WEEKLY DNR ENFORCEMENT REPORT FOR NORTHWEST MINNESOTA: Ice fishing, ice conditions and recreational vehicles keep conservation officers busy
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and attended a public input meeting in Warroad regarding ATV use in Hayes Lake State Park. Violations encountered included license violations and angling with extra lines.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked ATV, snowmobile and angling enforcement. Ice conditions on the lake haven’t changed much from last week and the bite continues to be about the same. Check with resorts for ice conditions and vehicle restrictions – this is for your own safety. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, illegal possession of fillets on a special management water and angling without a license in possession.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) monitored area angling activity and saw large amounts of litter still being left by anglers. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, illegal-length northern pike, angling with extra lines, possessing a small amount of marijuana, possessing drug paraphernalia, ATV and snowmobile registration violations, no snowmobile or ATV safety training, and shelter license issues.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) conducted trapping, ice angling, and snowmobile patrols around the station. Calls were taken for dogs chasing deer, deer possession permits, and an injured snowy owl. Elwell captured the owl, but unfortunately its injuries were too severe and it couldn’t be saved. Enforcement action was taken for failure to tend traps/snares, no spearing license, no fishing license in possession, snowmobile registration violations as well as snowmobile safety certification violations.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking anglers and monitoring trapping activity throughout the week. Time was spent assisting Washington State Fish and Wildlife officers and Alaska Wildlife troopers with an investigation of moose that were taken illegally during the 2017 Alaska moose season. Charges are pending in Alaska. Enforcement action for the week included possession of illegal-length fish, operating ATVs in a restricted area/forest and failure to renew ATV registration.
CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) checked anglers and snowmobile and ATV riders during the week. Fishing remains steady on both Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake, with both lakes seeing solid numbers of fish being caught. Assistance was also given with two stolen snowmobiles and a snowmobiling complaint. Enforcement action was taken for failure to renew snowmobile registration, operating an unregistered ATV, angling without a license, no angling license in possession, angling with extra lines, and an overlimit of walleyes.
Baudette West – vacant.
Warroad South – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports following up on wetland- and public water-related cases. Time was also spent investigating a suspected wolf depredation complaint and a deer that was shot and dumped off a roadway near Fosston. Anglers, snowmobile operators, and ATV riders were contacted on area lakes. Various angling and recreational vehicle violations were encountered.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked area ice anglers. They were having some success.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Ice conditions continue to improve, but caution is advised when traveling on the lakes as ice depths vary greatly. Time was spent closing cases from the firearms deer season.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking anglers and issuing car-kill deer permits to unlucky drivers. Calls about a raccoon in a person’s yard was taken. The description of the raccoon led Vinton to suspect the unseasonably warm weather woke up the hibernating critter and it was still a little groggy. Vinton directed the concerned homeowner to Wildlife staff if the raccoon didn’t return to its bed. Vinton attended the funeral for CO Cheslie (Leuthardt) Grundhauser, who passed away after a battle with cancer. He also began work on a background investigation for a potential new conservation officer.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working ice fishing and following up on deer cases in the station. Time was also spent answering questions about trespassing and how to properly mark land so ATVs and snowmobiles do not cut across it. Swedberg also attempted to help a motorist whose trailer had lost a tire, but further ruined his night by arresting him on a warrant for failing to appear in court.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training, checked anglers, handled wildlife-related calls and worked ongoing cases.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working fishing, small-game and recreational-vehicle enforcement. Time was also spent giving law and ethics presentations to snowmobile safety classes in Glyndon and Moorhead.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling activity on area waters. Anglers reported mixed results and also reported varying ice thickness. People are reminded to use caution. Snowmobile and ATV activity was worked on area waters and trails. Warren taught law and ethics to a snowmobile safety class in Fosston. Information was provided in regards to ice angling and spearing regulations.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking angling and pheasant-hunting activity. With the warmer weather, anglers are urged to use caution while on the ice. A baiting case was investigated and an incidental fisher was seized. Landmark also spoke about ice safety on a local radio show and assisted with the “Shop with a Hero” event in Fergus Falls. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession.