Conservation Officer

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) followed up on holiday weekend activity and an illegal-camping complaint. Boating and fishing activity was monitored, and ATV violations were addressed.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) attended a site visit on a Wetland Conservation Act violation with the Pine County Soil and Water Conservation District. She also attended the funeral for Red Lake Nation Conservation Officer Barron, who passed away in the line of duty. She answered questions regarding orphaned fawns and OHM registration and operation.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) investigated an injured calf that had been bitten by a large predator and had to be put down. There is no solid evidence of what broke the 3-week-old calf’s back, but teeth marks would suggest a bear. Starr met with new owners of a resort and answered questions regarding natural resource concerns. Flash flood warnings and severe storms resulted in campers leaving the state park.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) continued assisting cattle owners with wolf depredation problems and took some calls from pet owners who were having problems with wolves killing their dogs. Area lakes continued to produce a good sunfish and crappie bite, and time was spent checking anglers for fishing licenses and boats for proper safety equipment. Violations found included fishing with extra lines, fishing without a license and not having enough life jackets in the boat.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area lakes and ATV trails. Time was spent answering questions at the Aitkin County Fair and assisting with downed power lines and trees across roads after the Sunday evening storm.

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