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DNR officers urge caution for anglers venturing out on deteriorating ice

The ice is now honeycombed and access to some bodies of water is difficult. Anglers planning on fishing the last week of April should use extreme caution.

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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 April 17.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) attended in-service training at Camp Ripley.

CO Tony Hams (Warroad North) spent the week following up on various complaints.

CO Coby Fontes (Warroad South) started the week off by responding to a report of an injured bald eagle. Fontes located the eagle and discovered that it had an injured wing and was missing one of its claws. Fontes took the eagle into his care and got it on the next flight to Minneapolis to be seen at the Raptor Center. Stay tuned for updates on the eagle’s recovery. Fontes also responded to miscellaneous calls and assisted local law enforcement agencies. Enforcement action was taken against an individual who had left an unmarked ice shelter on Lake of the Woods for more than 10 days past the removal deadline.


CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) taught the law and ethics portion of the ATV safety class in Grygla, attended annual training, and monitored turkey hunting activity for the opening weekend of the turkey season. Enforcement action for the week included recreational trespass and failure to tag a turkey as required.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working spring beaver trapping activity and checking anglers on area lakes. They reported a slow panfish and perch bite, as the ice is starting to deteriorate near the shorelines on many lakes. Time was spent handling calls of assorted wildlife struck by vehicles, incidentally caught otters and educating some local youth on off-highway-motorcycle regulations and operating requirements.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports deteriorating ice conditions have kept crappie anglers off of Upper Red Lake recently. Time was spent working angling activity and AIS (aquatic invasive species) enforcement on boat traffic to and from the Rainy River.

Baudette East – vacant.

Baudette West – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) attended annual in-service training at Camp Ripley.


CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports receiving a radio call from local county dispatch that a pack of wolves had run across the highway near Perham, and one was struck by a vehicle and was injured in the ditch. Vinton arrived at the scene and discovered a person feeding the “wolf” some pizza. The “wolf” turned out to be an injured dog, and it was transported to a local vet where it was treated. The owner of the dog was notified. Area lake accesses have begun to deteriorate with the warm weather. ATV operators are reminded that operation of ATVs in county and state road right-of-ways south of U.S. Highway 10 is prohibited from April 1 to Aug. 1. An abandoned fish house was removed from an aquatic management area.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing and ATV enforcement. Reports of dogs chasing and killing deer continue to be received and investigated. Time was also spent giving a law and ethics presentation to a firearms safety class in Hitterdal.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) monitored ice angling and ice conditions. Patrol was conducted for ATV and off road vehicle activity. Warren attended training at Camp Ripley. Area wildlife management areas, waterfowl production areas and public accesses were monitored for activity.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking anglers in the Pelican Rapids station. Ice conditions have deteriorated fast over the week; the ice is now honeycombed and access to some bodies of water is difficult. Anglers planning on fishing the last week of April should use extreme caution. The few anglers getting out are finding active panfish. Calls from the public included reports of dogs chasing deer, trespassing, injured deer and dead swans. Enforcement action was taken for ATV-registration violations.

CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week patrolling for ATV and sport fishing activity. Fox also conducted radio maintenance and answered calls regarding dead and dying deer. Violations this week included ATV-registration issues.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked the turkey and stream trout openers. Both saw low participation and limited harvest. Peterson also readied spring and summer equipment and met with a county attorney about a case.

Bagley – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) spent time at Camp Ripley for in-service training this past week. He also worked turkey hunting activity. Burning activity has increased in the area, and people should remember to check for burning restrictions. Do not burn prohibited material. Additional time was spent on big-game case follow-up and preparing for upcoming safety classes.


CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) assisted with a firearms safety class this past week, providing a laws and ethics talk. Plautz handled several nuisance animal complaints and was called to dispatch several car-hit deer. A road-killed fox permit was issued for a taxidermy project. Equipment maintenance was performed, and ice conditions were monitored as they deteriorate quickly with the warmer weather.

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) checked angling and ATV activity in the area. He also gave a law and ethics talk at a Hoffman firearms safety class and conducted maintenance on equipment.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) received phone calls about turkey hunting, ice thickness and injured animals. More snow fell on Saturday night and Sunday, adding to an already somber mood for the weekend. Condolences to the Pope County Sheriff’s Office on the line-of-duty death of Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Owen.

CO Felicia Znajda (Osakis) attended annual in-service training with other officers. She reminds everyone to use caution on lake ice this time of year. Znajda has observed some recent careless driving conduct and enforcement action was taken. Assistance was provided to Pope County over the weekend.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the week at Camp Ripley assisting in training officers during the annual spring in-service. Phone calls were answered from people who had questions about the spring goose season, fish kill on area lakes and bird flu.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, turkey hunters and ATV operators. Additional time was spent attending training and following up on calls related to sick and dead animals.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) attended training at Camp Ripley for a majority of the week. Time was spent fielding numerous questions and conducting equipment maintenance as well. Enforcement action was taken for driving violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time patrolling lakes in the area. Very few anglers were out, but unfortunately a lot of litter was seen, including bags of human feces. Annual training was attended at Camp Ripley. Forest Roads are currently closed into Huntersville and Shell City campgrounds, with additional closures coming soon. Refer to the DNR website, and look for signage as the spring thaw progresses, for additional closures.


CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked Cass County lakes for angling activity. Fishing pressure is low due to poor ice conditions. McGowan also worked a detail on the Rainy River. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check ice anglers. The ice has weakened considerably and conditions are quite variable. Extreme caution is advised. Enforcement action was taken for an ATV violation.

CO Corey Sura (Remer) checked a few of what likely will be the last anglers on the ice. Sura also worked the spring turkey season opener and spent a day patrolling the Rainy River during the catch-and-release walleye and sturgeon seasons. Violations encountered included expired boat and ATV registration, fishing without a valid license, fishing with extra lines, and possession of marijuana. A call was taken about a Canada goose holding a family hostage in their home.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports attending training in St. Paul. He also received several calls regarding injured animals as well.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) received a call of an accidentally taken otter. Enforcement action was taken for litter left on the lake.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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