Minnesota Cuffs & Collars Report – November 11th, 2016
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports a busy firearms deer opener in the Lake of the Woods area. CO Prachar worked several cases of hunting over bait. Prior to the opener, CO Prachar received a call about an 8-point buck that may have been poached. While investigating, CO Prachar found a penetrating injury to the rear of the animal. Upon further examination, he was able to determine that it most likely was gored by another buck while sparring.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) worked the firearms deer season during the unseasonably warm weather. Baiting continues to be a problem in the area, with hunters as young as 12 sitting over corn piles.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working shining complaint areas, and checking small-game hunters, waterfowl hunters, and trapping activity throughout the week. The busy firearms deer hunting opener was worked. CO Regas responded to a report about a wolf that was caught in a foothold set for coyotes. CO Regas and the trapper were able to free the wolf from the trap. The wolf appeared uninjured as it returned to the wild. CO Regas also worked an investigation with Leech Lake tribal COs that involved a juvenile band member shooting at deer from the roadway. The joint investigation resulted with enforcement action taken.
CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck) reports spending the week preparing for the upcoming firearms deer season. Several baited deer stands were located, and hunters were contacted and enforcement action taken. CO Quittschreiber was patrolling by ATV on a large chunk of public land when he came upon a shotgun lying in the grass. It was discovered that the firearm had been stolen in Texas in 1996.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports taking several hunting-related calls prior to the deer season opener. Most of this weekend was spent working a busy firearms deer opener.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) started the firearms deer season with a check that turned into a medical situation and later assisted with two vehicle accidents.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling for trapping and small-game hunting activities. TIP calls were received regarding trespass, shooting from a road, and late shooting.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) checked angling and boating activity. Waterfowl hunting activity was worked, with hunters reporting mixed results. CO Warren also assisted the sheriff’s office with a possible lost hunter.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week monitoring pheasant and deer-hunting activity in the Moorhead station. Several incidents were investigated, including one in which the subject refused to claim and tag a deer that was shot and ran onto another property. When asked, he stated that he thought the neighbors would tag it.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent the week before deer season investigating numerous calls regarding illegal bait, illegal deer stands, trespass, WMA violations, license questions, and wetland complaints.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) reports preparing for and working a busy firearms deer opener, with hunter participation high and success average. Numerous violations were encountered and several investigations are ongoing. A fishing investigation was concluded with a subject found to be in possession of 20 crappies over his limit.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on opening weekend of firearms deer season. COs Anderson and Daniel Baumbarger worked complaints about deer baiting and deer shining. Other complaints worked involved shooting at deer from roadways.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Eric Sullivan (Walker) made contact with an ATV operator who later was arrested for DWI. CO Sullivan also detected a wide variety of big-game hunting violations that included hunting with the aid of bait, lending and borrowing licenses, overlimits of deer, and trespassing.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring fall hunting activity. The CO investigated several cases of hunting deer over bait and also multiple incidents where hunters claimed to have mistaken a doe for a buck. Deer hunters are reminded to verify their target before taking the shot. Some poor ethical decisions also shed a negative light on the sport of hunting.
CO Chelsey Best (Remer) spent the majority of time this week focused on deer-hunting activity. A few duck hunters also were checked, and wildlife possession permits were issued. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, transporting a loaded firearm, failure to validate a site tag, and operating an ATV during closed hours.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) and a COC report spending time in the early part of the week preparing for the firearms deer season opener. Prior to the season opening they responded to multiple calls about trespassing and deer-baiting issues. One individual was found hunting over apples and corn, while toting a bow, prior to rifle season opening. CO Kittelson and the COC worked with a group of neighboring officers on a large deer-baiting case on opening morning that resulted in multiple citations, along with firearms and deer seized.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked the week preparing for the deer season. The officer investigated the illegal taking of a deer out of season, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked deer opener and found hunter numbers in the area appear to be down somewhat. Reported hunting over bait was checked, along with issues of failing to validate licenses and failing to register deer before processing. A public waters violation investigation was conducted.
CO Colleen Adam (Ray) reports many deer hunters were disappointed by the lack of success, but said the true meaning for them was deer camp traditions.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports deer baiting continues to be a significant problem, and several hunters were found hunting illegally. Other violations included failure to validate deer tags, untagged big-game animals, and failure to register big game.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports assistance was given to Duluth-area officers on opening day of the firearms deer season. People were encountered hunting over bait piles, so rifles were seized and charges are pending.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy firearms deer season opener with lots of violations encountered. A citizen TIP about night hunting included a license plate number, which led CO Bermel to a residence where two illegal does and a van were seized, with numerous charges pending for the violator.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked an unusually warm deer opener on the North Shore. Hunters reported seeing more mosquitoes than deer, as temperatures climbed into the 70s.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) helped a neighboring officer deal with illegal deer-baiting violations and also worked whitefish netters. CO Stage found that compliance for the whitefish netters is increasing regarding many of the laws that have been ignored for years. One person that was charged several years ago for abandoning his net in a lake was caught keeping northerns and walleyes illegally this year. The nets were set in 12 feet of water instead of the under 6 feet required. They also were pretty much in violation of every other law pertaining to whitefish netting, except that his net was tagged as required.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) spent most of the week preparing for deer season and dealt with a wolf-related complaint. He handled calls about trespassing, baiting deer, operating ATVs during closed hours, shining, illegal permanent stands, vehicle-killed deer, careless discharge of a firearm, and requests for various permits.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy deer opener with hunter harvest seeming to be good. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, failing to tag a deer, failing to validate a deer tag, transporting an illegally taken deer, allowing a minor to take game illegally, shooting from a roadway at a big-game animal, and operating an ATV on the roadway.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, waterfowl hunters, worked the firearms deer opener, investigated baiting complaints, and monitored trapping activity. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, transporting a loaded firearm, and license issues.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Brookston) spent time during the week checking small-game hunters and investigating baiting complaints. Assistance was provided to other district officers with baiting complaints that resulted in several citations being issued and firearms being seized.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the majority of the week working complaints and following up on potential illegal deer stands prior to the firearms deer opener. Calls also were taken regarding hunter harassment and trapping violations.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) assisted other officers with baiting complaints in Pine and St. Louis counties. CO Humphrey encountered several OHV-related violations throughout the week and received complaints about unlawful OHV operation by some deer hunters.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports a deer hunter was educated on hunter safety when he was stopped for one ATV violation and his rifle was found to be loaded. While waiting for his citation, he decided to unload his rifle and it went off, shooting a hole in the door of his pickup truck.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent the week answering questions and preparing for the firearms deer season opener. Several hunters were contacted and cited for hunting over illegal bait on opening weekend.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) assisted a hunter with a medical incident while in a deer stand, and responded to complaints about trespassing, shooting from the roadway, and antlerless deer shot and left.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked a busy firearms deer opener. Some hunters were investigated for the illegal use of bait. Those hunters face a one-year revocation of hunting privileges, forfeiture of firearms used, and hefty fines. Reports of individuals driving up and down public roadways, interfering with hunters’ chances to take a deer, were received and investigated. During the week, enforcement action was taken on a variety of violations. During a hunter group check, the officer came upon a large deer camp where family members were welcomed with a large hunting banner. CO Guida’s name was not on the welcoming banner, but it was suggested that it be added with a magic marker.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) reports deer baiting complaints were investigated. Corn, apples, and pumpkins seem to be the most common baits. A complaint about duck decoys left unattended overnight received some enforcement time.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) found a lot of people enjoying the opener of deer rifle season. The officer addressed a significant number of hunters hunting over bait.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports assistance was given to a local sheriff’s department on a call for service, and an ATV permit was issued for the rifle deer season. Officer Fitzgerald assisted a neighboring officer with multiple baiting cases, and multiple citations were issued and guns were seized. A case of stands left in a WMA was investigated, and the officer also stopped several hunters on ATVs operating during closed hours.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) reports a call about a lost hunter was responded to, as was a shining call. Enforcement action was taken for loaded guns and no license in possession.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) worked a busy firearms deer season opener. One group of hunters was surprised when they showed up for an evening of hunting and found CO Grundmeier waiting for them by a deer stand and pile of corn they placed in the woods. The hunters tried to make up a story about how they were intending to hunt somewhere else, but eventually admitted to the violation of hunting deer over bait.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) continued training a COC. The officers checked pheasant, archery, and firearms deer hunters, along with a few anglers. The officers also assisted neighboring officers with a deer-shining work crew.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) went to check a stand baited with pumpkins on the deer opener. The bait was gone and the landowner was met on site. He said the bait had been placed by another person hunting on his property. When the owner found the pumpkins he cleaned them up and told the person to leave and not come back. The CO also received a complaint about a person plugging a county drainage ditch. The responsible party decided to voluntarily remove the fill when he realized the large amount of water he was backing up eventually would flood his property. A group of deer hunters making a drive had their posters ready to shoot from a public road and were found transporting a loaded firearm in a truck. Grandpa stated it was a family tradition to hunt like this.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) had a local sheriff’s department deputy respond to a call about an injured loon walking on a paved county road. The farmer that called it in and the deputy were able to capture the loon, put it in the back seat of the squad car, and transport it to some water where it could take off. One hunter on deer opener was checked just a mile away from getting the illegal eight point buck to the meat processor. The buck had the man’s son’s tag on it and the man claimed his son was on his way home and was not from the area. When COs Kuske and Bertram asked to talk to the son about the buck, the father then confessed he used his son’s tag without his son being there. The officers soon learned you have to be careful what you ask someone to do. The hunter was told he’d have to burn his own tag since he shot the buck. To the officers’ surprise, the hunter pulled out his Bic lighter and started to burn his deer tag. CO Bertram quickly stopped him and explained he needed to validate the tag, not literally burn it. The buck was seized, enforcement action was taken, and the officers also learned that the hunter had a revoked driver’s license.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked deer hunters and fishermen during the week. Weather was warm but deer harvest appeared normal. Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials, failure to validate deer licenses, shooting from a roadway, operating an ATV on the roadway, transporting loaded firearms, and shining deer two hours after sunset.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) reports violations were found for hunting deer over bait, illegal shining, failing to tag deer, and unlawful party hunting.
CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked the busy firearms deer-hunting opener. Enforcement action was taken for hunting with the aid or use of bait, shining, transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles, deer tag/registration violations, and using two-way radios while hunting.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked the 2016 deer opener in the Waconia station. He also took TIP calls regarding fishing for trout during the closed season and hunting during closed hours.
CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent time answering deer-hunting questions from people preparing for the deer opener. On opener, CO Weyandt took enforcement action for multiple people hunting over bait, no license in possession, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and hunting without a license.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) investigated a complaint about a deer carcass that was dumped in the complainant’s trash can without his knowledge.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka and Isanti counties on the firearms deer opener. CO Salzer fielded several calls regarding trespassing and baiting, with enforcement action taken. CO Salzer also investigated a case in which a hunter shot a deer on Halloween without a license and over bait. Charges are pending.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) reports most hunters found a slow start to the deer season. One hunter (who was found deer hunting in sandals) believed this could be due to the warm weather.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) reports an investigation continues into two deer hunters who intentionally shot slugs at two other deer hunters.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) reports assistance was given in locating and recovering a wounded deer that entered a state park, and another wounded deer that entered private property in which the hunter did not have permission and the landowner could not be contacted. CO Nelson found another hunter who needed help tracking a deer, and who had lost his cell phone in the process. He assisted by texting the hunter’s friend, asking for help on behalf of the hunter. The friend texted back, encouraging the hunter to use another person’s tag who was not present. Officer Nelson revealed his identity as a game warden and educated the friend on the finer points of lending/borrowing tags and the potential for citations. Not surprisingly, the friend never returned Nelson’s text message.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) assisted with a cross-fire incident in which a deer hunter was struck in the upper right thigh by a 12-gauge slug.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, migratory waterfowl hunters, small-game hunters, and deer hunters. Many deer hunters were struggling with the warm weather and crops still in the fields.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) worked a busy deer opener this past weekend. A complaint about ATVers chasing deer was investigated. The officer also educated some individuals on the laws of burning prohibited materials.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports an active week leading up to the firearms deer season with a COC. The officers handled multiple complaints regarding landowners finding game camera images of people trespassing, along with various other trespassing complaints.
CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) spent the majority of the week checking hunters. Numerous deer-related complaints were fielded. Enforcement action was taken for failing to validate a site tag and shooting a deer from the road right of way.
CO Phil George (Rochester) worked anglers and hunters and took complaints about trespass and harassment issues. Enforcement action was taken for antler point restriction violations, and transporting loaded firearms.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a good start to deer season. He did see some effects of the heat with people not wearing orange, deer spoiling, and some exhausted people. He investigated a call about a person possessing a live owl, deer violations, trespass complaints, and a taxidermy complaint.