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People flock to Beltrami forest for 'amazing' blueberry picking, DNR conservation officer says

Conservation officers Ben Huener and Tony Elwell worked the Red River of the North with a North Dakota game warden checking catfish anglers.

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Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Monday, Aug. 8.

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on the Roseau River and Lake of the Woods. He also monitored ATV activity in the Beltrami Island State Forest while people flocked there for the amazing blueberry picking. Huener and CO Elwell worked the Red River of the North with a North Dakota game warden checking catfish anglers. Violations for the week included angling with an extra line and possessing an overlimit of walleyes.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) worked a detail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Patrol time was also spent on ATV activity.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) checked anglers on the Red River of the North, patrolled local state parks and investigated illegal burning activities. Enforcement action included no state park permit, no fire extinguisher on watercraft, failure to display watercraft registration, burning prohibited materials and no helmet on juvenile ATV passengers.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) patrolled the station for ATV activity and checked anglers on the Red River of the North. Elwell also spent time preparing for the upcoming bear-baiting season and handled injured animal calls. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession and ATV-related violations.


CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports working ATV and off-highway motorcycle enforcement around the area. Prachar took part in National Night Out in Baudette. TIP provided a Wall of Shame trailer for the event. There was a terrific turnout and a significant amount of interest in the Wall of Shame. Prachar also assisted the Minnesota State Patrol with a single vehicle rollover on Highway 72. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash.

Warroad #1 – vacant.

Warroad #2 – vacant.

Baudette #1 – vacant.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending a firearms safety field day in Crookston. Time was also spent in Ada during a National Night Out event. Anglers were contacted throughout the week. Various wildlife-related complaints were received.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports inspecting a number of sites at the request of the local DNR hydrologist for potential violations. Nuisance-bear calls were handled with advice to remove the sources of the attractants. Vinton, along with several other COs, assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office with a missing elderly gentleman who got turned around while bicycling in and around Glendalough State Park. The man was located safe and sound. Vinton presented at a local firearms safety class and spent some time with other conservation officers at the Minnesota Trappers Association convention held this year in Wadena. CO prep background work continued.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week assisting at the CO Academy. Swedberg assisted with instructing water survival. Other time was spent patrolling area lakes during the busy WeFest weekend.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked ongoing cases, minnow trapping and wildlife-related calls, and assisted local officers with calls for service.


CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, boat and water safety and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent investigating aquatic plant management violations and litter complaints.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity. AIS compliance checks were performed. ATV trails were patrolled and checks performed. A possible gray wolf depredation of a cow was investigated. Miscellaneous wildlife-related questions were answered. Leeching ponds were monitored for activity and litter.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week following up on shoreline and wetland violations in the Pelican Rapids station.

Bagley – vacant.

Bemidji #2 – vacant.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports primary enforcement efforts were focused on ATV and angling enforcement. Fishing pressure has moved onto panfish as warmer water and weeds have made larger game fish trickier to find. Complaints of ATV use on state trails and roadways were handled, as were calls about nuisance and injured animals. Goodman assisted with a missing person search in a state park. The individual was later found several miles outside of the park in a nearby town.

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) concentrated enforcement efforts for the week on angling, ATV and boating activities. He also presented to Grant County 4-H kids about Minnesota mammals. Various boating and ATV-related violations were addressed.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, boaters and ATV riders. Commercial minnow trappers were observed and record checks completed. Questions about the upcoming early teal season were received and answered.


CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent time conducting a background investigation and assisting with roadside pheasant counts. Angling and recreating activity on the lake has slowed way down with the lake being so warm. Wood participated in Wheaton’s National Night Out event by bringing her boat and educating kids on boating safety. A water balloon “fight” took place between the kids and the cops. Law enforcement was highly out-numbered but put up a good fight. She would also like to share that will be an ATV/snowmobile safety instructor certification class at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 30 in Morris and a firearms safety instructor certification class at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 31 in Morris. Please reach out to Wood or RTO Greg Oldakowski if you’re interested in attending.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports working fishing and recreational enforcement. Time was also spent working on a background investigation for the Division. Douvier also assisted with the August roadside wildlife counts.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and boaters. Baumbarger assisted the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with an ongoing case and helped in the search for a missing person near Battle Lake. Additional time was spent closing out a wetland case and investigating overlimit complaints.

Osakis – vacant.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) spent the majority of the week conducting a background investigation. Other time was spent monitoring angling and recreational boat traffic. Enforcement action was taken for personal watercraft violations and watercraft registration.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily worked angling, boating and AIS enforcement. Calls were received about an injured loon and injured goose. A special beaver permit was issued. Enforcement action was taken for boating, angling and AIS violations.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports checking anglers, boaters and ATV operators. Some enforcement action consisted of no legal fire extinguisher, insufficient life jackets and no licenses in possession. He also reports spending time on a pre-employment background investigation and assisting at Camp Ripley with the ongoing Academy.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV with juveniles without helmets and for a vehicle passing on the shoulder.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for boating and ATV activity. Assistance was also give at the CO Academy at Camp Ripley.

ATV rec officer – vacant.

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