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Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Minnesota Cuffs & Collars – August 21st, 2015

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked bear baiting, AIS, angling, and ATV enforcement. CO Benjamin came upon a campfire this past weekend that was left unextinguished while the campers went for a ride on their ATV. The CO was able to speak with them later in the day after they had returned. They stated that when they left earlier in the morning it was just smoldering ash with a log that was thrown on, but there were no flames. The conditions that day were windy, and CO Benjamin explained that it doesn’t take much wind to reignite a smoldering heap of ash when there is a fuel source present, as was evident by the flaming log. Enforcement action was taken for failure to extinguish a campfire. 

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored the start of the bear-baiting season and investigated the possible shooting of a deer out of season. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports time was spent teaching officer water survival to future COs at the CO Academy. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports following up on TIP-related calls involving fish- and small game-related complaints. Time also was spent working boating enforcement, checking ATV operators, and contacting anglers. 

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) reports complaints about ATVers operating in a WMA were taken, and extra patrol was done in the area. CO Vollbrecht also conducted a follow-up investigation of an individual who refused to allow a watercraft inspector to conduct an investigation. 

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) reports a good-sized female bear was found dead along Wildfire Road in Hubbard County’s Fern Township. The bear had a gunshot wound, and it appeared to have been dragged by a motor vehicle for quite some distance. Anyone with information regarding this bear is encouraged to call the Turn In Poachers line at 1-800-652-9093. Cash rewards for tips leading to an arrest are available. You may remain anonymous.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a father and young son were contacted angling from the road right of way near a culvert. The dad admitted they were new to fishing and asked if the CO had time to look over their gear. The dad also was quick to produce a fishing license. At the culvert, several bass were visible in the pool. CO Vinton saw a small, floating plug and suggested they try that. Uncertain how to work it, the father asked if CO Vinton would show them. On the second cast, a 13-inch bass took the bait, and CO Vinton handed the rod to the young boy. The child was all smiles as his dad took his picture with the bass.  

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) reports a call about a possible dead eagle was investigated. The bird turned out to be a Canada goose.  

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls), along with CO Plautz, gave a presentation to enthusiastic youth waterfowlers at the annual Minnesota Waterfowl Association’s Woodie Camp in Fergus Falls. CO Richards also received and responded to lakeshore violations, along with complaints about destroying aquatic weeds. 

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused law enforcement efforts on the August Canada goose season, anglers, and AIS law compliance. CO Anderson spent additional time reviewing and issuing interstate minnow transportation permits. 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) worked complaint areas at public accesses along the Otter Tail River. Boat access and trailer parking have become difficult at area accesses, with tubers parking in parking spots reserved for vehicles with boat trailers and tubers blocking access ramps. Several people were cited for parking in front of signs that stated the spots were reserved for vehicles with trailers.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports a lakeshore owner was found to have sprayed a large stand of bulrushes and cattails in front of his cabin with an agricultural herbicide to rid the area of vegetation. He was unaware of the laws protecting aquatic vegetation and received a citation. 

District 4 – Wadena area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) investigated two TIP complaints, took care of some equipment issues, and checked anglers, PWC operators, and boaters. 

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) reports working anglers and boaters, and responding to a TIP complaint. August early goose season activity was monitored, and two separate trespass calls were investigated regarding goose hunters. A horse owner called to report his horse was attacked and injured by another animal. Upon looking around the property, the CO believes the likely suspect is a bear.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on angling, ATVing, and boating activity. CO Broughten also completed a commercial taxidermy inspection and checked compliance with AIS laws.

CO Colleen Adam (Rec Specialist) followed up on a wildlife depredation issue and patrolled area forests and trails.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports checking fishing activity on Rainy Lake and the Rainy River, along with monitoring a sturgeon-fishing tournament on the Rainy River in the Birchdale area (23rd Annual North American Sturgeon Championship). 

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked the Oak Narrows area of Lake Vermilion, focusing on boating-related complaints from neighbors. The officer also investigated a buck found dead, and determined no foul play to be involved. 

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked bear bait station checks, state park enforcement, put the finishing touches on a case of a bear taken out of season, and worked the DNR booth at the North St. Louis County Fair. 

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) responded to a report about a person removing a large amount of cattails from an area lake. After locating the area and interviewing the subject, CO Frericks issued a cease and desist order. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) had several reports during the past week about a large black bear being seen inside the town of Ely. CO Williams has recommended residents be vigilant about not leaving garbage outdoors and to clean up anything that might be attracting the bear into town, such as bird seed and dog food. 

CO Marty Stage (Ely) spent time working in the BWCAW. A couple canoe groups were found to be miles from civilization without PFDs. Another group admitted that they had tipped several of their canoes unexpectedly while running the rapids to save a little time. 

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) followed up on a dumping complaint in a state park where spilled paint cans, appliances, and other household junk were thrown along a road. The suspect was tracked down after an investigation, and he was cited for dumping a large amount of litter. He’ll also have to pay for cleanup costs. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports patrolling lakes and rivers in the BWCA, following up on several cases, and working baiting and early bear-baiting activity. Wild rice stands look better this year in many areas, but so far that hasn’t seemed to translate to a higher waterfowl population. Assistance was given to Ely police regarding a robbery case involving a gun.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling, bear baiting, and invasive species enforcement work during the week. Murray also responded to a car-killed bear report on Hwy. 61 and answered questions related to the upcoming bear season.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored wild rice conditions, responded to reports about injured wildlife, and gave a K-9 demonstration at the Minnesota Trappers Association convention. CO Fairbanks and his K-9 partner Si also assisted the county in locating a stabbing suspect. 

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time checking boating and angling activity. She also spent time investigating a wetlands violation.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing enforcement. He also patrolled for ATVing activity in northern Aitkin County. 

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) assisted with CO Academy training for a water confidence class. Duncan also provided a ride-along for an individual who is interested in becoming a conservation officer. AIS and ATV enforcement efforts continued, and time was spent working early bear-hunting locations and monitoring bear-baiting activity. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) received calls and complaints about nuisance wildlife, continued a fire investigation in the Fond du Lac State Forest, checked bear-baiting activity, and patrolled local wildlife management areas and in the Fond du Lac State Forest. 

WREO Michael Scott (Northeast Region Water Resource Officer) worked with Canadian National Railroad, Koochiching County, and DNR Forestry on a WCA violation. Officer Scott also staffed an AIS booth at the Carton County Fair in Barnum with Minnesota Sea Grant folks.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) worked Lake Superior for boating and AIS enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for boat registration and safety equipment. 

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters along the Lake Superior shore in Lake and Cook counties. Enforcement action was taken for commercial records violations.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing counties for angling activity. CO McGowan also spoke to a group of people regarding the career of a conservation officer. Enforcement action was taken for multiple angling violations. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) assisted with CO Academy training. He also worked on an investigation regarding an aquatic vegetation violation involving an individual using a watercraft to transport a large amount of cattails across a bay. They relocated the bog instead of removing it from the lakebed, according to the permit. 

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) worked on boating and PWC enforcement this past week. Some violations he found were boats over capacity and PWCers in violation of the 150-foot rule regarding safe distance from swimmers. 

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) investigated a report about someone removing aquatic vegetation in a large area around a dock, handled calls about an injured osprey and a possible wolf-killed cow, and is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a turtle found crossing a road in the Gull Lake area that turned out to be a gopher tortoise, native to the far southeastern United States and a protected species listed as “threatened” under federal law.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) followed up on complaints regarding water levels, beavers, aquatic vegetation, and ATV operation. Verkuilen also issued roadkill tags and helped staff the TIP trailer at a community festivity. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports several calls about nuisance beavers were taken and permits were issued, and ricing activity was monitored to make sure parties were not taking green rice. A call about a possibly injured eagle was investigated, and a permit was issued for the upcoming rifle deer season. 

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated potential early bear-baiting sites. She also handled an ongoing nuisance beaver/neighbor dispute. CO Speldrich also answered bear-baiting questions and closed an investigation into the fencing of public waters for livestock.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) reports fall calving season started for some area farmers and brought with it a few complaints about livestock being harassed by wolves. One wolf complaint investigation found a 2-day-old calf that was likely killed by wolves. While the CO patrolled ATV trails, a pair of young dirt bike riders were found rolling logging equipment tires up a steep hill, returning them to a logging site where they belonged. The young men found the tires lying in the trail, likely left by vandals that had earlier removed them from the logging site. The two riders said they didn’t want anyone to run into the tires and get hurt on the trail, and also commented that moving the heavy tires would help them get in shape for hockey season.

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) handled a wolf-depredation complaint and took several calls about bears damaging corn. He assisted the Pine County Sheriff’s Department with a call about a suicidal subject, checked anglers, and spent time in local state forests. 

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) handled a complaint about vegetation cutting on a local lake. It appeared heavy winds were the culprit, washing up large amounts of vegetation onto the complainant’s shoreline. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) reports the week’s activities included administrative tasks, vehicle maintenance, and waterfowling enforcement. 

WREO Keith Bertram spent the week working AIS enforcement in Todd, Douglas, and Isanti counties. 

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) reports an attack of a domestic animal was reported, with the caller believing the culprit to possibly be a mountain lion. Photographs secured by the caller were forwarded to DNR Wildlife staff; they identified that tracks as belonging to a species in the canine family.  

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) handled two garbage-burning complaints in which large amounts of items were found burned, including mattresses, plastic bottles, bags, cans, and household garbage. The landowners learned it would have been much cheaper to haul the items to the landfill and also utilize free recycling. CO Kuske also investigated a wetland-filling complaint regarding dump trucks dumping debris in a wetland and early goose hunters that were hunting in a closed area. A well-deserved award was presented to a long-standing DNR Volunteer Firearms Safety Instructor of the Year at Game Fair. Paulette Pappenfus, of Little Falls, was presented with the award. Paulette has been a DNR volunteer firearms safety instructor since 1981 (34 years).

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports time was spent investigating a possible wetland violation. The landowner brought in a large amount of fill and placed it in a wetland for a dirt bike track.

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen and boaters on area lakes and rivers and conducted a commercial ginseng inspection. He also issued a beaver permit in Sherburne County. 

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) reports a trespass complaint was investigated that resulted in a civil citation being issued. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Brent Grewe (Osseo) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring boating activity. CO Grewe also spoke at a firearms safety class and attended active shooter training with multiple agencies in the metro area. 

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) conducted a falconry inspection and was able to learn a few new details about the life of a falconer. Leuthardt also attended Game Fair, where she received and answered numerous questions from the public regarding game laws, recreational laws, and more. 

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked in the Bloomington station and Fort Snelling State Park. He took enforcement action for taking and possessing an overlimit of crappies, failing to remove a boat’s drain plug, and using game fish for bait. He also responded to calls about people trapping squirrels and leaving them, and underage drinking while fishing on a public fishing pier.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) handled a waters violation on Lake Johanna that resulted in a cease and desist order being issued and two property owners cited for doing work without a required permit. She also testified at a trial in St. Paul and assisted an Ontario game warden with a fishing and trespassing case by interviewing a suspect in her work area.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week working boaters and anglers throughout the area. He caught up with some delinquent ginseng dealers, patrolled for AIS compliance, and scheduled some firearms safety classes for the fall. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) met with Charles Hanson and a local reporter at the Big Stone County Museum. Over Mr. Hanson’s lifetime, he acquired every North American duck and goose. He mounted them and placed them in a family building and donated the display to the museum. Over the years, local conservation officers have donated birds to Mr. Hanson’s collection. 

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working boat safety, checking anglers, and conducting investigations. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time during the week working AIS enforcement, boating, and angling. Goose hunters were checked, with many having some success during the early season. While he conducted a check of goose hunters, another vehicle operator drove up and mentioned that there was a vehicle that started on fire nearby. Klehr was able to respond and put out the fire for the driver and then wait for the fire department to come and make sure everything was out, since the fire was near the engine. 

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) followed up on a wanton waste case regarding fish being left for dead on a floating dock; enforcement action was taken. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers and boaters on area lakes and rivers. The officer also monitored AIS activity and ATV activity during the week. The officer attended a meeting at the 20 Gun Club and Straight River Archery Club where firearms safety volunteer instructors were presented plaques for 11 to 50 years of service.

CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) worked the Turn in Poachers Wall of Shame trailer at the Mower County Fair. An illegal-dumping complaint was received. 

WREO Julie Siems responded to a rollover crash and an injured eagle in separate incidents. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports continuing to work boating and fishing on the river. He checked brothers from Indiana and Georgia who had set out to paddle the Mississippi River from its source to the gulf. After having some complications, they purchased an outboard motor and attached it to their canoe in St. Paul. 

CO Phil George (Rochester) reports assistance was given to the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office in arresting a fugitive on a parole violation. 

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports time was spent working with the county attorney on a waters case. Another American eel made the 4,000-mile trip from the Sargasso Sea and was caught on the Mississippi River in the Red Wing area. An angler opted to keep the eel and take it home to eat. A TIP call was responded to in which an individual reported people hunting geese while using spinning-wing decoys in a field in rural Goodhue County. Upon responding to the call, it was determined the hunters were hunting pigeons and using spinning-wing pigeon decoys. They had harvested over 30 pigeons and stated they had gotten more than 200 birds the previous weekend near Goodhue. They also said the landowners are happy to let them hunt and have the birds removed.

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