Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – June 19, 2020

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) monitored area angling and ATV activity, as well as wildlife management areas around Roseau and Lake of the Woods counties. Assistance was given with a nuisance bear issue.

CO Marc Johnson (Warroad South) primarily worked angling activity on Lake of the Woods and public accesses, and ATV enforcement on local trails. In addition, he investigated complaints of a wolf depredation and a nuisance bear that was damaging private property. Violations encountered included possession of an illegal-length walleye, failure to stop an ATV at a stop sign and failure to remove a watercraft drain plug prior to transport.

CO Aaron Larson (Baudette West) worked boat and water safety, AIS, angling and ATV enforcement. He also fielded a nuisance bear report. Boaters and anglers were checked on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) conducted an investigation regarding the possible accidental shooting of a lake sturgeon with archery equipment on the Red Lake River in Thief River Falls. Through interviews, he was learned a lake sturgeon was indeed inadvertently shot with an arrow while a person was bow fishing for rough fish. Enforcement action was taken for taking a lake sturgeon in an illegal manner.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) worked angling, invasive species and ATV enforcement this past week. Elwell received a call about a dead bear cub found in the caller’s backyard. After further investigation, it was determined the bear cub was neither dead, nor a real bear cub. In fact, it was a stuffed animal belonging to a neighbor. Violations encountered included ATV and invasive species violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working AIS, angling and boating activity on special regulation lakes this past week. Time was spent handling reports of nuisance bears, patrolling area trails and investigating the removal of aquatic vegetation without an aquatic plant management permit. Violations encountered and addressed this past week included possession of northern pike within the protected slot, as well as angling license and boating safety equipment violations. 

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports wind and weather kept fishing activity sparse this past week. Some anglers went out to brave the elements but many stayed on shore. Time was spent working angling and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for illegal operation of an ATV and operating without proper equipment. Prachar assisted Beltrami County with several calls for service.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking anglers this past week. Time was also spent taking various wildlife-related complaints. Two orphaned bear cubs were caught and transported to a rehabilitation center.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored boating and angling activity on area lakes. Vollbrecht worked federal boat and water safety shifts on Upper Red Lake. Fishing is good with several limits observed. Time was spent completing annual training and patrolling for ATV activity.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports receiving calls of people using extra lines and possibly having fish over the limit. Several people called to report “abandoned” baby animals. People are reminded most of those babies are just fine and should be left alone in all cases.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week working recreational vehicle areas and patrolling area lakes. Lots of people were able to enjoy the nice weather and get out on their boats during the week. Lots of anglers are still having success and reports indicate most fish remain in shallow water. Other time was spent following up on ongoing cases from the previous two weeks.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted with training at the CO Academy.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working sport fishing, AIS and ATV enforcement. Time was also spent responding to miscellaneous wildlife-related calls.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) monitored boating and angling activity. Individuals reported a fair bite with high winds making conditions challenging. Area trails were patrolled for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Warren answered questions regarding baby animals, goose permits, and bear activity. People are reminded to leave young animals alone as in most cases they are not abandoned and the mother will return to them.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week monitoring boating and ATV activity. Anglers are reporting a good panfish bite and the walleye activity has picked up on a couple area lakes. Landmark also spent time following up on potential public waters/shoreline violations and assisted the Otter Tail County water patrol with two juveniles who had consumed alcohol and decided to operate an unregistered jet ski.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked angling and recreational vehicle activity during the past week. Time was also spent checking AIS compliance in the area. Calls were taken regarding miscellaneous wildlife-related issues. 

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports fishing activity continues to be high in the area. Time was also spent on complaints related to beavers, foxes and geese.

CO Emily Leeb (Morris) reports working fishing and ATV enforcement over the past week. Leeb also assisted a neighboring officer in investigating a case of a person taking a protected bird.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the past week focusing on recreational vehicle, boat and water, and angling enforcement. She received calls regarding a pelican that appeared shot, an injured fawn, a deer-possession tag and several minnow permits. Enforcement action for the week included AIS and recreational vehicle violations.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) conducted fishing, boating, AIS and ATV enforcement over the past week. A TIP call was investigated and nuisance-beaver activity was monitored.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week were concentrated on checking anglers and boaters. Baumbarger performed a site visit with the Pope County Soil and Water Conservation District on a wetland violation, and took reports of a partial fish kill on Lake Minnewaska. Most of the fish species affected were sunfish and crappies. 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) worked primarily fishing and boating activity this past week. Recreational vehicle activity was monitored. Nuisance-animal calls were received.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the past week on area lakes working fishing and boating activity. Follow-up investigation was completed on open cases. An APM violation is being handled. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time working various complaint calls and sport fishing enforcement.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent the past week working boating, ATV, and fishing enforcement. The weather was good but a little breezy, which kept some people off the water. Enforcement action included no navigation lights after sunset, angling without a license, failure to display registration, and operating an ATV without lights.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports many anglers enjoyed good fishing success the past week. Complaints of littering, nuisance bears, and camping violations were investigated. Enforcement action was taken for camping in excess of 21 days at a dispersed campsite, littering, and boating violations.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The nice weather brought out a fair number of anglers. No fishing license in possession and expired registration were the most common violations observed. He checked boaters and PWC operators on area lakes. PWC violations observed were driving too close to shore at faster than no-wake speed. Boating violations observed were no registration and insufficient PFDs. He received a complaint of a bowfishers dumping rough fish at public accesses. Complaints of bears knocking over bird feeders and getting into garbage also received attention. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling activity. Area forest roads and public access sites were checked. Administrative tasks and equipment work were completed.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, boaters, invasive species and ATV enforcement. He also worked a day at Jay Cooke Sate Park. Assistance was provided to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office with a body recovery on an area lake. Enforcement action was taken on a number of state park, boating and ATV violations.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, boating and ATV activity. Anglers reported limited success. ATV activity remains high. Broughten investigated complaints of trespass and abandoned property. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) focused on angling enforcement and boating safety checks over the past week. Fishing success was very limited and many groups reported no luck. Weather conditions also varied wildly but mostly cool weather made for mild activity levels on most lakes.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked boaters, ATV riders and anglers this past week. Fishing is hit or miss but some nice walleyes were seen in a couple of spots. Velsvaag took several questions on BWCAW regulations and fielded a few nuisance-animal calls.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled county and forest roads, checking ATV and OHM operators. She also checked state parks, campgrounds, and boat accesses. She followed up on complaints of stored boats and boats blocking boat ramps. Manning also assisted Cook County with traffic control at an accident scene involving a semi-truck.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) mainly checked anglers and OHV operators. Assistance was provided on a motorcycle vs. deer crash with serious injuries. Enforcement action included fishing without a license, extra lines, no navigational lights after sunset, cans in the BWCA, litter, small amount of marijuana, and expired ATV registration. Very high participation in all forms of outdoor activities continues to be noted.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports contacting anglers on Lake Superior during the week. It was a bit windy and a few salmon were seen in the bag. Hill took bear-related calls and completed departmental training.

CO Don Murray (Two harbors) worked boating and invasive species enforcement this past week. Fishing on Lake Superior was good when winds allowed anglers on the big lake. Campgrounds are again allowing camping opportunities.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity, investigated TIP complaints and worked boat and water enforcement. Angler success was good this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and boating activity in the area with good panfish and walleye bites going on. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and operating an ATV without current registration.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, ATV, boating, and AIS enforcement throughout the surrounding areas. Several miscellaneous/nuisance wildlife-related calls were also fielded and handled. Enforcement action was taken for various angling license and ATV violations.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) focused efforts on patrolling for boating and angling activity. Most people reported having at least some success with a variety of fish species. Several nuisance-animal calls were fielded and assistance was given to local law enforcement agencies on calls for service.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw heavy ATV activity with the nice weather. He patrolled the Nemadji State Forest and most people were in compliance with the laws. A cease and desist order was issued to a landowner filling in a wetland in the north part of the station and bear complaints were fielded. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV without headlights and operating an OHM on the road right of way. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) followed up on calls and phone messages. Field work involved working ATV enforcement in high-use areas. Other activities included fishing and boating enforcement. Duncan also reminded boaters about AIS laws at local public accesses.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) returned phone calls and followed up on TIP complaints during the week. He also completed administrative duties and equipment maintenance. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked sport fishing and boating enforcement this past week. A confused boater was respectfully reminded they can use their electronics chart to find their way back to their port harbor. Numerous anglers were checked with violations including no angling license, PFD violations, no sound-producing device, no fire extinguisher, and riding a PWC after hours.

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, personal watercraft, ATV and invasive species activity. A complaint regarding a dog chasing a doe and fawn was also addressed.

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) reports warm weather brought a large number of recreational boaters to the area. Area anglers reported less success as water temperatures rise. ATV trails in the Foothills State Forest are in good condition but dusty. Sullivan also worked invasive species enforcement. 

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) spent time patrolling for angling activity and following up on TIP calls. He also spent time prepping for upcoming Academy trainings with the new CO candidates. Enforcement action for the week included numerous boating violations, fishing without a license, angling with extra lines, and illegal-length walleye.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on Wetland Conservation Act violations. She took calls regarding an abandoned fawn and a nuisance bear. Speldrich also assisted DNR Parks and Trails with possible tampering of campground property.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) dealt with more livestock depredation by wolves. Several wolves were removed from farms after they killed a few spring calves. Black Bear were also out causing problems for homeowners who left bird feeders and garbage within reach. One homeowner ended up killing a bear after attempts to scare it away failed.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) primarily worked sport fishing, boating safety, and ATV activity this past week. Enforcement action was taken for various sport fishing, watercraft/AIS, and ATV-related violations. Calls about wildlife were also fielded.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time this past week checking anglers and boaters. Information was given to people about aquatic invasive species. A report was taken about an angry boater who placed a note on another person’s vehicle stating he was going to “slash his tires” if he doesn’t park well again. Please keep in mind this would be illegal and ill-advised. Time was also spent on ATV patrol. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity in the area. He assisted other agencies with traffic stops and a car accident in which a passenger fled on foot. He also handled a TIP call for a neighboring officer.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent his time monitoring area lakes for angling, boating and personal watercraft activity. He investigated shoreline and wetlands violations. Windy weather has kept some lake activity to a minimum. Enforcement action included angling with no license, no life jacket, no fire extinguisher and invasive species violations.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports following up on numerous calls from the public. He also monitored angling, AIS, and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for taking a beardless hen during the spring turkey hunt.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the past week checking anglers and boaters. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, no registration, and insufficient boating safety equipment. Two new public waters violations were investigated. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent time checking anglers and working boat and water safety. Several violations were detected including no life jacket, expired registration, illegal-length northern pike, angling with extra lines, and angling without a license. 

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) investigated a public waters complaint. Several animal-related calls were handled. Anglers and ATV riders were checked.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers, boaters, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent patrolling state lands and handling wildlife-related complaints. Seamans encountered a group of anglers along the Mississippi River who had four lines in the water. When checked, the anglers had only one valid fishing license. The anglers were also in possession of two spiny softshell turtles out of season and a protected-slot smallmouth bass. Additional enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, operating an off-highway motorcycle without registration, fishing a designated trout lake without a trout stamp, and dispersed camping for too many days. 

CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports enforcing ATV and angling laws and regulations. Numerous nuisance-bear calls were looked into. An injured dog was rescued that had jumped off a trailer onto Highway 169 near Princeton. Owner info was barely made out on the collar and Benkofske placed the dog in his squad and returned it to the thankful owners. The owners had someone come pick up the trailer prior and that individual did not know the dog had climbed onto the trailer. The dog will survive and be well after some treatment at the vet clinic.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time following up on various calls. Lerchen also spent time assisting another agency. Many river anglers report a strong bite and had success catching fish.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked in district vicinities for fishing and AIS activities. He patrolled Fort Snelling State Park this past Saturday due to an increase of visitors who were out to take advantage of a Free Permit Day. He also completed training.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the past week checking anglers, boaters and following up on complaints. Grewe followed up on an animal-poisoning complaint and assisted the local park police. Violations included license issues and violating the 150-foot rule on a PWC.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on boat and water safety throughout the week. In addition to patrolling Lake Minnetonka, he assisted Hennepin County with a BWI arrest. Enforcement action was taken for boat operation and registration violations.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) spent the past week checking anglers and working boating activity. Many people were out enjoying the weather and found success catching fish. Time was spent conducting annual training.

Ft. Snelling – vacant.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time checking both shore and boat anglers at local lakes and rivers. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of things including extra lines, license violations, drug and paraphernalia issues, and illegally using gamefish (live perch) as bait. Various wildlife-related calls and questions were also handled. 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week checking boaters and anglers on area lakes. He also handled several nuisance-animal complaints and worked on open cases. Arntzen did maintenance on boating equipment and patrolled wildlife management areas.

CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) has been watching boat launches for angling and AIS issues. Hanna conducted spot checks for plugs, AIS, and other water-related activities. As the summer continues, AIS becomes more of an issue. Ensure that all water is drained from the boat and AIS are removed prior to leaving the public access.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the past week monitoring anglers in the area. He partnered with Dakota County deputies to patrol area lakes. Fishing was very slow. He also did targeted AIS enforcement at area landings. A high violation rate was observed. Enforcement action for the week included failure to remove a plug for transport, no fishing license in possession and an illegal walleye.

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) fielded calls on a variety of law-related topics. He responded to a call of a boat that was potentially unoccupied; the angler was found sleeping in the bottom of the boat from the night before. A trespassing complaint was taken and it was found that the property was public land.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. Salzer also spent time patrolling area lakes and responding to nuisance-animal calls. Salzer also worked on training materials and Academy preparation.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored AIS, angling, ATV and boating activity during the week. 

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) spent the week working angling, boat and water, ATV, and invasive species enforcement. Several wildlife-related complaints were fielded and investigated. Reminder to boaters to have life jackets readily available while on the water and not stowed away in a compartment. 

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) and his K9 partner, Earl, assisted another conservation officer with a deer-poaching investigation that resulted in enforcement action being taken. He also assisted the Murray County Sherriff’s Office with a boating accident. 

CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) assisted a stranded boater who could not get his boat motor started and who was drifting away from the landing in strong winds. Time was also spent instructing at the new Conservation Officer Academy.  

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar-West) worked angling activity. He returned calls and emails and followed up on a big-game violation.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time catching up on emails and phone calls. The majority of the rest of the week was spent in the boat working angling and boating safety enforcement. Klehr also followed up on AIS concerns along with checking on shoreline work.

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson-West) received TIP calls and shooting range questions, and checked local public accesses for AIS compliance this past week. Investigations into license violations and wanton waste of game fish are ongoing. Additional time was also spent on sport fishing, boat safety, and patrolling the Minnesota River. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received questions regarding orphaned and injured wildlife and shooting range questions. He assisted in the search for a missing person after a boating accident. Nelson worked primarily boating, fishing, aquatic invasive species, and ATV enforcement activities.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) focused enforcement efforts on angling and boating over the past week. TIP calls were fielded and a big-game case was worked. Numerous calls continue to be fielded about newborn fawns and what to do with them. Please leave fawns alone.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) completed his radio program discussing the importance of wearing life jackets. He also discussed aquatic invasive species law and area activity. Gruhlke also worked AIS, angling, ATV, and boat and water safety enforcement throughout the past week.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked angling, boating and AIS enforcement this past week. State Parks were patrolled and littering violations were addressed. Henke provided assistance to local law enforcement with several injury traffic crashes. Please wear a helmet and ride sober whether you are riding an ATV or a motorcycle. It could save your life.

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. 

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato #1) followed up on trespass, litter, and fishing complaints. VanThuyne also checked anglers and investigated public lands violations.

CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports checking anglers, local lakes, and AIS. Lusignan is investigating an overlimit case. 

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked angling and boating activity. An interview was given to a local radio station on AIS laws and life jacket use. Howe also patrolled public lands for litter and vandalism. 

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week patrolling for fishing, boating, PWC, and ATV activity. Additional time was spent responding to complaints of illegal burning.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) patrolled Mississippi River pools 7, 8 and 9. Several boating and fishing violations were encountered. Orphaned fawn calls continue to come in. Those who find what they think is an orphaned fawn are asked to leave it be without touching it. The mother will likely come back for it after dark. Assistance was given to the Houston County Sheriff’s Office and La Crescent Police Department by using the airboat to rescue a person in mental crisis. 

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) worked fishing and boating activity on the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin. Fishing has been good with walleyes, sauger, bass, and perch found in the livewells and buckets. The bowfishers are finding some spawning carp in the shallows, which provided them with some excitement. Questions about baby animals were also answered. Enforcement action included addressing some extremely poor driving decisions with citations.

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester #2) reports that fishing success varied on the reservoirs. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, extra lines, and no life jacket. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports continued high use on the river, streams, lakes and public lands in the area. He checked angling, boating, bowfishing and ATVs. Hemker also received several nuisance-animals calls.

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester #1) received a call requesting a possession permit for a young buck that had died after running into a backyard fence. The deer had hit the fence with such force that it had dented the wire mesh, cracked off the wood post the fence was attached to, and broke its own neck. Time was also spent following up on a complaint of an illegal gill net that had been placed in the Zumbro River and checking anglers. 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking anglers in the area and along the Mississippi River. Success varied and compliance was high. Time was also spent checking ATV complaint areas and ATV trails. Violations encountered were failure to display registration and expired registration. Calls of water violations and injured, orphaned animals are coming in.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers and recreational vehicles during the past week. Lots of folks were out with the nice weather. Heyn also completed training and handled other calls.

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