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Bear baiting and Conservation Officer Academy among DNR officer activities

Many different tactics and techniques were taught at the CO Academy, as well as different scenarios to help candidates learn to navigate the expansive field of fishing law enforcement.

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Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota for Monday, Aug. 29.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on the Roseau River and Lake of the Woods. He provided assistance to the owner of a boat that was found floating down the Warroad River with nobody inside it. Huener read for story hour at the Greenbush Library and showed animal furs to the kids who attended.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) completed annual training and also attended a Lake of the Woods Keep It Clean Committee meeting. Time was spent checking bear baits, patrolling ATV/off-highway motorcycle activity and checking anglers fishing the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for operating OHMs off-trail and operating an OHM with expired registration.

In the Blackduck area, new snow improved trail conditions, and snowmobilers were out on the trails despite the mercury dropping below zero over the weekend.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) prepared for upcoming instruction at the Conservation Officer Academy and patrolled for bear-baiting violations. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register bear baits and operating a motor vehicle in a closed area of a wildlife management area.


CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) spent time monitoring bear-baiting activity and took calls about bear hunting. Preparations for upcoming training were completed. Enforcement action was taken for bear-baiting violations.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) worked ATV and big-game activity. Prachar worked nuisance-bear complaints of damage to farm crops.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports teaching an ATV for law enforcement class at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. An input meeting related to CWD in deer was attended at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Time was also spent working bear-baiting activity. Anglers and boaters were also checked.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. He patrolled area ATV trails and checked bear-bait stations. Time was spent at Camp Ripley for scenario day.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports continuing background investigations for potential CO Prep candidates, taking calls of injured animals and referring them to the proper division and presenting the law portion of an ATV safety education class. Beaver and bear problems were addressed, and the area was patrolled for ATV and OHM violations.


CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the weekend working sport fishing and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent responding to requests from the public for information on upcoming hunting seasons. Enforcement action was taken for possession of an illegal-length northern pike and fishing with extra lines.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on bear-baiting activity. Anglers and boaters were checked for regulation compliance. Patrol was conducted for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Warren answered questions and spoke about aquatic invasive species at a pheasant hunting kids’ day near Bejou. Wild rice harvest areas were monitored for activity and checks performed.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week following up on wetland cases, checking bear-baiting activity and following up on other ongoing cases. Time was also spent transferring a forfeited snowmobile to the auction house and providing advice on a variety of nuisance-animal reports. Enforcement action was taken for speed and toddlers without helmets on an ATV.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked boaters, anglers and ATV riders. Training at Camp Ripley was attended. Safety class preparation was completed.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and boaters. Additional time was spent teaching at the CO Academy during sport fishing week and attending training. Calls were fielded about upcoming hunting seasons and injured-animal complaints.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent most of the week instructing fishing enforcement to the cadets at the CO Academy. Many different tactics and techniques were taught as well as different scenarios to help them learn to navigate the expansive field of fishing law enforcement. ATV activity was also monitored, as well as setting up the TIP trailer at the annual Youth Outdoor Activity Day in Alexandria, where thousands of youth and parents from across Minnesota and North Dakota are exposed to and learn outdoor skills.


CO Emily Douvier (Morris) spent the week working on a background investigation for the Division. Calls were also fielded about upcoming hunting seasons.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the week working on her background investigation and some boating and fishing enforcement. She also assisted with training at the CO Academy. Wood brought one of the TIP trailers to the Traverse County Fair and spoke with people about the upcoming hunting seasons and answered questions.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent the week teaching sport fishing at the CO Academy for new officers. Plautz assisted with a firearms safety class field day in Battle Lake and spoke to a firearms safety class in Parkers Prairie on laws and ethics.

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) worked fishing, boating and AIS enforcement throughout the week. Anglers have found mixed success on area lakes. Additional time was spent investigating complaints and conducting equipment maintenance.

Osakis – vacant.

Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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