Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – March 6, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) monitored snowmobiling and angling activities in the Roseau and Warroad areas and on Lake of the Woods. A group on Lake of the Woods was found to be in possession of an illegal-length walleye as well as being over their limit of walleyes and sauger, which they had filleted in an attempt to hide the evidence. Assistance was given to Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officers with checking anglers coming from the Ontario side of Lake of the Woods into the Northwest Angle.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) spoke at the Frosty Tines Deer Expo in Thief River Falls on new regulations and youth hunting opportunities. He also worked a detail on Lake of the Woods in the Northwest Angle area.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) gave a safety presentation to Lancaster-area youth snowmobilers and monitored snowmobiling and angling activity this past week. Elwell also assisted the Lancaster Port of Entry with a drug-related case.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports that with walleye and pike seasons closed, snowmobiling activity has increased in the area. Prachar worked snowmobile enforcement in and around the Blackduck station as well as on Lake of the Woods and the Northwest Angle.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) assisted Otter Tail County Land and Resources with a complaint and received TIP calls about coyote hunters possibly trespassing. The panfish and tullibee bite is picking up. Area snowmobile trails are getting pretty rough.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked anglers and worked fish house and snowmobiling enforcement.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working fishing, coyote-hunting, and snowmobiling enforcement. Time also was spent attending a deer population goal-setting meeting in Moorhead.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) received a phone call regarding a bear cub at a private residence. Vollbrecht interviewed several individuals and later found a small bear cub weighing less than 5 pounds in a residence. The cub was picked up by individuals after logging equipment hit the den site and the sow left. The bear cub was taken to the Garrison Animal Hospital for rehab. Later, it will be placed in a den site with a foster mother.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week patrolling area snowmobile trails and checking anglers. Swedberg also checked area lakes for litter as houses are starting to come off.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week focused on checking anglers, ATV operators, and coyote hunters. Additional time was spent monitoring fish house removal and potential litter issues and answering questions about turkey-hunting seasons.
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports checking anglers and inventorying shelters leading up to the removal deadline. Potential litter items were documented. Richards spoke with anglers about potential changes in bluegill limits on some area lakes.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) reports primarily working angling and snowmobiling enforcement. She worked a fishing enforcement detail with other officers. They found a few violations, but compliance overall was good. Wood and CO Leeb met with a Boy Scout troop at Wheaton High School to discuss ethics in the outdoors.
CO Emily Leeb (Morris) reports a potential burning violation was investigated.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) worked angling and recreational vehicle activity during the week. Time also was spent working vacant stations in the Park Rapids area.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) spent the week checking on ice shelters in preparation for the removal deadline. Goodman also responded to a TIP complaint regarding deer poaching. After a swift investigation, multiple illegally taken deer were recovered and charges are pending.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jacqueline Hughes (Longville) checked anglers, snowmobile riders, and trappers. She responded to a call about turkeys pecking at and damaging vehicles. She also investigated complaints about people feeding deer.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The bite remains slow. He checked fish houses left on the ice, as well as reports of trash. The CO also investigated a report about people burning trash in Pillager. Posner advised folks on nuisance animals and illegal deer feeding.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked fishing and snowmobiling activity. Trails in the area are starting to wear down. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of fish, ATV registration, operating a motor vehicle on a grant-in-aid trail, and dogs chasing deer.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) took enforcement action for an overlimit of fish, angling without a license, violating the deer-feeding ban, and disposing of bait in state waters.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports ice fishing and snowmobiling activities continue to be the main enforcement work emphasis throughout the area. The Rainy Lake Sport Fishing Club held its annual fishing derby in the Sand Bay area of Rainy Lake.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports time was spent patrolling the Vermilion Lake area with violations addressed for speed on a snowmobile, registration issues, and allowing illegal operation of a snowmobile by juveniles.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time focusing on patrolling the area snowmobile trails. Increased numbers of snowmobilers led to the highest amount of violations observed over the weekend. Speeds from several snowmobilers were registered in the mid- and upper-90s. Zavodnik encountered dozens of snowmobilers traveling well beyond a reasonable speed, with most everyone admitting that they were going too fast.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobilers, an abandoned-snares complaint, and a snowmobile radar run with a high number of entrants and spectators. Bozovsky intervened in a roadside domestic disturbance on a state highway and accompanied Wildlife Division biologists in documenting hibernating bears in a den. One snowmobiler didn’t want to hang around after water-skipping his snowmobile and tried to get away by driving through someone’s yard and a resort. He then drove on roads. He was found about to enter his driveway and was dealt with.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) investigated a snowmobile-trespass complaint. The snowmobilers were located in a closed area and also were found to be in possession of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) focused on snowmobiling speed enforcement during the past week. The violation rate was found to be high during the weekend with several citations issued. There has also been a recent rash of people attempting to drive cars and trucks on snowmobile trails and becoming very stuck.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time in the BWCAW checking anglers. A detail with area officers was worked along the U.S./Canada border.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports a complaint resulted in a citation for cutting a tree in a state park. Additional enforcement action was taken for angling for fish in a closed season, minor consumption of alcohol, registration display issues, and no ski pass.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports hitting the ski and snowmobile trails throughout the past week. A few anglers were coached on how to utilize their fish after it was determined they had tossed a few northern pike on the ice and never brought them into their cabin. Hill was in contact with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency after the CO took a call about a plow truck leaking hydraulic fluid on a road, possibly causing an environmental concern.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and worked small-game, ATV, and snowmobiling activity. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He took also care of miscellaneous wildlife-related calls.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobiling activity, and attended training. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also provided K9 demonstrations at the SCI expo and a public event in Itasca County. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and snowmobile registration issues.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports focusing enforcement efforts on snowmobiling and angling activities. Angler numbers increased during the weekend due to mild weather and an increase in angler mobility on area lakes.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent time answering questions and talking about the DNR K9 Unit at the annual Safari Club International Expo in Brooklyn Park. Staples also assisted in picking up one of the newest additions to the K9 Unit. Calls about nuisance animals were answered. One involved a complaint about cats urinating on a garage and a house. There wasn’t much help that could be offered other than advice to put up a fence.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and snowmobilers throughout the week. An enforcement detail was worked on combined ATV/snowmobile trails in the Nemadji State Forest. Assistance was given to a senior angler who got his small snowmobile stuck in deep snow a long way from a road.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) attended a retirement gathering for long-time Crosby CO Karl Hadrits.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for snowmobiling and angling activity throughout the past week. A meeting was also attended in preparation of upcoming officer training.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) assisted with a traffic stop of a vehicle operator and fielded many outdoor law-related questions. Time was spent patrolling the SRA for illegal vehicle activity and also for state park permits.
CO Tim Collette (Brainerd) checked and marked fish houses for litter and potential removal issues and checked anglers. A TIP call was received about an out-of-state angler possibly taking too many fish. The investigation found the angler had been stockpiling fish to take back home in a rental unit freezer. The angler was issued citations totaling more than $1,500. The public’s help in cases like this is always appreciated and helps to protect our natural resources.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) assisted with a felony drug stop, search, and test collection in Jenkins.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) patrolled area snowmobile trails and checked anglers on area lakes. She observed a portable fish house that, upon further investigation, was unattended. There was no identification on the shelter or shelter license displayed. There was also a tip-up with the flog up out near the house. Through the windows she was able to see several lines down in the house. Later, the anglers returned and advised her they had to go in to the bar to get lunch. They said they were super hungry, so they forgot to pull in their lines. They also explained that they were targeting crappies with a tip-up. There was a northern pike hooked on one of the lines that was down inside the house. Enforcement action was taken.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked anglers making use of the Mille Lacs Lake extended northern pike season. He also followed up on refuse becoming apparent as snow melts away.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked a detail in the Nemadji State Forest in an effort to educate ATV users on groomed snowmobile trails. Several other COs assisted with the detail. Speldrich checked for ice shelters on area lakes as the removal deadline is fast approaching. She also checked anglers on area lakes and found 100 percent compliance with anglers remembering to buy their 2020 license. Speldrich investigated a littering complaint where the suspects dumped household garbage over a bridge onto the frozen river below. The suspects were identified.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found few ice anglers on area lakes. One group of anglers failed to pay attention to seasonal fish closures and was found keeping largemouth bass after the season ended.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling activity in the station. A rod and gun club meeting was attended where attendees had the opportunity to ask various DNR-related questions. A litter complaint was handled, and a dog-chasing-deer call was fielded.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, ATVers, and snowmobiling activity. Fish house shelters were monitored with the removal deadline in mind. An accidental fisher was turned in.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) checked anglers throughout the week and investigated a possible public waters violation. Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited material and taking fish unlawfully by spearing or archery.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) aided Isanti County sheriff’s deputies with the arrest of a subject with multiple felony warrants who was hiding out at a lake cabin.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) reports anglers targeting smallmouth bass along the Mississippi River in Wright County continue to be a problem. Seamans has received almost daily TIP calls on the illegal activity since the catch-and-release season closed Feb. 23. Enforcement action was taken for targeting smallmouth bass in the closed season.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports receiving several calls with tips about anglers targeting closed fish species. None of the suspect anglers were located, but it is a good reminder to pay attention to when seasons close for fishing.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked area lakes for abandoned fish shelters and litter. Fogarty took also complaints of snowmobilers using portions of closed trail in the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area. He attended the Scott County Pheasants Forever banquet at Ridges of Sand Creek in Jordan.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked some small-game hunters and assisted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with some interviews regarding big-game violations.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time following up on abandoned and unmarked ice shelters, handling various litter calls and complaints, and checking ice anglers. Time also was spent on the boat patrolling and checking anglers on Pool 2 of the Mississippi River, which has become extremely busy with the warm weather.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) checked area lakes for fish houses that may be left out after the removal deadline. A handful were found that will need follow-up.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) assisted an out-of-state agency with a big-game case. Violations for the week included registration issues and not having a license in possession.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the past week monitoring anglers on Pool 2 of the Mississippi River. He also checked area lakes for the upcoming fish house removal deadline. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, no life jackets on a vessel, and trespassing.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent time throughout the week checking anglers, coyote hunters, and ATV riders, and monitoring area lakes for fish house removal with the approaching deadline. Warm weather is deteriorating ice conditions quickly, and anglers are urged to use caution when venturing out for spring panfish.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored ice fishing, predator-hunting, and snowmobiling activity during the week. Fish houses were checked and litter issues were noted in regards to the removal deadline.
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) spent the week working ice angling, ATVing, and snowmobiling enforcement. Daniels also attended a Minn Kota Sportsmen’s Club meeting and fielded a variety of questions.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working anglers and conducting investigations. Several complaints were received about ice anglers and fish shelters inside thin-ice warning signs.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week focusing on fish house and litter issues regarding the March 2 fish house removal deadline. Most snowmobiling activity has come to a halt with poor trail conditions.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) worked angling and trapping activity. He monitored area shelters that may be problematic with the March 2 removal deadline.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) worked angling and ATVing enforcement for the majority of the week. Some littering issues were addressed with anglers as they were getting ready to remove their fish houses for the year. Klehr also worked on wrapping up a few deer-hunting cases.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) patrolled the station for ice shelter and potential litter issues once shelters are required to be removed. Investigations into trespassing, snowmobile registrations, and big-game violations continue.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent much of the week on angling enforcement and monitoring shelter removal. He also spoke on laws and ethics at a youth firearms safety class.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked small-game hunters, predator hunters, trappers, anglers, and ATV operators during the week. Davis also patrolled wildlife management areas, state parks, and waterfowl production areas.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked angling, snowmobiling and small-game enforcement this week. The close of small-game season saw a few hunters out chasing rabbits and squirrels in the area.
CO Tony Flerlage (Spring Valley) checked snowmobilers trying to stretch the riding season as long as possible. Trout fishing has been OK. Streams are clear, but anglers were not catching a lot. Flerlage also responded to coyote-hunting complaints and noted a good turnout for the last few days of the small-game season.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) investigated a trapping complaint in which traps and snares were not being checked as frequently as required. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) reports an investigation was initiated for multiple deer taken out of season.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) responded to a call about a dog caught in a snare on a neighboring property. The dog was uninjured, but during the investigation it was found that the responsible person had not checked his snares in three days. (The requirement is snares be checked once per calendar day.) A group of ATV riders was contacted after they had been observed riding three abreast on a county road. None of the ATVs had registration displayed and two of the individuals were juveniles who did not have ATV safety certificates and were not wearing helmets. Enforcement action was taken.