Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – May 15, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) worked angling enforcement and assisted the Roseau Police Department with a search warrant. A report was received and investigated concerning a decapitated bear that was illegally dumped.
CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) worked angling, ATVing, and trapping enforcement. With high winds and cold weather during the opening weekend, anglers mainly fished the Rainy River. Violations this past week included possessing an illegal-length walleye, failure to retain walleye/sauger carcasses, failure to possess watercraft safety equipment and failure to validate a sturgeon tag.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) worked the walleye opener on Upper Red Lake with CO Prachar, investigated a dead-eagle complaint, and monitored area fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, overlimits of walleyes, illegal-length walleyes and northern pike, and boating registration and equipment violations.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports time was spent investigating TIP information, assisting DNR Forestry with an investigation, and taking questions from the public regarding shoreland alterations.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) worked with other local COs on Upper Red Lake and nearby tributaries. The CO also assisted Beltrami County with a boat crash on opening morning of the fishing season.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked a busy weekend of fishing opener despite whiteout snow on Saturday and strong winds on Sunday. CO Vollbrecht also responded to an injury accident and assisted in setting up a landing zone for the helicopter to fly out the patient.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports the fishing opener brought wind and snow along with cold weather. That didn’t stop many anglers. The conditions did limit the number of fish that Vinton observed. Several anglers were reminded that, although state offices are closed, they could still renew their boat’s registration online.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing, turkey hunting, and ATVing enforcement. An individual was contacted after he was seen using a drone to harass a nesting pair of eagles. The individual stated he was only trying to get a view of the nest.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) reports spending time checking anglers, ATVers, and turkey-hunting activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Assistance was provided to county deputies regarding a report of an unoccupied watercraft and a domestic assault.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week focused on checking anglers and boaters and monitoring AIS law compliance. Additional time was spent checking turkey hunters, investigating TIP complaints, and investigating a wetland violation.
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) fielded numerous calls leading up to the weekend relating to concerns about travel guidelines and social-distancing recommendations.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) worked anglers, bowfishers, and boating safety throughout the past week. Time also was spent on nuisance-animal complaints and monitoring AIS compliance. Enforcement action was taken for fish out of season, illegal-length fish, walleye overlimits, AIS violations, as well as angling license and boating violations.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked a cold fishing opener this past weekend. PFD compliance was nearly 100 percent, which was great to see.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) reports groups of bowfishers were talked to due to recent complaints about shooting too close to a residence, excessive noise, and dumping of rough fish along a public road.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on complaints about a wetland violation and ATVers driving carelessly in road ditches near Pillager.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports a call came in from a kayaker who needed help because he was unable to maneuver in windy weather and large waves on Lake Winnibigoshish. Mathy and CO Fairbanks responded and assisted the kayaker in getting off the lake. The kayaker, who was making his way from the Mississippi headwaters to Louisiana, had many necessary supplies for the trip but failed to bring a life jacket. A citation was issued after the rescue. The outcome would have been much different if the waves would have overtaken the kayak. Mathy also looked into complaints about domestic cattle carcasses dumped near an ATV trail, dumped sucker and deer carcasses, a hydro jet excavating a lakeshore, a beaver dam complaint, and a possible fish-overlimit complaint.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports many anglers continue to focus on sturgeon on the Rainy River, and now those targeting walleyes have joined them. A trespass incident was worked involving beaver activity on the property of one landowner and affecting the property of a neighbor.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) reports a busy opening fishing weekend on Lake Vermilion. A few anglers checked throughout the weekend were found with illegal-length walleyes in their possession. The anglers confessed that they should have paid more attention when measuring the fish before they kept them.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing and ATVing activity. Fewer anglers were observed during the 2020 fishing opener. Broughten also assisted with a wildfire investigation.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) spent the walleye opener patrolling areas of the BWCAW and lakes near Ely. Angling success was overall poor, which was made worse by cold weather conditions.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking anglers during the cold and snowy opener. A few brave anglers still ventured out to their favorite fishing holes. Enforcement action was taken for angling in a closed area, as well as PFD and ATV violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) responded to a fire call at Judge CR Magney State Park. An accidental visitor-started fire was discovered and extinguished before it could really take off and do major damage. Manning also responded to a call about an unwanted gull looking for a new nesting location near someone’s front door.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports that an ATV helmet violation was addressed with a parent being coached on helmet requirements for his young children. A call was handled regarding multiple property owners and the legalities involved in discharging a firearm on one’s own property.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) reports fire danger remains high in the area and that he responded to multiple fires that spread fast with the dry conditions.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity, worked TIP calls, and responded to nuisance-animal complaints. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted the local police department in locating spent shell casings in an ongoing criminal investigation.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, boating, AIS, and ATVing enforcement. The 2020 fishing opener brought colder weather, but that didn’t stop anglers from heading out on the water. Anglers’ overall success varied. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with extra lines, possession of an overlimit of perch, illegal-length walleyes, no angling license in possession, and several boating violations.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) had a busy opening weekend of angling with many boaters out despite the cold. One boat was found with two anglers fishing from it with 2008 registration displayed, a leak in the boat, and no PFDs on board. A citation was issued in this case.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) focused on angling and boating enforcement on a busy opening weekend. Anglers braved the weather and crowded landings for the opener along the St. Louis River. Complaints about angling in closed areas were handled, along with licensing issues.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked nights, checking on fish-run activity along the North Shore. ATVing activity picked up during the week, and steelhead fishing on area tributaries continues to be busy. Duncan believes the traditional fishing opener on Saturday was probably the busiest he has seen during his career.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent the fishing opener patrolling area rivers and trout streams. Assistance was given to the local sheriff’s office in searching for suspects who broke into several vehicles in the Fond du Lac State Forest near Jay Cooke State Park.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked a busy opening weekend with fellow district officers on the St. Louis River, along with a team of Wisconsin wardens working the river as well. The teams included officers in watercraft and at landings. Fire danger continues to be a concern in area counties.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on opening weekend of the walleye season. A lot of boats were observed on the St. Louis River, with good catches of walleyes and pike. State parks were checked with lots of users and high rates of violations pertaining to the purchase of park passes. ATVs were encountered doing the usual illegal things in the usual places.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) reports a busy week leading up to opener with a number of cases involving ATV violations, angling violations, and illegal burning. The opener was very busy, but she was impressed by how respectful and kind everyone was when contacted. She was thrilled to see so many kids out enjoying the pastime as well. Ladd extends a thank you to those recreating in her area during the opener. Those Minnesotans truly made it a joy to do her job.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) took calls about bears showing up in residential yards.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked fishing this past week with the angling opener. A car-killed bear was donated to an interested person, and accidentally trapped otters were picked up to be donated to the Minnesota Trappers Association Fur Project. Enforcement this past week was taken for equipment and license violations.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked fishing opener activity as it was stifled by the snow and rain. Compliance was generally good except registrations that needed to get stuck on boats, PFDs that needed to be found, and fire extinguishers that needed to be extracted from mouse nests. Beaver trappers and turkey hunters are still being checked in the area.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked Lake Mille Lacs on the fishing opener with CO Matson. The Nemadji State Forest is now open as trail conditions have improved. Speldrich investigated additional potential public waters/Wetland Conservation Act violations on Sturgeon Lake. Please contact DNR Ecological and Water Resources if you plan to do work in the water and review our website (mndnr.gov) for when permits are required.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) patrolled area state parks for illegal drug use and discarding used needles near playgrounds and picnic areas. A public waters violation continues to be investigated, along with a bear issue.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) reports visits made to some cattle ranches that have had problems with wolves taking newborn calves.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked a complaint about trespass. The fishing opener was busy but very few fish were observed or reported. He also worked on nuisance-animal calls. VanderWeyst also reports it appears that bowfishers in the Richmond area disposed of arrowed carp carcasses in the porta-potty of a local access. Please contact TIP if you have information on this.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports a slower-than-expected fishing opener. He reports seeing decent numbers of fish caught by local anglers. Calls from the public included possible hunter harassment and various wildlife-related concerns.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports a slow opening weekend. Angler numbers and the success rates were low. Calls this past week included bear complaints, wetland violations, a vehicle-killed eagle, and a dog caught in a trap.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) reports a slower-than-average opening weekend. Time was spent following up on Wetland Conservation Act complaints. Enforcement action was taken after a landowner decided to violate a cease and desist order and continue working in a wet area. Additional enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, fishing with extra lines, operating a watercraft without life jackets, and operating a watercraft with expired registration.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking anglers on local lakes and rivers. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without licenses, keeping bass in the catch-and-release season, and not having life jackets while on the boat.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) responded to multiple TIP complaints about people taking bass and walleyes before the fishing opener. Lee also patrolled state parks and trails, and answered questions from the Asian community on trout-fishing regulations.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on angling enforcement during the week. Once again, a large number of trout-fishing violations were encountered.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports an investigation was initiated upon the report of a person releasing a large iguana into a local creek. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, no license in possession, and an insufficient number of personal flotation devices.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) had a busy fishing opener checking anglers and boaters. Time was spent patrolling the Minnesota River and local lakes for angling activity. Fogarty also assisted Scott County deputies in searching for a lost cyclist believed to be somewhere in the Minnesota River between Shakopee and Jordan. The cyclist was located in Chaska at a trailhead.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) investigated several TIP calls involving the illegal dumping of dead carp. Time also was spent investigating a complaint involving possession of an invasive species.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week patrolling area lakes and the St. Croix River for boating and fishing activity. Arntzen also handled several TIP calls and fielded questions about accessing lakes from a road right of way.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) worked the fishing opener on inland lakes and found fishing to be slow. A stolen boat was found and recovered with the assistance of another CO.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent a very busy fishing opener checking angling activity. He also checked on a public waters complaint and issued a cease and desist order.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week attending K9 training. The majority of anglers checked on fishing opener had some success walleye fishing while angling in scattered showers throughout the day.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored angling, ATVing, boating, and turkey hunting activity during the week. The inland fishing opener was marked by inclement weather and high winds.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this past week fielding several calls pertaining to the 2020 fishing opener and COVID-19. Other areas of focus were TIP calls for taking fish out of season and treestands left in a state wildlife management area.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls reporting anglers attempting to take gamefish during the closed season and requesting fishing rule clarifications. The walleye, northern pike and catch-and-release bass opener was well attended.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked anglers and boaters over the past week. Fishing opener was very windy, cold and wet. Many anglers headed off the water sooner than later. AIS inspections were performed. Beaver issues continue to come in and are having impacts on farm fields.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent much of the past week on angling enforcement. Howe also responded to several TIP calls, assisted a local sheriff’s office with a boater assist at night, and took a complaint regarding recreational shooting.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked a busy 2020 fishing opener in the Albert Lea station. Henke also responded to trespass complaints, keeping illegal-length pike, and other TIP calls. Henke reminds anglers of the southern zone pike regulations and to be familiar with them.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the past week checking anglers and boaters. Additional time was spent monitoring AIS compliance at area public water accesses.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) responded to various ATV-related complaints. A landowner reported a dead deer on his property. The deer was suspected to have been illegally shot. There was a large wound in the front of the chest. Officers backtracked the blood trail and found hair and tissue on a metal fence post. The evidence suggested the deer sustained the mortal injury while attempting to jump the fence. It was an odd conclusion given that deer routinely navigate fences without issue.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) responded to a grass fire at a WMA and took enforcement action when locating tent campers in closed areas on state land.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) helped an individual remove a live raccoon from the radiator area of his vehicle. The animal had been hit a day earlier, but instead of getting run over it had gone through a crack in the grill plate and rode the rest of the way home. The animal was quite feisty and had no interest in leaving its new residence. After removing some shields, the animal was caught and removed by using a catch pole.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) arrested a person for a felony warrant after the CO found him fishing without a license and camping along the river.