Conservation Officer

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked lake activity including boats lacking PFDs, registrations, and fire extinguishers. Boaters are reminded to strap down and pull plugs before pulling onto public roads. Fire activity was monitored due to very dry conditions and slow vegetation growth this spring.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time maintaining equipment, delivering equipment, working on office work, and following up on calls. The calls she followed up on included questions on boating regulations, nuisance-beaver permits, complaints on a possible wetland violation, and a complaint of dogs chasing deer.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) responded to public waters and Wetland Conservation Act violations. She checked anglers and boaters on area lakes. Speldrich assisted LEMA with the Law Enforcement Memorial ceremonies and attended a ceremony in Duluth.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) monitored fishing activities on area lakes and found a good walleye bite to be occurring. The Mille Lacs night ban on fishing was worked along with bowfishing complaints. A neighbor dispute over beaver activity was also mediated. Starr also assisted county deputies with a case involving an individual who shot a gun to scare off a bear in his yard only to send a bullet through the wall of a neighboring house. Luckily, the two neighbors are on good terms.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) took reports of black bear being seen out roaming for food and dealt with the first nuisance bear complaints of the spring. Callers were reminded that momma bears with cubs will be out looking for something to eat, and if problems arise, putting away garbage and bird feeders and other food sources will likely fix the problem. Patrol efforts on area lakes found a lot of anglers catching decent numbers of bluegills and crappies. Violations dealt with included fishing without a license, boating without life jackets and placing fill into public waters.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time checking anglers and boaters. People continue to keep fish out of season. The Million Dollar Bridge along the Matthew Lourey Snowmobile trail was set on fire this weekend. The bridge is closed for the time being to any travel until its safety and integrity can be determined. If you have any information about this incident, please contact the Pine County Sheriff’s Office or the DNR.

Isle – vacant.

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