District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked deer-hunting activity throughout the week and second weekend of the firearms deer season. Deer harvest slowed during the week, partially due to hunters not wishing to brave the sub-zero temperatures. Violations included discharging a firearm from the road at a big-game animal, trespass, failure to tag deer, allowing dogs to chase deer, no blaze orange, tagging a buck with an antlerless-only bonus tag, transporting a loaded firearm, illegal permanent stand in a state wildlife management area, operating a motor vehicle off the road on a WMA, public land trespass (food plot planted on public land), and violating driver’s license conditions (no ignition interlock).
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued to monitor area firearms deer-hunting activity. A ride-along was conducted for a local radio show. Woinarowicz also responded to numerous calls about shooting from the road at big game and trespass.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) closed out a busy 200 series firearms deer season this past weekend. Trespassing continues to be the most common violation encountered, followed closely by transporting loaded firearms. Multiple citations were issued for both of these violations, and some deer were seized. A 12-point buck was found dead on opening weekend east of Karlstad. The amount of scavenging on the buck suggested it died prior to the opening day of the firearms season. A necropsy was done, and a bullet was found in the rib cage of the buck. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Turn in Poachers hotline.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports that despite warnings of thin-ice dangers, anglers ventured out onto area lakes.
CO Hannah Mishler (Baudette) focused primarily on deer hunting and ATVing activity. With ice forming on Upper Red Lake, ice anglers were checked.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) focused enforcement efforts on the firearms deer season. He also responded to a call about a bear that came out of a den and charged a deer hunter.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking big-game hunters. Many camps were visited through the week, and limited success was seen. Throughout the week, multiple cases were worked involving hunters who were shooting from a roadway. Some investigations were successful and charges are pending.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked deer-hunting activity and handled calls about trespass, taking deer after hours, and deer shining. One shining violation resulted in a felony warrant arrest and additional new charges pending for possession of controlled substances. A vehicle, cash, and drugs were seized.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring deer hunting, goose hunting, and angling activity. Very few lakes have consistent ice, and some have even opened up again in areas due to warm weather and rain. Calls from the public were regarding trespassing, reports of shots fired after dark, and injured deer. Landmark spent time investigating big-game overlimit and baiting cases.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked deer hunters throughout the week. Complaints about road hunting and trespass were received and investigated. A baiting complaint was received and investigated, as were deer-registration issues.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) and COC Hanna Wood took several TIP calls throughout the deer season. Some of the violations encountered included shooting from the roadway, failure to validate tags, failure to tag deer, hunt without a license, and leave a stand on a WMA overnight. They also responded to a call about several deer carcasses and some turkey wings dumped on private property. This is littering.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports a few deer hunters were cited for transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles and others for not registering their deer. One hunter accidentally shot a young elk, mistaking it for a deer, and immediately called Lawler after approaching it. The elk was seized, and the hunter took home an important lesson of being sure of your target before pulling the trigger. Assistance was given to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with a foreclosed property that housed two permitted black bears. The bears were successfully relocated to a wildlife sanctuary in the metro area.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked deer-hunting enforcement this past week. Hunters had mixed success. Some of the complaints he received included hunting over bait, shooting from a vehicle, and carcass dumping. Ice anglers went out on some very thin ice next to open water.
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) continued to check deer hunters. She also investigated a trespass complaint and wrote car-killed deer permits.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports a wetland restoration order was served, and accidental otter catches were collected. Complaints about deer baiting, hunter harassment, trespass, and hunting deer without a license were received and investigated.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the firearms deer season continues to roll forward with lots of people trying to fill their tags. People are reminded that you must be completely out of the road right of way before discharging a firearm at a deer.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) reports hunters were observed with limited success over the weekend, with many stating that the deer just haven’t been moving. That said, Zavodnik has been fielding an increased number shining, trespass, and shooting-from-the-roadway complaints. Time was spent assisting CO Bermel and his COC with a seizure of approximately 1,500 spruce tops. Zavodnik also is working on a case with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer involving a collared wolf that was killed.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) responded to a call regarding a fisher that chased a cat up a power pole. Both animals were electrocuted, and the residence lost power.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) spent most of the week working the deer firearms season. A deer-shot-from-the-road TIP call wound up entailing hunting without a license, shooting from a roadway, untagged deer, allowing a juvenile to violate game and fish laws, and transporting an illegally taken big-game animal. The very next contact was a hunter mixing alcohol, smoking marijuana, transporting a loaded firearm, violating the blaze orange regulations, and driving after cancellation – inimical to public safety. The hunter was told that what he had was a recipe for disaster.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports several ice anglers were checked during the week; ice thicknesses reported were between 2 and 6 inches, and all anglers were reminded that the ice is far from safe.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) took a report about a deer in a septic tank hole. The deer fell into the 8-foot-deep hole and was unable to get out. The landowner opted to try to help the deer escape the next morning before resorting to dispatching it. He called the following day to report that a contractor was able to dig out the edge of the hole so the deer could walk out.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) contacted a few deer hunters slowly driving on a dirt road around lunch time. The pair of hunters told Hill that they didn’t have any luck during the morning hunt but were hoping that their luck would turn. While speaking with them, Hill noticed a large bag of corn in the bed of the pickup. As it turned out, the pair of hunters and their two partners at camp decided to dump corn in front of their stands. All four hunters showed Hill their stand locations and were subsequently cited for hunting deer with the aid of bait.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) worked firearms deer-hunting activity and investigated calls about trespass, shooting from a roadway, shooting from a motor vehicle, baiting, and transporting loaded firearms.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked hunters, worked baiting complaints, monitored OHVing activity, and assisted the State Patrol.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy deer season with many hunters in the woods. Enforcement action was taken for not tagging a big-game animal, failing to validate a deer tag, failing to possess a license while hunting, driving after cancellation, failing to register a deer, and lending a license to another.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to focus on firearms deer season activity. Ice has formed on most area lakes but recent warmer weather has made it unsafe, and ice fishing is not suggested until the ice thickens.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) had another steady week of deer-hunting activity. There have been multiple complaints about ATVers operating during prohibited hours. Willis also attended the funeral of South St. Paul Sgt. Slifko as part of the Honor Guard contingent.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the week working the firearms deer season. Many people were contacted throughout the week. The majority of the contacts resulted in good conversations involving deer camp and hunting stories. Some examples of TIPs and investigations included shooting from the road, late shooting, trespass, and hunter harassment.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) focused on the firearms deer season. Several checks of hunters resulted in violations for taking antlerless deer without a permit, failing to validate/register deer, unlawful transport, and unlawful ATV operation.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) helped with a case in the Cromwell area resulting in multiple violations including for road hunting and trespass. He responded to calls resulting in a violation for an untagged deer and other license-related violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing counties for deer-hunting activity. Numerous hunters were checked. Late-season waterfowl hunters also were checked.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked the firearms deer season and monitored waterfowl-hunting activity. Numerous contacts were made and enforcement action was taken on a variety of violations. Guida assisted a hunting party with questions regarding property lines and hunter harassment. A call was fielded regarding a case in which an individual shot at a neighbor’s dogs that were interrupting his deer hunt.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) focused on activity related to deer hunting this past week. He contacted one person who had shot an overlimit of deer and committed several other violations. Party hunting violations also were an issue during the week. A Pequot Lakes firearms safety instructor was presented with a 50-year instructor award.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) and COC Mikeena Mattson worked big-game enforcement throughout the week. During the week, one hunter was encountered in his hunting stand after he had harvested and tagged a buck in a lottery deer permit area. Through conversation, the officers found that the hunter had borrowed a deer tag from another person who had not been hunting, and was not even in northern Minnesota when the buck was harvested. Although the hunter tried to continue to hunt after he had reached his limit, he was advised of the party hunting and lend/borrow laws.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) continued to work deer season by following up on baited areas, illegal stands, and ATV-related complaints. A few duck hunters are persisting but having issues dealing with shore ice and chunks.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time working firearms deer season. She also spent time following up on a wetland violation.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked firearms deer hunting throughout the week and weekend, again taking enforcement action for hunting deer over baited areas. Speldrich walked onto one baited property and found it wasn’t just deer being attracted to the piles of corn placed by the stands. Two loose ponies were just as surprised to see Speldrich as she was to see them. The ponies didn’t belong on the property, and Speldrich was able to locate the owners.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) reports one hunter’s attempt to harvest a deer, without regard for game laws, didn’t go so well. The crack of a rifle shot was heard well after dark and led Grundmeier to a rural residence with a flood light that was lighting up the backyard. It didn’t take long to find the responsible party, whose hands were covered in blood, as he’d just field-dressed a deer. The poached deer was shot well after dark, under the yard light, and right next to a backyard corn feeder.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) reports an investigation found that a farmer had run into a large buck deer with his combine. The deer’s hind legs were stuck in the head of the combine. Rather than call a CO for help or a permit, the farmer and his son decided to get a friend’s bow tag, kill the deer with a knife, then stick it with an arrow and register it as a bow kill. Another investigation found that a hunter shot a deer that was in his headlights at 6 a.m. before heading to his stand, then loaded the deer to go for a drive to get out of the area. While driving around, he shot at a doe from his truck window, missed, then continued to drive until he saw a big 8-point buck, which he shot and killed from his truck window on the road. Many charges were filed, and equipment was seized.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) checked a hunter who had one skinned buck hanging in his shed. The CO noticed six sawed-off deer legs near the buck. After a long discussion, the hunter showed Bertram another buck that he had hidden in a pile of tires. Bertram issued a citation for an overlimit of bucks and seized the deer.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Blong Lor (Center City) reports time was spent rescuing a trumpeter swan and bringing it to a wildlife rehab center.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) responded to a call regarding a hunter who found two dead bucks that were locked together by their antlers.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) was also able to stop a vehicle with several 911 calls on it regarding it crossing into the other lane of traffic on the busy highway. The driver was severely impaired and was arrested for 2nd degree DUI with help of the State Patrol.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) spent the week checking deer hunters. Unfortunately, the biggest buck seen had been hit by a vehicle. Seamans also investigated a TIP regarding a hunter in the woods wearing all-black clothing. The hunter was located and ended up not having a deer license. Enforcement action was taken, and the hunter’s firearm was seized.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) continued to work deer-hunting activity. Time also was spent checking early ice anglers.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked firearms deer hunters during the week of the 3A season. Enforcement action was taken for youthful ATV violations, antler-point restrictions, failure to validate a license, lending and borrowing a deer license, and trespassing.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) responded to a call involving multiple agencies where an individual had fallen overboard a boat on the Mississippi River.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) and COC Calie Kunst worked on a boat-dumping case in the Carlos Avery WMA and a hunting-over-bait report.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) continued field training with COC Wiltrout. A case was completed regarding lending/borrowing of deer licenses; a deer was seized as a result, and charges are pending.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent time throughout the week following up on various deer-hunting complaints. Enforcement action was taken for shooting from the roadway, transporting loaded firearms, and tagging violations.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the past week checking firearms deer hunters and working hunting-related investigations. Time also was spent working pheasant and waterfowl hunting enforcement.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls requesting law information and questions regarding deer hunting, trespassing, and hunter harassment violations. The corn harvest is nearing completion in the New Ulm area.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) worked through the final day of the firearms deer season. Numerous TIP calls were fielded, with a majority being shooting from the roadway and from motor vehicles.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) and COC Jordan Anderson continued to work the firearms deer season, as well as waterfowl and fishing activity. The weekend warmup has opened some lakes that were previously iced over and a few anglers were out with some success.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) and COC Derek Daniels continued to spend time checking deer hunters as many continued to attempt to fill their tags for the season. The officers handled trapping and several trespassing complaints throughout the week.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) and the COC he’s field training observed the first portable fish house on an area lake this past week.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports a nonresident waterfowl hunter was found to be unlawfully hunting with a Minnesota resident license as well as transporting a loaded shotgun in his boat.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) reports several complaints regarding illegal hunting activity were investigated, and charges were filed.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a continued good deer season with high hunter numbers and much success. One hunter said he shot a large buck deer. He approached it and poked it to make sure it was dead. He photographed it and got his field-dressing supplies. As he approached the deer to field-dress it, it got up and ran away, never to be seen again.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) assisted with a TIP call about an unlicensed individual who had shot a buck and had the deer hanging in his garage. The individual also was not allowed to possess a firearm. Officers recovered the deer, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) spent this past week field training COC Derek Schneider. Many deer hunters were checked in the field. Enforcement action was taken for game and license violations. Hunters are reminded of the feeding ban in the area due to CWD. Hunters also are not allowed to use attractants such as mineral/salt blocks and doe estrous products.