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DNR conservation officers begin monitoring the opening of bear-baiting season

Parents are reminded that a DOT-approved helmet is required for all passengers under age 18 on any ATV when not on their own private property.

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Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Monday, Aug. 15.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) patrolled Lake of the Woods and worked ATV activity in the area. Training was also attended with local law enforcement agencies. Enforcement action was taken for possessing an overlimit of walleyes/sauger and for an insufficient number of life jackets onboard a boat.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) attended a specialized training conference, checked area anglers, and monitored ATV activity during the Moose Festival in Karlstad. Parents are reminded that a DOT-approved helmet is required for all passengers under age 18 on any ATV when not on their own private property. Enforcement action included no helmet on a juvenile ATV passenger, allowing illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, angling without a license and ATV-registration violations.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) monitored angling and ATV activity this week, and patrolled the station for bear-baiting activity. A multi-agency medical training event was also attended at the Warroad Port of Entry. Angling and ATV-related violations were addressed.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working angling, boating and AIS enforcement throughout the past week. Regas noted angling success was slow and walleyes that were caught were too small to keep. Time was spent patrolling area ATV trails and complaint areas and staffing the TIP trailer at the Beltrami County Fair, with many contacts made and questions answered. Violations encountered and addressed this past week included juvenile operators and passengers not wearing helmets, failure to renew ATV registration and failure to stop prior to crossing the roadway.


CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports working ATV activity and bear-baiting activity.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports following up on various wetland- and public waters-related cases this week. Time was also spent checking anglers and watercraft operators. Litter enforcement was also worked. The start of the bear-baiting season was monitored.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked the TIP booth at the Beltrami County Fair. Time was spent at Camp Ripley for the Conservation Officer Academy.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports traveling to Illinois and Iowa as part of a CO Prep hire background investigation. A lake property owner called to report shooting a bobcat that had attacked their puppy. The landowner reported they’d let the puppy out and soon after heard its cries. The landowner struck the bobcat with a garden tool and the cat let go but refused to leave, continuing to act unusually aggressive. Photos from a trail camera showing a possible trespasser were also forwarded to Vinton.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) assisted with training at the CO Academy.


CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent instructing at the CO Academy.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time patrolling ATV and off-road vehicle activity on area trails. Leeching areas were monitored for activity and littler issues. Boating and angling activity was worked. Warren answered questions about ATV regulations, aquatic vegetation, sand blankets, bear activity and injured animals.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring ATV activity in the Pelican Rapids station. The midsummer lull seems to have hit, but anglers targeting panfish are still finding enough fish to make a meal. Calls from the public included dogs chasing deer and a bobcat that bit a puppy. The dog’s owner was able to put down the bobcat, which was clearly ill and malnourished. It is unknown what caused the unusual behavior. A ride-along opportunity was provided to a local college student and assistance was provided to Maplewood State Park staff on several cases. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, driving while revoked, failure to provide proof of insurance and speed.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) concentrated enforcement actions on angling, boating and ATV riding activity. Several boating related violations were encountered and enforcement action was taken. He also presented at an ATV safety class at the Grant County Youth Trail.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked on the boat and PWC (personal watercraft) on the Alexandria Chain of Lakes and surrounding lakes. Fishing and recreational boating activity remains high, with a few citations issued for violations surrounding both. Time was also spent teaching cadets watercraft enforcement techniques at the CO Academy at Camp Ripley.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) continued working on her background investigation this week. She assisted CO Dan Baumbarger with an ATV safety class, attended peer support training and assisted with a roadside pheasant count.


CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports assisting at firearms safety and ATV safety field days over the weekend. Students were tested on their knowledge learned from classroom instruction and online courses before putting their skills into action. Panfish fishing and off-road vehicles remain the primary focus of enforcement. Complaints of juveniles illegally operating ATVs and OHMs were taken. Enforcement action was taken for overlimits of fish. Bear sightings have increased with ripening food sources around. Goodman asks people to take steps to secure their garbage and wildlife feeders to prevent local bears from becoming a nuisance.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and boaters. Additional time was spent attending training and teaching an ATV safety class in Glenwood. Calls were fielded about upcoming hunting seasons and allowable uses of property owned by The Nature Conservancy.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, boaters and ATV riders. Deer feeding, salt block placement and trespass questions were received and answered. Follow up on a fishing complaint was conducted.

Osakis – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) spoke at a firearms safety class and lake association meeting and attended the MDHA banquet with the TIP wall.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked angling, boating, off-highway vehicle traffic and AIS. He continued working on a background investigation. Enforcement action was taken for boating, angling and off-highway vehicle violations.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports checking bear-baiting activity and activity on public lands. The berry and nut crops have improved significantly from last year and may make bear baiting more difficult than past years. He also reports assisting with the Academy at Camp Ripley and is in the process of a background investigation. He gave a CO law/safety talk at a firearms safety class. He would like to remind outdoor enthusiasts that ATVs are not allowed in WMAs and that personal property cannot be stored at state boat accesses.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers, boaters and AIS. Bear baiting started, and a few hunters were seen placing baits. A person called to report a cougar sighting. Enforcement action was taken for ATV, boating and angling violations.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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