CO Reports: Don’t wait until you see a DNR officer to buy your license… – Brainerd Dispatch


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CO (Conservation Officer) Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) reports time spent on lakes that were busy with anglers. One angler, who realized Grundmeier was on the lake checking people, attempted to quickly purchase an online license prior to getting checked. The individual was not quick enough. Grundmeier spent most of the holiday weekend dealing with ATV complaints and ATV accidents. One of the biggest problems found was parents allowing their underage kids to operate carelessly, on roads and without helmets. CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity where water recreationalist were getting in despite colder-than-advised water temperatures for swimming. Fishing participation was high, but a lack of licenses in-hand was still an issue. Verkuilen also assisted with a traffic crash, monitored ATV traffic, and issued possession permits. CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored angling activity through the week. ATV activity was worked in the Chengwatana State Forest with neighboring officers. Griffith would like to remind parents that minors need to be wearing helmets. Enforcement action was taken for multiple angling and ATV violations.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating, and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for litter, illegal-length northern pike, no angling license in possession, failure to have proper lifesaving devices, failure to have a throwable PFD in a boat, failure to display boat registration, youth on ATVs without helmets, failure to display valid ATV registration, operating a Class 2 ATV in a ditch, and operating an ATV without lights. CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on a dumping complaint and gate-damage incident at the Mille Lacs WMA. Turkey season ended with no issues and not that many hunters found. With the assistance of the Princeton Police Department and a Mille Lacs County deputy, Starr rescued 11 wood duck chicks from a dry sewer drain in the middle of town. The lucky ducks were taken to a local wildlife rehab facility. CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) primarily worked sport fishing, boating, and ATV/OHM enforcement this busy week/Memorial Day weekend. Time was spent patrolling area lakes, including Mille Lacs Lake. Enforcement action was taken for various ATV/OHM, boating, and fishing violations. Boaters are reminded to check their safety equipment before launching their boat. It may save your life. District 2 - Bemidji area CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on an out-of-season-related hunting case this week. Time was also spent checking anglers and boaters. ATV and OHM related activity was also monitored. Various angling violations were encountered.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling and boating activity on area lakes. The lakes were busy over the holiday weekend and fishing success varied. He patrolled area forest roads and ATV trails. Trails are dusty with the lack of rain, but were very busy over the weekend. Vollbrecht worked an AIS detail in the Upper Red Lake area and checked anglers on the lake. Vollbrecht responded to a call of four young squirrels that had their tails tangled together outside a youth house in Bemidji. He was able to trap the animals under a box, leaving their tails outside so a piece of cloth could be pulled away from the tails. The animals were all safely returned to the tree where an upset mother was waiting for them. An individual was stopped in a motor vehicle after being observed weaving in the traffic lanes. It was determined the individual was looking down to type directions into a cell phone to find a fishing spot. The individual was subsequently arrested for an outstanding warrant in the county for unpaid fines. Vollbrecht assisted the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office with a call of a possible domestic involving a shotgun. CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji #2) reports a busy Memorial Weekend. With weather being nice, many people were out enjoying the resources on land and water. Multiple people were checked angling, boating, and on ATVs. As the temperatures rise and more boats are out on the water, please remember how important your safety equipment is. CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports attending the funeral for fellow Conservation Officer Sarah Grell, who was killed in a traffic accident while on duty. She will be missed. Area lakes and accesses were patrolled over the long holiday weekend with the assistance of District Lt. Phillip Seefeldt and RTO Greg Oldakowski. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, no licenses in possession, no throwable PFD and a juvenile operating an OHM in the ditch. CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week patrolling for sport fishing, boating and commercial leeching activity. Swedberg also took a TIP report of a lake sturgeon that had been found at Dunton Locks. The sturgeon appeared to have been killed by a bowfishing arrow. If anyone knows anything about the sturgeon, they are asked to call the TIP line. Reports can be made anonymously. CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training all week.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, AIS and ATV enforcement. CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week working angling, ATV, boat and water safety, and commercial minnow activity. The walleye bite on area lakes remains slow, while the panfish bite has been steady. Calls from the public included a report of an injured loon, a nuisance-beaver complaint, and bowfishing complaints. Enforcement action was taken for an individual who was found taking geese out of season. District 4 - Walker area CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports it was a busy holiday weekend and many people were out on the trails and lakes. Reports of a gill net, littered fish carcasses, and an AIS complaint were investigated. Enforcement action was taken for illegal-size fish, fishing in a closed area, non-resident without an ATV trail pass, PFD violations, ATV registration, and underage OHV operation. CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for numerous boating and angling violations. CO Calie Kunst (Remer) worked ATV enforcement over the week. Multiple violations were found, including operating an ATV on the highway, failure to display ATV registration, failure to renew ATV registration and failure to have state trail passes. Kunst received a call of multiple people operating ATVs in the lake and responded to a call of an ATV crash involving a hit-and-run incident. CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports spending time checking anglers and enforcing watercraft and ATV regulations. He reports issuing a bear permit, investigating a public waters complaint, following up on TIP complaints and assisting the public with miscellaneous/nuisance animal calls. He reports many anglers have had success angling for panfish this week on area lakes. CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the Park Rapids area for recreational vehicle traffic and angling activity. Baum took enforcement action for prohibited operation of an OHM and ATV, allowing illegal operation of an ATV, angling without a license, operating an ATV with a passenger under 18 years old without a helmet, and failure to display ATV registration. CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checking angling and boating activity. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, and no license in possession. CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked angling, watercraft enforcement, OHV enforcement, and responded to numerous wildlife-related calls. Fishing has slowed this the past week with the cold weather. Enforcement action was taken for operation of an unlicensed ATV, failure to stop at ATV traffic signs, no life jackets, illegal-length northern pike, expired watercraft registration, failure to transfer ownership, and unlicensed watercrafts. Cross reminds ATV riders to pack out their garbage when using the ATV trails. District 9 - Brainerd area CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing and ATV enforcement this week. Boating safety enforcement work was done on Mille Lacs Lake with another area CO. Very few boating violations were detected, indicating anglers are taking their boating safety seriously. Guida also attended the funeral for CO Sarah Grell in Grand Rapids. CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked sport fishing on area lakes and rivers. Anglers reported fishing was good. Sullivan also observed numerous young new anglers who were excited about fishing for the first time. Violations detected included transporting zebra mussels, extra angling lines and failure to display registration as required. CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) was privileged to serve on the Honor Guard at the funeral for CO Sarah Grell. The words spoken at her funeral were a great testament of who Sarah was when it came to her family, work, and faith. CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working the state recreation area for fishing activity during the week and weekend. Most anglers reported a fair bite, but were mostly enjoying being on the lake with the nice weather. Time was spent patrolling the SRA for illegal vehicle and ATV activity. Lots of outdoor law-related questions were answered throughout the week and a nuisance-animal related complaint was investigated. Vehicles in the SRA were checked for state park permits, and bike trail activity was monitored. Enforcement action for the week included various SRA- and ATV law-related violations. District 3 - Fergus Falls area CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked anglers and ATV activity during the previous week. Time was also spent working boating safety and bowfishing and monitoring AIS compliance. Holt worked a busy Memorial Day weekend in the Osakis area. Enforcement action mostly involved fishing licenses and boating safety violations. CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports a busy Memorial Day weekend. Time was spent checking anglers, boaters, and personal watercraft operators. Enforcement action was taken for angling, boat safety, and PWC violations. CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) focused enforcements efforts this week on area waterways. Anglers and boaters were out over the busy holiday weekend from sunup to sundown. Enforcement action was taken for various angling and boating violations, but most people were very compliant. Panfish success seems to be the most consistent as walleyes are not cooperating. District 11 - St. Cloud area CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATV activity and worked boating safety, AIS, and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV without safety training, operating an OHM on a public road, failure to display boat registration, no Type IV PFD, no PFD onboard a watercraft, angling without a license, and no angling license in personal possession. CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week assisting with an Honor Guard detail for Conservation Officer Sarah Grell. A call regarding a live deer fawn found in a local lake was also handled. The fawn was transferred to a wildlife rehabilitation center. Silgjord also attended a local lake association meeting where various DNR topics were addressed. The busy holiday weekend was worked with many boaters and anglers seen out enjoying the nice weather. CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked with neighboring officers over the holiday weekend focusing on fishing, AIS and boating enforcement. Many contacts were made. He also took calls of carp being dumped in the road right-of-way. CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and ATV riders. Enforcement action was taken for no boat registration, no PFDs, extra lines, and ATV helmet violations. Bertram also spoke at a firearms safety class. District 12 - Princeton area CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers. Krauel also spent time patrolling for ATVs and working boat and water safety. CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers and enforcing boat safety laws throughout the week. Violations found were angling without licenses, expired boat registrations, lack of life jackets, and no navigation lights on watercrafts. Several nuisance-animal calls were also handled. Aviation Section Standby CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) reports flying several aerial creel surveys during the week. NR (Natural Resources) Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew wolf and wood duck telemetry flights. Heineman also attended to administrative tasks and a training flight. Standby NR Pilot Jessica Holmes (Grand Rapids) reports completing four Lake Vermilion creel surveys and attending to a maintenance issue. CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying Fisheries creel flights and attending the funeral for CO Grell. Jensen also worked some boat and water safety shifts on Mille Lacs lake. NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed a training flight in an airplane and brought a helicopter for display at Aitkin Elementary for a students’ learning event. He also prepared and flew in the flyby at the funeral for CO Sarah Grell. CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) completed creel flights for Rainy Lake and Lake Vermilion. He assisted with ceremonial flyover and attended to aircraft maintenance. Water Resource Enforcement Officers WREO Joe Stattelman (NW) spent the week focusing efforts on AIS laws and lake service activity. Time was spent checking anglers and ATV activity over the weekend. WREO Robert Haberman (NC) attended the funeral for CO Grell. Case work was followed up on. AIS and ATV enforcement were worked over the holiday weekend. --- --- --- Joe Albert, Communications coordinator | Division of Enforcement
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