Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Tuesday, Sept. 3:
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked goose- and bear-hunting activity. Goose-hunting success was spotty, but several limits were observed. Goose hunters are reminded to know what licenses are needed when going in to purchase a license at a license vender. The people behind the counter do not have training as to what is needed for hunting. Enforcement contacts for the past week included hunting geese without a small game license or state and federal waterfowl stamps, and an overlimit of bears.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked fishing, OHV, AIS, bear and waterfowl enforcement. The kickoff to the early goose season was strong. Birds started to come in just days beforehand, making a great hunt possible for those who partook. The jury is still out on the bear-hunting opener, although Benjamin heard of a few being harvested on opening day. Enforcement action was taken for no federal waterfowl stamp, littering, allowing illegal operation of an ATV, ATV passenger/operator under 18 not wearing a helmet, operating an ATV without safety training, operating an ATV on a public road without a valid driver’s license, and no small game license.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) worked the Labor Day weekend monitoring the start of the early goose and bear seasons. Success was better than average in the fields around Lake of the Woods for geese. Woinarowicz also worked with CO Benjamin in the Warroad area and Beltrami Island State Forest. Enforcement action for the week included hunters not having small game licenses, no federal waterfowl stamp, failure to register bear bait as prescribed, and multiple violations in which juvenile ATV passengers/operators weren’t wearing helmets.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) reports a successful early goose opener with many parties quickly bagging limits of birds during the morning hunt. Bear hunters had a rougher time, having to endure periods of rain and a constant barrage of mosquitos. But some found success on opening day. Nuisance-animal calls were taken, a wolf depredation investigation was handled, and ATV patrols were also conducted during the week.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working the early goose-hunting opener, as well as angling and boating activity on special regulation lakes throughout the week. Goose hunters contacted had good success. Time was spent working on an applicant pre-employment background investigation.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports an increase in ATV activity in the area for the Labor Day weekend. Time was spent working bear-hunting activity and ATV activity. Prachar assisted the sheriff’s office and area law enforcement with the influx of people surrounding the World Ploughing Competition. Competitors and farmers from more than 30 countries met in a field southeast of Baudette to compete for bragging rights and prestige among their peers. The event brought a large number of competitors and spectators.
CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) focused on bear baiting and bear-hunting activity, as well as ATV enforcement. Few early goose hunters were found on opening morning, but those who were checked were having success. Mishler also attended training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action for the week included operating an ATV in a careless/reckless manner.
Baudette West – vacant.
Warroad South – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending a training session at Camp Ripley. Anglers were checked at area lakes. Goose hunters and bear hunters were also contacted. Various waterfowl- and bear-related violations were encountered.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued work on a background investigation. A Division training was attended at Camp Ripley. Early goose season and bear hunters were checked with mixed results. ATV activity was monitored on area trails. Nuisance-bear complaints were taken and a complaint of individuals burning garbage was investigated.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a quiet Labor Day weekend with a few groups of early goose hunter finding geese. The wild rice crop in the station looks pretty good and fall anglers are noticing an uptick in fishing success. Vinton also continued work on a couple background investigations.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working ATV enforcement and checking bear-hunting activity. Other time was spent following up on APM violations and at training. Enforcement action for the week included altering the cross-section of a lake bed, operating an ATV without registration, and operating an ATV in the road right-of-way.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) followed up on a deer-poaching case, checked anglers and boaters, attended training at Camp Ripley and worked bear hunters and bait enforcement.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) worked the DNR information booth at the Minnesota State Fair.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity. AIS compliance inspections were performed. Trails were patrolled for ATV activity. Warren worked areas for early goose hunting activity. Training was attended at Camp Ripley.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent time checking anglers, dove hunters, and early goose hunters. Early goose hunters found some success and Landmark was pleased to see that all groups checked were following the laws. Landmark also spent time at Camp Ripley for Academy instruction and Division training. Calls from the public included nuisance-beaver complaints and questions about upcoming hunting seasons.
Headwaters – vacant.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports an active Labor Day weekend with boating, fishing, and hunting activities. Goose hunters in the area had spotty success. Fish continues to transition to early fall patterns. Enforcement action was taken for multiple waterfowl, fishing, aquatic vegetation, and boat safety violations.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) attended mandatory training this past week. She also worked ATV, AIS, fishing, and boating enforcement. She continues to work on a background investigation. Plautz responded to a possible poached deer and is working on the details of that. Plautz assisted with an Amish firearms safety class and spoke to them about new regulations and rules.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports mild weather and water-temperature drops limiting the holiday weekend recreation activity. A good number of boaters were checked on Saturday with high safety compliance rates found. A few early goose and mourning dove hunters were checked on opening morning. Additional time was spent checking anglers and attending training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action included various angling license, hunting license, ATV safety, and watercraft safety violations.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked boaters, anglers, goose and dove hunters, and ATV riders. Numerous ATV and early Canada goose violations were encountered. Osborne and CO Goodman witnessed a near-tragic vehicle accident on a state highway. A woman stopped her vehicle almost completely in the driving lane and another vehicle had to swerve around her to avoid rear-ending her. When she was contacted by CO Osborne and asked why she stopped in the traffic lane, the driver said because she was waiting for the butterfly to fly out of her vehicle. Osborne observed a monarch butterfly cocoon hanging from her rearview mirror with a freshly hatched monarch butterfly crawling on the outside of the cocoon. She didn’t seem to notice the near-miss that just had occurred because she was paying too much attention to the butterfly.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued working on APM compliance checks with quite a few more operating out of permit, resulting in enforcement action. Injured-animal calls continue as well as firearms safety questions. Lawler worked the information booth in the DNR Building at the State Fair, where lots of good questions were asked and photos were taken with Smokey Bear.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) continued working on a background investigation on an applicant for the next CO academy. Time was also spent monitoring AIS compliance and angling activity. Holt worked boating and water safety as well as goose and dove hunting over the busy Labor Day weekend. Enforcement activity was related to hunting and fishing license violations and boating safety.
CO Dan Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and boaters. Additional time was spent checking goose and dove hunters on the opener, with many people out enjoying the outdoors and having some success.
Morris – vacant.
Wheaton – vacant.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) reports checking anglers, ATV riders, bear baits, and early goose hunters. Enforcement action for the past week included no angling license, failure to display valid watercraft registration, OHMs operating on public road right of ways, no federal waterfowl stamp, and no state waterfowl stamp.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked bear hunters and recreational vehicles. He attended several days of training at Camp Ripley. Some work was completed on a background investigation on a CO applicant. A nuisance-beaver permit was issued. Enforcement action was taken for bear-hunting violations.
Lake George – vacant.
Park Rapids – vacant.
Walker – vacant.
Remer – vacant.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) flew an angling/boating enforcement flight over remote lakes in northern Minnesota.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) attended training at Camp Ripley. He also flew boating activity recon and completed some flight training activities.
Natural Resources Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew two wolf telemetry locations and a Leech Lake creel survey. Heineman also attended to an annual inspection on 605NR.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed the removal and washing of cattail spray equipment on one helicopter. He also worked on helicopter maintenance, avionics issues, and administrative tasks.