Conservation Officer

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked lake activity where the recent cool weather has quickly moved fish into fall patterns. A lot of people were also out enjoying the reduction in insects as they rode ATVs and prepared for next weekend’s archery deer opener.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling ATV, fishing, boating, and big-game enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for various ATV violations, boating registration, bear-hunting violations, failure to obtain a burning permit, and burning prohibited materials.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked the bear season, ATV, fishing activities, and boating regulations. A road-killed bear was taken care of and a trespass concern handled. Youth waterfowl activity was also monitored with very few ducks being harvested. State parks were also worked with full campsites found.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent time checking on bear-hunting activity and patrolling area lakes checking anglers. Some anglers enjoyed decent crappie fishing. One angler checked got a little carried away and was caught using multiple rods at one time. Many of the bear hunters checked had successfully harvested a bear, and others reported their baits getting hit often. Bear-hunting violations found included using illegal material as bait and not signing or registering baits properly.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent much of his time checking bear hunters and bear baits. Time was also spent checking boaters and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations as well.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked bear baits and bear hunters throughout the week and weekend. It was a slow start in Permit Area 51, but the no-quota area seemed to have produced a few more harvested bears. Speldrich spent time in the Nemadji State Forest enforcing ATV and OHM laws. Enforcement action was taken for multiple violations. One novice Class 2 ATV operator failed to come to a complete stop at a T-intersection on a gravel county road. Then he decided to over-accelerate into the turn and went sliding sideways into the ditch. This all happened in front of his friends and if that wasn’t bad enough, the conservation officer was there to witness it, too. The ATV ended up with a flat tire and the operator a deflated ego. Speldrich figured that was enough punishment. Speldrich patrolled the Nemadji State Forest near Beldon. She noted that several signs have been posted to remind state forest users that we still have a missing hunter from last deer season and to call the sheriff’s office with any information. The hunter was last seen wearing a red jacket, a blaze orange vest and camouflage pants.

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