Here are highlights from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer (CO) reports for the week ending Mach 22, 2021. The complete report is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/co_report/index.html

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on a variety of activities during the past week. Enforcement action during the week consisted of ATV violations, burning without a permit, litter and failure to register deer. A controlled substance DUI arrest was made. State forest roads and trails are closed in the area until further notice and burning restrictions are in place so refer to the DNR website for updated information.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports ice conditions have deteriorated, nearly to the point anglers can’t access. Please use caution and plan on rescuing yourself if you fall through. Life jackets, ice picks and a plan to crawl out should be thought about. Vinton discussed possession limits with a couple of out-of-state anglers and took enforcement action on unpermitted fires. Vinton assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office with a call in rural Otter Tail County where it was reported someone was threating to burn another’s house down and now their house was on fire. The sheriff’s office apprehended one person at the scene.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled area lakes for angling activity. Due to recent warm weather, ice in the area has been deteriorating rapidly. A complaint of ATVs operating on a grant-in-aid trail during closure was investigated. Numerous ATVs were contacted operating on the closed ATV trail. Someone who didn’t agree with the closure had removed the “trail closed” sign at the trailhead, but it was located in the woods. ATV trails are set to open Saturday, May 1. Any operation prior can cause excessive damage to the trail bed. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking area lakes and mine pits for fishing activity throughout the week and weekend. He assisted park staff with people illegally out biking and walking on closed trails that had caused damage. He patrolled for illegal vehicle and ATV traffic in the park and also checked for vehicle permits. Time was spent assisting at a training at Camp Ripley. Many outdoor law-related questions were fielded. Enforcement action for the week included various SRA violations. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ATV activity with the warm weather. Enforcement action was taken for driving on a state non-motorized trail and expired registration. Ice anglers are still walking out on area lakes where then can reach the ice from shorelines. With the wind and warm weather, it is advised to be extremely careful when venturing on area lakes as the ice is deteriorating quickly.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked an investigation resulting in unattended-lines violations and a deer-hunting investigation from last fall resulting in a citation for taking a doe without a permit. Anglers were checked coming out of the BWCAW. Ice conditions are deteriorating very rapidly. Time was also spent monitoring closed ATV trails.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and ATV activity during the week. Most anglers have switched to Lake Superior stream and shore-fishing opportunities as shallow inland ice conditions are starting to deteriorate. Spring fire restrictions started this week as exposed areas of grass emerge, increasing wildfire danger. Enforcement action was taken for license violations and a shoreland complaint was investigated.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued training COC Nicholas Baum this week. Mathy and Baum patrolled Park Rapids and Cass Lake area. Mathy and Baum observed angling activity on Pike Bay, Cass Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish. Mathy and Baum had violations including no license in possession, failure to display ATV registration, and ATV operator/passengers under 18 without helmets. Mathy and Baum investigated big-game cases from the previous fall related to an invalid bonus deer tag, failure to submit a bear tooth, and failure to register a bear bait. Mathy and Baum want to remind anglers to check ice conditions as temperatures increase.

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