Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars Report, November 25th, 2106
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked big game, small game, and ATV enforcement. This year’s firearms deer season has come to a close and left many hunters in the area with the opportunity to take deer during the upcoming muzzleloader season.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports a quiet close to the firearms deer season. The final weekend of the season brought a lot of wind and very few opportunities for shooting deer.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued to monitor firearms deer-hunting activity and followed up on open investigations from earlier in the deer season. Multiple car-kill deer permits were issued.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking deer hunters and patrolling shining complaint areas throughout the week. Time was spent assisting CO Vollbrecht and CO Birdsall with an investigation of baited stands.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time this week following up on deer-related cases and working hunting-related complaint areas.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked some waterfowl hunters who were finding birds in the area. He also followed up on complaints and checked Zone 1 firearms deer hunters.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) and a COC focused efforts on the final weekend of deer hunting. Several baiting sites were found and citations were issued for those found hunting with the aid of bait.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports spending the week doing follow-up on deer-hunting cases. Time also was spent checking pheasant and waterfowl hunters.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) spent time closing cases from firearms deer season. Recent snowfall brought some snowmobiling activity to the area.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports iced-over shallow ponds and few ducks in the area. Geese are starting to filter in and roost on traditional late-season spots.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) followed up on several deer-hunting complaints from the season. Several cases are still ongoing.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) reports checking waterfowl hunters, pheasant hunters, and trappers. A call regarding an injured deer was handled.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl hunters and bowhunters, snowmobilers, and ATVers. Numerous snowmobiling violations were detected, with expired registration the most common.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work hunting activity involving waterfowl, pheasants, small game, and archery deer. Follow-up was completed on firearms deer season investigations, and trapping activity was monitored.
CO Steve Chihak (Wheaton) continued working on open investigations from the firearms deer hunting season. Minnow transportation permits were issued.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included working deer baits, and checking deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent monitoring trapping activity and checking snowmobile operators.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) continued to focus on violations related to the firearms deer season. Enforcement action was taken for trespassing, transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, and hunting on a closed game refuge.
CO Eric Sullivan (Walker) reports a large winter storm dumped large amounts of snow in the area. CO Sullivan investigated big-game violations including taking big game without a license, hunting over bait, shooting from a roadway, and overlimits of deer.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring fall hunting activity. The winter storm limited recreational activity. Few duck hunters were observed and waterfowl numbers appear low. CO Broughten assisted local law enforcement and the Minnesota State Patrol with several crashes and vehicles in the ditch. He also assisted with welfare checks of people without electricity.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) assisted local residents with snow storm traffic. CO Halverson also worked on deer season cases.
CO Chelsey Best (Remer) reports the last week of rifle season, combined with the season’s first blizzard, made for a busy week. Numerous wildlife and nongame calls were handled. Assistance was provided to Itasca County in looking for a suicidal male. An investigation was started for a roadway shooting violation.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports a weekend storm brought 2½ feet of snow to the work area. Those who disregarded the forecast, which was put out well ahead of time, found themselves digging through many feet of snow as ATVs are now useless. The deer are belly-deep in snow and numerous trees are down, making woods travel only possible by snowmobile and snowshoe.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports mostly working deer hunters the final week. The large storm made the last weekend more difficult for those who hadn’t yet harvested their deer. Individuals were stranded in their cabins, and forest roads were impassible. The officer worked an illegal decorative bough case, and enforcement action was taken. A complaint regarding wanton waste was investigated, but deemed unfounded. A number of trespass cases were investigated.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked deer hunters during the final week of the season. The season ended with a day-long blizzard that dumped a foot of snow on the area, which effectively kept most hunters at home. One archery deer hunter found hunting over bait also was unlawfully hunting with a firearm with him in the stand (cannot possess a firearm while archery hunting). Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over a baited area, possessing a firearm while archery deer hunting, borrowing or transferring a license or tag, unlawful party hunting, transporting an illegally taken big-game animal, transporting a loaded firearm, driving after suspension, an unregistered ATV, and a number of snowmobile violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) reports that before the heavy snowfall during the weekend deer hunters were checked. One deer hunter was the same one CO Frericks encountered two years ago, who was warned at the time for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. This time the same hunter was encountered and the same violation was found. This time a citation was issued.
CO John Slatinski (International Falls) reports fishermen were still catching some nice walleyes on the Rainy River.
CO Colleen Adam (Ray) checked deer hunters before, during, and after the snowstorm that heavily impacted the area with 6 to 18 inches of snow. CO Adam also assisted the county sheriff’s department with rescues of stranded motorists and hunters in remote locations stuck in the snow.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked on fall projects including deer hunters and fishing cases. Deer hunters were nearly nonexistent and not a shot was heard by the officer during the last four days of the season. The blizzard was pretty impressive and essentially shut down the deer season locally with 24 inches of snow and ice.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports a quiet ending to the deer season. Hunters had enough of the weather and not seeing much for deer or sign. Trees falling around stands and on backroads didn’t help either. The officer also checked whitefish and herring nets for identification and depth.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked deer hunters and patrolled WMAs and state parks. The officer followed up on reports of a hunter using his rifle scope in place of binoculars to check out approaching vehicles.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) arrested an individual for third degree DWI while the person was road hunting for deer.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) spent the week checking deer hunters. Calls investigated included shooting from the roadway, baiting deer, trespassing, shooting from a motor vehicle, illegal deer stands, and wanton waste.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked deer-hunting complaints, monitored trapping activities, and assisted the State Patrol with vehicles off the road due to the winter storm that passed through this week.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) spent time working the remaining days of the firearms deer season. Hunters were given the extreme opposite of opening day (warm weather) with heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions experienced during the weekend. Follow-up work continues on open cases from the deer season.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent the week working deer-hunting activity. Hunter harassment and ATV use during closed hours were most common complaints. Time was spent following up on deer carcass-dumping complaints, baited stands, and trespassing. The officer received numerous nuisance-bear complaints in Duluth.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) followed up on several calls involving firearms deer season. Complaints about possible trespass and hunter-harassment issues are common. A trapper-harassment investigation continues to be worked.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted with several vehicle crashes on the interstate highway after winter weather arrived in the area this past week. K9 Schody assisted with searching for evidence in two separate deer-poaching cases in Pine County and located a lost hunter who was in a remote forest area near the Wisconsin border. K9 Schody also assisted area law enforcement with searching for evidence after a pursuit. The suspect fled on foot from a vehicle and was believed to have thrown a gun. K9 Schody searched the area and was alerted to a ball of tinfoil buried in the snow near where the suspect fled. The tinfoil turned out to have a substance that is believed to be narcotics. The gun later was found at a in a different area by deputies. The suspect faces several felony level charges. Possession was taken of two incidentally caught otters and a complaint about trap theft was taken and is under investigation.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked commercial cisco nets around Grand Marais and Silver Bay. The last weekend of deer season wrapped up with cold, snow, and wind, but saw some deer on the move.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked the last weekend of the 200 Series firearm deer season. Illegal party-hunting violations were detected. CO Guida received numerous requests for car-kill deer permits. Numerous snowmobilers are out exploring trails, and, based on the tracks, driving illegally on the inside shoulders, risking injury due to slippery road conditions.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked boating, snowmobiling, and hunting activity. Contacts included ice cream reward coupons for 10- and 12-year old brothers for wearing PFDs while duck hunting. Three adult anglers were contacted and found to be one short on their PFDs.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) worked on a TIP call regarding a possible game overlimit.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked deer hunters, including complaints about shining and hunting in a closed area. He also monitored trapping activity, talked with some dedicated muskie anglers, and checked the first snowmobilers of the season.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) continued investigating deer-hunting violations. One investigation included taking an overlimit of deer and lending/borrowing deer licenses. Another investigation consisted of taking a deer from a roadway.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) assisted the local sheriff’s office and the Minnesota State Patrol with multiple vehicles in the ditch and trees over the road during the first winter storm of the season. Area lakes were checked for any late-season fishing activity.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) reports several complaints about dogs chasing deer were taken.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) reports an entire shift was dedicated to assisting other agencies with emergency weather, rollovers, crashes, and folks running in the ditch. CO Starr found three deer feeding in a remote area on a Saturday evening, prime for road hunters to stop and shoot. CO Starr observed numerous hunters passing by without lowering their hunting ethics. On another note, CO Starr assisted CO Kraul with two individuals who shot a button buck out of season, off the road, within 500 feet of a house. They had loaded guns, no antlerless permit, and were drinking heavily.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) reports one group of duck hunters swamped their boat while attempting to cross a lake during Minnesota’s first big winter storm of the season. First responders were able to quickly respond with a rescue boat soon after the three duck hunters and a dog capsized their flat-bottom boat in the high winds, snow, and high waves.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) finished up training a new CO. Time was spent working archery deer, duck, and pheasant hunters. Follow-up was done from the previous deer gun season.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) investigated a driveway placed in a wetland and brush piles stacked around an old house that had looked like it was ready to be burned. After deer season calls came in reports about hunter harassment by airplane, trespass, dogs chasing deer, and deer registered in the wrong permit areas,
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) assisted a person who found a deer stuck in a fence, and inspected the restoration completed from a wetland violation. CO Kuske also responded to a TIP call about shots fired after dark, but the incident and any possible responsible person(s) went unfounded. The sudden winter storm brought outdoor recreational activity to a halt, but CO Kuske did offer assistance to the State Patrol and local sheriff’s department in dealing with the multitude of traffic issues.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) received numerous calls regarding deer carcasses being illegally dumped.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen, waterfowl hunters, and deer hunters. He issued written warnings and summonses for the following violations; unsigned federal stamp, lend and borrow licenses, illegal taking of bass, hunting over a baited area, and a loaded gun in a motor boat. .
CO Mike Krauel (Milaca) assisted the State Patrol with the high-speed pursuit of a stolen one-ton diesel pickup that was on fire. CO Krauel also found a couple of individuals driving slowly through a state forest after dark without headlights. When he stopped to talk to the individuals, he found a loaded shotgun in the passenger seat, a rifle in the back seat with a spent shell still in the chamber, several open containers of alcohol, and an untagged antlerless deer in the back of the truck. Several charges are pending for that individual.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) followed up on several incidents of deer carcasses dumped in public road ditches and parking lots.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked waterfowl hunters in Waconia station. He also coordinated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to distribute management deer to the Karen Organization of Minnesota for needy families.
CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) closed wetland violation cases that required restoration to be finished. A TIP call was received about a possible trapping trespass from the water onto land by way of the complainant’s dock. It was determined that the muskrat trap was tripped by a large raccoon that ended up moving the trap onto the property. The trap and raccoon were returned to the owner.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) spoke at Century College to a group of students regarding conservation officer duties and responsibilities.
CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) worked deer and waterfowl hunters. Two different incidents of waterfowl hunters swamping their boat and waders were responded to on the Mississippi River along with a neighboring officer and other agencies. There is a serious risk of hypothermia this time of year, and waterfowl hunters are encouraged to wear their PFDs any time they are on the water.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports a few late-season mallards arrived after the storm and pheasants started grouping up in the cattails. With cold conditions, please remember ice safety and that not all lakes and ponds are freezing at the same rate.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Benson) reports checking waterfowl hunters and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for possessing uncased firearms in a state park, no park pass, no ATV registration displayed, and transporting loaded firearms.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) followed up with trespassing complaints and other violations from the deer season, with more cases ongoing. CO Klehr also is taking a lot of calls regarding the illegal dumping of deer carcasses.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) continued to follow up on deer investigations from the firearms season. An observant hunter was able to provide the officer with enough information to obtain an admission of shooting at big game from the roadway in one case. Another case involved a hunter watching a maroon-colored mid-1990s Dodge Dakota with a matching topper being down a road with a shotgun out the window, shooting at a buck and doe. The hunter shot the doe and drove into a field and quickly loaded the deer into the vehicle and fled the area. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the CO.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) focused primarily on deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunting activity this week. Additional time was spent monitoring trapping activity.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) reports a busy end to the regular firearms deer season with a number of follow-up complaints being investigated. A number of hunters also made their way to the field for the 3-B season this past weekend.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO James Fogarty (La Crescent) patrolled his newly assigned station. CO Fogarty was busy making contact with local enforcement agencies and citizens.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) and a COC investigated a wanton waste complaint where hunters did not carry their ducks and geese back to the car because they had too much stuff.
CO Phil George (Rochester) worked the second deer season opener and took calls from the public. A trespass case was investigated, along with complaints about litter and baiting.
CO Boyum (Rushford) reports two subjects were also found fishing trout during the closed season; enforcement action was taken.
CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports spending time familiarizing himself in the Zumbrota station, meeting landowners and community members. CO also Hill spent time following up on current investigations.