Weekly Conservation Officer's report

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

Last updated: 2017-09-18

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked the archery and small game opener. Hunters were content with grouse numbers, but deterred by ticks and leaf cover. Lots of anglers were making use of the cooler temperatures and fall bite. CO Verkuilen also monitored ATV traffic and looked into complaints of boat trailers not getting adequately cleaned.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking small game, bear, and archery deer hunters. A few grouse were seen taken with the opener. Calls regarding nuisance beaver and a dead swan were fielded. Patrol was also done for ATV traffic and State and County land in the Malmo station. Lots of outdoor law related questions were answered. Assistance was given to a neighboring officer with a nuisance bear and a few fishermen were checked on area lakes.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed-up on bear hunting violations and public waters violations. She also checked small game and archery hunters on the opener. Grouse numbers appear to be up this year. CO Speldrich attended the funeral for Officer Mathews with the LEMA Honor Guard.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on wild ricing questions and harvesting regulations. Complaints of bass tournament fishermen not clearing weeds from their trailers was addressed. Small game opener was worked with very few animals taken, due to the foliage abundance. Numerous deer were observed on the move, which motorists should use caution.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) worked the small game and archery deer season opener. Stormy weather on opening day kept things pretty quiet. Patrol of bear hunting areas continued and enforcement activity included citations and warnings for unregistered bear baits and unsigned bear baits. A handful of bear hunters were also dealt with that had plastic bags, bottles and other illegal material included in their bait piles. Bear hunters were found on state forest lands leaving garbage behind; including one hunter that had about a dozen candy bar wrappers that he left, on the ground, underneath his stand.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week answering questions about nuisance animals and the upcoming hunting seasons. He followed up on a commercial records complaint, ATV complaints, and checked areas for small game hunters. CO Wynn also followed up on a wolf depredation complaint and assisted the Pine County Sheriff?s Department with a person who ran from deputies.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area state forest and WMA?s during the small game and archery opener. Heavy foliage made it difficult for grouse hunting but a number of archery hunters contacted had luck with harvesting deer. Time was also spent teaching law and ethics to a firearms safety class and complaint of illegal ATV activity in the state forest was investigation.