Wardens from several northern counties assisted local law enforcement at the annual American Birkebeiner ski race from Cable to Hayward. Wardens assisted in downtown and trail security patrol and conducted the trail sweeps for the Birkebeiner race to ensure safety of participants.
After receiving complaints of illegal deer feeding on railroad property, warden John Krull, of Superior, responded to the scene in South Superior and saw a person driving on the railroad access road, adjacent to several tracks. Krull could see the driver’s side door of the vehicle was open, and the driver could be seen throwing handfuls of corn onto the access road. The driver of the vehicle later stated that he was unaware of any deer feeding regulations. Enforcement actions for illegal feeding and railroad trespassing were taken.
Warden Krull teamed with Douglas County recreational deputy Jake Engelman for snowmobile patrol. The two officers were stationed at a well-marked road crossing and were checking snowmobile registrations and trail passes while standing near the trail stop sign. Two snowmobiles approached the intersection at a high rate of speed. When the driver of the lead snowmobile saw two uniformed officers, he braked his snowmobile hard to stop before entering the intersection. The operator of the following snowmobile was unable to completely stop his snowmobile in time and struck the lead snowmobile in the back while traveling around 20 mph, causing damage to both snowmobiles.
Warden Amie Egstad, of Bayfield, contacted several individuals who were walking off the ice at Bayfield with a guide after an ice fishing outing. Two of the three individuals had caught brown trout they were going to enter into a local fishing contest. Upon checking of their fishing licenses, it was found that one of the anglers did not have a fishing license or a Great Lakes stamp and the other two had not purchased the Great Lakes stamp, as required. The brown trout were seized, and enforcement action was taken.
Warden Joshua Loining, of Rice Lake, contacted a person who was coyote hunting west of Rice Lake. Upon contact, it was determined the hunter had a loaded firearm in his motor vehicle. Enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Loining and Peter Wetzel, of Amery, interviewed a man who had guided clients on some bear and bobcat hunts. The wardens’ investigation found the man had been guiding without a guide’s license, as required. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Loining received a complaint of a man who shot at a coyote from the road in southern Barron County. Loining investigated the incident, and found the shooting occurred from the roadway.
Wardens Pete Carlson, of Frederic, and Jesse Ashton, of Amery, contacted a group fishing on Little Butternut Lake. The wardens determined two individuals were fishing with nine tip-ups and four jig poles and were thus seven lines over the allowed limit of three lines each. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Carlson and Dustin Gabrielson, of Webster, were conducting snowmobile enforcement in Polk County near Balsam Lake along with two Polk County Sheriff’s Department deputies. The wardens stopped two snowmobilers, and both riders were arrested for operating a snowmobile while intoxicated. Polk County deputies stopped a third snowmobile and arrested that operator, as well, for operating a snowmobile while intoxicated.
Warden Carlson stopped a snowmobiler operating onto Balsam Lake from the Polk County snowmobile trail without a trail pass displayed on his snowmobile. The operator stated he was unaware a trail pass was required to operate on the snowmobile trail. However, the operator then said he was aware of the trail pass requirement after Carlson pointed to the expired 2019 trail pass that was affixed to the front of his snowmobile. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Carlson responded to a complaint of illegal septic hauling activity. Carlson initially discovered the septic hauler was performing frequent illegal spot dumping of sewage. Carlson also found violations including spot dumping, land applying without department approval and applying sewage without treating with lime, as required. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Ashton was checking ice anglers when he saw a man he recognized and knew to have previous fishing violations walking quickly towards an ice shack. Ashton arrived at the shack ahead of the fisherman and found he was fishing with more than three lines. This was the fourth time Ashton caught this fisherman fishing with too many lines. The man had previously had his fishing privileges revoked for a year. Enforcement action was taken again.
Warden Ashton and supervisor Mike Melgaard were on ice fishing patrol on Half Moon Lake in Polk County when they approached a pickup truck occupied by a lone fisherman watching his tip-ups. Ashton observed a .22-250 rifle lying on the truck’s center console. Ashton recognized the man from prior law enforcement contacts and he knew the man was an avid coyote hunter. Ashton asked the man if his rifle was loaded, and the man said no. Ashton found the rifle was loaded with a live cartridge in the chamber. Enforcement action was taken for the illegally loaded rifle in the vehicle.
Wardens Chris Spaight, of Grantsburg, and Dustin Gabrielson, of Webster, worked on a timber theft investigation involving white birch poles. The wardens discovered two people had illegally cut birch trees on several state- and county-owned properties. Multiple enforcement actions were issued against both individuals.
Warden Gabrielson was working snowmobile enforcement in Danbury along with a Burnett County Sheriff’s Department recreation officer. They stopped two snowmobilers for display of expired snowmobile registration stickers and for loud exhaust noise. They discovered one snowmobile’s registration expired in 2002 and the other in 2016. Also, both snowmobiles had illegal exhaust noise that exceeded the maximum allowed decibel limit. Both operators had purchased a required trail pass. Enforcement action was taken for the snowmobile violations. Also, one of the operators was found to have a valid arrest warrant, and he was taken into custody and transported to the Burnett County Jail.
Park Falls Team/February
While registering a bobcat, wardens Dylan Belisle, of Ladysmith, and Aaron Koshatka, of Hayward, found the bobcat was hunted and harvested by an individual who did not have a bobcat harvest authorization. The bobcat was later tagged by another individual who was coached on what to say during the registration process. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Kurt Haas, of Medford, registered a bobcat for an individual who said he harvested the bobcat with hounds. Haas investigated and found the bobcat was provided to the individual by another person who illegally obtained it. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Haas was called by the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department to assist with some overdue hikers who were camping along the Ice Age Trail. Deputies and Haas found their truck and Haas used his snowmobile to locate the hikers. The unharmed hikers were located camping in a national forest campground. Haas observed a very large live tree that was chopped down with a hatchet in one of campsites. Enforcement action was taken.
Lake Winnebago Team/February
Warden Michael Disher, of Chilton, patrolled Lake Winnebago during the 16-day sturgeon spearing season. Disher took enforcement actions pertaining to violations, including: failure to display a sturgeon license/tag; fishing in a locked shack; possession of more than one sturgeon license/tag; no names or addresses on shacks; possession of angling gear inside a sturgeon shack; a speared sturgeon that was under the size limit; and, hook and line fishing without a valid license.
Wardens Cara Kamke, of Appleton, and Benjamin Treml, of Green Bay, were on patrol on Lake Winnebago during sturgeon spearing and contacted a person who was spearing and admitted to throwing his spear but missing the sturgeon earlier that day. During a license check, it was revealed he did not have a sturgeon spearing license. Enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Thomas Sturdivant, of Neenah, and Heather Gottschalk, of Wautoma, while patrolling the upriver lakes of the Winnebago system during the sturgeon-spearing season, located a spearer who had speared a sturgeon the day before and had it tied off in the shanty below the water line. The sturgeon, which was dead, had not been registered. However, the spearer was issued an upriver lakes sturgeon tag for the 2019 season. The spearer still was actively spearing when located. Enforcement action was taken.
Black River Falls Team/February
While conducting snowmobile patrol, warden Michael Weber, of Mauston, saw two snowmobile operators run through a stop sign along a roadway near Necedah. Upon contact, Weber found that neither operator had a trail pass for their machine and both had failed to transfer their registration as required. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Patrick Seybert, of Necedah, was requested by a county sheriff’s deputy to respond to a report of an individual ice fishing with possible hypothermic symptoms about one mile out on Castle Rock Lake. Seybert responded and helped the individual to a waiting ambulance on shore.
Persistence paid off in February for warden Ryan Lowry, of Osseo, after his investigation of two deer found dead on private property in Jackson County. After several attempts at reaching area landowners during the month, Lowry caught up with one and learned who may have harvested the deer in question. Lowry located and contacted that hunter and learned one antlerless deer was not recovered while another was not registered. He also found the hunter never possessed the correct harvest authorization for the deer. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Molly Detjes, of Adams, was on ice fishing patrol on smaller lakes in Adams County when she observed two individuals using tip-ups. Detjens also saw the anglers catch and keep what appeared to be an illegal sized northern pike. Detjens contacted the anglers and found the northern pike to be less than 24 inces in length. Northern pike must be at least 26 inches in length to keep on that body of water. Warden also found the two individuals were fishing with eight tip-ups when it was only legal to fish with three lines maximum per person, for a total of six lines. One of the individuals also was found to be fishing without a valid license. The northern pike was released alive and enforcement action was taken.
Lower St. Croix Team/February
Warden Kyle Kosin, of Pierce County, and a Pierce County Sheriff Department deputy handled an incident of two snowmobile operators who failed to stop for three stop signs before being stopped. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden J.J. Redemann of Dunn County responded to an illegal feeding complaint in Dunn County in February. Well-worn deer trails crossed a busy road leading to the homeowner’s backyard. The warden’s investigation also found the homeowner failed to register an archery buck this past fall. Enforcement actions were taken.
Warden Redemann contacted an angler on Lake Eau Galle who was fishing with four lines. The angler said after a week of terrible fishing, the decision was made to up the chances by using an extra line. The angler had one crappie on the ice. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Redemann contacted a snowmobiler while patrolling in Dunn County. The operator had a trail pass displayed on his snowmobile; however, the pass was for a different snowmobile. Trail passes are like registrations in that they are designated for specific machines. Failure to buy trail passes takes money away from funds needed to maintain the trail system. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Redemann contacted an angler on Lake Menomin who was fishing with six lines. The warden found the angler was fishing alone and all lines were baited. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Brad Peterson, of Pierce County, contacted a person who was operating an ATV along Hwy. 63 with his juvenile son as a passenger. The child was not wearing a helmet and no rear registration plate was displayed on the ATV. The driver stated he didn’t live very far away and just went to the gas station to fill up the ATV. The driver was educated on the ATV rules and the driver then called his wife to come and pick up his son. Enforcement action was taken.
Wisconsin River Team/February
Warden Tyler Flood, of Wausau, stopped an ATV on the snowmobile trail near Rib Mountain that is closed to ATVs. The ATV was not registered, did not have a license plate, and the operator did not have a required safety class. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Flood attended a weekly meeting at the Rib Mountain Bowmen lodge and talked about his career and answered questions.
Wardens Flood and Josh Litvinoff held a fur tagging event for community members as the Wausau Service Center.
Warden Bryan Lockman, of Stevens Point, investigated a news report regarding a collared swan being run down by a snowmobile in Portage County. Lockman tracked down the original reporting party and found no indication of any of those facts being true or where those news reports came from. The swan was found near the Wisconsin River before being transported to a licensed rehabilitator.
Mississippi River Team/February
Warden Bob Jumbeck, of Alma, was at home when he heard three gunshots just before 10 p.m. He saw a vehicle on the roadway and went out to make a traffic stop. Upon contact, Jumbeck learned the operator had used his .40 caliber handgun to shoot at a coyote out the passenger side window as it stood in the ditch. The operator said he failed to possess a non-resident furbearer license as required. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Dale Hochhausen, of Onalaska, received a complaint regarding a snowmobile that had been abandoned on the ice during a large local ice fishing derby on Lake Onalaska. The snowmobile did not have registration decals as the cowling had been removed. Hochhausen was able to track down the out-of-state owner. The person stated he thought the snowmobile would have been impounded by now. The person was given a deadline to get the snowmobile removed and enforcement action was taken.
Warden Hochhausen was parked in at a boat launch doing paperwork when a vehicle drove past Hochhausen’s location and parked in the parking lot. The driver started smoking marijuana, so Hochhausen made contact with the driver and passenger. The driver had a revoked driver’s license. The driver and passenger had drugs and paraphernalia and both were in violation of bond conditions. The suspects were turned over to the West Salem Police Department and La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department.
Warden Shawna Stringham, of Viroqua, issued five citations to a local septic hauler for operating without a license and land spreading waste where it was not authorized to spread. The complex case was investigated by Stringham and the environmental enforcement program within the DNR.
Warden Meghan Jensen, of Trempealeau, with assistance from Warden Matt Groppi, investigated a complaint of illegal deer bait/feed placed in Trempealeau County, which is a no bait/feed county. Throughout the investigation, it also was found the individual had failed to register multiple deer from the last few hunting seasons, failed to register a vehicle-killed deer, was trapping without a license, and had placed illegal traps including traps without trap tags and the placement of snares out-of-water and tied off to a tree larger than half-inch in diameter. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Jensen investigated a buck that had been registered by an individual shortly after the individual had bought a gun hunting license. Jensen found the individual who registered the deer was working at the time the deer was shot by a family member. The person who harvested the deer was from out of state and wanted to give the meat to the other person, so they wanted them to register the deer in fear the other person wouldn’t be able to pick the venison up from the meat processor once the shooter had traveled home. Enforcement action was taken.