Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Jan. 24, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods. The lake is seeing a lot of traffic from anglers in wheelhouses who would normally be fishing other places around the state. Violations for the week included angling with extra lines, possession of marijuana, angling without a license, riding a snowmobile on a bike path, and angling with unattended lines.
CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) worked angling activity and snowmobiling enforcement in his station. Johnson and other local COs responded to and assisted with a medical call on Lake of the Woods involving a female who had fallen on the ice and sustained a head injury.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) taught the law and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class in Thief River Falls and gave a presentation to the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo fifth-grade class, covering ice-fishing regulations and fish species of Minnesota. He also conducted follow-up investigations from this past deer season, taking enforcement action for illegal use of bonus permits and unlawful party hunting.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking anglers on special-regulation lakes throughout the past week. The recent significant snowfall, combined with the already deep snow and slush, has compounded travel difficulties on area lakes.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) worked snowmobiling and angling activity. Ice conditions on Upper Red Lake have deteriorated further with the recent snowfall. Check with local resorters before venturing out with vehicles, as slush has made it difficult to maneuver and find fishing spots.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) patrolled area snowmobile and cross country ski trails. Angling activity is limited due to deep snow and slush on area lakes. He worked a day on Upper Red Lake and found most resorters pulling off fish houses ahead of a forecasted storm.
CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji) spent time patrolling snowmobile trails and checking area lakes for angling activity. Assistance was given in the search and rescue of a lost/missing snowmobiler on Upper Red Lake. The individual was located and brought back to shore safely. If weather conditions are poor and you find yourself lost and unable to locate the shoreline on a lake or if you are unable to safely navigate the lake, please remember that the best thing you can do is remain in one place, stay calm, and wait for help to arrive.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week were concentrated on checking anglers and ATV and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent conducting commercial taxidermy record audits. Baumbarger continues to follow up on deer-season cases.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) worked snowmobile trails and ice angling during the week. Blizzard conditions once again forced most fish houses off area lakes. Goodman fielded questions about closed aquaculture ponds and last year’s winterkill lakes. Additional time was spent monitoring coyote hunting and trapping.
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports additional snow and wind have compromised ice fishing out of large shelters. Time was spent on follow-up investigations from the 2019 deer seasons.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) reports time was spent on complaints involving coyote hunters and a deer stand left on a state wildlife management area. Holt and a deputy from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office put on a snowmobile safety class for youth in the Osakis area.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check anglers and snowmobile riders. Access to lakes remains difficult with another 10 inches of snow received in the area this past week. The ice thickness is holding steady with little increase. Slush on lakes will increase with upcoming warmer forecasted weather.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking anglers and spear house occupants on many lakes in her station and continued to familiarize herself with her area of responsibility. An incidental fisher was handled this past week as well. Kunst also took advantage of the snowstorm by riding the snowmobile trails in the Remer area and working snowmobile enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display valid registration, failure to renew registration, and failure to transfer the title of a snowmobile.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) worked trapping and snowmobiling enforcement this past week. Trapping complaints were taken and followed up on.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports heavy snow fell during the weekend in the area. Lake conditions (heavy snow and slush) make travel conditions poor with little activity noted. The trout opener on remote lakes accessed by snowmobile was a non-event – no angling activity was noted.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) and CO McGowan worked together during the weekend, patrolling Lake Vermilion and area trails. They also checked a handful of anglers as well, many of whom reported the bite has really slowed down since the last big snowfall.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the past week on snowmobile enforcing speed and registration violations. He assisted a few motorists who got stuck on snowy roads.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobile riders, and the winter trout opener. Trout anglers were greeted by about 9 inches of new snow on the opener, which resulted in fewer anglers than usual.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, spearing, trapping, and snowmobiling activity.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports a good turnout for the regular inland trout opener. There were mild temperatures and generally little slush. Success was generally good, with some limits being taken.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked trout anglers this past week. Fewer people were out in some locations due to snow and slush, but slush conditions are improving.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) assisted in the search and rescue of four snowmobile riders who were wet, cold, lost, and stuck in a swamp off a backcountry trail. All parties made it out safely.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a snow-filled trout opener. Heavy snowfall led to a good deal of slush on area lakes, which caused problems for some anglers and led to at least one portable fishing shelter becoming not so portable.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) found a few trout anglers during the week who were having little success. Turned out this was good for them, as the season for trout did not open until Saturday. Groups checked stated they did not bother to read the regulations before heading out and did not notice the lack of activity on area trout lakes. The actual trout opener was greeted with 2 feet of snow that made access difficult.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a busy weekend of winter activities in Cook County. Multiple snowmobiles were seen on the trails and lakes with one operator being cited for a juvenile helmet and safety certificate violation.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area snowmobile trails and lakes, worked ongoing cases, and maintained equipment. Deep snow and slush have made it difficult to travel on area lakes.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked the trout opener in the Grand Marais area, monitored snowmobiling activity, and assisted the State Patrol with vehicles off the road. The recent snow made it tough going for anglers.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working fishing and snowmobiling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for various angling and snowmobile-related violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent a majority of the week checking anglers and monitoring snowmobiling activity. Although the heavy snowfall and high winds made for a slow start to the trout season, several hardy anglers were observed doing fairly well.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) assisted with training at Camp Ripley as part of the Enforcement Division’s use of force team. Calls were fielded regarding trapping and deer-hunting issues.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent the past week working snowmobiling enforcement on area lakes and trails. Registration issues, altered exhaust systems, and trespassing issues continue to be the most common violations. Schmidt also attended the funeral for Pine County Deputy Ben Neel.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued to spend the majority of the week working from a snowmobile. Fishing activity was also worked on area lakes. Ice conditions are continuing to improve, which is allowing better access to popular fishing holes.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked trout lakes during the weekend in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. The recent snow has area trails in good condition, and they are busy. Olson investigated a crashed and abandoned snowmobile along the North Shore Trail in the Two Harbors area during the week.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked inland trout anglers on the trout season opener. Deep snow required people to expend extra effort all along the Gunflint Trail and North Shore.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked with a St. Cloud conservation officer on a warrant blood draw of a snowmobile operator who sustained substantial injuries from crashing a snowmobile into trees. Alcohol may have been an influencing factor. The results are pending, and if over the .08 legal limit blood alcohol test result is determined, the snowmobile operator will face a driving under the influence charge.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) responded to a few snowmobile crashes that occurred due to icy trails and unseen hazards.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked snowmobile and angling activities throughout the past week. McGowan also spent time patrolling the Lake Vermilion area. Enforcement action was taken for numerous snowmobiling violations.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports focusing on the winter trout opener on the mine pit lakes in and around the Cuyuna State Recreational Area. The number of anglers out on the opener was down from past years, likely due to the opening-day snowstorm and tough access conditions with heavy snow and slush. Trout anglers checked who made it out seemed to be mostly the diehard variety and were found to be in excellent compliance.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling ice angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for litter, illegal-length walleyes taken on Lake Mille Lacs, unmeasurable fish, failure to properly ID a fish house, and failure to display ATV registration. She also spent time teaching a snowmobile safety class at the Mille Lacs Trails Snowmobile Club. Whiteoak also assisted the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with a two-vehicle crash that involved an intoxicated driver.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked fishing and snowmobiling activities with a large storm system hampering lake travel. Trespass concerns were fielded in regards to hound hunters and bobcats.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) reports assistance was given to the county for a crash with injuries and also for a warrant arrest of an individual.
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) checked anglers on area lakes. Karon reports a slow trout opener in the area. Remember that youth need to wear helmets while riding on ATVs and snowmobiles while on the ice.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) assisted with use-of-force training at Camp Ripley during the past week. Time also was spent working on an assigned background investigation. Silgjord also assisted with an Honor Guard detail for Pine County Deputy Ben Neel’s funeral.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent the week monitoring snowmobile riders, ATV riders, and anglers. Deer cases were investigated, with enforcement action taken for lend/borrow deer tag and taking deer with an invalid license.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) assisted another agency with a snowmobile crash involving alcohol. More shelters are being left overnight on area lakes, and it is important that they meet the minimum requirements of reflective material, displaying a shelter license, and having proper identification affixed to the exterior of the house.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports working anglers and patrolling snowmobile trails. Time was spent completing aeration inspections.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers. One angler went for home, leaving a line down in his fish house overnight to see what he might catch. The only thing he got was a citation.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) worked snowmobiling activity this past week with the fresh snow in the area. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile speed, trespass, registration violations, and operation of snowmobiles with excessive noise by modification of exhaust.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports following up on deer cases. Enforcement action was taken for illegal use of licenses and overlimits of bucks. Benkofske and Sherburne County first responders worked to apply aid to a victim of a snowmobile crash near Orrock out on a trail. The person succumbed to his injuries at the scene despite efforts to revive him.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) reports a complaint led to the seizure of three stands unlawfully left in the Uncas Dunes Scientific and Natural Area. Enforcement action was taken for operating a snowmobile with expired registration, failing to validate a site tag, and operating a snowmobile off-trail in a closed state forest. An ice angler was caught in possession of 32 sunfish on an area lake. When checked, the angler stated he thought he had 18 sunfish. The angler was cited, and excess fish were released to the wild unharmed.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked the winter trout opener in Carver and Scott counties. He also monitored fishing and snowmobiling activities on metro-area lakes and trails.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) took a call about a coyote trapped in a baseball field; it turned out to be a decoy to keep geese away. The trout opener was worked with anglers reporting mixed success. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobilers trespassing, no trout stamp, and extra lines.
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time working the trout opener. Time also was spent working snowmobile enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display snowmobile registration, angling with extra lines, and unattended lines.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on angling and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Kpachavi also continued working on a background investigation and worked the trout opener.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily conducted patrol for ice anglers on local lakes. Time also was spent working a trout-fishing detail on the opener with other local COs.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) attended firearms training at Camp Ripley. He continued investigating cases from the deer season. He also spent time checking ice anglers and monitoring recreational vehicle activity on area lakes.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for snowmobiling activity with the new snow. Salzer also continued to follow up on big-game cases.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent time checking anglers, ATV riders, and snowmobilers throughout the week. Enforcement action for the week included license violations, ATV registration, and extra lines.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time enforcing ATV registration issues and trapping violations this past week. Gutzwiller is seeking information involving a trophy buck shot near Watson in Chippewa County. Please report any information to #TIP involving this incident.
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) spent the past week working ice angling and snowmobiling enforcement.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) worked ice fishing, snowmobiling, and coyote-hunting enforcement during the week. A late-week winter storm/blizzard brought outdoor activity to a halt. Big-game investigations were conducted and firearms safety classes are starting to be set up for this spring by local instructor groups.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time finishing a background investigation for an applicant with the Division of Enforcement. Time also was spent checking ice anglers and snowmobile and ATV riders. Klehr checked quite a few trout anglers during the weekend who were out and braving the wind. Lots of anglers made comments that they did not think the game warden would be out on such a windy, blizzard-like day.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) gave instruction at a youth snowmobile safety class. He also received calls requesting law clarification related to coyote hunting.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) assisted the Heron Lake Police Department in searching for a suspect wanted for a parole violation.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports spending most of the past week on angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Lots of owners of hard-sided shelters had the foresight to pull them off before the weekend’s blizzard.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked small-game hunters, trappers, anglers, and snowmobile and ATV operators during the week. Davis also patrolled wildlife management areas, state parks, and waterfowl production areas.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) spent time checking anglers, trappers, and predator hunters. An inspection of a taxidermist shop was also conducted.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) reports his favorite contact this past week was a dad and his 3-year-old, hunting crows. The child had requested they go hunting after daycare and had brought his Nerf gun along for the occasion.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports the river ice continues to be unpredictable. Hemker continues to check taxidermists and follow up on possible deer-hunting violations.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) reports assistance was given to the Red Wing Police Department and Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office for a vehicle that partially went through the ice at a local access.