Conservation Officer

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked ATV and hunting activity as cool weather and fewer insects brought people out to prepare for hunting season. On the lakes, he also checked anglers and followed up on an aquatic vegetation complaint.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling fishing, big-game, and small-game enforcement. She checked many grouse hunters during small-game opener. Many grouse hunters reported they had seen a few birds but had a hard time getting off a shot in the thick leaf foliage. Whiteoak also followed up on a litter complaint in which the suspect admitted to their actions and cleaned up the litter.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) continued work on a background investigation for employment and met with several possible candidates in an attempt to recruit future officers. Fishing activity was worked with mostly muskie anglers checked. An investigation of ATV activity into a WMA was concluded with enforcement action taken on a young male who would not listen to his mother and continued to drive in the WMA. Starr also assisted with an ATV crash where two people were critically injured.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found public-hunting areas very busy throughout the week. High numbers of bear hunters, ATV riders, small-game hunters and archery deer hunters were all out making use of state forest and wildlife management areas. Some of the violations dealt with included baiting bears with prohibited material, illegal operation of ATVs and fishing without licenses. Wolf depredation of livestock also continued, and several more wolves were removed from a farm where another calf was killed.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent the week checking bear hunters and their baits. Time was spent on the St. Croix River patrolling. Many people were contacted during the weekend for the small-game opener.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent time checking early goose hunters. He also worked the busy small-game opener and testified in court.

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