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Uptick in snowmobiling activity in northwest Minnesota leads to more expired-license citations

Compliance among snowmobilers was very high, although quite a few tracks off designated trails are being found.

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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, Jan. 18:

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on the Roseau River and Lake of the Woods. Charges are pending for an individual who wasted several northern pike and a white-tailed deer. Other violations for the week included angling without a license, possessing filleted walleyes on the ice and possessing an overlimit of walleyes.

CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) reports working snowmobile and fishing activity throughout the area. He also continued to investigate big-game cases from this last year’s deer season. Over the weekend, he assisted another CO with fishing enforcement on Lake Winnibigoshish. Enforcement action taken included possession of an illegal-length walleye, failure to renew snowmobile and ATV registration and underage possession of alcohol.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) conducted follow-up investigations relating to the firearms deer season, spoke to a local snowmobile club on regulations, assisted the Division of Forestry with a possible timber theft and attended a Deer Committee meeting. Enforcement action for the week included no ice shelter license when required, no ice shelter ID, lend/borrow a big-game license, taking deer with an invalid license, untagged big-game animal and transporting a deer without the licensee accompanying.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) continued to monitor ice angling and snowmobiling activity this week. Expired snowmobile registration continues to top the list of violations observed.


CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking anglers on special regulation lakes this past week. Regas noted reports from anglers that the bite was quite slow, but bluegill activity picked up midweek. Time was spent handling reports of nuisance animals causing damage to silage bales and patrolling area grant-in-aid snowmobile trails with neighboring officers. Violations encountered and addressed included snowmobiles speeding, snowmobile and ATV registration and angling license violations.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports angling success on Upper Red Lake has been slow but persistent anglers have had some minor success. Time was spent working angling and snowmobile enforcement. Prachar assisted Beltrami County with a domestic disturbance and evidence collection at the scene. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, angling with no license and possession of a controlled substance.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at a snowmobile safety class in Oklee. Time was also spent checking ice anglers, ATV operators, and snowmobile operators. Various angling and recreational vehicle-related violations were encountered.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes and spent time patrolling snowmobile trails and lakes in vacant stations. Cross-country ski passes were checked on grant-in-aid trails.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) continued working on background investigations.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking snowmobilers and ice anglers. He also spoke with a local high school class about what it is like to be a conservation officer. Enforcement action for the week included operating a snowmobile without registration, no fishing license, and no fishing license in possession.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training and handled calls about trapping, angling and an injured deer.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, small-game and snowmobile enforcement. Area snowmobile trails are in good shape with plenty of snowmobiling activity observed. Ice fishing has slowed a bit and conditions are tough due to heavy snow and slush forming underneath the snow. Time was also spent registering fur and responding to miscellaneous wildlife-related calls.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and fish house activity on area lakes, with anglers having mixed results. Ice conditions continue to vary, with some lakes having top water and slush. Snowmobile activity was worked with area trails being in great condition. Warren assisted Becker County with a snowmobile crash.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) checked anglers and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Trails are in the best condition they have been all winter, while lake access remains challenging for anglers.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time working snowmobile and fishing enforcement and assisting with a snowmobile safety class. Plautz continues to work on a background investigation and follow up on deer-season violations. Area lakes have an abundance of slush, making it difficult for anglers to venture far.

CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) patrolled via snowmobile checking most area trails and lakes over the latter part of the week and weekend. Most trails were in fair condition while lake slush remains prevalent. Compliance among snowmobilers was very high, although quite a few tracks off designated trails are being found. Goodman reminds riders to stay on trails in order to prevent the loss of interconnecting junctions across private lands. Additional time was spent on ATV and angling enforcement.


CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATV riders, snowmobile riders and fish houses. Questions were received about the legality of fishing lures, ice conditions and snowmobile operation. Preparation for snowmobile safety classes is ongoing.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked a busy week of ice fishing and snowmobile activity. Lots of good contacts were made with people on the trails and the ice. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling violations throughout the week. One married couple was contacted while fishing in their shelter. The husband confidently produced a license as a combination with his spouse, but after a closer look, he had actually purchased an individual license instead. Needless to say, he was in hotter water with his wife than he was with the DNR. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports working fishing and snowmobile activity. Enforcement action taken included fish house shelter violations, no license in personal possession, and snowmobile registration violations.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent investigating a deer-poaching complaint, and checking ATV operators and coyote hunters. Ice conditions on area lakes are improving, but the latest round of snow has started to cause more slush.

Osakis – vacant.

Fergus Falls – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and snowmobile activity. Mathy continued to work on the background investigation of a CO applicant. A Bear Committee meeting was attended as well. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of fishing and snowmobile violations.


CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports local snowmobile clubs continue to do an excellent job grooming local trails. The best trails based off snowfall amounts seem to be found north of Highway 210. He reports focusing on snowmobile and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for several snowmobile-related offenses. A possession permit was issued, and Seifermann assisted with a snowmobile safety class.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) checked anglers and snowmobile riders throughout the week. Multiple snowmobile riders were out over the weekend enjoying the trails. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line, taking illegal-length northern pike and speeding on a snowmobile.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time following up on TIPs related to fishing and deer hunting. He gave a law and ethics talk at a local snowmobile safety class. Local trails saw a fair amount of activity over the weekend.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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