District 10 - Mille Lacs area

Last updated: 2014-09-30

CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) worked the duck opener where too nice of weather kept waterfowl from moving much. Anglers were also checked and panfish activity is picking up. The nice weather also brought out ATV activity with common registration and safety equipment violations.

CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked hunters for waterfowl and small game hunting. Waterfowl opener had mixed results as the warm weather made hunting a bit more difficult. The officer seized a pileated woodpecker from a small game hunter; that was a first. Bear and deer hunters were also checked. Enforcement action was taken for shooting before legal shooting hours, no plug in a shotgun while waterfowl hunting, failing to extinguish a fire and burning of prohibited materials.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking waterfowl hunters over the weekend. Even with the warmer and clear weather most reported seeing and getting a few ducks. Patrol was done in the Solana State Forest for ATV, big game, small game and Forestry resource related activities. It was nice to see lots of kids out hunting with their parents. The Officer investigated a call of someone operating an ATV on a Wildlife Management Area and also some hunting related issues on the same management area. Follow up was done on a wetland violation that occurred earlier in the month and a nuisance bear call was also fielded. A TIP complaint of someone taking waterfowl before the season opener was investigated earlier in the week. Aquatic Invasive Species enforcement was done in and around the Malmo area and AIS work was done with a neighboring Officer. Please remember whether you are waterfowl hunting, fishing or boating to remove all aquatic vegetation, drain all live wells, and remove the drain plug in your boat before leaving the access. Lots of fishing, hunting, boating, and AIS law related questions were answered throughout the week and weekend. Enforcement action was taken for various waterfowl and ATV violations.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated an illegal bear hunting case where the hunter didn?t register or sign the bait station where he had harvested a bear. When interviewed, he stated he didn?t register the bait station because it was too much work to do the paperwork and he didn?t have access to a computer to do it on line. He didn?t sign it because he didn?t want CO Speldrich to know who was hunting the bait since it wasn?t registered. At the end of the interview, enforcement action was taken for unregistered bait, unsigned bait, non-biodegradable material in the bait, illegal off trail travel in a limited state forest and baiting without a license. Speldrich worked the waterfowl opener finding some success. She investigated a call where one group of hunters believed another fired a shot in their direction to keep them from hunting nearby. An investigation revealed that the other hunting party shot at a duck, not at the other hunting party. Speldrich followed up a wolf depredation case and took many calls regarding waterfowl opener.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) continued training of a COC. Officers conducted a full inspection on a taxidermist. The investigation led to enforcement action on the following items: no commercial taxidermy license, no federal license, undocumented waterfowl, and a goose out of season. Officers conducted follow-up on bear hunting issues, and illegal baiting case. Citations were issued for illegal burning issues. Despite a warm and ?blue-bird? waterfowl opener, local hunters had moderate success, finding a mixed bag of waterfowl species. Enforcement action was taken failure to retrieve ducks, no state and/or federal duck stamps, PFD violations, and failure to sign stamps. **Reminder to waterfowl hunters, retrieve your downed birds as they may disappear from drifting, predators, or just forgotten. It is also important so you can verify the species you have downed.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found quite a few duck hunters that had luck harvesting mallards, wood ducks, teal and geese on the waterfowl opener. Bear hunting activity was high and a few hunters were found hunting over unregistered bear baits and using baits that contained illegal material. Area lakes were also active with some anglers catching sunfish and others finding an aggressive Largemouth Bass bite.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) answered questions about trespassing and waterfowl hunting throughout the week. He spent time checking anglers and boaters in the Pine City area, spent time scouting areas for waterfowl hunting activity, and also worked on current complaints regarding ATV operation and bear hunting violations.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) worked the waterfowl opener on area lakes and potholes. Fair success was seen. Mallards, ring neck, and wood ducks were most common with a few teal. Many hunters were complaining that other hunters were sky busting and not letting the ducks get in close enough. Hunters were reminded to pull drain plugs and pick vegetation from duck boats. Enforcement action was taken on waterfowl violations.

WREO Rob Haberman checked duck hunters over the opening weekend. WREO Haberman checked watercraft and gear for AIS violations and reminded hunters of AIS rules. WREO Haberman issued a warning to one hunter for forgetting his license back in his cabin. WREO Haberman also worked ATV traffic with the warm weekend and investigated an APM violation on Round Lake in Crow Wing County.