District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on the Roseau River and Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line, angling without a license, and for ATVs and a snowmobile without registration.
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) spent the week focusing on ice fishing and spearing activity on Lake of the Woods. Aside from angling enforcement, time also was spent on trapping enforcement and muzzleloader deer activity.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) continued checking anglers on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines and possession of an illegal-length walleye.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) taught the law and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class in Warren, conducted commercial inspections, and completed equipment maintenance.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) checked trappers, muzzleloader deer hunters, and anglers. Assistance was provided to CO Huener regarding shining complaints, and COs Cowden and Benjamin with anglers on Lake of the Woods.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports assistance was given to the sheriff’s office when a truck broke through the ice on Upper Red Lake. CO Regas located the vehicle, the driver, and another group of anglers after they had become disoriented by the dense fog, darkness, and standing water on top of the ice and unable to find their way. CO Regas led the man and another group of anglers safely to shore.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking muzzleloader deer hunters. Time also was spent checking trappers, ice anglers, and ATV operators, and speaking at a snowmobile safety class in Twin Valley.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked ice fisherman on area lakes. CO Vollbrecht was called out to assist the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Department; a suspicious-vehicle complaint turned out to be an individual who shot a deer and was trying to track it. The two suspects were arrested, and charges are pending. CO Vollbrecht also responded to a complaint about individuals trespassing to access a small lake.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) reports time was spent checking deer hunters around Itasca State Park. Complaints were received regarding a dog caught in a trap and possible lake pollution violations.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office with two vehicles that went through the ice on the same day. Both drivers got disoriented in heavy fog and drove onto thin ice. Both drivers were cold and wet but OK.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports time was spent tagging fur, following up on deer-shining complaints, recovering a dead swan, and looking into a complaint about shooting by a residence.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spoke at several area snowmobile safety classes throughout the week and the weekend. A complaint about an individual trespassing and shooting near a corral was investigated.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent time working on open Wetland Conservation Act and public waters cases. Site visits were completed.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) learned of two different vehicles, including an ATV, going through the ice on area lakes.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports deteriorating ice conditions around Alexandria, with several reports of ATVs, snowmobiles, and motor vehicles breaking through the ice. Fishing enforcement in both Douglas and Pope counties resulted in numerous violations, including several instances of extra lines, illegal drug possession, and unregistered ATVs.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) reports a complaint about possible hunter harassment was handled. Anderson received two calls regarding area lakes about vehicles being driven into open water while being lost in the fog. Time was spent issuing minnow interstate transportation permits.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports fishermen should use caution on area lakes, as four vehicles have broken through the ice on lakes in Stevens and Pope counties within the past few days.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) worked an illegal burning case and checked ice anglers and shelters. Parthun arrested three hunters during the last weekend of the muzzleloader deer season for hunting over bait. Firearms were seized.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on big- and small-game hunting, trapping, and sportfishing activity. He also assisted an outside agency in attempting to locate a suspect vehicle. The CO received a call about a dog caught in a trap and coached the dog owner by phone on how to release the animal. The animal sustained minor injuries; the trap was legally set.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on deer hunting, trapping, spearing, and ice-angling activities. CO Broughten assisted multiple anglers who got lost in the fog when attempting to travel on the ice. CO Broughten also checked muzzleloader deer hunters and assisted the Cass County Sheriff’s Office with a call about a dog that went through the ice.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked the muzzleloader deer season, with a hunter who reported seeing a mule deer buck by Bertha. A vehicle operator was stopped for shooting from the road, trespassing (shooting into a cornfield). When the hunter was asked what he had shot at, he stated, “Four deer were running in the cornfield.” Then CO Halverson asked if any had antlers, and the hunter stated, “Let’s say they did, but I really don’t think so,” because he did not have an antlerless permit. His honesty was appreciated, and enforcement action was taken.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports checking angling and muzzleloader deer-hunting activity throughout the week. A few anglers and spear fishermen were observed.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the week checking anglers on area lakes. One angler had the unique experience of observing gray wolves hunting and eventually catching a deer on an area lake. CO Hopkins also assisted CO Frericks with a snowmobile safety class in Virginia.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling and hunting activity, complaints about dumped deer carcasses and wanton waste, and open deer-hunting cases. A trapper tried to register a fisher and marten four days after mandatory fur registration day. On top of that, he didn’t obtain the required site tags until the day he brought them in (they were supposed to be validated before removing from the site of the kill) and claimed that they were reprinted. The computer date and time stamp told otherwise. Follow-up on a hunter who had been trespassing on the officer’s land during the firearms deer season revealed that the hunter failed to register the deer.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) reports complaints about deer carcasses being dumped on public land continue to come in. In one case, a site tag was found. When the owner of the deer was contacted, he admitted to dumping the carcasses and also admitted that he did not register the deer. The person who dumped the carcasses said he did not know it was illegal to dump deer carcasses on public land. A citation was issued.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that he took nuisance-wolf calls during the week as wolves came in amongst a farmer’s cattle while others went up on decks and took suet balls intended for birds. Information was passed on to a hunter from Mozambique who wants to put in for the bear license lottery.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked on investigations from deer and trapping seasons and checked anglers. Assistance was given at a Babbitt snowmobile safety class.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking ice anglers and the remaining muzzleloader hunters before the season closed.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored spearing activity, worked trapping complaints, and assisted with hunters’ wolf carcass inspections.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) attended a snowmobile safety class where area youth were given a law talk and introduced to safe snowmobile riding techniques. CO Sutherland also attended the “Shop with a Hero” event in Grand Rapids, where area underprivileged youth shop with a law enforcement officer, EMT, or military member to provide presents for their families during the holiday season.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent time working local lakes for ice anglers. Trespassing complaints were investigated, and one resulted in an untagged deer violation. ATV complaints on snowmobile trails were investigated.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reported good ice conditions remain on most area lakes despite the recent warmup; however, the melting snow has made things slippery. Several trapping violations were located, and investigations continue.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent time working fishing enforcement on area lakes. Work on a control zone for wolf depredation was completed.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) followed up with an interview on a trapping case, resulting in charges for the unlawful taking of a fisher and failing to report an incidental catch. CO Humphrey also completed a deer-baiting case from the muzzleloader season. CO Humphrey, with assistance from CO Schmidt, responded to a muzzleloader trespassing complaint that resulted in a citation for an untagged deer.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) reports an incident involving a dog caught in a snare was investigated, with no trapping violations found. The dog was unhurt.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked anglers and trappers during the week. Road-kill deer permits were issued, and an illegal trapping case was worked.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) reports the plan for a fish house full of anglers didn’t work out, as well as they said they didn’t think they would get checked and didn’t bother getting angling licenses. Two of the three anglers received paperwork to encourage better decisions next time.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) testified in court regarding a drug investigation case in which the suspect was convicted and paid a fine.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports an individual who was caught shooting a trumpeter swan in October pleaded guilty in district court and was sentenced to pay $1,965 in fines and restitution.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for ice angling and trapping activity. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, license violations, and ATV violations.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) assisted other officers with an illegal muzzleloader deer-hunting case, with multiple charges pending.
CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec Area) monitored angling, small -game hunting, and trail use in the Cuyuna Country SRA and Brainerd area.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked ice angling and spearing activity. Expanding ice, increased current, and thick fog made it tough to get around on the lakes. ATVers and snowmobilers on the ice continued to generate violations. Verkuilen also worked the final week of muzzleloader deer hunting, where wet conditions and limited visibility made for limited success.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) checked an angler with extra lines. The angler said that he heard that if a person was violating the laws, a CO would likely catch him. A citation was issued to this angler. The following day, a friend of the angler was found in possession of marijuana while fishing. This party said he knew that his friend recently was cited and that the CO was checking anglers on the ice that day. A citation was issued to this angler.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports assistance was given to the sheriff’s department with a vehicle that broke through the ice on Mille Lacs. The driver had tried to leave the lake in the fog and had got too close to a creek flowing into Mille Lacs. The driver escaped unharmed. The officer also assisted a neighboring CO with a muzzleloader deer case. The party was found who had shot a deer and the case is being referred to the county attorney’s office for charging.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a call about hunters muzzleloader hunting with rifles. Speldrich followed up on a public waters violation where lakeshore owners used rip rap with fill below the ordinary high-water mark. Speldrich also received a call regarding a driver of a motor vehicle who hit an owl and wanted to keep it for taxidermy.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) reports assistance was given to a group of fisherman who drove their ATV into open water.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) responded to a vehicle through the ice on Mille Lacs. The driver was assisted out of the vehicle by the area fire department, and no injuries were reported. An investigation involving a deer shot and left lying on private land was investigated. Charges are pending, and a firearm was seized.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) found people burning their garbage in burning barrels and tire rims in their front yard (burning garbage has been illegal since 1968). A female was checked coming out of the woods in blaze orange with no hunting license and no gun. She said she had been waiting for her boyfriend who hadn’t shown up with the gun. Later, the boyfriend was questioned because he didn’t have a deer muzzleloader license either. When asked about the gun, he was confused and said his girlfriend had it with her. The girlfriend then confessed when the boyfriend was out of earshot that she hadn’t brought it out with her as she didn’t want to shoot a deer and the gun was still in the house.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) found an individual trying to do a good deed by spreading sand and stove ash on a slippery road leading into a public access. The problem was a large amount of nails, screws, and staples were mixed in with the stove ash as the result of burning pallets. The person came back and cleaned up the road, removing the little hazards, and no enforcement action was taken. A cash reward from TIP was given to a person who helped CO Kuske apprehend an individual earlier this fall that resulted in several big-game hunting violations.
WREO Keith Bertram assisted CO Johanson with an investigation, yielding a hunter taking an overlimit of deer.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) followed up on a trapping complaint. He continued investigations on a big-game case with charges pending. He investigated a dumping complaint with enforcement action taken on the violator. He also inspected a wetland violation with the assistance of Sherburne County Planning and Zoning; a resource protection notification was issued to the landowner. A restoration order will be administered in the early spring.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and hunters. Complaints about shooting from a motor vehicle and trespassing were received. Calls continue to come in regarding the illegal dumping of deer carcasses.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) took calls about trespassing and an illegally shot deer, as well as injured animals and suspicious activity on a WMA.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) investigated a big-game violation in Washington County. CO Salzer also attended a training meeting at Camp Ripley.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked ice fishermen and bowhunters in Scott County. He responded to a TIP complaint at Holland Lake in Eagan about people taking trout out of season.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) assisted St. Paul police and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office with a search warrant. He also provided assistance with several interviews in the metro area for an investigation of game law violations that occurred in Region 4.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week working on cases from the deer season. CO Arntzen continued patrolling WMAs, doing ATV enforcement, checking deer hunters and anglers. He also scheduled firearms safety classes, handled a nuisance animal call and fielded questions about trespassing.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked goose and deer hunters in wildlife management areas and area fields. Several ice anglers were checked on metro lakes.
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) responded to a report about a dead swan in Roseville.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) assisted COs in western Minnesota with a deer case. She also certified ginseng for a resident in Maplewood and did a taxidermist check in White Bear Lake.
District 15 – Marshall area
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) attended a meeting with the McLeod County attorney on a Wetland Conservation Act violation. Follow-up was done on several WCA and public waters cases.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked anglers, archery and muzzleloader deer hunters and pheasant hunters.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) assisted the Yellow Medicine County Sheriff’s Office with an investigation involving a house that was struck by a muzzleloader slug. A fish house went through the ice on a lake in Lyon County.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) continues to receive reports about shining in Chippewa and Lac qui Parle counties. He also received reports about people leaving fish and garbage on the ice.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) attended the Pheasant Summit, which was held in Marshall.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent the week checking ice fishermen. Time also was spent following up on lend-and-borrow cases from the firearms deer season.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) worked the last weekend of the muzzleloader season. She investigated a litter case involving multiple deer carcasses and a case of shooting from the roadway. She also helped rescue a bald eagle that was accidentally caught in a snare. Once it was brought to the Raptor Center, it was found to have a high level of lead in its system, which might explain why it was on the ground feeding.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked pheasant hunters and muzzleloader deer hunters. He also monitored ice-fishing activity.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports cases of dogs chasing deer in different areas are being addressed.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) checked deer and pheasant hunters, as well as fishermen and ATV operators.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working small-game hunting and the end of the muzzleloader deer season. A few anglers were observed enjoying the winter trout-fishing opportunities in Forestville State Park.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the week following up on deer cases and checking ice-fishing activity.
CO Phil George (Rochester) reports there are a lot of deer carcasses ending up in road ditches. Your trash hauler will likely take your debris. Ice anglers are still out but the rising temps are rotting the ice so be careful.
CO Scott Fritz (La Crescent) reports that he assisted CO Boyum with a complaint about an illegally taken deer.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports investigating deer that had been illegally shot. Time was spent checking muzzleloader hunters.