Minnesota Cuffs & Collars – March 18th, 2016

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked angling and ATV/snowmobile enforcement. Tip-up anglers are out and about across the south shore of Lake of the Woods. Anglers should be aware that there have been reports of vehicles breaking through the ice as the ice conditions continue to deteriorate with the recent warm weather. 

CO Hannah Mishler (Warroad) spent the week checking primarily tip-up anglers on Lake of the Woods. One teen, a 14-year-old, showed CO Mishler the 43-inch pike he caught the previous day. The boy stated it was his “biggest fish ever” and that he was going to have it mounted. He said it was one of the highlights of his life. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports concentrating enforcement efforts on special-regulations lakes throughout the week. Time was spent patrolling area trails for off-road vehicle violations and taking complaints about litter left on Upper Red Lake. 

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck) reports working ATV and fishing activities this past week. The warm weather has taken a toll on ice conditions. A fish house was discovered in a ditch, and the owner was contacted and advised to remove it. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time this week checking late-season ice anglers. Time also was spent responding to calls regarding car-killed bald eagles. 

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers, monitored fish house removal, looked into a litter complaint, and attended training.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) reports several forest roads in the area have closed due to weather conditions and frost going out. 

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked angling and OHVing activity during the week. A TIP complaint also was investigated.  

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports rapidly deteriorating ice conditions. Though early in the week there were people venturing onto the ice in vehicles, that method of travel in not recommended. Complaints about burning prohibited materials were investigated.  

CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) followed up on complaints about dogs chasing deer and litter left on lakes after fish house removal. Public accesses were monitored as fish house removal continues on northern lakes. 

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week checking ice anglers, fish house removal, and following up with minnow investigations in the Moorhead station. The officer also worked with CO Mishler to investigate smelt being imported into Minnesota without being processed or verified as being VHS-free. The officer concluded investigations of an unused buck dumped into a dumpster and an incident in which dogs had chased and killed a deer. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked area lakes to ensure all shelters were removed by the deadline. Fishing activity has declined due to poor ice conditions. A truck and a Polaris Ranger broke through an area lake a day apart. 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked ice fishermen, ATVers, and lakes for litter and fish house removal. A report about a dead timber wolf was investigated in Otter Tail County. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spoke at the ROARS ATV club meeting in Nelson, highlighting laws and answering questions for the newly formed group. Some fishermen walked out onto a few lakes in search of panfish. Angling without a license, crappie overlimits, and illegal culling were a few violations observed. Lawler watched for several hours as one group of anglers did very well for crappies. Two of them were smoking on and off as they fished, flicking their cigarette butts onto the ice. When they left the ice with their limit but making no attempt to clean up their butts, Lawler approached and issued a littering citation. They admitted they should’ve cleaned up but simply didn’t.

CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on ATVing activity, the fish house removal deadline, and anglers. All fish houses in the area were taken off by the deadline this year. Anderson has removed several ATV loads of fish house blocking material from area lakes while on patrol. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) assisted other enforcement officers with investigating a vehicle crash and followed up with the Department of Public Safety and local prosecutors on some active cases.

CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) reports the ice conditions are rapidly deteriorating. A few anglers are still out, but extreme caution is encouraged. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Walker) took a student from Walker High School on a ride-along. The ride-along was sponsored by the Walker Rotary Club and gives students an opportunity to do a day of job shadowing in a career that interests them. CO Sullivan made contact with one subject who admitted to leaving ice-fishing shelters out and unattended, past the removal date. This subject also was angling without a fishing license. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports a complaint was worked in which emergent vegetation was removed.

CO Chelsey Collette (Remer) spent the week checking a few fishermen and enforcing ATV and forest road rules. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a current license, operating a motor vehicle/OHV on a closed forest road, expired ATV registration, allowing illegal youth operation of an ATV, youth passengers without helmets, and failing to attend a campfire that led to a small grass fire.

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring angling and ATVing activity. Ice is deteriorating fast, and small ponds are opening up and lakes will be soon. 

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) received calls about a dead timber wolf and regarding a mountain lion that had been hit by a car. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

No report.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) concentrated enforcement efforts on trout anglers and checked a few snowmobilers. Trail and ice conditions will change by the day.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports some angling and snowmobiling activity despite deteriorating conditions. One ATV operator decided to ride an unplowed forest road by himself and found himself stuck numerous times in the considerable amount of wet snow. He was able to eventually get himself and his machine out so he could ride to the nearest working phone, another 15 miles down the road, and call for a ride home. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked trout and crappie angling enforcement inside and outside the BWCAW. Plenty of enforcement action was also taken, including citations for fishing without a license, possessing non-preserved minnows on a designated trout lake, litter, motorized equipment in the BWCAW, and expired ATV registration.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) focused enforcement efforts on angling and snowmobiling activities. The officer also attended a meeting at Camp Ripley. 

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and ATVing activities during the week. Many open-water anglers have taken to Lake Superior in search of salmon and lake trout.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, taught the law portion of a snowmobile safety class, monitored fish house-removal activity, responded to ATVs through the ice, and assisted the county with the search for a domestic abuse suspect who fled on foot. CO Fairbanks and his K-9 partner Si also were asked to search for a handgun that was possibly thrown in the woods. 

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) assisted the sheriff’s office with a couple calls during the weekend, including an active grass fire and ATVs through the ice on Pokegama Lake. 

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATVers, and spring trappers. He also handled trespass and wanton waste complaints during the week.

CO John Velsvaag (Northeast Region ATV officer) checked ATVers, snowmobilers, and anglers this past week. Snowmobile trail conditions are very poor.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) checked anglers along the North Shore. Phone calls were returned regarding concerns about wolves near residential areas. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent time assisting a neighboring natural resources agency with cases that involved interviews of Duluth residents. Several fishermen along the North Shore of Lake Superior were checked during the week. 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) checked some fishing activity in the area this past week. Assistance was given to the local police department with a vehicle accident that included personal injuries. A report about a dead eagle found in a yard was investigated, and the eagle was turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports the rising temps and rain have North Shore rivers starting to hold water and opening up. Small boats are showing up on Lake Superior in search of salmon and rainbow trout. For ice anglers, remember to help clean up the ice as things are melting and the ice will be disappearing soon. 

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers, shore anglers, and boat anglers all in the same day. Inland ice conditions are poor, and when the weather cooperates, the fishing activity is picking up on Superior. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) attended a meeting at Camp Ripley for planning upcoming training for officers at spring and fall in-service training along with academy training that will be starting in April. Officer Lee also attended a firearms safety class this past week. Officer Lee also gave a presentation to students of Eagle View Elementary this past week regarding Minnesota animals and their habitats. Officer Lee brought furs of animals for the children to see. Finally, CO Lee assisted the Crosslake Police Department this past weekend with St. Patty’s events, parades, and emergency calls during the events.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling enforcement. A litter complaint was received and time was spent working the LaserShot system at the Aitkin Sports Show.

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) spent time checking anglers on area lakes and monitored the removal of fish houses. Ice on area lakes has taken a hit from the warm weather and sunshine. One group of ATVers learned that when several ATVs went through the ice. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) checked anglers fishing for late-ice panfish. Some ATVs were being observed operating on grant-in-aid trails prior to the trail opening. Those riders risk permanent trail closures and fines for the violation. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked ice anglers as ice conditions rapidly declined. Several anglers where still using the license that expired Feb. 29. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald reports working fishermen around the Malmo station. A call about an injured eagle was fielded, along with many questions regarding outdoor laws. The officer assisted with running a LaserShot system at the Aitkin show. ATVing activity was monitored throughout the station, and closed state forest roads and trails were monitored for any illegal activity.  

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on a case in which a large amount of prohibited material was burned. The responsible party admitted to intentionally burning the materials. Enforcement action was taken for the violation. Speldrich also took calls regarding ATV use in state forests and requests for car-killed animal possession tags.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) checked a few of the last ice anglers of the season. Lake ice in many areas would support foot traffic only, but a few ATVers continued to venture out. Ice was turning dark and starting to pull away from shore. One individual broke through the ice while attempting to fish and then two more individuals also broke through while trying to reach the first angler. With the help of first responders, everyone was able to get back to shore, where they were treated for hypothermia. 

CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) took calls regarding burning permits, sturgeon fishing, and questions about ATV operation. He also checked on ATV-related complaints, patrolled the Chengwatana State Forest for spring closure, and spent time checking anglers. Ice conditions have quickly deteriorated in the Pine City area. There were reports of people breaking through the ice on Pokegama Lake. People are advised to get a burning permit for anything larger than a campfire. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) received a call about a truck stopping near a residence, an occupant shooting at something in a tree, then driving away. Inspecting the area, CO Kuske found it was a bald eagle that had been shot. The suspect vehicle was located, and two 17-year-olds were taken into custody. During an interview it was learned that they also had shot a red-tailed hawk minutes before killing the eagle. CO Kuske assisted the Morrison County Sheriff’s Department with a damage-to-property complaint that involved someone placing some muskrat carcasses in a mailbox, then smashing it, along with dumping a dozen deer heads and pheasant carcasses on a driveway. A suspect has been identified and follow-up investigation is taking place. 

CO Mike Krauel (St. Cloud) worked at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in the town of Marty. After the parade, CO Krauel attempted to stop a vehicle operator doing burnouts in the middle of a nearby county road. The driver saw the emergency lights, pulled over to the side of the road, and ran into the woods, leaving the truck behind. If the driver would like to get the vehicle back, he is instructed to contact CO Krauel or the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office. 

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, ATVers, and wetland issues. Thesing also assisted a neighboring CO with taxidermy inspections.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and trapping activity. The officer fielded calls concerning firearms safety classes and road-killed animals. 

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) picked up an incidental otter that a trapper had gotten in his beaver set, handled calls about an injured swan on the Mississippi River, and took down a portable deer stand that had been left in one of the wildlife management areas. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a presentation in Waverly for a firearms safety class. A ride-along was given to a student from Buffalo High School who is interested in becoming a conservation officer. This was the first year no fish houses were left out on the lakes after the deadline.

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked ATV activity and handled numerous wildlife-related complaints throughout the station. CO Mohs also assisted the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office with a large grass that burned approximately 35 acres. The fire started from a small bonfire and quickly got out of control. The fire required four local fire departments, DNR forestry fire crews, and a DNR air tanker. 

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) attended the Isanti County Sportsmen’s Club meeting, as well as training on interview/interrogation during the past week.

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and worked fish house removal. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent time this week monitoring fish house removal and ice conditions. CO Grewe also took complaints regarding wetland issues and litter left at public accesses. 

CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent the week checking lakes for shelters left after the removal deadline. Removal of one house was required on Lake Minnetonka. Assistance was given to other agencies with an angler who broke through the ice while walking. The victim stated that having his ice picks to crawl out of the water saved his life. Weyandt also picked up a dead bald eagle from a citizen who found it in a creek near her home. An investigation began at a residence on a lake shore after a retaining wall was replaced near the shoreline. Work below the high water mark on a water body is regulated by the DNR.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) monitored fish house removal on Lake Waconia and other lakes in Carver County. He also investigated a possible wetland violation in Cologne where further follow-up is needed. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) attended three days of EMT refresher training at Hennepin Technical College. She also handled fish houses that were left on area lakes after the deadline and attended a lunch gathering for CO Brad Johnson’s retirement.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) investigated an ATV that was partially submerged, responded to a TIP call, and patrolled wildlife management areas for litter and off-road use. 

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked anglers on the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. He also spent some time on boating and AIS enforcement. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent the week working numerous complaints about injured bald eagles. One bald eagle was transported for treatment. 

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) monitored snow goose activity. A better-than-average migration along the South Dakota border was found. Complaints about people targeting walleyes on the Minnesota River were received. A sick bald eagle by Hanley Falls was captured and turned over to Raptor Center volunteers. 

CO Andrew Dirks (Redwood Falls) spent time checking the Minnesota River for beaver trapping. He also checked ATVing activity. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) worked with Kandiyohi County deputies on ATV complaints, which led to several violations. Vernier also responded to and released an otter from a trap near Roseville Township.  

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time during the week doing commercial inspections of taxidermist businesses and game farms. Time also was spent working on a wetland complaint in which the landowner was trying to make a road through a cattail wetland. 

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) gave a presentation on protection of natural resources to the New Discoveries Montessori Academy in Hutchinson.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked open-water shore anglers. Larger lakes have a bit of ice left on them with smaller ones ice free. ATV activity was monitored at GIA trails. One watercraft with fisherman was observed amongst the ice. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) attended a listening session in Mankato and attended a meeting regarding a voluntary refuge at Swan Lake.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking primarily fishermen and light goose hunters. With most of the lakes completely open, boating activity also was monitored. 

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) focused enforcement efforts on checking anglers and ATV operators during the week. The officer attended a meeting with other local conservation officers and sheriff’s deputies regarding a water rescue/search operation.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports calls have been taken on new regulations for the turkey-hunting season. Turkey hunters are encouraged to look at the new regulations prior to purchasing their licenses. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports heavy boat-fishing pressure and few people still on the ice. He checked an adult father and son with marijuana and gun violations in a boat. 

CO Scott Fritz (La Crescent) presented a Caledonia firearms instructor with a 50-year award. A big thank you, Dave Olson, for all of your years that you took the time to teach our community safe firearms handling! 

CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports assistance was given to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office with a disorderly conduct case that occurred at a public access and on the water. The suspects were threatening other anglers at the access and said they had a gun. When they were stopped, one of them had a loaded handgun in his pocket. The suspects and the gun were handed over to the deputies.

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