Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 24, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) worked angling, small-game, and ATVing enforcement. He also patrolled local state parks and forests. In addition, he followed up on several complaints that now are ongoing investigations and assisted the Lake of the Woods County Sheriff’s Office with a party complaint in the Beltrami Island State Forest.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored turkey-hunting activity. He also patrolled area ATV trails and conducted a radio interview about the turkey season and upcoming walleye opener.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) spent time checking shore anglers and patrolling for ATV and turkey-hunting activity this past week. Cooler weather made it hard for hunters to stay in the blind, but some found success.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) worked with CO Prachar monitoring activity on the Blackduck River. Violations encountered and addressed this past week included failure to remove traps at the end of the otter season, failure to extinguish a fire, and ATV-registration violations.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked area rivers and streams for spring fish-run activity. Several rivers in the area are closed for angling until fishing opener.
CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji) spent time working spring fish-run activity and patrolling for ATVing activity. Time also was spent in area state parks and talking with various supervisors within the parks. K9 training was completed.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports concentrating enforcement activities on turkey hunters and the spring fish run. A turkey hunter called Vinton to report accidentally shooting two turkeys with one shot. The extra bird was taken and donated.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week monitoring shore fishing and spring fish-run activity. Spring fishing closures are in place throughout the Detroit Lakes area and anglers should check the DNR website to make sure they know where they can and can’t fish.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) reports a wolf-depredation complaint was investigated. Incidentally caught river otters were reported and seized.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) reports a complaint about the illegal dumping of beaver carcasses was received. Warren monitored area lakes and ponds for anglers and leeching activity.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week monitoring fire activity, ATVing activity, and angling activity Landmark also assisted deputies in a domestic dispute and took enforcement action for traffic violations.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports a shore angler was cited for using two lines. He said he knew it was wrong but had observed other people doing it in the past. Turkey hunters were monitored, with one hunter being cited for transporting a loaded shotgun in his vehicle. Fire conditions remain very high in the area and resulted in an unpermitted grass fire jumping a road and burning a neighboring landowner’s field. A citation was issued.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) investigated several shooting-from-the-road complaints involving turkeys and waterfowl. While investigating one of the complaints, Osborne observed two suspicious vehicles in a public hunting area parking lot, which led to an investigation with local law enforcement and forthcoming charges.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked turkey hunters, ATVers, and anglers throughout the week. Time also was spent monitoring trapping activity in the area. Complaints were received regarding the dumping of deer carcasses and illegal operation of motor vehicles in WMAs.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) would like to remind anglers that on South Dakota-Minnesota border waters, two lines per person are permitted and when fishing the dams as long as you have a license from either state and you’re welcome to shore fish from either side. Wood also assisted the State Patrol with a vehicle fire on the interstate.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week focused on checking anglers and turkey hunters. Additional time was spent checking boats for AIS compliance and required safety equipment. Baumbarger assisted CO Osborne with a TIP complaint in the Evansville station.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked ongoing game investigations with neighboring officers. The start of the turkey and stream trout seasons brought many people outdoors.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. He received a complaint about a bowfishers shining lights too close to houses after sunset on the Crow Wing River. He also checked turkey hunters, who reported seeing large groups of turkeys. Flooding on area lakes, especially Lake Shamineau, is a problem for landowners and people trying to access the lake.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time working ATV and trapping enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for an illegal water-set trap. Multiple incidental otters have been called in due to many people trapping spring beavers.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked closed state forest roads for motor vehicle use, turkey hunters, and state park use. A wolf-depredation complaint was investigated. Two reports of litter – one household garbage and another animal-carcass dumping – were investigated. Things are getting dry in the area and a fire was investigated where enforcement action was taken for no permit, allowing a smoldering fire, and prohibited material burning.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the walleye season came to a quiet close on the Rainy River as the cold and windy weather kept most people away. The remainder of the workload revolved around ATV enforcement, animal-related complaints, and assisting other agencies with incidents.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports anglers have shifted their targets but are still venturing out onto the area waterways with mixed success. State campgrounds and facilities were checked and monitored.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) responded to a brush fire that got out of control late Friday evening. Upon the CO’s arrival, the individual was black from head to toe with soot while attempting to put out the fire on his own for several hours. The individual admitted that starting the fire with high winds in conjunction with kerosene was a bad idea, but seemed to think that burning down the remaining trees for a better view of the water was his only option.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) encountered 16 ATVers in a group, all illegally operating on a non-motorized state trail, causing rutting, consuming alcohol, and presenting a number of registration issues. Social distancing was not a consideration. Another large group of ATV riders gathered around their ATVs was encountered, though with fewer violation issues. Bozovsky reminded the physician in the group that social distancing was not being observed.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports ATV activity was again high during the week and weekend. The majority of snow is now gone from the roads and woods, making it much easier to navigate on some of the forest roads.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked a few anglers this past week, along with ATV and OHM riders. He also took several calls about beaver trapping and nuisance animals.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking state parks and DNR campgrounds and buildings. A large influx of people from the Twin Cities and surrounding area flooded the state parks during the weekend. Very few people decided to buy park passes. Wahlstrom also assisted the county with crowd control during a structure fire in Grand Marais.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) reports state parks remained busy, with several vehicle pass and illegal-camping violations noted. A reminder that state park and state forest campgrounds are closed.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports contacting multiple trout anglers during the past week. Most behaved, but a few were found to be in possession of marijuana. State park vehicle passes were again hard to come by as people continue to enter the parks without having permits. A few people also were contacted for camping violations. Even though they saw the signs stating the campgrounds were closed, they took the risk and ultimately received citations.
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 Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling, trapping, ATVing, and turkey-hunting enforcement. He also assisted local station officers with a Rainy River work detail. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of turkeys, failure to validate a turkey tag, untagged turkey, illegal equipment while hunting turkeys, and failure to register a turkey.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked area rivers and the North Shore for angling activity. ATVing and trespassing complaints have been increasing. The CO has been working spring trapping and also been trying to find a turkey hunter. Smelting activity is picking up as well.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked fire, fishing, turkey hunting, and OHVing enforcement throughout the past week. He also patrolled the Fond du Lac State Forest during spring road and trail closures. A fishing TIP complaint was worked with CO Jake Willis.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent some extra time patrolling area state parks. Time also was spent assisting in training a new group of working dogs. Assistance was given to the State Patrol with a person walking on the interstate who said he was lost.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked river and shore anglers. Trollers were having issues with strong winds. Rising water temperatures have steelhead and a few smelt coming into the rivers.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) patrolled the Foot Hills State Forest area, which is closed to all motor vehicle traffic. Enforcement action was taken with several subjects operating ATVs illegally. Turkey hunters were contacted this past week and most hunters reported successful hunts. The CO also contacted a suspicious vehicle that involved people illegally consuming and possessing alcohol as well as controlled substances.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked ATV, trapping, fishing and spring turkey hunting activity. Best is still observing many people recreating and lodging far from their residences.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled area lakes and trails for activity. Turkey hunters were out in large numbers due to the availability of the new over-the-counter licenses. Some overcrowding was reported. Guida also fielded a TIP call involving a group of unlicensed anglers harvesting bass out of season. The violators were located and enforcement action was taken. The bass were located in the back of their pickup and safely returned to the water.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for open-water anglers and turkey hunters during the past week. Turkey-hunting success was limited.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked the cold turkey opener. Birds were uncooperative. Fire danger is high, so burning activity was monitored.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked shore anglers on local rivers. She also investigated Wetland Conservation Act violations where landowners were excavating in wetlands. Resource protection notices were issued to the landowners.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) noted an extreme increase in outdoor recreation and folks out and about. A fishing complaint about rude behavior was investigated with casting into the same hot spot causing a riff. A public waters violation complaint also was investigated.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked spring turkey hunting, ATV/OHM activity, and sport fishing activity this past week. Various complaints involving wetlands were investigated as well.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling, trapping, and turkey-hunting activity this past week. He also fielded calls concerning injured animals.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports investigating a possible wetland violation. He also received reports of target shooting at a WMA and received several TIP calls about possible angling violations. Enforcement action for the week included allowing a juvenile to operate an OHM in a road right of way, angling without a license, angling with an extra line, an overlimit of crappies, and several watercraft-registration violations.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) received numerous complaints about crappie anglers. Follow-up was done on a turkey-hunting call. A dumping complaint and a trespass call also were received.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports a turkey “hunter” was caught near Isanti after witnesses believed he shot a turkey from a vehicle. Evidence was found and the subject confessed to shooting out of the driver’s seat of his truck and wounding a turkey. Another subject was caught in possession of a 56-inch lake sturgeon in Pine City. The fish ended up dying after the contact. Benkofske then assisted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on an investigation at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. A subject was found to have illegally hunted turkeys in a closed area, shot a hen turkey, threw all the meat in the trash, and only kept the tail feathers. Thank you to all the sportsman and sportswomen who continue to call TIP.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers, turkey hunters, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent enforcing the Wetland Conservation Act, which resulted in a cease and desist order. Seamans observed an angler fishing for catfish on the Mississippi River. The angler casted an extra line into the water. When checked, the angler stated he was just testing the second pole. The angler was cited for fishing with an extra line.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) reports a lot of people were out enjoying the warmer weather, with record entries into Lake Maria State Park. There were more than 470 vehicles there on Saturday. Most people were keeping good social distance while out hiking. A lakeshore violation was investigated, and enforcement action was taken. Several TIP calls also were handled for taking fish out of season and an overlimit of fish.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) worked angling activity and area lakes and rivers. Time was also spent investigating TIP complaints involving parties targeting fish out of season.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) returned calls regarding fishing regulations and littering complaints from park visitors. He patrolled Fort Snelling State Park for trail usage and took enforcement action for no vehicle permit, unleashed dog, and speeding.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports numerous anglers have been fishing on designated trout lakes. The stream trout in lakes season does not open until May 9. One angler stated he couldn’t believe he had the lake to himself and was happy with his limit of trout. He was informed the reason why the lake was empty was because the season was closed. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) encountered a large number of anglers fishing designated trout lakes, which are currently closed until the opener on May 9.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) received a complaint about tent campers at the Bradshaw Lake WMA. Upon arriving at the WMA, he observed the tent/campsite and two campers. Upon asking the two campers if they read the WMA rules sign next to their tent, they stated they had not.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) reports a complaint was fielded regarding dogs in the St. Croix Savanna Scientific and Natural Area in Bayport. He had to remind a few people about the regulations in an SNA.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) saw much higher numbers of turkey hunters out for the A season, with little success observed.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working ATVers and checking anglers. Patrol of area state parks was stepped up due to increased visitation by traveling recreationists.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) attended K9 training, patrolled state parks, and checked turkey hunters. Time also was spent on ATVing and angling activity.
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) spent the week working angling, fire, turkey hunting, and trapping enforcement.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) worked angling and spring turkey hunting activity. He answered questions about nuisance beaver trapping and spring burning. Vernier also assisted with extra patrol at Sibley and Monson Lake state parks.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) worked turkey hunting and followed up on carp-shooting and litter complaints.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding turkey hunting, fishing, and COVID-19 influences on outdoor recreation. He also assisted local law enforcement.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked anglers, boaters, AIS activity, and ATV operators during the past week. Davis also patrolled wildlife management areas, state parks, and waterfowl production areas. Multiple violations were encountered.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked angling, boating, and ATVing enforcement this past week. Henke reminds anglers that the walleye, northern pike, and bass seasons are closed and fishing for those species is illegal.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports the Mississippi River was busy as accesses reopened, but fishing was slow. Hemker also had complaints about trespass and illegal activity in public waters.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) reports a busy trout opener. Citations were issued to multiple people for fishing on the Cannon River without licenses. Schneider also assisted another agency in the search for a felon who fled officers.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reminds people that dispersed camping and all state forest campgrounds are closed. Please keep an eye on the DNR website (mndnr.gov) for more information.