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DNR conservation officers offer reminder to leave baby animals alone in weekly enforcement update

Nuisance-animal complaints – bears causing damage and bears having tried entering occupied residences – have been reported in the Blackduck area.

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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 Monday, June 6.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and the Warroad River; fishing remains a little slow. Violations for the week included burning without a burn permit, operating an unregistered dirt bike, angling with an extra line, possession of an illegal-length walleye and a group of anglers found with seven walleyes over their limit.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) answered numerous calls concerning allegedly abandoned deer fawns. People are reminded that wild animals, even cute baby ones, should stay in the wild. More than likely, the mother is nearby waiting for you to leave. He also responded to nuisance-bear complaints and assisted in a wildfire investigation. Enforcement action for the week included no ATV registration, no helmet on a juvenile ATV passenger, no angling license and watercraft-registration violations.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) monitored angling and conducted ATV patrols in the Beltrami Island State Forest. Nuisance-animal calls were also taken. Watercraft and ATV violations were dealt with this week.


CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports focusing enforcement efforts on angling and boating activity this past week. Time was spent working an Upper Red Lake enforcement detail and handling nuisance-animal complaints – bears causing damage and bears having tried entering occupied residences. Regas also investigated multiple wolf-depredation complaints. Violations encountered and addressed included angling license and watercraft-registration violations.

The Northwest Region includes some of the state’s premier walleye fisheries, including Lake of the Woods, Upper Red, Cass and Leech lakes, along with the Red and Red Lake rivers, to name just a few.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports anglers are still having success on Upper Red Lake. Time was spent working angling, AIS (aquatic invasive species) and ATV activity. High winds have made it difficult to access Upper Red at times, but persistent anglers have been able to find fish.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on class presentation materials for the current CO Academy. Time was also spent checking anglers and watercraft operators. Various public water access sites were monitored for AIS compliance.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Angling success is good, with the panfish bite improving. He worked boat and water details on Upper Red Lake and monitored ATV activity on area trails.


CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking TIP calls of anglers possibly over their limit or making multiple trips. Several anglers were contacted with fish, but no violations were discovered. A TIP of a person possessing a deer fawn was followed up on, and it was discovered that the individual had picked up two fawns, which they feared would be hit by cars. By the time Vinton contacted the person, one of the fawns had died. A citation was issued for possession of the deer, and the person cited was to get the other fawn to a local wildlife rehabber, which they did. Other enforcement action was taken for speeding, angling without a license in possession and operation of an ATV on the roadway.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking anglers and boaters around the Detroit Lakes area. Fishing has improved around the area and many anglers were successful. Swedberg also assisted Becker County with a shooting in eastern Becker County. The investigation remains ongoing, and if anyone has any information, please reach out to the Becker County Sheriff’s Office.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked commercial leech trappers, aquatic invasive species, anglers, wildlife complaints and game farms. Violations of transporting lake water, trapping leeches without a license and unmarked traps were handled.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, boat and water safety and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent responding to miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity. ATV trails were patrolled for activity. A leeching complaint was investigated. AIS compliance checks were performed.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) checked anglers and continued follow up with new and ongoing wetland and shoreline cases. Calls from the public included reports of deceased deer and a possession permit was issued for an otter that was struck by a car.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.


District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports focusing on boat and water safety and angling enforcement throughout the week. Wild weather on Monday seemed to slow the fish bite for a few days, but anglers report success rebounding later in the weekend. The first few tubers and PWC riders were observed with water temperatures slowly climbing, although shivers were present in those checked. Additional time was spent working ATV enforcement with CO Swedberg on state forest and county trails.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) focused enforcement efforts on boating, fishing and invasive species through the week and the weekend. A lot of activity was found on the water with the nice weather. Plautz attended the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office open house, speaking to several individuals on boating, ATV and snowmobile safety classes. Plautz assisted the Todd County Sheriff’s Office in the city of Eagle Bend after a tornado swept through the city, leaving several power lines down and trees across roadways.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, boaters, ATV riders and AIS. A tornado event in Douglas County was responded to with search and rescue and scene security provided. A complaint of fish overlimits was investigated in Otter Tail County.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) watched this week as area lakes became very busy with recreational boating traffic. It was the first weekend that PWCs, pontoons and anglers all shared the lakes from dawn to dusk and after. Several anglers were cited this week for not having a valid angling license; one was even cited for fishing while their privileges were suspended. A focused effort was made on the water for BWI enforcement in conjunction with Douglas County Sheriff’s Office water patrol deputies. A devastating tornado destroyed many homes in the town of Forada, with Maple Lake becoming overwhelmed with debris. Efforts to clean up the lake bed will take several months, if not years.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the last week focused on angling and boating enforcement. Over the weekend she worked the Whitefish Chain of Lakes with CO Calie Kunst. Several enforcement contacts were made throughout the week and follow up from investigations was done.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports working fishing and boating activity. Enforcement action was taken for various fishing and PFD violations. Nuisance-animal questions were answered and a car-killed deer permit was issued.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were focused on checking anglers and boaters. Additional time was spent checking ATV operators and handling orphaned-animal calls. Baumbarger gave a boat and water safety talk to area youth at the annual Glenwood kid’s safety day.

Osakis – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked Cass County lakes for boating and angling activity. Enforcement action was taken for numerous boating and fishing violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on fishing and boating activity, including a work detail on Upper Red Lake. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations. Assistance was provided to the Wadena Police Department and Wadena County Sheriff’s Office with a large commercial fire.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) returned to duty from military activation. Cross conducted training, equipment preparation/maintenance and patrolled on local lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations. Finally, Cross rescued a beached loon stranded on the beach. With a little assistance, the loon was helped back to the water where it was able to navigate safely again.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for ATV, angling and boating activity. Baum found increased activity with the nice weather this week. He took enforcement action on various violations related to ATVs, angling and boating. Baum wants to remind boaters to double-check and ensure their boat has all required equipment before venturing out on the water. Refer to the Minnesota Boating Guide for details.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) had multiple calls concerning nuisance bears and beavers. She also investigated multiple fishing complaints.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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