Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Nov. 8, 2019
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked OHV, big- and small-game hunting, and sportfishing enforcement. Forest roads and trails are being opened up one by one as the water recedes and the ground hardens. This has been good news for grouse hunters and also for the deer hunters who were starting to worry about being able to get to their camps and hunting spots for the firearms deer opener.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) worked waterfowl and big-game hunting this past week. Elwell also spent time working ongoing cases and answered questions about the upcoming firearms deer season.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working ATV and AIS enforcement, and small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity throughout the week. Time was spent investigating a filling-a-wetland violation, a case of trespass on public lands where an adjacent landowner intentionally blocked public access of an OHV trail, issuing wildlife-possession permits, and attending a meeting at Camp Ripley.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) worked ATV and small-game hunting enforcement. Hunters are gearing up for the firearms opener next weekend.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports following up on various TIP-related complaints. Time also was spent checking archery deer and duck hunters. Illegal stands in area state wildlife management areas were marked prior to the deer season opener, as were unauthorized ATV trails.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked angling and boating activity on area lakes, including Leech Lake. Duck-hunter success increased with migrant ducks. Muskie anglers report having several follows and catching fish over 50 inches. Vollbrecht began field training with COC Lambertz. Time was taken to meet with a Bemidji State University wildlife management class to discuss the job duties of a CO.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports contacting several archery hunters, a few small-game hunters, and what’s left of waterfowl hunters. Vinton received a couple of complaints about hunters shooting too close to residences. In each case, the hunting parties were not in violation. Hunters should be reminded, though, that they are responsible for their shot and to be aware of nearby homes. A complaint about decoys being left out overnight was investigated, and it was discovered the responsible hunter was in jail and was unable to pick up the decoys. A hunting partner agreed to retrieve them.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked deer hunters, which included two trespass complaints, one resulting in an additional shooting-from-the-road violation. Peterson also worked two carcass dumps, a car-killed bear, and a violation of camping in a WMA.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) reports that calls from the public were all trespass-related and he’d like to remind people that it is their responsibility to know whose land they are hunting on.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) seized incidental-caught fur and responded to a wolf-depredation report. Duck hunters were checked where open water allowed.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) continued to focus on waterfowl and small-game enforcement efforts. Many smaller sloughs and ponds north of Elbow Lake froze over this past week, shifting bird concentrations to shallow lakes.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) reports an illegal burning violation was handled, with enforcement action taken. Plautz and COC Wood responded to a trapper’s call about a wolf in a trap. The officers, with the help of two trappers and a catch pole, successfully released the wolf unharmed.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) received complaints of deer stands left overnight in WPAs and WMAs. A complaint about driving on and using a boat/motor on a WPA was received and investigated.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) reports complaints were received regarding hunter harassment and possible deer-hunting violations.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports complaints about road hunting and trespassing were investigated. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and deer-hunting violations.
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) reports checking waterfowl hunters, small-game hunters, and anglers. She also responded to a vehicle off the road. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines while angling, failure to display a federal waterfowl stamp, and various traffic violations.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports the seemingly early cold weather has caused difficulties for many individuals planning for the upcoming deer season. Caution should be exercised, both when using watercraft and on OHVs when dealing with water crossings and wet conditions. You do not have to be completely submerged in water for hypothermia to set in. Slatinski worked with a Voyageurs National Park ranger and checked whitefish netters on Kabetogama Lake.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time with local conservation officers, certifying students in firearms safety at the Indus School District. Complaints were fielded about non-motorized hunting trails being used by motorists who seem to think the trail regulations don’t apply to them. While Zavodnik was on duty, he observed a white trash bag containing plucked ducks dumped on the shore of the Willow River. If anyone has information regarding the violation, please call the TIP line at 1-800-652-9093. You can remain anonymous.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ongoing hunting seasons and ATV riders, assisted the Hibbing Police Department with a call about an attempted suicide, investigated two spruce top timber trespass incidents, and spent considerable time documenting baited deer stands for the firearms deer opener. While investigating what was thought to be a trout-fishing-out-of-season issue, Bozovsky located a spruce top theft area and coincidentally found other suspects violating U.S. Forest Service rules, unrelated to the timber trespass. They were turned over to the U.S. Forest Service for enforcement action. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, an uncased firearm in a city, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of an occupied building, a blaze orange violation, and ATV violations.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports hunting activity tapered off during the week as snow and cooler weather arrived. Angling activity completely stopped on most lakes as several are beginning to form ice.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked hunters and whitefish netters this past week. Duck hunting has been slow, but whitefish netters have been doing well.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) took questions about the upcoming firearms deer season and checked stands and hunting areas for deer bait. She also took a report about a grouse hunter in a state park and an accidentally-caught fisher.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area hunting activity this past week. Time also was spent working ATV trails and backroads for activity.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports taking over duties in Tofte. Equipment inventory and radio maintenance were completed, and Hill familiarized himself with different areas of his new station.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) checked grouse hunters and continued big-game baiting investigations. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked grouse hunters, attended meetings, investigated and documented deer-baiting complaints, and worked ongoing trespass and road-hunting complaints.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and small-game hunting activity and worked ATV and AIS enforcement. Numerous wildlife-related calls were answered.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked waterfowl hunters, monitored decorative material harvest, attended meetings, and issued permits this past week.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) was busy with giving out road-killed deer possession tags this past week. The deer are really on the move, so be careful driving out there during low-light conditions.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports several hunters were contacted while making last-minute firearms deer season preparations. Follow-up continues on open cases, and several wildlife-related complaints were fielded and handled.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) patrolled for big-game, small-game, and waterfowl-hunting activity. Several folks were contacted in the woods who were collecting decorative forest materials, and their permits were checked. Transporting a loaded firearm continues to be a common violation.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) reports lots of activity in the station with preparation for the upcoming firearms deer season. Multiple calls about different property disputes were fielded, and an unlawfully-taken deer was investigated in Alborn.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) investigated a possible illegally-taken deer. An arrow was found in the deer, and follow-up is required. A possible wolf depredation was investigated, too. Several nights were worked in night deer-shining complaint areas. A baiting case was completed that resulted in criminal charges.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) followed up on a wetland violation with the local zoning office. A call about a dead swan was investigated. It was determined that the swan flew into a power line and died as a result. Assistance was given to a local agency in searching for a suicidal male who fled into the woods. K9 Schody was deployed and started searching. The search was stopped early when it was found that the male had gotten a ride to a local bar where he was found unharmed.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked small-game hunters and shore anglers. Boat maintenance was handled for the end of the season, and preparations were made for the upcoming firearms deer season.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) fielded numerous calls this week regarding deer hunting and trespassing. Guida worked with DNR Wildlife on getting information to the public regarding CWD testing requirements and what hunters are to expect during the firearms deer season.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for ATV and waterfowl-hunting activity during the week. McGowan also received numerous questions regarding this year’s firearms deer season and CWD testing requirements. Waterfowl hunters reported limited success as most small bodies of water are starting to freeze.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking the park and surrounding area for small- and big-game hunting activity. He also took calls regarding car-killed deer permits and trespassing complaints. He also did some follow-up on a case that involved park property. Enforcement action was taken for park violations.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked deer-hunting activities related to trespassing, baiting, and shining. Sullivan also fielded several questions about the upcoming deer season.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking waterfowl- and deer-hunting activity, working shining and suspicious-hunting complaints, assisting a stranded boater with a heart condition in a disabled boat get off the lake on a cold night, and handling numerous questions and issues regarding the upcoming firearms deer season. Deer hunters are reminded that mandatory CWD testing is required by law for all deer taken during the entire upcoming firearms deer season in this area, as well as the remaining muzzleloader and archery seasons. Self-service and staffed test sampling stations are located locally at the Croft Mine parking lot, Emily Fire Department, and the Aitkin and Brainerd DNR Wildlife offices.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) reports a complaint about moving a bog without a permit was taken and investigated.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) responded to a wetland-related complaint that ended up not being a violation. She also checked WMAs for stands left overnight. Speldrich answered calls regarding hunting multiple permit areas, shining, when to tag harvested deer, and hunting on public lands. A call about a car-killed wolf was handled, and multiple deer-possession permits were issued.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) helped out with two state park youth deer hunts and an adult mentored deer hunt. There was an increase in trespassing complaints to deal with due to the high numbers of hunters and beaver and muskrat trappers venturing onto private property.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring hunting and angling activity in the station. A big-game investigation was initiated, and a training meeting was attended.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) fielded several calls regarding deer-hunting regulations. He also took several trespass-related calls concerning the 500-foot law.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked duck hunters and deer hunters. TIP complaints were investigated that involved a deer overlimit and illegal deer hunting.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports time was spent in high-traffic areas for night deer-shining complaints and deer-baiting complaints. Kampa also assisted a neighboring CO with a lend-and-borrow case and issued deer-possession permits.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked hunters and handled hunting complaints. Violations were found for no license and illegal equipment. Deer-dumping calls also were received.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports investigating a myriad of calls throughout the past week. Many trespass cases were looked into, as were potential deer-hunting violations. An investigation was concluded regarding duck hunters hunting a closed game refuge. Benkofske also caught a party shining deer at night from their vehicle. The subjects will be charged.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) focused enforcement efforts on waterfowl and archery hunters. Two archery hunters were found to be hunting with the aid of bait. A crossbow and a compound bow were seized as a result.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) reports enforcement action was taken for leaving deer stands on wildlife management areas and licensing violations.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) continues to patrol the station for waterfowl, pheasant, and archery deer hunting. Assistance was given to the county on a crash near a federal waterfowl production area. The driver swerved to miss a rabbit and rolled the vehicle. Swerving for animals is often more dangerous than actually hitting them.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked with COC Ryan Hanna on Step 3 of field training. The officers responded to TIP calls and followed up on complaints. Violations encountered included illegal transportation of firearms and no vehicle permit while in a state park. They also assisted at a firearms safety field day for the Karen community with approximately 28 students.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked small-game and archery deer hunters. Plenty of pheasant hunters were out, but wet weather has delayed crop removal and kept birds spread out. Upon checking one group of duck hunters, Fogarty observed a hunter run and hide his shotgun in some tall grass. After retrieving the shotgun, Fogarty found the hunter did not have a hunting license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) continued to check waterfowl hunters on area lakes and rivers. Maass also investigated a littering complaint involving the illegal dumping of waterfowl carcasses.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time checking archery hunters, waterfowl hunters, and shore anglers along the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Multiple wildlife-possession permits were issued and multiple ongoing investigations were continued.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (White Bear Lake) reports enforcement action was taken for alcohol in a WMA, possession of alcohol by a minor, trapping beavers out of season, driving after revocation, and a wetland violation. Assistance was given on Halloween night with cattle in a roadway. The animals decided to play a trick on a local farmer.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) began field training Phase 3 with COC Wiltrout. The officers assisted with a firearms incident that occurred in Goodhue County. Tetrault assisted other COs with investigative needs such as assistance with search warrant writing and social media investigative inquiries.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) spoke at Andover High School’s Outdoor Adventures classes.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) and COC Marc Johnson worked waterfowl, big-game and pheasant hunting activity. Hunters had some success with large numbers of waterfowl moving through the area.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) gave a law and ethics talk at a firearms safety online field day held near Redwood Falls.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) and COC Adam Seifermann spent the past week monitoring waterfowl, pheasant, and archery hunting activity and answering several questions relating to the firearms deer season.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) assisted with field training COC Seifermann. Time was spent focused on pheasant hunting and waterfowl hunting. Other activity included following up on trespassing complaints, baiting violations, and a falconry inspection.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked small-game, migratory waterfowl, and big-game hunters during the past week. Davis also checked trappers, anglers, boaters, and ATV operators, and patrolled wildlife management areas, state parks, and waterfowl production areas.
CO Tony Flerlage (Spring Valley) investigated poached deer cases. He also received complaints about baiting and feeding deer, worked night shining details, and checked trapping activity.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) spent the week checking archery deer hunters. Bucks seem to be on the move. Time also was spent checking a few trappers as well as small game hunters.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) reports checking waterfowl hunters and archery deer hunters. An investigation on a trespass complaint was done, and assistance was given to a neighboring officer on a case of hunting deer with the aid of bait.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week checking area fishing and hunting activity. An investigation of failing to register a deer was completed, and assistance was given to Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office for a waterfowl hunter who was involved in a shooting accident.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports a nonresident hunter was found to be archery hunting without a license on state forest land and enforcement action was taken.