Here are highlights from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer (CO) reports for the week ending Dec. 31, 2018. The complete report is available at

Conservation Officers Eric Benjamin and Jeremy Woinarowicz (Baudette area) remind anglers to check the regulation booklet for rules pertaining to the specific body of water they are fishing. Lake of the woods is a special management water and has rules that differ from most inland waters.

In  the Bemidji area, CO Brice Vollbrecht responded to a call of a snowmobile that had gone through the ice. The operator drove into open water near a river outlet on the lake but was able to get himself out and made his way to a lake home to summon help.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) assisted other law enforcement agencies during the recent storm. Roads became nearly impassable and several motorists needed assistance. Snowmobilers, however, welcomed the snow.

CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) worked ice angling enforcement. In one case, the CO found a couple who left six lines down while they went to Christmas dinner. When they returned they had a tangled mess, due to a quality walleye caught on the unattended lines.

Trail groomers were out on many area trails, CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports, and numerous sleds were observed. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office fielded dozens of reports of ice house break-ins and Lawler spoke with several victims. Anglers are encouraged to take any and all items of value with them each night and install motion activated area lights near the doors of ice fishing shacks.

In the Walker area, CO Mark Mathy reports trail conditions good with about  12 inches of fresh snow. Spotty success was found on lakes, with a higher than normal violation rate. Extra lines and slot northerns were the most common violations. Several fish house owners were advised to pick up the trash around their fish houses.

Numerous snowmobilers neglected to check registration decals before heading out on trails and were cited for operating unregistered snowmobiles, CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) reports. A couple of juveniles on snowmobiles were also checked while on their first rides of the season. After determining their registration was good, Frericks asked both for their snowmobile safety certificates. Both replied that they had not completed the safety course. The parents were contacted and cited for allowing illegal operation of a snowmobile by a juvenile.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) received a complaint of road hunting, where a cabin owner had hidden a trail camera to catch the perpetrator. He got not only videos of the hunter with a crossbow, but videos of him urinating on the road. Never know what a camera will catch these days.

In the Two Harbors area, CO Sean Williams assisted St. Louis County Rescue Squad after two snowmobilers were reported missing. The female victim’s body was found under the ice on White Iron Lake and two days later, the male victim’s body was also recovered from the same lake.

CO Keith Olson of the Lake Superior Marine Unit checked ice anglers around Duluth and worked the BWCA trout opener off the Gunflint Trail. The area’s 25 plus inches of snow made it tough going in the back country.

In the Brainerd area, CO Jim Guida was called to dispatch a deer that had been struck by a car. The carcass was given to an interested individual.

CO Keith Bertram’s (Long Prairie) latest case from the firearm deer season began with a photo posted on a local gas station’s “Big Buck” bragging board. The case ended with multiple suspects committing violations including over-limit of deer, take deer without a license, lend/borrow deer tag, failure to register deer, and a felon using a firearm to shot deer. Bertram was familiar with the group as he had caught other partner members last year with unregistered deer and an over limit of bucks.


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