Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Jan. 31, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked angling activity on Lake of the Woods. The area adjacent to the Canadian border was patrolled with agents from the U.S. Border Patrol.
CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) worked angling activity on Lake of the Woods and followed up on a complaint regarding a deer taken during the archery season. Violations encountered included angling with extra lines, possession of fillets on a special-regulation lake, no shelter license, unmarked permanent shelter, and no angling license in possession.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) spoke at the Oslo Rod and Gun Club’s annual banquet on deer harvest numbers, new regulations, and vintage snowmobile registration. He also worked on Lake of the Woods with CO Larson, finding numerous violations, including an overlimit of walleyes, angling with an extra line, no shelter license, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and no license in possession.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports some fishing activity has continued on Upper Red Lake, but slush and flooded ice remain problematic.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Anglers are venturing onto area lakes with snowmobiles and catching a few perch and northern pike. Ice conditions still vary greatly, with areas of deep slush.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking complaints about snowmobile trespass and information about potential illegal angling activity. Vinton assisted conservation officers from outside Minnesota with information related to possible violations in other states and completed inspection of aeration systems being operated to protect shorelines from ice damage.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing, coyote hunting, and snowmobiling enforcement. Ice-fishing activity continues to improve as weather conditions stabilize. Time also was spent attending a deer management goal-setting meeting in Moorhead.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week focused on checking anglers and snowmobile and ATV operators. Baumbarger also worked a snowmobile race and fishing tournament with CO Leeb in the Morris station. Additional time was spent performing commercial inspections and checking coyote hunters.
CO Emily Leeb (Morris) reports working snowmobiling and fishing enforcement. Leeb would like to remind everyone to make sure your ATVs are registered before taking them out on the ice, as public-use registration is required.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) worked ice-fishing and recreational vehicle activity throughout the week. Time also was spent fielding questions about coyote hunting and trespassing issues. Complaints were received regarding injured wildlife and fishing violations.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked area trappers and coyote hunters, checked ice anglers, and patrolled snowmobile trails. Plautz is finding many fish houses lacking the required identification and/or display of the shelter license.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports a few trout anglers were checked, with one portable fish house containing three men who were all fishing with extra lines.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATV riders, snowmobilers, and fish houses. A snowmobile safety class in Evansville was attended, with close to 30 kids being certified. Fishing overlimit complaints were received and are being investigated.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) assisted local agencies with an investigation related to a dog being shot and a fatal snowmobile crash.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking anglers and snowmobile riders this past week. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display valid registration and failure to renew registration.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports activity on area lakes is low due to continued slush problems. It’s as deep as 2 feet in spots. Snowmobile trails are in great shape and were busy. Time was spent investigating a poaching incident from the deer season. Mathy also assisted in searching for a burglary suspect in an area requiring snowmobile response, and responded to an assault call.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports conditions on area lakes have made it difficult to access favorite fishing holes. Several anglers reported they spent a considerable amount of time trying to free snowmobiles from the slush.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time checking anglers on a variety of different lakes during the past week. The crappie bite seemed to pick up, but trout and walleye-fishing success has slowed. Zavodnik patrolled area snowmobile trails. Excessive speed remains an issue of concern.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. There was a fun run this past weekend, and the nice weather brought out a lot of sleds. Hopkins spent time focusing on snowmobilers who took corners too fast and crossed into the opposite side of the trail. One individual was charged with careless driving after he almost hit Hopkins head-on.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked trout anglers, snowmobile riders, a dog-in-a-snare complaint, and a deer-hunting case that involved an invalid license. Feeding deer near busy roads has always been a concern for motorists, and the damage can be catastrophic. A feeder within 60 yards of a county road resulted in one deer being cut in half by a vehicle, negating any benefits from the person who was thinking they were helping out.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Anglers reported limited success. Broughten also investigated a complaint about a person fishing after his fishing privileges were revoked from previous fishing violations. The subject was located, and enforcement action was taken for fishing after revocation, possession of a small amount of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked trout anglers this past week. He also received questions about injured animals, slot-size restrictions, and complaints about litter left on the ice by trout anglers.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked anglers on remote trout lakes who were struggling with the slush. A few flowages have opened with the warm weather.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked several days with CO Lawler on snowmobile and angling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for no trout stamp, extra lines, and snowmobiles with expired registration, illegal equipment, and riding conduct violations.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports conducting equipment maintenance during the week. Hill also spent time closing old cases and transferring various wild animals to DNR Wildlife for research opportunities.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobiling activity this past week. A snowmobile accident that did not result in an injury was investigated, and enforcement action was taken for excessive muffler noise.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) patrolled area snowmobile trails and lakes. Travel on lakes remains difficult, even for people riding snowmobiles.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and worked small-game, ATVing, and snowmobiling activity. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also patrolled state parks and campgrounds and assisted with a snowmobile safety class.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobiling and angling activity with many snowmobile enthusiasts hitting the trails. Enforcement action was taken for failing to register a snowmobile and angling without a license in possession. Slush layers on area lakes have been different depending on the body of water. Be careful on those areas, as some of the slush pockets are over a foot deep.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) continued to focus enforcement efforts on angling and snowmobiling activity. Slow January angling and slushy ice conditions continue to plague anglers throughout the area. Snowmobiling activity was at a high during this past weekend. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, no angling license in possession, failure to display valid snowmobile registration, and allowing illegal operation of an ATV.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) checked ice anglers and continued to monitor trapping activity as the otter and bobcat seasons ended.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw an uptick in angling activity as the ice has become thicker and more stable.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) checked anglers on area lakes. Angling activity is picking up, and most lakes are hardening up and becoming more accessible. One angler was excited when he caught a 36-inch northern, but was disappointed when he realized it was within the slot and he had to release it back down the hole.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked snowmobiling and fishing enforcement throughout the week. Slush continues to be a problem and ice thickness is not consistent.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked snowmobiling and fishing enforcement during the week. Angling has slowed on most inland lakes and slush continues to be problematic.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and snowmobilers during the past week. Deep snow has made things challenging for inland anglers but fun for snowmobile riders. A decent salmon bite has been had by shore anglers and those able to get out in boats.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Brainerd) checked anglers and snowmobilers, gave a presentation at a snowmobile safety class, and, along with other officers, monitored the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza. Follow-up on a snowmobile through the ice was completed, and assistance was given with a couple of vehicles that slid off icy roads.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports checking trout-fishing activity on the mine pit lakes in and around the Cuyuna Country State Recreational Area and working a snowmobile trail patrol detail in the Ely and Tower areas.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) reports conditions on area lakes have improved and angler numbers have increased. Sullivan focused on angling enforcement this past week and observed violations that included extra lines, unattended lines, possession of illegal-length fish, and several shelter license violations.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sportfishing and snowmobiling and trail enforcement. A drunk snowmobiler was arrested off the Paul Bunyan Trail after driving on the shoulder of a county road, carelessly passing a group of snowmobilers, including Guida, and failing to stop for two stop signs while traveling approximately 70 to 80 miles per hour. The operator, who tested at nearly twice the legal .08% limit, was charged with a 4th Degree DUI. The operator’s driver’s license was immediately invalidated and is subject to a revocation period by the Commissioner of Public Safety for a period of 90 days based on conviction.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) followed up on trapping cases and worked snowmobiling activity and angling activity on area lakes. Ladd also stopped at a residence upon seeing heavy amounts of black smoke in the air. She observed the landowner burning a tire. The man said that it was just one tire but that he knew it was illegal.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked lake activity where wheelhouse owners are finally showing up and moving around freely. Verkuilen also answered turkey-hunting questions and investigated wildlife-feeding complaints.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling ice angling and snowmobiling. Enforcement action was taken for litter, illegal-length walleyes taken on Lake Mille Lacs, extra lines, unattended lines, failure to have an ice shelter license, failure to properly identify an ice shelter, and failure to display snowmobile registration.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on incidental fishers that were caught by bobcat trappers. He also checked coyote hunters. A cross-country skier was coached on purchasing the proper trail permit for groomed trails.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) handled a few trespassing complaints involving snowmobile trail riders going off-trail and driving across farm fields. One of the complainants was a farmer who called and then got on his tractor and quickly had one of the snowmobilers tracked down. When Grundmeier arrived, the farmer was off his tractor and expressing his thoughts to the trespasser on how he allowed the DNR to have a trail across his fields as long as riders stayed on the trail. It appeared the trespasser clearly understood and was unlikely to trespass again.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) assisted with a Sauk Centre kids fishing event on Fairy Lake. Sixth-graders from Sauk Centre schools enjoyed an afternoon on the ice with local volunteers who provided insight into the world of ice fishing.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent time working anglers, snowmobilers, and trappers. Work was done in the Pierz station with CO Bertram, addressing anglers and snowmobilers.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports completing equipment maintenance. He continues working ongoing investigations and on case work related to recent incidents. Enforcement action was taken for fish house/shelter violations, registration violations, and angling-related violations.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) checked anglers and patrolled snowmobile trails. Kampa also worked a detail on Lake Mille Lacs during the weekend. Enforcement action for the week included illegal-length northern pike and walleyes, extra lines, marijuana paraphernalia, and failure to display a shelter license when required.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers, snowmobilers, and coyote hunters. She also patrolled trespass complaint areas. Londgren also assisted with a Becoming an Outdoors Woman program during the weekend.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) worked on big-game hunting investigations. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer without a license, unlawful party hunting, an overlimit of bucks, and littering of carcasses.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) assisted other officers with a vehicle that went off the road when the driver had a medical emergency. Enforcement action was taken for possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, angling with an extra line, no angling license, expired ATV registration, and snowmobile trespassing. Krauel also made a warrant arrest.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent checking ATVs and working on big-game investigations.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) provided a ride-along to a former law enforcement officer interested in a career as a CO. Time also was spent following up on big-game violations.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports Lake Waconia is the busiest he has ever seen it in the past four winters. Anglers checked hailed from locations including Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) assisted the Carver County Sheriff’s Office with a DWI arrest on Lake Waconia.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka and Washington counties for angling and snowmobile activity. He also continued working on deer cases and a trapping case.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) completed paperwork for an ongoing investigation. An angler was checked that resulted in a warrant arrest on nearby lake. Several calls were fielded regarding injured animals.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time working trapping, angling, and snowmobiling activity and ongoing big-game cases. Enforcement action was taken for litter and various small-game violations.
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent time checking coyote hunters, anglers, ATV riders, and snowmobilers throughout the week.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) reminds ice anglers that ice shelters may not be stored at public lake accesses.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) reports time was spent assisting the Renville County Sheriff’s Office with a snowmobile safety class and continuing an investigation into an illegal burning case.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls concerning injured wildlife. He also worked the Hanska Fire Department’s Lake Hanska fishing contest. The contest was well-attended but slushy conditions are starting to make travel more difficult on area lakes.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports ongoing complaints related to trapping and the use of motor vehicles to chase coyotes continue to be fielded.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked ice anglers and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Coyote hunters were also checked throughout the area.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on recreational vehicle and fishing activity. VanThuyne also checked predator hunters and trappers.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) staffed a table for ice fishing/ice safety at a family fishing event at Lake Kohlmeier put on by the city of Owatonna Parks and Recreation Department.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) participated in a work detail on Lake Mille Lacs. It was estimated there were between 7,000 and 10,000 ice-fishing shelters on the lake this past weekend. Kyllo also talked to approximately 80 fourth-grade students about ice safety and what a job as a conservation officer is like.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working the snowmobile trails. Boyum also worked on cases from the deer season and checked coyote hunters. Shed hunters were doing well until a recent snow hit.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports heavy fishing pressure and good snowmobiler numbers in the area. Hemker also checked taxidermists and followed up on deer-hunting investigations.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working snowmobile and ice fishing enforcement this past week, along with following up on more deer cases from the fall. The CO would like to thank the anonymous tipster who provided the information that led to the apprehension of the people responsible for taking overlimits of trout this past week.