Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Dec. 22, 2017

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked angling, small-game, and ATV/snowmobile enforcement. Lake activity is picking up now that the ice is starting to thicken. Most private accesses along the south shore are allowing snowmobilers/ATVers out with portable shelters, and resorters have begun to put out their rental houses. Activity at the Northwest Angle also has started to pick up, with some resort houses popping up as well. Wherever you go, stick to the marked trails and roads.

CO Nick Prachar (Baudette) reports a busy week on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for multiple ATV and snowmobile violations. CO Prachar spoke with local resort owners who expressed concern regarding the safety of the ice, and driving full-size vehicles on the lake. Please be sure to check with the local resorts on ice conditions before driving out with a pickup truck and wheelhouse. Further enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines and two incidents of operating ATVs while under the influence of alcohol.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored ice-angling activity in the area. The first snowmobiles of the year were observed as snow conditions continue to improve. CO Vollbrecht continued to work on a background investigation. A complaint about trap tampering/theft also was taken and investigated.

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) worked ice-angling activity. Ice conditions were monitored, and the public is reminded to use caution as area ice thickness continues to vary. Trapping activity and area WMAs was worked. A complaint about a possible injured bear cub was received and investigated. CO Warren continued follow up on open cases.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week following up with deer cases and checking ice-angling activity in the Pelican Rapids station. The CO also investigated several reports of possible fish overlimits and fielded phone calls regarding ice conditions. The CO observed an increase in activity with anglers getting houses on the lakes this weekend, but anglers are urged to use extreme caution as the ice thickness varies and there are scattered areas with 2 inches of ice or less. The CO also taught the law and ethics portion of the Moorhead snowmobile safety class.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports ice angling is in full swing. Ice conditions vary from lake to lake, so caution is still advised. Time was spent assisting another states with license fraud investigations. Goose hunters are still having success.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent much of the week on a background investigation and finalized charges from a recent search warrant. CO Plautz responded to a call about two dogs that had chased down a deer and were eating it. Two witnesses chased off the dogs, and CO Plautz tracked the wounded deer and dispatched it. She is attempting to locate the owners of the dogs.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATVers, and trappers. Most of the area lakes have frozen over but thin ice is everywhere. Fishermen should be cautious venturing on the ice and bring safety equipment.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) spent the week getting acquainted with his new station. Time was spent monitoring ice conditions and angling activity. Officer Holt also checked pheasant hunting on wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas throughout the area. Complaints were received regarding the dumping of deer carcasses on private property and deer shining.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts were concentrated on checking fishermen, ATV operators, and small-game hunters. CO Baumbarger also helped teach a snowmobile safety class and answered calls about fishing regulations. Additional time was spent responding to complaints about injured animals.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Chelsey Best (Remer) worked on several investigations that remain open. Ice fishermen were checked, with some having moderate success. Ice conditions remain unpredictable, and multiple vehicles went through the ice during the past week.

CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) handled a call regarding a truck that broke through the ice in a swamp. The load of firewood was too much for the ice to handle. CO Halverson also had a meeting with retired COs in Pillager.

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) reports that three ATVs and four people broke through the ice in Hubbard County during the past week. One of the incidents resulted in a fatality. Many Hubbard County lakes have springs/current in them, making the ice unsafe.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports seeing more ice anglers on area lakes. However, the ice is uneven and unpredictable. Two incidents of ATVers driving into open water at night occurred during the past week. One occurred on Lower Sucker Lake, where the ATV occupants escaped serious injury. The other was on Grace Lake, where the two riders’ conditions are critical and unknown. Other activities for the week including work on a background investigation and recreational vehicle enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO John Slatinski (International Falls) reports activities included ice-fishing activity, along with snowmobile and ATV use. Information was received regarding wanton waste of a deer. The responsible party went as far as harvesting, field-dressing, and skinning the deer, but then discarded all the most commonly used portions of the deer intact, dumping it on the shoulder of a county road.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) found a few ice anglers around the area. A dog was caught in a snare, and the owners were able to remove it with no injury. CO Fredin went to the location and found six untagged snares. All were removed. Time also was spent working on background checks for potential hires.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports he focused on angling enforcement during the week. Most of the smaller lakes are seeing foot and vehicle traffic as ice conditions continue to improve and become more reliable as the cold weather continues. Violations included angling with unattended lines and fishing with no license in possession.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) spent the week working angling activity in the area. Snow is starting to build, but the trails are not quite ready for snowmobiling. Time was spent at Camp Ripley and on background checks in preparation for the CO academy in May.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) attended use of force training at Camp Ripley. The officer also checked ice anglers on area lakes and followed up on big-game investigations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping, angling, and the first snowmobiling activity of the season. Trails are ungroomed yet in the area. Ice conditions continue to improve, and anglers seem to be finding the fish. CO Murray assisted with a youth snowmobile safety course where 14 new riders earned their safety certification.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) closed some cases from the recent firearms deer season. CO Grell also took calls about incidentally taken fur by a few trappers and helped them turn in the fur.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice anglers and pike-spearing activity. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and failing to register a snowmobile. Local ice conditions are spotty at best.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) reports working angling, trapping, small-game hunting, and snowmobiling activity. Anglers are reminded to use caution when venturing out on the ice, as several ATVs were reported to have gone through area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for unregistered snowmobiles and angling without a license in possession.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked ice anglers in the area. Ice conditions are improving, but please make sure to have protective gear along. Deer-dumping complaints, nuisance-animal, and dead-animal complaints were handled. Time also was spent following up on deer season cases, tree cutting/theft complaints, and a hunter harassment complaint involving a helicopter.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued to work on deer season follow-up and reports of dumped deer. CO Humphrey also checked anglers on area lakes. One angler was observed driving a full-size pickup truck on 10 inches of ice. Please use caution. Anglers were having success spearing northern pike and catching panfish. A call about a dead owl was referred to DNR Wildlife staff for museum use, and CO Humphrey spoke to a snowmobile safety class at Willow River School.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers in the Duluth area. Anglers report the lakes are making good ice. Foot and ATV travel are still the main modes of transportation for most anglers. CO Olson spoke to the forestry and natural resource class at East High School, answering questions about future career opportunities and legal questions.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) continued follow up on big-game cases and checked anglers on area lakes. The ice is inconsistent, and CO Ladd recommends caution for those venturing out.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked on big-game investigations that are pending from the deer season. Ice anglers are fishing on area lakes, but ice conditions are poor and unpredictable. CO Sullivan received reports about ATVs and snowmobiles that broke through the ice on area lakes.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking ice-fishing and trapping activity, patrolling the Cuyuna Country State Recreational Area, and responding to issues regarding a deer caught in a fence, a dog caught in a leg-hold trap, blockage of a public access, wanton waste, and the illegal dumping of deer carcasses, car killed deer, and illegal OHV use on state forest land.

CO Tim Collette (Crosslake) monitored ice conditions as anglers venture onto area lakes. Many lakes continue to have open areas and areas recently frozen over. No motorized travel on lakes is recommended, and anglers going out on the ice on foot should check ice thickness frequently. A light snow covering has brought out a few snowmobiles.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) conducted background investigation interviews for a potential new hire. She also took a call about an injured deer and followed up on ongoing cases.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found higher levels of ice-fishing activity as more lakes reached ice thicknesses that support foot traffic. A majority of lakes had 4 to 6 inches of ice by the end of the week. Angling violations found included fishing without a license. Time also was spent checking trappers in pursuit of bobcats and otters.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) answered trapping questions and questions about ice conditions. He also checked anglers, followed up on dogs-chasing-deer complaints, and spent time checking small-game hunters. Ice is still spotty in the Pine City area.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) patrolled area lakes and Lake Mille Lacs. It is strongly advised to check ice as you move onto area lakes. Some open spots remain, and there’s thin ice on others. Some snowmobiling activity was seen, even with only 2 inches of snow on the ground. Remember to check registration before heading out.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls), with assistance from CO Bertram, investigated cases of illegal lending and borrowing of deer tags where the husband would shoot the deer and use his wife’s tag, even though the wife didn’t hunt. Multiple citations were issued for this offense, with one wife stating that she is not a gun person and doesn’t hunt. Another couple was found who were not married but had been buying a husband/wife fishing license. A call about a deer stand found on private property was taken. The landowner found that someone had trespassed onto his property and put up a portable stand. Also, a TIP call about a deer hunter reusing deer tags was handled.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked ice anglers, bowhunters, pheasant hunters, and trappers. Ice conditions improved during the week with most lakes having at least 6 inches and some having 10 inches. Success has varied. Time was spent following up on cases involving illegal party hunting of deer. Enforcement action for the week included lend/borrow of deer tags, angling with extra lines, and deer overlimits.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports that information is still coming in from the firearms deer season. Several interviews were conducted, resulting in cases made for illegal lending/borrowing of deer licenses and failing to register deer. Ice fishermen and coyote hunters also were checked.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked fishing and snowmobiling activity. Anglers are catching a few walleyes. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with extra lines, expired snowmobile registration, and operating an ATV on a grant-in-aid snowmobile trail.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers. Panfish were seen, along with some northern pike. An incidental fisher was collected from an area bobcat trapper, and a couple trespass complaints were taken regarding trapping as well.

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) spent the week checking ice anglers and following up on big-game cases. Several anglers were out enjoying the nice weather and the new ice. CO Krauel would like to remind anglers to be patient on area lakes with ATVs, as several area lakes have had open water until recently. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, angling with extra lines, possession of marijuana, and destruction of a wetland.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers, hunters, trappers, and ATVers. Violations were found for no license in possession, failing to tag traps, and extra lines. Several animal-related complaints were handled, as were calls about illegal deer carcass dumping.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week monitoring ice conditions, checking fishermen, and following up with complaints. CO Grewe assisted a neighboring officer with a complaint on state property, and continued training with K9 Shelby.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) continues to see a gradual increase in ice fishing around the county. Anglers appear to be having marginal success on the ice so far. Assistance was given to Carver County Sheriff’s Office on a vehicle that slid off the road and then rolled. Multiple illegally placed deer stands were removed from public land. Enforcement action was taken for driving without a license, no fishing license in possession, and violating the Wetlands Conservation Act.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) handled TIP calls and several nuisance-animal complaints. CO Maass also investigated several trapping complaints and registration violations. Enforcement action was taken for failing to validate fisher tags, failing to register furbearers, and entering a WMA after closed hours.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked ice anglers on area lakes. He also assisted other conservation officers with the investigation of possible big-game violations. CO Pril also provided a ride-along to a high school student.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent most of the week monitoring ice anglers in the area. Not much action was observed, but many people were giving it a go. He also spoke at a snowmobile safety class, responded to TIP calls, and assisted outstate officers with follow-up from deer-season cases.

CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) saw a lot of geese in the area, but the snow has reduced the number of hunters. Compliance was good, but few hunters were having success. Hunter harassment was followed up on in two neighboring stations.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers, deer hunters, and recreational vehicle users. He also responded to TIP calls and answered trapping-related questions. Violations included no license in possession, registration issues, trapping violations, and being in a WMA during closed hours.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) focused his efforts on small-game hunting and angling activity. Pheasant hunters appeared to have success, and even hunters who did not take a bird home generally reported having several opportunities to have taken a shot. Enforcement action was taken for license violations.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) completed big-game investigations and submitted reports to the county attorney for prosecution. Fishermen report 5 to 6 inches of ice, with open water on most lakes still observed. Late-season pheasant hunters are finding birds as the crops are all out.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time with pheasant hunting and angling activity. CO Vernier also spent time reminding anglers about ice safety, as an ATV and snowmobile were reported going through the ice. Many anglers were venturing onto the ice this weekend. CO Vernier also worked area lakes and accesses for ATV registration compliance.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked predominately fishing, trapping, and ATVing activities. Deer stands and other personal property left overnight were seized from WMAs. CO Nelson received a call regarding a dog caught in a trap and had the pleasure of dealing with two real gentlemen – the trapper and the dog owner – who worked together to resolve what could have been an emotional situation. Ice conditions are still dicey in areas, so please be careful venturing onto local lakes. Even though ice thickness may seem adequate, the quality of the ice is poor.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) and local officers are investigating a deer that was killed in the Eagle Nest County Park in Watonwan County. The deer was shot with archery equipment and left in the park. Pheasant-hunting activity and success continue to improve. A background investigation continues into a candidate for the upcoming CO academy. Enforcement action was taken for no WIA validation.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent much of the week on angling enforcement. Area lakes have inconsistent ice thickness, and many of them still have areas of open water. Cold weather is needed to close up the lakes and thicken existing ice. State parks were patrolled, and an interview in a big-game case was conducted.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spoke to a snowmobile safety class in Albert Lea. Time also was spent monitoring local fishing activity. Anglers were able to get out on the ice this week and found a few fish. Ice thickness is anywhere between skim ice/open water to 6 inches, depending on location. CO Henke also continued to work on a background investigation for the upcoming 2018 CO academy.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, archery deer hunters, small-game hunters, goose hunters, and ATV operators. The officer also attended the Minnesota Pheasants of Steele County corn giveaway.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports fishermen are beginning to venture onto area lakes. He checked goose hunters in the Rochester area and responded to trespass and illegal deer-hunting complaints.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) spent the week checking goose hunters and ice anglers. Goose hunters are still finding success, although warmer weather and light winds made some days difficult. Ice anglers are venturing out onto several area reservoirs. Enforcement action was taken for no federal duck stamp, no HIP certification, and unlawfully importing a deer from out of state. Two juveniles were observed shooting approximately 30 minutes after sunset at a crippled goose. They were reminded that shooting hours end at sunset regardless of the goose’s condition.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working some ice fishing and trapping enforcement on the Mississippi River backwaters. Most anglers are finding enough ice to fish on and enough fish to keep them busy. A few goose hunters are still chasing geese, with some success. Numerous calls and questions were responded to regarding some winter activities.

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