Here are highlights from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer (CO) reports for the week ending Aug. 24, 2020. The complete report is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/co_report/index.html

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) patrolled for ATV and bear-baiting activity. He also responded to a call for assistance with a snake that was found in a heated area of a medical machine at a local hospital. Hospital staff had captured the small snake prior to his arrival. He found a northern redbelly snake, which is native to Minnesota and non-venomous. He transported the snake to a new location and released it back to the wild. Enforcement action for the week included open bottle on an ATV, exceeding the passenger limit of an ATV, no ATV safety training and ATV registration violations.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) started field training with COC Cassie Block. Time was spent assisting the Wadena Police Department with a call for service and following up on aquatic plant management violations. The officers worked fishing and boating activity on area waterways and assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office with a fatal boating accident on Otter Tail Lake. ATV and OHM activity was monitored in the area, with enforcement action taken.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked fishing enforcement this past week. The nice weather brought out a fair number of anglers. No fishing license in possession and expired registration were the most common violations observed. He checked boaters and PWC operators on area lakes. PWC violations observed were driving too close to shore at faster than no-wake speed. Boating violations observed were no registration and insufficient PFDs. He  received a complaint of a bowfisher dumping rough fish at public accesses. Complaints of bears knocking over bird feeders and getting into garbage also received attention.

COJohn Slatinski IV (Ray) traveled to Minneapolis for a work detail. He followed up on an open public waters case with the area hydrologist. Slatinski also assisted St. Louis County with a stranded boater on Rainy Lake, who spent a couple hours adrift in the dark. Angling reports have been less than enthusiastic. Bear-hunting preparation is in full swing with activity picking up in forested areas. CO

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling activity. Anglers had limited success. Boating activities continue to be monitored. Public issues were dealt with during the week. Most wild rice in the area remains green. There were multiple questions on wild rice during the past week as the harvest season approaches. Equipment work was completed.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) spent the past week working anglers, boaters, ATV riders and state park users. An ATV driver was encountered in town and cited for registration that expired two years prior. Fifty-nine minutes later, the same driver was stopped with the same ATV on a non-motorized bike trail. He was cited again, only this time for OHV trespass. His ATV partner was cited along with him. Enforcement action was taken for illegal-length fish, no angling license in possession, driving after revocation, driving after suspension, operating a motor vehicle on a state trail, OHV trespass, no state park permit and a number of boating and ATV violations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) continued checking bear-bait stations and patrolling area forest roads and trails. Nuisance-bear complaints are down and taking a backseat to nuisance camper and traveler complaints. Visitors are reminded there is no maid service in the outdoors and items such as dirty diapers, toilet paper and used baby wipes don’t just disappear when thrown in the woods.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports beginning Step I of field training with recent DNR Enforcement Academy graduate COC Vincent Brown. The officers went over expectations for this phase of training and Brown was introduced to the Perham station. The COs assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office with a fatal boating accident on Otter Tail Lake. An escaped deer farm deer was spotted and the owner contacted. Efforts are being made to retrieve the deer. Enforcement action was taken for unattended lines on a dock, parking violations at public water accesses, riding on the rear deck and gunwales and camping at a public access.

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