District 6 — Eau Claire area
Warden Adam Hanna, of Neillsville, received interesting calls in August regarding wildlife encounters. One man went to his cabin to find a large pine snake curled up between the antlers of the elk head hanging on the mantle. Another man had a skunk take up residence under his porch. Farmers were fighting with sandhill cranes, and Hanna helped a woman who caught a raccoon in her house.
Warden Randy Dunkel, of Cornell, led a Learn to Hunt bear event for three days in Chippewa and Clark counties. The event had six hunters and several mentors participate. All six hunters were successful in harvesting their first bears.
Warden Scott Thiede, of Eau Claire, contacted three ATV operators on an Eau Claire River sandbar in the county forest west of Big Falls County Park. Citations were issued for illegal operation of a motor vehicle on the exposed bed of a navigable waterway.
Warden Thiede, of Eau Claire, provided a fishing presentation in August for 12 Cub Scouts Lions Club Camp along the Eau Claire River.
Warden Ken Thomson, of Fall Creek, investigated a complaint about an area farmer shooting a bald eagle because it was seen in the area of one of the farmer’s dead chickens. An investigation identified the suspect, and enforcement action was taken.
Warden Robin Barnhardt, of Osseo, and Kurt Haas, of Black River Falls, patrolled the Black River by canoe during Labor Day weekend. They issued several warnings and cited an angler for fishing without a license.
Warden Barnhardt and Trempealeau County deputies investigated a fatal ATV crash that occurred south of Arcadia in Trempealeau County in August. The 28-year-old operator was killed while illegally riding on a road with a large group of ATV riders. The victim failed to negotiate a curve in the road, briefly went airborne, and rolled the ATV down a 15-foot embankment. Warden Ed McCann, of La Crosse, responded to the scene.
Warden Kurt Haas, of Black River Falls, checked fishermen below the Black River Falls dam. As Haas was checking licenses, he observed one fishermen leave the area and walk toward town. Haas caught up with the fishermen and found that the man had a marijuana pipe and warrants for his arrest. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Haas spoke with a female who was fishing on the Black River and did not have a fishing license. The woman stated she bought a fishing license about 8 years ago and thought the license would still be good. The female was cited for fishing without a license.
District 9 — Black River Falls area
Warden Kurt Haas, of Black River Falls, and deputy Schweitzer, of Jackson County, checked fishermen at the 3rd Street canoe landing in Black River Falls in September. A female subject was in possession of a bag of marijuana, a pipe, a scale, and three baggies in her purse. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Haas checked a fisherman on a local trout stream near Taylor in September. Haas observed a man walking the streambank and then lost sight of him. Haas walked to where he had last seen the fisherman and found the fisherman hiding in the vegetation. Haas found a creel the man had hidden near the creek. The man purposely knocked the creel into the water to conceal the fish, but Haas was able to recover all six brook trout and place them back into the creel. The creek had a five-trout daily bag limit. At the man’s truck, Haas found 13 more brook trout in a cooler. Further investigation revealed that the man had 82 book trout in his freezer at home. The total number of trout possessed by the individual was 95. The man also had an illegal untagged otter in his freezer, along with six marijuana plants growing in his home. Enforcement action was taken.
In September, warden Bill Miller, of Adams, and deputy warden Shaun Long apprehended six young men who had ripped a road sign out of the ground and shot it several times with a rifle and an arrow. Some of those six suspects and others who were not present have been involved in the thrill-killing of deer, turkeys, ducks, and small game for the past year in Adams County. Eight young men ages 15 to 18 face numerous criminal and civil violations discovered during the investigation. Some of the men were involved in tearing down road name intersection signs and stealing them. The signs were recovered at a hunting camp.
Warden Modjeski assisted a Monroe County Sheriff’s Department detective with a complaint about partially demanufactured E-waste deposited outside the Monroe County landfill office on several occasions. The detective and Modjeski interviewed a city of Tomah resident, who admitted the violations. A littering citation, with restitution for proper disposal, was issued.
Warden Modjeski assisted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department with the recovery of a stolen passenger van in September. While on patrol in the Meadow Valley Wildlife Area, Modjeski observed a van that fit the description of a stolen van. Modjeski called in the VIN and dispatch confirmed it was the stolen van. A detective responded to the scene and swabbed for DNA evidence.
Warden Modjeski participated in an AIS group check with the Mississippi River Team and water guard Marcus Medina. In September, Modjeski worked AIS, boating, and fishing enforcement at the landing in Stoddard. A warning was issued for failure to wear an inflatable PFD and fishing without a license. A citation also was issued for transporting aquatic plants from the landing on a boat trailer to a motel in Stoddard.
Warden Modjeski assisted a Sparta police officer with the traffic stop of a vehicle that was reported by other motorists to be operating on the shoulder and grass on Hwy. 16 west of Sparta. The operator was arrested for his fourth OWI.
Warden Matt Weber, of Necedah, contacted two ATV operators who had been operating illegally on Juneau County property. Both subjects had caused considerable damage to a streambank by driving their ATVs in the stream and up and down a steep bank repeatedly. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Weber and Central Forest Team supervisor Mike Green contacted two subjects who were hunting squirrels in a closed area of the Necedah Wildlife Refuge. Later in the day, Weber and Green located an individual hunting waterfowl after shooting hours and a companion who was hunting waterfowl without a federal waterfowl stamp. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Weber recognized two Necedah hunter safety instructors for their years of service. Mike Westrich was given a 20-year award, and Harold Carter was presented a 35-year award.
Warden Weber completed a report regarding a minor hunting accident that occurred near New Lisbon on the opening weekend of the southern zone waterfowl season. A man was shooting at a duck on the water and nine pellets struck the victim, who was a member of the same party. The victim received medical attention, and two pellets had to be removed from his face. Juneau County deputy Jake Holsclaw assisted with the investigation.
Warden Romberg contacted two individuals who began hunting waterfowl at daybreak and shot four wood ducks and one goose prior to 8 a.m. on opening day of the southern waterfowl season. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Robin Barnhardt, of Osseo, patrolled Lake Wissota by boat during the Labor Day weekend while participating in an AIS detail conducted by local wardens. Environmental enforcement specialist Bob Sloan assisted Barnhardt in contacting boaters. During the check, Barnhardt issued citations to an angler with an undersized smallmouth bass, and also to two nonresident anglers who did not have fishing licenses.
Warden Barnhardt issued citations to two Trempealeau County bowhunters for illegally placing bait before the archery deer opener. In one case, the hunter admitted to baiting two stands for several months before the season opened.
Warden Barnhardt attended the Pheasants Forever youth hunt event near Osseo. Thirty novices received instruction in shooting and hunting safety and shot trap before getting into the field with a mentor and his dog to hunt pheasants.
District 18 — Poynette area
Warden Mike Green, of Wisconsin Dells, investigated a fatal ATV accident in LaValle Township in Sauk County in September. The accident was a roll-over accident in which the machine rolled onto the operator, causing fatal injuries. The operator was attempting a tight turn when the machine rolled. Alcohol was a factor in the accident.
Warden Green investigated a boat accident on the Upper Dells of the Wisconsin River where a boat struck a cliff area in the Dells State Natural Area. The individual was returning downstream to the city of the Wisconsin Dells from the Witches Gulch area at night and lost orientation with the cliff shoreline in the darkness. One individual was treated by ambulance staff for minor injuries and was released.
Warden John Buss, of Sauk City, completed an investigation of a subject who brought his tractor into a car wash, dumped oil out of the tractor, and washed it down the drain. Buss issued a citation, and the business is seeking restitution for the oil cleanup.
Warden Buss checked some sturgeon areas, and Buss and deputy warden Hilliard checked a 64-inch sturgeon.
Warden Paul Nell, of Horicon, and warden supervisor David Holmes, of Poynette, were working waterfowl enforcement on the Rock River north of Ashippun. The wardens contacted five hunters at the end of hunting hours and found they had 15 ducks that were breasted out. The investigation determined that two of the hunters had shot overlimits of wood ducks. Also, two other hunters were using lead shot. All five hunters were issued citations.
Warden Ryan Volenberg, of Poynette, and deputy warden Koscher worked boating enforcement on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River. The wardens arrested one boat operator for boating OWI (.215) after observing a passenger in the boat throw empty beer cans into the water. Additional citations were issued for a no-wake violation, littering, and operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration.
Warden Volenberg investigated a hotline complaint about baiting in the town of Courtland. Volenberg contacted three hunters who had placed and/or were hunting over bait (corn and a mineral block). One of the hunters did not have his backtag with him. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Volenberg and deputy warden Daniel Nehls investigated a report from the sheriff’s office of a hunting incident that occurred at the Pine Island State Wildlife Area. The investigation showed that while hunting squirrels, a hunter was shot in the hand by another member of his party. The shooter mistook the victim’s hands as a fox squirrel. The victim was treated at the hospital in Portage.
Warden Volenberg investigated a call regarding late hunting at the Grassy Lake State Wildlife Area. The investigation revealed that two hunters were hunting more than 20 minutes after the close of hours and each had overbagged on wood ducks. Citations were issued, and the ducks were seized.
Warden supervisor Holmes responded to a call about hunters shooting from a roadway in Dodge County. Dodge County deputies had arrived just prior to Holmes and detained the suspects. Both hunters were illegally hunting from the road and shooting at ducks in the creek by the bridge. One hunters had an unplugged gun. Citations were issued.