes and field days. A reminder that now is the time to sign up for classes.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) checked ice fishermen and predator hunters. Several ice fishermen had forgotten to purchase their new license. Several ATV violations were detected.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishing enforcement on the Mississippi River as well as attending training and addressing a few complaints. The fishing has remained spotty with a little more boating activity on the nicer days. CO Prodzinski also worked with the county attorney’s office on an active investigation and obtained another conviction from a baiting case.
CO Phil George (Rochester) assisted the sheriff’s department with a vehicle off the road and a structure fire. He took complaints of injured or sick animals, investigated a waters complaint and checked anglers and ATV operators. Officer George attended a water easement meeting in Rochester.
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports attending a district meeting involving trout stream easement violations. He worked and attended the annual NWTF banquet held in Caldonia. All boat landings are open. Fishermen found success with perch, walleye and sauger.
Enforcement was taken for extra lines, no throwable lifejacket, failure to display boat registration, undersize walleye, and no angling license in possession.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking trout anglers. Success was fair to good with the warmer weather. Time was spent looking into a dumping complaint. CO Boyum also attended an angling easement meeting. The warmer weather has also increased ATV activity. Operators are reminded to obtain permission on the land they are riding on and to review the regulations.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending most of the week checking angling activity. Time was also spent attending a trout stream meeting in Rochester and turning in evidence from convicted cases. Fishing pressure on the river is on a steady increase with the first open water fishing tournament of the year being held this past weekend. Some fishing and boating violations were detected.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Fishing success was mixed for both open water and ice anglers. Heyn also handled other calls, attended meetings, and prepared for upcoming training.
CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) patrolled for sport fishing and small game enforcement. Additional efforts were put towards miscellaneous wildlife complaints and possession permits. A busy Saturday was spent assisting a neighboring officer with anglers on the river. Enforcement action taken included fishing with extra lines, no throwable PFD, and angling without a fishing license in possession. Remember to make sure PFDs, fire extinguishers, and other boating gear are in serviceable condition prior to the upcoming boating season.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports working fishing on the ice and from boats. The open water fishing was found to be slow while the ice fishermen had some good reports. Several people took boats out to ice fishing locations. A person reported seeing a snowy owl in the area while somebody else watched a bald eagle take a rooster pheasant.
Zumbrota – vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports continued flights to count wolf packs in various areas of northern Minnesota; however, the limited snow on the ground is making for tough animal spotting. Jensen checked ice anglers from the plane on Red Lake and also took in a day of training with another CO Pilot in New Ulm.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) attended the Helicopter Association International conference. This is the largest annual event of the year, encompassing all the helicopter users in the industry worldwide. Pilot safety classes and helicopter emergency procedure training were attended. Information was collected on some needed aircraft and navigation equipment, as well as hands on training.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) attended the HAI (Helicopter Association International) convention where he attended multiple safety seminars and checked on possible equipment for the new helicopter that is replacing one of our aging OH-58’s. It was a great way to see all the different helicopters and the companies that provide support and parts. He had an excellent learning experience with a turbine engine specialist who had a cut away Allison 250 C20 engine like we have in our helicopters.
CO/Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Grand Rapids) reports flying several wolf telemetry missions as well as a Pine Martin Telemetry Mission. A post maintenance flight was flown, as was a station flight and flights related to sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) worked with CO Pilot Jensen on training activities. Geving also conducted ice shelter reconnaissance in anticipation of the upcoming removal date.
Water Resource Enforcement Officers
WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week tending the AIS information booth at the Fargo Sport Show. Time was spent following up on complaints and cleaning up old cases. A meeting was attended at a Lake Service Provider. AIS and fishing laws were discussed. Several calls were fielded and questions from the public regarding water access and laws were answered. Some questions regarding APM permits and shoreline work were directed to the appropriate division.
WREO Mike Scott (NE) worked with Army Corps of Engineers and DNR Waters on a waters issue that turned out to be permitted through the Boise Forte Reservation and Army Corps of Engineers. Officer Scott attended computer training and refit for updates to work computer. Officer Scott worked with CO Stage and Bermel in the Ely area on Saturday checking snowmobilers and anglers on area lakes and in the BWCA. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, operating a motor vehicle on a snowmobile trail, and using of a powered auger in the BWCA. Fishing was OK in some areas for crappies, but overall still slow for this time of year.
WREO Robert Haberman (North Central) followed up on an ongoing wetland call near Pelican Lake in Crow Wing County. Further investigation will be needed to address the possible violations. WREO Haberman also conducted computer maintenance and training at Camp Ripley.
WREO Keith Bertram (Central) spent the week working on wetland complaints. A TEP meeting in Todd County was attended. Fishermen were also checked.
WREO Larry Hanson (SW) worked on a WCA and a Public Waters possible permit violation in Lyon County. Follow- up was completed on several old cases. A restoration order was received from the Dodge County LGU.
WREO Julie Siems assisted with law enforcement questions at Lake Service Provider training. Shore anglers were checked along with checking complaint areas for early ATVs.s, has been confirmed at Lake Vermilion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park in northeastern Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Starting in late January, several hundred bats have been found dead near the main entrance to the mine. Subsequent testing of bats sent on Feb. 12 to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center confirmed the bats were infected by WNS.
First documented in North America in 2007 in eastern New York, WNS has since spread to 27 states and five Canadian provinces, killing more than 5.7 million bats. The disease is named for the fuzzy white growth of fungus observed on infected bats. It is not known to pose a threat to humans, pets, livestock or other wildlife.
In 2013, the fungus that causes the WNS disease was discovered at Soudan Underground Mine and at Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park in southeastern Minnesota. It is typical for disease symptoms to appear two to three years after discovery of the fungus.
“We’ve been following the recommended procedures to try to protect the bats from white-nose syndrome,” said Jim Essig, park manager at Lake Vermilion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park. “Now that it’s here, we will continue to do everything we can at our parks to prevent human transport of fungal spores to other sites.”
Although the disease is transmitted primarily from bat to bat, people can inadvertently carry fungal spores to other caves on clothing and caving gear. For several years, public tours of Soudan Underground Mine and Mystery Cave have begun with a brief lesson on how to prevent the spread of WNS. Both before and after tours, visitors are required to walk across special mats designed to remove spores from footwear, and they are advised not to wear the same clothing, footwear or gear when visiting other caves or mines where bats may be present. Multiple washings in a standard washing machine will not provide sufficient decontamination.
As tours will continue at Soudan Underground Mine, the DNR will continue to follow recommended national decontamination protocols to prevent human transport of fungal spores. The DNR urges owners of private caves to learn about WNS and take similar visitor precautions as outlined in the protocols.
“Minnesota has seven species of bats, four of which hibernate during the winter and are at greatest risk of contracting the disease,” said Gerda Nordquist, a mammalogist in the DNR’s Ecological and Water Resources Division. As much as 90 to 100 percent mortality of bats (mostly little brown bats) has been recorded at hibernation sites in the northeastern United States. However, mortality may differ by site and by species. Bats can recover from the disease if they survive the winter, and biologists are studying why some bats in affected caves are surviving multiple years.
People can help by not wearing clothing or carrying gear from an affected cave into any other cave, avoiding disturbing bats and their habitats, putting up bat houses, and reporting unusual bat behavior. “We will continue to monitor Minnesota’s bat populations closely, because healthy bat populations are important both ecologically and economically,” Nordquist said.
Nordquist encourages anyone who sees a sick or dead bat to submit a Bat Observation Report. DNR staff reviews these reports and additional follow-up or testing is conducted as needed.
To learn more about white-nose syndrome and Minnesota’s bats, visit www.mndnr.gov/wns.