Minnesota conservation officers' reportHere's the report from conservation officers in northwestern Minnesota and other parts of the state for the week of Dec. 8:
Here's the report from conservation officers in northwestern Minnesota and other parts of the state for the week of Dec. 8:
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Troy Richards (Roseau) monitored trapping activity and followed up on deer hunting complaints from the firearms deer season. There were very few muzzleloader hunters out during the week. Richards received information about reported mountain lion sightings in the area. Enforcement action for the week included trapping and big game violations.
CO Ben Huener (Karlstad) worked the muzzleloader and elk hunting seasons. Saturday saw the start of the third elk season, which was an all antlerless season. With the fresh snow the first snowmobilers were out on Saturday. Time was spent working on a baited area and investigating a trespass case.
CO Larry Milbridge (Warroad) reports that anglers continue to inch out on LOW but ice conditions vary from area to area. Muzzleloader hunters were checked as well as trappers. CO Milbridge met with a local hunter who fell from his deer stand and seriously injured himself.
CO Jeff Birchem (Baudette) reports that ice conditions continue to improve on Lake of the Woods, as cold weather has been the norm. Anglers are urged to use extreme caution when going out on the ice. Fishing success has been slow. CO Birchem gave a snowmobile safety presentation, checked hunting activity, and worked on follow up investigations from the deer season. Enforcement activity for the week included angling violations, ATV violations, and Snowmobile violations.
CO Angie Warren (Thief River Falls) followed up on investigations from the firearms deer season. Muzzleloader hunters were checked with hunters reporting average success. WMAs were monitored for activity. Anglers have started making their way onto area ice. Equipment maintenance was performed. Questions were answered on the TB area and deer populations.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Blackduck) spent most of the week checking anglers on Red Lake. Anglers enjoyed a successful weekend of fishing and are starting to venture onto the lake with vehicles. Public waters violations were investigated, resulting in several cease and desist orders being issued. Violations encountered during the week included angling without license in possession, angle with more than two lines, and untagged traps.
CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) monitored angling activity on Lake of the Woods and Red Lake. Ice conditions on Red Lake are good with more than 10 inches of ice being reported. Anglers on Lake of the Woods have been venturing out with more than 6 inches of ice in front of Morris Point. Anglers are reporting a fair walleye bite and many anglers are finding success catching pike as well. A report of a deer being shot from a motor vehicle was reported. Enforcement action for the week included big game and fishing violations.
Warroad #2 - vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Stuart Bensen (Erskine) checked muzzleloader deer hunters. The snow has helped the hunters but success is limited. Anglers and spearers have taken to the ice. There is not enough snow for snowmobiling. Complaints of hunting equipment left in Wildlife Management Areas and dogs chasing deer were investigated. An interview with a television station about ice safety was done.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) investigated a complaint of seven deer carcasses and a pig hide dumped on private land without permission. Another complaint involved a person using 40+ tires as “fire starter” to ignite slash and tree piles. Anglers, fish shelters, and muzzleloader deer hunters were checked. Lakes in the area have about ten inches of ice. The officer attended a sportsman club meeting.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) reports more anglers and fish houses on area lakes. Trappers and muzzleloader deer hunters were checked.
CO Mike Hruza (Bemidji) continues to investigate complaints from the firearm deer season. Colder temperatures have more anglers on the ice looking for fish. The officer spoke to a law enforcement class at the Hibbing CC. He also assisted Alaska game officials with an investigation of a local resident.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports some of the area lakes iced over. Anglers are reporting 6-9” of ice but be careful and check for yourself. The sunfish and walleye bite is pretty good. A few muzzleloader deer hunters are out. Violations detected: possess fish in a protected slot limit, no fish house identification, no hunting/fishing license in possession, and fail to display ATV registration.
CO Phil Seefeldt (Moorhead) reminds anglers to be careful on the ice; some lakes still have open water. Anglers are having good success. Muzzleloaders are having some opportunities to see/take deer. A report of a dog with a conibear trap on his nose, wanton waste of game, and deer carcasses dumped illegally were investigated. The officer along with other conservation officers, Clay County Deputies, and local residents assisted a moose that had fallen on the ice get up and off the ice. The moose was nicknamed “Phyllis” in honor of the local officer.
CO Joe Stattelman (Detroit Lakes) checked muzzleloader deer hunters, anglers, spearers, and trappers. Lake ice in the area ranges from 4-10” but some lakes still have open water. Be Careful! A trespass complaint and an injured goose call were responded to.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) investigated complaints of shooting from the road, trespass, littering, and illegal deer stands. Angler numbers continue to increase and northerns and walleyes are being taken.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports anglers have taken to the ice in large numbers. A small car was observed on the ice. Use good judgment when venturing onto the ice. The officer spoke to a Snowmobile Safety Class regarding laws, safety, and riding ethics.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) rescued an injured trumpeter swan and transported it to an animal hospital for rehabilitation. Plautz assisted a fish house owner pull his shelter out of the water after wind had created a larger area of open water around the house. The house was 3/4 submerged into the lake. Plautz worked area pheasant hunters and muzzleloader hunters having limited success. Fishing activity is picking up as ice thickness increases in some areas.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked fishing, deer and goose hunting activity. Ice conditions on area lakes vary from 0 to 7 inches. Anglers are starting to venture out on the ice and are finding fish. He also answered questions on fish houses, fish house trailers and set up snowmobile safety classes.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) answered calls about fish house licenses, muzzleloader deer season, and injured animals. Osborne also checked on a waters complaint and checked ice fishermen and muzzleloader hunters.
CO Mike Shelden (Alexandria) reports ice conditions are improving gradually and increased ice fishing activity is occurring on area lakes. Muzzleloader deer hunters report seeing few deer. Pheasant hunters are having good success now that the cattail sloughs are frozen. Shelden handled a call on a deer hunter shooting from the roadway. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra and unattended lines, unmarked fish shelters and unregistered ATVs.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) spent time checking muzzleloader and archery deer hunters, as well as pheasant hunters this past week. There have been numerous instances of deer parts and associated other garbage being dumped in road ditches around the area. Follow up work was done on WMA violations, and a large amount of time was spent checking ice fishermen and spearers on area lakes. The ice seems to be in real good shape, and some larger fish houses and a few small cars and trucks are starting to venture out. People still need to be cautious, as parts of some lakes froze over later than others.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Wheaton) checked muzzleloader deer hunters, pheasant hunters, and fishermen. Time was also spent on nuisance turkey problems, trespass complaints, and road-killed deer. Fishing in the area hasn’t picked up much. Ice conditions vary greatly with some open water still being found. Fishermen are urged to use caution when venturing on the ice. Enforcement action was taken for trespassing and fishing without a license in possession.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) reports muzzleloader deer season still very slow. The pheasant hunters are finding birds that are educated but are managing to get a few for their bag. CO Anderson finds goose numbers very low and remaining steady in the area. Ice anglers in the area are beginning to put houses out on area lakes the ice is still variable on area lakes. Ice is from 0 to 8 inches thick. Ice anglers need to remain very cautious He received reports of persons and an ATV breaking through on area lakes.
CO Kurt Nelson (Glenwood) reports cold temperatures brought out ice fishermen, especially over the weekend. Nelson and CO Shelden checked Minnewaska on Saturday and found fishing was spotty at best and high winds made fishing tough. Several ice heaves on Minnewaska make traveling on the lake risky. One ATV pulling a trailer fell thru a heave. Fortunately the angler was near shore.
Fergus Falls - vacant.
District 4 - Wadena area
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) worked primarily ice anglers and muzzleloader hunters. Hunter numbers continue to dip, while the anglers are beginning to head out in numbers. Ice conditions are generally good along shores and bay areas of lakes. River currents should be avoided and always carry ice picks and flotation gear. Fisher trappers were out, and several trappers called looking for information on fur registration times.
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) handled reports of vehicles being driven on non-motorized state trails, shooting onto private property, muzzleloader hunters in a closed refuge and stolen hunting equipment. Meetings were held with the county attorney to discuss several pending cases. Assistance was provided to the forestry land department on resolving a trespassing issue. Bow hunters and muzzleloader hunters were checked. Several active cases are still being investigated
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked muzzleloader deer hunters and fishermen. Hunters are reporting slow deer activity in the area. Ice conditions are improving.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked fishing, hunting, and trapping activity. Many lakes are building ice quickly with reports of up to 10 inches of ice on some. Officer Mathy investigated a report of wanton waste where a deer hunter removed only the antlers on a buck and left the rest of the deer lay. A deer baiting complaint was also investigated. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations and drug possession.
CO Larry Francis (Remer) worked muzzleloading deer hunters, ice fishermen, trapping activity and conferred w/foresters reference to concerns. He also drug a deer off the ice that was unable to stand-up. Once on land it left under its own power. Enforcement action taken for angling w/o a license, no license in possession and minor consumption of alcohol.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) monitored muzzleloader deer hunting and ice fishing activity. Hunters in the area reported little success during the first week of muzzleloader deer hunting. Ice fishing activity is picking up as the amount of ice is increasing. Some area lakes are reported to have 8 to 10 inches of ice. Anglers are still advised to exercise extreme caution when traveling on the ice. CO Broughten assisted in an investigation involving an individual hunting deer over bait. CO Broughten also taught snowmobile safety to youth and adult riders in Pine River. Enforcement action was taken on illegal operation of ATV, hunting deer over baited area, excavating in a wetland.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked early ice fishermen with crappies, sunfish and walleyes being caught. Contacts were made for no fishing license, no fish house license and unregistered ATVs. One fisherman stated he was trying to get through this year before buying a new license. Reminder that ALL fish houses do need some identification, such as name and address, DNR# or DL#.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) continued to check fisher and pine marten trapping activity, along with muzzleloader hunting. The cold weather seemed to keep a lot of people at home and/or road hunting. Very little spearing and ice fishing activity on Rainy Lake with ice conditions being unfavorable; fishermen and snowmobilers are urged to use care when venturing onto the ice.
CO Lloyd Steen (Ray/Kabetogama) checked muzzleloader deer hunters, trappers, and ice fishermen. Thickening ice and very little slush is allowing for good access. Citations for angling with extra lines were issued.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports working on administrative items, continued monitoring of hunting activities, and checked local lakes. Time was also spent with equipment issues.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) spent the week working trappers and muzzleloader deer hunters. Due to cold weather conditions, most deer hunters limited their hunting activity to the confines of their motor vehicles and very few were found to be on foot in search of their quarry. Most of the hunters were commenting on observing few or no deer. Ice anglers and spearers were starting to appear on ice that has become safer to venture onto. Enforcement action was taken on an ATV and a couple of trapping violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time working fisher and pine marten trapping activity. A good number of trappers were seen out in the woods. Complaints of people shooting from the road with muzzleloaders were taken. Concerned citizens called in complaints of numerous piles of deer carcasses that were discarded along the side of the road. Anglers on area lakes were checked.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked trapping activity throughout the area and received a complaint of a trapper trespassing on private land. Ice fishing is taking place and some permanent houses are being pulled out. Office work was completed and equipment maintained.
I. Falls # 2 - vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Tom Wahlstrom (Tofte) concentrated on trapping activity and followed up on investigations from the deer season. The Officer answered calls relating to muzzleloader hunting, ice fishing and trapping. A few trappers were educated about the new regulations within the lynx management zone. Wahlstrom worked ice fishermen and muzzleloader deer hunters that were having limited success.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked trappers and muzzleloader deer hunters. Trappers generally met new trap set restrictions without problem; finding marten and fisher was more difficult. Officer Manning helped with fur registration and snowmobile safety classes. She also worked state parks and forestry recreation areas.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that the wolves ran the deer hard last week. In the Bally Creek area you couldn’t find a deer track without wolf tracks on them. In one area two deer and a pack of wolves that followed had torn up the road. When the CO got out of his truck to look, he could hear wolves howling on the ridge above. While the wolves seem to be doing well, coyotes seem to be very limited in number and trappers are reporting a high incidence of mange. He watched a hawk swoop down and take a red squirrel off a tree branch. The hawk spiraled to the ground, dispatched the animal and decided to fly away because he didn’t want to share the meal with the CO.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked some ice fishermen and trappers. People were found to be keeping illegal northerns in the slot limit and many were seized. The slot limit from 24” to 36” is in place to try to get the northerns to a larger size. Marten and fisher trappers finished up the season and it was reportedly kind of slow. Ice fishermen are enjoying the good early ice we’re having this year.
CO Dan Thomasen (Two Harbors) monitored trapping activity for fisher and pine marten and noted that success seemed to vary depending on area. Some trappers with very long trap lines were having meager catch rates. Lake ice continues to thicken as more anglers are out trying their luck. CO Thomasen received a call from a person who had struck a moose with their vehicle. The badly injured animal was put down and salvaged.
Silver Bay - vacant.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time this past week performing equipment maintenance on her truck. She checked area lakes for ice anglers and ice conditions. She also assisted the county with a search warrant. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
CO Jon Paurus (Hill City) spent time checking muzzleloader hunting, trapping and ice fishermen. Fishing activity is increasing greatly as the ice conditions improve. An otter was seized and enforcement action taken for an illegal conibear set.
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, muzzleloader hunters, and trappers through out the week. He handled calls on untagged traps, injured deer, wanton waste, and an injured swan. Enforcement action was taken for possess unregistered deer and operate ATV on a public roadway.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked trapping enforcement, worked muzzleloader hunters, worked anglers and finished firearms deer investigations. The number of muzzleloader hunters and success was on the down side for the area. Enforcement action was taken for fail to register deer, no angling license in possession, untagged traps and trespass.
CO Jeff Koehn (Grand Rapids - OHV Specialist) patrolled for OHV activity. He attended a meeting for the development of the “70 Mile Trail” project. CO Koehn assisted other area COs with investigations. Time was also spent preparing winter equipment for use.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, trappers, small game and muzzleloader deer hunters during the week.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked trapping activity in the area with some fisher and pine marten being taken. Ice fishing activity has picked up with moderate action for panfishermen. Some walleye activity has also been detected with some of the larger lakes freezing thick enough to venture out on.
District 8 - Cloquet area
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) finished working the special hunt at Jay Cooke State Park. The deer take was way down but good law compliance was found. Several fish houses are showing up on area lakes. A full sized pickup was also observed on the lake. People are strongly urged to know ice conditions before venturing out onto the ice. A 1-inch snowfall generated the first snowmobile complaint of the year in Moose Lake.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports a large number of anglers are taking advantage of the good early season ice on most area lakes. Most anglers are catching good numbers of crappies and some walleyes. Portable ice houses are still required to display either name, driver’s license or DNR number of the owner on the outside of the house. The excuse of, “I didn’t know” is getting very old with numerous warnings being written. Several muzzleloader hunters were checked. Uncased or loaded firearms in motor vehicle were common violations. High incidents of violations were encountered in regards to the new trapping regulations in the Lynx Zone.
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent much of the week working muzzleloader and archery hunters in the area. Most hunters have reported little or no success in the late seasons. Schmidt attended a meeting in Grand Rapids for the fish disease VHS. Time was also spent preparing and repairing equipment for the winter seasons. Fishermen are reporting some success on area lakes for crappies.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked a Duluth City deer hunt baiting complaint. He worked with a group of officers from Districts 8 and 6 on long line trapping.
CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) investigated numerous reports of hunters dumping deer carcasses along roadways and on private property. Enforcement action was taken for one such individual. Olson also spent time checking anglers along the north shore. Fishermen have had limited success along the shore. Ice conditions on inland lakes have improved and fishing pressure has been increasing. Marten and fisher trappers have been reporting limited catches on sets.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked muzzleloader hunters and trappers during the week. Trappers are reminded that boxes and flagging cannot be left in the woods during the off-season to mark or preempt a trapping site. Marten and fisher numbers appear to be down from previous years. A meeting was attended in Grand Rapids regarding the spread of VHS and upcoming invasive species enforcement. A road-hit moose was located and shot, then turned over to a very happy family. Equipment preparations were completed for the snowmobile season.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) spent most of the week checking ice anglers on area lakes and the St. Louis River, along with station maintenance. He assisted a local police department with providing information for a felon in possession of firearms investigation. He assisted on a trespass call and a theft of traps investigation. Assistance was provided to the Duluth Police Department in locating two men who had arrowed a deer without the proper city permits or in a proper zone. He also spoke at a snowmobile safety course and followed up on a baiting case. His first snowmobiles of the year were encountered and checked. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, and snowmobile and ATV registration violations.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Brent Speldrich (McGregor) continued working on cases that were opened during he firearms deer season. Several calls of illegal hunting are still being reported. He responded to several calls for car-kill permits and picked up a wounded eagle. He patrolled the Rice Lake Refuge area and responded to a call from a concerned citizen regarding a trap that was near their house.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) reports the week was spent working on cases from the deer season, checking ice fishermen and trappers. He also took questions on the local radio station.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) continued to work on deer hunting issues. He received a complaint where a person shot a deer on posted private property without permission. The hunters were located and a citation was issued. The hunters explained they did not see any signs. Anglers are starting to move out on some area lakes with new ice. He received a complaint of someone doing damage in the Pillsbury with ATVs, and hunting deer with a rifle during muzzleloader season. He worked at the Crow Wing State park for their earn a buck, muzzleloader hunt and hunter success was good.
CO Tim Collette (Cuyuna Rec) checked ice fishermen, muzzleloader hunters, and worked the Crow Wing State Park special muzzleloader hunt. Hunters had a successful hunt with many deer taken in the park’s first earn-a-buck hunt. Enforcement activity included illegal length fish, transporting uncased firearms in a motor vehicle, hunting deer over a baited area, and illegally obtaining a husband and wife angling license.
CO Nikki Shoutz (Pine River) assisted with a snowmobile safety class in Pine River. Muzzleloader deer hunters, trappers and ice fishermen were checked as the cold weather continues to make good ice. Fisher season ends at 10:00 PM tonight and fur tagging will again be Tuesday, Dec. 9 (48 hours after season close) at the Backus Forestry office. Fisher, pine marten, bobcat and otter will require tags in order to be sold or removed from the state. To speed up registration, please again bring this info: species, sex, method of take (trap/snare), date taken, and county and township where taken.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) distributed a truckload of deer taken in the Twin Cities metro deer reduction program to needy families, tipsters, and other friends of conservation. Trapping, ice fishing, and muzzleloader deer hunting activity were checked, a trap tampering dispute was responded to, follow up work was done on firearms deer season cases, and training on fish disease was attended. Ice thickness on area lakes was found to average from three to six inches.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) continued to work on a big game related violation. Officer Guida also observed numerous anglers venturing out on the thin ice. All should remember that ice is never safe. Officer Guida also received and processed requests for car kill deer permits.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports seeing a few muzzleloader deer hunters out in the snow this past weekend, but most reported a slow season so far. He checked fishermen on Mille Lacs Lake and other smaller lakes during the week. The ice conditions still vary from lake to lake so venture out carefully. He also patrolled the Solana State Forest and checked many firewood permits during the week. Calls of hunting complaints and law related questions were also handled.
CO Dustie Heaton (Willow River) checked ice anglers on area lakes and local trappers. She also worked on equipment maintenance and follow-up from the firearms deer season. CO Heaton received calls regarding nuisance skunk and car-kill bear.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked fishermen and investigated a litter complaint. Some ice fishermen were seen with reports of crappies and sunfish starting to hit. Activity on Mille Lacs Lake remains slow. Croatt attended a class in Grand Rapids regarding the VHS (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia) disease.
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked ice anglers and found ice ranging from 3-7 inches. Muzzleloader deer hunters where checked and those sticking out the cold and wind benefitted from the tracking snow. He also attended training and followed up on violations from deer season.
CO Mike Lee (Isle) checked a few muzzleloaders that reported seeing deer tracks in the new snow, but no deer to shoot at. Officer Lee checked anglers who were reporting a very slow bite on Mille Lacs, and a few panfish on smaller lakes.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) took calls regarding car-killed deer, trespass, and nuisance beaver complaints. He followed up on a deer season complaint and spent time monitoring local ice fishermen. Ice conditions on area lakes are improving, but caution is advised.
CO Dan Perron (Onamia) reports that anglers are really starting to hit the big lake. Mille Lacs ice continues to grow thicker by the day. He reports the bay ice about 10 inches. The main lake is still very spotty, so make sure you check with the local bait shops and use caution before just heading out. Anglers are seeing some perch action and also catching northerns. CO Perron also checked a few muzzleloader hunters during the past week but the action is reported slow.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) saw a large increase in ice anglers over the week. Permanent houses and ATVs are venturing out on the ice now. There are still lakes with thin or no ice so use caution. Anglers are having luck finding panfish and pike.
District 11 - Albany area
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers in Stearns and Wright counties. Officer Mies finished up on deer investigations. Officer Mies gave a talk at a snowmobile class at French Lake.
CO Mike Martin (St Cloud) was waiting for a muzzleloader deer hunter to leave his stand when he saw a person approaching wearing full camouflage. The person was the hunter Martin was waiting for and he said that he had been hunting coyotes so he didn’t need to wear blaze orange during the muzzleloader deer season (waterfowl hunters in a blind and trappers on water aren’t required to wear blaze orange). Officer Martin reminds ALL hunters that they need to wear at least 50% blaze orange above the waist while hunting during the open muzzleloader and firearms deer season. On Sunday a Beaver Lake resident called and asked that his lake be shut down to snowmobile and fishing traffic as it had just froze over the night before, his call was directed to Stearns Co. Sheriff Dept. Enforcement action was taken this past week for hunting deer over bait, hunt on game refuge, hunter/trapper harassment, trap tampering, no blaze orange during firearms/muzzleloader deer season, no deer license in possession.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) checked anglers, pheasant and deer hunters. A trespass complaint was investigated. The trespasser was caught on a game camera with a rifle in his hand. Enforcement action was taken. A wetland violation was investigated with a cease and desist order issued. Anglers are having mild success with panfish and northern. Ice on most lakes is 5-8 inches.
CO Keith Bertram (Sauk Centre) spent the week checking hunters and fishermen. Success was limited with muzzleloaders and fishermen, but pheasant hunters seemed to be doing better than they have been. CO Bertram also spoke at snowmobile safety classes in Sauk Centre and Melrose.
CO Robert Haberman (Little Falls) checked on several TIP calls over the week. Calls ranged from deer shining, hunting deer over bait and possible over limit of deer. Ice conditions have improved with many anglers having success. CO Haberman also worked on wetland cases and followed up on calls.
CO Rhonda Keniston (Long Prairie) checked hunters and fishermen. Few fish were seen. Lakes continue to make ice; however, there is still open water on a couple. Rivers and creeks remain open. Pheasants and deer were keeping a low profile.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) spent the week checking ice fishermen. Panfish and northerns are biting and ice conditions are steadily improving. CO Kuske investigated a TIP calls involving the possession of illegal deer and a trespass issue. CO Kuske also handles several nuisance animal calls.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) handled calls concerning spearing and fishing regulations. The officer worked with neighboring officers and assisted an Iowa warden with a license fraud case. The officer attended a youth snowmobile course assisting with an explanation of the regulations.
District 12 - St. Cloud area
CO David Schottenbauer (Princeton) worked area ice anglers this week. Some lakes still had open water on them just before the snow on Sunday, but developed a thin coat while the snow fell. This creates the look of solid ice, but it is very dangerous situation. Extreme caution should be used when going out on area lakes.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and muzzleloader deer hunters. CO Musatov worked deer shining complaint areas and spent time investigating a deer baiting. Violations were found for hunt deer over bait and no blaze orange.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice fishermen, muzzleloader deer hunters and small game hunters this week. McGaw and CO Dobbick also talked with a group at recent snowmobile safety class. CO McGaw reported that 4”-6” of ice was covering most lakes although some open spots are still present. Recent snows have left a few inches of powdery snow on the ground, but not enough for riding snowmobiles.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked deer hunters in the area. He checked waterfowl hunters on the river. He followed up on a number of deer carcasses dumping. He did a Snowmobile class law talk in Monticello. He answered a number of hunting questions on the Mississippi River.
CO Brian Dobbick (Cambridge) checked muzzleloader deer hunters and ice anglers the past week. With the recent cold weather making ice, more fish houses are being put out on area lakes. Open water was recently seen on a couple of lakes, anglers are reminded to use caution. A presentation on winter and ice safety was given to students and parents in Cambridge area. The law and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class was presented to youth.
District 13 - West Metro area
CO Adam Block (Prior Lake) spent the week monitoring big game, angling and snowmobile activity. With the recent snowfall, complaints of snowmobiles operating on city boulevards were received. Time was also spent following up with illegal deer stand issues.
CO Aaron Kahre (Minnetonka) checked the first few ice fishermen of the year. The ice is starting to thicken with the cold weather so some people are heading out. Success has been slow to this point. CO Kahre also gave a laws presentation to two snowmobile safety classes this week. The CO went to check his first ice fisherman of the year when he noticed the fishermen pushing a flaming propane tank across the ice away from his shack. The fisherman then ran away quickly as his propane cylinder was spitting off flames and little explosions while spinning around on the ice. CO Kahre asked him what happened. The guy told him it was his first trip on the ice and he just got set up when his brand new heater started leaking and spitting flames at him in the shack so he pushed it away as fast as he could. The fire department was called and all ended safely.
CO Thor Nelson (Bloomington) spent time on deer, small game and angling enforcement. Some anglers were finding bluegills and pike on area lakes. Ice thickness varies from 0-5 inches.
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) attended the District 13 meeting in Eden Prairie. Muzzleloader and pheasant hunters were checked, no deer were seen shot but several pheasant hunters had good luck with the fresh snow. A few ice anglers were out with limited success.
CO Todd Kanieski (Osseo) spoke at youth snowmobile safety classes in Corcoran, Medina and Brooklyn Park. He worked deer baiting cases and followed up on an injured swan report. He also checked ice anglers. A man died on Medicine Lake in Plymouth when he fell through thin ice while ice-skating. Open water areas are still common on metro lakes and a thin layer of ice and snow has recently covered some.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) attended a District meeting. He assisted CO Thor Nelson on a TIP call in West Metro area. Vehicle maintenance is performed.
CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) patrolled Scott County for hunters. He worked with CO Le. CO Neitzke patrolled Ft. Snelling State Park. He also checked fishermen on Minneapolis Lakes.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) attended the west district meeting at west metro fisheries office and worked at his Lao Family office. He checked ice fishermen in the metro area lakes and did investigation on target shooting at WMA. Minor fishing violations were detected.
District 14 - East Metro area
CO Alex Gutierrez (Forest Lake) performed maintenance on issued equipment. Ice anglers were checked with mixed results, average ice seems to be around 4 inches, give or take an inch. Pheasant hunters were out attempting to expand their bag limits to 3. Muzzleloader hunters are asking the same thing as they were when shotgun hunting “Where are the deer?”
CO Patrick McGowan (Hastings) monitored late season deer hunting and ice anglers venturing out on the lakes. Some anglers are finding four plus inches of ice and a few crappies biting. Deer success continues to be very low. Storage and winterizing of summer equipment was also completed. The officer also spoke at snowmobile safety classes.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked deer and goose hunters around the metro wildlife management areas and fields. CO Pril checked some ice anglers on some of the metro lakes. He also responded to injured animal calls, patrolled state parks and wildlife management areas.
CO Greg Salo (East Metro) spent time checking ice anglers and found many catching crappies. Ice is ranging from 4 to 7 inches and fishermen should be cautious when venturing onto the ice. Several miscellaneous animals calls were handled and snowmobile laws were discussed at two snowmobile safety classes.
CO Tony Salzer (Eagan) received several phone calls regarding public water access issues in Apple Valley. There is a homeowner on an area lake that every year is unhappy with a skating rink that some of the other neighbors on the lake make. The unhappy homeowner is inquiring if it is legal for him to place an icehouse in the middle of the ice rink. Salzer has been in contact with local law enforcement to work through the issue.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) attended the Rice Creek Trail Association’s monthly meeting in Circle Pines and discussed regulations and concerns regarding the snowmobile season. She talked to a snowmobile safety class, is working on a trespassing complaint and did equipment maintenance. CO Kruse is working on a few deer cases, she worked angling and ATV enforcement on area lakes, and handled TIP calls.
CO Travis Muyres (Ham Lake) worked on follow up investigations from the firearm deer seasons. Muzzleloader hunters were checked in Anoka County. CO Muyres also attended St. Paul K9 detector dog training as a guest instructor.
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) assisted St. Paul PD officers that called him regarding deer carcasses in an alley. Enforcement action was taken for illegal possession of deer. He also received a call about an injured deer in St. Paul. CO Johnson responded to calls of ice fishing activity and local waterfowl hunting.
District 15 - Marshall area
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the majority of the week checking ice fisherman muzzleloader and pheasant hunters. High winds and cold temps made for challenging hunting conditions during the week. Anglers are venturing out onto area lakes with some success. Investigations continue in reference to illegal deer and small game hunting complaints. The law and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class was taught in Redwood Falls.
CO Neil Henriksen (Benson) reports that the muzzleloader deer season continues with only a few complaints and concerns. Equipment issues where dealt with. Volunteer snowmobile safety instructors where assisted with a class in Benson. Windy conditions and minimal ice thickness limited ice fishing activity this week.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) spent the week checking muzzleloader and pheasant hunters. Ice anglers were also checked. Recent low temperatures are helping to make solid ice in the area, with six to eight inches seen. A complaint was taken from a concerned citizen about people shooting from the roadway. A shining detail was worked with neighboring officers.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) concluded a 3-month big game investigation. Enforcement action included taking deer without a license, fail to register deer, fail to tag deer, and transport illegally taken big game.
CO Gary Nordseth (Worthington) spent the week conducting investigations of illegal activity during the firearms deer season and checking small game hunters and anglers. Enforcement for the week included trapping without a license, no small game license, and setting traps in close proximity to bait visible to soaring birds.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working deer investigations, checking pheasant hunters, and checking anglers. Muzzleloader poaching complaints were numerous. A case involving a repeat customer was worked with Pipestone Sheriff’s Deputies involving underage drinking and driving, shining, crashing, and fleeing. Enforcement action was taken for transport loaded firearms, shining, illegal raccoon hunting, State Park trespass, and license/tagging/registration violations.
CO Doug Lage (Lake Benton) reports that hunters not following the blaze orange clothing requirements continue to be a problem. Enforcement action was taken on wanton waste, trapping violations and license requirements.
Madison - vacant.
Redwood Falls - vacant.
District 16 - New Ulm area
CO Jim Steffen (Willmar) spent the week checking fishermen, pheasant hunters and recreational vehicle users. Time was also spent in court and preparing for court cases. Fishing has been good in some areas for both pinfish and walleyes. Pheasant hunting remains productive with most of the corn out.
CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked muzzleloading and archery deer hunting activity. Additional time was spent checking waterfowl and pheasant hunting activity. Hatlestad also checked trapping, angling, and spearing activity. Time was also spent enforcing ATV laws, and handling an animal complaint.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked angling, small game, big game and waterfowl hunters. Issues are still of concern for big game registration. Ice angling activity is increasing even though many lakes have open water. Snowmobile activity has started in some local areas. Predator hunting activity was monitored.
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) checked pheasant hunters, archery hunters, trappers, ice anglers and muzzleloader hunters. Even with the cold and windy weather there were many ice anglers out trying their luck, however the wind has prevented many lakes from completely freezing over. He also continues to follow up on deer cases, carcass dumping and dog chasing deer complaints
CO Angela Graham (Hutchinson) checked several hunters who reported having success with pheasants, but not with deer. Officer Graham also worked with Officer Hatlestad on a case of two suspects shooting from the road right of way and trespassing.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) checked people out spearing and ice fishing this past week. CO Oberg also spent time checking pheasant and muzzleloader hunters and worked the end of the waterfowl season. CO Oberg investigated deer baiting and also checked the first snowmobiles of the season.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) completed his weekly radio program discussing ice safety. CO Gruhlke also continued to work muzzleloader deer season, goose, pheasant and other small game seasons and did observe one snowmobile too. Enforcement action was taken on wanton waste, untagged deer, unregistered deer, and failure to validate license.
CO Greg Abraham (New Ulm) worked muzzleloader deer hunters, pheasant hunters, goose hunters and the last duck hunters of the season. Checked trappers, predator hunters, and ice anglers. Also checked a number of ATVs and a few snowmobilers. Talked to both the New Ulm and Sleepy Eye youth snowmobile classes.
CO Brent Ihnen (Windom) spent much of his week checking hunters and fishermen and following up on earlier cases. Enforcement action taken for trespassing, no blaze orange, taking deer w/ use of radio/phone equipment, hunting w/out a license and angling w/out a license.
District 17 - Mankato area
CO Phil George (Mantorville) spent the week checking ice anglers and muzzleloader deer hunters. Took complaints of trespass and dogs chasing deer. The ice on area lakes varies greatly so use caution. ATV operators were checked and the first snowmobiles were seen in ditches. A laws and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class was taught in Steele County
CO Julie Siems (Faribault) reports angling activity has increased significantly. Field goose hunters are also having some success. The laws and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class was given. Predator hunters have also been out with the snow cover. Violations include not have angling license and dark house licenses in possession.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked anglers and muzzleloader hunters. Ice thickness is improving with cold weather. Enough snow has fallen that a few snowmobiles have been out in the ditches. An escaped cervidae was dispatched. Howe also worked on upcoming safety classes and administrative tasks.
CO Tom Hutchins (Albert Lea) reports checking muzzleloader hunters who reported having varied success. Anglers are venturing out on area lakes. Some ice is around 4-5 inches thick. A few snowmobilers were out after some limited snowfall. Time was also spent checking pheasant hunters and area WMAs. Violations included no blaze orange during firearms deer season, hunt big game with invalid license, and shoot at big game from roadway.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) worked the week checking muzzleloader, angling and small game activity in the area. The officer assisted CO Ihnen with an investigation in Watonwan County. Two wetland violations are being looked into. Time was also spent in the Waseca station checking area lakes for activity.
Spring Valley - vacant.
Waseca - vacant.
District 18 - Rochester area
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports ice conditions continue to improve. Remember to stay with the recommended ice thickness of 4 inches. There’s about 7 inches of snow, which makes it good for coyote hunting. There’s still not enough snow for the area snowmobile trails. Spoke at two youth snowmobile classes this past week. Muzzleloader hunters are still out in good numbers. The are deer starting their winter patterns.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Zumbrota) reports working another busy week in the Zumbrota station. The muzzleloader deer hunters are out as well as the goose hunters have been hitting it pretty hard and most are having some success. Also the first snowmobiles of the year were checked and some education given.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly waterfowl hunters during the week. It was a slow end to the duck season, but lots of geese were seen in the Rochester area with good success. Heyn also received numerous complaints of dumped deer carcasses.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports the duck season to have ended with poor hunting while the ice fishing and muzzleloader deer season are both going well. Hemker responded with an airboat to a person through the ice call that turned out to just be a equipment left on the ice. He also attended a snowmobile safety class that was well attended.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending time working on reports from the deer season and checking angling activity. Time was also spent talking at a snowmobile safety class. A complaint of coyote’s eating a deer shot by a muzzle loader hunter was also investigated.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports doing follow up work from the deer seasons. Muzzleloader hunters are out, unfortunately, it is too cold for some of them to get out of their vehicles before they decide to shoot at deer. Investigations on trap theft, shooting deer from the road and trespass are being conducted.
CO Scott Moran (Wabasha) reports anglers are getting on the ice and getting some panfish. A report of an abandoned horse was received and was forwarded to a party that could find a foster home for the animal. The muzzleloader season has been relatively quiet.
Planning for next year’s training, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
CO Pilot Al Buchert (Grand Rapids) flew moose, pine marten, and lynx telemetry for Wildlife Research and checked area lakes for ice coverage. Routine aircraft maintenance and radio re-banding was conducted and preparations were made for winter ski missions.
CO Pilot Don Murray (Grand Rapids) flew wildlife surveys during the week for wolves and fisher. He also checked ice fishermen and noted that some smaller lakes now have as much as a foot of good ice. Equipment maintenance was also conducted getting the aircraft ready for winter operations.
CO Pilot Tom Pfingsten (Brainerd) provided air support to the ongoing search for a missing boater in Mille Lacs Lake and conducted a transportation flight. With the cold weather and lack of snow, significant ice has formed on most lakes and angling and spearing activities are well underway. Those venturing out onto the ice are advised to use caution, as there are still areas with open water and thin ice conditions.
NR Pilot John (Bemidji) flew bear telemetry in the NW locating their winter dens for follow up visits needed to change there transmitters. He also worked to prepare for the up coming moose survey in January.
Wetland Enforcement Officers
Please check the DNR WEB SITE at www.dnr.state.mn.us for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Education Courses and instructor training sessions
Please check the DNR WEB SITE at www.dnr.state.mn.us for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Youth Snowmobile Safety Courses and instructor training sessions. Adult Snowmobile Safety Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.
A few spring Firearms Safety Classes being posed on the web site sign up now. If you missed a fall class and are over 16, check on-line for Adult Home Study or On-Line course information is also located at www.dnr.state.mn.us.
Youth ATV Courses (12 to 15 years old) class postings for around the state are posted on the web site. Students are reminded that they must complete the CD portion of the course before attending the classroom portion of the course. Youth/Adult ATV Safety Training Course CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR
Reminder---anyone born after 12-31-79 cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate. In addition many states have even more stringent mandatory Hunter Education requirements. Check before you go!!!
Reminder---Any resident born after December 31, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota, must possess a snowmobile Certificate. Two options are available to complete certification, 11 and older can attend the traditional youth course. Those 16 or older can take the at home CD course.
Reminder---Anyone born after July 1st, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota, must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training CD course. Persons under age 16 must complete the ATV CD Course and riding component before riding on public lands. Youth/Adult ATV Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.
SCHEDULED INSTRUCTOR TRAINING SESSIONS
If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, or one of the Advanced Hunter programs, contact your local Conservation Officer or Regional Safety Training officer. Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed here and on the DNR Website.
See Also: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/instructors/training.html
FIREARMS SAFETY HUNTER ED INSTRUCTOR TRAINING:
5 PM to 9 PM
Andover Christian Church 16045 Nightingale St. NE
Park on south side enter West door
Contact RTO Leland Owens at 763-753-1887
ATV SAFETY INSTRUCTOR:
9 AM to 12:30 PM
Soo Line Depot Building, Main Street
Contact RTO Todd Manley at 218-566-2268
TRAIL AMBASSADOR (Must Be Certified as Youth ATV Instructor)
9 AM to 7 PM
Soo Line Depot Building, Main Street
Contact RTO Todd Manley at 218-566-2268
Thief River Falls 4-4-09
9 AM to 7 PM
DNR Area Office, 246 125th Ave NE
Contact RTO Todd Manley at 218-566-2268
9 AM to 7 PM
DNR Regional Office, 2115 Birchmount Beach Rd NE
Contact RTO Todd Manley at 218-566-2268
BOW HUNTER ED INSTRUCTOR TRAINING:
BEAR OR TURKEY CLINIC INSTRUCTOR (3 HOUR) None at this time, contact your RTO to schedule one.
RTO NAMES PHONE NUMBERS/E-MAIL:
Leland Owens 763-753-1887 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ross Opsahl 651-686-7998 email@example.com
Shelly Patten 218-897-5132 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Hatlevig 218-758-2459 james.Hatlevig@dnr.state.mn.us
Frank Rezac 320-230-8549 email@example.com
Bruce Lawrence 651-674-2705 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Fleming 507-765-2724 email@example.com
Todd Manley 218-566-2268 firstname.lastname@example.org
Northeast RTO Shelly Patten completed the Defensive Tactics Manual on CD. Patten attended an RTO meeting at Camp Ripley. Patten reviewed and completed work on the first draft of the Snowmobile Safety CD part 1. Patten set up Trail Ambassador training to take place in Grand Rapids in spring of 2009.
Northeast Metro RTO Bruce Lawrence attended monthly RTO meeting. Discussion was on the new procedure for people interested in becoming volunteer firearms safety instructors. Other items during the week involved setting up future spring turkey classes and ATV instructor training classes and working on maintenance of office files.
Southwest Metro RTO Ross Opsahl continued on finalizing turkey clinics to be held in 2009. He ran a handgun qualification for several retired officers. He also worked on Division volunteer instructor training prerequisites and training protocols. He worked on scheduling several firearm safety instructor training opportunities for February of 2009.
Northwest RTO Todd Manley worked on instructor backgrounds and setting up turkey clinics. Manley also worked on cased firearm motor vehicle report and attended the RTO meeting at Camp Ripley.
West Central RTO Frank Rezac reports attending an RTO meeting, working on Instructor backgrounds, and making plans for upcoming instructor clinics. He also completed an award nomination for Education Officer of the year, reviewed hunter ed material, worked on Defensive tactics material, and returned calls regarding various other training matters.
Southern RTO Jeff Fleming attended the December regional training officer meeting at Camp Ripley. He also assisted volunteer snowmobile safety, ATV, and FAS instructors with program supports. Assistance was given to district 18 recovering a dead bald eagle found in southern Fillmore County.
Recreational Vehicle Coordinator Leland Owens last week attended the Trail Ambassador after action review meeting at Ripley. The program had a successful first year. Plans for updates and improvements are in the works for 2009. Owens also attended two user group meetings last week involving ARMCA and ATVAM representatives. Enforcement and safety training concerns were addressed. He met with RTO Patten to work on the new youth/adult snowmobile safety CD program one day and also took care of equipment maintenance and responded to numerous safety training calls and e-mails.
Education Specialist Jim Hatlevig attended the monthly RTO meeting. Using input received at the meeting worked on materials for the one-day field day firearms safety hunter education certification.
Education Specialist: Vacant
Curriculum Coordinator: Vacant