Conservation Officer

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity as cooler weather starting slowing down water recreation. Aquatic vegetation remains lush. He also followed up on some lakeshore-related complaints and monitored bear-hunter activity.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) followed up on nuisance-bear issues. Whiteoak spent time teaching hunting regulations and hunting safety at a local firearms safety class. She also assisted controlling traffic following a motorcycle crash.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) responded to a call of an injured bald eagle. The reporting party witnessed the eagle get hit by a car. The eagle died en route to the Raptor Center. Speldrich patrolled state lands for bear-bait compliance. Several were found and a few were unregistered. ATV riders were reminded to operate with their headlights on. Speldrich also followed up on ongoing Wetland Conservation Act violations.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) and CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) saw an increase in ATV traffic and bear-baiting activity on state forest lands. More time was spent dealing with wolf depredation problems. In one instance, seven wolves were removed from a pasture where a farmer lost livestock to depredation. Time was also spent working at the State Fair.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time learning new areas in his station. Anglers and boaters were checked. Karon also assisted other COs with the execution of a search warrant. He was able to take a flight over Pine County as well.

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