Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Dec. 14, 2018
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked angling, ATVing, snowmobiling, and small-game enforcement. Time also was spent checking anglers and spearers on Lake of the Woods.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) would like to remind area anglers to pick up after themselves when leaving the ice after fishing. Multiple areas are littered with trash, and it gives nonanglers a horrible image of anglers. Woinarowicz investigated trapping complaints, checked area anglers, and picked up trash left by slob anglers this past week.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports an ongoing TIP shining case involving a number of juveniles was completed, and enforcement action is pending for taking deer out of season, taking deer with the aid or artificial light, shooting big game from a motor vehicle, shooting big game from a roadway, and aiding or assisting another in taking deer out of season.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports angling success on Upper Red Lake has spiked, and many anglers have filled limits. Prachar worked with other COs and local agencies to ensure public safety at an area gathering. A felony warrant arrest was made with the assistance of the Bemidji Police Department.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking muzzleloader deer hunters. Time also was spent checking trappers and anglers. An incidental fisher was seized.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling and fish house activity. The public is again urged to use caution as ice conditions vary and pressure ridges are appearing in areas not normally known for them. The final weekend of the muzzleloader deer season was worked.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) completed the final step of field training with CO Zavodnik. He also worked a detail on Upper Red Lake where numerous violations were encountered. Anglers are reminded to carefully measure fish before keeping them.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing, small-game hunting, and the end of the muzzleloader deer-hunting season. Ice conditions continue to improve.
CO William Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking muzzleloader deer hunters, trappers, and anglers. Anglers are starting to find more fish now that the ice depth has allowed them to venture farther onto area lakes.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked with area wildlife officials in verifying a cougar seen near Bertha on a trail camera. Plautz also later in the week assisted DNR area wildlife officials with a case where a cougar was hit on a roadway near Nimrod (see story elsewhere in this edition).
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) completed field training and began work in his assigned patrol area. He met some of the area’s government officials and DNR staff.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers and muzzleloader deer and pheasant hunters. Several calls were received regarding ice conditions on area lakes and how dangerous they are. A fish overlimit complaint was received and investigated.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the majority of the week working ice anglers throughout his station. ATVs and small vehicles are common on smaller lakes, but caution should still be taken.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked angling and ATVing activity on area lakes. The CO also followed up on cases from the firearms deer season and fielded questions regarding deer licenses and angling.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports separate complaints regarding wanton waste of deer and northern pike that were dumped were investigated. Two complaints of people taking deer from vehicles/the roadway also were investigated.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked with DNR Wildlife on the report of a cougar hit by a car near Nimrod. The animal was a cougar and it was collected by DNR Wildlife for testing. The history and its origin are unknown.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the muzzleloader season came to a quiet close, with a few people trying to fill their tag. Overall, there was an increased number of hunters compared with previous years, mainly because they were allowed to use scopes. A few people are starting to venture out onto Rainy Lake for ice fishing and dark-house spearing.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls) spent time earlier in the week checking anglers on Upper Red Lake with COs Vollbrecht, Whiteoak, and McGowan. More than 20 walleyes were seized within a five-hour span of checking anglers, many of whom were measuring their fish incorrectly or did not know the specific regulations on the Lake. A reminder that one fish over 17 inches is allowed per angler on Upper Red.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) advised a person with concerns his farm animals were being alarmed by a neighbor who was operating a snowmobile with loud exhaust near the fence line. CO Slatinski also assisted local law enforcement and other conservation officers with the search and successful location of a lost individual.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring trapping, angling, and muzzleloader deer-hunting activity.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the week finishing cases. There were a few hunters out trying to harvest a deer before the end of muzzleloader season. Hopkins is investigating a deer shot from the road and a baiting complaint.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reports a trapping case was wrapped up with a trapper being found in violation of failing to check snares daily, untagged snares, and not wearing blaze orange during the muzzleloader deer season. The snares were checked a total of four times in a 13-day period. This was the second time in three years that the trapper was in violation of tending and tagging violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spoke at a snowmobile safety class in Cherry and assisted with the riding portion of the class. Several cases where deer carcasses were dumped were investigated. Frericks reminds hunters to dispose of their deer carcasses properly. Proper disposal options include on your own property, in a landfill or through your garbage service. On the side of a dead-end road or in a ditch is not the proper place to dispose of your deer carcass.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) responded outside of Hoyt Lakes to where a deer was shot from the road and left for a period of time. Then the parties returned, dragged the deer to the road, and loaded it without field-dressing it. Lots of deer carcasses and accompanying litter were seen along a three-mile stretch of road outside of Hoyt Lakes. A road-killed buck deer with just the head removed also was found.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking anglers and a few snowmobilers. He also followed up on past investigations and responded to wildlife-related calls.
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports ice conditions varied greatly throughout the Ely area. Some anglers reported as much as 11 inches and as little as 4 inches on the same lake.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports a few people attempting to drive street vehicles on unplowed forest roads discovered that a plowed road would have been a better option, as unseen ice under the snow caused some problems.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) had the privilege of assisting the Silver Bay police and fire departments with their local “Shop with a Hero” event.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, followed up on a trespass case, investigated trapping complaints, and assisted in locating a person who was lost in the woods. Fairbanks and his K9 partner SI also assisted in locating a person who fled into the woods after crashing his vehicle. K9 Si was able to find items that the suspect threw along the track.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice-angling and pike-spearing activity. Early ice has created many opportunities for anglers to get out on area lakes and take advantage of great fishing.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports spending most of the week patrolling his new station and getting to know community members in the Hill City area. Efforts were focused on ice fishing and muzzleloader deer-hunting activity. Follow-up work was conducted on a trapping violation case.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) investigated a call involving hunter harassment and saw an increase in angling activity. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked fishing and trapping enforcement. Deer carcass-dumping sites were investigated with hopes of finding evidence to prosecute individuals for litter.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked ice-angling activity on area lakes. Ice thickness ranged from 6 to 10 inches. Humphrey also followed up on a baiting complaint and a TIP call. He patrolled area state parks and state wildlife management areas.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers in the Duluth area and Duluth-Superior bay. Ice is supporting ATVs and snowmobiles.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) enforced ice fishing, muzzleloader, and trapping laws this past week. Incidental furs were collected, and deer registrations were verified.
CO Tim Collette (Brainerd) checked muzzleloader deer hunters, anglers, and spearers. Complaints about trespassing and dogs chasing deer were handled. While checking an adult father and son who were angling, the CO found there were two tip-ups outside the portable fish house, but only one line down in the house, even though there were two holes. When asked for licenses, the father said he wasn’t fishing and didn’t have a license. When noted that in that case, the son had an extra line, the father said that was the case. The son replied tersely that the father had indeed been fishing and he could take his own ticket.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) continued field training with a conservation officer candidate. They spent time working Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake. Time also was spent investigating a deer-poaching case that involved multiple deer being shot over bait, without a license, at night.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) contacted anglers who reported success in catching crappies, walleyes, and northern pike.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports assisting at Camp Ripley with firearms and shotgun certification. He also attended a taser instructor school during the week.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked muzzleloader deer season and fishing enforcement this past week. An aerial angler/fish shelter survey was completed with CO Jason Jensen of the DNR Aviation Unit.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Ben Karon (Isle) spent the week patrolling different areas in the station and checking many anglers on area lakes. Varied success was reported on Lake Mille Lacs.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) worked ice angling and ATV enforcement on Lake Mille Lacs. Enforcement action was taken for illegal-length walleyes, fishing without an angling license, failure to register an ATV, possession of a small amount of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) and other area conservation officers conducted a search warrant relating to big-game hunting violations. The CO also looked into a complaint about a public waters violation.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) checked ice anglers throughout the week. Fishing activity picked up as ice thickness improved. Lakes in the Hinckley area had sufficient ice to support ATV travel, but still not enough for full-sized passenger vehicles.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week following up on deer season complaints along with a couple of wetland-filling complaints.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) handled a call about a deer found with its head cut off, a call about a deer found with its antlers cut off, and a TIP call about a hunter shooting too many bucks. A tip regarding wanton waste was investigated. Mallards where shot during waterfowl season and left to rot in the back of a truck. The duck hunter was located, with enforcement action taken. A few anglers are out with their portable fish houses. Kuske watched one angler pull into a public access with his fish house on the trailer and he was contemplating if he should take his full-sized pickup truck out on the ice. The smart decision was made, and the angler didn’t drive onto the ice.
CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) reports assistance was given to nearby COs with a hunting case. Kyllo also reports assisting the county with a missing person search.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) reports a wetlands complaint was fielded and investigated. Assistance was provided to the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office with two lost anglers who were found to have gone through the ice in an ATV.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) finished field training in Duluth and began her station assignment last week. Kampa received a call about an ATV that went through the ice.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) responded to a deer-dumping complaint this past week. He conducted several interviews, which led to five unregistered deer and two cases of lending and borrowing deer licenses.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers. Krauel would like to remind anglers to use caution when venturing out onto area lakes with vehicles as he received reports about recreational vehicles going through the ice on local lakes.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) followed up on several TIP calls this past week involving trespass and a possible illegally taken deer. A fish house and ATV went through the ice of Clearwater Lake. Nobody was injured.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports working ice anglers and muzzleloader hunters this past week. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, no registration on an ATV, and possession of a small amount of marijuana.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) located a pheasant hunter (not far from the hunter’s vehicle) who did not have the proper licenses. The hunter had never hunted before and was coached on the proper techniques and regulations. The hunter was then sent back to the store to purchase the needed licenses.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) accompanied local high school students from the Waconia Conservation Club on a youth pheasant hunt sponsored by the local chapter of Pheasants Forever.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) continued to work anglers who were out on area lakes. Anglers were reporting inconsistent ice thickness. Time also was spent investigating a complaint about hunting deer over bait and a nuisance-beaver complaint.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) responded to a complaint about a vagrant at the chapel at Ft. Snelling State Park during a funeral service. He also checked ice anglers, returned phone calls on small-game and muzzleloader regulations, and did equipment maintenance.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports checking ice anglers and deer hunters, and patrolling the WMAs. Arntzen continued doing follow up on active cases involving big-game violations.
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time conducting ice-fishing checks and investigating a deer-poaching complaint.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports areas of open water are still present on some lakes and a vehicle partially went through the ice on an area lake.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working hunters and conducting investigations. Enforcement action was taken for shooting deer from the roadway and failure to register deer.
CO Blong Lor (Redwood Falls) started his first week in the Redwood Falls station. Time was spent checking pheasant hunters, who reported little success.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received complaints about shooting at deer from the road right of way and law clarifications. Nelson also received information that a vehicle was being driven on a local lake on approximately 5 inches of ice.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) checked muzzleloader hunters through the end of the season. Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms, trespassing, snowmobile registration violations, and lack of blaze orange compliance.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked deer and small-game hunters. Anglers are venturing out on ice, with up to 5 inches being reported. Northern pike spearers were reminded of the new regulation of two northern pike with a minimum size of 24 inches.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on snowmobile and muzzleloader activity. VanThuyne also assisted with a traffic accident and followed up on hunter complaints.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked hunting and angling activity this past week. With the close of muzzleloader season, most deer hunters have called it a season.
CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) is now working the Faribault station. Lusignan acquired equipment to fulfill the station needs and looks forward to working in the area.
CO Tony Flerlage (Spring Valley) is done with field training and was officially stationed in Spring Valley this past week.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Phil George (Rochester) spent the week checking deer hunters and ice anglers. A few snowmobilers were out as well.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking muzzleloader deer hunters. Violations encountered were borrowing/lending a deer tag, shooting from a motor vehicle, antler-point restriction violations, and feeding during the feeding ban.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) checked muzzleloader hunters and followed up on a deer case from the shotgun season.
CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports investigating deer-baiting cases. Anglers were out in force on Lake Byllesby earlier in the week, with quite a few small crappies coming through the ice. A reminder to anglers on Lake Byllesby that the geese have kept open a small area in the middle of the lake and travel is not advised in that area until it completely freezes. One angler was found smoking marijuana on another area pond.