Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – March 22, 2019
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods. During a two-day detail, Huener worked with COs Bermel and Lawler and found six separate walleye/sauger overlimit cases on Lake of the Woods. Other violations encountered included angling with extra lines, possession of marijuana, and false application for a combination (husband/wife) angling license. A sick deer was dispatched northwest of Greenbush.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked ATVing, snowmobiling, and angling enforcement. The March 31 shelter removal date is fast approaching on Lake of the Woods.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) took calls regarding deer hit by cars and issued possession permits. Elwell also investigated an illegal burning complaint and monitored ice shelter removal around the station. While on routine patrol, Elwell observed dark, black smoke billowing from a rural residence. Having just come from investigating an illegal fire, Elwell thought it was someone burning prohibited materials. Pulling into the farmyard, Elwell noticed it was a shed that was on fire. He notified dispatch, and local fire departments were dispatched. The firefighters gained control of the fire before it spread to other buildings and property, but the building and its contents were lost. Fortunately, no people or animals were injured in the fire.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time this past week following up on open wetland and pubic waters violation cases.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) dealt with fish shelter removal issues, talked to a Bagley High School law enforcement class, and continued flight training.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on fish house removal and litter. Angling activity also was worked. Snowmobile trails and lakes were patrolled for activity.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports rain and warm weather in the area have taken a toll on snowmobile trails.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) found a fish house left parked at a public access, which is a violation. Plautz also assisted the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office deputies with an individual who fled on foot from an officer.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports the owner of a fish house left on Ten Mile Lake was identified, and the shelter was removed. With the snow melting on lakes, litter left during the winter has become visible. Anglers are asked to clean up their trash.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATVers, snowmobiles, and fish houses. A fish overlimit complaint was received and investigated, with the subject being over the limit of sunfish.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) answered questions about fishing season changes on Minnesota-South Dakota border waters and continued an investigation into trespass.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily monitored fish house removal on area lakes. Those venturing onto the ice are finding a crust of 2 to 4 inches of ice on top of 2 feet of water and slush in spots on area lakes. Several fish houses remain on most lakes. Those leaving the houses on the lakes after the deadline may be subject to fines and restitution costs two to five times the cost of removal. People looking for extra help removing shelters may call Mathy to get contacts of some removal businesses with specialty equipment. One call came in about a deer that was acting aggressive toward a dog. It was likely the result of the deer trying to get to the food the landowner put out for the deer.
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) reports checking multiple lakes for anglers and fish houses left on lakes after the deadline. She also investigated a deer case from this past hunting season.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls) spent time working angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Fishing success has started to pick up on Rainy Lake. With warm water runoff, fish have started to begin to move to pre-spawn areas. Zavodnik also spent time monitoring the Rainy River and its tributaries. The river is wide open to Loman, and there are spots on the Littlefork River that have open-water current running. He expects fishing on the Rainy River to begin as early as next week, depending on access sites being cleared out.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling and snowmobiling activity. Anglers reported limited success. Warm weather and rain have deteriorated snowmobile trails.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and snowmobiling activity, monitored fish house removal, dealt with a report about a bobcat that was killed after killing poultry, and worked a snowmobiling detail on Lake Vermilion that focused on water-skipping. Two snowmobilers were cited for careless operation for water-skipping on the lake.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. He also followed up on litter and fish house removal.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) dealt with a bobcat that killed a pet cat in Grand Marais. The CO’s own suet bill is sky-high due to those critters, which shows that animals are having a tough time finding food in the forest.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) has been investigating several property owners posting land and cutting trees along Lake Superior shoreline on state-owned property. Manning also checked anglers and former fish house locations, attended the funeral of retired CO Gene Borud as part of the DNR Honor Guard, and assisted Cook County with a suspicious activity report.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling, snowmobiling, and ATVing enforcement activity this past week. Anglers are reminded to pick up all debris, including blocking materials, when removing fishing shelters. Enforcement action was taken for failure to transfer ATV ownership and illegally riding an ATV on a snowmobile trail.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobiling activity, and attended training this past week. The recent wind and snow made for harsh conditions on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and a fish overlimit.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and snowmobiling activity in the area. Sutherland also gave a presentation to a local DARE class and was able to show local furbearers to the class.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) enjoyed getting out and patrolling the snowmobile trails for what was likely the last week of rideable conditions. Enforcement action was taken for both snowmobile and ATV registration issues.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) attended the funeral for retired CO Gene Borud as part of the Division’s Honor Guard detail. Enforcement action was taken for expired snowmobile registration, failure to transfer ownership, illegal/loud snowmobile exhaust, and failure to display registration as required. Assistance was provided to the State Patrol as well as local law enforcement agencies with emergency calls for service.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued to work fishing enforcement on Lake Superior and area lakes. Duncan also met with several local media outlets and talked about fish house removal and ice conditions on area lakes.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked a career fair at Fond du Lac College where high school students were given information on the job duties of a conservation officer. Extra time was spent in the Nemadji State Forest, where enforcement action was taken for operating off trails in a “limited” forest, failing to transfer registration, and other registration violations.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked snowmobilers on trails north of Duluth. The trails are starting to deteriorate with the warming weather. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and ATV registration issues.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) responded to a report about an SUV stuck on the snowmobile trail in the Foothills State Forest. Contact was made, and it was determined the subjects involved wanted to do some off-road traveling. Enforcement action was taken, and the vehicle was towed from the trail. Other violations observed this past week included driving after cancellation inimical to public safety and expired registration.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) reports a possession tag was given to an individual who found in his barn a dead bobcat with a face full of porcupine quills.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) reports assistance was provided to area DNR Wildlife staff with collecting multiple deer for sampling around the area.
CO Tim Collette (Brainerd) followed up on fish houses left on area lakes after the removal deadline, investigated reports of sick/starving deer, attended a funeral for a retired officer, and checked snowmobilers still out enjoying the late snow.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking ice-fishing activity, responding to CWD issues, assisting another state with an investigation, and working a border patrol detail along the Gunflint Trail and border lakes in Cook County.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity and followed up on fish houses left on lakes after the removal deadline.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked anglers on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of crappies. Speldrich also responded to a snowmobile crash with injuries. The victim was airlifted to a hospital but is expected to recover from the injuries.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) was called to investigate an illegal fire in which enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) had a report of one fish house left out after the removal deadline on the Mississippi River. When Kuske arrived, she found the fish house owner feverishly working to remove the house from the deep snow. Kuske also handled car-killed deer permits, and fielded questions about navigation lights needed for non-motorized watercraft and laws regarding what constitutes “assisting” when helping another deer hunter.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week patrolling area snowmobile trails and monitoring angling activity in the station. A prohibited-materials fire was addressed.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) received TIP information about a local angler catching too many fish in a southern state while he was on vacation. Information gathered was forwarded to the proper enforcement officials.
CO Frank Rezac (St. Cloud) reports responding to a TIP call and a call about an injured swan on Interstate 94.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports time was spent helping a neighboring officer remove shelters that were left on a lake past the removal deadline. A public waters violation also was investigated.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked area lakes for trash and fish houses left out past the deadline. Several fish houses were located, and enforcement action was taken. Also, some angling activity was found in the area. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and fishing for species out of season.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) spent the week checking anglers and working on commercial enforcement. Additional time was spent following up on shelters still left on the ice. Seamans reminds anglers it is unlawful to target smallmouth bass (even for catch and release) from now until May 11 in the Sherburne/Wright County portion of the Mississippi River.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) prepared watercraft equipment for potential flooding. He also worked with several Asian-Pacific Islander and Hispanic communities to inform them about the upcoming hiring within the Enforcement Division.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked fishing and snowmobiling activities in the Twin Cities metro area. He also attended computer training and participated at a CO hiring event at DNR headquarters.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused activity on angling and commercial enforcement throughout the week. He patrolled area lakes and conducted a commercial taxidermy inspection with area officers. Warming weather has led to rapidly-deteriorating ice and trail conditions. Enforcement action was taken for taxidermy records and license violations.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time assisting fellow COs with the removal of fishing shelters still on local lakes. He also met with a local nuisance-beaver trapper and conducted equipment maintenance. Lastly, Thomas responded to a call about a badly injured deer stuck in a fence.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) fielded a call regarding trees being cut down near an active bald eagle nest. It is unknown if the nest is active and the area is being monitored. Tetrault, along with other assisting officers, removed an abandoned structure on Lake Elmo.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked angling, coyote-hunting, and snowmobiling activity during the week. Assistance was given with a firearms safety class in Murdock.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working coyote hunting, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and commercial license enforcement. Snowmelt continues to be a big topic, with rivers and lakes being monitored for possible flood issues.
CO Blong Lor (Redwood Falls) spent the week working coyote hunters and snowmobilers. He closely monitored flood conditions in the area.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked anglers during the week and dealt with a fish house that was left on Lake Ripley after the deadline with no attempt by the owner to remove it.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) attended training during the past week and conducted commercial inspections. Heavy rains and warmer weather made ice extremely unpredictable. Locally, river and creek systems have begun to flood, and many township roads had restrictions because of the flooding.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking fishing and ATVing activity. Additional time was spent patrolling area lakes for shelter violations. He also gave a law and ethics presentation to a local firearms safety class.
CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports working small-game hunters and checking area lakes. Lusignan also investigated illegal ATVing activity and completed computer training.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked predator hunters, anglers, and ATV operators during the week. Davis also attended the Minnesota Pheasants of Steele County corn sale.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked area lakes and rivers this past week. Some angling activity continues, but most ice conditions are keeping folks off of the lakes.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working ice-fishing enforcement along with assisting with issues regarding spring flooding conditions. Flooding conditions have caused issues with many folks in the southeast, and emergency equipment was checked and prepared for response.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) monitored flood conditions in the area. A few trout anglers were out. Boyum also attended a Minnesota Trappers Association meeting.
CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports monitoring anglers targeting carp throughout the week. The high waters have brought rough fish into more shallow waters, making it relatively easy for anglers to leave with a full bucket. Hill assisted CO Fogarty with violations found during a taxidermy inspection in CO Fogarty’s station. Citations were issued for people possessing deer without a license or permit. Hill also responded to a report of people targeting walleyes out of season by snagging.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports receiving many calls about sick and injured deer. One landowner had a deer caught in a fence while another found six dead deer on a relatively small property. Another landowner had two deer dead within feet of each other but they died a week apart.