Wisconsin Cuffs & Collars – June 15th, 2012
Editor’s note: This issue was printed before May field reports from DNR wardens were available. The following reports are leftover from April. May reports from the northern Wisconsin warden teams will appear in the next issue.
District 2 — Cumberland area
Warden Jesse Ashton, of Luck, organized a Learn to Hunt turkey event in Polk County. Eight new hunters participated, saw birds, and had several opportunities.
Warden Ashton, with the assistance of warden Tyznik, located a baited turkey blind near Frederic. Ashton had prior knowledge that a minimum of four turkeys had been killed on that small property in 2011. Ashton contacted a subject hunting opening day over cracked corn. Ashton learned that four turkeys were shot over the baited area in 2011 by three different people. One subject was found to have shot two turkeys with one shot, and had another subject drive to his residence to tag the bird. Several baiting and borrowed tag citations will be issued. A Mossberg shotgun was seized.
Warden Ashton contacted a subject fishing from shore on Big Butternut Lake. Upon contact, the subject walked up to Ashton, stated he had what he thought was a walleye, and asked when the season opened. The subject stated that a guy stopped by and told him the season was closed for walleyes, but he kept it anyway. When Ashton pulled up the stringer to look at the walleye, and there also were two large bass on the stringer. The subject did not have a license.
Warden Ashton contacted a subject fishing from the shores of Coon Lake. The subject was found not to have a fishing license, and he also had a warrant out for his arrest. The subject was on probation and had a no-drink provision. The subject had been drinking. He was taken to jail.
Warden Russ Fell, of Rice Lake, contacted several homeowners who were feeding deer in violation of the feeding laws. The feed sites were too close to a highway and creating a hazard for motorists.
Warden Fell responded to another eagle found injured by a private party in a wooded area. Fell transported the eagle to the Minnesota raptor center, where it eventually died from lead poisoning. This is the third eagle in less than a year from the Barron County area with the same issue. This particular eagle ingested lead pellets from an unknown food source. Fell spoke to several civic groups in April about local environmental issues.
Warden Fell responded to a suspicious grass fire on state lands west of Rice Lake. Fell and deputies from the Barron County Sheriff’s Department searched the area near a suspicious vehicle. The officer located a subject walking away from his illegal campsite with a loaded .30-06 rifle with a light attached. The subject was found be camping in that area and had illegally placed live traps to catch rabbits for food. The subject was evicted from the land and was issued citations for illegally camping and trapping.
Fell worked tribal spearers on local lakes. He also spoke to several groups of high school students at Chetek-Weyerhaeuser High School about a warden career. He responded to a boat accident on Red Cedar Lake and spent several days attempting to locate the body of the sole victim. He also assisted Rice Lake police with a drug search warrant in the city of Rice Lake that resulted in the arrest of four individuals for various drug-related violations and warrants.
Warden Chris Spaight, of Grantsburg, responded to a citizen call about garbage dumping along a roadway. Spaight was able to locate the person responsible for dumping the garbage. He issued a citation and ordered the person to clean up the mess.
District 5 — Lower St. Croix area
Warden Bill Wrasse, of Durand, contacted a couple of young turkey hunters who had some action, but shot and missed. One young hunter was found stalking a gobbler not too far from his mentor’s van. The van was parked, and the driver’s door and hatch were left open. This is typical of a hunter who saw something and left in a hurry. Wrasse could see a gobbler strutting in the field near where they were parked. A half-hour later a shot was heard, and the gobbler flew away. Wrasse checked the hunters. The young hunter was happy to get a shot and explained to Wrasse how they stalked the bird. They got within 50 yards and took a shot with the 20 gauge. The youth explained how next year, when he was 12, his mentor would be able to drive the bird to him because he would be able to be farther away than arm’s reach. Wrasse then gave a short lesson on turkey-hunting safety and explained how most turkey-hunting accidents involve people stalking turkeys, and they end up shooting their hunting partner.
Warden Wrasse attended the annual Chippewa River Rat airboat meeting in Durand. There was discussion on enforcement of noise levels from airboats. Some of the boaters have found that certain mufflers and propellers make for a quieter airboat. That information was exchanged. Wrasse will test some of the boats this summer to see if they have come into compliance with the noise laws.
Warden Wrasse found a bunch of garbage at a parking lot in the Tiffany Wildlife Area. He was able to find some information in the garbage that led to the litterbug getting a citation.
Warden Paul Sickman dealt with an abandoned, sunken boat on the St Croix River. Sickman confiscated the boat through the courts and had it removed.
Warden Sickman investigated a reported spill of 500 to 1,000 gallons of manure into a wetland and adjacent to a tributary to a trout stream. Sickman took photos and had a site visit the next day with staff. He forwarded information to appropriate staff members to ensure cleanup is done.
Warden Sickman issued citations for fishing without licenses and during the closed season.
Warden supervisor David Hausman, of Baldwin, responded to a report about a fatal shooting incident involving a turkey hunter near Somerset. Information gathered at the scene and from the medical examiner’s report found the incident was caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound when the victim mishandled the shotgun.
Warden Hausman also responded to a complaint about fishing in a trout stream while using live bait during the closed season. Hausman found the person also was intending to transport live baitfish away from the stream, a violation of fish disease rules. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Wayne Flak, of Menomonie, received a report about a fisherman on Lake Menomin who had caught and kept a game fish during the closed season. Flak found the suspect a few days later fishing on Lake Menomin and in possession of another game fish during the closed season. The suspect admitted to keeping and eating the first fish. He was issued a citation, and the second fish was released.
Warden Flak assisted deputies with a concentrated enforcement effort on drug users on April 20. Flak worked areas of the Red Cedar State Trail and assisted with the foot chase and arrest of several subjects for marijuana charges.
Warden Jim Cleven, of Colfax, assisted the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department with a suspect fleeing from officers in a stolen car. Cleven encountered the suspect and took up a short pursuit before losing him. Later, the suspect was arrested in Pierce County after a lengthy chase and the suspect stealing another car and taking the owner hostage.
Warden Cleven worked enforcement at fish refuges and on turkey-hunting violations.
Warden Brad Peterson, of Ellsworth, patrolled area trout streams and issued several citations to anglers fishing trout during the closed season between catch-and-release season and the regular season.
District 7 — Wisconsin Rapids area
Warden Barry Fetting, of Marshfield, spent a significant amount of time in April working fishing and boating enforcement on the Wisconsin River. Citations and warnings were issued for a variety of offenses, including possession of short fish, failure to provide the proper number of life jackets for each occupant in a boat, boat registration issues, and equipment violations.
Warden Fetting received a hotline call in April from a concerned citizen who observed a raccoon struggling to free itself from a foot-hold trap near a waterway. Fetting located the raccoon, which appeared to have been in the trap for several days. Fetting located the trapper, who admitted that he placed the trap last fall and forgot to retrieve it. Enforcement action was taken for violation of trap-checking requirements.
Wardens Barry Fetting and Paul Leezer, of Wausau, attended a youth education day in Lindsey sponsored by the Ruffed Grouse Society. Approximately 510 people were in attendance despite rainy and cool weather. The wardens staffed a laser shot-shooting simulator, providing attendees with computer-generated “shoot-don’t shoot” images that focused on proper gun handling and hunter safety.
Warden Fetting served as the hearing officer for the annual spring hearings. He also spoke at three safety classes and assisted with a junior fishing tournament in Nekoosa. The annual event is part of Nekoosa’s Walleye Days fishing tournament.
Warden Ben Herzfeldt, of Schofield, worked turkey hunters and fishermen during the month of April. Citations were issued for fishing without licenses and illegal disposal of electronic waste (burning a computer). Herzfeldt completed an investigation into turkey landowner preference fraud and dealt with numerous complaints, mainly fishing game fish during the closed season.
In April, warden Paul Leezer investigated complaints about litter on state land, illegal burning (two), illegal bowfishing (two), a suspicious substance in a creek, dumped deer carcasses, and he assisted the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department with a trespass complaint and a report of marijuana growing on public hunting land.
Warden Leezer contacted a turkey hunter hunting from a ground blind on private land. The hunter was found to be hunting over illegal bait. Enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Mike Rader, of Wausau, and Ben Herzfeldt were working spring fish run enforcement when they contacted a subject fishing on the rocks below the Wausau hydro dam. The subject was over his daily bag limit of perch, and enforcement action was taken.
Warden Rader received several complaints regarding a bear loitering around residences in Wausau. The complaint was referred to USDA Wildlife Services, whose agents set a live trap for the bear.
Wardens Rader and Herzfeldt contacted a turkey hunter near Little Chicago. The hunter was found to have placed and hunted over about 50 pounds of corn. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Rader and a DNR stormwater specialist took enforcement action with a business for failure to apply for a DNR stormwater permit prior to land-disturbing construction activity.
Warden Rader, with assistance from DNR environmental enforcement and animal waste staff, investigated an ongoing complaint of manure running off of a farm into a tributary of the Big Rib River. Two citations were issued for water pollution involving animal waste.
Warden Barry Meister, of Stevens Point, gave presentations to a hunter safety class and a boat safety class in April.
Warden Meister worked a significant amount of time on and along the Wisconsin River system and other county waters in April. Citations were issued for fishing without a license, possession of illegal-sized fish, fishing during the closed season, and other violations.
Warden Scharbarth contacted a father and his 15-year-old son hunting turkeys during the youth hunt over an area baited with sunflower seeds. The boy’s uncle had placed the bait with the father’s knowledge. Enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Scharbarth and Meister responded to a property in Portage County with a large plume of black smoke coming from it. It turned out the farmer and trucking company that own the property were burning numerous prohibited items. In addition, the pit where the fire was burning held all sorts of solid waste, including dead livestock. Enforcement action is pending.
Warden Scharbarth gave a presentation at statewide municipal boat patrol training on boating enforcement issues.
Warden Matt Weber, of Necedah, investigated a dump site on public property containing a large pile of demolition material (camper) and garbage. This material was deposited along a logging road about one-half mile from the main road. Weber located two subjects who were responsible for the dumping, and enforcement action was taken.
Warden Weber and retired warden Tom Jodarski gave two career presentations at wildlife classes in Mauston.
Warden Weber reported that a deer-poaching case was completed through the Juneau County court system in April. A large 9-point buck was shined/shot by two Lyndon Station subjects. Both subjects were found guilty and had to pay large fines. One subject had his DNR privileges revoked for three years; the other, a repeat offender, had his DNR privileges revoked for six years.
Warden Wade Romberg, of Friendship, issued one citation for hunting turkeys with illegal bait. The individual had put out sunflower seeds on public land for the past three years. The subject told the warden that he was “cured” of baiting now, as a citation was issued.
Warden Romberg issued citations for landowner preference fraud. Individuals were requesting preference for their turkey permits by claiming they owned 50 acres of land when they did not.
Warden Romberg checked a property that was suspected of having illegal bait. He encountered two individuals from out of state camping on the property. One of the individuals had a felony warrant out of Michigan. Romberg assisted the sheriff’s department with his arrest.
Warden Romberg assisted warden Mike Green, of Wisconsin Dells, with five turkey hunters who were all turkey hunting after already shooting birds earlier in their season. None of the hunters had more than one turkey tag, as it was the second period. Four of the hunters had tagged and registered their first turkeys and were out hunting, and the fifth person never tagged or registered his first bird. Multiple citations were issued to the group.
In April, warden Bill Miller, of Adams, investigated four illegal burning complaints. One was a person burning tires off rims to get the metal for scrap. Another was burning a mattress. One person was burning a shed that contained prohibited items. The last was a contractor who was demolishing a house and trying to reduce the volume of material to put in the dumpster. Painted wood and mattresses were in the fire. Enforcement action was taken regarding all matters.
Warden Miller investigated several complaints about people fishing for game fish during the closed season. Five were cited for that violation, and six others for no licenses, as well as miscellaneous boating violations. Miller also contacted four people smoking marijuana. Miller investigated the dumping of animal carcasses in a road ditch. It turned out it was turkey carcasses and deer capes from a taxidermist. The freezer had gone out and the items spoiled. A citation was issued, and cleanup was ordered.
District 8 — La Crosse area
Warden Shawna Stringham, of Viroqua, and recruit warden Kaitlin Kernosky assisted the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department in the search for a missing person. Stringham’s dog assisted with the search. A body was located in a section of woods and was recovered by the sheriff’s department.
Wardens Edward McCann, of La Crosse, and Dale Hochhausen, of Stoddard, observed five individuals fishing in the closed refuge area below the Onalaska spillway. As the wardens approached to check for fishing licenses, one individual took off running down the railroad tracks. The individual ran into a heavily wooded area, circled around, and ran across the Onalaska spillway. The individual was captured a short time later by the La Crosse airport police. The suspect was transported to jail for obstructing and violating his bail conditions. The subject also was issued citations for fishing without a license and for fishing in a refuge.
Warden Hochhausen took enforcement action for fishing without a license, possession of illegal-sized fish, fishing in a refuge, operating an ATV on the roadway, and for operating a motorboat while intoxicated.
Warden Bob Jumbeck, of Alma, investigated multiple water regulation cases in April. Jumbeck worked with other agencies’ water regulations staff to effectively resolve issues.
Warden Cody Adams, of Prairie du Chien, received a hotline complaint from a 12-year-old boy who observed two adults fishing in a trout stream. The young boy observed the adults using live bait and keeping trout during the early catch-and-release season. The boy obtained the DNR hotline number and made a phone call to report the illegal fishing activity. Warden Adams contacted the fishermen and found them in possession of two rainbow trout and one brown trout. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Cody Adams received a call from the Prairie du Chien Waste Treatment Plant regarding two mallards trapped in a holding tank at the facility. Adams assisted the workers with the removal of the ducks. The ducks were rinsed off and released into the Mississippi River.
Warden Matt Modjeski, of Sparta, made a presentation at an LTH turkey event being held at the Cataract Sportsmen’s Club. During the course of the two-day hunt, 16 participants shot 10 turkeys – a nearly 63 percent success rate.