CO Reporting: Some COs report an unacceptable number of waterfowl opener violations – Pine and Lakes Echo Journal

District 10 – Mille Lacs Area

CO Conservation Officer Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on opening the regular waterfowl season, which was a bit disheartening for CO Starr as an unacceptable number of violations were found. A large list of violations included no small game license, state duck stamps, unsigned federal duck stamps, unplugged shotguns, possession/use of lead shot, insufficient PFDs, overloaded boats, failure to retrieve downed ducks , no HIP (Harvest Information Program) certification, no license in possession and illegal possession of drugs.

Starr also attended in-service training and ran some service items on the team. The opening week of the small game hunting season found some people succeeding.

CO Victoria Griffith (Island) worked on a busy duck opener. She also spent time checking in with the fishermen at Mille Lacs Lake and working the ATV trails. Griffith followed up on ATV complaints operating at Lake Mille Lacs and encroachment complaints. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with extra lines, failing to show boat registration, hunting without a license, unplugged shotgun, drug paraphernalia, and use of toxic shot during duck hunting.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reviewed hunters chasing various game during the many fall seasons that were open. Enforcement action was taken for illegal waterfowl equipment, licensing violations, life jacket violations, and illegal ATV operation. Calls related to littering and breaking and entering were also investigated.

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) reviewed waterfowl hunters as the season opened for most hunters. Addressed an intrusion issue when access to a fishing lake was disputed. He also supervised a local ATV ride and checked out big game hunters.

District 9 – Brainerd Area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked on his field training assignment this week. Officers encountered numerous waterfowl hunters and fishermen this week. Some very remote areas were worked. Licensing, PFD and waterfowl regulations were enforced. Most of the duck hunter bags reviewed averaged two or three ducks, including green-winged teals, wood ducks, and mallards.

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time monitoring waterfowl and small game hunters throughout the week. Coercive measures were taken for various violations. Phone calls were also received from people with questions related to the hunt.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) attended the annual training at Camp Ripley. He checked out mostly satisfied duck hunters over the weekend, seeing mostly teal and wood ducks.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked small game and waterfowl activities as well as ATV enforcement during the week. Enforcement action was taken for non-game bird recording and shooting issues.

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) and COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Ryan Christenson spent time patrolling ATV trails and checking out anglers, bear bait and waterfowl hunters. Several boundaries of Woodland Ducks were observed. Hunters reported seeing a good number of waterfowl. The enforcement action included license and security equipment violations. Officials would like to remind hunters to have proper PFDs on boats.

District 2 – Bemidji Area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) continued field training. He spent time patrolling the ATV trails, the lakes, and looking for the waterfowl opener. He was a busy waterfowl opener on many public approaches, with a mixed bag of ducks being brought in. Waterfowl hunters took mallards, wood ducks, pintails, ringnecks, and teals. He also spent time preparing and maintaining equipment for the waterfowl season.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week reviewing small game hunters and waterfowl hunters. He reviewed many groups of duck hunters over the weekend, and most of the groups had some success and almost all of the groups complied with the law. The most common ducks seen over the weekend were teal, wood, and ring-necked ducks, with a few redheads and mallards mixed in. in a shotgun while he hunted migratory waterfowl.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) helped with in-service training and worked with bear and duck hunters. Duck opener was good for most hunters. Almost everyone had ducks and many had their limit. Peterson also responded to a break-in call from a squirrel catcher. The hunter was located and enforcement action was taken for breaking and entering and without a license.

District 4 – Walker Zone

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports a busy start to the waterfowl season. Hunters were successful with mixed bags of mallards, teals, and wood ducks. He also checked out squirrel and grouse hunters in the area. Some enforcement actions included insufficient licenses, unplugged shotgun, carrying a loaded firearm, possession of lead shot while hunting waterfowl, insufficient number of life jackets, taking a migratory non-game bird, and various other issues. Recreational Vehicle Registration.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) continued COC Znajda field training. He spent time investigating a deer landing incident and monitoring fishermen. The waterfowl hunters were reviewed during the opening weekend. Most of the hunters had some ducks in the bag.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) continued training with a new conservation officer candidate. Officers worked lakes and rivers in the Cass County area throughout the week. The area has been busy with waterfowl hunting and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for multiple excesses, boating safety violations, and numerous waterfowl-related violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) verified hunting and angling activity. She also responded to the call of a wounded eagle. Enforcement actions were taken for lack of license in possession, lack of HIP certification, and an additional fishing line.

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked archery on deer and bear hunts along with small game hunting throughout the week. The weekend consisted mostly of waterfowl hunters and archery deer hunters cross-checking. None of the waterfowl hunters Cross checked had a skunk in the opening. He also devoted significant time to ongoing background investigation.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) controlled primarily waterfowl hunters and anglers. He received and investigated a hunter harassment call. He also took time to train last week. Enforcement actions were taken for waterfowl, angling, and ATV violations.

District 7 – Grand Rapids Area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy opening weekend for waterfowl in the area, with very good results from hunters. Hunters harvested numerous blue-winged teals, wood ducks, and a few mallards. Enforcement actions were taken for not having federal and state waterfowl stamps, possessing lead shot, and having an unregistered ATV.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) focused on small game and angling for the past week. He also spent time checking in on waterfowl hunters during the first weekend. Coercive measures were taken for small game hunting without a license, taking ducks without state or federal stamps, and transporting loaded firearms.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) supervised the waterfowl hunt during the first weekend. Success rates were high considering the rice harvest was quite poor this year. Attended in-service training at Camp Ripley. Hochstein also helped with instruction at the State Patrol Academy for their water survival training.

District 11 – St. Cloud Area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) helped with in-service training at Camp Ripley this week. He worked the opening weekend of waterfowl, with a high success rate from most hunters. Enforcement actions included no life jacket, no throwable, no state/federal stamp, no shotgun plug, lead shot in possession, carrying a loaded firearm, no license in possession, and no fishing license.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports a busy duck opener. Enforcement actions were taken for lack of license, unplugged shotgun, and burning of prohibited materials. A search call was also answered.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on waterfowl activity in multiple different areas of the state. He worked training and vehicle maintenance this week. He received calls related to ATV activity and concerns about youth operating on the roads and driving without helmets.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) helped with training at Camp Ripley and worked the waterfowl opening over the weekend. Enforcement action was taken with no small game license, no license in possession, and no federal duck stamp.

District 12 – Princeton Area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled the Isanti area for the opening of the duck season. The weather was wonderful with cloudy skies. Hanna saw a lot of ducks on the first day but not as many on the second day. Questions about breaking and entering and legal hunting hours were answered.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week monitoring small game hunters and anglers. He also worked at a busy waterfowl opener. Krauel also helped a waterfowler with boat trouble get out of the mud and back into the driveway.

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