Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Sept. 20, 2019
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked OHV, bear, deer, small-game, and waterfowl hunting enforcement. The early goose season wrapped up with many happy hunters walking away with possession limits over the course of the season. A report was taken and investigated concerning the illegal dumping of geese carcasses, many of which were not utilized. Hunters must dispose of game carcasses properly and respectfully, as not everyone wants to see a pile of dead animals as they drive through the forest.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) met with some hunters from the Kittson County area to discuss the current and upcoming hunting seasons and answer questions. Elwell also patrolled the station for early goose and bear-hunting activity.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working AIS, boating, and angling activity on special-regulation lakes throughout the week. Goose, grouse, and archery deer hunters were checked.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports a slow start to the small-game season. The CO spent time working both small- and big-game activity, as well as ATVing activity. He also investigated a complaint of illegal burning. He was assisted by another CO and a conservation officer candidate.
CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette) spent part of the week on a BWCAW detail in the Ely area. The remainder of the week was spent on ATVing enforcement, bear baiting, and hunting enforcement.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking bear and deer hunters this past week. Time also was spent contacting goose hunters and anglers. Small-game hunters were contacted during the opening weekend.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) and COC Calie Kunst worked on the Cass Lake chain and found various boating safety violations and northern pike that were kept illegally within the slot. COC Kunst received a complaint that goose hunters were shooting toward a residence. Upon contact, one hunter didn’t have a license.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) and COC Jordan Anderson handled TIP complaints as well as a dispute over permission to track a wounded deer. Hunters are encouraged to speak with their neighbors prior to a season opening to discuss situations should a deer need to be recovered on someone else’s property as well as review the legal requirements of posting their land.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working ATVing activity and preparing for the small-game and waterfowl openers. Some small-game hunters braved the wet and buggy conditions and were rewarded with some grouse and squirrels.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) and CO Richards contacted two juveniles who mistakenly thought the youth duck season was this past weekend. Ducks and lead ammunition were seized, and enforcement action is pending.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week focused on checking ATV operators and goose and dove hunters.
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) says duck hunters should check their licenses/stamps, shotguns, and other related equipment prior to opening day (Sept. 21). Duck numbers appear to be spotty at this time.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) finalized a background investigation and followed up on multiple complaints regarding shoreline issues, dog training permits, and nuisance wildlife. Plautz followed up on a complaint about ATV trespass in a state park and took enforcement action for the violation.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) handled calls regarding trespassing, big-game retrieval, and waterfowl production area parking areas.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked hunters during the opening weekend of small-game and archery deer seasons. Fishing and boating activity was monitored.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) reports continuing to check anglers, ATV riders, and goose hunters. She checked multiple small-game hunters during opening weekend.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports many anglers, hunters, and recreational vehicle users were out and enjoying the nice weekend. A complaint about people camping at a public water access was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for AIS and angling violations.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls) reports working angling, ATVing, forestry, big-game, and small-game enforcement during the week. Even with the heavy amount of rain as of late, bear hunters have reported a fair amount of success in the field since the start of the season.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports assistance was provided for a medical transport from a remote location and with a motorcycle crash involving a deer. He reminds forest users to know the status of trails where they plan to travel. Some trails change from motorized to non-motorized at various times of the year.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports the grouse opener was very poor – few people and fewer birds. Area forest roads and trails were monitored and public access sites were checked.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports more bear-hunting issues this past week. The small-game and archery deer seasons opened, but there were not too many hunters out. Hopkins took enforcement action for a loaded gun in a motor vehicle and dealt with an individual driving dangerously.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) met with a landowner and the local soil and water conservation district regarding a wetland fill violation. More evidence was located on the previous week’s bear-dumping cases. An ATV-riding grouse hunter was not demonstrating good decision-making as he was found with a child who had no helmet. Further, the adult was drinking alcohol, and had an open container of alcohol and a loaded shotgun sticking out over the front windshield of the Class 2 ATV. The adult hunter was cited.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spoke at a Rotary Club meeting to Virginia-area business people. Topics covered included the upcoming youth deer hunt and other law changes.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting and angling activity. Few small-game hunters and archery deer hunters were observed over the opening weekend. Broughten also fielded calls regarding trespass, an injured bear, and hunting license questions.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports thick underbrush and foliage on trees made for some tough hunting conditions for the small-game opener.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked bear hunters and grouse hunters this past week. He also followed up on a litter complaint and an ATV complaint. Velsvaag also checked on early waterfowl blinds and the end of ricing season.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) focused enforcement efforts on small-game and bear hunters and ATV riders. Wahlstrom also spent some time checking anglers on area lakes and following up on complaints.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) spent time patrolling the BWCAW with CO Lawler and working big-game enforcement. Several calls and complaints were taken throughout the week. A litter investigation is ongoing.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) and COC Marc Johnson worked bear hunting, waterfowl, and ATV enforcement and small-game hunting activity in their station. Warnings and citations were issued for transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles, no helmets on youth on an ATV, no small-game license in possession, operating an ATV with no headlights, and unrestrained pets inside a state campground.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked waterfowling complaints, and monitored OHV activity.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the small-game and archery deer openers, with many hunters hitting the woods. Enforcement action was taken for hunting migratory waterfowl without a state waterfowl stamp or federal waterfowl stamp and not having HIP certification.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working small-game, waterfowl, ATV, angling, and big-game enforcement throughout the area. Grouse hunters were out in full force but reported limited success likely due to dense foliage. Van Asch also gave assistance to the Minnesota State Patrol with a motorcycle accident.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent a majority of the week monitoring bear-hunting and ATVing activity. Violations encountered included failure to validate a bear tag and shooting a bear cub.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) spent time afield during the small-game opener. ATVing activity was heavy, but few hunters were out.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent much of the past week working area lakes and rivers. Small-game opening weekend was relatively slow for hunters but there was a lot of ATV activity on roads and trails. A wetland complaint was handled, as was an illegal-dumping complaint.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) and COC Hanna Wood had poor weather this past week but spent time looking for and checking shore anglers. They took calls regarding wolf depredation and one regarding an injured raptor. They also spent some time at the courthouse and were able to sit in on a court trial, arraignments, and DWI court. They also assisted Wisconsin wardens with a big-game investigation.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked early goose hunting and the small-game and archery openers. He also attended a 9/11 memorial in the Twin Cities honoring CO Eugene Wynn and other Minnesota fallen officers.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports K9 assistance was requested to help search for evidence in a case involving a bear hunter in the area. K9 Schody was successful in assisting. The case is ongoing and under investigation. A large amount of garbage was dumped in an area state forest. A search through the garbage revealed some mail with names on it. After contacting the owners of the mail, it was determined two other individuals were responsible. They were paid to take the garbage to a dump and instead dumped it in the state forest and pocketed the money. Charges are pending.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports the small-game and archery deer seasons were worked north of Duluth, and bear hunters were worked in the evenings. Lake Superior commercial enforcement also was worked, resulting in records violations.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked river and boat anglers. Salmon are starting to enter rivers. Trollers are making use of the nice weather to get out after lake trout and salmon.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) investigated illegal deer-baiting violations. Archery equipment was seized and will be forfeited upon conviction. Hunting deer with the aid of bait also violates current deer-feeding prohibitions.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing counties for boating activity. He also spent time patrolling for small-game and bear-hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for numerous boating and angling violations.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) reports working bear, early goose, and small-game hunters. She also worked some trespass complaints and an archery deer-baiting case.
CO Tim Collette (Brainerd) checked early-season goose hunters and small-game hunters and monitored ATV areas. One group of riders all followed the leader through a winter snowmobile trail that crossed a wetland. When they came out on the other side, dripping mud and aquatic vegetation, Collette was waiting for them and issued citations. Claiming to be just following a trail does not make it legal to operate in a wetland.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports working ATVing, small-game hunting, and boating enforcement. He continued field training with COC Leeb and patrolled the park for violations. Assistance was also provided to a local agency on an ATV accident.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) followed up on a litter complaint in which the suspect admitted to his actions and cleaned up the litter.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) reports an investigation of ATVing activity on a WMA was concluded with enforcement action taken against a young male who would not listen to his mother and continued to drive in the WMA.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) reports wolf depredation of livestock continued, and several more wolves were removed from a farm where another calf was killed.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) attended an officer water survival instructor course during the week. Assistance was provided at both the Melrose and Sauk Centre youth firearms safety field days.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) gave a presentation to a firearms safety class in regards to law and ethics. He traveled out of the area to work the small-game and archery deer opener. Three fawns in Paynesville continue to draw attention and phone calls.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) responded to several trespassing complaints this past week. Bertram says now is the time to post your property or check your posting signs. Some landowners did not have their homework done, which hampered enforcement.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) assisted with a motorcycle accident in Kanabec County. Enforcement action was taken for hunting license and stamp violations, youth riding ATVs without wearing helmets, and an illegal fire.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked goose hunters, archery hunters, and small-game hunters this past week. Assistance was given to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office on a water rescue on the North Fork of the Crow River, where a kayaker slid into a tree jam and was stranded on the tree in the middle of the river. The kayaker and the kayak were retrieved without any harm done.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports wolf depredation on calves continues to cause problems with area ranchers. Benkofske also assisted local agencies with a fatal motorcycle crash and a fight that resulted in an arrest.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked the small-game opener in southeastern Minnesota and monitored trespassing complaints from local landowners. He assisted other officers with interpretation and answered questions from Asian hunters.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports that while on patrol, a van was observed crossing the center line many times. A traffic stop was conducted. The driver stated he was trying to eat his sandwich and was making a mess. The driver was educated about the importance of safe driving.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) reports focusing on boat and water safety and big-game hunting activity throughout the past week.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) responded to calls for service at Fort Snelling State Park, including overnight parking and loitering. He also worked angling and boating activities in the district and assisted southeastern Minnesota COs during the small-game and archery deer openers.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) continued field training with COC Brett Wiltrout. They worked the small-game and archery deer openers and also checked anglers on area lakes.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for hunting activity. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and fielded calls from people with waterfowl-hunting questions. Salzer also assisted the State Patrol with an incident in Isanti County.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored AIS, angling, boating, and OHVing activity during the week. He also checked dove, early goose, rabbit, and squirrel hunters.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports most of the area received 5 to 9 inches of rain over a couple days early in the week, which affected hunting and fishing activity. Some lake levels have risen 18-plus inches, which has slowed fishing success.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) worked ATVing and angling activity. He gave a 50-year firearms safety volunteer award at a local Izaak Walton League chapter meeting.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked goose hunters as the early season is coming to an end. Klehr also had a weekend full of firearms safety classes.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received complaints about hunter harassment and PWC operation violations. He also worked deer, small-game, boating, fishing, invasive species, and ATVing activities. Nelson encountered several first-year bowhunters and found one happy hunter who took her first archery buck on opening day.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports checking anglers and migratory waterfowl and small-game hunters. Lusignan encountered and enforced multiple violations of angling without a license.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) reminds hunters to check the DNR CWD website for information about CWD procedures and use of attractants, as these regulations have changed. Henke investigated a report of shooting well after legal hours for waterfowl, thanks to a concerned citizen using the TIP line. Henke was able to respond and catch the individual responsible and issue appropriate citations.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports a baiting investigation is being conducted.
CO Tony Flerlage (Spring Valley) received calls about hunters using bait and attractants in the CWD zone.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports successful archery hunters did well in navigating the new CWD sampling procedures. Deer hunters are reminded that carcass-movement restrictions apply to fawns as well. Although fawns do not have to be tested for CWD, fawn heads and spinal columns cannot be transported outside the CWD management zone.
CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports small-game hunters bagged some nice-looking fox squirrels, with a few hunters getting close to their limits. Hill responded to a trespass complaint in the Sogn Valley. He reminds hunters that they must carry some form of map with them that shows where property lines are. Ignorance is not an excuse.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) responded to a person in crisis who was contemplating suicide. Thankfully, the person was safely transported from the dangerous situation. Additionally, an ATV operator was contacted and determined to be under the influence of alcohol. The man was arrested and taken to jail.