Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – June 26, 2020

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on the Roseau River and Lake of the Woods. Anglers were cited for possessing illegal-length walleyes, angling without a license and possessing drug paraphernalia.

CO Marc Johnson (Warroad South) primarily worked angling activity on Lake of the Woods and ATV enforcement. In addition, he patrolled area state parks and forests. Heavy winds all week kept many from getting out onto the big lake. Those who braved the conditions had mixed success.

CO Aaron Larson (Baudette West) worked angling and ATV enforcement. Larson reports the high winds throughout the week made fishing on Lake of the Woods difficult with the bite being average. Anglers all seemed to be finding enough fish for a meal if they were able to fight through the waves.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) answered numerous questions on the upcoming elk season and responded to multiple nuisance-bear complaints. Homeowners are reminded to remove exterior food sources to lessen bear curiosity and interaction.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls East) worked ATV and angling enforcement this past week. He also handled a few nuisance-bear calls as well. Enforcement action was taken for various ATV and watercraft violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working ATV, AIS, boating and angling activity on special regulation lakes this past week. Time was spent patrolling area ATV trails and investigating TIP information. Violations encountered and addressed included operating unregistered ATVs, littering, watercraft registration and angling license violations. 

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports slow fishing on Upper Red Lake. Fish are being caught but the success rate has slowed drastically and most fish are small. Time was spent working angling activity, boat and water safety and ATV activity.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports responding to various wildlife-related complaints this past week. Time was also spent working angling, wetland, and watercraft enforcement.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) handled nuisance-animal complaints.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) spent time patrolling area lakes for angling and boating activity. Vollbrecht worked boat and water shifts on Upper Red Lake. Anglers are enjoying an excellent bite. Time was spent patrolling grant-in-aid ATV trails.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking calls of orphaned and injured animals. In most cases, such callers understand the local CO often doesn’t have the resources to deal with those animals and as long as they are not a public safety risk, nature will be allowed to take its course. Vinton was contacted by the local soil and water conservation district about a possible wetland violation that was believed to have been settled years ago. Vinton and the SWCD will continue to monitor the situation.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week patrolling area lakes for sport fishing and recreational boating activity. Fishing slowed with changing wind and weather conditions, but picked up over the weekend with some consistent weather. Other time was spent patrolling area ATV trails.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted at the CO Academy and worked ATV enforcement and a fishing complaint. Peterson also assisted with a welfare check on paddlers on the Crow Wing River.

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) spent time working angling and boating activity. A complaint of manipulating lake water levels was investigated. Patrol was conducted on area trails for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Questions were answered about fishing regulations, firearms transportation and a fawn.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time on Academy training, worked AIS, fishing, boating, and ATV enforcement, and investigated a dogs-chasing-deer complaint. Plautz responded to a complaint of a neighbor who enjoys feeding squirrels and another neighbor who’s trapping them and relocating them because they were doing damage to his flowers. 

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports weather has kept some people from enjoying the lakes over the past week. Richards worked on some license fraud investigations. Time was also spent addressing ATV-related violations in the area.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent this past week focusing on angling and recreational vehicle enforcement. Enforcement action included angling without a license and killing a protected bird. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked a busy week on the water with anglers and recreational boaters out in full force. Complaints of boats not using navigational lights after dark and keeping illegal-length fish were worked. Several citations were issued for various fishing related violations, as well as a citation to a parent of a juvenile for operating a PWC over an hour late. 

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) monitored AIS compliance and recreational vehicles. Time was also spent checking fishing activity and following up on complaints. Wildlife-related calls including nuisance beavers were addressed.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) continued working fishing and boating activity. Nuisance- and injured-animal calls were received. ATV activity was monitored.

CO Emily Leeb (Morris) focused enforcement time on angling and watercraft activities. Follow up was completed on open cases. ATV/OHM violations were handled.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) monitored area lakes for fishing and boating activity. Potential public water and aquatic plant management violations were received and investigated. Follow up was completed on open investigations. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked boat and water and ATV activity during the past week. Numerous automated plant-removal devices were checked in the Wadena and Park Rapids stations. Property owners are reminded to verify legal use of equipment prior to installation or operation. Permits are required in most cases. Enforcement action was taken for operation of a weed roller without a permit, dredging of public waters, operating an OHM on a public road, ATV youth helmet violations, too many passengers on an ATV and failure to display registration. 

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and boating activity. She responded to a call of an injured juvenile bald eagle with a fishing hook/line stuck in its leg, beak and wing. She also assisted Cass County with an exposed person walking around town and assisted with a search for a missing person. 

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) worked on lakes in Remer and Outing. Time was also spent on areas with high complaints of ATV traffic in Outing. ATV violations included operating on a state highway and allowing illegal operating by a juvenile. A call was also taken about an injured snapping turtle. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers, boaters and ATV and OHM riders. Investigations into public water filling and aquatic plant destruction were done. Time was also spent working at the Academy. Calls of nuisance bears and an injured swan were received. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The sunfish, crappies and bass have been the most productive for anglers on area lakes. He worked on boating enforcement issues this past week as well. Complaints of PWCs chasing loons and careless operation of wakeboard boats received some enforcement time. Violations observed were no fishing license and expired registration. Complaints of bears damaging bird feeders, getting into garbage and entering a garage were reported. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports busy weekend with fishing and boating enforcement on Rainy Lake. It appears the activity/traffic on Rainy Lake is up from previous years because of the international border being closed. Many people who normally would fish in Ontario are now fishing Minnesota border waters. ATV activity, fire complaints and animal-related complaints were also handled throughout the week. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports continued monitoring of public access sites. Area lakes and forest roads were checked. Administrative tasks completed and equipment work done.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) patrolled the surrounding lakes and OHV trails throughout the past week. Windy weather and variable temperatures have seemed to make fishing on larger lakes difficult, with many people finding an inconsistent walleye bite. He also assisted the State Patrol with various calls, including an individual who had run out of gas at an intersection. Upon further investigation, he openly admitted to not having a valid driver’s license and to have been cited three times as of late for operating a motor vehicle while his driving privileges were revoked. Zavodnik addressed multiple ATV violations, found two individuals angling without a license, and handed out a cease and desist order to an individual who was observed dredging the lake bottom with an excavator. 

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, boaters, ATV riders and state park enforcement. He also assisted the St Louis County Sheriff’s Office with an airlifted victim of an ATV crash. Enforcement action was taken for no state park permit, OHV trespass, driving after revocation, unattended campfire and a number of boating and ATV violations.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing, boating, and ATV activity. Anglers reported moderate success. Broughten fielded calls of nuisance bears, abandoned property and ATV rules. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports angling pressure in the Ely area slowed slightly over the past week as success continues to be low. Recreational boating traffic, on the other hand, was extremely high during the several hot days experienced. Violations included litter, angling with no license in possession, and failure to display current ATV registration. 

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and boaters this past week. Angling continues to be slow. Velsvaag followed up on several nuisance-animal calls and had multiple questions on ATV regulations and length limits for northern pike.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) assisted U.S. Forest Service wilderness staff with a report of ATV damage to a forest trail and possible motor use in the BWCAW. No motor was located but trail damage was verified. The trail is now temporarily closed and users were notified. Anglers and boaters were checked, as were ATV operators. Some parents continue to treat ATVs as toys by allowing illegal operation by their children and risking the kids’ lives. Manning is also looking for information on the person or people who unlawfully removed the dock from Tom Lake, presumably to keep people off “their lake.”

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) spent time working anglers and received several nuisance-bear calls during the week. Enforcement action included fishing without a license, transporting fish without a patch of skin, no navigational lights after sunset, expired boat registration, under age 21 alcohol consumption, operating an ATV in a state park, and dogs chasing deer.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and commercial bait dealers and worked small-game, ATV and AIS activity. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, attended training and monitored OHV activity. Angler success was better this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and allowing illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling and boating activity over the past week. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and not having enough lifesaving devices on board a watercraft. 

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused much of the past week’s enforcement efforts on angling, boating, AIS, and ATV activities. Complaints of nuisance bears, camping, ATV, and angling violations were also fielded and investigated. Enforcement action was taken for angling in a closed area, no angling license in possession, unregistered boat, failure to display boat registration, and several ATV violations.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time following up on calls and patrolling in high-complaint areas. Fishing success in the area continues to be moderate. Hochstein noticed an increase in recreational boating and personal watercraft activity with the recent warmer water. 

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) gave instruction at Camp Ripley for the current Academy of conservation officer candidates. ATV complaint areas were worked in the Nemadji State Forest and multiple calls regarding water being taken from Grand Lake were fielded and handled. Enforcement action was taken for no ATV registration, no OHM trail pass, failure to display OHM/ATV registration, nonresident failure to obtain an ATV trail pass, no angling license, and no license in possession.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the majority of the past week concentrating on ATV enforcement. Past and current ATV complaint areas were patrolled. Other activities included checking public accesses and educating boaters about AIS laws. Duncan also checked several anglers throughout the week

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling/boating and ATV enforcement throughout the past week. Humphrey returned phone calls and followed up on a wetland complaint. A site visit was conducted and a cease and desist order was issued. A separate restoration order was served regarding an unlawful dock structure. Humphrey also investigated a complaint of ATVs operating in the Kettle Lake WMA. Several violations for angling licenses and boating equipment were encountered.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) assisted at Camp Ripley with Academy firearms training and worked complaints of ATV trespass where the adjacent landowner made an ATV/OHV trail well onto the caller’s property. Ladd also worked angling and boating activity on area lakes and handled several calls of nuisance bears. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked area lakes and contacted anglers and a pleasure-boating group. One angler believed that an angling license was not needed if fishing from a dock. The subject was educated about angling license requirements. ATV trails in the Foothills State Forest continue to see high use. 

CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked sport fishing, commercial bait harvest, boating and ATV enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for no licenses, no registration or trail passes, no helmets, allowing underage operation and not enough PFDs. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled station lakes for boating and watercraft enforcement-related activity. Numerous anglers and boaters were out. Enforcement actions were taken for violations related to PFDs, PWCs and license infractions. The Pelican Beach Day Use Area remains closed until further notice and trespass and alcohol violations were addressed.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked Cass and Crow Wing county lakes throughout the week. Numerous anglers and boaters were observed on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for numerous fishing and boating violations. 

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, boating, invasive species and ATV activity. Time was also spent monitoring aquatic vegetation removal and lakebed concerns with mechanical devices.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time maintaining equipment, delivering equipment, working on office work, following up on calls, and helping with the Academy at Camp Ripley.

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a wolf-depredation call. Three injured calves were documented and confirmed likely injured by wolves. USDA trappers were contacted and traps were set. Speldrich patrolled area lakes, taking enforcement action for failing to display current registration. ATV patrol was conducted and enforcement action was taken for operating ATVs in public waters. A reminder to Class 2 owners that operation on roadways is permitted but you must be to the extreme right of the roadway, not right down the center of the lane where regular motor vehicles travel. 

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on boat and water safety complaints resulting in violations for riding on gunwale, unsafe wake, and expired registration. Bear sighting are on the increase, with some campers needing to be escorted out of a campsite due to bear activity. Starr also investigated a fawn that was killed by a very well-mannered Lab. It is a very good reminder to keep pets contained to avoid conflicts with wildlife.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) dealt with a high number of nuisance-bear complaints. Several reports were taken of black bears destroying apple trees, garbage cans, bird feeders, gardens and flower beds. Time was also spent dealing with violations of the Wetlands Conservation Act and people who altered shoreland areas within public waters.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sport fishing, boating, ATV/OHM, and various other activities this past week. Enforcement action was taken for ATV, sport fishing, and controlled substance-related violations. Wetland and public water complaints were also investigated.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time this past week checking anglers and boaters. Success was varied from boat to boat. ATV patrol was conducted throughout the county. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and boating activity this week. He assisted Kandiyohi County in the search for a missing bicyclist, who was later located. He observed his first brood of pheasant and turkey chicks this past week.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, boaters, and ATV activity. An investigation into the illegal poisoning of geese resulted in heavy fines for a St. Cloud homeowner. Enforcement activity for the week included expired boat registration, no ATV registration, taking geese out of season and various boating equipment violations.

CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports monitoring boating, angling and ATV activity. He reports receiving calls from the public in regards to wildlife-related concerns. Enforcement action consisted of a public waters violation, a wetland violation, taking smallmouth bass within the restricted slot south of the St. Cloud Dam, and several boating and registration-related violations. He also reports assisting neighboring agencies with a pursuit, verbal dispute and welfare check.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports that rocks were a common theme of calls this past week. One instance involved large rocks that were being used to block an illegal ATV trail in a WMA. They were removed. Another call involved people blocking a public access ramp of a popular fishing lake with large rocks. Another subject decided to build an illegal rock point into a lake. Bertram handled several non-rocky calls as well.  

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports a lot of people out enjoying the nice summer weather. Enforcement was taken for extra lines, expired ATV registration, and no PFDs while on the water. Benkofske and the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office are also investigating an abandoned boat found on the St. Francis River near Santiago.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) followed up on public water and wetland violations, and took complaints of trespass and illegally keeping wild animals. 

CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week working anglers. Time was also spent responding to nuisance-animal calls and helping a neighboring officer with an ongoing case.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) focused enforcement efforts on anglers and boaters. Additional time was spent patrolling for ATVs and handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with extra lines, fishing without a license, and allowing a juvenile to ride on an ATV without a helmet. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked fishing and boating activities at metro-area lakes and rivers. He worked AIS enforcement at public lake accesses and returned calls to the Asian community on youth firearms safety classes. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with extra lines and fishing without an angling license.

CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time checking anglers and recreational boaters. Lerchen also fielded trapping and trespassing complaints. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, angling without a license, and boat registration issues.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the past week checking anglers and boaters and completing equipment maintenance. Grewe also responded to a call of a wounded deer and a report of an individual harassing waterfowl. Violations this past week included license issues.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on boat and water safety and aquatic vegetation enforcement throughout the past week. In addition to patrolling Lake Minnetonka, he investigated aqua thrusters being operated illegally. Enforcement action was taken for boat operation and registration violations.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked anglers and boaters in district areas. He worked with CO Lerchen on a lake detail. The primary focuses were boating safety, fishing and AIS enforcement. Violations encountered were no fishing license in possession, failure to display valid boat registration and lack of PFDs.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time checking river and lake anglers. Anglers have seen increased luck along the river, especially those targeting catfish and rough fish. Time was also spent handing multiple AIS- and nuisance animal-related calls.

CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) patrolled White Bear Lake and other surrounding lakes. Common issues that were addressed were operation of PWCs during illegal hours and not using a mirror or observer while towing people behind a motorboat. Hanna also investigated cases involving taking an overlimit of panfish and transporting aquatic macrophytes without a permit. Remember that during the day or night, all weeds need to be removed from your boat to help prevent the spread of invasive species from one lake to another. 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week doing fishing and boating enforcement. He also investigated a trespassing complaint and assisted a neighboring agency with a person lost in the woods. Violations for the past week included angling with an extra line, fishing without a license and fishing while under revocation.

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) conducted investigations regarding people selling minnows to retailers without minnow dealer licenses. Calls regarding fishing regulations were answered, as were nuisance-animal calls. He is also looking into a case where a significant amount of litter was dumped in the Vermillion WMA. 

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling and boating activity. Salzer answered calls regarding nuisance wildlife and boating questions. He also finished reports and patrolled Carlos Avery WMA.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the past week monitoring anglers and boaters in the area. Fishing remained slow in most cases. AIS enforcement was also done, with a high violation rate detected. Enforcement action for the week included failure to remove a drain plug and fishing violations.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) spent the week working angling, boat and water, ATV, ORV, and invasive species enforcement. The fish bite has reportedly slowed with warmer weather this past week. 

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week attending K9 training, as well as working ATV, angling, and boating enforcement. Time was also spent following up on other ongoing investigations. 

CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent time throughout the week instructing at the new Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley. Anglers and recreational boating activity were also monitored over a busy weekend.

CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) monitored AIS, angling, ATV and boating activity during the past week. Littering issues at shore-fishing locations have become more frequent.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent the majority of the past week working angling enforcement along with boating safety, AIS, and aquatic plant management. Other time was spent working ATV enforcement. Questions were also answered about baby animals with people advised to leave them alone as nature can take care of itself. Klehr also assisted Kandiyohi County with a search for a missing person.

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson-West) reports working angling, ATV, and AIS activity during the past week. Additional time was spent assisting another agency and commercial enforcement. Investigations into shooting range complaints and improper use of WMA lands continues. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked primarily fishing, boating, invasive species, and ATV activities. He received calls regarding commercial activities and answered questions regarding fishing, boating, and ATVs. Nelson also represented the Division at MPPOA pistol competitions.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) continued follow up on a big-game case with charges being filed. Meetings were held with county attorneys in regards to deer cases from the prior fall. Ongoing enforcement action continues to be taken for angling violations.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) concentrated on ATV, angling, AIS, and boat and water enforcement over the past week. Kayaking and canoeing were popular on the Des Moines River this past weekend, as was paddleboarding on area lakes. 

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. Davis assisted with a trail pass detail at Forestville State Park.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) checked anglers, boaters, ATV and PWC operators this past week. Additional time was spent checking park and trail permits at area state parks.

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato #1) focused on ATV and boating activity this past week. VanThuyne also checked anglers and assisted local agencies.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked angling, boating, and AIS compliance this past week. A complaint of an impaired boater was investigated. Howe also assisted neighboring officers on a work project. 

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato #2) reports a busy past week checking boaters and anglers around the district. ATV activity remains steady in the area. Several burning issues were addressed as well.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working ATV trails and complaint areas. Time was spent on grant-in-aid trails. Violations encountered were no nonresident trail passes, failure to display registration and failure to transfer ownership. A few trout anglers were out with good success. Multiple reports of fawns are being reported as are multiple other baby critters. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports the river was in good shape for boating and fishing pressure was high. There was a bowfishing contest in the area. Hemker also checked ATVs on the local trails. Nuisance-animal calls continue, with rattlesnakes being out earlier than usual. The highlight of the week was a young angler having a fishing conversation with Hemker and asking him if he wanted to “hang out” that day or maybe the next.

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester #2) spent the week focusing on angling activity around Olmsted County. Time was also spent investigating cases involving the illegal taking of a duck and an endangered Blanding’s Turtle. Enforcement activity for the week included taking frogs without an angling license, fishing without a license and not enough life jackets.

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) reports lots of ATV activity in the area. Enforcement action was taken for underage drinking and driving, open bottle and juveniles not wearing helmets. Schneider has been seeing very good fishing success on the Cannon River. Stringers of walleyes, catfish and bass have been checked. Schneider also assisted the Raptor Center by capturing an injured bald eagle and a red-tailed hawk and bringing them in for rehab.  

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) investigated a public waters violation where a landowner conducted excavation work within a stream without a permit. While checking anglers, Ramaker encountered a man whose dog had one treble hook of a Rapala stuck in its foot and the second treble hook stuck in its mouth. At the request of the dog owner, Ramaker assisted by removing the hooks with a pliers while the owner restrained the dog. The young dog jumped up and continued its play in the water, not appearing too resentful. 

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester #1) spent time checking anglers. Kyllo also assisted CO Fitzgerald with an investigation involving a duck that had been shot with a recurve bow within city limits.

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