Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Oct. 25, 2019
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) and COC Marc Johnson worked waterfowl, fishing, and small-game enforcement, as well as the youth deer season. They also responded to a call about a lost waterfowl hunter. After several hours of navigating and searching through the night, Huener and Johnson located the hunter and brought him to safety.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad North) worked OHV, big- and small-game hunting, sportfishing, and waterfowl-hunting enforcement. The youth deer hunt went pretty well for several young hunters. One proud father told Benjamin that all five kids in the group got deer.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) patrolled the station for waterfowling, big-game hunting, and ATVing activity this week. Elwell also took calls and answered questions about the youth firearms season and other topics
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports time was spent issuing wildlife possession permits and investigating an aquatic plant management permit violation and complaints about illegal deer stands on state land.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) spent time this past week checking duck hunters. Archery deer hunters and youth deer hunters also were contacted throughout the week.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) continued flight training, handled a few TIP calls, and participated in a work detail that targeted shining.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a TIP call about an adult shooting a deer during the youth season was investigated. The young hunter and his mom were questioned, and due to the young hunter’s excitement, there was no doubt who shot the deer.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working different hunting activities. Many questions were answered about the youth firearms season. Swedberg also assisted on a TIP complaint regarding extra lines.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity. Youth deer-hunting activity was worked, with a few hunters having success. Warren gave a ride-along to a college student interested in a career as a conservation officer. An assist was provided to the Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office with a vehicle crash.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) and COC Adam Seifermann spent the past week monitoring angling, pheasant hunting, waterfowling, archery, and youth deer-hunting activities. A TIP call in regard to a possible walleye overlimit was investigated.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) and COC Leeb report the youth deer hunt was successful with multiple youth hunters excited about filling their deer tags. Multiple TIP complaints were worked for various big-game violations, and they also investigated a possible fish overlimit.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) responded to a variety of calls and complaints throughout the past week, including shooting from a motor vehicle, trespassing, dumping of deer carcasses, and an aggressive coyote.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) worked archery deer hunting and angling activity during the week. Time also was spent on trespassing and TIP complaints.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports a TIP was called in that resulted in a citation for angling with too many lines after Lawler watched the suspect fishing illegally for over an hour. A few pheasant and waterfowl hunters were checked, but they had limited success.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) and COC Mikeena Mattson worked ATV riders, small-game hunters, youth deer hunters, and big-game enforcement this week. Enforcement action was taken for allowing illegal youth ATV operation, transporting a loaded firearm, failure to obtain a wildlife-possession permit for an animal, and trespassing complaints. Questions were also fielded while they worked the TIP trailer at a Minnesota Deer Hunters Association banquet.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports a busy MEA weekend with lots of people out enjoying the nice fall days. Most of the workload revolved around small-game hunting, ATVing enforcement, youth deer hunting, and fishing on the Rainy River.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports small-game hunting and the youth deer hunt were popular activities this past week. Violations observed included transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle on a non-motorized trail, and trespassing.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) fielded numerous phone calls during the past week. Permit requests continue, as does work with DNR Forestry. There were numerous beaver-related complaints during the past week as trappers wait for the season to open Oct. 26.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ongoing hunting seasons, the youth firearms deer season, anglers, and ATV riders. He also fielded a call about trapping squirrels in town, a TIP call about an illegally taken deer, and a wetland-fill complaint. Hunters are seeing more grouse in the woods and the folks putting in a good walking effort are bagging birds. Two limits were checked. In both instances, the hunters paid their dues by each walking 15 miles. Most small-game hunters were unaware they needed to meet the blaze orange requirement when the youth firearms deer season was taking place. A double-digit tally of violations was encountered. While the CO interviewed a person on a TIP call, a vehicle was observed backing into a parked car. The driver was dealt with and cited for driving after suspension.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) attended an ATV and small-game hunting work crew in the Finland area during the weekend. Hunting activity was good, but most people contacted were ATV riders enjoying the warm and dry weather.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and hunters this past week. He also followed up on an ongoing litter complaint. Duck hunting has been slow but some nice walleyes are being caught. Velsvaag took several calls about the youth deer hunt and trapping regulations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) conducted field checks of ATV operators, small-game hunters and anglers. Manning also worked with volunteer instructors, U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers, and other COs conducting an ATV field test for 31 students from Cook County schools. She also attended the funeral of retired CO Reynold Lasko as part of the DNR Honor Guard and provided Cook County with assistance in a search.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy MEA weekend with a wide array of outdoor activities monitored. Assistance was provided to CO Broughten with a hunter-harassment case, CO Williams with an archery deer baiting case, and St. Louis County officers with a search warrant.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area hunting and angling activity this past week. Time was spent working ATV trails and back roads for hunting activity with officers from around the state.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and small-game hunters, and worked ATVing activity and AIS enforcement. Numerous wildlife-related calls were answered. He also patrolled state parks and campgrounds.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored the early youth deer season, patrolled for OHV activity, and assisted the local police department with a burglary in progress. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in locating a lost person.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time monitoring waterfowl hunting, grouse hunting, and late-season walleye fishing. While waterfowl and angling reports were slow, most hunters targeting grouse reported success.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) conducted patrols on county and state forest lands for various hunting activity during the week. Humphrey also monitored commercial forest product harvest. The CO investigated a deer-poaching complaint and assisted local law enforcement on a shooting incident in Cloquet. A report about a dog caught in a trap also was received. A good number of kids were out for the inaugural youth-only firearms deer season. Several first deer, including some nice bucks, were seen and harvested.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) checked waterfowl and other small-game hunters during the past week. Enforcement action was taken for license and ATVing violations. Complaints about trespassing and harassment were looked into and are under investigation.
CO Jake Willis (Brookston) and CO Brett Wiltrout worked the youth deer season, small-game hunters, and boat and water enforcement given the warm weather. Phone calls were fielded regarding the youth season and the upcoming regular firearms season.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked the youth deer season and had the opportunity to visit with several youth hunters. A couple hunting complaints were investigated. One youth hunter was found hunting over a baited area. Small-game hunters were all over the woods during the nice weather.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked commercial enforcement on Lake Superior. On-the-water training was conducted with U.S. Coast Guard crews, including towing and man-overboard drills. The youth deer hunt was worked in areas north of Duluth and Two Harbors.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boat and shore anglers on Lake Superior. A nuisance-bear complaint was handled, and ATVers were checked as part of a multi-district work crew. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked big-game, migratory waterfowl, and sportfishing enforcement this past week. Anglers with limits of crappies were checked on an area lake. A lost hunter was located in a neighboring station at the conclusion of the early antlerless season. The lost hunter signaled to officers by firing his hunting rifle numerous times. A police K9 and the county’s drone also assisted with the call. A migratory bird hunter was checked coming off a heavily populated lake in possession of numerous shotgun buckshot and slug cartridges. Enforcement action was taken. A call about late shots was investigated and it turned out to be an 11-year-old deer hunter and her neighbor finishing off a wounded deer.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) and COC Calie Kunst worked the youth deer-hunting opener. Multiple TIP calls were taken and worked as well, including shooting waterfowl after hours and hunting out of season. CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) observed a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities this past week. Sullivan worked deer-hunting activity and responded to calls about trespassing, reckless discharge of a firearm, and illegally taking big game.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for angling and waterfowl-hunting activity throughout the week. He also checked numerous deer hunters during the early antlerless season.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity this past week of working waterfowl and early antlerless/youth deer-hunting activity, a special enforcement detail in the Crane Lake area, and investigating reports of suspicious hunting activity. Confusion over the regulations and licensing was found in nearly every group checked during the early antlerless/youth firearms deer season.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time following up on a poaching complaint, a nuisance-bear complaint, and assisting Aitkin County with a suicidal person.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on bear season littering issues. She also handled a call about nuisance beavers and assisted the sheriff’s office with wrangling loose horses on a busy county road. A local farmer contacted her regarding a loose cow that has been out for several nights. The farmer was worried he would get called in for illegal shining as he looked for the cow after legal shining hours.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked waterfowl and small-game hunters, as well as the youth firearms deer season. An almost 100 percent success rate was found for youth deer hunters. A case of abandoned property on a state wildlife management area also was worked. Nuisance-beaver complaints were taken, in addition to a call about a wolf that would not leave a yard full of chickens.
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time patrolling areas for small-game, big-game, waterfowl-hunting and angling activity. ATV patrol also was conducted.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) continued field training with COC Jessica Lambertz. The officers spent time the week monitoring angling and hunting activity in the station. A few young hunters were contacted during the youth hunt, and one had a nice-sized buck. A possible wetland violation was located, and an investigation is ongoing.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked a variety of activities with neighboring officers including waterfowl, deer-baiting, and deer-shining complaints.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked pheasant, waterfowl, squirrel, and deer hunters. Angling activity was monitored. Time was spent working the Camp Ripley bowhunt. A case was made in which one hunter shot a small buck at the Ripley hunt and snuck it out without registering it with the check station. He said he didn’t think anyone knew he got it and figured he could just cut it up.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) responded to a residential area where a skunk was tangled in some type of sports net located in a person’s yard. With the use of a long pole, the skunk was released from the tangled net and Kampa managed to not get sprayed.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) continues to conduct surveillance in areas were deer were shot at night and left to rot. Duck hunters and having more divers in their bags.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) continues to take complaints about trespassing; please review Page 8 of the Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations on how to legally post your property.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) and other local agencies, along with several hundred volunteers, assisted in the search and rescue of a missing 6-year-old boy. After several hours of searching, the child was located in good condition by a civilian operating a drone.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) worked waterfowl hunters and attended a work crew detail in Lake County. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, no blaze orange, and allowing illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile.
CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week working anglers and small-game and big-game hunters. A few turkey hunters were checked, but they were experiencing little success.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) continues to work waterfowl and pheasant-hunting activity. Several TIP calls have been investigated or continue to be investigated. An ATV operator was stopped for driving in the lane of traffic. He was found in violation of his alcohol restrictions.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) responded to a report about a wounded deer in a backyard. Violations this past week included no small-game license and no life jackets.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) took a report about an alligator found in Prior Lake. Fogarty collected the alligator (actually a dwarf caiman) from a 9-year-old girl who called it “Mr. Chompers.” (See the Outdoor News fishing report on pages 30-31 for more.)Fogarty also checked pheasant and waterfowl hunters.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Luke Gutzwiller (White Bear Lake) reports enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, possession of an illegal-length northern pike, insufficient blaze orange/pink, target shooting on a WMA, failure to remove a drain plug on a watercraft during transport, license/stamp issues, and exceeding the posted speed limit in a WMA.
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) investigated an abandoned boat on the Mississippi River, handled calls relating to hunter trespass, and assisted local police departments on multiple calls. He also located an individual fishing without his license and determined the individual had a felony warrant. The individual was arrested and taken to jail.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working pheasant, waterfowl, and deer-hunting enforcement. Soybean harvest is in full swing but very little corn has been harvested, which has affected pheasant-hunting success.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored archery deer, pheasant, small-game, and waterfowl hunters during the past week. Angling activity was monitored. Anglers are reminded the possession limit is two northern pike with a 24-inch minimum size restriction in the southern zone. The northern pike zone map can be found on Page 24 of the 2019 Minnesota Fishing Regulations book.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) reports follow-up was done for violations of leaving equipment on and driving in closed areas of wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked waterfowl and pheasant hunters as well as anglers. He also followed up on calls about illegal-length northern pike and deer baiting.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Tony Flerlage (Spring Valley) addressed youth illegally operating ATVs and took a complaint about a golf cart operator trespassing in a field and disturbing a deer hunter.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) took lots of questions are coming in regarding access to hunting areas via flooded river conditions. It is recommended that hunters with questions start by reading the section titled “Rules of thumb for water access and recreational use” on pages 10-11 of their 2019 hunting and regulations booklet.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports multiple citations were issued to landowners burning garbage and burning without burning permits. One person was cited for burning a large pile of his infant’s dirty diapers. He stated they have been burning household garbage for over 40 years. A relative on the scene told Hill that he had a feeling that the streak of not getting caught burning garbage would soon end.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) received a call regarding an individual who had driven around a gate on state land and got his truck stuck in a wetland. A tow company was able to remove the vehicle, and the driver was cited for multiple violations.