District 1 — Ashland area
Wardens Lynna Gurnoe and Amie Egstad were on patrol on Lake Superior when they approached a boat with six lines in the water with only one person and a dog on board.
Warden Egstad, of Bayfield, heard several loud ATVs on a nearby fire road in the Chequamegon National Forest. An ATV came toward Egstad without the required headlights on when on an ATV route. The operator’s three companions also were found to have several ATV safety violations. Several Ashland-area team wardens assisted the DNR Forestry Division with wildfire-control efforts in April, mostly involving traffic control and road blocks.
District 2 — Cumberland area
Warden Chris Spaight, of Grantsburg, investigated ongoing complaints about trucks operated in unauthorized areas and causing damage to gravel roads on state property. The trucks caused extensive damage, requiring grading and filling to repair deep ruts. A total of five citations were issued based upon this investigation. The citations ranged from destruction of state property to possession of drug paraphernalia.
Warden Joshua Loining, of Rice Lake, contacted a subject fishing below the dam in Rice Lake. Upon contact, it was determined that the subject did not have a fishing license and there was a warrant out for his arrest. Rice Lake police officers arrested the man on the warrant, and enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license.
Warden Loining responded to a citizen’s report of an injured bald eagle in the village of Brill. Loining captured the eagle and shuttled it to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center for rehabilitation.
Warden Chelsey Collette, of Amery, assisted a North Dakota warden on a case where two Wisconsin residents allegedly shot two illegal deer in North Dakota. An investigation showed that the subjects shot a 9-point typical whitetail and 16 point nontypical whitetail illegally. All evidence and reports will be forwarded to North Dakota for charging.
Warden Jesse Ashton, of Luck, investigated a citizen’s complaint of several deer carcasses that were dumped in a ditch. An investigation determined that the subject failed to register the deer and had another individual butcher the deer for him. Ashton located that subject and found that two of the fawns that were dumped were shot by the second subject. Those deer were never tagged or registered, either.
Warden Ashton contacted a turkey hunter walking into the woods approximately 20 minutes after hours near Dresser. Upon contact, Ashton found that the subject had transported a loaded shotgun in his vehicle and also was hunting without a valid turkey permit for that time period.
Warden Phil Dorn, of Cumberland, met with several students from the Cumberland Charter School and helped the students learn how to identify furs from Wisconsin mammals. Dorn brought a fur collection to help the students recognize the animals by pelt and improve their wildlife identification skills for a school competition.
District 3 — Park Falls area
Warden Nick Nice, of Medford, received information about two trucks stuck on DNR property in an area open to foot traffic only. Nice and forest ranger Scott Lindow went to the scene and located the two trucks. The owners were cited for illegal access and destruction of state property.
When warden Dan Michels, of Park Falls, was working on the North Fork of the Flambeau River due to past complaints of fishing game fish during the closed season, he observed a group of anglers fishing along the shore. When the group left, one angler tossed his garbage on the rocks. Michels contacted the group members at their vehicles and, upon checking for fishing licenses, discovered that one of the anglers had his fishing privileges revoked.
Warden Mike Rader, of Merrill, and Lincoln County recreation deputy Travis Watruba were dispatched to a possible motorist assist on Tower Road. Upon arrival, Rader observed a male subject throw a beer can in the ditch. The vehicle in question was inoperable and had its windows smashed out. The occupants of the vehicle stated they had bought the vehicle for several hundred dollars so they could drive it on the back roads without worrying about damaging it. One subject was cited for litter, and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department deputies cited another for underaged alcohol consumption. The group was directed to clean up any broken glass remaining on the road.
Warden Andy Dryja, of White Lake, was called to assist the Langlade County Sheriff’s Department with a subject who rolled his car. The subject was known to have a felony warrant and disappeared into the woods after the crash. Langlade County deputies and Dryja located the highly intoxicated and injured subject in a balsam swamp about 100 yards from the turned-over vehicle. The subject was taken into custody and was transported by ambulance for further medical care prior to going to jail.
District 4 — Woodruff area
Warden Pat Novesky, of Three Lakes, monitored areas that held spawning walleyes and muskies. Novesky apprehended two subjects who were catching spawning fish below a dam by using landing nets.
Wardens Rich Thole, of Boulder Junction, Tim Ebert, of Woodruff, Mike Sealander, of St. Germain, and Tim Price, of Eagle River, assisted DNR fisheries staff post area lakes with the new walleye size and bag limits.
Warden Novesky investigated a complaint about a local hunter who shot a turkey off of a town road from his vehicle. The turkey was within 55 yards of other hunters who had set up decoys and were attempting to call in the same birds for a youth who was participating in a mentored hunt. The hunter did not have permission to hunt the area. Enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Ebert, Thole, Sealander, and Price hosted a Learn to Hunt turkey event in Oneida and Vilas counties, based out of the Boulder Junction shooting range. Eight participants learned to hunt turkeys, and one tom was harvested.
District 5 — Lower St. Croix area
Warden Jim Cleven, of Colfax, gave an ATV safety presentation in Boyceville. Cleven attended the Dunn County Fish and Game Association board meeting and regular monthly meeting. He also attended the Dunn County Conservation Alliance meeting. Cleven gave a presentation at the Colfax School Career day event, and worked turkey, fishing, boating, and ATV enforcement. Cleven also worked walleye, sucker, and crappie spawning runs. The warden explained and provided information on the new walleye regulations to the DCFG and the Dunn County Conservation Alliance.
Wardens Peterson and Kyle Kosin, of Ellsworth, were working when a fisherman was encountered on the Rush River during the closed season. Peterson explained that the season was closed, and enforcement action was taken.
Warden Peterson took enforcement action on a couple of other trout fishermen who were fishing during the closed season. He was aided by a Pierce County deputy who took the time to locate the fishermen on the closed trout stream.
Wardens J.J. Redemann, of Durand, and Bob Jumbeck, of Alma, contacted a Buffalo County turkey hunter who had a bag of chicken feed in the bed of his truck. The wardens contacted the suspect’s two fellow hunters the same morning and found they also placed illegal bait for hunting turkeys.
Warden Redemann contacted a turkey hunter at the Durand boat landing who was hunting one of the islands on the Chippewa River. Redemann found the hunter in possession of a squirrel that was shot without a small-game license and out of season. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Redemann worked fishing enforcement in April. Redemann reports contacting fishermen on the Chippewa River with an 11-inch walleye, 12-inch largemouth bass, and anglers fishing without licenses. The legal size limit for walleyes is 15 inches, and largemouth/smallmouth bass is 14 inches. Citations were issued.
Wardens Redemann and Jumbeck contacted three turkey hunters en route to their Buffalo County cabin on a UTV. The three hunters were found to be in possession of four loaded guns and two untagged turkeys. The wardens learned that one hunter shot a hen. Another hunter shot a jake with his rifle, stating it was out of range for his shotgun. Citations were issued.
Warden Isaac Kruse, of Baldwin, received a complaint about two individuals shooting at geese during the closed season. Kruse traveled to the location and observed the suspects. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Kruse received a complaint about multiple suspects trapping while trespassing on private property near Deer Park. Kruse and a St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department deputy responded. Upon contact, the suspects were found to have pursued and captured a live raccoon with a catch pole with the intent of using it for dog training. The suspects also were found to be in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Enforcement action was taken, and the suspects were arrested.
Warden Paul Sickman received a call from a concerned fisherman who observed people catching and keeping bass during the closed season. The hotline stated two subjects were fishing below the spillway of the St. Croix River. When a bass was caught, one person would run up to a car and place it in the trunk. Sickman observed the anglers do exactly what was stated by the complainant. Upon contact, Sickman found that the subjects kept six illegal bass. Enforcement action was taken.
District 6 — Eau Claire area
Warden Adam Hanna, of Neillsville, completed a multi-year investigation in March that involved the illegal sale of wildlife. Twenty individuals were cited for violations related to the illegal trapping and selling of squirrel meat. Hanna documented at least $1,222 in sales by these individuals in 2014-15.
Clark County roadways were hard on wildlife in March. Warden Hanna took complaints about an eagle, a red-tailed hawk, a Cooper’s hawk, two bobcats, and a fisher and three deer that were killed or injured by motorists.
Warden John Schreiber, of Cornell, contacted fishermen near Chippewa Falls during the late ice fishing season in March. During the contact, Schreiber learned the anglers had been fishing earlier that day and had already caught over their limit of panfish. The fish were seized; enforcement action was taken.
Warden Schreiber was patrolling along a state wildlife area in March when he observed a fisherman ice fishing on a nearby lake. The fisherman was using four lines.
Warden Scott Thiede, of Eau Claire, was contacted by a citizen who had found the full carcass of a turkey in a black plastic bag dumped along a road. When located, the person who discarded the turkey stated he decided not to have the spring 2014 gobbler mounted, so he tossed it along the road. Enforcement action was taken for littering.
Warden Thiede worked with community leaders and Winter Fest organizers in March to encourage the removal of bark mulch from the melting ice of Lake Altoona. The mulch had been placed under the main event tent in January, but proved difficult to remove during the freeze and thaw cycle.
Warden Ken Thomson, of Fall Creek, worked with several community partners to establish the Eau Claire area schools trapshooting team. Thomson provided a safety presentation and will be involved in coaching.
Warden Robin Barnhardt, of Osseo, cited a Jackson County landowner for littering after finding that debris from the demolition of a mobile home had blown across the road onto DNR land. Barnhardt cited the same individual in 2012 after household trash had blown off the property, across the road, and onto the same state property.
Warden Kurt Haas, of Black River Falls, investigated a trapping complaint on private property. The caller stated no one was allowed to trap on his property. Haas took enforcement action on the trapper for untagged traps and failure to check traps.
Wardens Haas and Robin Barnhardt, of Osseo, investigated a trapping complaint. After they observed the trap was not being checked, the wardens removed the beaver and the traps. Later, they were contacted by the trapper who said someone stole his traps. The trapper admitted he was not checking the traps every four days as required. Enforcement action was taken.
In April, warden Hanna responded to environmental complaints related to wetlands, septic disposal, tire and garbage burning, littering, quarry dewatering, grease dumping, spilled herbicide, and disposal of demo materials and dead livestock and rough fish.
Warden Hanna responded to a complaint about someone burning illegal materials. Hanna discovered that an auto business illegally disposed of 39 tires and auto parts by burning them.
Warden Bryan Harrenstein, of Chippewa Falls, received a call from the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department in April with questions regarding a call from a subject who stated an alligator had “come at him” near the edge of a pond. The caller also said the weather was too cold for the alligator to be outside in the pond. It was found that the subject who called had actually been looking at a statue of an alligator next to a pond.
Warden John Schreiber, of Cornell, was checking fishermen along the Yellow River in Chippewa County in April and heard rustling in the leaves. Schreiber located a northern pike being kept out of season. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Schreiber responded to a report about an orphaned owl that was stuck in a pond. Upon arrival, the owl had been removed from the pond. Schreiber identified the owl was a great horned owl. The owl was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
Warden Schreiber held an Learn to Hunt turkey event in Holcombe and assisted in a second LTH event in Stanley. Seven turkeys were shot by youth hunters.
Warden Scott Thiede, of Eau Claire, spoke with a turkey hunter returning to his vehicle in April with an untagged tom in his game vest. The hunter had used his smartphone to register the turkey in the field, but only after realizing that he had left his carcass tag in his vehicle at the state property. During the contact, the hunter was told he should have phoned the DNR hotline prior to moving the untagged turkey.
Warden Robin Barnhardt, of Osseo, concluded an investigation that originated with a complaint to the DNR hotline during the 2014 gun deer season. A landowner near Osseo found two hunters trespassing on his property while dragging out an untagged deer. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Barnhardt and ranger Jed Kaurich investigated a complaint regarding a mobile home had been intentionally and illegally burned near Osseo in Jackson County. Since hazardous materials often are released when mobile homes burn, Barnhardt referred the case to DNR environmental enforcement staff for follow-up. Enforcement action was taken by Kaurich for several burning violations.
Warden Barnhardt responded to assist the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Department at an incident near Strum in which a subject fired a shotgun at people who were stealing his vehicle. Barnhardt located and detained the shooter for deputies and then assisted with the investigation at the scene.
Warden Kurt Haas, of Black River Falls, received several complaints in April regarding traps left after the close of season. In two cases, the traps held a raccoon and a skunk that had been in the trap for several days before being discovered by Haas. The responsible parties were identified.
Warden Haas and Black River State Forest ranger Terry Boone investigated a complaint of graffiti and litter at a popular scenic overlook on the state forest. After considerable investigation, suspects were located.
While patrolling the Jackson County Forest area early one morning for turkey hunters, warden Haas found a man who was illegally digging blueberry plants to plant on his land.
District 7 — Wisconsin Rapids area
Wardens Ben Herzfeldt, of Schofield, and Tim Otto, of Antigo, cited a turkey hunter on the opening morning of the first season in eastern Marathon County for hunting over bait. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Herzfeldt responded to an agricultural chemical spill of liquid fertilizer in the town of Wausau. Herzfeldt responded due to two creeks in the general area. Upon arrival, Herzfeldt found that the spill was contained in the barnyard and field, with the closest stream being about one-quarter mile away.
Warden Herzfeldt spent time assisting with an LTH turkey program. Herzfeldt gave a safety and law talk to the group of 13 students, their parents, and hunting mentors.
While checking fishermen along the Wisconsin River near Mosinee, warden Paul Leezer, of Wausau, contacted two fishermen who were found to have undersized walleyes in their livewell. The fishermen caught and kept an 11-inch and 14-inch walleye. The minimum size limit for walleyes on the Wisconsin River is 15 inches. The fish were released alive.
While working fishing enforcement along the Wisconsin River in April, warden Barry Fetting, of Marshfield, observed a male subject fishing with a large surface lure below a dam. The subject was found to be fishing without a license and for muskies during the closed season.
While working fishing enforcement along the Wisconsin River, wardens Fetting and Leezer made contact with a couple who they had observed fishing from shore. Neither subject possessed a fishing license. The male subject had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Fetting arrested the subject and turned him over to the local police department for transportation to jail.
Warden Fetting received a complaint in April from a concerned citizen who observed where someone discarded an entire deer carcass along a road. Fetting learned that the small antlerless deer was shot in the buck-only portion of Wood County last deer season, and that the hunter failed to register the deer. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Fetting was contacted by a mentoring coordinator from Marshfield High School in April about a student who was interested in becoming a warden. Fetting provided a ride-along opportunity for the student, with two additional meetings planned. Fetting gave a second ride-along in April to a DNR staff member who is also interested in becoming a warden.
Warden Bryan Lockman, of Stevens Point, contacted a turkey hunter who placed sunflower seeds in front of his turkey blind. The hunter claimed it wasn’t for turkeys, but to photograph other types of birds. The problem was that he didn’t have a camera with which to take those photos.
Warden Jon Scharbarth, of Stevens Point, investigated a complaint from a landowner who saw a subject shoot from a road onto his property at a turkey. The man ran over and grabbed the turkey, threw it into a car, and left. The suspect was located, and enforcement action was taken by the sheriff’s department and Scharbarth.
Warden Scharbarth assisted DNR fisheries staff and the Bill Cook Chapter of the Izaak Walton League with a trout habitat project on Emmons Creek. More than 900 holiday trees were placed to narrow the channel to increase flow and to trap sediment.
Warden Wade Romberg arrested one individual for ATV OWI. The individual had a 7-year-old passenger on the machine with him who was not wearing a helmet. The operator was nearly three times the legal limit.
Warden Kyle Lynch investigated an ATV trespass complaint during the youth turkey hunt in the town of Germantown. The ATV trespassers disrupted a youth turkey hunter. Lynch was able to locate the responsible parties, and enforcement action was taken.
Warden Lynch spoke to two high school classes at Mauston High School about how to become a warden, the warden training process, and other career opportunities in the natural resources field.
Warden Kyle Lynch attended a Mauston High School field trip at Outdoors Forever property and assisted in teaching the students about wildlife habitat and helped them plant about 100 trees on the club property.
Warden Matt Weber, of Necedah, responded to a call about a sturgeon being kept on the Wisconsin River below the Petenwell dam. Weber contacted five suspects in a boat. They had kept a muskie during the closed season. Other violations included an unregistered boat and failure to have enough PFDs.
Wardens Matt Weber and Kyle Lynch had two UW-Stevens Point students who are members of the Student Law Enforcement Association ride along as “job shadows.”