Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – March 1, 2019
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and the Roseau River and checked snowmobilers around Warroad, Roseau, and Salol. A group of anglers had in possession an overlimit of walleyes. Other anglers were found with an illegal-length walleye and extra lines.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked ATVing, snowmobiling, and angling enforcement. The new regulations on limits for walleyes and sauger go into effect March 1 for Lake of the Woods. The 2019 regulations book reflects this and is now available. Also, angling licenses for 2018 expire Feb. 28.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored area snowmobile trails and angling activity. Calls about a sick moose were handled.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working angling activity on special-regulation lakes throughout the week. Regas also worked a detail at the Eelpout Festival in Walker and the annual Blackduck Snowmobile Club drag races.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports investigating a complaint about a suspected deer taken out of season. He also assisted a neighboring officer with a “sick” moose-related complaint.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Angling is difficult on most lakes with the added snow and issues with slush.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports checking area lakes and making notes about fish houses still on area lakes. Vinton has received several calls relating to fish house removal. A blizzard late in the week has made removal even more difficult.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking area lakes and ice anglers. There has been some flooding on the lakes, so be sure to take that into account with the upcoming fish house removal date.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked snowmobiling activity on area waters and trails. Fish houses were monitored for items related to house removal.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) reports snow has made vehicle travel on area lakes difficult and few people were fishing. The fish house removal deadline is March 4 and anglers with their houses on the lakes need to arrange with plowing companies to help remove them. Calls from the public included complaints about snowmobile trespass and numerous calls from anglers wondering what to do because they cannot get their houses off lakes.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked area snowmobile trails and monitored ice-fishing activity along with fish house removal.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports working the Barrett Lake fishing tournament on Saturday. The event drew a large number of anglers. Many fish houses were removed during the weekend from area lakes. Goodman spent Sunday assisting the Grant County Sheriff’s Office with various calls due to the hazardous blizzard conditions that made travel difficult.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports another weekend with heavy snowmobile traffic on area trails. Registration violations seemed to be the only enforcement issues.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) reports time was spent monitoring coyote hunting and recreational vehicle activity. COs Holt and Baumbarger worked snowmobile and trail enforcement in vacant stations around Itasca State Park.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) reports continued patrol of anglers and snowmobilers. She also worked at the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and snowmobilers associated with the Eelpout Festival event. Leech Lake, in the event area, resembled a shallow icy marsh more than a sheet of ice. Slush up to 2 feet deep made large areas of the lake impassable for all vehicles, including tracked ATVs. Enforcement action was taken for several snowmobiling and angling violations. Assistance was provided in some instances for people having medical events such as frostbite and hypothermia. Some of that was due to the high level of intoxication of individuals, lack of proper clothing, and poor conditions on the lake.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls) spent time working snowmobiling, angling, and alcohol-related enforcement during the week. Zavodnik worked a detail with fellow conservation officers at the Eelpout Festival in Walker. Ice conditions were quite tough during the event.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) responded, along with multiple other agencies, to a snowmobile crash in which the operator hit a tree. The crash resulted in a helicopter transfer of the victim to a hospital. This was one of several recent crashes in the area.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports heavy snowmobiling activity during the week. Personal injury accidents in the area continue. Lack of registration displayed continues to be a common violation.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobiling activity. More snowmobile crashes were reported.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked anglers and snowmobile riders. There were many snowmobilers out during the weekend. Special emphasis was put on speed enforcement after a number of serious injury crashes during the previous week. Registration and speed violations were found to be in abundance. Fish house owners are urged to consider removing fish houses before the removal deadline. Horror stories are filtering in about marathon efforts in getting them off, with slush and snow making it difficult to impossible to do so. Bozovsky saw a first during the week: A dad was found with a toddler in a “playpen” in a portable fish house. Though the quarters were pretty tight, the toddler seemed comfortable.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) primarily worked snowmobiling enforcement on state trails and found violations of speed and registration problems.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Trail conditions are good and fishing was slow. Velsvaag took several calls about deer feeding and questions about trespassing laws.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked snowmobile trail and angling enforcement and assisted with the Eelpout Festival in Walker. Slush and water conditions on Leech Lake were extremely bad. In one instance, Bermel found a fish house unoccupied but smelled the odor of marijuana coming from a vent. He returned later and cited two individuals for marijuana possession.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers and snowmobile riders. Snowmobiling activity is busy, but fishing remains slow.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails, performed equipment maintenance, assisted anglers with a snowmobile stuck in slush, and responded to a call about a possible missing person.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked snowmobiling and fishing enforcement. He also took care of wildlife-related complaints.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobiling activity, and assisted with motor vehicles in ditches. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also attended the Safari Club banquet in the Twin Cities.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking snowmobiling activity this past week. The CO also investigated a complaint about birch pole theft. Enforcement action is pending.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working snowmobiling and angling enforcement. Van Asch also spent time completing an ongoing timber theft investigation.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) primarily worked snowmobiling enforcement throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for ice shelters without licenses, excessive speed on a snowmobile, and failure to display snowmobile registration.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw heavy snowmobiling activity again this past week. Registration issues are still being seen with people not displaying current stickers or displaying in a fashion that does not meet statutory requirements. Enforcement action was taken for operating with expired registration.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued to work winter fishing on Lake Superior. Many people are enjoying excellent ice conditions on Lake Superior, allowing access to lake trout and salmon. Duncan also attended training at Camp Ripley.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked snowmobiling and angling enforcement. The CO also fielded questions about fish house removal and safety training courses.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked snowmobile patrols in the area. Time was spent checking area lakes for fish houses that may get left on after the deadline and potential litter violations.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers as the rare, accessible ice sticks around on the North Shore shoreline. A reminder that all anglers ages 18 to 64 are required to have a Minnesota trout stamp while angling on Minnesota waters of Lake Superior. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked snowmobile trail enforcement and fielded questions about fish shelter removal deadlines. Guida also patrolled Lake Vermilion with northern conservation officers. Enforcement contacts were made with snowmobilers with loud, modified exhausts.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled snowmobile trails throughout Cass and Crow Wing counties. McGowan also assisted at the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) patrolled snowmobile trails and anglers. She also spoke with several anglers about fish house removal and reminded them when their angling licenses expire.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake this past weekend. Violations detected included extra lines, unattended lines, expired recreational vehicle registration, impaired operation, and possession of controlled substances.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) worked snowmobile and ski trails, checking anglers, and gave presentations to students at Brainerd High School in wildlife forensics, natural resources law enforcement, and furbearing animals. A complaint involving people arguing over a fishing spot with behavior including obscene gestures and words, fish houses too close to each other, banking snow to aggravate, drilling holes to intentionally flood out the other person’s fish house, and other unsportsmanlike conduct was investigated. A 65-year-old man was found operating a snowmobile at a speed of 98 miles per hour. When the man came into radar range, officers observing the situation believed he was slowing down from a much higher speed. The man said he thought what he was doing was safe.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working area snowmobile trails during the week. He also assisted with a kids fishing day in the Aitkin area where kids were taught how to ice fish and also some ice safety techniques. Fitzgerald patrolled the SRA and checked for illegal vehicle traffic. A case of someone plowing snow onto a snowmobile trail was investigated.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity, which was slowing down as the snow piled up. Lots of houses were coming off lakes, resulting in investigations of debris left behind.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) patrolled by snowmobile on area snowmobile trails.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) spent time patrolling area snowmobile trails and lakes. She also documented ice shelters that had litter around them. One ice shelter appeared abandoned due to its condition and lack of identification.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) and CO Karon assisted with the search and rescue of two stranded anglers on Lake Mille Lacs. The anglers ran out of propane and extreme wind blew ice roads shut, preventing travel.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) continued to spend time patrolling snowmobile trails. Fishing activity was down compared to past weeks, likely due to deep snow making it difficult to move around on the lakes. Several angling groups were found digging out pickups and ATVs that were partially buried in snowdrifts.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) worked a detail on Leech Lake during the Eelpout Festival in Walker. Deep snow and slush made travel on the lake extremely difficult in most areas, and many of the plowed lake roads were covered with at least 18 inches of water.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) attended multiple community events during the week, including a Green Grove Rod and Gun Club meeting, a Minnesota Darkhouse and Angling Association meeting, and a presentation for elementary classes at the Swanville school. Time also was spent patrolling station snowmobile trails and lakes in the area.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent time working snowmobilers and anglers. Recent snow in the area has the trails in great shape and many snowmobilers were out and about enjoying the good snow. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s office with a burglary call and the rescue of a stranded snowmobiler who was stuck in a remote portion of the snowmobile trail.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week working ice anglers and snowmobiling activity. Krauel would like to remind anglers that the shelter removal deadline is fast approaching and ice conditions are getting worse with the heavy snowfalls.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) spent the week patrolling snowmobile trails and area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for expired registration, improper display of registration, and failing to stop for a trail stop sign.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports spending the week on the area snowmobile trails. A big-game case was investigated that involved unlawful party hunting leading to charges of lending/borrowing of licenses and unregistered deer.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) spent the week working snowmobile and fishing activity. He also attended training and patrolled area trails and lakes.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) continued to work local snowmobile trails with the record snowfall this month. Time also was spent checking ice anglers on area lakes. Maass also investigated trespassing issues involving snowmobilers riding off trails.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) assisted the Belle Plaine Police Department with snowmobile regulations and provided a ride-along.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) focused on snowmobile, ice-fishing and ski pass activities. He also attended computer training at Camp Ripley.
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) focused his efforts on fishing and recreational vehicle enforcement. Time was also spent working the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake. Poor ice conditions made the fishing difficult.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) spent the week patrolling lakes and snowmobile trails. Several anglers were checked and most were dreading the pending snow. Lots of fishing shelters were removed in advance of a recent storm. Fogarty removed several shelters that were left behind for several weeks with no activity or identification. If you are missing a portable shelter from a Scott County lake, please contact Fogarty to see if yours was collected.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports doing snowmobile enforcement, checking anglers, and monitoring ice shelter removal. Arntzen also spoke to students at a firearms safety class in Forest Lake and responded to a call about an injured animal.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (White Bear Lake) spent time working angling and snowmobiling activity. Gutzwiller would like to remind anglers that the ice shelter removal date is March 4 on area lakes. An injured bald eagle was recovered and transported to the Raptor Center for treatment.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Blong Lor (Redwood Falls) spent the week checking ice anglers. Recent heavy snows have made transportation on the ice challenging. Time also was spent checking snowmobilers and coyote hunters.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working anglers and conducting investigations. Continual blowing snow is frustrating most outdoor recreationists.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working ice fishing, coyote hunting, and snowmobiling enforcement. The inland waters walleye/northern seasons ended quietly because of difficult travel conditions on area lakes.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding sick deer and snowmobile trespass on a state wildlife management area. Wildlife feeding isn’t encouraged but has become common this winter. Nelson wants to remind those who feed pheasants and deer (where legal) that feeding pheasants in the open exposes them to predation by hawks and eagles. Feeding them under brushy areas would be better for the pheasants. Feeding straight corn in large amounts to deer can be fatal this time of the year due to acidosis.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports that weather-related assistance was given to local agencies and the State Patrol for vehicles stuck in drifts or in ditches.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. VanThuyne also checked anglers, attended a career fair, and assisted with a snowmobile safety class.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked predator hunters, trappers, anglers, and snowmobile and ATV operators during the week.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) assisted local law enforcement with weather-related issues. In one case, he assisted a stranded motorist who followed his GPS, which told his to get off the closed interstate and put him on a drifted county road.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) attended computer and airboat training. Time also was spent assisting the State Patrol and other local agencies with the response to severe weather incidences on Sunday, Feb. 24.
CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) gave a presentation at an area firearms safety class. The CO also assisted agencies in the southeast with the treacherous road conditions.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working more ice fishing and snowmobiling enforcement. Fishing access is tough, with a lot of slush beneath a lot of snow. Prodzinski assisted area law enforcement and the State Patrol with numerous stranded motorists during Sunday’s blizzard conditions.
CO Phil George (Rochester) checked snowmobiling and angling activity, spoke with Riverside Elementary fourth-grade classes about ice safety, and took a complaint about a sick or injured deer. Assistance was also given to multiple agencies in dealing with local blizzard conditions on Sunday afternoon and evening.