Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas for Monday, Sept. 30:
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) assisted local law enforcement on the Roseau River after a high-water event. Firearms qualification was attended in Perham. Area duck hunters were checked.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked OHV (off-highway vehicle), big/small game, angling and waterfowl enforcement. This past week’s cold and wet weather brought an influx of a variety of waterfowl – multiple species of ducks and geese alike. The weather also led to a better view of the forest floor, making it harder for the grouse to hide, which was a delight for several hunters checked. A detail was worked at the Warroad Port of Entry with other officers; multiple fish and game violations were addressed.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) continued to monitor area bear and waterfowl hunting. Complaints of stands left in WMAs and possible deer bait were investigated. Woinarowicz also attended annual firearms training and testified at a hearing concerning a wildfire.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) spent the past week checking waterfowl hunters and investigating ongoing cases. He also gave the laws and ethics portion of a firearms safety class and talked with people during the Goose Festival in Middle River. Enforcement action taken for waterfowl-related violations.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working ATV riders, small-game and waterfowl hunters, and angling activity on special regulation lakes throughout the week. Time was spent patrolling for hunting during closed hours and on TFO duties assisting with Leech Lake surveys. Violations encountered and addressed included unplugged shotgun, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, ATV-registration violations, operation of ATVs on non-motorized hunter walking trails and use of artificial lights to locate deer (shining) between two hours after sunset and sunrise.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports small-game hunters are finding success in the woods, while late-season bear hunters are having a tough time. Prachar worked multiple investigations including deer, bear, and non-game animals.
CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette East) worked big-game, small-game, angling and waterfowl enforcement. A detail was worked at the Warroad Port of Entry with other officers over the weekend. Many anglers and waterfowl hunters were checked on their return from Canada to the United States. Overall, most had success with birds and fish. Enforcement action was taken for transporting fillets without skin, transporting migratory waterfowl with no wing attached, transporting aquatic macrophytes (plants) and an overlimit of walleyes.
Baudette West – vacant.
Warroad South – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) spoke at a firearms safety class in Crookston. Time was also spent checking duck hunters, archery deer hunters, bear hunters and anglers.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked waterfowler hunters and took complaints of trespass and shining.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) and Conservation Officer Candidate Calie Kunst worked sport fishing on the Cass Lake Chain and Lake Bemidji. Anglers were found fishing without a license and angling with two lines. Enforcement of slot limits for northern pike was also worked. Kunst and Vollbrecht responded to various complaints including a person mowing down trees on state-owned land to make trails, waterfowl hunters shooting after legal shooting hours and anglers catching overlimits of fish.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) continued field training with COC Jordan Anderson. During the week, they participated in department training and worked waterfowl and archery deer hunting and fishing activity. They also presented on laws and ethics at a youth firearms safety class. Waterfowl-hunting activity has been slow with few ducks seen in the area. The walleye bite has picked up and several anglers took advantage of the weather over the weekend to get out fishing. A few miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints were fielded including a bear scratching at a property owner’s door and an eagle hit on a highway. They also investigated a baiting complaint.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking waterfowl and small-game hunters. Duck hunters struggled to get many ducks between the storms and abundance of ponds for the ducks to choose from. Most groups were able to get a couple ducks with teal and wood ducks being the most common. Other time was spent doing firearms and defensive tactics training. Questions about nuisance beavers and other wildlife topics were handled, as well.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity. Area trails were patrolled for ATV activity, and angling, boating, and AIS checks were performed. Warren assisted the Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office with a traffic stop. Assistance was provided to the Becker County Sheriff’s Office and the White Earth Tribal Police with a disturbance in White Earth. Training was attended in Perham.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking archery and waterfowl-hunting activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Duck hunters who are putting in the time to scout are finding a few birds, but overall both hunter and duck numbers still appear down. Those who are fishing and fighting the cold weather and wind have been rewarded with a good fall fishing bite. Calls from the public continue to revolve around nuisance-beaver issues. Landmark also spent time at a regional qualification shoot, a district meeting and following up on a couple of potential wetland violations.
Headwaters – vacant.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week were concentrated on checking waterfowl and small-game hunters. Additional time was spent following up on trespass and late-shooting complaints. Baumbarger attended training in Perham and completed annual online training. Assistance was provided to the State Patrol and Pope County Sheriff’s Office with a vehicle crash and arrest of an impaired driver.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked waterfowl, archery deer, and small-game hunters this past week. She also monitored fishing and boating activity. An ATV class was set up with a local school and Plautz also assisted at a firearms safety field day.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishing, boating and ATV activity. He also monitored archery deer and waterfowl hunters. Osborne saw a mixed bag of ducks on Saturday and Sunday with only one group getting a limit. High water and active beaver activity in the area have resulted in several nuisance-beaver permits being issued. Several fish-transportation and deer-hunting questions were answered.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) checked waterfowl and archery deer hunters throughout the past week. Light frost and fog on Saturday morning got deer and ducks moving around, resulting in productive hunting. Shore anglers report variable day-to-day fishing success. Additional time was spent checking many state and federal hunting areas for activity. Goodman noted evidence of recent unauthorized motor vehicle use on these lands.
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports very few ducks in most of his work area. A slight migration of Canada geese was observed during the past week. Richards attended Division training in Perham and presented on laws and ethics for a youth firearms safety class in Fergus Falls. Fishing continues to be very good for multiple species in the area.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked anglers, waterfowl hunters and ATV operators. Time was also spent following up on APM violations and working archery deer hunters. Several nuisance-wildlife calls were handled and a nuisance-beaver permit was issued. Holt attended annual firearms training in Perham.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued to monitor archery deer, small-game, and waterfowl-hunting activity. Fishing and boating activity continues in the area and Division training was attended in Perham.
Morris – vacant.
Wheaton – vacant.
District 4 - Walker area
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked duck hunters and anglers. Perch fishing has turned on and walleye catches appear to be picking up. Two separate hunter-harassment complaints were investigated. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of perch, angling with extra lines and no license in possession.
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) continued to check anglers, small-game hunters, waterfowl hunters and ATV riders. Enforcement action for the past week included failure to renew ATV registration and no license in possession while hunting and fishing.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked fishing enforcement this past week. The bite continues to be slow. He checked boats for AIS (aquatic invasive species). Violations detected were weeds on the trailer and zebra mussels attached to the weeds. He also worked on a report of a dock service provider. The complaint was the provider had been hauling lifts without cleaning the sediment and weeds off of boat lifts. Complaints of vehicles on closed trails in the Pillsbury State Forest and people shooting in restricted areas were investigated. He worked on a complaint of wolves chasing horses and trash dumped brush in a WMA.
Lake George – vacant.
Park Rapids – vacant.
Walker – vacant.
Remer – vacant.