Here are highlights from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer (CO) reports for the week ending Feb. 3. The complete report is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/co_report/index.html

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) completed aeration permit inspections in the area and found very good compliance. Anglers are finding areas to access but are still finding a tremendous amount of slush on area lakes. The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office and local rescue departments were called to rescue an angler who was stuck in slush on an ATV and whose feet had become very wet. While on snowmobile patrol with COs Jordan Anderson and Troy Richards, Vinton lost the state-issued fuel card and noticed it halfway through the patrol when he attempted to purchase fuel for the snowmobile. Arrangements were made with the local fuel stop and the patrol continued. The COs, late in the day, contacted a group of snowmobilers at a trail rest area when Richards called Vinton over, saying there was someone he should meet. The citizen rider then produced Vinton’s lost fuel card, much to Vinton’s relief! Thank you! Enforcement action was taken for failure to transfer registration, failure to display and expired snowmobile registration. (The group that found Vinton’s card had zero violations!)

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) spent the week checking ice anglers and snowmobile activity. Several permits for collector snowmobiles were issued. A regional deer population goal-setting workshop was attended in Thief River Falls. Winter severity, crop depredation, wolves, disease, and buck age structure were discussed. Area hunters, landowners and all who would like their voices heard are strongly encouraged to attend the second workshop that will be held on Feb. 26 in Thief River Falls. See the DNR website for details. Violations addressed this past week included no angling license, failure to display ID on portable ice shelters left overnight, operating an unregistered snowmobile, failure to transfer ownership of a snowmobile, operating a snowmobile without safety training, failure to display snowmobile registration, failure to stop a snowmobile at an intersection, operating a snowmobile on the inside slope of a ditch and transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) worked snowmobile and angling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken on an overlimit of fish, angling without an angling license in possession and expired snowmobile registration. Kunst responded to a complaint she received of corn dumped along a road in Remer. There were approximately 30 piles of corn along a 2-mile stretch of the road. As the call was being investigated, the person who dumped the corn drove by Kunst, admitted to dumping corn and offered to clean it all up. She also received a call about a trapping violation. Enforcement action was taken for failure to call a CO after incidentally trapping a river otter. Anglers were checked as well. Multiple northern pike were being kept within the illegal slot size of 22 to 26 inches.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports fishing activity is increasing in the area. Slush and thin ice (for trucks) continue to be problems, but less so than a couple weeks ago. Snowmobile trails were busy. Enforcement action was taken for littering, snowmobile violations and angling violations.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook Station) spent time patrolling the snowmobile trails around the Virginia and Cook areas over the week. On one occasion, while Zavodnik and Lt. Frericks were on snowmobile patrol, they observed an individual traveling at a speed of 86 miles per hour in a 50 mile per hour zone. When the individual was stopped and asked how fast he thought he was going, the operator stated, “I didn’t dare look down to see, but I knew I was going too fast.” The trails were extremely busy over the weekend, and Zavodnik made many stops mainly due to excessive speed. On another occasion, Zavodnik was nearly struck by an oncoming snowmobiler taking a corner too wide. He wants to remind snowmobilers that as trails deteriorate due to heavy use, especially on the corners, speed should always be considered no matter what the posted speed limit is. Zavodnik also spent time investigating a deer-hunting violation that occurred this fall as well as possible deer-poaching activity. Common violations found over the week included expired registration, excessive speed, careless operation, failure to affix license numbers, and no angling license in personal possession.

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