Msg 1 Posted: 12:29 PM 03/09/07 (CST)
CO Tales March 2007|
From The Field - Weekly Conservation Officer Report
Compiled By Richard Sprouse, Minnesota DNR
District 1 - Baudette area
CO Pat Znajda (Karlstad) checked area fishing activity and snowmobile activity. An individual was taken into custody and transported to jail on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear on a charge of transporting an uncased firearm. Officer Znajda handled a complaint of fish houses being left on the public access and in a parking lot of a state park causing snow removal problems. Assistance was provided to the state patrol at a personal injury snowmobile crash. Officer Znajda continued to take care of the duties and responsibilities of the district supervisor in his absence. Enforcement activity for the week included taking northerns during closed season and leave or store unattended fish houses on a public access and in a state park.
CO Larry Milbridge (Warroad) checked angling activity on Lake of the Woods and monitored snowmobile activity. Good snow conditions brought out the snowmobilers in numbers last week. Officer Milbridge followed up on deer feeding ban investigations. Enforcement activity for the week included angling and snowmobile violations.
CO Jeff Birchem (Baudette) conducted a two-day patrol on Lake of the Woods with other officers. Officers concentrated on angling and snowmobile regulations. Recent snow has produced very good snowmobiling conditions. Officer Birchem met with a county attorney on upcoming court cases.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored area fishing and snowmobiling activity. Anglers were sparse in the area after the close of the inland waters walleye season. In contrast, snowmobilers were out in great numbers enjoying the fresh snow. Woinarowicz conducted a radio interview with a local radio station on ice shelter removal issues, snowmobiling regulations, and the close of the inland waters walleye and northern pike season. He also worked with neighboring officers Znajda and Sharp on snowmobiles monitoring ice fishing activity and grant-in-aid trail compliance. Enforcement action for the week included allowing illegal operation of a snowmobile by a juvenile, no snowmobile registration, and illegal crossing of roadway by a juvenile.
CO Stacey Sharp (Thief River Falls) found Mother Nature bearing down on the northwest corner of the state with upwards of 20 inches of snow reported in several areas. The new snow brought out many snowmobilers trying to take advantage of late season riding opportunities. Officer Sharp assisted fellow officers with a work detail on Lake of the Woods. Grant-in-Aid trails across the lake were in fair condition and fishing success has slowed. Enforcement action included unmarked fish shelter, unattended lines, no state trail decal, and no license in possession.
CO Keith Backer (Blackduck) checked angling activity on area experimental regulation lakes and checked snowmobile trail activity. With the recent snow the groomed snowmobile trails are in excellent condition. Enforcement activity for the week included snowmobile registration and snowmobile speed violations.
CO Tim Gray (Blackduck) checked area angling activity and snowmobile activity. With assistance from a Wisconsin Game Warden an investigation was completed on a license fraud case. Officer Gray started to record locations of fish houses on Upper Red Lake.
CO Angie Warren (Baudette) checked anglers on Red Lake with a very slow crappie bite being reported. With the new snowfall snowmobile activity has picked up with good compliance with regulations being found. Officer Warren continued with investigative follow up on deer feeding in the deer feeding ban area. Enforcement action included angle with extra lines, no shelter tag, failure to mark shelter, and no angling license in possession.
Roseau #1 - vacant.
District 2 - Bemidji area
CO Greg Spaulding (Bagley) checked snowmobiles, anglers, and fish house removal. One house was demolished on Moose Lake and the identification removed. This house was previously documented by the officer so the owner will be issued a citation if the mess isnt cleaned-up by the March 15 removal date for the northern one-third of the state. A landowner adjacent to the Paul Bunyan Trail used a skid loader to push a 6 high snow bank on each side of his roadway. Officers Spaulding, Hruza, and Adam were the first sleds through the area. The snow banks were a hazard and after some discussion, about injuring snowmobilers and liability, the landowner removed the snow. One snowmobiler was injured in Itasca State Park when his leg was trapped in the track. Hubbard County SO and First Responders removed the victim. Enforcement action was taken for no snowmobile trail permit, no snowmobile registration, and operating a snowmobile on the road.
CO Mike Hruza (Bemidji) assisted with training Conservation Officer Candidates on recreational vehicle operation and enforcement at Camp Ripley. There were many snowmobiles out in the Bemidji area enjoying the recent snowfall.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) checked anglers, snowmobiles, and ATVs. Investigation was done on a minnow case. Preparation for spring Firearm Safety Classes was done. The officer assisted local law enforcement by responding to a residential burglary alarm.
CO Stuart Bensen (Crookston) reports lots of snow in the area and snowmobilers taking advantage of it. Snowmobile law compliance was very good. Most fish houses have been removed from area lakes, with the March 15 deadline fast approaching. The officer assisted the county attorney with an ATV case. Questions about the deer culling in the TB area were received.
CO Alan Peterson (Osage) found most snowmobile trails in pretty good shape. Snowmobiles were out in full force. Some anglers are still fishing and catching panfish. Time was spent at the Fargo Sport Show answering DNR questions.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) assisted with recreational vehicle operation and enforcement training for new officers at the Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley. Time was also spent answering questions in the DNR Booth at the Fargo Sport Show. He contacted fish house owners with shelters still on the ice. Many snowmobiles were out. Violations included failure to remove fish house from lake, no snowmobile trail permit, no snowmobile registration, no snowmobile operation safety certificate, failure to stop snowmobile at road crossing, and traveling against traffic after dark.
CO Phil Seefeldt (Moorhead) reports heavy snow in the area made the snowmobilers happy and active. Law compliance regarding trail permits was poor. Many snowmobile riders stated this was their first time out this winter. Trail conditions deteriorated rapidly on Sunday with the warm temperatures and heavy use. Time was spent at the Fargo Sport Show responding to DNR questions. Fish house removal issues were addressed and work done on a license fraud case.
CO Joe Stattelman (Detroit Lakes) monitored fish house removal, checking lakes and public accesses for houses. Several houses remain on lakes and the owners contacted. A law enforcement intern spent a day with the officer observing conservation officer duties. The officer spoke to a local ATV club regarding law and rule updates. Time was spent at the Fargo Sport Show answering questions. Two laser shooting ranges were set up allowing people to participate in a variety of hunter safety and ethics situations. Anglers are reminded of the start (March 1) of the new fishing license year. Two anglers were checked and neither had a fishing license. One had a warrant for his arrest. He was transported to the public access and turned over to local police. Several complaints of trash and debris left on the lakes were received.
CO Bruce Pfalzgraff (Pelican Lake) monitored fish house removal from area lakes. Neighboring officers were assisted with removing shelters with no identification left on the ice. Time was spent at the Fargo Sport Show answering DNR questions. Snowmobiles finally got enough snow to run. Several nuisance animal calls were handled. Anglers are reminded of the need for new fishing and shelter licenses.
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
CO Gary Forsberg (Fergus Falls) reports enforcement efforts this past week consisted of checking lakes for fish houses, checking fishermen and snowmobilers. Many sleds out with the new snow. He also finished up with youth snowmobile classes. He handled calls of a raccoon in a garage, crippled deer and worked the DNR booth at Fargo Sport Show.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spoke to a Cub Scout meeting on conservation, endangered species, and the food chain. Plautz found all fish houses off the area lakes before the deadline. Snowmobilers are abundant and confusion was encountered with the trail stickers being printed without glue to stick them on. Plautz continues to work on an upcoming instructor banquet.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) reports many snowmobiles out enjoying the new snow. With the first opportunity to ride this year some riders are not following the law, which is apparent by the number of snowmobile trespass calls received. Other enforcement activity included checking fishermen and fish houses on area lakes and assisting other officers with checks in their areas.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) spent the week checking lakes for the fish house deadline. Osborne performed a TV interview on the fish house deadline. Osborne checked snowmobilers throughout the week and weekend. He took enforcement action for no trail sticker, no registration, fish house left on access, and altered muffler on a snowmobile.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) reports working a very busy snowmobiling weekend with contacts made for registration, trail stickers, snowmobile training, speed, juveniles w/o helmets, etc. The fish house removal deadline came and went with a few problems for late houses, houses on public accesses, and litter. Additional time was spent checking fishermen and varmint hunters and several days were spent teaching at the current CO Academy at Camp Ripley.
CO Dan Baumbarger (Wheaton) worked with neighboring COs this past week in the Ottertail, Morris, and Alexandria areas checking snowmobiles and monitoring fish house removal. With the recent snow, trail conditions are good, allowing snowmobilers to take advantage of the nice weather and conditions. Enforcement action was taken for failing to display valid snowmobile registration, no state trail stickers, speed, and using studs on a paved snowmobile trail.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) worked the snowmobilers that were out in Minnewaska, Morris and Lake Traverse areas. Most sleds were legal. CO Anderson reports that Stevens County was free of fish houses. He assisted with the snowmobile traffic in Traverse and Pope counties over the weekend. CO Anderson held a safety instructor appreciation banquet for area instructors. CO Anderson also fielded calls on fish house removal dates, snowmobile operation questions and questions concerning the upcoming area firearms safety class in Morris.
CO Kurt Nelson (Glenwood) reports another snowstorm hitting the area last week. The weather has all but completely shut down fishing activity, as the only way around on lakes is a snowmobile. Trail groomers have been out and trails are in pretty good shape. Snowmobilers should stay on the trails as some trespass complaints are starting to come in. Also its a good idea to have a partner along. He spent over two hours buried in deep soft snow with no cell phone service and a long way from any help. Snow conditions are good, but the snow is soft and deep. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display current registration and no safety certificate.
District 4 - Wadena area
CO Neil Freborg (Lake George) received a complaint of a wolf chasing deer through a farmers pasture, completed a game farm inspection in the Bemidji station, and spoke with an individual who reported tracks from Bigfoot were found in the Paul Bunyan State Forest. He also handled several snowmobile complaints and checked area anglers.
CO Mike Lawrence (Park Rapids) checked snowmobiles on area trails. Trails are in good condition with a fair amount of snow on them. Officer Lawrence checked fishermen on area lakes with a few area lakes producing some nice sunfish. CO Lawrence also checked on reports of fish houses being left on lakes after the deadline.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) attended First Responder training last week. Officer Oldakowski inspected area lakes for icehouses left after the February 28 deadline. No shelters were left on the lakes, and very few people were out fishing due to the heavy amounts of snow. However, the snow quantity did bring out many snowmobiles and a few cross-country skiers to the trails.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on sport fishing and snowmobile activity. Officer Sommers also participated in the job shadow program with two students from the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High School, which was sponsored by the Walker Rotary Club. CO Sommers checked area lakes and dealt with fish houses, which were left on the ice following the removal deadline. Enforcement action was taken for failing to display fish house tag, unmarked fish house, license violations, snowmobile registration violations, and operating a snowmobile on the highway.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked snowmobile operation and registration. Many snowmobiles were seen enjoying the new snow. CO Mathy also checked angling activity and investigated a snowmobile trespass complaint. Fish house removal continues to be monitored. Enforcement action was taken for over limit of perch, no fish house license, failing to display snowmobile registration, no trail sticker, snowmobile speeding, and failing to stop at road crossing.
CO Larry Francis (Remer) focused on snowmobile activity last week. After months of waiting for snow to fall, the snowmobilers finally got their wish. Unfortunately, there seems to be too much snow for some as they took to riding on state and county roads. The most common excuse given was that there is too much snow in the ditch. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Tim Collette (Longville) checked anglers and snowmobilers, confiscated an accidental caught otter, and dealt with a nuisance beaver complaint. Enforcement activity included fish overlimit, expired snowmobile registrations, many instances of snowmobiles operating on state trails without a trail pass, speeding, operating on a public roadway, and operating without a safety certificate.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked fishermen on area lakes; there were a number of houses left on lakes and at public accesses. CO Halverson worked snowmobile enforcement as many were out enjoying the new snow. Enforcement action was taken for registration problems, no trail sticker, no snowmobile certificate, and trespass. Officer Halverson also received many complaints regarding snowmobiles driving on the shoulder of roads and trespassing on agriculture land.
CO Colleen Adam (OHV Recreation Officer Park Rapids) assisted with ATV and snowmobile training for new officers at Camp Ripley. Officer Adam spent time doing snowmobile trail enforcement on state and grant-in-aid trails with the arrival of recent snow. Compliance with regulations was at about 70%. Many snowmobile operators were hoping to avoid buying registration and trail stickers since there was a lack of decent snow earlier in the year. CO Adam also took complaints of open water skipping as well as youthful operator complaints and spoke to Woods N Wheels ATV club about latest law updates.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) checked ice fishing activity on Rainy Lake, along with waters related issues. The recent snow has increased the snowmobile activity with trails being in fair to good condition. Public service announcements on snowmobile safety were recorded at local radio station.
CO Lloyd Steen (Ray) patrolled area lakes checking snowmobilers and fishermen.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports working snowmobile enforcement activities over the week and finding many issues with trail sticker non-compliance.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports a few snowmobilers were in the area after the small amount of snow received. Only about 5 inches of snow fell in the Cook area. Nothing close to the amounts further south. Most fish houses have been removed from area lakes and the owners did a very good job of cleaning up after themselves. Cross-country ski trails were checked.
CO Dan Starr (Tower) monitored fish house removal and worked snowmobile trails with new snow. CO Starr found the trails to be in fair condition, but reminds sledders to watch out for unmarked trail hazards and ride a snowmobile that is suited for your needs. CO Starr spoke at a youth snowmobile safety class and monitored cross-country ski trails. CO Starr found snowmobilers out in full force over the weekend, with speed, careless operation, registration, lack of trail stickers, and no safety certificate violations found.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) taught the law portion of a Firearms Safety Class in Chisholm and spoke at the Chisholm Sportsmans Club Annual Banquet. A public waters violation was investigated. As expected, snowmobiles were out in force after adequate snow finally fell. Many snowmobiles were found riding as if there was no tomorrow, running stop signs, speeding and driving carelessly. Slow down and enjoy the scenery, not the inside of an emergency room. Enforcement action was all snowmobile related with registration and/or trail sticker violations, no safety certificate, failing to stop for stop signs and speeding.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) checked snowmobilers on area snowmobile trails. Violations included no state trail stickers and operating an unregistered sled. CO Frericks was also out on area lakes photographing and obtaining GPS readings of ice fishing houses that had large amounts of litter outside of them. If the owners of the ice fishing houses dont clean up properly when they remove their houses enforcement action will be taken.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. Trails were groomed for the first time this year and people were taking advantage of them. Violations of failure to display registration, no registration and no state trail sticker were found. Many wise people removed their fish houses before the snowstorm. Those that havent removed them will have to plow and deal with slush underneath the snow.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Tom Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked area snowmobile activity. Snowmobilers are taking advantage of the fresh new snow. Equipment maintenance was done on his patrol vehicle and snowmobile. Wahlstrom also checked area trout lakes. Enforcement activity for the week included no state trail sticker, loud exhaust and no registration on a snowmobile.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked with CO Manning and US Forest Service Officers. Anglers and campers were checked in the BWCA. No names on fish houses and no licenses on fish houses are the most common violations this winter. Calls about wolves too close to dogs and people keep coming in.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked areas lakes and snowmobile trails. CO Manning worked with CO Fagerman and USFS Law Enforcement Officers checking snowmobile trails, illegally stored boats, and anglers along the Gunflint corridor. CO Manning and CO Fagerman tracked a sick moose that had been seen on a snowmobile trail.
CO Manning also issued a permit for a road-kill deer.
CO Brad Johnson (Silver Bay) attended ice rescue training sponsored by the US Coast Guard Station in Duluth. Even with ice rescue suits on the water was still very cold. CO Johnsons state truck was stuck in his driveway for a day due to the record snowfall that left three to five foot drifts. Snowmobilers flocked to the area after the snow.
CO Steve Peterson (Two Harbors) spent most of the week shoveling snow and snowmobile enforcement. The trails along the North Shore are in good conditions. A few calls came in complaining about people almost causing accidents by going into curves on the wrong side of the trail. Snowmobilers are reminded to stay on the right side of the trail.
CO Mike Lekatz (Ely) worked checks on fishing activity on area trout lakes in the station throughout the week. He also checked dog sledding activity at BWCAW entry points and related interior trout fishing activity. He also worked snowmobile activity on area lakes and trails throughout the week. Recent snow finally created some decent conditions in the area. He also worked on some fish house/litter related complaints during the week as some of the houses in the station are starting to get hauled off the lakes.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers this past week. Some nice fish were taken but overall slow fishing reported. CO Velsvaag also checked some ATVers and snowmobilers with the improved snowmobiling conditions.
CO Marty Stage (Babbitt) worked snowmobile patrol and checked area trout lakes. The trails were great over the weekend and usage was light probably due to snow being everywhere else too. The new snow brought out a lot of sleds that might not otherwise have been used this year, so unregistered machines and not possessing a trail sticker was encountered. Remember to help the clubs maintain the trails by purchasing your trail sticker when you use the trail system.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Tony Arhart (Deer River) worked snowmobilers and anglers in the new snow. Truck travel on Winnie was tough in spots for some small SUV vehicles. Some Winnie resorts are plowing to perch hot spots. Many snowmobilers were observed in general compliance. Enforcement action was taken for angling license and for snowmobile registration violations. An accidentally taken fisher was confiscated.
Conservation Officer Brian Buria from Bigfork reports handling calls concerning: snowmobiles on highways, trap theft, a snowy owl that was injured, lost safety certificates, game farm inspections, and wounded deer. Trails were groomed for the first time south of Bigfork, with the groomer operators very concerned with all the extremely deep ruts caused by excessive ATV use in low lying areas.
CO Sam Hunter (Grand Rapids) checked snowmobilers last week. New snow and grooming made trail conditions very good. CO Hunter assisted the sheriffs department on a flee/stolen vehicle.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, trappers, and snowmobiles. He was able to work the state and grant-in-aid snowmobile trails with the new snowfall.
CO Randy Patten (Northome) attended the bear committee meeting in Grand Rapids, checked anglers and worked snowmobile enforcement. Enforcement action taken for failure to stop at a road crossing, speeding, and no state trail sticker.
CO Tom Sutherland (Hill City) saw increased snowmobile use over the past week with the welcomed snow. Many stops were made for riding on the shoulder of county roads and highways. With the packed trails and lakes from riding pressure many sleds were exceeding the 50 mph speed limit. Enforcement action was taken for two individuals water skipping under a local bridge where accidents and even deaths have occurred. Even under perfect conditions water skipping can be very dangerous. With the slightest shift of weight a snowmobile can end up moving laterally many feet and the potential to strike a fixed object like a bridge pillar can be high. With the added danger of submerging your sled in freezing cold water, water skipping is a dangerous risk to take. Work was also done south of Hwy 200 with the fish house removal date of February 28.
District 8 - Cloquet area
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cloquet) checked area lakes for fish house removal. Weekend work focused on snowmobile enforcement. Activity was moderate with trail conditions varying from good to poor. He assisted at a Cloquet area Snowmobile Safety class. He continued work on litter and timber trespass cases.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent time working snowmobile activity this past week. After a large amount of snowfall, several snowmobilers were out and about. Enforcement action was taken for speed, no trail sticker, and no safety certificate. CO Staples assisted the State Patrol and other local agencies with vehicles in the ditch and stranded motorists. Time was also spent assisting with the field test from a local snowmobile safety class.
Ski trails have been groomed at local state parks and compliance with ski passes is good.
CO Kathy Larson (ATV Rec Officer) checked snowmobiles on the Munger State Trail and the North Shore State Trail. She also answered phone complaints about snowmobile activity in the Hermantown area.
CO Randy Hanzal (Brookston) attended an ice rescue training session sponsored by the Coast Guard. He also conducted an interview with a local television station on the removal of ice shelters. Extensive snowmobile trail enforcement was also carried out throughout the week. Two snowmobilers were stopped after committing several violations. The officer gave them a break and issued only one citation believing they would control their behavior. An hour later the two were again observed speeding and a chase endured. After several miles one of the suspects snowmobile threw a belt and was apprehended. The two again asked for mercy from the officer saying they couldnt afford another ticket. Violations encountered: no current registration, no State Trail Sticker, no Snowmobile Safety Endorsement, several required equipment violations, speeding, operate on shoulder of road, operate against traffic after dark and fleeing a peace officer.
CO Chris Johnson (Marine Unit) worked snowmobiling in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas where activity was moderate. Plenty of snow to go around, however it was soft and was not set up well.
Officer Mike Scott (Marine Unit) continued training the new Conservation Officer Candidates at Camp Ripley. They received training during the week in Recreational Vehicles use, laws, and rules, and continued training in Defensive Tactics. They also participated in several real life scenarios involving the use of Recreational vehicles.
District 9 - Brainerd area
CO Nikki Shoutz (Pine River) represented DNR Enforcement at a career fair booth at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. Shoutz gave a Firearms Safety law presentation to Pequot Lakes students. A snowmobile dropped through open water on the Whitefish Chain during a recent snowstorm and water skipping continues to be a problem as tracks that are left during the day act as a guide to open water to nighttime riders. Many snowmobiles were out and about with the snowfall
CO Cary Shoutz (Crosslake) reports a very busy week of snowmobile activity throughout the Crosslake area. With assistance from enforcement aircraft several citations were written for no valid registration, no state trail permit, exceeding the speed limit, careless operation and illegal road operation. The fastest speed recorded over the weekend was 85mph. Shoutz also attended a statewide bear committee meeting and checked ice shelters left past the deadline of Feb. 28.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) assisted with Academy 11 snowmobile and ATV operation. Officer Guida patrolled snow-covered trails and found that most of the operators were displaying the required state trail permit on the Paul Bunyan Trail. Enforcement contacts included studded tracks on paved trail, registration violations, and careless operation. On one heavily used trail the tracks told a story. It was obvious that at least one rider lost control of a snowmobile in a corner and wound up skidding between numerous pine trees.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports that some of the highest snowmobile traffic in memory was seen all throughout the area. With so much deep fluffy snow in the road ditches from the big storms far too many snowmobile operators took to illegally driving on snow and ice covered roads instead of in the ditch. Most snowmobiles observed were in excellent compliance and found to be operating safely. Felony charges are pending against some individuals as a result of a snowmobile operator who was caught speeding down a township road on a stolen sled. Other activity included dealing with fish houses left out past the removal deadline and testifying in court on an ATV DWI case.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) hosted a student ride-a-long for a high school class presentation. Snowmobile enforcement was in full swing as snowfall amounts in the area provided the best riding conditions in years. However with a lack of a base, trails had deteriorated in many corners by Sunday evening.
CO Brent Speldrich (McGregor) worked local area trails after the 12 snowfall. Local Tamarack Snoflyers Trail Club did a superb job on maintaining the area trails with the heavy use. Snowmobile riders should be thanking their local clubs that do the work. Local anglers are still after panfish and one house on Big Sandy Lake was removed after the owner was located. Officer Speldrich also recovered a stolen snowmobile north of Aitkin. The theft occurred in Pine County in 2003 and the investigation continues. Speldrich taught the DARE course in McGregor.
CO Chad Sherack (Pequot Lakes) finished checking area lakes this past week for the ice shelter deadline. Officer Sherack also assisted with many vehicles stuck or in the ditch while on patrol. Officer Sherack spent remaining time working snowmobile enforcement. Officer Sherack took enforcement action for careless driving, expired registration, metal traction devices on paved state trail, speeding, operate on roadway, no safety certificate, no state trail sticker, and trespass. Officer Sherack assisted several snowmobilers who were stuck in the deep snow or had engine problems.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that anglers have removed most shelters from area lakes. There have been a few stragglers and contact has been made with most of the owners. Litter on the lakes is still a problem and some complaints have been investigated. Snowmobile trails are in good condition and the sled activity has been very high. Trespass, speed, and improper registration were the most common violations observed.
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent most of the week at Field Training Officer School in the metro. Time was also spent patrolling area snowmobile trails. Citations and warnings were issued for unregistered snowmobiles, no state trail permit, and operating without a snowmobile safety training certificate.
CO Dan Perron (Onamia) attended the Field Training Officer School in Plymouth last week. He also worked snowmobile enforcement and checked anglers on Mille Lacs Lake over the weekend. Fishing success was reported to be slow.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working snowmobile enforcement. With the recent snow the trails were in fairly good condition. Multiple snowmobiles were found to have expired registration and no state trail stickers. Fishermen on Mille Lacs Lake were checked and most advised the perch bite was slow. He also checked area lakes to ensure all permanent fish houses were removed. Enforcement action was taken for expired snowmobile registration, failure to display current snowmobile registration, no fishing license in possession, and failure to display shelter license. Fishermen are reminded to get a 2007 fishing license before venturing out to the lakes to fish.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) worked Mille Lacs Lake and snowmobile trails after the heavy snow. Fish houses were removed from the north side of the lake on time. Anglers still report a slow perch bite. Snowmobilers were in full force trying to push in two months of riding in one weekend. Enforcement action was taken on fishing and snowmobile violations.
CO Dustie Heaton (Willow River) taught the law portion of a Youth Firearms Safety Class at East Central School. She also attended a meeting regarding wetland violations. Several snowmobilers were out enjoying the trails over the weekend. Violations detected were operating on the shoulder of a road and improperly crossing a street/highway. Heaton assisted the Pine County Sheriffs Office with a call where a 55-year-old male fell through the ice while snowshoeing on the Kettle River in Banning State Park. The individual broke through in waist high water and was able to get out. Luckily, he was found before hypothermia set in. Heaton received a call from an individual whose cat left a surprise for her. The cat had caught and killed a weasel and left it on her bedroom floor.
CO Mike Lee (Isle) reports many houses were left on area lakes after the removal date. Officer encountered violations for extra lines, no angling licenses, and no shelter tags. Officer Lee spent time working heavy snowmobile traffic due to the late season snow. He encountered violations for no registration, speed, stop sign violations, and no operator safety certificates. The number one violation was no state trail sticker. Many people told Officer Lee that getting the State Trail Sticker with only a month to ride was a waste. It would have been easier to purchase the sticker than receive a citation. Officer Lee also assisted the Mille Lacs Tribal Police with a snowmobile vs. pedestrian fatal accident.
CO Gene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week checking anglers, monitoring the removal of ice shacks on area lakes, and checking snowmobilers. Enforcement contacts included registration issues, operation on roads, no state trail stickers, no licenses in possession, and no shelter licenses. CO Wynn also spent time on wetland issues and follow up regarding several pending cases.
District 11 - Albany area
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) did a local radio show and investigated a complaint of a car blocking a snowmobile trail. Patrol of snowmobile grant-in-aid trails was conducted in Morrison and Todd counties. Expired registration and lack of purchasing a state trail sticker was a common theme found among snowmobilers.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) was leaving for work and found a snowmobiler stuck in the ditch at the end of the driveway. The snowmobile did not have registration. While the owner was fumbling through his wallet for his ID, a folded up piece of paper fell out. CO Kuske recognized it as a DNR ticket. Upon closer inspection it was a ticket for snowmobile registration issued by CO Thesing a week ago. Failing to learn his lesson the week before he was issued another ticket for operating an unregistered snowmobile. Numerous enforcement contacts with snowmobiles were made. Kuske also assisted with instruction at the CO Academy.
CO Keith Bertram (Sauk Centre) spent the week checking fishermen and snowmobilers. Several citations were issued for expired registration and extra lines. CO Bertram also found litter and shelters out after the deadline.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) checked anglers in the area and snowmobile activity. The officer also worked on monthly administrative duties. Enforcement action was taken for fishing and snowmobile violations.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent the week working fish house removal and snowmobile activity. Most area lakes were compliant but two lakes had fish houses left after the deadline; enforcement action was taken. The people who made their way through the thick snow blanket caught some sunfish. Many violations were found for no trail sticker and using studs on paved trails. Trail stickers can be purchased anywhere you can buy hunting and fishing licenses. Officer Thesing was working with CO Haberman when they encountered two ATVs driving on a county road. Citations were issued and the ATVs were sent on their way. Four hours later and 10 miles away the same group was found driving on another county road. Both men hung their heads and realized they where wrong. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Rob Haberman (St. Cloud) worked snowmobile activity around the St. Cloud area. Violations included no registration and state trail permits. CO Haberman stopped a Freeport man who did not stop at a trail stop sign. When asked he did not stop? The man replied, No one stops there. The man was given a warning and told to make sure to always stop at stop signs. Fish houses on area lakes were off by the deadline. CO Haberman would like to thank all those who worked hard in getting the fish house off the area lakes in time.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers in Stearns and Wright counties. Officer Mies held a snowmobile work crew in Stearns County. Officer Mies worked on fish house removal during the past week.
CO Rhonda Keniston (Long Prairie) checked for shelters on the ice after the deadline. Most shelters were removed on time. Few anglers chose to shovel, plow, or fight the snow on the lakes. Snowmobilers, however, were enjoying the snow! Many ditches were too deep for travel. Trails had plenty of snow and were well traveled. Groomers could not keep up and many stretches were rough. Most snowmobilers checked were in compliance; however, expired registrations, no/expired state trail stickers were enforced. Pheasants were very active once the weather settled. Coyote hunters have wished for snow since fall. They may have gotten more than they bargained for. Navigating the snow is difficult.
District 12 - St. Cloud area
CO Brad Schultz (Center City) worked fish house removal deadline issues, ski pass enforcement, checked anglers on area lakes, gave a Cub Scout talk, and worked snowmobile complaints and trail enforcement, with emphasis on trail pass requirements. Officer also assisted with the apprehension of a snowmobiler on a gas drive off complaint. Officer noted that crow season opener was quiet, in great part due to severe storm conditions that existed on March 1.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and issued summonses and written warning for angling with no licenses. He followed up on a fish house left on the lake. He checked accesses for stored fish houses. He assisted at Camp Ripley with the CO Academy.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) spoke at a youth firearms safety class. CO Musatov worked snowmobilers and predator hunters. Violations were found for speed, no registration, and no trail permit.
CO Sarah Backer (Cambridge) spent this past week checking area lakes for fish shelters. Removal date for shelters was Wednesday by midnight. She also spent time enforcing snowmobile laws and regulations in her area. Enforcement action was taken for various public access, shelter, and snowmobile violations.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked area lakes for litter and fish houses out past the deadline for removal. Reller also worked the high number of snowmobilers out on the trails last week. Enforcement action was taken for leaving fish houses out past the deadline, snowmobile speed, and operating without registration and trail stickers.
CO David Schottenbauer (Princeton) worked angling activity in the area. Some houses have been left after the deadline; enforcement action taken. There has been plenty of snowmobile activity. CO Schottenbauer responded to several trespass complaints, and dealt with all kinds of enforcement issues pertaining to this activity.
Mora - vacant.
District 13 - West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) spent the week marking fish shelters still on the lake. He patrolled the Luce Line State Trail and grant in aid trails for snowmobile activity. He gave a firearms safety presentation to a class in Waconia and gave two television presentations on fish house removal.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked snowmobile enforcement in Hennepin County. He assisted district officers with the fish house removal deadline. He took enforcement action for operating an ATV and snowmobile without valid registration, no angling license in possession and failure to display shelter license.
CO Kevin Neitzke (Ft. Snelling) worked on training lesson plans with 2Lt. Rezac. He checked fishermen with CO Nelson. He assisted with training at the Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley. He also patrolled Ft. Snelling State Park and worked snowmobile enforcement.
CO Todd Kanieski (Osseo) worked anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week. He followed up on littering violations and followed up with owners of several angling shelters to ensure their complete removal from metro lakes by the deadline. He provided K9 demonstrations and set up the TIP Wall of Shame for the North Country Bowhunters Chapter of Safari Clubs annual banquet.
CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) patrolled Hennepin and Carver counties for snowmobile and fishing activity. She monitored lakes for fish house removal. Violations included trespassing, no fishing license, no shelter license, no license in possession, and no shelter identification. She spoke to a turkey clinic in Minnetrista and discussed nuisance animal issues at a wildlife rehabilitator conference in Golden Valley.
CO Adam Block (Prior Lake) attended Field Training Officer (FTO) School held at the Plymouth Police Department. CO Block patrolled for snowmobile activity with neighboring COs and deputies from the Scott and Dakota County Sheriffs Departments. CO Block responded to both a personal injury crash involving a snowmobile and one involving an ATV. Enforcement action was taken for no state trail sticker, operating an unregistered snowmobile, failure to display valid snowmobile registration, no snowmobile safety certificate and speed.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked ice fishermen on the metro area lakes, and worked snowmobile enforcement in Carver and Hennepin counties. He also patrolled Ft. Snelling State Park and worked on equipment maintenance. Violations included no shelter ID display and no angling license in possession.
Minnetonka - vacant.
District 14 - East Metro area
CO Joel Heyn (Hastings) worked mainly snowmobilers during the week. Lots of sleds were out with the recent snowfall. Heyn, along with other officers, assisted at two snowmobile accidents and an ATV accident.
CO Alex Gutierrez (Metro Rec Specialist) reports many snowmobilers out enjoying the snow and the trails. The crow season opener was slow due to the recent snowfall with few hunters seen. Violations encountered included operating a snowmobile against traffic one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, youth on snowmobile without a helmet, allowing illegal operation of a snowmobile by a youth (operate snowmobile without snowmobile safety certificate, 8 of these), operating snowmobile on state/GIA trail without trail sticker, operating a snowmobile without a snowmobile safety certificate (adult), small amount of litter, operating a snowmobile in an unsafe/harassing manner, attempting to take Migratory Game Bird (crow) out of season.
CO Travis Muyres (Ham Lake) along with K9 Hunter gave K9 demonstrations at the SCI North Country Bowhunters fundraiser at Treasure Island. CO Muyres also worked on making sure the icehouses were removed as of March 1st. He also investigated wetland violation.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked mostly snowmobilers around the metro lakes and trails, checked anglers on some of the metro area lakes, checked area lakes for fish shelters, and worked at his Cambodian Center office. He also answered miscellaneous calls and questions throughout the week. Violations included no valid snowmobile registration, failure to display valid snowmobile registration, and no state trail or grant in-aid trail permit.
CO Jason Jensen (Forest Lake) reports many snowmobiles with the snow. Jensen reports few problems with the sleds but sheer numbers created heavy monitoring. Cross-country skiers dominated area ski trails. Jensen flew a support mission over snowmobile crews in Brainerd and also spent time looking for fish shelters left on area lakes.
CO Jason Peterson (Eagan) checked area lakes for fish shelters left after the February 28 deadline. Local trails had plenty of snow and many snowmobilers took advantage of the late season riding opportunity. CO Peterson, CO Heyn, and CO Block assisted deputies with a snowmobile crash and local police officers with an ATV rollover. Officer Peterson was interviewed at a local television station on snowmobile safety.
District 15 - Marshall area
CO Matt Loftness (Redwood Falls) reports that snowmobile and predator hunting enforcement were the major focuses of the week. Blizzard conditions limited outdoor activities. Due to deep snow and high winds, snowmobile trails were difficult to operate on until the groomers got out. Snowmobile operators are reminded to use caution when a groomer is on the trail. Enforcement action was taken for no state trail sticker, registration violations, no youth safety certificate, and illegal operation.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) spent the week at Camp Ripley assisting with the Conservation Officer Academy. He worked snowmobile enforcement in Lincoln and Redwood counties. Snowmobile registration seemed to be the worst of the problems. Everyone was happy to finally get to ride with the snow conditions.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) patrolling snowmobiles and working coyote hunters. Blizzard conditions slowed several outdoor activities, except shoveling and plowing snow. Blue skies after the blizzard brought coyote hunters and sleds out in packs. Enforcement action was taken for registration and trail sticker violations, youthful operation of snowmobile, and no helmet.
CO Neil Henriksen (Benson) reports the main focus of the week was shelter removal, snowmobiles and dealing with complaints of illegal coyote hunters. A court hearing was attended that dealt with a convicted felon possessing a firearm. The local 4-H shooting sports youth were shown a variety of animals study skins.
CO Larry Hanson (Marshall) attended a five-day Field Training Officer School in Plymouth. Snowmobiles and fishermen were checked over the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession.
Ortonville - vacant.
Madison - vacant.
Montevideo - vacant.
Worthington - vacant.
District 16 - New Ulm area
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) spent the week doing snowmobile enforcement on area trails. Trails in the area are in great shape. The officer observed several violations. The officer also spoke to a FAS class at the Green Isle Sportsmans Club.
CO Wayne Hatlestad (Hutchinson) checked angling activity and shelter removal. Additional time was spent checking ATV and snowmobile activity. Hatlestad also checked small game and predator hunting activity.
CO Jim Steffen (Willmar) spent the week checking snowmobilers, ice fishermen and ATV users. Time was also spent checking to see if fish houses were removed on time from lakes and access sites.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) monitored snowmobile and angling activity. Shelters were removed by the deadline on all lakes. Aeration systems were in good compliance. Snowmobile traffic increased dramatically with the recent storms. Assistance was given to many motorists who found themselves stranded off roads.
CO Jeff Koehn (Willmar) spent the majority of the week concentrating on the fish shelter deadline and snowmobile trail enforcement. CO Koehn worked a snowmobile DWI detail in conjunction with the Kandiyohi County Sheriffs Department. Some evening hours were spent patrolling for predator hunters who were out taking advantage of the snow covered fields. CO Koehn teamed up with CO Steffen to track down and locate a subject who had fled on a snowmobile from CO Steffen. The machine and the driver were both located and identified after a pursuit. Officer Koehn also handled a burning violation.
CO Greg Abraham (New Ulm) assisted with yet another snowmobile accident in which the operator was taken by ambulance to the hospital after crashing into a drainage ditch. CO Abraham worked snowmobilers and shelters on the ice after the deadline. Aeration system inspections were completed also. No light geese in the area for opening of the conservation action, but a few flocks of Canadas are around. A pair of pintails was seen and the jackrabbits are turning dark.
CO Nathan Barington (Litchfield) worked snowmobilers during and after the recent snowstorm. The work turned up many snowmobiles that had no current registration; other violations were also found. Cedar Mills Sportsmens Club had their annual meeting and CO Barington spoke about law changes affecting angling and answered questions about related matters.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) did a radio program in Jackson last week. Topics included coyote hunting/trespassing, snowmobiling, and other area activity. CO Gruhlke also presented a 20-year award to a FAS instructor. Officer Gruhlke assisted the county sheriffs department and the state patrol throughout the blizzard this past week. He also worked snowmobiles in Jackson and Murray counties.
Windom - vacant.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent the majority of the week on snowmobile enforcement. Several work crews were held throughout the district. Trails are seeing heavy use, and are showing the signs of it. COs Howe and Geving assisted Blue Earth County with a personal injury snowmobile accident near St. Clair. Officer Howe also spoke at an Advanced Hunter Ed. Turkey Clinic, and helped with several motorist assists in the area throughout the week with the winter storms.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) spent the week on snowmobile enforcement. A work detail was worked over in the Chatfield area with other District 17 officers. Officer Wiebusch worked with Blue Earth County Deputies on trail enforcement and located a stolen snowmobile that was left in a drift after the suspect got stuck.
CO Bob Geving (Mankato) worked snowmobiling activity where unfortunately two serious snowmobile accidents occurred in Blue Earth County. Riders in each accident were transported by helicopter to a hospital. Geving also assisted with a Law & Ethics presentation for a turkey clinic and monitored local lakes for fish shelter removal.
CO Joe Frear (Waseca) checked public accesses for fish house storage, checked fishermen, checked aeration sites, checked snowmobilers and did a talk for the Exchange Club in Waseca. Most snowmobilers were safe and compliant, but some were not. Examples were people running on the roadways, failure to stop at road crossings, operating in a state park (off trail), trespass and speed. State trail permits continue to be a problem with multiple snowmobilers not having these.
CO Phil George (Mantorville) spent the week working a lot of snowmobile traffic. Enforcement action taken for expired registration, no trail sticker, no safety certificate, speed, and allowing illegal youthful operation.
CO Todd Langevin (Spring Valley) responded to a call of a mysterious animal killing farm cats. The homeowner thought a wolverine was in the area and was responsible. The tracks in the area revealed a coyote was probably the culprit. CO Langevin also reports the snowmobile traffic in the area is high. Violations included no state trail sticker, failure to display registration and speeding.
District 18 - Rochester area
CO Dean Olson (Rochester) reports working snow related activities. With several feet of snow everyone was out. The trails were rough but few complained. Predator hunters were also out in force. Violations included registration, state trail stickers, owner allowing illegal operation and trapping violations. In one instance a Dad had his 3-4 year-old child, who wasnt wearing a helmet, riding on the back of his ATV. Following closely was his 7-year-old son driving another ATV followed by two friends who were about 11 and 12 driving the third ATV. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Zumbrota) reports working snowmobile enforcement throughout the southeast this past week and weekend. Numerous sleds were out with the new snow and most were legally enjoying the trails. Also, some panfishermen were checked with limited success.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports spending most of the week on the snowmobile trails. With last weeks snows, many snowmobilers said this is the best they had ever seen the trails. There was very poor compliance with trail stickers. Hemker also worked with fishermen to get their shelters off the ice before the deadline. There was only one shelter left on a lake.
CO Scott Moran (Wabasha) reports a busy week of snowmobile activity. Seems many snowmobiles came out of retirement with the recent snow. Early in the week it seemed as if no one had heard of a trail pass or bothered to renew registration but as the week wore on the vast majority of machines were registered and had trail passes. A problem on a local trail was addressed where the trail is in the road right of way but many riders were riding outside the right of way and into a farmers alfalfa field. Many contacts were made and more signs put out by the local club and the problem is subsiding but may still need some attention in the future. Violations included registration, no trail pass, riding on a county road and speed.
Officer Bob Wallace (Kellogg) reports that two snowfalls this past week have brought 20 plus inches of snow to the area. Snowmobile trails are in the best shape theyve been in for over ten years. Many sleds were observed throughout the whole week. Unfortunately, the weather forecast is for much warmer temperatures, so the snowmobile season may come to a close nearly as fast as it opened. Violations were mostly snowmobile related. Violations encountered included illegal operation, unregistered snowmobiles, failure to display registration, no trail pass, and trespass. Wallace also investigated complaints of dogs running deer and motor vehicles on non-motorized trails.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports that recent snowfalls have put the snowmobile trails in the area in the best shape they have been in about five years. Hundreds of snowmobiles were observed on the trails and there was a very low violation rate. Several trout anglers were also checked on Hay Creek. Some open water fishing is still taking place on the river but that activity has slowed considerably with the colder weather. Some predator hunters were also out taking advantage of the snow and the full moon.
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports over 27 inches of snow fell this past week. The snowmobile trails are in great shape. Unfortunately we havent had trails in this condition for years, which lead the officer to believe why there was such a high percentage of snowmobiles without trail stickers. All snowmobiles using the grant and aid trails need to purchase and display the trail sticker. Other enforcement included registration violations, no operator permit, and speed. Despite the snow storm last Friday the NWTF banquet in Caledonia was well attended.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rochester) reports working numerous snowmobile details in the area. It was a very busy week with the fresh snow. Violations encountered were unregistered snowmobile, failure to transfer title, speed and failure to stop at a road crossing. There was a high violation rate with the state trail sticker. Snowmobilers are reminded that they are required to have one if on a state trail.
Academy Week Four was ATV and Snowmobile Week. The COCs worked with radar units, ATV and snowmobile enforcement scenarios, safety presentations, maintenance, and loading/unloading exercises.
No report available at this time.
Wetland Enforcement Officers
SW WEO Pat Joyce started work on a self-study course describing the value of wetlands. Featured will be the deformed frog story first discovered in Minnesota in 1995. A wetland banking replacement plan was received from Sibley County on a very contentious wetland case. Many lessons can be learned from this case in what to avoid in the future.
SE Wetland Enforcement Officer Marty Book filled a Deed Restriction on a violation in Hennepin County; a landowner that failed to comply with a Restoration Order and has placed the land for sale. Book provided Enforcements input on a WCA permit for a large box retailer in Forest Lake. He also received a couple of WCA complaint s one of which has potential to be a major violation along the Mississippi River in the City of St Paul. Record snowfall has delayed the investigation until the snowmelt.
Wetland Enforcement Officer Julie Olson met with Wright County for case review and follow up. No site visits were completed due to the snow. Some of the cases need a letter to get some response on the violation. This helps keep the cases moving along. Olson met with Pine County for case review and follow up. There were still some pending violations that needed to be turned over to the local COs for CDOs. A current large case is moving forward. Another WCA case is being turned over to Pine County Attorneys Office for prosecution. Follow up continues on all cases and this spring numerous cases will be closed or move into criminal court.
Wetland Enforcement Officer Traci Hanson attended the Beltrami County Technical Advisory Committee meeting. Several restoration orders are being prepared by the SWCD, a couple of applications were reviewed, one denied. These had no project purpose and no need to impact wetland. Hanson also met with the Beltrami County Attorney along with Beltrami County officials and BWSR to discuss an old violation that has been appealed and needs to progress. Hanson also sent contractor liability forms to CO Milbridge as requested and prepared recommended restoration order corrections.
NE Wetland Enforcement Officer Todd Manley attended the Itasca County TAC meeting. One agenda item included a violation replacement plan and wetland bank. Lt. Manley met a representative from Ecological Services on the Floodwood timber site. The St. Louis County Land Department is conducting a timber sale and the logger has put in some winter forest roads at the site. Manley is working with the St Louis County Attorney on a WCA search warrant for this spring and continues working on closing out old WCA cases.
Spring Firearms Safety Classes are currently being posed on the web site. Take a spring or summer class to beat the early fall rush for class space. Adult Home Study or On-Line course information is also located at www.dnr.state.mn.us
Youth/Adult ATV Safety Training Course CDs and Adult Snowmobile Safety Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR. ATV students are reminded that they must complete the CD portion of the ATV course before attending the classroom portion of the course.
Most Youth Snowmobile Safety Training classes have been completed statewide. Adult Snowmobile (16 and older) CDs are available by calling 1-888-MINNDNR
Snowmobiling Reminder---Any resident born after December 31, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota, must possess a snowmobile Certificate. Two options are available to complete certification, 11 and older can attend the traditional youth course. Those 16 or older can take the at home CD course.
Hunting Reminder---anyone born after 12-31-79 cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate. In addition many states have even more stringent mandatory Hunter Education requirements. Check before you go!!!
ATV Reminder---Anyone born after July 1st, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands in Minnesota, must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training CD course. Persons under age 16 must complete the ATV CD Course and riding component before riding on public lands. Youth/Adult ATV Training CDs are available by calling 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.
IF IT'S WET...IT'S CATCH'N FISH