Wisconsin Cuffs & Collars – March 7th, 2014

Editor’s note: The following entries are the second installment – this time from the West-Central Region and the DNR’s two southern regions – of field wardens’ reports from the Bureau of Law Enforcement’s annual report on the November gun deer season. Field reports from January will begin in the next issue.

South-Central Region

Warden Kyle Dilley and regional warden Casey Krueger, both of Madison, checked a hunter near Deansville on private property on opening day who was hunting without a gun deer license. He claimed that since he was on his own property, he did not need a license, although he had purchased licenses in the past.
Warden Mike Nice, of Richland Center, contacted a hunter driving an ATV with a loaded rifle. He was wearing his sister’s backtag. The hunter moved from Wisconsin 20 years ago and said he decided to have his sister buy a resident license to save some money.
Wardens Mike Nice, Cody Adams, of Prairie du Chien, Nick Wallor, of Fort McCoy, and deputy warden Mike Williams investigated a case involving four individuals who shot from the road and killed a trophy buck in Crawford County. They determined the buck was shot at by all four suspects and taken to a taxidermist in Iowa. The deer antlers were recovered, and charges are pending.
Wardens Dave Youngquist, of Spring Green, and supervisor Joe Frost, of Dodgeville, worked on a complaint regarding trespassing and road hunting. A father and his 18-year-old son both had their rifles loaded in the truck and were not wearing backtags. It was discovered that the son did not have a deer-hunting license and had hunted for the past two years with no license. His father tagged a deer for him in 2012. Other family members also had hunted that morning and the past two years with no licenses. The father said that he thought that minors did not need a hunting license, though he later admitted wanting to save money on the cost of nonresident licenses. Numerous charges are pending. They face the loss of three rifles and revocation.
Wardens Ryan Caputo, of Green County, and Steve Sanidas, of Waukesha, made contact with three hunters who were suspected of discharging firearms from the road. One hunter shot from the road, had a loaded gun in the vehicle, did not tag a deer, and placed out bait. The property owner was hunting deer without a license, over bait, without a backtag, and was not wearing blaze orange. The other member of the group was hunting without a backtag. Three firearms and a deer were seized and charges will be filed. Caputo returned to the property later in the week and found another hunter at the location who also had an untagged deer, which was seized, and enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Martin Stone, of Fennimore, and supervisor Joseph Frost, of Dodgeville, contacted a hunter seated in his vehicle in a field, watching a hillside for deer and coyotes near Mt. Hope. The hunter was found with a loaded rifle in the cab, and he had already used his deer tags. In addition, he was not wearing blaze orange. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Stone received a call about someone shooting at deer before legal hours near Bagley. Stone discovered that two hunters had shot at a deer from the road, using the vehicle’s headlights about 15 minutes before legal hours while on the way to their hunting spot. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Stone received a complaint about hunters shooting after hours near Lancaster. The next evening Stone investigated the complaint and contacted two hunters who were hunting 15 minutes after legal hours.
Wardens Rick DeWitte, of Cassville, and Krueger checked ice fishermen on the backwaters of the Mississippi River. They contacted an ice fisherman with 36 bluegills and two crappies. Enforcement action was taken for possessing fish in excess of the daily bag limit, and the fish were seized as evidence.
Warden Jeff King, of Madison, deputy warden Scott Donar and warden Nick Webster, of Darlington, responded to a complaint about a hunter who shot from the road. They located the hunter and confirmed that he had shot at deer from the road.

Southeast Region

Warden Doug Zeihen, of Delafield, observed a subject walking out of a prickly ash thicket and carrying a large cooler. When contacted, the subject admitted to disposing of a deer carcass on land that he did not own. When asked where the deer was shot, the subject responded that it was shot in Kansas. A subsequent check by Zeihen showed that CWD has been found in the deer herd in Kansas. The subject was issued a citation, and the carcass was disposed of properly.
Warden Steve Sanidas, of Mukwonago, received a call about illegal baiting. He found a man hunting over illegal bait, hunting without wearing blaze orange, and not wearing his backtag. The individual also was hunting with a rifle, contrary to a local ordinance.
Wardens Sanidas and Matt Groppi, of Waukesha, investigated a complaint about an individual who was duck hunting along the Mukwonago River and shot two swans. They made contact with the hunter, who was in possession of a juvenile swan. The individual injured a second swan, but was unable to retrieve it. The individual said he thought the swans were snow geese when he shot them. The wardens also discovered that the individual had been over his bag limit of hen mallards on a different day. They seized two firearms from the hunter, and enforcement action is pending.
Warden Sanidas and deputy warden Leis responded to a complaint about a deer being shot in a residential area in the city of South Milwaukee. They, along with South Milwaukee police officers, located a doe fawn that had been shot in the head with a small-caliber firearm. They tracked down leads and have identified a suspect. The case is still under investigation.
Wardens Bob Lee, of Hartford, and Sean Neverman, of West Bend, conducted interviews concerning agricultural deer damage hunting violations. Numerous violations were uncovered, including guiding without a license, borrowing/loaning tags, shooting a deer with a .22 handgun, and hunting with an improper license.
During opening day of the gun deer season, warden John Sinclair, of Kenosha, and warden supervisor Jen Niemeyer investigated a complaint regarding overbagging of Canada geese. They located three hunters who were in possession of nine Canada geese. One hunter decided it would be a good idea to ambush a flock of geese that landed in a field near where they were deer hunting. This hunter walked several hundred yards away from his companions. He fired into the flock and shot and killed six geese. Each of the hunters was found to be in violation of waterfowling regulations, and enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Isaac Kruse, of Racine, and Niemeyer contacted a group of hunters in Kenosha County. One hunter was found to be a felon. During the conversation, the hunter showed Kruse photos of deer on trail cameras and of deer he had harvested. The hunter told Kruse he shot a 10-point buck in October. Kruse checked the hunter’s deer license, and he still had all of his unused tags. It was found that the hunter shot a buck and asked someone else to tag it with an archery buck tag. The man was issued a citation, and his venison and antlers from the buck were seized.
Warden Michael Hirschboeck, of Racine, and recruit Kyle Plautz received a complaint about a deer hunter not wearing a backtag and carrying two long guns. They located the vehicle described in the complaint. The hunter was contacted on state property, not wearing a backtag and wearing a black stocking cap. The hunter was found to have a loaded rifle in the trunk of his vehicle. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Mike Katzenberg, of Walworth, and regional warden Kevin Mickelberg, of Milwaukee, had contact with a hunter on public hunting grounds. It was found that the hunter had three loaded firearms in his vehicle. Enforcement action was taken.

West-Central Region

Wardens Barry Fetting, of Marshfield, and Jonah Lottig investigated a complaint regarding illegal baiting. Illegal bait was located, along with illegal trap sets. They contacted the responsible party and found several additional violations. The subject was trapping with sight-exposed bait, untagged traps, trapping without a license, and targeting fishers without a permit. He also had placed feed consisting of apples and salt blocks during the archery season to attract deer for the purpose of capturing photographs on his trail cameras. Baiting and feeding are prohibited in Wood County.
Warden Ben Herzfeldt, of Schofield, received a complaint about two stolen deer from the back of a truck while it was parked on state land near Birnamwood. The caller texted him a photo of one buck that had a very unique palmated antler similar to that of a moose. Herzfeldt received information from a citizen that led to a suspect. The investigation revealed that the suspect and a companion took the bucks from the truck, cut the carcass tags and registration tags off of the deer, and placed their own tags on them. They later registered the deer as their own. The deer were recovered from a residence in Merrill and returned to their rightful owners. The suspect was cited for larceny of game.
Warden Ben Herzfeldt, of Schofield, and deputy warden Taylor Hecht located a 40-acre parcel in Marathon County with numerous ATV tracks going in and out. They followed the tracks and contacted two hunters in a stand baited with two large apple and corn piles. Baiting is illegal is Marathon County. A hunter exited the stand and made contact with Herzfeldt. The hunter, who was wearing an archery backtag, informed Herzfeldt that he was just watching his wife hunt since he was a convicted felon. Herzfeldt learned that the man had shot a doe with a rifle earlier that day and wounded another doe that was later finished off by his wife. Both deer were tagged by his wife since he did not have a license. Herzfeldt seized the gun and a deer. Enforcement action is pending for the hunting violations and felon in possession of a firearm.
Warden Herzfeldt and supervisor Korey Trowbridge walked a property on opening day in Marathon County for illegal bait. They contacted two hunters who were searching for a doe one of the hunters had shot. When questioned on baiting, one of the hunters stated they didn’t have “much” bait out. Herzfeldt walked with the hunter to the baited area. The hunter became nervous and kept trying to step in front of Herzfeldt. Herzfeldt located an 8-pointer near the bait pile. The deer was field-dressed, had been moved, and was not tagged. The deer was seized; the hunter was cited.
Wardens Paul Leezer, of Wausau, and Brandon Smith investigated a case of a subject who had shot a deer from his vehicle while parked on a road. The suspect later was interviewed by the wardens who learned that the subject was a convicted felon who had been hunting with a firearm. Enforcement action was taken for the violations, and information on the firearm violation was forwarded to the county.
Warden Paul Sickman, of Hudson, received a complaint about a felon hunting on opening day. Sickman located the suspect in a treestand with a loaded 20-gauge shotgun. The suspect confirmed he was a felon and the shotgun was his, but didn’t agree he was prohibited from hunting deer with a gun. The man was arrested. He also had an outstanding DNR warrant from 2011 season.
Warden Wayne Flak, of Menomonie, got a call about an albino deer that died after falling off a cliff. Flak contacted the party and was told they had been careful not to shoot the white deer, but as they finished a deer drive, it ran off a cliff and died of a broken neck. The buck did not meet the definition of an albino. Flak issued a permit for the party to keep the deer. They named it “Cliff.” The group was going to have a body mount done to be displayed at a local business.
Warden supervisor Dave Hausman, of Baldwin, responded to a shooting-from-road case and stopped a vehicle. Four passengers all had uncased guns with ammo at the ready and denied shooting at anything. A couple miles away, Hausman contacted another vehicle with two people and found two rifles transported in the front seat that were loaded. Enforcement action was taken.
When warden Jim Cleven, of Colfax, came home late one evening, his wife said he should stay home and work since she heard a rifle shot 15 to 20 minutes after hours close to their house. Cleven and deputy warden Gary Schwoch, of Colfax, did just that the next evening and heard two shots after hours and cited a hunter for hunting 20 minutes after hours.
Warden Ken Thomson, of Fall Creek, received a call about a hunting party using excessive bait and automatic feeders. Thomson, warden Robin Barnhardt, of Osseo, and recruits J.J. Redemann and John Schreiber entered the property opening morning and found eight individuals hunting over the baits. The hunters had placed out about 500 pounds of corn just before opening day. Large piles of apples also were located by the automatic feeders and stands. Citations were issued for the baits, and several warnings were given.
Wardens Ken Thomson, of Fall Creek, West-Central Region supervisor Rick Rosen,  Adam Hanna, of Clark County, and Redemann worked a deer decoy in response to several road-hunting complaints. Several citations were issued.
Warden Thomson, of Fall Creek, investigated a call about a bear that was illegally shot during the gun deer season. The suspect was identified, and the bear was seized.
Last year, two men were contacted by warden Tim Werner as they were sneaking up on what they believed to be a live deer along Hwy. B in Clark County. This year, warden Adam Hanna, of Neillsville, contacted the same two men at the same location. One had a loaded shotgun in the truck, and the other had an improperly tagged doe.
Warden Hanna assisted a Clark County deputy with a traffic stop in which the operator was arrested for OWI and three warrants. Hanna found a loaded .30-30 rifle in the front seat. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Scott Thiede, of Eau Claire, received a call at 2:45 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving from an Eau Claire County deputy requesting assistance after a traffic stop for late shining. Three young men were in possession of two loaded rifles and three semi-automatic handguns.
Warden Dale Hochhausen, of Onalaska, received a call from a registration station about a hunter who tried to register two bucks. One of the bucks had the antlers and skull plate shot off. The hunter tried to register the second buck by using an antlerless tag. The attendant stated he couldn’t register the second buck, so the man drove home and put another person’s buck tag on the deer and returned to the station. Hochhausen spoke with the hunter who said he filled his buck tag and then shot a second buck by accident. Upon finding the dead deer, another person in the hunting party stated, “I’ll make it a doe,” and intentionally shot off the antlers. The suspect attached his antlerless tag. Enforcement action was taken, and the deer was seized. The family member whose tag was used without his knowledge was issued a replacement tag.
Wardens Hochhausen and Christopher Shea, of Trempealeau, were patrolling in La Crosse County and located a parked vehicle. The suspected driver of the vehicle was a convicted felon and his driver’s license was revoked. There was a crossbow case and a firearm case in the bed of the truck. Hochhausen waited for the suspect to return to the vehicle. A couple hours later, the suspect walked back to the vehicle, carrying a firearm. Hochhausen contacted him. The suspect had a valid gun deer license and stated he was hunting with the crossbow. Upon further questioning, the suspect admitted to being a convicted felon and hunting with the rifle. The suspect was arrested for the felony violation and driving while revoked. The firearm was seized.
Warden Hochhausen contacted a group of hunters near the Black River. He checked one hunter’s backtag, and the person stated he had shot one buck, but no antlerless deer. There were no carcass tags with the backtag, so Hochhausen asked where his unused antlerless tag was located. The person removed his wallet and pulled out a tag, looked at it, and put it back in the wallet. Then he removed a second tag, which was his antlerless tag. Hochhausen had the suspect remove the other tag, which was his unvalidated buck carcass tag. Hochhausen asked how he tagged the buck. The hunter stated he forgot to put his tag on the deer, but had registered the deer at a registration station. The person at the registration station asked him to put his tag on the deer, but he forgot. Hochhausen verified the buck and other antlerless deer had been registered. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Bob Jumbeck, of Alma, and deputy warden Ron Kazmierczak, of Cochrane, found reason to investigate an individual for hunting without a license. During the attempt to make contact, the individual left the area in rapid fashion. The individual was stopped several miles down the road, but did not have a firearm in the vehicle. The firearm was found in a ditch four miles away. Charges for hunting without a license and obstructing a conservation warden are pending.
Warden Cody Adams, of Crawford, and recruit Nicholas Wallor observed a hunter without blaze orange on state land. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Chris Shea, of Trempealeau County, and warden supervisor Tyler Strelow, of La Crosse, responded to a call from the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Department about a vehicle being shot by a hunter near Arcadia. The wardens met with the victim, who was not injured, but there was damage to the windshield. They located a group that had just finished a deer drive. After interviewing members of the group, the wardens learned that one hunter watched a buck run across Hwy. 95 and decided to take a shot at it. Charges are pending.
An individual was called by a family member who said there were two deer lying in a ditch next to Hwy. Z in Adams County and that he should shoot them. The suspect drove to the area and a companion loaded the firearm in the truck. The suspect shot one of the deer out the window, from the highway. Wardens Wade Romberg and Bill Miller, of Adams County, came upon the individuals loading the deer into the truck.
Wardens Wade Romberg, of Friendship, and Bill Miller, of Adams, contacted individuals throughout the season who had shot deer in Unit 53, which was not a herd-control unit, and registered the deer as herd-control unit deer. Several hunters had attached unvalidated Unit 53 tags to the deer and later switched the tags to herd-control tags prior to registration.
Wardens Romberg and Miller contacted a  man hunting over illegal corn and apple bait on his property. The man was wearing camo and was hunting with a double-barreled shotgun loaded with buckshot.
On opening day of the gun deer season, wardens Matt Weber, of Necedah, and Sean Neverman, of Pike Lake, followed up on multiple baiting cases in Juneau County. They issued 20 citations during opening day for illegal deer-baiting violations.
Warden Weber received a call from a trapper in Monroe County who had 30 traps stolen from private property on a muskrat marsh. Weber was able to identify who stole the traps, along with several muskrats. Weber returned the traps and fur, and enforcement action was taken.
Warden Robin Barnhardt, of Osseo, and recruit John Schreiber received information that a convicted felon would be hunting on property in Trempealeau County. The wardens contacted the suspect, and the investigation indicated the suspect had an active arrest warrant. The suspect was arrested.
Wardens Barnhardt and Schreiber contacted several hunters standing near their trucks in a field. A doe on the trailer was not tagged. Enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Barnhardt and Schreiber contacted two individuals driving slowly in a vehicle at the end of hunting hours near a small pine stand. The wardens found that the passenger had a loaded 7mm rifle across his lap, and that there was another rifle in the back seat with ammo in the vehicle. The driver was determined to be a convicted felon.
Wardens Kurt Haas, of Black River Falls, and deputy warden Terry Boone observed a deer drive taking place on state land near Hatfield. They checked licenses as the hunters returned to their vehicle. One of the hunters was carrying a rifle but did not have a backtag. The hunter admitted to not buying a license. Enforcement action was taken.

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