Highlights of this week’s CO Report:
- CO Chris Vinton (Perham) and a Conservation Officer Candidate (COC) continue to see an increased number of ice anglers as temperatures drop and ice thicken. Despite the cold weather, stay cautious of thin ice and open water areas. CO’s began investigating a timber trespass complaint on a wildlife management area. A snowmobile safety field class was conducted and included 25 young new riders. A frozen swan call was taken. CO’s found the swan bogged down with heavy ice on its wings. CO’s scared the animal into walking to open water where the ice melted from its wings and the bird swam away.
- CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling, ATV and snowmobile activity, and registered bobcat and otter. Not having licenses in possession for two anglers was the least of the pair’s worries, as the strong smell of marijuana coming from within the fish house came to the forefront. One angler gave up the baggy and was cited.
CONSERVATION OFFICER WEEKLY REPORT – 01-11-2016
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods on the south shore, Knight Island, and the Northwest Angle. Angling success has been fair. Enforcement contacts for the week included possession of marijuana and angling with extra lines.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement this past week. Fishing continues to be good along the south shore. The NWA is doing well, though reports are that it was better last week; however, they are still catching some nice walleyes. As the ice conditions continue to improve, more and more people are venturing out and away from marked roads and trails, so keep in mind that there were still areas with as little as four inches of ice as of Friday. Enforcement action was taken for the following: angling without license in possession, take fish without an angling license, operate an ATV without current registration and unattended lines through the ice.
CO Hannah Mishler (Warroad) reports another busy week out on the ice on Lake of the Woods. Although fishing wasn’t as good as the previous week, many people were still excited to get out and fish. TIP calls were handled regarding complaints on various angling violations. A commercial minnow dealer inspection was completed on a local minnow deal with the help of CO Regas and CO Benjamin. Enforcement action for the week included: various ATV and snowmobile registration violations, angling with unattended lines, angling with extra lines, angling without a license, angling with no license in possession, false application for a license, possessing dressed fillets on a special management lake, driving after revocation, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports successful fishing ventures on Lake of the Woods. Anglers are having mixed success but most are finding limits of Sauger with some Walleye mixed in. Angling activity was worked on both the south end of the lake and up to the NW Angle. Enforcement action was taken on angling with extra lines fishing with no license in possession and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued to monitor area fishing and snowmobile activity. Calls of a vehicle stuck in a wildlife management area, car killed deer, and illegal dumping of carcasses was addressed. CO Woinarowicz also investigated the possible illegal taking of a bobcat and multiple vehicles in state parks without permits. Enforcement action was taken for no park permit, no valid snowmobile registration, and trapping without a valid license.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working snowmobile activity on area trails, angling activity on Upper Red Lake, and special regulation lakes throughout the week. Time was spent investigating TIP calls, assisting a neighboring officer with minnow dealer inspections, investigating a complaint of a bait dealer selling frozen minnows without VHS free certification and working an ongoing deer hunting case. Enforcement actions for the week included over limit of walleye, angling with extra lines, failure to display ATV registration, possession of unmeasurable fish on Upper Red Lake, angling without a license, unattended lines, transporting fish fillets without skin patch and angling without license in possession.
Baudette #2 -vacant.
Blackduck #2 – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
Thief River Falls #2 – vacant.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports giving a snowmobile laws presentation to members from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Time was also spent checking anglers on area lakes and rivers. Snowmobile and ATV operators were also checked. Predator hunting enforcement was worked. Violations encountered this week included no angling license, no ATV registration, no ATV safety training, and transport loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) assisted other agencies; worked angling, snowmobile and predator hunting activity. He received a concern of a wetland violation, car kill deer and attended a sportsman club meeting. He also assisted CO Hutchins with instruction of snowmobile enforcement to other law enforcement officers.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers, tagged fur and started getting ready for a snowmobile safety class.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobiles in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. CO Holt also worked on Upper Red Lake with CO Regas. Enforcement activity for the week included angling with extra lines and angling license violations.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) and a Conservation Officer Candidate (COC) continue to see an increased number of ice anglers as temperatures drop and ice thicken. Despite the cold weather, stay cautious of thin ice and open water areas. CO’s began investigating a timber trespass complaint on a wildlife management area. A snowmobile safety field class was conducted and included 25 young new riders. A frozen swan call was taken. CO’s found the swan bogged down with heavy ice on its wings. CO’s scared the animal into walking to open water where the ice melted from its wings and the bird swam away.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked anglers, worked the fur registration and followed up on deer registration data. Fish action was moderate and fur registration seemed less than recent years.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports ice conditions improving with more fishermen venturing out. A few small vehicles are driving onto the lakes. Time was spent checking fishermen, working shining complaints, tagging fur and following up on a trespass complaint.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked angling activity with anglers reporting a fair bite. Snowmobile activity has increased and checks were performed. CO Warren assisted with fur registration day. Complaints of taking too many fish, illegal activity in WMAs and angling on a trout lake before season were investigated. Open cases were followed up on.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobile activity. Hopefully the cold weather brings better ice conditions as there are still 5-10 inches of ice across the station. Anglers are reporting a slow bit. The officer investigated a complaint of hunter harassment and failure to tend traps. Calls from the public included questions regarding transporting a firearm and fish house registration. The office also registered a bobcat for a local hunter.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) continued field training with one of the new officers. The officers patrolled area snowmobile trails and lakes on snowmobile. The officers received a TIP call of a fish house on an area lake with no identification and possibly taking an over limit complaint. They also worked a day on Upper Red Lake. The officers met with two other officers and took one of the division’s airboats out for some training time. Enforcement actions for the week included: angling without a license, take an over limit of fish, unregistered ATV, and fail to submit to an inspection.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports ice shelters continue to go out with better ice conditions from the cold weather over the weekend. However, two nice fish houses found the water due to lack of ice in isolated areas. Richards hosted a snowmobile safety class and was assisted by other officers in Fergus Falls.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked area anglers throughout the week and followed up on a trapping complaint resulting in multiple violations. A few fish houses have fallen through the lakes and this officer advises fishermen to use caution. Plautz assisted with fur registration at the Wadena location and taught two snowmobile safety classes.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked predator hunters, fishermen and fish shelters throughout the week. Complaints were handled on litter, dogs chasing deer and ATV’s on roadways. Additional time was spent assisting at a snowmobile safety class in Ashby. Ice conditions are improving finally with the cold weather.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, snowmobiles and ATVs. CO Richards was assisted with a snowmobile safety class in Fergus Falls and Osborne prepared for an upcoming snowmobile safety class in Evansville. Violations for the week included spearing without a license, angling with extra lines, expired ATV registration, angling without licenses in possession and fail to display shelter licenses.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent lots of time working angling activity on lakes all throughout Douglas County. Most lakes are seeing some pressure as ice thickens. Several anglers were found fishing with extra lines resulting in citations. Operating ATV/snowmobiles with expired registration continues to be a problem as well. Lots of calls were answered ranging in topic from FAS to vintage snowmobile registration to ride along opportunities.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fishing/spearing, snowmobile, and ATV enforcement throughout the station. Follow up work was completed on open trapping, deer hunting, and wetland cases. Predator hunting activity was monitored and controlled substance violations were handled at a public water access site.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts checking fishermen as area lakes have dramatically increased in fishing activity. Anderson worked ton ATV and snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent working a predator hunt detail in and around Big Stone County. Efforts were spent working a bonus tag violation investigation. Calls were fielded in reference to deer stands left on a WPA. Anderson also reviewed and issued interstate transformation minnow permit.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were focused on checking trappers, fishermen, ATV, and snowmobile operators. Questions were fielded on ATV and snowmobile operating rules. Additional time was spent patrolling Glacial Lakes State Park. Area lakes still have less than 12 inches of ice, with some lakes having as little as 3 inches in areas; fishermen are urged to use caution.
Wheaton – vacant.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) checked snowmobile trails and ice anglers. Parthun assisted local law enforcement officers with a call involving shots fired and a suspect fleeing and he assisted at a fur registration station. Enforcement action was taken for no snowmobile safety certificate and ice shelter violations.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) reports ice angling activity is increasing with the improving ice conditions. Anglers are encouraged to use caution as thicknesses are still variable in areas. Furs were registered after the close of the bobcat and otter seasons and car killed deer permits were issued. A car killed bald eagle was picked up as well.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check anglers in the area. Ice continues to get thicker and generally ranges from 6-12 inches thick with most ice at 10-11 inches thick as of Jan. 9. Most anglers are using snowmobiles and ATVs to access the fishing locations, many of which have expired registration. Enforcement action was taken for unregistered snowmobile, unregistered ATV, angle with unattended line, and no angling license in possession.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring trapping, angling, ATV, and snowmobiling activity. Ice conditions are slowly improving however ice depths continue to vary. Angling success remains poor. Snowmobile trails are in poor shape due to lack of snow in the Longville area.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked fishermen and snowmobilers. Officer Hunter attended a funeral for retired Conservation Officer Lt. Julie Olson. Lt. Olson was a mentor and idol to many officers both new and veteran.
Remer – vacant.
Walker – vacant.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports continuing field training with a Conservation Officer Candidate (COC) continue to see an increased number of ice anglers as temperatures drop and ice thicken. Despite the cold weather, stay cautious of thin ice and open water areas. CO’s began investigating a timber trespass complaint on a wildlife management area. A snowmobile safety field class was conducted and included 25 young new riders. A frozen swan call was taken. CO’s found the swan bogged down with heavy ice on its wings. COs scared the animal into walking to open water where the ice melted from its wings and the bird swam away. Officers spent time on snowmobile training and instruction, which included volunteer youth snowmobile instructor training, youth snowmobile safety certification class, and COC snowmobile riding training.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Ray) reports monitoring angling, spearing, and snowmobile activity throughout the surrounding areas. CO Van Asch assisted CO Kittelson and a COC with a snowmobile safety class that was attended by 30 students. One of the students had never been on a snowmobile before and passed the riding portion with flying colors after receiving some helpful coaching from the instructors. Time was also spent instructing at the Academy 16 snowmobile training in Bigfork. Ice conditions are improving with anglers using ATVs and snowmobiles to reach their favorite spots. It is still encouraged to use caution when venturing out onto the ice, as there is no such thing as safe ice. Anglers and spear fishermen are still reporting steady success on the area lakes despite the extreme cold temperatures seen over the weekend.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and checking anglers. Fishing reports are poor with anglers having little success. Area forest roads were checked. Public access sites were checked and equipment work was completed. Equipment research is on-going. Little snowmobile activity observed over the week.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) investigated a dog killed by a wolf on Lake Vermilion. The dog was just let out to relieve itself, and was grabbed just yards from the home. Pet owners, remember we live in wolf country, so be careful letting your pets out. The officer investigated a deer that had been dumped on private property. A wounded deer was reported in the Soudan area, but the officer was unable to locate it. The week was spent working on the snowmobile checking anglers and snowmobile enforcement. Fishing continues to be sporadic; however some anglers are having success.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling, ATV and snowmobile activity, and registered bobcat and otter. Not having licenses in possession for two anglers was the least of the pair’s worries, as the strong smell of marijuana coming from within the fish house came to the forefront. One angler gave up the baggy and was cited. The claim that an angler had a fishing license was not true as he failed to purchase one until after the officer checked him. A trapper registering otter didn’t obtain his site tags (which are supposed to be in hand and validated at the site of the kill) until nearly a month after he trapped and transported the otter. He didn’t take into account that the purchase date and time is stamped on the tags and officers have access to the license transactions electronically. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, no angling license in possession, fail to tag otter, unregistered ATV, operate ATV on public highway, and possession of a small amount of marijuana.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) prepared reports for court stemming from an arrest with deputies from the St Louis County Sheriff’s Office. Better ice conditions on lakes have finally allowed anglers to venture out onto the ice. Average ice thickness has ranged from 8-12 inches. Area anglers and dark house fishermen were checked on the surrounding lakes with enforcement action being taken for no license in possession and angling without a license.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked snowmobiling and fishing throughout the week and found some increase in activity but small compared to past years. The slush on area lakes is starting to freeze up allowing easier lake access. A trap snare site was checked, a complaint of trespassing on private land, and littering on an area lake were investigated.
Cook – vacant.
International Falls #2 – vacant.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports angling activity was high during the week with mild weather until the weekend. Success was generally good as ice conditions continue to improve and people are able to fish in more locations. Violations included: angling with no license in possession, no reflective material on an ice shelter, and improperly marked fish house.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) checked some ice fishermen and ice conditions have improved with the colder weather. A lot of places have 8 inches now, but caution still needs to be the rule and the deep snow that has fallen has altered how the late ice has formed. Snowmobiling conditions are getting better how, but again, the lakes that connect the trails are not yet safe.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports big differences in ice conditions across area lakes. Check ice depths for yourself and do not rely on rumors. Just because a snowmobile track crosses a lake doesn’t mean it is safe to walk on. It is best to carry ice picks in case you go through. Anglers are reporting that water is gushing up through holes they cut on some lakes. Some trails to remote trout lakes are still impassable. The CO did a wilderness patrol into the boundary waters during the week.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled GIA snowmobile trails and checked sledders. Clubs have done an amazing job getting trails cleared and in good shape after the snow damage to trees; most are now open if not groomed. The officer also checked a few anglers and ice conditions are improving with the colder temps. CO Manning also checked cross country ski passes and assisted with an administrative project.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked anglers on area lakes. More recreational vehicles and even a few cars are being used now, but be careful as ice depths continue to be wildly inconsistent (4-13 inches on Birch as of Saturday the 9th). Enforcement action included possession of ciscoes without preservation, too far from tip-up, no reflectors on fish house, taking antlerless deer in lottery w/out a permit, untagged deer, and failure to register deer as required.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) said a final farewell to a mentor, co-worker, and great friend. Lt. Julie Olson (ret.) played a big role in CO Schottenbauer’s professional development and became a close friend. Lt. Olson was laid to rest this past weekend and will be missed greatly by CO Schottenbauer; fair winds and following seas.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the majority of the week on snowmobile checking trails and area lakes. The local snowmobile trail clubs have done an outstanding job clearing the trails from all the down trees and brush. Area lakes still have variable conditions and some have deep slush. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity during the week. Recent cold weather and snow are improving trail and ice conditions in the area. Murray responded to several car vs. deer incidents on Hwy 61 as deer seem to be on the move. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile licensing violations.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) went to a meeting with DNR Forestry in Deer River. He assisted with fur tagging, checked anglers, and patrolled for snowmobile activity. CO Patten attended the funeral for retired Conservation Officer Julie Olson, one of the best officers ever.
CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) continued phase 4 training with a COC, they worked small game, fishing and recreational vehicle enforcement this week. Snowmobile training was attended. Recreational vehicle operators are reminded to make sure that their recreational vehicles are registered prior to utilizing them.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobile activity, worked trapping enforcement. He said farewell to Julie Olson, one of the nicest people and hardest working game wardens to serve the State of Minnesota! Enforcement action was taken for license issues and registration issues.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time checking angling activity and finishing up with cases from the archery deer season. She, along with the rest of the Division of Enforcement, family and friends, said goodbye to a fellow officer and friend, Lt. Julie Olson.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice anglers in the area with enforcement action taken no angling license in possession and failing to have a shelter license on a permanent fish house. Trapping enforcement was also performed.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen and trappers. He patrolled snowmobile and ski trails. CO Lefebvre also worked several snowmobile complaints during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing activity. He checked anglers and worked some ATV/snowmobile enforcement. CO Wichmann also handled wildlife calls and followed up on deer season violations.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV Officer) checked anglers and ATVers this past week. CO Velsvaag fielded questions about ATV registration with the change in definition of ATVs. CO Velsvaag also followed up on complaint areas with illegal ATV use.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) checked ice anglers in the area. Ice conditions have improved and a lot of angling activity was observed, but success rates were low. The officer followed up on a trespassing complaint. Injured and nuisance animal calls were handled.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) worked on clearing up some old case files. Several calls were received from ranchers concerned about continuing issues between their cattle and wolves. The recent cold weather is allowing some permanent fish houses to make their way out onto favorite winter angling spots. Snowmobile trails are improving in the area but still not enough snow to be well groomed.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) and a COC patrolled the Duluth area for sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Additional efforts were put towards ATV enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display valid registration on a snowmobile, allowing illegal operation of a snowmobile by a juvenile and unlawful snorkel device on an ATV. The most common violation observed was improper display of snowmobile registration. Trail conditions in the Duluth area were good overall.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity on area lakes throughout the week. A number of northern pike and pan fish were observed. Ice conditions varied with reports of anywhere from 2-11inche with slush in many places. Snowmobile activity was down with many GIA trails in poor condition. One area club reported breaking through thin ice with a groomer in 3 feet of water. CO Humphrey spoke to students at a Snowmobile Safety class at Hermantown middle school. CO Humphrey also attended a funeral service for retired CO Lt. Julie Olson in Mora. Violations for angling and ATV operation/registration were encountered. A snowmobile trespass complaint is under investigation
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted the DNR division of wildlife with the last fur tagging day where otter and bobcat were required to be brought in and tagged. A meeting was attended with the Minnesota Trapper’s Association and also time was spent working the MTA annual winter convention. A talk was given to local high school kids in Cloquet about the job of a Conservation Officer. K9 training continues with K9 Schody in preparation for winter work activity.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked anglers on the Duluth-Superior bay, the ice conditions still remain at 4-6 inches, and anglers have only ventured out by walking. The walleye bite has been fickle. Snowmobilers have started hitting trails around Duluth. Grooming on the trails has just started. Kamloop shore anglers are out trying and enforcement actions were taken for registration and license issues.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on the St Louis Harbor where ice conditions remain questionable. Current below the ice can eat away at different spots creating surprisingly thin pockets of ice. Cross Country ski passes were checked at area trails, with disappointing compliance rates among many skiers checked. The officer attended funeral services for one of the hardest working Conservation Officers Minnesota has ever had: CO Lt. Julie Olson (ret). Enforcement action was taken for angling, snowmobile, and ski pass violations
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) assisted with fur registration day, seized an accidental caught fisher, monitored a few snowmobilers out on the trails and checked anglers on area lakes. Enforcement activity included expired ATV registrations, unattended lines, possession of marijuana, angling with too many lines, and angling without a valid license.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement/education.
Officer Guida took enforcement action on a group of contractors and carpenters that were observing their tip ups during their lunch break over 430 feet away. The measurement needed to be within 200 feet. Officer Guida instructed at a youth snowmobile safety class and attended a funeral service for DNR Lt. Julie Olson.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking ice anglers and dark house spearers, cross country skiers and trapping activity. Enforcement contacts were made for fishing without licenses and ATV registration issues. The passing of Conservation Officer Lt. Julie Olson was honored at a gathering in Mora. Olson was one of the most dedicated, hardworking game wardens to serve Minnesota’s people and natural resources.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, spearing, ATV, and snowmobile enforcement. The officer also attended a funeral for former officer Julie Olson, one of our best.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) continued training with a COC in field training. The officers attended air boat training in Bemidji. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, fishing without a license and failure to report an accidentally killed bobcat.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The ice anglers were out trying their luck. Ice conditions very from open water areas to 10 inches of ice. Violations he observed were unattended lines and extra hooks. The ice conditions have improved good however slush and large pressure ridges have developed on Gull Lake and other area lakes. He worked complaints of speeding snowmobilers on Gull Lake. Other violations observed were no safety certificate and expired registration. CO. Posner had the pleasure of working with recently passed retired Lt/CO Julie Olson. He remembers Julie as a hardworking and extremely dedicated Officer. She was one of his field training officers and he learned many things. He remembers Julie explaining to him the importance of saying, “Thank You.” His thoughts and prayers are with her family as they deal with this great loss.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) continued follow up investigations on deer season cases. She also checked several anglers who were making it out, several for the first time. Several violations with ATV and snowmobile registration, as well as ATV’s being operated off state forest road. CO Ladd attended services for retired CO Olson, a longtime friend and mentor – you’ll be missed.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week with so-so success being reported. Anglers were also reporting varying ice conditions on area lakes. Officer Lee received a call from a party in regards to debris and garbage left on an area lake. Information located at the scene lead to a party being cited for littering and no angling license. Other enforcement actions taken this past week ranged from expired or no registration on snowmobiles and ATV’s, and angling violations. Officer Lee also assisted other area officers with activities in the Breezy Point Area during Ice Fest.
Cuyuna SRA – vacant.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking fishermen around the Mille lacs lake area with some reporting a fair bite and a few perch mixed in. Assistance was given to the DNR Wildlife Division on a case of damage to crops by deer and many hunting, trapping, fishing and snowmobile related law questions were answered throughout the week and weekend. The Officer assisted a party who had gotten stuck on the edge of and area township road and assistance was given to the State Patrol on a driving complaint. Assistance was also given at the Aitkin fur registration where area trappers registered fur. Enforcement action for the week included various fishing and snowmobiling related violations.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) attended the funeral of DNR Lt. Julie Olson. Lt. Olson’s passing will leave a void in the hearts of all who knew her. Speldrich checked snowmobilers and enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration, expired registration, and failure to transfer ownership. Speldrich received information regarding dogs chasing deer. The dogs were caught on a trail camera video chasing the deer. She investigated a litter complaint, located untagged traps and assisted with fur registration.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on ice fishing pressure for panfish and pike spearing. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and snowmobile registration issues, as well as angling with extra lines. Ice conditions vary, so please use caution.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent time at fur tagging day helping with the registration of bobcat and otter. Angling pressure increased throughout the week with the improvement of ice conditions. Most lakes saw ice thicknesses of 5 to 7 inches allowing for ATV and snowmobile travel in most areas. Conservation Officers throughout the state of Minnesota said final good byes to Julie Olson, one of the hardest working and most respected Game Wardens to serve the state of Minnesota.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week checking ice conditions and monitoring anglers in the Pine City area. He received calls regarding questions on trespassing, trapping, and public waters. He spent time checking state forest areas, and monitored snowmobile activity between Pine City and Hinckley. Colder temps should help ice conditions improve on the 5-9 inches already being seen in the Pine City area. Snowmobile trails around Pine City have not had enough snow to groom, and opportunities to ride are limited at best.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area lakes and Mille Lacs Lake. Most fishermen on Mille Lacs reported catching smaller 14 inch sized walleye with a few keepers seen. The perch bite during the week was good but shut down with the colder weather. Some smaller lakes produced decent crappies. Remind yourself to check registrations on ATVs and snowmobiles before heading out on the lake and still use caution when traveling on ice watching for pressure ridges.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling and snowmobile activity. The trails are in poor condition but some riders were seen out. Ice conditions improved with the cold temperatures but as of Sunday most areas checked were still not thick enough to support a car or truck. Assistance was provided to the Todd County Sheriff’s Office with a suicidal subject that was believed to be on an area lake. CO Silgjord located the subject and found him to be safe and doing a little late night angling. iolations for the week included angle with extra lines, no license in possession, allow illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, ATV operator under 18 without a helmet, no reflective material on ice shelters and fail to display ID on unattended fish shelters.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) handled equipment maintenance issues. Although frigid temperatures hindered recreational activity, there was a low to moderate number of anglers. A few snowmobilers were out.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) said goodbye to CO Lt Julie Olson, one of the hardest working game wardens to serve Minnesota. Ice conditions have improved greatly and people are starting to place bigger houses on area lakes. While checking fishermen several ATVs were found with expired registration. A snowmobiler was operating his sled without the required muffler and enforcement action was taken. A complaint was received about coyote hunters shooting too close to a residence. Assistance was provided to a district officer with an investigation left over from deer season. CO Kuske gave a law presentation to a snowmobile safety class in Pierz.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) continues talking to hunters that had used bonus tags in lottery deer areas and landowners that illegally obtained the free landowner deer license (they were found to not be actively farming 80 acres of land). Kuske found two separate anglers fishing with extra lines. One angler had a tip up, a fishing pole down and was holding a spear over the spear hole when checked. When asked how many lines they were using the angler looked up and said “too many.” CO Kuske attended the funeral of retired Conservation Officer Julie Olson. Officer Olson was Kuske’ s training officer when she was hired and will always be the hardest working warden Kuske has known. Julie will be missed by all.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) said goodbye to one of the best…CO Julie Olson you are and will be missed.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, ATVs, snowmobilers, and investigated TIP calls. Time was spent on people who did not register fur by the deadline. Calls of injured or sick geese and swans were taken over the week. We said good bye to retired Conservation Officer Julie Olson, at her funeral on Sunday. Julie was a great partner and would help out anyway she was asked. She will be missed in the DNR family. Enforcement action for the week included angle with extra line, expired snowmobile registration, no license in possession and no ID on fish house. Thesing spoke at the Holdingford snowmobile safety class.
St. Cloud – vacant.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) and a COC spent the week on fishing, snowmobile and ATV enforcement. COC also presented at two snowmobile safety classes. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and ATV registration issues, an over limit of crappies, extra lines, minor consumption and possession of marijuana. COC also handled multiple animal nuisance calls. Both officers attended the funeral for retired Lt. Julie Olson on Sunday.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) attended the funeral of Lt. Julie Olson. Julie was a great mentor and friend; she was the true definition of what being a Conservation Officer stands for. Officer Londgren also spoke at a snowmobile safety class, and worked snowmobile/fishing enforcement with the Isanti County Sheriff’s office.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) investigated a trespass complaint and the taking of a deer without a license. Follow up was done regarding fur that had not been legally registered. A case was made on a deer over limit from the deer season. Goodbye to retired CO Lt. Julie Olson who passed away recently- she will truly be missed.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week. Success was limited. Ice conditions still vary from lake to lake and some lakes still have less than five inches of ice in spots. Enforcement action was taken on ATV registration, operate ATV on county road and failure to validate site validation coupon.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fisherman on area lakes. He worked snowmobilers on area trails. He assisted Wright County Sheriff’s Department and State Patrol with the search for a missing child. The child was located and returned home a little scared but ok. He followed up on a TIP call of wanton and waste of fish left on the ice.
Center City – vacant.
Princeton – vacant.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. CO Grewe spoke at a snowmobile safety class and participated with ice safety training. Violations included expired snowmobile registration.
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) focused her attention on snowmobile and angling enforcement around Scott County. Now that the weather has shifted toward the typical Minnesota temperatures, she witnessed more anglers venturing out on the ice. The ice conditions have improved but are still thin in areas. Snowmobilers are out enjoying the trails and ditches around Scott County. Leuthardt attended snowmobile training in Bigfork during the week. Enforcement action was taken on no angling license, no angling license in possession, failure to display valid registration, and operating a snowmobile on the shoulder of a roadway .
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked ice fishing and snowmobiling activities in the west metro area lakes and trails. He visited a local bait shop in Victoria and responded to animal complaints. He is also assisting a California Warden with a possible hunting violation.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled Waconia and Fort Snelling State Park stations for angling, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing activities. He completed a background investigation on a new candidate. He returned calls for service included setting up FAS classes, laws and regulations questions, and injured animals.
Bloomington – vacant.
Ft. Snelling – vacant.
Mound – vacant.
Osseo – vacant
Waconia – vacant.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) worked fishing and ATV enforcement on area lakes. She continued mentoring law enforcement students from Century College with an assignment they had regarding the duties of a CO. CO Kruse handled a call with ginseng questions and is working on a few deer cases. She handled injured and nuisance animal calls and worked on equipment maintenance.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. CO Salzer also conducted and assisted with interviews from cases left over from the deer season. Salzer also patrolled for snowmobile and angling activity in Washington County.
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he checked ice anglers and snowmobilers during the week. He patrolled at Afton State Park. CO Johnson responded to a call of an injured Canada goose in Maplewood. He took a call on a nuisance beaver in Afton.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers and worked snowmobiling activity on area trails. He handled injured animal calls and responded to a complaint of a possible small game violation. CO Pril also spoke at a snowmobile class in Inver Grove Heights.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring recreational vehicle activity. He also handled TIP complaints, answered calls about coyote hunting and scheduled firearm safety classes. Violations for the week included angling without a license, no license in possession, no registration, parking in a closed area and burning prohibited materials.
Eagan – vacant.
Metro Officer – vacant.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ice fishing, predator hunting and snowmobiling activity during the week. An enforcement detail was worked in the Ortonville Station, with assistance from neighboring COs. Ice anglers are having moderate success on local waters. Multiple calls regarding ice conditions were taken. Littering issues continue on the ice.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) was spent most of the week working ice fishing, snowmobile trail, and predator hunting enforcement. A few medium size fish houses are showing up on area lakes being pulled onto the ice by ATVs. Fish house owners are reminded that even with some recent subzero temperatures, caution still needs to be used. Plenty of snowmobile activity continues to be seen. Assistance was given with a snowmobile safety class in Tracy.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working conducting deer investigations, checking anglers, and working snowmobiles. Snowmobile activity has increased dramatically with recent snow. Enforcement action was taken for various snowmobile and shelter registration violations.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) and a COC assisted CO Miska with a coyote tournament. CO Picht and the COC received a call from a frightened homeowner in Lac Qui Parle County that observed two SUV type vehicles driving through adjacent properties shooting from the vehicle. The witness was extremely afraid because of the gun shots being so close to the residence. One of the SUV’s was white and had a coyote on top. CO Picht is asking for assistance in identifying the occupants of the SUV’s.
Benson – vacant.
Madison – vacant.
Redwood Falls – vacant.
Worthington – vacant.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) checked anglers, snowmobilers, and predator hunters. He followed up on complaints from deer season. Denz also spoke about ice conditions on a local radio program.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent the week checking anglers. A few anglers were reminded that the trout season is not open until January 16, while other anglers were caught using too many lines. Snowmobiles and ATVs were also checked during the week, and a few riders were reminded to make sure their registration is current before going out to ride. Klehr participated in a work detail in Big Stone County during a coyote hunting tournament on Saturday.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked snowmobile and limited ice fishing enforcement. Cooler temperatures should help ice anglers out in the near future. Oberg also followed up on a call of a dead bald eagle on an area lake. A snowmobile safety talk was also given in Cedar Mills.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding injured wildlife and questions pertaining to small game and fishing regulations. He worked snowmobile, small game and fishing activities. Ice conditions varied with up to six inches of clear ice in areas.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked sport fishing, small game hunting, and snowmobiling activity. Gruhlke completed his radio program with KKOJ discussing topics including snowmobile law, open seasons, and ice safety. Gruhlke also assisted the State Patrol with weather related traffic issues on Interstate 90.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) patrolled area snowmobile trails for activity. Ice angling activity has increased on area lakes. Predator hunters were also checked
Willmar #1 – vacant.
Windom – vacant.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, ATV & snowmobile operators, trappers, and small game hunters during the week. Snowmobile safety presentations were given in Hope and Mantorville.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week monitoring sport fishing, coyote hunting, and snowmobile activity. The extreme cold temperatures over the weekend limited most outdoor activity. A report was received from a concerned citizen that a group of snow and Canada geese were frozen in the Cedar River. The geese were merely resting on the ice before continuing on their way. A law and ethics presentation was given at a snowmobile safety class in Rose Creek.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked hunting, fishing and recreational vehicle enforcement this week. Time was spent monitoring trapping activity and following up on deer cases. Belgard also spent time training a new officer.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent most of the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. Trails are thin on snow. Hopefully the current cold snap will begin to firm up ice conditions on area lakes.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers, snowmobilers, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent following up on TIP calls and other complaints from the public with related issues. Officer Ihnen would like to caution fishermen, and advise them to continue checking ice conditions on area lakes before venturing out, as some lakes were still found to have less than 3 inches of ice.
Albert Lea – vacant.
Mankato #1 – vacant.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) continued training a COC in step four of field training. Officers worked anglers on Pool 4 of the Mississippi River and snowmobilers in Wabasha County. Officers spoke at a Snowmobile class in Millville, Minnesota. Officers also followed up on a TIP complaint of a car killed deer taken w/out a permit, and continued an investigation of a trespassing complaint by deer hunters. Reported violations included; license and stamp issues, and fail to display snowmobile registration. Officers continue to ask the public to take caution when venturing onto the ice, with poor ice conditions still remaining on border waters.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers and snowmobiles during the week. Fishing success was slower for some of the anglers checked. The cold weather slowed down some of the snowmobile activity.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working small game hunters, coyote hunters and snowmobilers. CO Boyum worked complaints of snowmobiles operating on the cross country ski trails near Rushford and Whalan. Time was also spent checking a few small game hunters. Rabbit hunters were out having some success. Coyote hunters have been out and success has been slow. The frigid temperatures later in the week slowed all outdoor activity.
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports follow up fall deer hunter complaints. Enforcement was taken for unlawful party hunting and trespass on posted property .Backwaters have 4 -6 inches of ice. Fish catch is spotty. Coyote hunters are having success with since the recent snowfall.
CO Phil George (Rochester) continued step 4 field training with a Conservation Officer Candidate (COC). CO George and COC observed numerous snowmobiles on area trails. CO George and COC made several contacts with snowmobilers and enforcement action was taken for registration and operation violations. CO George and COC contacted several ice anglers and enforcement action was taken for possession of controlled substances. CO George and COC also investigated a public waters violation.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) and a COC have been fielding questions about fishing, ice conditions and nuisance animals. Officers are investigating a report of trap tampering. During the week Officers noticed a plume of black smoke coming from behind a residence. A homeowner was burning prohibited materials. Officers are also checking ice fishermen. More ice fishermen are out on the ice however ice conditions are still inconsistent and unpredictable. COC attended snowmobile training in Grand Rapids.
Rochester #2 – vacant.
Zumbrota – vacant.