Here are highlights from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer (CO) reports for the week ending June 29. The complete report is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/co_report/index.html
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on a wolf depredation where calves that were attacked and injured have now died. She also followed up on complaints of state forest users dispersed camping in areas not authorized for dispersed camping. Speldrich was informed of an unoccupied picnic area with a camp fire still smoldering. She extinguished the fire. With the lack of rain in the area this type of carelessness could have resulted in a very bad situation. Thankfully someone reported it.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) worked a BWCA detail checking canoe safety laws and campsite and fishing regulations. On the drive back home, Benkofske and CO Seamans came upon a man shooting at vehicle traffic from his lawn with a shotgun. The individual then shot at the COs and was taken to jail without anyone getting hurt.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) assisted two kayakers who got lost and couldn’t find their way back to the access on Pelican Lake. An injured trumpeter swan was captured and transported to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in the Twin Cities. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license due to a DNR revocation, operating an unregistered PWC and watercraft and failure to transfer ownership.
Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The nice weather brought out a fair amount of anglers. 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 bears getting into garbage cans and knocking over bird feeders. Some of the other complaints received were PWC operators chasing loons and boat operators causing damage with their wakes.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent the majority of the week patrolling Lake Vermilion checking anglers and working boating safety enforcement. The mayfly hatch is in full bloom, and the walleye bite has been found to be difficult as of late. Zavodnik assisted the State Patrol with multiple calls over the week including a DWI arrest resulting in an individual being nearly four times over the legal alcohol concentration. He also responded to a motorcycle crash in the Tower area and assisted with a fire that got out of control on a Lake Vermilion island.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) handled a couple snapping turtle cases this past week. One involves the illegal killing of a turtle by motor vehicle. The other was where a snapping turtle was placed in a handicapped port-a-potty at a public access. Targeting snapping turtles in these ways is illegal and persons found breaking the law will be investigated.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) took enforcement action this week for no licenses, no PFDs, bow riding, fish overlimit and no helmets. During an ATV stop, the driver stated he saw Best sitting off the side of a township road, and knew he was driving too fast, but wanted to see if she was “courageous” enough to follow at a high rate of speed to get him stopped. Enforcement action was taken for his operation, no ATV safety and no helmet on a 14-year-old passenger.