Here are highlights from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer (CO) reports for the week ending Aug. 31, 2020. The complete report is available at

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued Step 1 of field training with COC Victoria Griffith. They worked angling and boating activity on area lakes and Leech Lake. They also worked bear baits and ATV activity on area trials. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession and providing false information by giving a fictitious date of birth. The officers also met with Forestry staff and followed up on complaints of yard waste being discarded on state forest land.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week checking bear baits, patrolling for ATV activity and following up on aquatic plant management and Wetland Conservation Act cases. Swedberg also responded to multiple calls for service with Becker County including a biking accident and person overboard. All parties involved are safe thanks to quick responses from the people around them. Other time was spent taking calls about upcoming hunting seasons.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked multiple anglers and bear baits. She took a nuisance-bear complaint and investigated a netting complaint. Enforcement was taken for marijuana possession and no fishing license in possession.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) monitored bear-baiting activity, responded to nuisance bear complaints, attended training and assisted with the Vice Presidential detail this past week. Many bears have been hitting baits and patrolling the area homes for meals. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, illegal bear baits and arrest for outstanding warrants.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) fielded numerous phone calls from people with questions about this upcoming firearms deer season. A change that affects hunters locally this year is that Permit Area 179 is a lottery area. In previous years it was hunter’s choice. She worked ATV enforcement in the Grand Rapids and Hill City areas.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) conducted boat and water safety checks and enforced fishing regulations around the Backus and the Brainerd lakes areas. Violations included angling without a license, possession of a controlled substance, no throwable and no license in possession. ATV traffic continues to be high and enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration, failure to transfer ownership and no headlights on.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) spent time enforcing laws for fishing, ATV use, wild rice harvest and bear-baiting activity this past week. A taxidermy inspection was also conducted and is ongoing. Numerous nuisance-wildlife calls were handled.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent time checking anglers on the river and lakes. A few people were seen collecting wild rice. Harvesters have said it’s been a fair year for rice so far. Hunters are eager to start the bear season. He received ATV complaints about riding recklessly, speeding, and without helmets.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a nice mix of activity throughout the station this past week. A few PFD and registration issued were handled after Hill contacted some paddlers in violation on an area lake. The leaves are thinking about changing, and Hill ran into some ATV riders “scouting” for the upcoming season. Bear season is right around the corner and last-minute baits were checked. Hill worked in the BWCA as well, and one person was found to be in possession of a few aluminum cans full of soda pop. Station paperwork and equipment maintenance was also handled.


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