Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Aug. 23, 2019
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked OHV, AIS, and bear-baiting enforcement. Several calls concerning the upcoming deer and bear seasons were handled.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) attended training, responded to a call about possible feral swine at large, and monitored the start of bear-baiting activities. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register a bear bait as required, baiting bears without a valid license, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, a juvenile helmet violation, no ATV registration, and open-bottle violations on Class II ATVs.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working ATVing and angling activity on special-regulation lakes throughout the past week. Time also was spent working on an applicant pre-employment background investigation and attending training in Roseville.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) spent time working on a background investigation regarding a CO applicant. He also checked angling activity on area lakes and attended Enforcement Division training in Baxter.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports issuing special permits to trap beavers that were causing damage to township roads, attending required Division of Enforcement training, and taking calls about coyotes possibly causing issues with livestock loss. Vinton, along with other district officers and members of the Perham Sportsmen’s Club, conducted the all-day range portion of the youth firearms safety class.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working sportfishing and boat and water safety, and preparing for the upcoming bear-hunting season. Swedberg worked with CO Peterson on a case involving a turkey that was shot out of season. Thanks to a TIP call, the suspect was found and citations were issued.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted Becker County with a deer-shining-and-shooting case involving two juveniles who made multiple poor decisions when they attempted to flee from deputies after shooting multiple deer during the middle of the night.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) reports a falconry facility inspection was completed.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent time at Enforcement Division training, participated in deer hunting-related training with the Frazee rescue team, and assisted with CO Academy training at Camp Ripley during sportfishing week.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) answered questions related to various upcoming hunting seasons. He also spent time at Camp Ripley for the CO Academy sportfishing week.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports attending training in Baxter, performing station equipment maintenance, and coordinating an upcoming firearms safety field day. Time was spent following up on a reported waters violation and conducting aquatic plant management inspections on area lakes. Minnow transportation permits were issued.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) reports follow-up on aquatic plant management inspection violations continues, with several people contacted. He also attended training and the Douglas County Fair.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports assistance was given to DNR Wildlife staff by conducting pheasant count surveys around the county.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. Boating enforcement and safety occupied most of Posner’s time. No lights after sunset, insufficient PFDs, and expired registration violations were found. He also worked on aquatic invasive species prevention on lakes Alexander and Shamineau. A complaint of ATVers causing damage to road ditches and driving carelessly near Pillager was investigated. And, the CO responded to a camping complaint at Rock Lake.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily taught new conservation officers fishing-related statutes and rules at the CO Academy. Work continues on a background investigation of a CO applicant. Some time was spent checking bear baits and anglers in the area. Complaints about nuisance beavers as well as PWC operators chasing loons were received.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) spent a busy week at Camp Ripley instructing sportfishing enforcement to CO Academy 19. An AIS check station detail was worked during the weekend at the U.S. Customs Port of Entry in International Falls.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls) spent time working boating and angling enforcement on Rainy Lake with National Park Service rangers during the past week.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) spent time monitoring bear-baiting activity. With limited amounts of berries in the area, conditions are favorable for people trying to lure bears to their baits. State forest campgrounds were patrolled, with enforcement action taken for various violations. An aquatic invasive species checkpoint was worked along with AIS inspectors at the International Falls Port of Entry. A multitude of violations were encountered, including transporting aquatic macrophytes, failure to remove drain plugs, transporting fish not countable/identifiable, and an overlimit of fish.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, boaters, and OHV riders. He also attended training in the Twin Cities. While working from a boating detail, Bozovsky observed a completely unclothed person, in full view of the world, walking in knee-deep water. The person was contacted and encouraged to use better decision-making in the future as the nearest dock of another cabin owner was about 100 feet away. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession, OHV trespass, no state park vehicle permit, and indecent exposure.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) reports that while looking for bear baits near a snowmobile trail, he noticed fresh ATV tracks going directly past two signs prohibiting ATV traffic. Three ATV riders were eventually located and issued citations for operating on a snowmobile trail.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports the bear-baiting season is off to a good start in the area of the Echo Trail. Bear foods aren’t as plentiful as in past years, but berries are still available. Most of the baits inspected showed a lot of recent bear activity for the first weekend of baiting, and a high level of compliance was observed.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers this past week and followed up on a boating complaint. He also checked bear-baiting activity and took several calls about trapping and bear-baiting regulations and AIS concerns.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) attended training, attended court, worked on cases, answered questions about bear-baiting regulations, and checked anglers and boaters on station lakes. In one instance, two anglers who claimed they had licenses left after the check and purchased licenses 30 minutes later at a local bait shop. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked bear-baiting activity and investigated a report of nuisance-wolf activity.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked bear baiting, checked anglers, and gave a law talk at a firearms safety class. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also provided K9 demonstrations at the Itasca County Fair.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling, ATVing, and bear-baiting activity during the past week. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession. Multiple calls about road-killed deer were taken.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports a high number of recreational boaters and a low number of anglers in the area. Hochstein began to monitor bear-baiting locations and spoke with several people who were excited about the upcoming bear-hunting season.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw heavy boating and angling activity this past week. The CO responded to a medical emergency at a public access. The patient was transported by ambulance. Multiple landowners were spoken to regarding illegal fires.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent the week working on wetland and public waters complaints. Beaver- and bear-related complaints have been coming in steadily. Schmidt handled an ongoing complaint about a person camping in a closed area.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) conducted site visits with a DNR Waters hydrologist on public water-related investigations. Humphrey also followed up on a wolf/livestock depredation complaint in Kettle River. Patrols were conducted in and around the Sawyer Wildlife Management Area and Fond du Lac State Forest.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended training in the metro area. Time also was spent assisting with interviewing new possible K9 handlers for the Enforcement Division. An inspection was conducted of local minnow dealers in which a license violation is under further investigation.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked Lake Superior in the Duluth area. Olson worked the lakes north of Duluth and responded to a medical emergency on Island Lake that resulted in the patient being transported by ambulance.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boaters and anglers on Lake Superior. Follow-up was completed on commercial netting investigations and boat-maintenance items were handled. A bear that was shot while doing damage to a landowner’s property was seized and given to another person.
District 9 – Brainerd area
Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) assisted in locating an ATV operator who became disorientated and got lost. The operator traveled off-trail, got stuck, and did not have any means of communication. The operator was located and safely transported home.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) assisted with the DNR CO Academy this past week. Guida also worked with District 9 conservation officers around the Brainerd International Raceway focusing on all-terrain vehicle violations including alcohol-impaired driving. He also fielded a nuisance-bear complaint and monitored bear-baiting activity.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, invasive species, and ATVing activity. Bear-baiting activity and a complaint about watercraft operators chasing geese also were handled.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) took enforcement action for illegal wildlife feeding and a person trying to block ATV traffic in a road right of way. He also worked an AIS road check in the Lake Mille Lacs area, where numerous violations were found with people transporting aquatic plants and failing to remove drain plugs from boats. In one instance, a woman was driving on a state highway with her kids riding in the boat on the boat trailer. She thought that was OK.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports assisting with teaching sportfishing week at the CO Academy, where cadets learned about fishing laws and apprehension techniques. Time also was spent addressing SRA park violations and answering outdoor law-related questions.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked lake activity where algae and weed growth appear to be peaking. The CO assisted with an aquatic invasive species check where several boats were observed with dangling vegetation.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) patrolled fishing, big-game, and ATVing enforcement. She spent time giving presentations on hunting regulations and hunting safety at two local firearms safety classes. Whiteoak also worked at the TIP booth at Wahkon Days and worked at Game Fair, answering many questions regarding the upcoming hunting seasons.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on equipment issues, attended training, and continued recruitment efforts for possible future CO applicants. Starr also coached an elderly lakeshore owner who became upset with people fishing near his dock. The dock owner brought rocks in his hand to possibly defend his property from being damaged by large lures. Luckily, the situation came to a peaceful end.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent much of the week handling bear-hunting questions and checking on bear-baiting activity. There also were quite a few calls handled involving coyotes and wolves harassing livestock. One farmer had a 650-pound heifer calf that was taken down. The 650-pound calf was torn apart and surrounded by wolf tracks. Time also was spent assisting the sheriff’s office with multiple pursuits in which suspects bailed out of their vehicle and fled into the woods.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked anglers for the last time on Lake Mille Lacs with CO Verkuilen. Croatt came upon an angler who said he had been fishing Mille Lacs for 40 years and it was only the second time he had ever been checked. He was grateful for Croatt and Verkuilen being out and working the lakes. This was Croatt’s last week after nearly 32 years in law enforcement.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) reports the annual Big Birch Lake Association meeting was attended with multiple questions and concerns being addressed by lakeshore owners. ATV violations were addressed also during the week, including one machine that had not been registered since 2014.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports working ATV enforcement, AIS enforcement, and checking anglers. Time was spent at a training and assisting the State Patrol with an accident.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) responded to TIP calls regarding extra lines and illegal fish. A public waters violation was handled, and a lake association meeting was attended. A person was found to be fishing after his license privileges had been revoked for not responding to another DNR citation that he received last year.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked angling and boating activity on local lakes and rivers, patrolled ATV complaint areas, and took complaints about trespass and litter. Time also was spent working with local government units, checking for compliance on wetland and public waters projects.
CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the past week working anglers, checking bear baits, and responding to nuisance-animal-related calls. Time also was spent assisting other agencies and responding to missing kayakers on the St. Croix River.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time checking shore anglers and recreational boaters. A ride-along was provided to a recent college graduate. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, angling without a fishing license, and a felony drug arrest warrant.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) talked to a group of about 80 kids at the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club for a firearms safety class. Fogarty also took a few wildlife-related complaints and received a complaint about campsites located on a state WMA near Shakopee.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) reports focusing on angling and boat and water safety enforcement. Kpachavi made a warrant arrest on the Mississippi River and assisted Hennepin County with a BWI arrest on Lake Minnetonka.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week patrolling anglers and following up on complaints. Grewe also attended training this past week and conducted an aquatic invasive species seminar with K9 Shelby.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent a majority of the week checking shore anglers on local lakes and rivers. He also conducted equipment maintenance and assisted with two ATV safety field day classes along with a firearms safety class.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week attending a conference on wildlife investigations. He also fielded calls about the upcoming bear season and worked on open cases.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers and illegal ATVing activity in the area. He also spoke at a firearms safety class and attended the Dakota County Gun Club’s Ladies Day event.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored AIS, angling, boating, and OHV activity during the past week. Hunting-related questions are becoming more frequent.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) worked fishing, boating, ATV, and AIS enforcement. Recreational boating and personal watercraft activity have been the main enforcement focus on area lakes.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) worked ATV and angling activity. He also attended Enforcement Division training and followed up on a waterfowl complaint. Vernier also received an incidentally taken otter.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time working on a background investigation during the week and attending training. Other time was spent following up on investigations of possible public waters and aquatic plant violations.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) represented DNR Enforcement at the Minnesota Police and Peace Officer Association pistol matches.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports a local Night to Unite event was attended with a great turnout and many questions handled about upcoming fall hunting seasons.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked angling and ATVing enforcement this past week. Henke also staffed the DNR booth at the Steele County Free Fair and continued a background investigation.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent much of the past week checking angling, boating, and AIS enforcement. The Minnesota River has come down considerably and more resembles normal seasonal flows.
CO Tony Flerlage (Spring Valley) assisted area law enforcement with multiple calls. He also located treestands left overnight in WMAs leading up to the bow season.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports working a steady mixture of AIS, fishing, and boating enforcement. Anglers were checked on Lake Zumbro. Recreational boaters are taking full advantage of the recent lift of the no-wake ban on the lake as well. CO Hill cited a burn permit holder after the CO found the man’s burn pile was illegally smoldering and was unattended.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) followed up on complaints about early ginseng digging and illegal fishing.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working fishing enforcement on the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin as well as some ATV enforcement on state forest areas. Prodzinski attended department training and conducted a follow-up investigation on a few ongoing violations.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) reports enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, unlawful tackle configuration, extra lines, and failure to display ATV registration.