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Weekly DNR Enforcement report: Snowmobile and angling activity continue to dominate officer workloads

During a work detail on Lake of the Woods, CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) heard occupants moving around and some banging around. After further investigation and a short interview, it was found the two individuals were attempting to hide the fillets of a 24.5-inch walleye and a 26-inch walleye under the fish house.

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Contributed / Minnesota DNR

Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Monday, March 2:

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) monitored snowmobile and angling activities in the Roseau and Warroad areas and on Lake of the Woods. A group on Lake of the Woods was found to be in possession of an illegal-length walleye as well as being over their limit of walleyes and saugers, which they had filleted in an attempt to hide the evidence. Assistance was given to Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officers with checking anglers coming from the Ontario side of Lake of the Woods into the Northwest Angle.

CO Marc Johnson (Warroad South) worked angling activity on Lake of the Woods and a collaborative detail with Ontario conservation officers. In addition, he was interviewed by After Five Outdoors regarding special rules and regulations when fishing Lake of the Woods. Violations encountered included fishing with extra lines, taking fish without an angling license, no shelter license, unmarked permanent shelter, possession of uncountable/immeasurable fish and no angling license in possession.

CO Aaron Larson (Baudette West) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. The Northwest Angle snowmobile rally was monitored with the assistance of CO Prachar and a Lake of the Woods County deputy. Violations included no snowmobile registration, no snowmobile trail sticker, no angling license, no angling license in possession, unattended lines, and littering.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) spoke at the Frosty Tines Deer Expo in Thief River Falls on new regulations and youth hunting opportunities. He also worked a detail on Lake of the Woods in the Northwest Angle area. Enforcement action for the week included taking northern pike during a closed season, angling with an extra line, shelter license violations, operating a snowmobile while suspended, excessive speed on a snowmobile, failure to stop a snowmobile at a crossroad and an unregistered snowmobile.


CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) gave a safety presentation to Lancaster-area youth snowmobilers and monitored snowmobile and angling activity this past week. Elwell also assisted the Lancaster Port of Entry with a drug-related case. Violations encountered included possession of drug paraphernalia, taking fish out of season, excessive speed on a snowmobile, failure to stop a snowmobile at a stop sign/intersection and operating a snowmobile with expired registration.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working snowmobile and angling activity on special regulation lakes throughout the past week. The perch, bluegill and crappie bite has improved, while anglers’ success varied. Time was spent patrolling area trails and monitoring snowmobile activity at the 5th Annual Blackduck Stumpjumper’s Snowmobile Club Drag Races, which drew over 100 competitors and a tremendous amount of spectators. Violations encountered and addressed throughout the week included angling with extra lines, possession of a small amount of marijuana, as well as snowmobile registration and speeding violations.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports that with walleye and pike seasons closed, snowmobile activity has increased in the area. Prachar worked snowmobile enforcement in and around the Blackduck station as well as on Lake of the Woods and the Northwest Angle.

Baudette East – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports nice weather has really helped with shelter removal. Few lakes in the Perham station still had shelters on the ice with just one day left before the deadline. Vinton assisted Otter Tail County Land and Resources with a complaint and received TIP calls of coyote hunters possibly trespassing. The panfish and tullibee bite is picking up. Area snowmobile trails are getting pretty rough. Enforcement action was taken for shelters being left at public water accesses and license violations.

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports contacting anglers on area lakes and rivers. Time was also spent checking ATV and snowmobile operators. Various snowmobile-related violations were encountered during the week.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked anglers and worked ice house and snowmobile enforcement. The shelter license and ID compliance was poor and the panfish bite is picking up. Snowmobile activity was light and trail conditions are holding up in wooded areas but deteriorating fast.


CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working fishing, coyote-hunting and snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent attending a deer population goal-setting meeting in Moorhead.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked snowmobile activity with area trails in fair condition but starting to show deterioration. Angling activity was worked with anglers having mixed results but finding a few crappies. People are reminded as they remove ice houses to clean up all portions of the ice house and litter.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes and patrolled snowmobile trails. He worked a detail with COs Huener and Johnson on Lake of the Woods. While approaching one house, Vollbrecht heard occupants moving around and some banging around. After further investigation and a short interview, it was found the two individuals were attempting to hide the fillets of a 24.5-inch walleye and a 26-inch walleye under the fish house. The carcass of the 24.5-inch walleye was found in a garbage bag with several other plastic bags containing fecal matter outside the house. It was later determined one of the two anglers had their angling privileges revoked for unpaid fines from last summer. Proper paperwork was mailed to both anglers. Vollbrecht received a phone call regarding a bear cub at a private residence. Vollbrecht interviewed several individuals and later found a small bear cub weighing less than 5 pounds in a residence. The cub was picked up after logging equipment hit the den site and the sow left. The bear cub was taken to the Garrison Animal Hospital for rehab. Later, it will be placed in a den site with a foster mother.

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) focused primarily on checking panfish and trout anglers and snowmobile riders over the course of the past week. A detail was worked with other Minnesota COs and Ontario COs. Enforcement action was taken for various angling and snowmobile related violations.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week patrolling area snowmobile trails and checking anglers. Trail conditions have been deteriorating with the warm weather, but are still rideable. Swedberg also checked area lakes for litter as houses are starting to come off.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week focused on checking anglers, ATV operators and coyote hunters. Additional time was spent monitoring fish house removal/potential litter issues and answering questions about turkey hunting seasons.

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports checking anglers and inventorying shelters leading up to the removal deadline. Potential litter items were documented if they happen to be left behind. Richards spoke with anglers about potential changes in bluegill limits on some of the area lakes.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) monitored fish houses as the removal deadline approaches. Litter on lakes was monitored and ATV/snowmobile traffic was worked. Follow up on coyote-hunting complaints were investigated.


CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) reports primarily working angling and snowmobile enforcement. She worked a fishing enforcement detail with other officers. They found a few violations, but compliance overall was good. Wood and CO Leeb met with a Boy Scout troop at Wheaton High School to discuss ethics in the outdoors. Enforcement action for the week included burning prohibited materials, fishing with extra lines, unmarked fish houses, operating a snowmobile with excessive muffler noise, and failure to display ATV and snowmobile registration.

CO Emily Leeb (Morris) reports a busy week of snowmobile and fishing enforcement. She assisted CO Hanna Wood with an ethics presentation to a local Boy Scout troop in Wheaton. Enforcement action for the week included fishing with extra lines, aftermarket exhaust on a snowmobile, and fishing without a license in possession. A potential burning violation was also investigated.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked snowmobile and ATV riders, anglers, fish houses and coyote hunters. Fish houses were marked on area lakes for the removal deadline. Osborne and CO Holt worked in the Park Rapids station checking snowmobiles and area trails.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) worked angling and recreational vehicle activity during the week. Time was also spent working vacant stations in the Park Rapids area patrolling snowmobile trails. Holt monitored fish houses and littering on lakes in the Osakis area. Enforcement action related mostly to angling license and fish house violations.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) monitored ice house activity as the removal deadline nears. Conditions couldn’t have been better for removing shacks over the last weekend and owners were observed doing just that with the nice weather. A deer-hunting investigation was concluded with enforcement action taken.

CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) spent the week checking on ice shelters in preparation for the removal deadline. Anglers are reminded to pick up all litter on the ice, including blocking material. Goodman responded to a TIP complaint regarding deer poaching. After a swift investigation, multiple illegally taken deer were recovered and charges are pending.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) checked anglers, snowmobile riders, and trappers. She responded to a call of turkeys pecking at and damaging vehicles. She also investigated complaints of people feeding deer.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The bite remains slow. He checked fish houses left on the ice, as well as reports of trash. Posner patrolled the area on snowmobile and checked trails and sleds. A few violations of speeding and failure to stop at stop signs were observed. He investigated a report of people burning trash in Pillager. Posner also advised folks on nuisance animals and illegal deer feeding.


CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked fishing and snowmobile activity. Trails in the area are starting to wear down. Shelters were documented in preparation for the removal dates. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of fish, ATV registration, operating a motor vehicle on a grant-in-aid trail, and dogs chasing deer.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) worked ice fishing and snowmobile enforcement. A reminder to anglers with fish houses on lakes in the Remer/Outing area: Be sure to have them off by March 2 (south of Highway 200) or March 16 (north of Highway 200). Another reminder is to purchase a new angling license as the 2019 season licenses have expired. Kunst took enforcement action for an overlimit of fish, angling without a license, violating the deer-feeding ban, and disposing of bait in state waters.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. Perch and sunfish anglers found mixed success this past week. A deer-possession tag was issued and some work was completed for the upcoming Bear Committee meeting. Enforcement action was taken for using illegal minnows for bait, extra lines, no angling license, no fish house license, and expired snowmobile registration.

Lake George – vacant.

Walker – vacant.

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