Here are highlights from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer (CO) reports for the week ending Jan. 4, 2021. The complete report is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/co_report/index.html

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity and worked snowmobile enforcement. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si were also requested to assist in locating a firearm that was thrown by a fleeing suspect. K9 Si was able to find a handgun buried in the snow. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, possession of illegal-length northern pike, possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.   

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) performed ice angling enforcement duties over the past week, with fishing action being good for most anglers. Sutherland took enforcement action for not having a shelter license on a shelter left on the ice unattended overnight, not having an angling license in possession, failing to register a snowmobile and allowing illegal operation of an ATV by a minor.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing and snowmobile activity this past week. Numerous folks were out enjoying the outdoors. Enforcement action was taken for no shelter license, no shelter identification, illegal-length northern pike, angling with extra lines, unattended lines, failure to display ATV and snowmobile registration, failure to renew snowmobile registration, and failure to transfer ownership of an ATV/snowmobile within 15 days. One vintage sled operator was given some mechanical assistance after he mistakenly bumped his machine’s cut-off switch. Having the same experience once himself, Guida pushed the switch and the sled started right up. The operator appreciated the assistance.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports snowmobile and winter angling activity is picking up. Several riders have taken to area road rights-of-way to ride and have found some trails passable, though the snow base on those trails is still needing more snow. Anglers are finding 11 to 14 inches of ice and larger houses are starting to show up on area lakes. Anglers should always use good judgement and check ice conditions for themselves. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, failing to display valid snowmobile registration, no shelter license and no angling license.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking snowmobile riders during the past week and weekend. The trails were rough by the end of the weekend but there were still quite a few sleds out. Time was spent checking anglers on area lakes and a few fish were seen. Fitzgerald also checked for anglers on the closed trout lakes; they’re closed until the trout season is open. Calls of illegal fishing activity, suspicious dead deer and trespassing were fielded. Time was also spent patrolling the CCSRA for after-hours use and parking permits. Lots of law-related questions were fielded throughout the week and weekend. Enforcement action was taken for fishing violations and illegal vehicle activity on grant-in-aid trails. 

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked fishing, trapping and snowmobile enforcement this past week. A deer-season investigation was wrapped up with action taken for lend/borrow and site-tagging issues. She also dealt with license violations and registration issues. Commercial bait harvest investigations remain open.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports anglers were contacted, with mixed results observed. In one large group of anglers, most houses contacted were reporting little activity with low numbers. The last house checked of the group had a 14-year-old reporting good success with a combination of walleyes, sauger, and perch in his bucket. He had more than the entire rest of the group. Fur registration was staffed with lower numbers of animals registered, which was reflected by a lower number of trappers encountered in the field. He also met with the county attorney’s office in regards to ongoing cases.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking multiple anglers and snowmobile riders. Snowmobile traffic and ice fishing activity was heavy over the holiday weekend. Many people were enjoying the warmer winter weather we had this past week. Snowmobile trails were groomed but still need more snow for a smoother ride. Enforcement action was taken on multiple expired registrations on both snowmobiles and ATVs, taking fish without a license and failure to have angling licenses in personal possession.

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