Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — April 17, 2017
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked tip-up pike anglers on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken on anglers who dumped several trips’ worth of carcasses on the lake.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked snowmobiling, ATVing, boat/water safety, and angling enforcement. Time also was spent checking anglers on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports that fishing on the Rainy River became incredibly good and then just as quickly declined to poor in the same week. Sturgeon anglers were noting success. CO Prachar also completed an investigation of a burned snowmobile on Lake of the Woods. With the assistance of CO Woinarowicz, CO Prachar was able to find the individual who left the snowmobile on the lake after it had burned.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) taught the law and ethics portion of firearms safety classes in Warren, Hallock, and Argyle. A litter complaint was investigated. One angling compliance check on the Rainy River yielded the seizure of a controlled substance and the custodial arrest of an individual.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports monitoring ATVing, spring beaver trapping, AIS, and angling activity on special-regulation lakes throughout the week. CO Regas reports the ice conditions worsened as the week progressed. Assistance was provided to the sheriff’s office with a number of anglers who pressed their luck on a number of lakes, breaking through the ice with their ATVs and while walking on the ice.
CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck) reports focusing time on angling, ATV, and AIS enforcement this past week. Anglers were checked on the Rainy River.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending this week in the La Crosse, Wis., area, attending an airboat operator’s course. Time also was spent checking anglers and handling various wildlife-related complaints.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) monitored the fish run, checked spring beaver trappers, and met with the Clearwater County attorney.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) worked recreational vehicles and angling during the week. Time also was spent following up on a trapping complaint. The officer also worked the TIP trailer at an event hosted by the Bemidji Archery Club at Bemidji State University.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports several anglers with ATVs needed to be rescued after their ATVs broke through weak ice on area lakes.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked a sheep kill case where wolf is suspected.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports spending the week checking fishermen and following up on a complaint about the shooting of geese during the closed season.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week checking spring trapping, angling, and ATVing activity. The officer also responded to a report about a dead swan and answered phone calls regarding border water fishing regulations.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports open water has arrived on most lakes. He responded to reports about people breaking through the ice early in the week.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) investigated a littering complaint and found evidence of ownership regarding the garbage. CO Plautz also handled a dead raccoon that was found; the individual wanted it tanned by a taxidermist.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) monitored fishing and fish run activity, noting the ice is now off the majority of the lakes in the area.
CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) spent the week working light goose hunting, sportfishing, AIS, and ATV enforcement.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) checked fishermen and light goose hunters. Additional time was spent working ATV traffic and complaints of people taking fish out of season. Burning complaints were investigated.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, boaters, and monitoring AIS law compliance.
District 4 – Walker area
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports a busy weekend on the Rainy River with lots of activity from International Falls to Baudette. Enforcement action taken for failure to display current boat registration, an insufficient number of PFDs, illegal transport of fish, and fish overlimits.
CO John Slatinski (International Falls) reports the main focus this past week has been on the Rainy River. Conditions changed since last week, which affected angler success.
CO Colleen Adam (Ray) reports that Rainy River fishing is picking up. Forest road and trail closures are on during the thaw in an effort to minimize damage from heavy vehicles.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area forest roads. Ice has deteriorated rapidly on area lakes.
CO John Velsvaag (Cook) received several calls about burning regulations and took a call about a dead bald eagle.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked an illegal-deer case this week and enforcement action was taken. The CO also assisted CO Fredin with an illegal birch sapling cutting case and charges were submitted to the county attorney. A dead eagle was recovered this week and appeared to have died of natural causes. The officer also took a report regarding two calves that were missing. The owner believes they may have been taken by wolves.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked a large litter case that was traced back to a suspect who admitted to dumping the garbage and who will be cited after cleanup. The CO also investigated a TIP call about deer carcasses being dumped on state land. He also spent considerable time on an OHM investigation and dealt with individuals trespassing on closed state land.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) followed up on reports of litter being dumped in ditches along area roads. Anyone who observes such behavior is encouraged to contact his or her local conservation officer.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) wrapped up a case regarding decorative birch tree thefts on state land.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports he and CO Stage spent the last days of the winter trout season inside the BWCAW. Fishing pressure was nonexistent and the officers were the only people in attendance.
CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais) took calls regarding angling on Lake Superior tributaries and checked a few folks trying their luck for early steelhead.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports rapidly deteriorating ice conditions. Crappie fishing success has remained slow, although effort is high. Enforcement action was taken for fishing, ATV, and traffic violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling activity and investigated a trapping complaint.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) worked on a public waters complaint and patrolled area forests for illegal ATV activity related to spring closures.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) monitored OHV activity, attended K9 training, and met with the county attorney. Multiple ATVs/people have gone through the ice on area lakes.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked angling and ATVing activity this past week. Ice is pulling away from most shorelines and isn’t safe.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice and open-water anglers during the week. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, operating an unregistered watercraft, and not having enough life-saving devices on board a watercraft.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) monitored angling and ATVing activities this past week. Individuals are reminded to check current burning permit restrictions before taking action.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent much of the week working anglers along the North Shore of Lake Superior. A trespassing complaint involving crow hunters was investigated.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the majority of the week working shore and river fishing along Lake Superior. Area tributaries have opened up and are flowing, so fish are starting to access the tributaries.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked late ice-angling activity and conducted patrols in the Fond du Lac State Forest. CO Humphrey also received calls and complaints about dogs chasing deer, goose hunting, a car-killed otter, and late ice angling. CO Humphrey assisted Cloquet police with a hunting- and theft-related case from last fall. An investigation regarding an abandoned fish shelter was completed.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) assisted with a black bear located beneath the front porch of a residence in East Duluth. Apparently the bear spent the winter under the porch without the homeowners being any the wiser. Officers were successful in coaxing the winter resident to move out and on his way. CO Olson also assisted the Floodwood Police Department with a domestic disturbance.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked with DNR Fisheries on a reporting issue. Shore anglers were checked, and a complaint was investigated regarding a truck being operated on a snowmobile trail.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports monitoring ice-out and fish-run conditions, investigating issues of people dumping garbage in the Cuyuna Country State Recreational Area, nuisance beavers and incidental otters, and working with the Cuyuna Range Whitetails Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association with its annual fund-raiser event.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports there have been a few anglers out trying their luck at local dams and a few on the ice. Garbage dumping on public land was investigated. Vehicles on closed roads in the Pillsbury forest have received some enforcement time.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) responded to a call about a deer through the ice. The deer seems to have survived the plunge.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) assisted the Akeley Fire Department in rescuing a cow that had fallen through pond ice. CO Hunter also was called to a brush fire that got away from the landowner.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) had a wolf depredation case this week and worked a TIP complaint of overlimit/double-tripping for fish.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) monitored late-season ice-angling activity. Anglers are finding unsafe ice.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked off-highway vehicle enforcement his week. Vehicles traveling around signs that indicate closed forestry roads/trails are subject to enforcement action.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) watched a few ice anglers as the ice pulled away from the shores. Beaver trappers were checked, making use of open water.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) answered a lot of questions regarding the upcoming turkey seasons. A TIP call regarding keeping game fish out of season was investigated, which proved to be accurate, as a neighboring officer found the party in illegal possession of a northern pike.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking Solana State Forest and surrounding county land for ATV and ORV use during the spring trail and road closure season. Calls were received regarding trespassing and a party needing assistance in an area WMA.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) responded to multiple grass fires during the weekend. Some were permit fires getting out of control, while others were a result of campfire embers getting into nearby dry grass. Assistance to Pine County was given regarding a disturbance call that turned into an arrest for driving while intoxicated.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) was called to investigate a poached goose. Upon investigation, three juveniles were found to have killed two geese, two muskrats, and 27 red-winged blackbirds at different locations. The geese were taken 100 feet from a resident. Charges are pending.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) had some lakes in the southern part of the Hinckley station open up and become ice-free, while other lakes farther north remained iced over.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked shore anglers and bowfishing this week. The officer made contact with bowfishermen who were shooting game fish. Other violations detected this week included possession of a spear, no life jackets, expired registration, and other boating equipment violations.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, boaters, fire activity, and followed up on deer cases.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) investigated a garbage-dumping complaint that resulted in the owners of the garbage being located and the area being cleaned up. A call about pheasants being shot out of season was handled. Two men have been seen shooting pheasants on the roadway out of season. CO Kuske also responded to a “shots fired” call one night, when ended up being deer being shot at from a vehicle.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers, worked on training, worked on complaints, and checked ATVers for compliance.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) followed up on several nuisance-animal calls involving beavers, muskrats, and a raccoon.
CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked trapping and fishing activity. Several commercial inspections were completed. Shore anglers reported limited success on area lakes and rivers.
CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week patrolling for ATV activity, checking anglers, and following up on trapping and big-game cases. CO Krauel also received numerous complaints about ATVers causing damage in the road ditches. CO Krauel also assisted a local county enforcement agency in the search for a suspect in an assault.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked anglers during the week. Some lakes have experienced complete ice-out.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked a dumping case in the Sand Dunes State Forest with the assistance of Sherburne County deputies.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) checked shore anglers at various sites around Scott County and also made contact with dozens of boaters making their first voyage of 2017.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) spent a vast majority of the past week targeting early spring angling activity. It is important to remember that walleye, bass, and northern pike seasons are closed, and that does not mean catch and release is OK.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) spent the week checking angling activity on area lakes and rivers. A trapping complaint also was investigated.
CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) handled several nuisance-wildlife calls, including mountain lion tracks that turned out to be canine tracks, a deer with a broken leg, and a muskrat stuck in a fence. A TIP call was received about a possible fish overlimit in Hennepin County that turned out to be unfounded.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked anglers and ATV activities in the metro area. He took a call about a turkey complaint in Minneapolis.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) investigated a complaint of possible fishing violations. CO Pril also responded to miscellaneous animal-related calls and complaints.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports checking anglers, trappers, and recreational vehicles. He also responded to TIP calls, handled nuisance-animal complaints, and investigated a littering complaint.
CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) checked anglers this week with the improved weather. CO Willis also was called to respond to a large grass fire that required helicopter response in Woodbury.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports that a fisher was hit by a vehicle by the Minnesota River in Montevideo. This is the first fisher that has been turned into CO Picht in his station. The officer also spent time checking light goose hunters and anglers.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ATVers, light goose hunters, and early, illegal northern pike anglers.
CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) completed taxidermist inspections, investigated a dumping complaint that included multiple TVs within a WMA, and of ATVing activity within the boundaries of a WMA where motor vehicle traffic is not allowed.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, ATV, WMA, state park, and light goose hunting enforcement. Time also was spent assisting other law enforcement agencies and preparing for upcoming firearms safety classes.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time last week monitoring angling and light goose hunting activity. CO Gutzwiller also investigated a report of undressed snow geese and a deer carcass that was found in two plastic bags and dumped in a field approach near Louisburg. Please contact CO Gutzwiller at (320) 361-0550 with any information regarding this case of wanton waste and litter.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) attended an ATV instructor certification meeting in St. Paul and spoke at a youth firearms safety class in Buffalo Lake. CO Mueller also dealt with a fish house that was left at the public access on Silver Lake.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) conducted commercial inspections of taxidermists and game farm operators.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) received complaints related to bowfishing activity and fielded several TIP complaints. A spring hunting forum was attended, and CO Miller spoke regarding a conservation officer’s duties.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week patrolling for fishing and ATVing activity. CO Ihnen also assisted local officers in teaching a boat and water safety class in Owatonna.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers and ATV operators during the week. Litter complaints were investigated.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked angling and ATV enforcement this week. The bite has picked up in a few areas. Anglers are reminded to pick up any trash or other items brought with them to their angling spots.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent time checking anglers, patrolling WMA and WPA areas, and monitoring ATVing activity this week. While patrolling a WPA, CO Henke located 50 light geese that had been shot then dumped near the parking area. Only 10 of the geese had any meat harvested. The other 40 were wasted. The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to call the TIP line or CO Henke.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) reports a juvenile red-tailed hawk was located in an illegally set leg-hold trap. CO Fogarty and a volunteer from the Houston Owl Center were able to release the hawk from the trap. The hawk was then taken to the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.
CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) reports follow-up investigations regarding wanton waste and small game cases are being conducted. With directions provided by an experienced shed hunter, CO Seamans was able to locate an injured bald eagle approximately two miles into the Logan Branch of Whitewater WMA. The eagle was transported to Quarry Hill Nature Center where it awaited a ride to the Raptor Center in the Twin Cities.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) reports assistance was given to the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office with a welfare check of a female lying outside in the rain. Assistance also was given to a group of guys who managed to get a vehicle stuck in the mud on state land while they were driving off-trail. After hours of digging, they were able to pull the vehicle free.