Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars Report – July 22nd, 2016

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) worked the Turn in Poachers Wall of Shame at the Lake of the Woods County Fair. CO Prachar also received a call about an injured owl near Baudette and found a young great horned owl with an injured leg. CO Prachar helped coordinate the transport of the owl to a raptor rehabilitation center.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working ATV and AIS enforcement, and angling activity throughout the week. Time was spent attending the local snowmobile club meeting, a meeting in St. Paul, and a meeting with the county attorney’s office regarding gross misdemeanor charges from an illegal netting case this spring.

CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck) focused on angling, boating, and ATV enforcement this week. A follow-up investigation was worked after information was received about a subject who fled the officer on an ATV.

CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette) focused on ATV and angling enforcement. Assistance was given at an AIS check station.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending meetings in Detroit Lakes and Camp Ripley. Time was spent preparing for a class at the Conservation Officer Academy. A wetland site inspection was done.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) assisted at the CO academy, and checked anglers and boaters. He also helped search for a missing person.

CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked recreational vehicle activity in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. Time also was spent participating in an AIS work detail with several officers.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports providing emergency vehicle operation training for the current Conservation Officer Academy. The new recruits were instructed in pursuit and emergency driving, laws, and directives related to emergency vehicle operation.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked anglers and boaters, attended training, and spoke to a firearms safety class about laws and ethics.

CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring ATV and angling activity in the Moorhead station. The officer staffed the TIP trailer at the Clay County Fair and answered questions on a variety of topics. The officer also assisted Clay County Sheriff’s Department deputies with several domestic disturbances. A possible wolf depredation also was investigated.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports checking fishermen, boaters, and ATVers, and working AIS enforcement this week. Additional time was spent handling nuisance beavers and preparing for upcoming safety training classes.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) issued a nuisance-beaver permit and handled numerous calls about injured wildlife.

CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked fishermen and boaters, and worked AIS enforcement.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked fishermen, boaters, and ATV operators, and followed up on aquatic plant management investigations.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked fishing activity and boating safety this week, with high traffic observed. A couple instances of angling without licenses were handled, along with citations and warnings for lack of PFDs and registration violations on stand-up paddleboards.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, boaters, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent working an AIS work detail in the Glenwood station with CO Anderson. CO Baumbarger also assisted the Pope County Sheriff’s Office with a motorcycle accident and investigated complaints about people running over geese with motor vehicles.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Duke Broughten (Longville) continues to receive ATV-related complaints and followed up on public waters and wetland violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked boating and angling activity. The CO also responded to a call about boaters in distress on Leech Lake in large waves. The inexperienced boaters beached a pontoon boat on rocks and sand near Pelican Island. The occupants moved onto the island. The seven boaters were safely removed from the island after they were guided via a long walk through a bog and thick brush to the leeward side of the island, where rescue boats waiting.

CO Chelsey Best (Remer) handled more beaver and bear nuisance issues this week. High water levels caused many issues including beached boats and flooded roads. CO Best assisted one party retrieve a sunken boat from Leavitt Lake in Outing. Another individual thought it would be a good idea to operate his snowmobile approximately 1 mile down a gravel road to a portion that was flooded by the Willow River. The party then proceeded to operate his snowmobile over the open water for a distance of over a mile total. This individual was cited for careless operation of a snowmobile. CO Collette and another officer also retrieved a fish house that was left on the edge of Six Mile Lake near the northwest access. Any individuals with information regarding the party who left the fish house this spring are encouraged to come forward. CO Best worked fishing/boating enforcement on Leech Lake. CO Best also assisted CO Collette with a BWI arrest on Walker Bay on Leech after the individuals participating in a bachelor party celebration tossed an empty glass liquor bottle into the air and into the water as they passed in front of the officers.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and boating activities. Public access sites continue to be checked. Area forest roads were monitored. Beaver problems are ongoing.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports fishing has slowed on Lake Vermilion. The officer investigated a complaint about storing property on public lands. A number of boaters were stopped for loud exhaust, with enforcement action taken. A number of individuals are contacting the officer, asking for their boats to be checked to make sure they are compliant with exhaust regulations, which is encouraging.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) received another reported wolverine sighting, this one west of Biwabik.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time patrolling the Virginia area for ATV and OHM traffic. Enforcement action was taken for allowing illegal operation of an OHM by a juvenile. CO Frericks also responded to assist the Gilbert police and St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office with the report of possible drowning on Ore-be-gone. The victim’s body was recovered.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked a local lake and was encountering a 100 percent violation rate. Nearly every boat encountered had a violation of some sort, ranging from overlimits of northern pike to no canoe registration. One group that actually lived on the lake year-round was a mile from their cabin and had no PFDs in their kayaks. They were surprised that their kayaks also needed registrations since they had not purchased registration for them for 15 years. The good news is that the last three boats checked that night were in complete compliance.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) handled calls about public waters, including a dock installation and a nuisance beaver on a trout stream. Both callers opted to contact the local CO before their project started rather than find out later that some paperwork was lacking and thus they were issued more paperwork.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked angling and boating enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, unlawful purchase and use of a combination angling license, no navigational lights after sunset, and no fishing license in possession.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) monitored angling activity on inland lakes and Lake Superior. The officer also handled complaints about possible illegal ATV use, damage to trails, and wildlife-related complaints, and assisted the county with a trespass complaint.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ATV, invasive species, and boating activity during the week. CO Murray also responded to a report about an individual clinging to rocks in the river in Gooseberry Falls State Park. It was determined the youth was not in need of assistance but was frightened by the rushing water over the falls.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, patrolled ATV trails, enforced AIS regulations, handled nuisance wildlife, and investigated possible baiting violations.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked ATV, sportfishing, boating, and AIS enforcement, and handled miscellaneous nuisance animal-related calls. He also patrolled state park areas, state forests, and public water accesses.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked anglers in the Grand Rapids station. CO Sutherland took enforcement action for angling without a license in possession and operating an unregistered watercraft.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, watercraft, ATVs, state parks, and campgrounds. He also worked on firearms safety class materials during the week.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked fishing and boating enforcement on area lakes. Time also was spent working ATV enforcement. CO Duncan also assisted the local sheriff’s office with a stolen vehicle and the arrest of fleeing individuals.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted other agencies with areas that were flooding after heavy rainfall in the area. Boating and other recreational activity were a bit slower because of the heavy rains.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers on area Duluth lakes and Lake Superior. AIS enforcement was worked in conjunction with fisheries enforcement. Bear-related complaints are starting to increase in certain Duluth neighborhoods.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. A planning meeting was attended for the 2016 Tall Ships event. A call taken was taken about a deer floating in the harbor. A local wildlife control company responded and removed the deer from the water.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, ATV, and invasive species enforcement. Assistance was also given to the State Patrol and sheriff’s department with weather-related issues and an ATV accident.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) assisted at Camp Ripley with training of the new conservation officer class. CO McGowan also assisted in instructing with emergency vehicle training and recreational vehicle enforcement training.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) checked angling activity and working all-terrain vehicle enforcement. CO Guida also instructed a group of youth boat operators who were getting their watercraft operator’s permits with the Crow Wing and Cass County sheriff’s offices on Gull Lake. CO Guida also instructed a group of youth in firearms safety training.

CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) responded to reports about suspicious fishing activity, miscellaneous wildlife-related calls, and a large inflatable swimming platform that was blocking a public water access. Public accesses, WMAs, and other state properties were checked for flooding and wash-out damage from the recent heavy rains.

CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) worked area lakes for boating safety issues and checked anglers. A boating while intoxicated arrest was made after a member of a bachelor party on a pontoon boat threw a wine bottle in the air and into the water while motoring across the lake. The pontoon had to be towed to shore, as none of the party were sober enough to operate the boat. The officer also assisted the aviation unit for a telemetry flight and was the observer and camera operator.

CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked boaters, ATVs, and fishermen. CO Hunter received multiple ATV-related complaints regarding going around gates and driving through wetlands.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports checking area boaters and fishermen during the week and weekend. Assistance was given at the Conservation Officer Academy. Calls regarding injured animals and also several calls about nuisance beavers were taken, with permits issued. The officer assisted the county with an ATV accident and a party who fled on foot from officers. Lots of outdoor-related law questions were answered, and an investigation was conducted into some oil residue on a river after the recent high water. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency was notified.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) spent the week assisting with flood-damaged roads and trail closures. Many state forest roads and trails remain closed due to damage caused by the rainfall. Please check the DNR website for closures. The Island Lake public access was closed and no-wake restrictions on the lake were enacted to prevent further damage to already flooded homes and cabins.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) investigated a wolf depredation complaint in which three calves and an adult cow likely were killed by wolves. Several wolves were removed from the farm. Extremely high water continued to be a problem throughout the area, and support was provided regarding flooding problems in the county. Most rivers were flowing fast and out of their banks causing dangerous boating conditions. One group of kayakers found conditions a little too difficult and had to be rescued.

CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) assisted the Pine County Sheriff’s Department with road closures near Willow River. Area wild rice beds have been damaged by the high water.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time following up on big-game cases from last season and patrolling for ATV activity.

CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) received a TIP call about someone shooting geese in their front yard on the Mississippi River. CO Kuske investigated and found that a homeowner did not like the geese wrecking his grass. Enforcement action was taken for taking geese out of season. CO Kuske also assisted the Little Falls police with the recovery of a stolen boat that was found tied up along the Mississippi River.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent time assisting at the CO academy. Time also was spent working shoreline issues, anglers, and boaters. One lakeshore owner was found to have cut over 1,450 square feet of cattail from the lake in front of his property. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) reports problems continue to persist at the Pierz Lake Public Access. Consumption of alcohol and intoxicated people at the site are a common complaint. Many people complain that it has become hard to launch a boat because of all the extra activity there. CO Kuske is working with DNR Parks and Trails to review usage at the site.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked fishing, boating, and ATVing activity throughout the week. CO Mohs assisted the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office, the Taylors Falls Fire Department, and the National Park Service in searching for a male who fell into the St. Croix River. The river is very high and the current is extremely fast. All area river accesses have been closed due to the unsafe conditions.

CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) spent the week working flood-related issues. Boats, docks, and other personal property not attached to the ground floated away or onto neighboring property. Water levels are returning to normal, but many new water hazards have been reported. During the height of the flooding, many full-sized trees were seen floating around in area lakes.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) patrolled Wright County area lakes and rivers this week. Water levels on the area rivers were up, limiting some recreational activity. Assistance was given to Wright County Sheriff’s Department with an overturned canoe with two people in the water. The canoers were found safe, which was attributed to wearing life jackets, as they were not able to swim.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Chelsie Leuthardt (Prior Lake) spent three days in Little Falls at Camp Ripley assisting with training. CO Leuthardt also worked on Prior Lake during the Lakefront Music Fest. Enforcement action was taken for an insufficient number of life jackets on board a watercraft, no life vest on a child under 10, and various other watercraft violations.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked boating and angling activity in the Waconia and Fort Snelling stations. He also assisted the area hydrologist with a shoreline violation that resulted in a restoration order.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) assisted a neighboring agency with the search for a missing person. CO Arntzen also responded to TIP calls and continued checking boaters and anglers.

CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked angling and boating enforcement around the metro area. CO Pril also spoke at a firearms safety class about hunting rules and regulations.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) concentrated this week’s enforcement on angling activity and patrolling state wildlife management areas due to ongoing complaints about trespass, littering, and fires. Officer Gutzwiller also assisted Lac qui Parle State Park officials with a complaint and attended a meeting in St. Paul.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, boating, ATVing, and invasive species enforcement. Time also was spent patrolling Camden State Park. Caution needs to be used on local rivers as 3 to 6 inches of rain fell during a short period of time Saturday night and Sunday morning, causing some flooding issues.

CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reported heavy storms traveled through the Montevideo area, causing power outages and many trees down.

District 16 – New Ulm area 

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) assisted Meeker County officials after there was a tornado touchdown in Litchfield and Watkins that caused lots of damage.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) assisted DNR Wildlife with an injured pelican and swallows causing problems at a local restaurant.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) took calls regarding the illegal use of fuel oil as a herbicide and taxidermy questions.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports taking several nuisance beaver-related calls this week.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) reports multiple violations were encountered throughout the week. One individual was located who had just pried open and removed the soft body inside of a native freshwater mussel. The individual claimed he didn’t know they were protected and was so excited because it was the first one he had ever seen. Enforcement action was taken, and outdoor enthusiasts are reminded that all of Minnesota’s native freshwater mussels are protected.

CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked a detail at the St. Croix River bridge construction site.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) contacted a number of off-highway motorcyclists who were in the area for the Spring Creek race.

CO Boyum (Rushford) assisted the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department in looking for kayakers who were stranded on an island in high water. All subjects were located and assisted to shore.

CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) contacted an individual transporting live fish in water taken from a zebra mussel-infested lake. The individual was stopped before entering a non-infested water body.

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