Editor’s note: The DNR’s Bureau of Law Enforcement is in the process of setting up new districts, teams, and administrative areas with the addition of 33 new field warden positions. For now, we will continue posting monthly field reports under the 19 areas listed on the accompanying map, but that number is going to increase with at least eight changes already being identified. In this week’s report from northern teams, readers will notice that there is a new Antigo area with no district number assigned to it as of yet. The Antigo area used to be part of the old Woodruff area. The map and district number and name designations will be updated as soon as the changes have been finalized.
District 1 — Ashland area
Warden Amie Egstad, of Bayfield, Red Cliff tribal warden Zach Peterson, and Bad River tribal warden Bob Wilmer were out on patrol in July on Lake Superior checking commercial fishing nets in the “flats” area where the wardens located four boats at one time fishing inside the Gull Island lake trout refuge. The fishermen involved were issued citations for fishing inside the refuge.
Warden Lynna Gurnoe, of Bayfield, responded with a vessel to a report of individuals who had sunk in two inflatable kayaks between Sand Island and the mainland. The individuals were picked up by a passerby and were brought to the island. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore staff removed the individuals from the island and it was found they did not possess any PFDs. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Adam Stennett stopped an ATV in Delta in July that was being operated by a young girl. The operator did not have a helmet as required, was on the road illegally, and did not have an ATV safety certificate. Stennett issued the operator’s mother a citation for knowingly allowing her daughter to operate the ATV.
District 2 — Cumberland area
Warden Jesse Ashton received multiple citizen complaints in July regarding illegal docks, illegal dumping, and illegal chemical treatment of weeds. In one case, Ashton issued a citation to a subject for removing too large of an area of emergent vegetation in front of his cabin, and for spraying chemicals to kill the lily pads without a permit.
Warden Chris Spaight, of Grantsburg, was working a complaint of illegal ATV activity along a state trail in July. After monitoring the trail for a short amount of time, Spaight made contact with a group of three machines on the closed trail. During the contact, Spaight discovered three additional violations besides just operating on the closed trail. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Spaight was patrolling between lakes and observed a UTV turn off of a county highway that is not open for ATV travel and continue past Spaight’s location. Spaight observed eight occupants, including two kids who were not wearing helmets.
Wardens Spaight and Melgaard, of Baldwin, responded to an ATV crash in northern Burnett County in July. During the investigation, it was found that the driver of the ATV accidentally ejected himself off of the vehicle and then the next machine in line hit the victim’s ATV. It was found that the operator of the initial machine had not completed an ATV safety class.
District 3 — Park Falls area
Warden Dan Michels, of Park Falls, investigated a complaint about local residents going to Kansas to hunt deer illegally over the past several years, during which time they harvested several trophy bucks. Michels, with the assistance of warden Matt Meade, of Mercer, and warden Matt MacKenzie, of Ashland, seized four bucks that were all shot illegally in Kansas during the past few years. Charges are pending in Kansas and Wisconsin for several violations.
District 4 — Woodruff area
Warden Tim Price, of Eagle River, took possession of an American kestrel from a Conover resident who acquired the young falcon illegally from the wild. The bird was transported to Wild Instincts in Rhinelander, where the bird is expected to be released back into the wild.
Warden Jim Jung, of Rhinelander, and DNR wildlife biologist Jeremy Holtz were notified by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department that a bull moose that had been seen and videotaped recently was killed by a vehicle near Monico. This is the third moose killed by a vehicle east of Rhinelander in the past 10 years.
Warden Jung received a complaint on a local septic hauler in July regarding over-application and debris left out on the field after land application. An investigation determined that the company had not over-applied and, although some debris was on the field, the company was in the clean-up process.
Antigo area (new team)
In a team effort, warden Kelly Crotty worked with DNR forestry technician Paul Veirauch and Florence County Sheriff’s Department chief deputy Dave Gribble to remove a partially submerged car from the Brule River. The vehicle had been driven onto an ice shelf along the river in early spring and could not safely be removed from the river by ice-out. Because the vehicle’s owner was found deceased in the river, the DNR staff took the initiative to remove the vehicle. With the assistance of Crotty and Gribble, Veirauch used a bulldozer to cut a roadway through the woods to the steep embankment of the river above the car. The vehicle was then pulled up the hill and ultimately towed away from the scene. The removal effort took approximately six hours. The property owner, We Energies, allowed DNR to access the utility company’s property and cut trees in the effort to remove the car.
Warden Andy Dryja, of Langlade County, assisted Mountain Search and Rescue with the recovery of man and young child who were mountain biking in a heavily wooded area of the national forest when they encountered a black bear and became scared. The man and child fled on foot into a large bog where the man got stuck in the mud. To make matters worse, it was reported that the bear was hanging around and would not leave the area. Because it was getting dark, and the closest access point to the man by miles was on the opposite side of the bog, Dryja waded through the bog – at times in arm pit deep water – and swam a river to reach the man and his son. The man was freed from the waist-deep muck. Dryja led the father and son along a trail, eventually meeting up with a search and rescue UTV that was used to take the duo and their bikes, and then back to their vehicle many miles away. The father and son were unharmed.
District 5 — Lower St. Croix area
No report available.
District 6 — Eau Claire area
Warden Peter Carlson observed two jet skis violating several operating rules: operating within 100 feet of shore on Mead Lake; operating above the no-wake limit within 200 feet of shore; above the no-wake limit within 100 feet of another jet ski; operating an unregistered jet ski; and operating a personal watercraft with no boater safety training. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Carlson responded to a citizen complaint in July of individuals damaging wetlands in northern Clark County with heavy excavation equipment. A site inspection determined that there was a significant amount of excavation, including creating a clearing through a wetland with a bulldozer. Working with DNR water management specialists, it was determined there was several wetland violations. Enforcement action was taken.
Wardens John Schreiber, of Cornell, and John Moore, of Tomah, investigated a report of possible aquatic invasive species hanging on a boater’s trailer. Upon follow-up with the boater, the wardens learned that the boater came from another lake and failed to remove the weeds from his trailer. The wardens also learned that the man failed to register four turkeys he harvested, allowed another hunter to tag one of his turkeys he shot without a license, and failed to report multiple geese the man harvested in previous hunting seasons. Enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Schreiber and Moore investigated an individual who purchased 11 licenses during a period of revocation. They determined that the individual also had harvested a buck during the archery deer season without having a valid license and the individual then failed to register that deer. Those violations occurred in Dunn County.
District 6 — Eau Claire area
Warden Kevin Christorf, of Chippewa Falls, and deputy warden Ryan Strzok contacted a boater on Marshmiller Lake who did not have navigational lights, as required, on the boat more than an hour after the required time. Upon contact, the wardens determined that the boat operator was intoxicated. The operator was arrested for OWI and enforcement action was taken.
District 7 — Wisconsin Rapids area
No report available.
District 8 — La Crosse area
Warden Dale Hochhausen, of Onalaska, and La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department deputy Rich Amundsen were patrolling the Mississippi River when they came upon a person fishing without a license. This individual also had a felony probation warrant for deliver/manufacture of methamphetamine. Enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Hochhausen and Trevor Tracey, of Stoddard, arrested an individual for obstructing a warden. The individual provided false identifying information during a prior contact with Hochhausen and had a warrant out of Monroe County. The suspect was booked into the La Crosse County jail.
While on patrol in July, warden Cody Adams, of Crawford County, and deputy warden Mike Williams observed a personal watercraft operator make a sharp turn and caused water to spray Adams’ boat. The operator was stopped and the wardens could smell the presence of an intoxicant coming from the operator. The man was 20 years old. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Trevor Tracey assisted during a flood in La Farge in July. Tracey arrived in La Farge and found that the Kickapoo River was overtaking the streets and homes. Tracey, along with two other local law enforcement officers, unloaded the flat-bottomed boat into high water in the streets of La Farge. Tracey operated the boat to the location of a home where a family was stranded. A mother, father, small child, and two dogs were safely removed from the flooded home and brought to dry ground.
District 9 — Black River Falls area
Warden Wade Romberg, of Friendship, responded to a possible breech of the Friendship dam after a heavy July rain. Romberg worked with the Adams County Sheriff’s Department and local fire departments to evacuate people from some of the troubled areas.
Warden Michael Weber, of Mauston, responded with the Juneau County Sheriff’s Department and the Necedah Fire Department to Alcatraz Island on the Castle Rock Flowage for an emergency call that a woman had been injured after falling off the rocks. The victim was located and transported to a hospital for her injuries.
Warden Matt Weber, of Necedah, investigated a complaint that an angler caught and kept a sturgeon while fishing the Wisconsin River. Weber determined there was a violation and enforcement action was taken.