Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – May 18, 2018

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) attended a firearms qualification in Perham and investigated a fire near Halma. The fishing opener was worked on Lake of the Woods, as well as the Rainy and Warroad rivers. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked angling, aquatic invasive species, ATVing, and boat and water safety enforcement. The ice on Lake of the Woods broke up just in time for anglers to be able to take advantage of the large body of water during the fishing opener weekend. 

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports a busy 2018 fishing opener on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River. Prachar worked with CO Woinarowicz during the opener. Multiple fishing violations were encountered, as well as numerous boat and water safety violations. Prachar took enforcement action for felony possession of narcotics, providing the name of another person to a peace officer, and driving after cancellation inimical to public safety.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports time was spent investigating TIP information, working AIS enforcement, and monitoring spring fish spawning run activity. Regas also assisted DNR Forestry with follow-up on a recent fire, and enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited material.

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette) spent time checking many anglers during the fishing opener. Follow-up was completed on multiple fire investigations from the previous week. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) investigated a wolf depredation, testified in court for a baiting case, and assisted with a detail in Bemidji. 

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked a busy opening weekend of the walleye/northern pike season. An arrest for boating under the influence was made on Saturday evening.  

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) made contact with several anglers seining their own minnows in infested waters. The anglers were educated about taking bait in infested water. Enforcement action was taken for no PFD, no licenses in possession, and AIS issues. 

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked the end of the walleye spawn. One suspect was seen snagging bass from a canoe while using a stick, line, and large treble hook with the aid of a light. The same suspect also snagged a sucker during a closed spawning area. Multiple charges were filed. Peterson also followed up on a TIP call of a muskie being speared. Evidence and statements were gathered, and charges are pending.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) reports a wolf-depredation complaint was investigated, and a number of miscellaneous wildlife-related calls were resolved.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked complaints of illegal burning. Investigations are ongoing. Warren also assisted with the fifth-grade natural resources day at Fischer Farm in Frazee. 

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) responded to several TIP calls about individuals fishing in a closed area as well as a report about an individual keeping bass out of season. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) responded to a TIP call in which surveillance and observations resulted in eight citations for four individuals. Violations included fishing with extra lines, overlimits of crappies, and possessing bass during a closed season. Another TIP call was investigated in which bowfishermen were taking walleyes and northern from an area stream. A bear in the city limits of Bertha was found late at night up a tree. Plautz responded, and during the quietness of the night, the bear crawled down and ran off. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the week preparing for and eventually working the fishing opener around the Alexandria area. There were some anglers who received citations for various violations such as no angling license, no PFDs onboard a watercraft, drug possession, and keeping bass in a closed season. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers. Time also was spent at the CO Academy and at a qualification firearms training. A public water alteration complaint was investigated. 

CO Colleen Adam (Park Rapids) checked a few turkey hunters and monitored trout-fishing activity, OHV operation, and closed forest issues. She responded to illegal daytime burning.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports Rainy Lake was ice-free on opening Saturday evening. Enforcement action for the week included license and boat registration violations.

CO John Slatinski (Ray) monitored the final days of the spring sturgeon season. Slatinski also picked up and processed incidentally trapped animals and worked the fishing opener in the Kabetogama area. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports area lakes and rivers were monitored for boating and angling activity. Minnow trapping activities were monitored, with the seizure of trap for no identification. Assistance was provided to the sheriff’s office regarding a domestic disturbance. Assistance was provided to the St. Louis County Land Department regarding a gate-tampering issue. DNR Forestry was assisted in the field. 

CO John Velsvaag (Cook) received a call about a dead timber wolf and started an investigation. He also checked anglers during the fishing opener, primarily on Lake Vermilion, and received several phone calls about the new pike regulations and questions about ATVs. 

 CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, ATVers, boaters, AIS, and state park enforcement. He also taught wildlife identification at the CO Academy at Camp Ripley. Two wildfires were investigated. 

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) worked on completing investigations in several cases and attended training at Camp Ripley. Two accidental otter catches were turned over to Frericks. These otters will be donated to the Minnesota Trappers Association for its tanned fur project.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked area lakes during the fishing opener weekend. A number of anglers were found to be fishing without a valid license. Some believed their 2017 license was still valid, while others just forgot to buy one. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports fishing opener success was typical – a mixed bag between lakes where a good bite was observed, and colder lakes where very little or no angler success was seen. Most lakes were completely ice-free by opening morning.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) did a canoe patrol in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, checked anglers on lakes at the end of the Gunflint Trail, and did boating safety checks.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked area lakes during the opening weekend of the fishing season. Several folks forgot their licenses and more than a few forgot throwable flotation devices for their boats. Manning also handled an unpermitted brush pile burn. The man burning brush said he didn’t contact DNR Forestry or seek a permit because a family member told him that he didn’t need a permit for his fire. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports enforcement action was taken for possession of a northern pike within the protected slot, unlicensed canoes, marijuana possession, no PFDs, cans/glass in the BWCAW, littering, no navigational lights, and transporting watercraft with the drain plug in place. 

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a busy fishing opener along the North Shore. Smelt run activities brought many anglers from out of the area to Lake Superior streams to try their dip nets. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked ATVing activity, fishing, small-game enforcement, boating, AIS, and state forest campgrounds.  

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) and his K9 partner Si assisted with K9 demos. Area angler success was good. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, angling in a closed area, possessing illegal-length walleyes, insufficient PFDs, and failure to display valid registration on a watercraft.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling, boating, trapping, AIS, and fire enforcement. Van Asch assisted local law enforcement officers with a suspect who fled on foot into a wooded lot. The suspect was located and taken into custody for felony warrants. 

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) attended training with the Enforcement Division’s Honor Guard at Camp Ripley. Opening fishing weekend was largely successful for local anglers. 

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) focused much of the week on angling activity along the shore for Kamloops and steelhead. Rivers were full of anglers during the day and night, with smelt running well. Opening weekend of fishing provided great weather but most anglers were disappointed by the lack of cooperation from the fish. Fire issues were handled. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) assisted local agencies with small wildfires in the area, checked several beaver trappers, and collected several incidentally taken otters. Night fish run activity continued during the week, with many people in local tributaries during the day, attempting to catch steelhead.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling, boating, OHVing, AIS, turkey hunting, and wildfire enforcement throughout the week. Several calls were received, including questions about the new northern pike regulations. An investigation and follow-up on a big-game case from last fall was completed. Humphrey also assisted the State Patrol and Pine County with a complaint and arrest of an impaired driver. 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports an angler felt he needed to report his catch. He caught two deer legs out of an area river. It turns out someone dumped deer parts in the river and left them there. This most likely occurred last fall. This is considered littering, and an investigation is under way to try to find the responsible party. A complaint about a wolf pup that was stuck in a window well was received. The pup was able to be removed and left in the area. Extra patrols were conducted in area state parks. One vehicle operator was stopped after being in the park after hours. Further checking revealed the driver had an outstanding warrant. He was arrested and taken to the local jail.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked area lakes north of Duluth, along with the fish run in North Shore streams. Slot violations were encountered on Fish Lake. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked a busy sportfishing opener. Numerous anglers were checked, and enforcement action was taken for a variety of violations, including angling without a license, angling with an extra line, and no navigational lights displayed after sunset. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked angling and ATVing activity. Ice melted from the lakes just in time for the fishing opener. Sullivan also investigated a wolf depredation case and conducted commercial checks. 

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked fire, fish run, turkey hunting, trapping, ATVing, and angling activity. Training was attended and assistance was given to the sheriff’s office and State Patrol.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports a busy fishing opener with good weather bringing out many anglers and boaters. Area lakes and the Mississippi River were patrolled. Other activity included monitoring the pike and walleye spawning runs and spring panfish bites, checking beaver-trapping activity, and investigating reports of illegal dumping, trapper trespass, and overlimits of panfish. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports a possible public waters violation was investigated, and a car-kill deer permit was issued. Time also was spent patrolling the park for SRA violations. A call about parties in the park in a closed area was investigated and parties were contacted. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked the fishing opener, which seemed slower than normal. Enforcement action was taken for boat registration issues and PFD violations. Anglers were reminded of the statewide northern pike regulation change and to pull their boat plugs before leaving accesses.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took a number of calls from people in vacant neighboring stations on topics ranging from beavers stuck in a dam area, to nighttime bowfishing, to a road-kill bear. Starr also assisted a neighboring officer with a situation in which a novice truck driver drove off a state forest road and was stuck.  

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) started to get a few calls involving nuisance bears and bears getting hit while attempting to cross roadways. Homeowners complaining about having bears at their doors have been reminded to bear-proof their garbage cans and put away bird feeders. Fishing-opener enforcement included citations and warnings for not having boat safety equipment and for operating unregistered boats. A few folks were found arriving at public accesses with plugs still in their boats and had to be reminded of the importance of keeping boats drained and not transporting water and invasive species from lake to lake.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent time following up on wetland complaints, assisted the Pine County Sheriff’s Office and State Patrol with several traffic accidents, and checked anglers and boaters during the fishing opener.  

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling activity in the station and gave a presentation on wildlife conservation and fire safety to an area Cub Scout pack. 

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) attended training. He also assisted in a neighboring station for a fishing violation case and worked on the Mississippi River. 

CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports assisting the Stearns County Sheriffs’ Office and St. Cloud Police Department with the recovery of a drowning victim in the Mississippi River. TIP calls involving crappie overlimits and taking game fish by bow and arrow also were investigated. On Friday, the CO participated in an AIS work crew in Wright County. 

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports a TIP call on opening day enabled him to catch two anglers with seven walleyes over their limit. The anglers stated that they wanted to have a Mother’s Day fish fry and had a lot of people to feed.  

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave presentations to 300 fifth-grade students at Wright County Conservation Days held at Ney County Park. Reller also assisted at an AIS enforcement detail in the Wright County area with good compliance found. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with extra lines, and purchasing a combination license illegally.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) focused enforcement efforts on sportfishing and boating safety. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, possessing a walleye prior to the season, and possessing an illegal-length northern pike.

CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) had the opportunity to photograph a dad and son right after the son landed the biggest walleye Krauel saw all weekend. Krauel also followed up on turkey-hunting complaints, trapping complaints and several deer-dumping complaints. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) attended the Prior Lake Sportsmen’s club meeting at the Prior Lake VFW. He also attended a training meeting and interview at Camp Ripley. Fogarty worked on area lakes checking anglers and boaters. He also took a dumping report at the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area. Upon looking at the garbage that was dumped, Fogarty went to the address listed on some mail found in the pile. He located the dumpers and requested they return to pick up their trash. The suspects said they thought they’d dumped their trash at a recycling center. They were advised the SRA is not a recycling center. 

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports a rather slow opener to the 2018 season. Weather was the biggest factor this year. The highlight of the opener came as Birdsall was preparing to load his boat back onto the trailer. At that moment, the driver of a truck heading toward to the access and began whipping doughnuts in the truck in front of the CO’s truck. Enforcement action was taken for careless driving. 

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) and K9 Shelby checked boats at Lake Minnetonka accesses during the weekend and participated in an AIS detail in Wright County.   

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports assisting neighboring officers on a big-game case from the firearms deer season.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) responded to TIP calls and scheduled firearms safety classes. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, illegal-length walleyes, expired boating registration, and taking fish out of season.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time working commercial enforcement and angling activity during the fishing opener. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, trespassing, use of illegal minnows as bait, illegal-length northern pike, and failure to have a legal lifesaving device aboard a watercraft. 

CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) worked a busy fishing-opener weekend despite poor weather conditions. The CO would like to again remind anglers to review the new northern pike regulations and bring a measuring board or tape along to measure fish. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

Shane Vernier (Willmar) responded and took enforcement action for failure to allow AIS inspection. He also responded to complaints about angler harassment, wetland violations, and northern pike taken by bowfishing.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) investigated a trapping complaint and last week’s state wildlife management area fires. 

Dustin Miller (Windom) reports an angler was observed fishing, and upon contact admitted to Miller that he did not have an angling license. He provided the officer with a name and date of birth that was determined to not be those of the angler. Upon further investigation, Miller discovered the angler had a warrant for his arrest, and he was taken into custody. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) reports a large number of individuals where contacted while angling without a license. Henke arrested a male party for an order for protection violation and also found that the female the man was angling with was in possession of a dangerous weapon and methamphetamine in a park zone. She was arrested as well. 

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) assisted sheriff’s office in the search for a burglary suspect and also with a disabled vehicle.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Phil George (Rochester) checked anglers and watercraft users and attended a youth fishing event in Rochester. 

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week checking area fishermen. Time also was spent training at Camp Ripley. A busy fishing opener was worked, and a complaint regarding a Jeep stuck in the mud on a snowmobile trail was investigated. Assistance was given to local agencies with various calls. 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy week with people out looking for morel mushrooms. Few morels were found. 

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports working a busy week of angling, AIS, and boating safety enforcement. Two subjects operating recreational vehicles were apprehended after they attempted to flee from Hill during traffic stops. Both vehicles were seized, and felony charges are pending. Hill also spoke to a fish and wildlife class at an area high school and assisted local law enforcement agencies with calls for service.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working mainly on the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin this week. Turkey hunters are hearing a few birds first thing in the morning. Chargers were completed and filed in an ongoing case.

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