Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – July 26, 2019
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) monitored area angling and ATVing activity. Complaints were fielded regarding truck operators rutting up a sensitive area in the Beltrami Island State Forest. Charges are pending.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked OHV, AIS and angling enforcement. A two-year pilot program went into effect that will allow ATV and UTV traffic in addition to the already allowed highway-licensed vehicles to utilize the Moose River Dike Road in the Beltrami Island State Forest from July 15 through Sept. 15 this year and next. This project will be monitored to determine if ATV use can be sustained on the route in a manner that is consistent with impoundment operation, natural resources conservation, and public safety objectives.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) checked anglers along the Red River of the North, conducted ATV and OHV patrols, and took calls related to injured and nuisance animals this past week. Elwell also investigated a possible Wetlands Conservation Act violation.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports a drastic uptick in ATV use. Time was spent monitoring ATV activity in the area and angling activity on Upper Red Lake. Prachar also assisted the sheriff’s office with an emergency near Bemidji.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) assisted at the CO Academy, answered questions about upcoming hunting seasons, and investigated a wolf depredation complaint.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked fishing enforcement, spoke to kids at a firearms safety class about ethics, laws, and safety, and assisted with annual in-service training at Camp Ripley.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week working boat and water safety, angling, ATVing, and commercial enforcement activities. Landmark also assisted other agencies with a motorcycle crash and responded to a report about a bear hit on Interstate 94. Landmark and CO Swedberg also spent time on boat and water safety enforcement during the Detroit Lakes Water Carnival. A personal watercraft operator was stopped for operating 45 minutes past legal operating hours. Signs of impairment were observed during the contact. The operator was subsequently arrested for fourth-degree operation of a motorboat while intoxicated.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) assisted with CO Academy instruction and scenario evaluations regarding trapping. Plautz also began a background investigation of a possible new conservation officer candidate and followed up on numerous calls and complaints.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) reports “aqua thrusters” still are an issue when used inappropriately. Osborne is working with the area hydrologist and aquatic plant management specialist to try to repair damage caused by the devices.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked fishing, boating, AIS, and fire activity. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, extra lines, and insufficient PFDs onboard watercraft.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) attended in-service training at Camp Ripley and began a background investigation of a conservation officer applicant. Two calls of nuisance bears getting into bird feeders and garbage were received.
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) checked anglers on multiple lakes. The CO also investigated a report about someone moving bogs, dogs chasing deer, and a TIP about people using extra lines while fishing. Hughes also assisted with a vehicle rollover, brought an injured sharp-shinned hawk to a wildlife rehabilitator, and attended multiple lake association meetings.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports that fishing and boating enforcement on Rainy Lake continues to be the main emphasis in the workload, along with checking on commercial activities at local resorts and minnow dealers throughout the station.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls) spent the majority of the week following up on a case with local law enforcement agencies. Time also was spent on vehicle maintenance, responding to small-game-related complaints, and attending annual in-service training at Camp Ripley.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) spent time on commercial activity license checks. After severe weather came through the area, time was spent checking public accesses and campgrounds for damage. Trees were removed from roadways. Slatinski assisted a neighboring officer with a case in which the suspects fled when directed to stop.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and water access sites. Reports about blueberries continue to be bleak. Biting insects appear plentiful.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) investigated a wetland/dock issue on Lake Vermilion. Hopkins also had the pleasure of speaking about boating safety to a large group of children who participated in the Take a Kid Fishing event on Lake Vermilion.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, boaters, the state park, and ATV riders. A wolf-taking complaint originating from social media was investigated. Though a wolf had not been taken, a big-game violation was found. A fish overlimit and wanton waste complaint also were investigated. Surveillance on the suspects resulted in fishing, littering, AIS, and boating violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) worked on rifle maintenance while at Camp Ripley. Frericks also spent time checking ORV trails and meeting with riders during the Crawl 4 the Cure event at the Gilbert OHV park. A large turnout of ORVers was seen and money was raised for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports two teenagers from Iowa were cited for underage drinking and for giving false information when they gave false birth dates. Other enforcement action included OHM violations and operating a PWC 80 minutes after closed hours.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking anglers and ATV riders. He also armored rifles at Camp Ripley during in-service training.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) reports that during boating safety checks, several inflatable-type life jackets were checked and found to have the CO2 cylinder not installed. Boaters are reminded they must install the cartridges in a newly purchased vest for it to provide flotation when activated.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked fishing, AIS, boating, and ATVing enforcement. He also answered wildlife-related calls and patrolled parks and campgrounds.
CO Michael Fairbanks (Deer River) worked various calls for service. He assisted other law enforcement agencies and provided a K9 demonstration.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, boating, ATVing, and AIS enforcement. He also attended annual in-service training held at Camp Ripley.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) worked on ongoing cases and opened new cases and investigations. ATVing and fishing activities continue to be the primary focuses.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) spent most of the week at Camp Ripley as part of the Enforcement Division’s Use of Force Team, conducting required in-service training for officers. Training also was given to conservation officer candidates currently attending the CO Academy.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended training at Camp Ripley during the week and fielded several nuisance bear-related complaints in the Duluth area. AIS enforcement was worked at the public access points along the North Shore.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Training was attended at Camp Ripley.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports an ATV injury crash was responded to. The CO also dealt with issues regarding wetland alteration, along with a nuisance bear, beaver, and coyote.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) patrolled the CCSRA for park violations and contacted multiple people for park permit violations. Please remember a state park vehicle permit is required in the CCSRA. Time was spent monitoring ATV, AIS, and boating activity. Fitzgerald fielded calls regarding an injured deer and a boating complaint. A littering case in the SRA was investigated, and many outdoor law-related questions were answered throughout the week and weekend. He also assisted with several calls for service from local agencies.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) handled two wolf-related calls this past week. One involved cattle getting run through fences when two adult wolves and four pups were seen on a complainant’s property. The livestock owner was concerned that someone could get hurt if they hit his cattle, which had been out several times prior to the wolf sighting. The other call involved a 350-pound calf that was confirmed to have been killed by wolves.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) dealt with more wolf depredation complaints and spent time on area lakes, checking anglers and boaters. While checking one angler’s license and boat equipment, the angler was excited to show off all the sunfish, walleyes, and catfish he had caught that day. As he pulled his morning’s catch out of the water, a look of shock came over his face as he realized there were only two sunfish in the basket. His fish had been swimming out of a big hole in the side of his old, metal fish basket as fast as he was putting them in it.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) reports completing annual in-service training. Kyllo also assisted with scenarios at Camp Ripley for the current CO Academy.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week assisting with CO Academy training for both trapping enforcement and use of force. He also patrolled the station for ATV and angling activity.
CO Frank Rezac (St, Cloud) reports checking anglers and boaters on area lakes and the Mississippi River. Wildlife-related calls also were taken/resolved. Enforcement contacts were made for unattended fishing lines, possession of smallmouth bass within the protected slot, and watercraft operation and equipment violations.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports working fishing, boating, and AIS enforcement training.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week working anglers and boaters. ATV, wetland, and aquatic plant complaints were worked as well, and a turtle trapper was checked.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) spent much of the week at Camp Ripley doing instruction for the new CO Academy class. The cadets were trained and completed scenarios on furbearer laws and trapping enforcement. Time also was spent handling wetland cases in the area, resulting in fines and orders to restore areas to their natural state.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers. Krauel also worked on some follow-up of a watercraft rental company not providing PFDs on it rental watercraft.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) followed up on a possible wetland and shoreline violation, as well as several nuisance-beaver reports and injured-swan calls.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and boaters. He also worked ATV complaint areas.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and ATV operators. Additional time was spent staffing the TIP trailer at the Sherburne County Fair. Violations for the week included trapping minnows without a license, no minnow trap identification, and using sunfish as bait.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked boating and fishing activities on metro-area lakes and rivers. He also participated at a youth firearms safety field day in Corcoran and returned calls about nuisance animal-related complaints.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked a group of river rafters near Belle Plaine. The group had made their own rafts from plywood and 55-gallon drums. Fogarty confirmed their float plan and made sure they had emergency equipment.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) provided a ride-along for a DNR employee (also a volunteer with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office’s Water Patrol Unit). He also assisted district officers during a field day for a firearms safety class.
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) patrolled metro lakes for angling and boating activity. A ride-along was provided for an interested individual.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and following up on complaints. Grewe and K9 Shelby also made a presentation at a local summer camp and helped out with a firearms safety field day in Corcoran.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) checked anglers on the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers who reported the fishing was slow with the high water and heat. He also patrolled his station for invasive species compliance and addressed a couple of violations. Enforcement action was taken for angling while revoked and angling without a license.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring boating activity on the big rivers. The CO also assisted the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office with Rivertown Days. Enforcement action for the week was taken for no fishing license, gunwale riding, no boat registration, and BUI.
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily patrolled local lakes and rivers for angling activity. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of violations, including excessive wake in a no-wake zone, lack of navigation lights at night, allowing gunwale riding, and various fishing license violations. He also took complaints about trespassing and nuisance wildlife, and arrested a boater for boating while intoxicated on the Mississippi River.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling and boating activity. The CO also assisted a local watercraft inspector with non-compliant boaters.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (White Bear Lake) spent time instructing at trapping school for officers at the current CO Academy held at Camp Ripley. Time also was spent on a background investigation for the current hiring process.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) attended training at Camp Ripley and spoke to a group of kids about being a conservation officer. Arntzen spent the rest of the week at area lakes, checking anglers and watercraft users. He also scheduled firearms safety classes and did equipment maintenance.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored AIS, angling, boating, and OHVing activity during the past week. Annual in-service training was attended at Camp Ripley. Questions regarding abandoned animals were answered.
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent time at Camp Ripley instructing for the CO Academy and at in-service training. He also checked boaters and ATV riders throughout the week.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, boating, ATVing, state parks, and AIS enforcement. Recreational boating activity continues to be high with the warm weather. Most of the personal watercraft violations dealt with illegal operation by youths and operating during closed hours. ATV operators are reminded that a valid driver’s license is required to operate on a public roadway.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) went to two firearms safety classes during the past week to talk with kids about laws and ethics for hunting. Other time was spent on the water, focusing on boat and water safety along with angling and PWC enforcement. Klehr also dealt with OHM operators who were operating illegally on a roadway and attempted to avoid being apprehended.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) spent time armoring Enforcement Division firearms during in-service training and represented the Enforcement Division at law enforcement pistol matches. Nelson received complaints about boating violations and gave advice regarding nuisance animals.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports ongoing complaints about littering at fishing locations continue to be fielded and worked. Anyone witnessing this type of activity is encouraged to contact CO Miller.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) reports aquatic vegetation is becoming more prevalent in lakes and users are reminded to take extra time during inspections. Public accesses were patrolled. Major storms went through the area recently, leaving downed trees and power lines throughout the area. Assistance was given to emergency crews and law enforcement in reporting those areas of concern. One public access was blocked by a large tree. A special thanks to a member of the Trimont Conservation Club for using heavy equipment and manpower to make the lake accessible for users. Watercraft operators are reminded to look for debris on lakes and just below the surface.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, boaters, and ATV operators during the week. CO Davis also monitored AIS activity at area public water access sites.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) spent the week assisting with both CO Academy training as well as annual in-service at Camp Ripley. Other work included checking anglers and boaters and assisting with storm-related issues.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on angling and ATVing activity. VanThuyne also checked boats for AIS compliance and attended training at Camp Ripley.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) checked an angler on the Mississippi River who had resident fishing licenses in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was determined the angler was committing residency fraud and the case was referred to Wisconsin conservation wardens.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) assisted the Rochester Police Department with the search and recovery of a drowning victim.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports the river continues to be high and the creeks were flooded in areas. He assisted in a search for a missing person and incidentally helped retrieve a boat that had floated off as river levels rose after a heavy rainstorm. There were many nuisance wild animal-related calls, including two separate calls where there were bald eagles hanging around residences. The eagles did not appear to fear people. One neighborhood in Winona reported seven different rattlesnakes in the area.