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Snow trails in many areas beginning to show wear and tear, DNR officers say

A fresh coating of a few inches of snow would boost the conditions back to excellent.

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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, Jan. 23.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods as well as coyote hunters and bobcat trappers around Roseau County. Enforcement action taken on anglers using too many lines.

CO Tony Hams (Warroad North) spent time during the week attending snowmobile training, checking area anglers and following up on various complaints. Violations encountered were angling without a license, possession of a small amount of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and angling with extra lines.

CO Coby Fontes (Baudette East) mostly spent the week enforcing ice fishing regulations. He also successfully completed a three-day law enforcement-specific snowmobile training course.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) gave a presentation to the Stephen Lions and taught the law and ethics portion of the youth snowmobile safety class in Grygla. He monitored area snowmobile trails, area angling activity and conducted follow up on deer-season violations. Enforcement action was taken for operating an unregistered snowmobile, driving after revocation, taking deer with an invalid license, failing to register deer, taking a deer with a crossbow without a permit, and taking deer without a valid license.


The bear had been denned up in a culvert that started to flow during the recent warmup and became stuck when he attempted to seek drier cover, said a DNR bear project leader.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working angling and snowmobile activity throughout the past week. Regas reports trails are still in good condition, with a few high-traffic trails showing some thin spots in snow cover. A fresh coating of a few inches of snow would boost the conditions back to excellent. Regas reports the angling bite has been slow. Time was spent issuing possession permits for car-killed deer. Violations encountered and addressed this past week included angling license violations and operating a motor vehicle on a designated snowmobile trail.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports diminishing trail conditions, but snowmobile trails still have a good base. Time was spent working angling and snowmobile activity, as well as assisting with Academy snowmobile training. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with extra lines and felony possession of narcotics.

Warroad South – vacant.

Baudette West – vacant.

Thief River Falls East – vacant.

Karlstad – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending most of the week checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Time was also spent working ATV enforcement. Various angling and snowmobile-related violations were encountered.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails. Trails are in rough condition after the recent warm weather and in need of some new snow. Cross-country ski trails were checked. He assisted the Bemidji Police Department with a report of a stolen snowmobile. The machine and suspect were located.


CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports continuing work on a background investigation for a potential new conservation officer. Vinton took several calls ranging from dogs chasing deer to angler harassment during pre-fishing for a local, permitted tournament.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent conducting aeration inspections.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on snowmobile activity. Trails continue to be in good shape but are starting to get a little rougher. Angling activity was worked, with anglers having fair success. Warren spoke at a snowmobile safety class in Mahnomen.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) continued working on a background investigation and assisted the State Patrol with an injury crash.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports responding to wildlife-related concerns, complaints and general calls. Safety class planning continued. He also checked ice anglers.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time working ice fishing, snowmobile enforcement and coyote hunters. Incidentally caught fisher were seized and donated to the Minnesota Trappers Association. Plautz continues to investigate duplicate deer license sales from the deer season and finalized upcoming snowmobile safety classes.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent a lot of time this week on the ice and on area snowmobile trails. Scores of people were out this week with good weather and good conditions. Several anglers were issued citations for leaving rattle reels and jig poles down in their houses while they ran to shore for dinner. One shelter even had two tip-ups right outside set up. There was nobody around, and one even tipped up while Lawler was standing there. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anybody around to reel it in. The owner was located and cited. Extra lines and no shelter license/identification were common violations

CO Felicia Znajda (Osakis) attended snowmobile training with the 14 other new officers to further their snowmobile operation skills. Tactics for speed enforcement and emergency stops were taught in depth. Znajda also checked the surrounding lakes and found fish in the buckets. Anglers reported catching smaller panfish, but they are still marking many fish on their electronics. Snowmobile activity picked up over the weekend.


CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) focused enforcement efforts on anglers and snowmobile operators this week. Follow up from the fall deer season, minnow permits and wetland violations were also given attention. Wood and other nearby Minnesota wardens met up with South Dakota-area wardens to discuss enforcement efforts on the border waters.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) attended a border water meeting with South Dakota game wardens and continued work on a background investigation. A resource protection notification was also issued for a potential wetland violation.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent on equipment maintenance and fielding calls related to ice conditions.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked Cass County lakes and snowmobile trails. Most anglers in the area are reporting a slow bite. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling and snowmobile violations.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked snowmobile enforcement, trapping, ice angling and cross-country ski patrol. Cross encountered an illegal fish dumping in the Cross Country Ski lot, where violators dumped filleted crappies, walleyes, packaged bacon and a package of seasoned chicken breast. Please reach out if you have information on this. Enforcement action was taken for cross-country ski violations, unmarked ice shelters, snowmobile violations, ATV violations and angling violations.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on snowmobile trails and lakes. Enforcement action was taken for taking deer without a license. Snowmobile riders are reminded to read the rule book for appropriate placement of registration numbers and stickers.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports attending training, completing maintenance and following up on complaints from the public. Some enforcement action consisted of no angling license, no license in possession, no shelter license, no snowmobile helmets on youth under 18, extra line violations, unattended lines, unmarked/improperly marked shelters and failure to display ATV registration.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and snowmobile activity. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continues to work on a background investigation of a CO applicant. Snowmobile trails and anglers were also checked. Most continue to report a slow bite. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV and snowmobile violations.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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