MInnesota Cuffs & Collars – January 22nd, 2016

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) monitored area snowmobiling and angling activity. A talk was given to a class of high school students at the Badger school. 

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) focused on angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession, taking fish without an angling license, angling with an extra line, and filleting fish on the lake, but not in preparation of a meal.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) taught the law and ethics portion of the snowmobile safety class in Oklee, attended a deer committee meeting, and checked anglers in the Thief River Falls area. Working with CO Hutchins, CO Woinarowicz checked coyote hunters, finding multiple firearms being transported while loaded. A night patrol resulted in enforcement action for gross misdemeanor shining, as well as citations for transport of a loaded firearm and taking game during closed hours.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports a deer-hunting case was closed out as a result of a search warrant that was executed. The investigation was initiated after a TIP call was received. The investigation progressed throughout the season, and violations detected included taking deer without an archery hunting license; transporting illegally taken big game (deer); taking big game (deer) with the aid of bait; an overlimit of deer; lend/borrow of an archery deer-hunting license; failure to validate a tag, and failure to tag big game (deer). The hunter’s archery equipment, the deer mount, and processed venison were seized, and the case will be sent to the county attorney for formal charges. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) had requests for forestry permits to cut wood, assisted other agencies along with calls about cougar sightings, and investigated a dead hawk, a car-kill deer, and dogs chasing deer. A first during a snowmobile safety class: While ambulance personnel displayed items used in responding to snowmobiling accidents, one of the students passed out due to an aversion of needles, and struck the ambulance. Response time was immediate.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) continued working with a COC. The officers worked on area lakes, as well as Upper Red and Lake of the Woods. A couple individuals were in found to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana. The officers also dealt with an individual who began dumping fish down a hole when the COC announced himself as a game warden. When the officers questioned the individual, he denied everything. Even after the individual he was with admitted to the officers that they had over their limit, the subject continued to deny dumping fish. The officers then noticed one of the walleyes float back up. When the individual was asked about this, he responded, “Well, maybe he just jumped in there.” It was obvious the fish had been dead for a while. 

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) and a COC responded to an accidentally caught wolf. The COs also assisted other law enforcement agencies with an apartment fire caused by an intoxicated male, along with a two-vehicle, no-injury crash on Hwy. 10.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring snowmobiling and angling activity in the Moorhead station. The officer also conducted a media interview with WDAY regarding ice conditions. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) assisted other law enforcement agencies in reference to a bank robbery call in Rothsay. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked with Muskies, Inc. and TIP to have an illegally taken muskie mounted for both organizations to display.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, ATVers, and snowmobilers on lakes in Douglas and Otter Tail counties. Osborne observed several large fish houses on area lakes after the cold weekend. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) focused on snowmobiling and ice-fishing activity. One fisherman was alone in a fish house with 10 fishing lines down. He said his friends had run to shore and would be right back. After the CO and angler waited several minutes, the angler admitted that actually they went to shore to shower and get some food and wouldn’t be back for a while; citations were issued. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports time was spent attending a meeting regarding a possible wetland violation, and following up on complaints about litter and people storing fish houses at public accesses.

District 4 – Wadena area

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) monitored ice-angling activity and finished follow-up activity regarding the bobcat season. A lead in a previous case was investigated, and a wanton waste citation was issued. 

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling, ATVing, and snowmobiling activity. CO Broughten also investigated a complaint about an ATV in a closed area and assisted local law enforcement with a welfare check.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes; weekend temps at 20 below zero resulted in limited angling activity observed. 

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports trout season opened for waters outside the BWCA. The extreme cold reduced the number of anglers on the lakes. 

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) mainly worked angling activity, winter trout opener, and snowmobilers, and handled a case of an accidentally caught bobcat. The officer found the fewest opening-day trout angler numbers he has seen, due to frigid temperatures. Of the five lakes checked, only three had anglers. One trout angler took an unintentional polar plunge into the lake in minus-10 air temperatures after he fell into the lake when he stepped into the large sight-fishing hole he had made earlier in the day. The officer made sure the unfortunate angler made it back to his truck and on his way to warmer digs. 

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) gave a presentation to second-graders at Parkview Elementary in Virginia about the furbearers of northeastern Minnesota. All pelts that were used for the demonstration were donated by the Minnesota Trappers Association’s tanned fur program. An owner of a darkhouse used his three-quarter-ton pickup to plow a road to his spear house. The owner made one pass to his house and on the way back his truck broke through the ice and is now resting on the bottom of Pleasant Lake south of Eveleth. The driver got out before the truck went down.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked the outside-the-BWCAW trout opener and found a lot of people trying to get in some ice fishing after all the bad ice. There were around 80 portable fish houses on one small trout lake on the Fernberg Trail alone.  

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a detail for trout opener in Lake and Cook counties. The officers found folks with extra lines and relieved a couple underage anglers of illegal alcohol. 

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked a cold inland lake trout opener. Time also was spent checking area snowmobile trails and snowmobiles on area lakes. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers on area lakes, patrolled for snowmobiling activity, and worked some ongoing investigations.

CO Mike Fairbanks ( Deer River) attended K9 training, checked anglers, monitored snowmobiling activity, and assisted the county with a search warrant.   

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked anglers during the past week with some success had by trout fishermen on the winter trout opener.  

CO John Velsvaag (Northeast Region ATV officer) checked ATV activity and anglers this past week. CO Velsvaag received several calls about trout regulations.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports the recent cold weather has allowed for the making of good ice. Many vehicles are being seen on area lakes. Please check ice conditions before venturing out, since conditions can vary from lake to lake. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) and a COC worked sportfishing enforcement during the trout opener. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration, expired registration, littering, failure to submit a bear tooth sample, and no fishing license in possession. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued investigations on big-game license violations. One person was cited for taking an antlerless deer in a lottery area without a valid license.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a K9 meeting and a training session in the metro area with the rest of the DNR’s K9 unit. K9 assistance was given to Virginia police with a shooting that occurred in the city this past weekend. 

Lake Superior Marine Unit

Officer Keith Olson (Marine Unit) assisted a local agency in locating lost equipment in the Rice Lake area. Olson also checked the bay anglers off Park Point. 

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Unit) checked inland trout anglers on a frigid opening weekend. Questions were answered regarding the reported sighting of a mountain lion, and meetings were attended at Camp Ripley and the U.S. Coast Guard office. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) assisted local law enforcement agencies this past week with multiple vehicle crashes due to wintry weather. Officer Lee also attended a meeting at Camp Ripley to armor firearms for the upcoming academy. 

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) worked the winter trout season opener and checked anglers on area lakes. 

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) reports a litter complaint was investigated, and a deer committee meeting was attended. 

CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports that he worked on fishing enforcement this past week. Violations he observed were unattended lines and no shelter licenses. 

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports a crew of officers worked the winter trout season opener on the mine pit lakes in and around the Cuyuna Country State Recreational Area. Bitter-cold weather and wind likely are to blame for numbers of trout anglers and pike spearers found to be down considerably from last year’s opener. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports a TIP call regarding a trespass issue was investigated, and enforcement action was taken. Calls regarding car-kill deer permits were handled, and permits were issued. Assistance was given to a party who had gotten stuck in the snow at a public access. 

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) continued checking area lakes and trails throughout the week. Speldrich detected the odor of burning garbage while on patrol. After locating the fire, she discovered a large tree debris pile burning, along with prohibited items in the fire. The responsible party was cited for burning prohibited materials. 

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took care of an injured eagle by taking it to a rehab center. Enforcement action was taken for no snowmobile registration, no safety certificate, and riding against traffic at night.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) checked anglers who braved 30-below wind chills during the trout opener. Quite a few anglers had luck finding trout on opening day. 

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week checking anglers and ice conditions around Pine City. Most anglers were reporting 10 to 12 inches of ice. CO Wynn also checked anglers near Sandstone, and spent time checking state forests for activity. 

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) assisted with the trout opener in the Crosby area. Many fishermen braved the cold and had good results with rainbow and lake trout. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked anglers and coyote hunters, and did compliance checks of ATV and snowmobile operators. The officer also attended a Cub Scout meeting to discuss water and boating safety.  

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) reports assistance was provided to a neighboring officer with big-game investigations. Both cases resulted in lend/borrow license charges. 

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, ATVers, and snowmobilers. Time also was spent investigating cases from this year’s deer season, as well as illegal fur cases. Thesing also spoke at the Holdingford firearms safety class. 

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls), while checking the growing number of fish houses showing up on the lakes and Mississippi River, found that many did not have the required identification and shelter license. 

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) found separate incidents involving Class 2 ATVs being registered as ORVs (off-road vehicles). This was an error made by DMV personnel at different locations in the state. Class 2 ATV owners should check to made sure their vehicle has the proper license. Having the ORV registration by mistake greatly limits where and how the vehicle can be operated. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers. Cases were worked regarding leaving stands in a WMA and illegal lend/borrow of deer licenses. 

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked numerous anglers and spear shelters during the past week.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) and a COC noted the cold weather finally made some good ice, and observed many wheel houses being pulled out. CO Reller picked up his new snowmobile and got it outfitted to be patrol-ready. The COs worked fishing and snowmobiling enforcement during the weekend. 

CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) did a falconry facility inspection in Zimmerman. He also followed up on a TIP complaint about wanton waste of fish.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked ice anglers during the week. Some lakes have less than 6 inches of ice in certain locations. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, unattended lines, snowmobile registration, and no shelter identification. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobilers. CO Grewe also worked the trout opener during the weekend in Carver County. 

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked anglers and snowmobilers in the west metro area. He worked the trout opener in Chaska and took calls regarding nuisance animals. He also answered questions from the Asian community about trout-fishing regulations, small-game hunting regulations, and firearms safety classes.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) responded to calls about an injured swan on the Mississippi River and a deer that was trapped inside the city park in Carver County. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) worked fishing and ATV enforcement on area lakes. She also checked small-game hunters in local WMAs and handled a few TIP calls. CO Kruse set up future firearms safety classes and worked trout opener with a neighboring officer. 

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring snowmobiling activity throughout Dakota County. Trails were in decent shape, with the groomer getting out mid-week. He also checked on ice anglers in the area, with few fish seen. Enforcement action for the week was taken for expired snowmobile registration and allowing illegal operation of a snowmobile by a juvenile. 

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) spent the week working ice anglers and checking snowmobiling activity on area lakes and trails. He also attended the Eureka Township board meeting and answered their questions regarding hunting, trespassing, and careless shooting in the area. CO Pril also responded to miscellaneous animal-related calls and assisted with the TIP Wall of Shame.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week monitoring recreational vehicle activity and checking ice anglers. CO Arntzen also worked the trout opener, scheduled firearms safety classes, and did equipment maintenance. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) continues to work ice fishing, predator hunting, and snowmobiling activity. Most snowmobile trails are groomed and in good condition, even with the lack of any fresh snow. Cold weather has been welcomed by ice fishermen, with some larger fish houses and even a few vehicles now being seen on some area lakes. Ice fishermen are reminded that as ice thickens, aeration systems likely will be starting up. A call was received about an injured bald eagle caught in a leg-hold trap. The eagle was released from the trap and transported to a rehabilitator. 

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ATVing, ice fishing, predator hunting, and snowmobiling activities during the week. This officer was a featured guest on the MinnDak Outdoors radio show on KDIO Radio in Ortonville. Minnow transport permits were issued. 

CO Ed Picht Montevideo reports that the two SUVs that were reported last week regarding illegal activities have been identified. Several cases of trespassing were investigated.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked ice fishermen during the week; ice conditions still vary greatly in the area. Time was spent talking to a snowmobile safety class at the Watkins Fire Hall. Trout fishing opened during the weekend and brought quite a few people out into the cold to catch a few trout on Little Mud Lake. 

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports ice fishing has picked up, and anglers are starting to drive cars and small trucks on the ice. Snowmobilers also were worked, with enforcement action taken for snowmobiling issues. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding trespass and shooting coyotes from motor vehicles. He also spent time working ice fishing, and snowmobiling, as well as small- and big-game-related enforcement. Vehicles are being used on local lakes, but ice thickness still varies by location and will not support vehicle traffic in all areas.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked sportfishing, small-game hunting, and snowmobiling activity. Gruhlke discussed ATV registration, ice shelter licensing and identification, and area activity during his regular radio program.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) spoke on two local radio stations regarding snowmobile rules and regulations, and ethics. Anglers and shelters were checked. Anglers are reminded to refer to the fishing rules and regulations booklet for what is needed on shelters prior to putting them on the ice. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent much of the week working angling and snowmobiling activity. CO Howe also responded to Lake Washington, to assist Le Sueur County officials in locating an angler who got disoriented after dark in below-zero weather.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) focused enforcement efforts on checking anglers and ATV and snowmobile operators. The officer also talked at a snowmobile safety training class in Mantorville.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports time was spent responding to a snowmobiling accident in the Hay Creek area; a victim had to be airlifted to a Rochester hospital.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) continued training a COC. The officers checked the license of an angler from Australia and were told that the weather in the angler’s hometown was a balmy 105 degrees. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) continued training a COC. The officers encountered several predator hunters. The COC was invited to speak at the Winona State University Criminal Justice Club meeting. The COC gave an overview of his path to becoming a conservation officer, the training involved, and a job description. 

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