Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 17, 2020

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and Hayes Lake. Anglers driving multiple hours to fish the area are reminded of the governor’s executive order to stay near their homes. Warnings were issued for no state park permit.

CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) worked angling activity on Lake of the Woods and patrolled state parks and forests. As the week progressed, ice quickly became patches of open water at many landings and along some shorelines.

CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) worked angling, boat and water, and fire enforcement. Violations included burning prohibited materials and an unattended line.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) continued to patrol state parks, refuges, and area wildlife management areas. He also monitored area flooding and prepared for the upcoming turkey season.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports a few anglers who had traveled a long distance and were not following social-distancing recommendations were provided information they may use in future decisions regarding travel during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking shore anglers at open-water areas. Spring fish-run activity was monitored. A grass fire was investigated, and some kayakers were contacted on a flooded river in the area.  

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked area lakes and streams for spring fish-run activity. He patrolled areas for ATV activity and assisted the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office with the search for a missing individual in a wooded area. 

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports ice conditions have become mostly unfishable. Vinton and RTO Greg Oldakowski attempted to rescue an eagle that had entangled itself in old slough grass. The eagle’s foot was wrapped so tightly that it took the assistance of a veterinarian tech with the Lakeland Animal Hospital in Perham nearly 20 minutes to cut it free. Unfortunately, once blood flow was returned to the eagle’s foot the bird died from its ordeal. 

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working sportfishing and ATVing enforcement. Time also was spent patrolling Buffalo River State Park. Visitors are reminded to purchase a park pass at the visitor center kiosk or online before entering the park. 

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) monitored WMAs and waterfowl production areas for activity. Areas were patrolled for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Fire activity was monitored. 

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week checking angling, fire, beaver-trapping, and ATVing activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Calls from the public included nuisance-beaver complaints and questions about ice conditions. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) fielded calls about beavers, fishing, and the 2020 spring turkey season. Increased activity was observed with ATVers and shore anglers. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports focusing enforcement efforts on fishing, ATVing, and fire activity. Fish-migration locations are being monitored in the station. Additional time was spent patrolling Lake Carlos State Park. 

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) participated in more law enforcement/first responder parades for area children with birthdays. She also took calls regarding a critter in a window well, transferring boat ownership, and youth hunting questions. 

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked anglers, recreational vehicles, and the fish run during the past week. Time also was spent checking beaver trapping and following up on a trapping complaint. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) worked ATV and trapping enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV without headlights and operating an ATV on a closed trail. An incidental otter in a beaver trap was also reported. 

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) reports follow-up was completed on a littering complaint that resulted in a citation. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports ice has receded from shorelines and ice fishing has ended. State forest areas were monitored, and enforcement action was taken for operating motor vehicles on closed forest roads. An aquatic plant removal case was investigated. A complaint regarding a dead swan was investigated. There were no signs that it was illegally taken.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports boat and water safety, fishing, and invasive species enforcement on the Rainy River is where most work activities occurred. Recreational vehicle traffic increased throughout the week.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) fielded miscellaneous wild animal-related complaints and concerns. Slatinski checked spring beaver trappers who reported lots of activity as the spring thaw continues and beavers begin their spring construction projects. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time working OHV and angling enforcement. Zavodnik and CO Aaron Larson recovered an unmanned boat that was observed floating down a river early Saturday morning. The partially submerged boat was successfully brought ashore and the owner was notified.  

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked spring beaver trapping, ATVers, OHMers, a state park, and OHV trespassing complaints. He found a dead trumpeter swan and determined the cause of death. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports angling activity slowed again as ice conditions continued to worsen. ATVing activity has begun to increase although the weather overall has been cool.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked people fishing crappies this past week and out recreating from all over the United States, from New York to Washington state. 

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time patrolling state parks, DNR buildings, and recreational areas. Tourists are still making trips from the metro to the North Shore state parks despite the “stay at home” order. 

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports state park visitor numbers were down and folks were reminded that at Grand Portage State Park, all trails and all facilities are currently closed.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily ATVing and angling enforcement, including ATV complaint areas. Enforcement action was taken for ATV operation and registration violations, no state park vehicle permits, and a traffic violation.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports contacting many state park-goers throughout the week. Vehicle pass compliance was poor and multiple enforcement contacts were made. Dozens of cars made U-turns out of the park when they observed Hill at the front gate, thus avoiding paying the state park fee. 

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) continued to monitor state parks and other state recreation areas for activity. A high number of visitors were observed during the weekend visiting open areas. Murray also worked stream angling activity and took a report about an illegally killed gray wolf in the Finland area. Any additional information can be reported by contacting the 24-hour TIP line at 800-652-9093.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, worked small-game hunters and ATV riders, and patrolled state parks. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity, and worked ATVing complaints. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted local agencies with an investigation. 

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working ATVing, angling, trapping, and decorative forest products enforcement. ATV-related complaints have started to come in regularly. Nuisance wildlife-related complaints also were fielded and handled. 

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) focused efforts on monitoring spring beaver-trapping activity. Many anglers were checked with most having success catching suckers in rivers. Burning permits also were checked with good compliance rates. Enforcement action was taken for various trapping violations.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw heavy outdoor activity again this past week. Extra patrol was provided in Jay Cooke State Park, and multiple park pass violations were found. CO Willis and Lt. Speldrich responded to a report about injured eagles. The eagles were found to be healthy and flew away.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked shore anglers and Lake Superior much of the past week. Nuisance-animal complaints were handled and ATV-related complaints continue.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked fire and OHVing enforcement throughout the week. Humphrey patrolled the Fond du Lac State Forest during spring road and trail closures. Humphrey also spent time working in area state parks and wildlife management areas. A TIP complaint was worked regarding unlawful ATV use. 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) continues to assist with training new working dogs. Complaints about dogs chasing deer and people feeding deer were received. 

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports a busy weekend along North Shore rivers and boat landings. Many steelhead anglers were hitting the rivers over the week. Time was spent checking river and boat anglers along the North Shore in Two Harbors and Duluth waters. Time also was spent working in Jay Cooke State Park during the evening hours, checking on users. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) monitored ice-out and angling activity. Guida worked an assignment with another CO monitoring public water accesses and river activity. Guida worked with a local trapper and had an accidentally caught otter processed to donate to the Minnesota Trappers Association Fur Project. The proceeds from the sale of the fur will help educate and introduce new trappers to fur-taking and population control.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) spent time checking ice anglers and trappers throughout the past week. Local ice conditions are very poor. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) patrolled the Foot Hills State Forest area, which is closed to all motor vehicle traffic. He also investigated damage to property in the Backus area. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking area lakes for fishing activity, as there was more open water this past week. He picked up some incidental animals that were caught by trappers. Many outdoor law-related questions were answered. Fitzgerald patrolled the SRA for park passes and other park violations.  

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked trapping, fish run, and ATVing activity. A non-permitted fire was addressed along with a call about eagles hanging from a white pine with talons locked. Time also was spent on a riprap case and two wetland cases.

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) spent most of the week on trapping, burning, and road closure activity. Enforcement action was taken for burning during a ban and without permits, and for driving on closed roads and trails. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) patrolled state parks and state forests. High numbers of ATV and OHM operators were out in the General Andrews State Forest. Several warnings for operating without headlights and failing to display registration were issued. Several citations were issued to ATV operators who were operating in the Nemadji State Forest, which is closed due to trail conditions. 

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found state park day-use areas busy. A large number of park users had to be reminded that state park vehicle permits are required and can be purchased online or outside the offices through self-registration. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week monitoring the spring fish run in the area. Many bowfishers were seen out on the water after dark. A complaint about a cabin owner using a leaf blower to push a large amount of leaves into a lake was investigated, with enforcement action being taken.  

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked shore-fishing activity, which has been slow so far. He handled a lot of accidentally trapped otters and responded to complaints about nuisance beavers. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports enforcing ATV and OHM laws after many complaints were made. He also checked crappie and rough fish anglers in the area. Benkofske also handled animal-related calls, such as raccoons trapped in trees, deer stuck in fences, and muskrats stuck inside window wells. 

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) investigated several calls about dead swans and found they likely died as a result of collisions with power lines. 

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked anglers and ATV riders, and patrolled state lands and parks. Enforcement action was taken for illegal fire, fill within a public water, allowing illegal juvenile operation of an ATV, ATV destroying a wetland, and a CWD feeding ban violation. 

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) took several calls about social-distancing questions on area lakes. He also took several calls about deer and litter dumped in the area. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports a complaint about people snagging northern pike in a spawning area is being investigated. Jigs were observed stuck in the fish, but the lines were broken. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, expired boat registration, taking a bass out of season, and ATV-operation violations.

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) took a complaint about someone attempting to snag spawning walleyes in a creek near Prior Lake. Upon arrival, two males were found using lures with treble hooks attempting to snag fish. After dealing with the two snagging anglers, a male driving by stopped and asked Fogarty and a Scott County deputy how to acquire a pistol carry permit. Due to the overpowering odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, the officers asked the male to exit his vehicle. Upon further investigation, a felony amount of marijuana was located in the vehicle. Fogarty fielded a couple of complaints about target shooting at WMAs. Education and enforcement action was taken for snagging fish, angling without a license, failure to display ATV registration, and target shooting in a WMA. 

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) responded to a report of large number of dead pheasants (roosters and hens) dumped near Chaska. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time handling calls related to fishing out of season and many instances of trespassing. Large numbers of people are flocking outdoors and many issues have been noted.  

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week patrolling William O’Brien State Park and checking anglers. He issued a wildlife-possession permit and investigated a wetland complaint. 

CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) received multiple complaints about bowfishers being close to residences. Area lakes Owasso and White Bear are two of many named as concerns. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) attended K9 training and spent time checking anglers and patrolling state parks. Numerous wildlife-related calls were fielded throughout the week.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the past week working ATV riders and checking anglers. Anglers are reminded that rigging for and/or fishing for species during the closed season is unlawful. ATVers operating improperly on roads and highways are prevalent.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) worked spring angling activity. He issued multiple wildlife-possession permits and answered calls from the public regarding spring burning. Vernier also followed up on a possible wetland violation.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) followed up on trespassing complaints and returned calls regarding carp-shooting questions and concerns. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received complaints about taking walleyes and bass during the closed season and ATV trespass on state lands. 

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) focused enforcement efforts on angling and patrolling WMAs and WPAs. Vehicle trespass and litter at these locations continue to be issues. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Tony Flerlage (Spring Valley) took calls about taking furbearers out of season. He also addressed trespassing issues from the past hunting season. 

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent time checking anglers, bowfishers, and ATV riders. Patrols of state parks and WMAs were performed. 

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) assisted the State Patrol with a vehicle that left the scene of a property damage accident.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) responded to bowfishing, trespass, injured-animal, trapping, nuisance-animal, and public waters complaints. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports anglers should be aware that the Army Corps of Engineers has closed accesses to shore-fishing opportunities on the lock and dam structures. 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) closed out a case in which a person shot a pheasant out of season. Enforcement action was taken.  

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) followed up on a deer case from this past fall. Violations included lend and borrow the license of another hunter, cross-tagging a buck, and failure to register a deer. 

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the week patrolling reservoirs and rivers around Olmsted County. Enforcement activity for the week included a trout overlimit, no trout stamp, targeting bass during the closed season, unregistered watercraft, and possession of marijuana.

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) reports a grass fire was investigated. The individual responsible for the fire told CO Kyllo he had only intended to burn a small area but the fire had gotten away from him and ended up burning 10 acres. Enforcement action was taken.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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