Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Nov. 10, 2017
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) reports charges are pending for an archery hunter who wounded a trophy buck with an arrow. The next day and still during the archery season, the subject jumped and shot the deer multiple times with a rifle. Multiple deer baits were investigated, and enforcement action was taken on hunters for hunting deer with the aid of bait. A hunter-harassment complaint was investigated, and charges are pending. Another buck was seized from a hunter who shot down a road at the deer. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) worked the firearms deer opener in northwest Minnesota. Inclement weather led to moderate success on opening morning, but a few nice deer were taken.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working the firearms deer hunting opener. Time was spent investigating reports of hunters hunting with the aid of bait, shooting during closed hours, and shining.
CO Kyle Quittschreiber (Blackduck) responded to several trespass calls. Remember when heading to the woods to check beforehand to ensure you don’t end up illegally hunting on private property.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) investigated baiting, trespassing, and the shooting of deer from roads. CO Gray also assisted the Beltrami Sheriff’s Office with a deer hunter who became a safety concern at a remote deer camp.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked a busy opening weekend of firearms deer season. Several complaints were taken regarding target shooting the day before the season. Complaints were taken and investigated of individuals hunting over bait. He observed two individuals driving their truck without headlines on, on a small gravel road late one full-moon night. After he’d followed them several miles, they were observed shining fields with spotlights. The individuals then were observed shooting a deer from the truck. The individuals were surprised to see who had been following them after they had dragged the deer back to the truck. Charges are pending in the case.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling area wildlife management areas for stands that were left overnight. Hunters in the Vergas area shot a couple large deer, only to discover they were escaped deer from a local deer farm. The deer farmer was gracious and did not fault the hunters. The deer were sampled by DNR Wildlife for CWD testing.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking waterfowl-, pheasant-, and deer-hunting activity in the Pelican Rapids station. The officer investigated a report about several individuals “rallying” ducks and instances of possible lending/borrowing of deer licenses, assisted a landowner with freeing a large buck from a chain link fence, and assisted with a structure fire.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) responded to several complaints during the opening weekend of firearms deer hunting. A report of shots fired early Sunday morning was investigated near the airport in Elbow Lake. A complaint about waterfowl dumped on a waterfowl production area near Andes Tower Hills also was investigated. Among the ducks dumped in the parking area were 41 mallards, two geese, seven wigeon, two green-winged teal, two buffleheads, one gadwall, and two shoveler carcasses. Please call the TIP line to bring these litter bugs to justice.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) received and investigated a trespassing complaint near Chokio. Another complaint was received and investigated regarding a deer-baiting issue near Wheaton. CO Anderson also participated in work crews for deer season activity.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week monitoring hunting and trapping activity. Firearms deer opener yielded moderate success. Violations relating to illegal party hunting and tagging continue. CO Broughten also assisted with a hunter who suffered serious injuries when he fell from his deer stand.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked deer hunters. More deer were seen harvested in the area than in years past. Shining, road hunting, wanton waste, and trespass calls were received and investigated.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked the firearms deer season opener. CO Halverson also assisted on a lost hunter who was in the woods for about five hours, losing his flashlights and cell phone.
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) worked a busy opening weekend of the firearms deer season. Violations included hunting over a baited area, hunting on a closed game refuge, shooting after hours, and using artificial lights.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports opening of deer season came, and so did 6 to 8 inches of snow, which made things a little more difficult for hunters. Some hunters still haven’t figured it out or are willing to take the risk of being caught baiting deer.
CO John Slatinski (International Falls) reports while most deer hunters were happy to get some fresh snow for the firearms deer hunting opener, most are of the opinion there was too much of a good thing. Many hunters found previously open trails tangled with snow-covered trees blocking the way.
CO John Velsvaag (Cook) checked deer hunters this past weekend. CO Velsvaag also followed up on illegal ATV use on snowmobile trails and illegal storage of equipment at public accesses.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports a number of hunter disputes were handled. A couple of trespass complaints also were investigated. Enforcement was taken on a couple of individuals hunting with bait.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) spent the week checking deer baits, investigating a forest product theft case and a trapping and trespass complaint, and working other deer-hunting complaints. Deer-baiting violations continued with an upswing in hunters taking their chances of being caught. Four hunters were cited and rifles were seized during the first two days of the season. A hunter was cited for shooting a deer within 150 feet of a house in a city neighborhood.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) responded to a report about a person who was feeding and had domesticated an orphaned bear cub. The bear cub was captured and transferred to a rehab facility. CO Frericks reminds people that even if they mean well and feel sorry for the animal, feeding it is the worst thing they can do.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports hunting success was overall good in the Ely area during the opening weekend of the regular firearms deer season. The exception was the Echo Trail, where recent snowfalls and heavy brush frustrated hunters who reported very poor visibility and little sign of deer.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) checked deer hunters, trappers, and whitefish netters. Ponds and small lakes are now icing up, so be careful on any ice.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports the deeper snow among the higher elevations of Lake Superior has started the deer migration earlier than normal this year. Where the snow is deeper, you can go miles without cutting a single deer track. Hunters have reported lots of wolf sign and sightings.
CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais) checked deer stands and blinds for bait in the lead-up to firearms deer season. The officer worked with CO Wahlstrom and U.S. Forest Service Officer Belmore on a couple ongoing deer cases in parks and federal forests. CO Manning also reported a first: a deer hunter strolling the woods in his pajama pants – they were not blaze orange, but his hat and jacket were.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy firearms deer opener. One group was found hunting public land with all five of their occupied stands baited. In separate instances, a bowhunter and a rifle hunter also were found hunting over bait. Each adult hunter was cited and equipment was seized. Those with juveniles hunting with them received an additional charge of directing a minor to hunt in violation of the game laws.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy deer opener with what seemed to be higher numbers of hunters and deer in the woods. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over a baited site, failing to tag a big-game animal, failing to validate a deer tag, illegally transporting a deer, failing to register a watercraft, illegal party hunting, and shooting an overlimit of deer.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) reports hunting deer with the aid of bait remained a constant violation again this year. Several hunters were surprised to receive a visit opening morning from the conservation officer regarding the bait over which they were hunting. Enforcement action was taken for a wide variety of big-game violations including hunting deer with the aid of bait, and lend and borrow of a license.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent most of the week working archery hunters and preparing for firearms deer opener. Trespassing complaints, deer-dumping complaints, and baiting issues were prominent, along with property line disputes. A highlight of the weekend was checking an 88-year-old hunter.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked the firearms deer opener with several contacts resulting in enforcement action being taken. Baiting concerns continued to be a priority, as in past years. Some adults were charged with allowing a juvenile to commit a game and fish violation. A number of phone calls with questions and concerns were taken over the week about various resource related issues.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) had a busy week that included the opening of the firearms deer season. Complaints about trespassing, baiting, wanton waste, and hunting deer out of season were investigated. Several COs, and a State Patrol trooper, responded to a call about a hunter shooting at deer off of Interstate 35 near Mahtowa. When the CO arrived at the scene, a juvenile was found to have fired three shots from a rifle at deer in the interstate right of way. The juvenile’s parent was at the scene and allowed him to do it because he thought it was legal as long as they stepped off of the highway and down into the ditch. Enforcement action was taken for nonemergency stopping on the freeway, allowing unlawful hunting by a juvenile, shooting within a road right of way at a big game animal, and insufficient blaze orange. CO Staples also took enforcement action on an AIS boat plug violation during the week.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked deer hunters and ATVers on the opening weekend of firearms deer season. Snow and cold gave hunters a different experience than previous openers. One hunter was found sitting in his car, parked in front of a “no trespassing” sign, ready to shoot down the roadway and ditch if a deer stepped out. Another had his juvenile son step from the truck and shoot at a deer while standing in the ditch of an interstate highway.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Cuyuna SRA) reports working big-game hunting enforcement during the 2017 firearms deer season opener. The officer assisted with calls regarding hunting deer over bait, forestry violations, and a call about a dead deer on a WMA. Calls regarding the mandatory testing for CWD were fielded. CO Fitzgerald also had a case in which an individual ran from officers and was caught and had various narcotics charges and several outstanding warrants.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) reports a deer hunter chose to hunt in an unoccupied stand on public property, while the self-proclaimed owner of the stand stood below and requested the hunter in the stand leave so he could move his stand. An illegally shot wolf is being investigated.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports he and other local COs worked a situation involving an individual with warrants, meth, and marijuana who ran from the officers. In another matter, an individual faces gross misdemeanor charges, confiscation of a handgun, and revocation of hunting privileges after ignoring warnings from a landowner and a police officer not to trespass on posted, private land – three times on opening day. Each time the trespasser was caught on trail cameras. The second time he was caught by the conservation officer, escorted off the property, and told that he was going to be charged is he came back. After the officer left, the violator went back on the property a third time. The officer came back and caught him again.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked deer season and associated ATV traffic. A lot of local deer were taken opening morning. Hunters hurried out of the woods before the sleet hit and often neglected to validate and attach site tags.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated calls about hunter harassment, trespassing, and mistaking antlerless deer for antlered deer.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) reports assistance was given to state park staff with illegally parked vehicles and easement issues. A wildlife manager was assisted with removing stands left on a state wildlife management area. CO Starr assisted Isanti County deputies with a trespass situation in which coon hunters were threatened with a shot fired and shotgun-pointing accusations. The whole situation could have been prevented with better verbal communication.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) reports several arrests were made for hunting deer over bait. After being caught hunting deer over corn and feed blocks, one hunter asked if he could see the rifle that was seized from him one last time. The hunter said goodbye to the firearm and gave it a kiss.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) assisted CO Caleb Silgjord on an investigation that included a dumped carcass, a dumped deer with a bullet hole, and a shots-fired complaint that were all found to be connected. The connection of the complaints included three juvenile males with a loaded shotgun in a truck.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) reports a deer-hunting case was investigated with CO Rezac in which a hunter was found to have shot a vehicle that was traveling on Interstate 94. The hunter was shooting at a running deer on a hill. No one was injured.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked deer and waterfowl hunters. Violations were found for hunting deer over bait, failing to tag deer, failing to validate deer tags, and failing to register deer.
CO Phil Mohs (Center City) worked the deer opener. Baiting continues to be an issue in the area. Nine hunters were cited on opening day for hunting with the aid of bait. Many of the violators continue to say they misunderstood the baiting laws.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Leah Weyandt (Mound) spent time checking boats on Lake Minnetonka as they were getting pulled from the lake.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) focused on the firearms deer season opening up over the weekend. A dead bald eagle was investigated and it appeared the eagle had been shot.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking fishermen and archery hunters. CO Grewe and K9 also traveled to the north-central part of the state for the firearms deer opener.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) assisted another agency with a trespassing investigation. CO Maass continued to work waterfowl hunters throughout the week while preparing for the firearms deer opener.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled Fort Snelling State Park for park usage. He worked with CO Joel Heyn in southeast Minnesota during the 2017 firearms deer opener. While working deer hunters, CO Heyn and CO Le assisted the local fire department and local law enforcement personnel in searching for a lost hunter. The hunter was an elderly man with multiple medical issues. The air temperature was in the low 30s and snowing. The hunter was found after several hours of searching.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports working the firearms deer opener. He also issued a cease and desist order for a wetland violation and responded to several TIP calls.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) responded to a hunter who fell from a deer stand.
CO Jake Willis (Maplewood) had a busy week with big-game hunters. A case of illegal bowhunting in Oakdale was resolved, and multiple calls were fielded on opening firearms weekend.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week conducting hunting investigations and working the firearms deer opener. With 30 percent of the corn still to be harvested, many hunters commented on how few deer they were seeing.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Madison) spent time working angling, waterfowl-hunting, pheasant-hunting, and deer-hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, allowing illegal big-game hunting by youth, minor consumption, possession of alcohol on a WMA, and insufficient blaze orange during the firearms deer season.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) encountered a few very happy young hunters who had just harvested their first deer.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working the firearms deer season opener as well as waterfowl and pheasant hunters. He assisted Kandiyohi County officials with first response to an accident with injuries.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) reports lots of phone calls were taken with questions about deer hunting and CWD testing. CO Klehr had to deal deer-hunting issues including trespassing, wanton waste, illegal tagging, failing to validate tags, transporting loaded firearms, leaving stands on state land, shining complaints, and more.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports a traffic stop of two hunters resulted in the arrest of one party for a felon being in possession of multiple firearms and ammunition. Additional enforcement action as a result of the stop was taken related to transport of a bow with the arrow nocked, a nontoxic shot violation, and the possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked deer hunters. Violation rates increased and many individuals were found to be hunting over bait, without a license, or while trespassing.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) reports enforcement action was taken on an individual who CO Ihnen happened to interrupt while the subject was in the process of dumping a large freezer and two other pieces of furniture at a public waters access.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy deer opener. Most hunters reported seeing deer. Trappers and hound hunters are reporting low raccoon numbers. CO Boyum assisted Iowa COs with a deer case on the border.
CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports multiple deer hunters in a hunting party were found to be hunting with .270- and .30-06-caliber rifles in the shotgun-only zone.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a relatively slow deer opener. One young hunter reported a case of buck fever as a massive 10-point buck walked by at 15 yards. He said he was shaking so badly he missed the deer by 5 feet.
CO Trent Seamans (Rochester) spent the week patrolling for waterfowl and big-game hunters. Many hunters reported success. However, several deer taken did not meet antler point restrictions