Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – May 10, 2019
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) monitored trapping, sturgeon angling, turkey hunting, and ATVing activity. A hunter turned over an accidental turkey overlimit. Two birds were killed with one shot.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked OHV, solid waste, and angling enforcement. Annual spring burning restrictions are in effect as of April 29; this will be lifted once there’s adequate green-up. A public land-use trespass complaint was followed up on that resulted in enforcement action involving two individuals.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) patrolled the station for ATVing, beaver trapping, and angling activity. Elwell checked boaters in Thief River Falls who were making test runs to ensure everything was in working order in anticipation of the walleye opener.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports monitoring ATV trail activity and angling activity on special-regulation lakes. Time also was spent working an investigation with CO Vollbrecht in which an individual was identified and caught using a gill net to take walleyes, northern pike, and other fish during the spring spawning run. Charges are pending.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports speaking at the Fertile and Plummer firearms safety classes this past week. A 40-year firearms safety award was presented to Brent Hemly, who’s from the Plummer area.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked a boat and water detail on the Rainy River with CO Zavodnik. They observed several watercraft safety violations.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports monitoring fish run activity and contacting panfish anglers. Vinton and COs Plautz and Richards instructed local law enforcement on current ATV laws and patrol tactics.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking shore anglers, spear/bow fishers, and preparing for the upcoming fishing opener. He also assisted local agencies with several calls, including a pursuit that started west of Detroit Lakes and ended with the apprehension of both suspects in an aquatic management area south of Park Rapids.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, turkey hunting, and ATVing enforcement. Time also was spent responding to a number of miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling, rough fish, fish run, leeching, and boating activity. Patrol was conducted for off-road vehicle activity. Warren investigated a possible gray wolf depredation of a calf.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) spoke about aquatic invasive species to a student fishing league in Fergus Falls. The league started last year with 14 schools participating and has grown to 22 schools this year. Volunteer boat captains are always needed and contribute to this successful youth activity.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked area bowfishing activity, responding to several complaints.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports checking bowfishers during the week. One couple encountered recently were married and were spending their first few days of marriage traveling central Minnesota and bowfishing. Buffalo and carp have moved to shallow water, while panfish remain elusive.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, boaters, and ATV riders. A dead deer was removed from a public water access in Otter Tail County.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports a pair of anglers were cited for not having an angling license, and another for angling from a boat with expired registration.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) worked bowfishing and angling during the week. Time also was spent following up on littering complaints and miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints. Holt also investigated a TIP complaint, which is ongoing.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked anglers, beaver trappers, and ATV users in the area. A law talk was presented at the Walker firearms safety class. Calls about nuisance animals, dumped animal carcasses, and illegally set traps were received. Enforcement action was taken for angling after a license was suspended, angling without a license, no personal flotation device in a boat, and illegally-set traps.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) stopped a vehicle operator for a boat being transported with a plug in it. The man had just purchased the used boat and it had not been in the water yet this year. Posner reminded him about state AIS laws.
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) reports checking anglers, ATVers, and turkey-hunting activity. She also received an accidentally taken otter, investigated a trespass complaint, and received calls regarding information about bears.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports most work activity involved monitoring sturgeon-fishing enforcement on the Rainy River. Two sturgeon-fishing tournaments were conducted along the river during the weekend.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls) spent time working sturgeon-fishing enforcement with other COs and the K9 Unit. One encounter during the weekend entailed a sturgeon untagged and hidden in the bottom of a cooler under a pile of rough fish. The illegally-possessed fish was seized but couldn’t be released. Enforcement action was taken.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) monitored sturgeon fishing, trapping, off-highway vehicle use, and transportation of water-related equipment. He also checked on areas of animal-related complaints. To avoid conflict between homeowners and bears, some of the easiest things to do this time of year are clean up/remove bird feeders and store garbage inside a residence.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports equipment work was completed. A car-hit bear was dispatched.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) assisted local law enforcement with an altercation and assisted with an ATV safety class.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) spent the week investigating illegally-taken gray wolf cases and litter complaints. Any information about a wolf that was shot a short distance west of Hibbing last fall would be appreciated. One litter complaint resulted in a suspect being cited for driving after revocation. A dog-chasing-deer complaint was investigated, and the responsible dogs were located. An illegal fire was investigated after the suspect started a large pile of clothes on fire just 10 feet from a house. A motor vehicle crash was located and found unoccupied after the vehicle left the roadway and went airborne into a gravel pit.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) patrolled the Virginia area for spring beaver-trapping activity. Numerous beaver sets were located, and several violations were detected. Frericks will continue to monitor the sets to see if the owner of them corrects the violations. An issue in which a person set up camp with four tents – complete with an archery shooting range, Christmas lights, and a generator at a public access – is being addressed.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers this past week. He also worked ATV complaint areas and took several calls about nuisance animals.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that while some smaller lakes farther up the Gunflint Trail are open, there are a few that will be close, come fishing opener. There will be lakes to fish on the opener, but make sure to check with your lodge or outfitter for BWCAW lakes and others.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area fish sanctuaries and closed areas on local rivers. Manning also checked steelhead anglers and checked a few inland lakes for ice-out.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) monitored ATVing activity in Lake and Cook counties. Anglers were checked along North Shore streams. The CO also responded to an illegal-burning complaint and conducted commercial inspections.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked fishing and ATVing enforcement. He also answered wildlife-related calls and assisted other agencies.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked a detail on the Rainy River, checked anglers, monitored trapping activity, and worked the spring fish run. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, unattended lines, possession of walleyes out of season, untagged sturgeon, failure to validate a tag, and equipment violations.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked shore fishing and trapping activity with trapping activities slowing down and angling picking up. Road-kill deer tags were issued.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) continued to work trapping, ATVing, boating, and angling enforcement in the area. A wolf-depredation complaint was fielded and investigated. Van Asch also spent time assisting with a firearms safety class in Nashwauk.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) has been handling frequent reports about litter, with carcasses being dumped throughout the station. Calls have been fielded regarding bear hunting as well, and equipment is being prepped for the upcoming fishing opener.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked ATV complaint areas and trailheads. Shore anglers and anglers on Lake Superior have been out in force and are having some success.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) assisted with security at a DNR meeting. Time also was spent working fishing enforcement along the North Shore of Lake Superior for the steelhead run. Duncan assisted CO Schmidt with the removal of an 8X8 fish house floor that someone left on the ice. After ice-out, it turned out to be a navigation hazard.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) responded to a complaint about trespassing and checked angling activity in the area.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked anglers along the tributaries of the North Shore. CO Olson also worked late nights with smelters in the Duluth area, and violations were detected for illegal equipment issues in and around the rivers.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked steelhead anglers in rivers and trollers on Lake Superior. Coho salmon have made up the majority of the catch on the big lake. Boaters are still dodging a few icebergs and blockages near the Superior entry.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) spent the week enforcing boating, fishing, ATVing, fire, and bowfishing activities. Enforcement action was taken for trespassing, registration, and life jacket issues.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) checked anglers having success catching crappies and sunfish. He worked tips regarding fish overlimits and taking bass out of season.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) monitored fish run activity and spring panfish angling pressure. One angler was checked after he caught numerous panfish from a lake with invasive species and then transported them alive, in lake water, to another invasive species-infested lake to continue fishing. Transportation of live fish and failing to drain water-related equipment violations were addressed.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked turkey hunters and monitored bowfishing activity. She also instructed a homeowner not to burn a massive pile of old furniture and debris the person had piled up in his fire pit area.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports patrolling the park for illegal vehicle and SRA activity. A fishing complaint was investigated, and assistance was given to a local agency on a call for service. A ride-along opportunity was given to a college student who has interest in becoming a conservation officer.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, trapping, and off-road vehicle activity. Feeders located near deer stands while the CO worked turkey hunters were documented for follow-up in the fall.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked open-water anglers in numbers not seen since September. Verkuilen also checked turkey hunters, monitored tribal harvest, and fielded calls regarding beaver damage.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked area lakes and rivers for shore anglers. She received reports about incidentally caught otters and checked traps. A report about an abandoned RV was taken, but the vehicle was gone upon the CO’s arrival.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) reports an illegal fire was investigated and action was taken for burning prohibited materials.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) saw a big increase in river fishing activity and many lakes started to get busy with boaters looking for panfish and getting boats tuned up for the fishing opener. A handful of bowfishers were found out at night trying to harvest rough fish with bowfishing rigs.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) followed up on a tip about individuals feeding and/or baiting deer.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week preparing equipment for the upcoming fishing opener. A wetlands complaint was taken and investigated, and an incidentally caught otter was secured from an area trapper.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) took several calls regarding beaver problems in which he advised landowners of a local trapper who might assist them.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) responded to a campfire that spread and became out of control. A person was burned and later airlifted to a hospital.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) focused enforcement efforts on anglers. Additional time was spent handling bowfishing and dumping complaints. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, failing to have a PFD on a watercraft, and failing to display valid watercraft registration.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers, ATVers, and boaters, and patrolled local WMAs.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) investigated a public waters complaint involving a party excavating the shoreline below the ordinary high-water line. Maass also spent time checking boaters and anglers on area lakes and rivers.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) attended a training in Brooklyn Park called Traumas of Law Enforcement for the Enforcement Division PEER support team. He also handled calls that included injured deer, a TIP complaint, and questions about fishing regulations.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports TIP calls have been received about anglers targeting and keeping fish species during the closed season.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked anglers on area lakes. Several local crappie tournaments were going on during the weekend. Fish-catching seemed to be good in shallow bays, where water temperatures have climbed.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time checking shore anglers on a variety of local lakes. Additionally, he continued to work multiple ongoing investigations and monitored turkey-hunting activity at local WMAs. Thomas spoke to a local Cub Scout Troop about rules and regulations, assisted the Lakeville Police Department with a public safety event, and backed up the Eagan Police Department on a mental health crisis call.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports working the St. Croix River fishing opener.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. Several individuals were found angling for bass during the closed season, and enforcement action was taken. Salzer also assisted Montana officials with a big-game investigation.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring area anglers. The St. Croix River opener brought many anglers out despite the slow/no wake restriction on the river. Enforcement action for the week included taking walleyes out of season and boating safety violations.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, ATVing, and turkey-hunting enforcement. Shore-fishing activity has picked up as the crappie bite has started on a few lakes. Assistance was given with a firearms safety class and an ATV safety class held in Montevideo during the weekend.
CO Blong Lor (Redwood Falls) spent the week checking turkey hunters, ATVing activity, and anglers.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) checked anglers and boaters. He also followed up on a boating complaint. Time was spent completing taxidermy inspections.
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) worked boating and ATVing activity. He followed up on complaint calls regarding angling, burning, and a public waters violation.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls and gave information regarding how to manage nuisance wildlife. He also gave presentations at two youth ATV safety classes.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) fielded numerous TIP complaints during the past week of taking fish out of season. Enforcement efforts surrounded fishing activity and turkey hunting. Assistance was given to the Minnesota State Patrol with a vehicle accident in eastern Cottonwood County.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) reports that he worked shore and boat anglers. He also followed up on a complaint about illegal methods of taking fish and assisted CO Dirks in Nobles County.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Tony Flerlage (Spring Valley) checked people going after turkeys and trout this past week. He also checked ATV use in the area.
CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports working small-game hunters and anglers. Lusignan responded to a TIP complaint about an angler taking fish out of season.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked angling, ATVing, and turkey-hunting activity. Lots of anglers were out testing their equipment and looking for a few panfish.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the week checking turkey hunters and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for taking fish without a license, no PFD, untagged turkeys, possessing an unlawful firearm while turkey hunting, and multiple ATV violations.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week investigating various nuisance wildlife-related complaints. Time also was spent patrolling the Mississippi River for boating and angling activity. Enforcement action was taken for expired registration and no license in possession.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports more fishing on the river as the water level drops. He also checked turkey hunters and ATVers. While sitting in a parking area, Hemker was observing people fishing. About 50 yards away two young men got out of their truck, sat in the bed of their pickup, and began smoking marijuana.