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Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

Ely Echo - Staff Photo -
DNR crews were working in improvements at the Fall Lake public access in Winton next to the Longbranch. The city of Winton is also participating in the project.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) began the field training process with COC Sean Cannon. They checked bear-baiting activity in the Roseau River and Palmville wildlife management areas. They also investigated a dead deer that was possibly shot out of season south of Warroad. Anglers were checked on Lake of the Woods. Violations encountered included no license in possession, angling without a license, extra line, and other equipment violations.  


CO Tony Hams (Warroad North) spent the week checking area anglers, monitoring ATV traffic, and checking bear baits.


CO Coby Fontes (Warroad South) spent the week working angling activity on area waters, assisting local agencies, and assisting at safety education classes. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession and a personal watercraft wake violation. Fontes assisted with a local firearms safety class and ATV safety class.


CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) monitored bear-baiting and angling activity in the Thief River Falls area. Bear-baiting success was marginal with the recent acorn drop. Enforcement action for the week included baiting bears in the wrong zone and bear-bait registration violations.


CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking anglers and bear-baiting activity this past week. Time was spent patrolling area ATV trails, handling reports of injured animals, bears causing crop damage and following up with resorts that have not renewed their lake service provider permits.


CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports increased angling activity on Upper Red Lake. Time was spent working angling activity and ATV and off-highway motorcycle activity. Enforcement action was taken for operating an OHM in the public road right-of-way.


Baudette East – vacant.


Baudette West – vacant.


Thief River Falls East – vacant.


Karlstad – vacant. 

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking anglers this week.  Time was also spent working bear-baiting activity. Various wildlife-related complaints were also received.


CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) began fielding training with COC Bruesewitz. They patrolled area lakes for angling and boating activity. The warm weather over the weekend brought numerous people out to the lakes. The officers worked the Gull Lake Chain near Brainerd and contacted several people for boating violations.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent time checking anglers, people out bear baiting, and ATV riders this week. Windy conditions kept people off area lakes, but plenty of ATV activity was seen. Berries appear plentiful in the woods, but bears are still active and many hunters are having luck at their bait stations.


CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week conducting white-tailed deer farm inspections.  Time was also spent handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints.


CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week working on a background investigation for the 2024 CO Academy. Wildlife-related calls were also received and addressed.


CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week patrolling for ATV, angling, and watercraft activity. He also provided a ride-along to another DNR employee. Time was also spent in preparation for upcoming field days and investigating a case of possible wolf depredation.


CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training this week. 


Perham – vacant.


Bagley – vacant. 

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) repots working angling, ATV and boating safety. Anglers reported a slow bite but are optimistic cooler evenings will have fish in fall patterns soon enough. Goodman spoke and assisted at a firearms safety field day in Perham. He also handled many questions about the upcoming hunting seasons and law changes.


CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked on a waters violation this week. She also handled calls about injured animals and several calls about dogs found trespassing on neighboring lands. If you own dogs, keep them home.


CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) started field training with COC Joseph Scholz. Heavy boating activity was worked over the weekend, with multiple enforcement contacts. Additional enforcement action was taken involving youth operation of ATVs. The officers worked the Douglas County Fair, where people had the opportunity to ask questions of DNR staff while enjoying great food and good weather.


CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATV riders, and boaters. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing licenses. A public information meeting was attended in Ashby. 


CO Felicia Znajda (Osakis) is happy to report that despite the hot and windy weather endured throughout the week, there was still boating and angling activity – with almost all being law-abiding. She also spent time at the local Douglas County Fair at the DNR TIP booth. Znajda took calls of illegally taken small game and wounded animals throughout the week. 


CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the week working on her background investigation and invasive species enforcement. She attended the Academy 22 graduation and the annual border waters meeting with South Dakota. 


CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports working fishing and recreational enforcement. Work continues to be done on a background investigation for the Division.  


CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, boaters, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent monitoring AIS law compliance and following up on wetland-violation complaints.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing county lakes throughout the week for angling and boating activity. McGowan also started training a new conservation officer candidate for the first phase of field training. Numerous violations were detected and addressed.   


CO Corey Sura (Remer) continued preparation of equipment for the upcoming hunting seasons. He also monitored bear baiting in the area. 


CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for multiple people fishing without licenses, extra fishing lines, and other various fishing violations. 


CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports checking anglers and watercraft operators on local lakes. He also patrolled by ATV in complaint areas. Enforcement action consisted of a variety of watercraft- and ATV-related offenses. A bumper crop of acorns may make the first few weeks of bear baiting difficult. However, many hunters are still trying their luck to lure bears into bait sites.


ATV rec officer – vacant.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) and COC Sarah Jahn spent time on bear baiting, AIS, and fishing, as well as boat and water checks on Rainy Lake. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, fish in an unmeasurable state, and transporting an overlimit from Ontario, Canada.


CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) focused on bear-baiting activity. As the days begin to lose noticeable light, outdoors people are starting to look forward to fall. There are still many others with the mindset that summer is waning too quickly. Follow up on open cases was tended to and administrative tasks were tended to.


CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and streams. Area forest roads and ATV trails were checked. Equipment work is ongoing. Boating activity has slowed as the last days of summer are upon us.


CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked angling, wetlands, ATV, and bear-hunting enforcement. Larson spent time working wetlands violations including issuing restoration orders, conducting site visits, and investigating other violations. He spent time checking anglers on the Eagles Nest lakes and at Lake Vermilion. He also assisted the Breitung Township Police Department and State Patrol with cases.


CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked ATV and boating enforcement. Time was also spent continuing to monitor bear-bait stations and attending a community event in Side Lake. Violations encountered included ATV speed, registration issues, and driving after revocation.


CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) was on fire duty. 


CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, ATV, and bear-baiting activity. Anglers continue to report limited success. Bear hunters reported moderate activity at their bear baits. Broughten fielded calls regarding youth ATV operation and decorative materials theft. He also investigated a public waters violation.


Cook – vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports he spent the week focusing on bear-baiting activity. Nuisance-bear and -wolf reports were received from the BWCA, and campers are reminded as natural foods become less abundant it’s even more important to be careful with food storage. Violations included angling without a license in possession and failure to register a bear bait.


CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking bear baits and angling activity. He checked anglers who were happy with the pink salmon hitting on Lake Superior. Time was also spent checking remote inland lakes.


CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) spent the week inspecting bear-bait stations. Most bait stations encountered have been in compliance with regulations. Time was also spent assisting Cook County Search and Rescue after an individual was believed to have crashed while flying an ultra-light-style aircraft and has since been missing.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) began field training with COC Nick Ambroz. They worked bear baiting, ATV, boating, and angling enforcement. They also patrolled in the BWCAW. Violations encountered included angling with extra lines, possession of a slot-length walleye, underage possession of alcohol, cans and glass in the BWCAW, and allowing a juvenile to fish unlawfully. Most groups in the BWCAW were enjoying the weather and lack of bugs.


CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked ATV riders and state parks along the middle shore. Commercial and charter records issues were handled, and preparations were made for upcoming bear-hunting season. Summer cabin season is wrapping up, and cabin owners are fitting in the last of their summer visits. Enforcement action was taken for ATV-related violations.


CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports checking bear baits, preparing for upcoming court cases, and handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints.


CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ATV and bear-baiting activity during the week. Wild berry crops and other natural food sources are more plentiful this year, reducing bear-related complaints. Murray also investigated a shoreline permit violation and attended a wildlife management meeting on deer populations.


Ely #2 – vacant.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) continued to monitor bear-baiting activities, patrolled lakes, and monitored ATV activity. Brown attended a lake association meeting and took a law enforcement student on a ride-along. Enforcement action was taken for numerous fishing license violations, failure to display boat registration, expired ATV registration, and operating an unauthorized motor vehicle on a designated ATV trail.


CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked ATV riders, boaters and anglers. He patrolled campgrounds and trails. Numerous game and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity, with limited success had by anglers. Sutherland fielded calls about the upcoming deer season and questions about youth safety classes. Sutherland and his partner CO Holt gave a youth firearms safety law talk and helped with the field day portion of the class.


CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) monitored recreational vehicles and bear-baiting activity throughout the previous week. Time was also spent assisting with a firearms safety field day. Holt checked angling and AIS compliance in the Grand Rapids area.


CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports talking to bear hunters in the area who are beginning to bait. Questions are coming in regarding the upcoming waterfowl and deer seasons as well, indicating that a shift into the fall hunting seasons is not far off.


Pengilly – vacant.


NE ATV officer – vacant. 

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) attended the CO Academy graduation at Camp Ripley as part of the Honor Guard. Willis also investigated a wetlands violation and fielded multiple calls throughout the station. Willis also assisted with training a conservation officer candidate.  Enforcement action was taken for taking an illegal-length fish. Willis also attended the Kids, Cops, and Cars event hosted by the Duluth Police Department.


CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) and COC Saewert spent time checking shore anglers throughout the week. They attended the Kids, Cops, and Cars event with other local law enforcement in the City of Duluth. The officers investigated an illegal burning complaint and both officers also attended the 2023 CO Academy graduation ceremony at Camp Ripley.  


CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) and COC Aimee Hand attended an event in Duluth called Kids, Cops and Cars. Time was spent checking anglers and handling violations found. A wetland complaint was investigated, and photos were collected with an airplane. The week wrapped up with time spent on ATV enforcement.


CO Mikeena Wehr (Willow River) spent time patrolling Nemadji and General Andrews state forests. Public land has been busy with camping, bear baiting, and ATV/OHM use. Various nuisance- and injured-animal calls were taken. Enforcement action was taken for various ATV violations and a camping reservation issue was resolved. It is important to note that payment for camping at state park campgrounds and state forest campgrounds are completed through different channels. Visit the DNR website for more information.


CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time this week answering questions about bear hunting and baiting. Karon would like people to read the ATV rules on exceptions for big-game hunting. Background checks are being completed and should be finished soon. Karon spent time checking bear baiters. ATV patrol was done in the Pine County area. Boat patrol was done on Pine City-area waters. A few violations were found. While checking anglers in northern Pine County, a few minor violations were encountered. Karon began field training with COC Hand. He and Hand flew over Pine County for follow up on previous violations and to search for other possible violations.


Hinckley – vacant. 

Lake Superior Marine Unit



Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

District 9 - Brainerd area

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking anglers and ATV riders throughout the week. Enforcement action included failure to remove the drain plug from watercraft before transport and registration violations. 


CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled of lakes and trails this week. A large event was worked near the Brainerd International Raceway where numerous contacts were made and enforcement emphasis was on alcohol-impaired operation. Registration and operational violations were detected and addressed. Guida began field training work with COC Veit.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity and monitored trailers for invasive species. Questions were addressed regarding bear baits. Activity was picking up with hunting seasons less than two weeks away. 


CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) assisted with a firearms safety class. Time was also spent on the ATV trails and area lakes. Local ATV trails remained busy throughout the weekend. Enforcement action was taken on ATV violations and boat safety violations. 


CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked ATV riders and bear-hunting activity. Stops were made for transporting aquatic invasive species near area lakes and an illegal fire was investigated. Fishing and hunting questions from the public were handled.


CO Dan Starr (Onamia) spent much of the week taking care of nuisance-bear calls. Calls involved bears damaging corn and a bear that broke into a chicken coop and took a chicken.  Starr assisted local law enforcement agencies with suspicious activity calls and took enforcement action for ATV-registration violations.


Wealthwood – vacant.


Malmo – vacant.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes and rivers for boating and angling activities. A trapping compliant was handled and continued investigation will follow. Westby attended a regional meeting about updated laws and rules and information about rule changes in the future. Time was spent prepping for waterfowl season. Water levels in the area are low, but it appears there is no shortage of ducks in the area. A possible big-game violation was received in the area. Westby is working with out-of-state partners on investigations.


CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATV activity and boating and fishing. He also checked near baits and investigated an illegal-trapping case.


CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and boating activity this week. TIP calls were investigated and nuisance-animal calls were fielded. He continues to work on past case dispositions; closing out and completing paperwork for evidence destruction and auction.


CO Chad Thesing (Albany) started field training COC Peterlin. They monitored angling activity on area lakes. Windy weather kept activity low. They assisted with an ATV safety class in Albany for Stearns County Search and Rescue. A trespassing complaint was investigated. Enforcement activity included no angling license and driving an ATV with passengers under 18 not wearing helmets.


CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) spent time monitoring angling, AIS and boating activity on area lakes. Miscellaneous wildlife-related calls were handled. A zebra mussel violation was investigated. Enforcement action for the week included failing to remove a drain plug, transporting invasive species without a permit and angling without a license.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Adam Stennett (Sauk Rapids) is beginning to think about fall activity and looking forward to the duck season. Many small ponds are dry and not many ducks have been seen in area wetlands. A game farm was inspected and other agencies were assisted throughout the week. Stennett worked the Game Fair info booth and also spent time with TIP volunteers at the event. Enforcement for the week included operating an unregistered ATV and operating an ATV on a state highway. 


CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week working anglers and recreational boaters. Time was also spent following up on calls.


CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) fielded questions on the deer feeding ban that has been lifted for Mille Lacs County. A lot of changes came in this past legislative session that all hunters should be aware of. If you have questions, reach out to your local CO.


CO Clint Fitzgerald (Buffalo) worked on a background investigation.


Cambridge – vacant. 

District 13 - West Metro area

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) spent most of the past week checking on angling activity in the station. High temperatures have caused a decline in angling throughout the area. Parking issues were addressed at a local boat launch.


CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked anglers and boaters. Fogarty checked several anglers on the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers using multiple lines. Fogarty also took phone calls in relation to the upcoming hunting seasons. Enforcement action was taken on extra line violations. 


CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on a background investigation during the week. In addition to taking animal- and lake-related calls, he continued working on a background investigation. He also taught at a firearms safety class.


CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the metro area for angling and AIS activities. He attended a legislative update meeting in Region 4. He completed other training as well.


CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) continued with his background investigation. Grewe also received calls on nuisance animals and a deer-possession tag.


CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) continued working on a background investigation. Time was also spent checking anglers and transporting new boats to Camp Ripley.  


CO Ben Ulrich (Osseo) spent the week working boating and angling enforcement as well as following up on complaints. Some violations encountered this week included no license in possession, extra lines, and otter out of season.


Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 - East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time helping a local ATV club put on multiple ATV safety field days. The kids all learned safe riding techniques and had a great time enjoying the outdoors. Time was also spent speaking at a local safety camp about hunting and boating safety tips. Many wildlife-related calls were handled and a falconry inspection was completed. 


CO Matt Paavola (White Bear Lake) continued ongoing investigations of open big-game cases. Several area lakes were also checked for shore angling activity. Enforcement action for the week included angling with multiple extra lines and using game fish as bait. 


CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling and boating activity. Salzer dealt with some equipment issues and assisted a neighboring officer with a big-game case. He also continued work on ongoing cases.


CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week patrolling area lakes and the St. Croix River. He also handled several TIP calls and started field training COC Justin Frisch. Violations for the week included fishing without a license, insufficient PFDs onboard, no registration and not having a license in possession.


CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers in the area. He also attended Academy Graduation with the Honor Guard and attended the ladies day event at the Dakota County Gun Club staffing the TIP trailer.


CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) continued work on an ongoing background investigation for a potential new hire. Anglers were checked on area lakes and rivers and they reported slow fishing. Phone calls were fielded about regulations and law-related questions. 


Metro Officer – vacant.

District 15 - Marshall area

CO Dustin Roemeling (Worthington) spent the week working angling, boating, and ATV enforcement. Numerous calls were taken regarding the upcoming early goose, dove and teal seasons. Roemeling taught law and ethics to a firearms safety field day in Worthington. Assistance was given to local agencies. 


CO Dallas Cornell (Ortonville) spent the week focusing on ATV and AIS enforcement. Time was spent patrolling the Appleton ORV Park. Questions have been fielded about upcoming hunting seasons.  


CO Mason Bulthuis (Madison) focused this week on ATV enforcement and angling activity. Several ATV operators, as well as anglers, were checked. Bulthuis also spent time patrolling public water access sites. Additionally, time was spent attending training at the DNR regional headquarters in New Ulm.


CO Shawn Wichmann (Slayton) patrolled for boating and AIS compliance with busy boating activity continuing locally. Time was spent fielding calls from people with questions about upcoming hunting seasons. Assistance was given to local agencies.


CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) attended regional training this past week. Enforcement efforts were focused on AIS and ATV activity. Public accesses and WMAs were patrolled.


CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked angling and AIS enforcement this past week. Training was attended and calls were fielded related to upcoming hunting seasons.


Benson – vacant.


Montevideo – vacant.

District 16 - New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-West) began field training with COC Brady Manteufel and spent time working angling and boating activity. They spent time at Game Fair speaking at a booth. They also spoke at a firearms safety class and finished a commercial inspection.


CO Cassie Block (Willmar-East) spent time this week continuing efforts on a background investigation. Time was spent patrolling her station and answering various questions from the public. Block also attended training in New Ulm. 


CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) started field training COC Dingmann during the week. Time was spent working boat and water safety and angling enforcement during the week. Assistance was given to Meeker County deputies and the State Patrol with an ATV crash that occurred on Saturday.


CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson-West) spent time this week working shore anglers and ATV riders. Other activities included regional training in New Ulm and presenting to a firearms safety class in Renville County. A pre-employment background investigation continues. 


CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson-East) attended training this past week and continued to work on a background investigation for the next Academy. Patrol efforts were focused on ATV and sport fishing enforcement throughout McLeod and Sibley counties. 


CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls inquiring about water access laws, fishing and boating regulations, and CO careers. He also gave instruction at youth firearms safety training classes and attended training. Nelson also worked angling, boating, invasive species, litter, and ATV enforcement activities.


CO Luke Gutzwiller (Windom) spent time meeting with Wildlife and Fisheries offices after transitioning to the Windom Station. Numerous questions were answered involving public land recreational opportunities and rules and regulations involving the upcoming small-game and big-game hunting seasons. Training was also attended in New Ulm. 


CO Jesse Drown (Jackson) patrolled Jackson, Cottonwood and Watonwan counties for angling and ATV activity. Preparations were made for the upcoming early goose, teal and dove openers. A roadside survey was conducted in conjunction with the DNR Wildlife Section. General inquiries and complaints were fielded. Assistance was provided to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the State Patrol. 


CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted angler checks. Public accesses and WMAs were patrolled. ATV activity was monitored. AIS inspections were performed on watercraft and trailers.


Redwood Falls – vacant. 

District 17 - Mankato area

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) patrolled for fishing and boating activity this week. He also patrolled for ATV activity.


CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent time checking area lakes and public lands this week. Henke also checked numerous ATV operators. Henke reminds all waterfowl hunters to read the regulations prior to the start of the early teal season. Henke also spent time assisting local agencies with emergency calls for service.


CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent the week checking angling, boating, AIS, and ATV compliance. Area lakes and rivers remain low. Lots of questions are coming in regarding the upcoming hunting seasons. Howe spent a day in the DNR booth at the Steele County Free Fair, answering questions on a multitude of subjects. People living and/or recreating in Le Sueur County are again reminded of the new wildlife feeding and attractant ban that is in place in Le Sueur County this year. See the DNR website for more information.


CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports working boat and water safety and checking anglers on local lakes. Lusignan helped staff the DNR booth at the Steel County Free Fair and answered questions about the upcoming hunting seasons. 


CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on ATV and fishing activities. Limits of trout were seen harvested. Anglers fishing off the bottom in deeper pockets on streams appeared to have been doing well. Time was also spent assisting with the DNR booth at the Steele County Free Fair.


CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked boaters, anglers and ATV operators during the week. He has fielded several questions regarding the firearms deer season and the slug zone. The slug zone restriction still exists for firearms deer hunters in two-thirds of Minnesota. Hunters are encouraged to look at the hunting regulations book available online on the MN DNR website. They can also contact the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-MINNDNR (646-6367).


CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato #1) focused on fishing and recreational vehicle activity. VanThuyne also followed up on complaints and assisted local agencies. 

District 18 - Rochester area

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) discussed hunting regulations with a youth firearms safety class in Zumbro Falls. A dispersed-camping violation on state forest land was handled. Honor Guard duties were performed at the graduation ceremony for the new class of conservation officers at Camp Ripley.


CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports beginning field training with CO candidate Matt Brodin. The officers worked anglers on Mississippi River pools 4, 5, 5A and 6, as well as Lake Pepin. Limits of sunfish and white bass were found, but fishing overall was slow. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, undersized largemouth bass and boating safety violations. A call involving a fawn on the roof of a vehicle was investigated. 


CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the week. Fishing success was mixed for the anglers contacted. Heyn also worked vehicles in the WMA and answered other questions. 


CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester #1) spent time this week on angling activity and getting some equipment maintenance performed. Kyllo also assisted as a member of the DNR Honor Guard at the graduation ceremony for the most recent CO Academy class. A ladies-only shooting day at a local gun club was attended.


CO Ryan Christenson (Rochester #2) spent the week checking anglers and ATV riders. Time was also spent working the DNR booth at the Steele County Free Fair answering questions. Christenson also presented a law and ethics talk to a firearms safety class in Stewartville.


CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports fielding calls in reference to the upcoming hunting seasons. One of the common questions is if rifles are now allowed in the shotgun zone. The answer is no. Time was also spent answering calls about trespass situations. Hunters are encouraged to contact landowners now rather than wait until the seasons start.


CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) started field training COC Levi Brown. During this week, they checked anglers and boat enthusiasts on the Mississippi River. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license and other boating equipment violations. On a weekend evening, they came across an intoxicated person operating a watercraft and subsequently placed them under arrest for fourth-degree DWI. They also assisted the Winona Police Department with locating a missing autistic female juvenile and the Houston County Sheriff’s Office with a domestic incident occurring on the river. 

Training Section

Planning is ongoing for training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.

Aviation Section

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) finished spraying cattail areas in Roseau and flew the helicopter to central Minnesota. Unfortunately, the winds were too high for the remainder of the week for spraying so she attended to maintenance tasks and ground training. 


Standby CO Pilot Jake Willis (Grand Rapids) flew flights for wetland violations in Pine and St. Louis counties. Willis also attended the Kids, Cops, and Cars event hosted by the Duluth Police Department.


CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) rescheduled wild rice survey flights. Multiple maintenance issues were attended to. Upcoming training flights were planned.


NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed a week-long survey of Minnesota peatlands and bogs with the MPCA. Their wetland plant survey team was inserted by helicopter to 11 different locations in the bogs, from 25 miles northwest of Roseau, to 40 miles northeast of Duluth, and 40 miles south of Hibbing. Three hours were needed to sample each site. This was part of a five-year survey cycle. Sites were selected and partially funded by EPA as well. He also took part in the Cops/Kids Event at Duluth, displaying our helicopter. He spoke to many people and kids who are interested in the work we do.


CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) checked anglers and attended training.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Joseph Stattelman (NW) spent the week working on a background investigation. Time was spent following up on calls and ongoing Wetland Conservation Act and public waters violations.


WREO Dustie Speldrich (North Metro) worked on WCA and public waters cases. She patrolled area accesses and roadways for AIS violations. Speldrich attended a TEP meeting for a violation that included WCA, public waters and aquatic plant management violations.  


WREO Jeff Humphrey (NE) reviewed several new wetland and waters incidents within Region 2. He also updated several other ongoing cases. Humphrey attended the CO Academy graduation and participated as part of the Honor Guard contingent. AIS enforcement was conducted at Duluth-area public water access sites over the weekend.


Enforcement Education

Please check the DNR website at for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Education Courses and instructor training sessions. 


If you missed a fall class and are over 18, check online for the online course information. (It’s also at


Please check the DNR website for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Youth and Adult Snowmobile Safety Courses and instructor training sessions. 


Please direct questions to 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.


Reminder: Anyone born after December 31, 1979 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!


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. Ages 11 and older can take the online course and hands-on day or attend the traditional youth course. Those 16 or older can take the online course.


Reminder: Anyone born after July 1, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training online course. People under age 16 must complete the ATV online course and riding component before riding on public lands. Please direct questions to 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.




If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador or one of the Advanced Hunter programs, contact your local conservation officer or regional safety training officer. Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR website.


See Also: 


RTO Phil George (SE Metro) worked the information booth at Game Fair, assisted instructors with field day issues and continued work on a pre-employment background investigation.


RTO David Schottenbauer (NE) worked on ELS/EMS project work. Time was spent setting up a snowmobile safety clinic and assisting instructors.



RTO Greg Oldakowski (NW) continued working on a background investigation for the next hiring process. Volunteer instructors had questions about class setup and equipment issues. Honor Guard duties were performed at the graduation of Conservation Officer Academy 22.   


RTO Amber Ladd (North Metro) worked on an instructor clinic’s backgrounds, worked with a local community education group to begin teaching firearms safety and spent time working on legislative changes for the upcoming new ELS.

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