Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – May 1, 2020

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked turkey hunters as well as sturgeon and sucker anglers. Violations encountered during the past week included illegal possession of a spear at night near water and underage consumption of alcohol.

CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) worked the sturgeon opener on the Rainy River and small-game activity in his station. In addition, he spent time patrolling area state parks and forests. 

CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) assisted other law enforcement agencies and EMS with an ATV accident involving a three-wheeler and its operator. Larson maneuvered his squad down a muddy, rutted-out minimum-maintenance road in the forest to retrieve the injured ATV operator. The CO carefully transported the injured operator on a stretcher in the bed of his squad – with the assistance of EMS and other law enforcement personnel – back to the main road where EMS was waiting with the ambulance for transport to a hospital.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports that while working spring fish-run activity on the Tamarack River with CO Prachar, they found a deceased pelican floating in the river. Further investigation into the cause of death of the pelican revealed it had taken more than it could swallow. The officers found a 25- or 26-inch walleye still in the pelican’s bill. The walleye was still alive. The officers were able to release the walleye to continue its spawning run up the Tamarack River. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) took a wolf-depredation complaint and a TIP about stolen long guns that a hunter found under spruce blowdown. Gray turned the guns over to the sheriff’s office. 

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji) worked spring fish-run activity with CO Al Peterson and checked area anglers. Assistance was given to the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office with an ongoing investigation. Turkey hunters were checked and turkey hunting-related complaints were worked. Mishler also received and followed up on a complaint about vehicle operators and ATVers intentionally tearing up state wildlife management area land and forest roads. 

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a busy fish run and bowfishing/spearing opener. The number of people engaging in bowfishing has increased noticeably. Vinton and RTO Greg Oldakowski contacted a group of bowfishers who had begun fishing a few hours before the midnight opener. Enforcement action was taken.  

CO Al Peterson (Osage) made a DWI arrest of an ATV operator at night. The intoxicated driver also had a loaded firearm in his possession. Charges are pending.  

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) reports complaints about a stream being blocked by fence posts and one regarding a dead swan were investigated.  

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) worked the opening weekend of the bowfishing season and noticed a large increase in the number of bowfishers. They advised it was a slow start to the season, but Landmark observed nearly perfect compliance throughout the night. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week focused on checking anglers, boaters, and turkey hunters. Additional time was spent checking spring beaver trappers and working AIS compliance at public accesses. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) focused enforcement efforts this past week on panfish anglers and turkey hunters. One angler was found to be over his limit of crappies after fishing the same lake for several days in a row. Another shore angler was found to have an uncommon item in her tackle box: a small container of marijuana, which led to a citation. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) responded to complaints of dumped turkey and deer carcasses, and is investigating a turkey hunting trespass incident. Plautz released a goose from a beaver trap without incident and spent time patrolling Glendalough State Park.  

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) took calls in Grant County about early shore bowfishers and horses on the Central Lakes Trail. Boating and fishing activity was monitored on area lakes with boating violations found for insufficient PFDs. OHM and ATV enforcement was conducted.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) worked ATVing and trapping enforcement. Trapping violations included illegally set water sets and trapping in a state park.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked anglers, turkey hunters, and boaters. She investigated a report about turkey wanton waste and various fishing violations. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) took a call about two eagles that were stuck together. They eventually separated themselves without assistance. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports sturgeon-fishing enforcement on the Rainy River consumed most of his time. ATV enforcement and wildfire investigations also were tackled throughout the week. 

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports the focus this past week included trapping, angling, ATVing activity, and fire activity. An illegal fire was investigated, and a report about a dead moose was investigated. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) and multiple fire crews and law enforcement agencies responded to a house fire. No known injuries were reported, but extensive damage to the house was reported. 

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reports ice-out arrived on most lakes and folks are eager to get out – so much so that the use of PFDs was ignored or forgotten. Everyone should wear a life jacket, especially with water temperatures as low as they are. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports many calls about out-of-control campfires all over the Iron Range. Extremely dry and windy conditions meant these fires spread quickly and both DNR and U.S. Forest Service crews had to act quickly to keep them from spreading. Please remember that there is a burning ban in place, which includes campfires on public lands.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked ATV operators this past week, as well as spring fish-run activity. He also assisted with closures and took multiple calls about burning restrictions.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers along the shore of Lake Superior and its tributaries. Manning also assisted Cook County with a water-skipping complaint.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the spring fish run, ATVing enforcement, and sucker spearing. A group was found spearing in a closed spawning area. Enforcement action was taken for spearing in a closed area, taking fish by hand, taking fish without a license, burning prohibited materials, and ATV violations.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports the warm weather has brought both anglers and fish into the tributaries up and down the shore. This observation was highlighted by Hill witnessing a 13-year-old angler almost professionally land a nice-sized steelhead. The fish was photographed and was carefully released, almost as if the angler has been doing it for decades.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked open-water panfish angling during the past week. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license. Wildfire activity is becoming more prevalent as temperatures rise and things dry out. Be careful with outdoor fire pits as the conditions for fires to spread are high right now.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working a busy week of angling, trapping, turkey-hunting, spring fish run, and wildfire activities. A wildfire arson investigation was fielded and completed. 

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) worked on the Rainy River on a detail focused on sturgeon fishing as well as boating safety. Multiple violations were found, but no illegal-length fish were found in possession.  

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked area lakes and rivers for angling activity and ice-out conditions. Anglers on shore and aboard watercraft were checked on Lake Superior. Complaints of ATV trespass and damage were handled, along with a complaint about a structure under construction near an area lake.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked fire, fishing, turkey hunting, and OHV enforcement throughout the week. Humphrey also patrolled the Fond du Lac State Forest during spring road and trail closures. 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent time checking anglers and patrolling in area state parks. A complaint about illegally dumped garbage is under investigation. Names of suspects were found in the garbage and officers are in the process of tracking them down.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent time checking river anglers along the North Shore by day. Rivers were monitored into the early mornings for illegal activities.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked Lake Superior tributaries and ATV-related complaints. The fish run was monitored at night, and assistance was given to local agencies with priority calls. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) patrolled state parks and checked turkey hunters. Ice recently went out on area lakes, and Ladd spent time in the boat patrolling some spring angling and boating activity as well as high ATVing activity in the area. 

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) reports enforcement action was taken for untagged traps. Investigations also began for illegal fill in public waters, operating an unauthorized vehicle on a snowmobile trail and causing damage, as well as an egregious case of lake erosion. Best had located two illegal hydro-jet devices used to clear the area of unwanted vegetation that had been running for days or possibly weeks. Once the damage can be evaluated, enforcement action will be taken.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) patrolled the Foot Hills State Forest area, which is closed to all motor vehicle traffic. Enforcement action was taking with several subjects operating illegally.  

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled for turkey-hunting activity and crappie anglers throughout the past week. McGowan also worked the Rainy River for the sturgeon season opener. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) patrolled closed state forests for illegal OHV use. Several large groups were advised of the closures before they made it to the state forest. Others were not as fortunate and enforcement action was taken. 

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) noted an extreme increase in outdoor activities this past week. Fishing and bowfishing activities were worked, with enforcement action taken for no license and shooting bows within a restricted area. Starr found another stolen vehicle and assisted the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office and Savage Police Department with the case. 

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time patrolling for ATVing and OHMing activity. There has been an increase in usage locally. Many of the violations found were for expired registration. Many anglers and boaters were checked. Boaters were in compliance with safety regulations and were found to be draining their boats as they were leaving lakes. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week checking anglers and bowfishers on area lakes. Silgjord also assisted CO Musatov with a significant crappie bite in the Sauk Rapids station, where multiple anglers were cited for overlimits of fish. 

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, trappers, and turkey hunters. He also patrolled state parks. A work detail was worked in General C.C. Andrews State Forest to assist with the large volume of ATV and motorcycle traffic. Accidentally-trapped otters were turned in by beaver trappers. 

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports responding to several wildlife-related calls and assisting a local police department. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, targeting game fish in a closed season, crappie overlimits, and several ATV-related offenses.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) received a complaint about a pheasant shot from a vehicle and left to waste. The shooter was located and charged.  

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports that calls about nuisance bears were handled. Benkofske also lassoed an injured eagle near Zimmerman. The eagle seems to be making a recovery at the Raptor Center. Lastly, with the help of the Baldwin Fire Department, a horse was rescued after becoming stuck in a marsh.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for turkey hunters, anglers, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints and dumping calls. 

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) worked the spring crappie bite, finding cases of overlimits. Wetland complaints were investigated. Nuisance animal-related calls were handled.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the past week patrolling station lakes and checking anglers and boaters. Grewe also responded to and followed up on various TIP calls.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) assisted with a turkey-hunting investigation involving hunting over bait. He also investigated several TIP calls about people targeting bass out of season. 

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) continued to encounter anglers fishing on designated trout lakes out of season. He also responded to an injury ATV crash and conducted an investigation in relation to the crash with area officers.

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) reports local trout lakes were busy considering the closed season for trout in lakes. Several anglers stated they had not read the regulations or the posted signs stating that fishing for trout in lakes was closed until May 9. Other lakes were checked during the crappie bite. A few anglers were found with crappie overlimits. 

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked Lake Minnetonka with CO Grewe for boating and angling activity. He continued to patrol Fort Snelling State Park as nice weather brought many people out to enjoy the outdoors.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports boating and angling activity is increasing. Many anglers are still being observed on closed trout lakes. An ATV crash involving injuries was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, expired boat registration, transom riders, and no license in possession.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week working several trapping cases and checking anglers. He also handled calls regarding nuisance animals and issued several wildlife permits.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the past week monitoring anglers in the area. Trout anglers continued to have success, as did shore anglers as the river dropped. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored angling, boating, OHVing, and turkey hunting activity during the past week. Angler success is improving and a few turkeys were seen in possession. Littering issues at shore-angling locations are becoming more frequent. 

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the past week conducting investigations, checking anglers, and patrolling state parks. Numerous calls were handled about anglers targeting walleyes and northern pike out of season.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports fishing, boating, ATVing, state park, trapping, and turkey hunting were the main enforcement focuses of the past week. Anglers are reminded that there is no catch-and-release season for walleyes and northern pike. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) worked angling and spring turkey-hunting activity. He also followed up on trespass and angling complaints. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received complaints about targeting game fish during the closed season and ATV trespass on state lands. He worked fishing, turkey hunting, invasive species, boating, and ATVing enforcement activities. 

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports that shore anglers were out in force during the past week. Numerous TIP calls continue to be fielded and worked related to the out-of-season taking of walleyes, northern pike, and bass. 

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked anglers on shore and watercraft. Public accesses were patrolled. Reports of overlimits of panfish and walleyes taken out of season were investigated.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on angling and recreational vehicle activity. VanThuyne also assisted local agencies and responded to litter and animal-related complaints. 

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked angling, bowfishing, and turkey-hunting activity this past week. Paul’s Creek was stocked with trout this past week. Bowfishing complaints were investigated. Lots of anglers in the area are targeting species whose seasons are not currently open. Anglers are reminded that it is not legal to target species out of season.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent responding to illegal-burning complaints.

CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports a TIP call was investigated and resulted in a citation for keeping fish out of season.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working ATV complaints in Fillmore and Houston counties. The main complaint again was illegal operation in state forests. 

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the past week checking turkey hunters and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, no trout stamp, and panfish overlimits. 

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) assisted local law enforcement with a call about dirt bikes being ridden in the interstate median. Alcohol consumption played a role in the operators choosing that particularly dangerous and illegal location for their ride, and a DWI arrest was made. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) followed up on complaints about ATVs in a closed area, taking illegal fish, dumping, and trespass. While checking a hunter in a state forest, the CO suggested to the turkey hunter where he had heard a turkey. The hunter later called him to report a turkey in the bag.

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