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Brutal weather puts damper on outdoor activity, DNR officers say

Snowmobile education and ice safety continues to be enforced as ice is never safe.

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Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Tuesday, Dec. 27.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) continued field training with COC Anthony Hams and focused efforts on angling, snowmobile and trapping activities. Violations encountered related to angling licenses, recreational vehicle registrations and possession of alcohol by an individual under the age of 21. The officers also investigated a complaint of deer feeding within the no-feed zone.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) continued field training with COC Matthew Paavola and spent time patrolling for angling, snowmobiling and trapping activity. Poor weather conditions kept angling activity down. The officers also participated in a “shop with a cop” event in Thief River Falls. Enforcement action for the week included unlawfully pre-empting a trapping location and leaving cameras in a wildlife management area.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports working furbearer trapping and angling activity. Time was also spent conducting an ongoing pre-employment background investigation.

With temperatures causing warming and freezing, anglers need to plan accordingly to meet the fish house removal deadline in the northern one-third of the state (11:59 p.m. on March 20).

Warroad North – vacant.


Warroad South – vacant.

Baudette East – vacant.

Baudette West – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking ice anglers and conducting aeration system inspections. Time was further spent checking snowmobile and ATV operators. Several big game-related cases were closed out.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued field training with COC Andrew Ladzinski. Multiple days of a patrol were conducted on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for multiple people angling with extra lines. Angling activity has slowed due to the extreme cold weather.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) continued field training COC Znajda. They are starting to see more snowmobiling activity in the ditches and on lakes. Snowmobile education and ice safety continues to be enforced as ice is never safe. They responded to a snowmobile through a lake due to thin ice in areas. Recent blizzard weather is keeping some anglers away, but not all. They are still seeing fish in the buckets.


CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and netting activity. Snowmobile trails and snowmobile activity were worked.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, small game and snowmobile enforcement.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) monitored ice angling and trapping activity leading up to the holiday weekend. Blizzard conditions slowed activity throughout the week, but a few lakes have firmed up to allow easier access. Ice conditions remain highly variable across short distances. This should be taken into account while scouting from lake to lake and even on the same body of water.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent the week monitoring fishing, snowmobiling and trapping activity. Plautz had the opportunity to work with COC Znajda for a couple days exploring her new station in Osakis. Plautz assisted new volunteer instructors registering classes for snowmobile safety.

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) continued to monitor angling and snowmobile activity throughout the week. Cases from deer season were investigated and equipment maintenance was conducted. Brutally cold weather kept a lot of anglers off the ice this past week.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, fish houses and snowmobile riders. Ice conditions vary across the area, with slushy conditions common. Please have a plan in place before venturing out on area lakes.


CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked a few anglers and snowmobiling activity with the frigid temperatures this week. The slush on area lakes seemed to firm up very well, but it was too cold and windy to enjoy the outdoors. A lot of time was spent on the background investigation of a potential new hire.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) focused this week’s enforcement efforts on angling and snowmobiling. Assistance was also given to local law enforcement agencies.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) spent time completing various station tasks and continued working on a background investigation for the Division.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent following up on deer season cases and handling injured-animal calls.

Osakis – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Corey Sura (Remer) worked trapping and angling activity in the area.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) continued training a conservation officer candidate for the final phase of field training. The officers worked Cass, Itasca and Lake of the Woods county lakes and trails. High winds, snow and low temperatures have impacted lake accessibility. Enforcement action for the week included possession of drug paraphernalia, snowmobile registration, shelter tag and numerous angling violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily worked on a background investigation of a CO applicant. Some time was spent checking anglers and snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) reports ice varies on lakes. With added snow, people should continually check ice while traveling on lakes. Snowmobile trails have multiple trees down, making some trails impassable.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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