Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – July 10, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods. ATVs and other recreational vehicles were checked around Roseau and Marshall counties. Several overlimit cases were made despite anglers reporting slower walleye fishing.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) spent the past week checking anglers, conducting ATV patrols throughout the station, and fielding questions about nuisance bears. Violations encountered included angling without a license, allowing the illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile, failure to renew ATV registration, failure to display valid ATV registration, failure to give notice of transfer of an ATV, and operating a personal watercraft at greater than no-wake speed within 150 feet of the shore, non-motorized watercraft, swimmers, docks, and moored/anchored boats. People are reminded that most sections of the Thief and Red Lake rivers are not wide enough to legally operate a PWC at greater than no-wake speed.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) handled numerous animal-related complaints. He assisted at the CO Academy as a safety diver and checked people who were out enjoying the Independence Day weekend.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked boat and water shifts on Upper Red Lake. Several boating violations were detected. CO Vollbrecht observed an individual riding on the bow of a boat and one on the gunwale. After being stopped, the individuals told him they were having difficulty getting the boat on plane and needed more weight in the bow of the boat. While looking for safety equipment in the compartments of the boat, they had discovered it was full of water below the floor boards. Vollbrecht provided a 5-gallon bucket to bail water because their bilge pump was not operating.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent a busy Fourth of July week and weekend patrolling area lakes for boat and water safety as a part of Operation Dry Water. Gunwale riding and PWC violations were the most commonly seen violations. On one lake, Swedberg observed a group wake surfing at 11 p.m., which was about 90 minutes past sunset and an hour past legal towing hours. One surfer was extremely lucky to not have been struck after falling down. Enforcement action was taken against the surfer and the operator of the boat.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week mainly focusing on boat and water safety enforcement on the busy holiday weekend. With the high activity, an increase in the number of complaints about loud music and an increase in the number of watercraft violations were observed.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) assisted Otter Tail County officers with a boat rescue in which a boat with seven occupants took on water and needed to be rescued from a lake.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) assisted the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with the search for a drowning victim on Lake Carlos during the weekend.
CO Emily Leeb (Morris) worked with a neighboring officer and reports a busy week of fishing and boating activity. Leeb also assisted the county with a sinking boat. All passengers on board made it off the water safely.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, boaters, and ATV riders. Several aqua thrusters and weed rollers were inspected during the weekend. Almost all of them were in violation.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) focused primarily on boating safety and angling during the previous week. Time also was spent conducting aquatic plant management inspections and following up on hydraulic jet complaints.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. He also worked on boating enforcement. The Independence Day holiday brought out a large number of boaters. Complaints about PWCers chasing loons and careless operation of wakeboard boats received some enforcement time.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) worked a busy Fourth of July holiday weekend. Lakes were full of boaters and many people were on land on their ATVs as well. Some time was spent working an existing deer-hunting case and also a public waters case. Mathy assisted the Cass County Sheriff’s Office with a moped crash that resulted in injuries.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports “hot” and “no fish” were common responses when speaking with people on the water this past week. The mayfly hatch was the scapegoat for anglers struggling to find active walleyes. Various boating and angling violations were observed and addressed. One individual decided to cut down a tree at a day-use beach area because it was obstructing his view – much to the dismay of other beach-goers.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) reports a busy week patrolling Lake Vermilion. Zavodnik found the majority of watercraft operators being respectful but wants to remind everyone to be vigilant and slow down during the busier periods on the lake. While focusing on boating safety throughout the week, Zavodnik still found a handful of watercraft without a sufficient number of life jackets on board.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reports assistance was provided to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office with a PWC accident in which one operator was airlifted with injuries and one operator was arrested for boating while intoxicated. Bozovsky also followed up on a complaint of an aquatic invasive species boat-inspection refusal, which resulted in enforcement action being taken.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports activity in the Ely area was high and seemed about average for the Fourth of July weekend. Officers responded to a near-drowning that occurred inside the BWCAW. The victim survived because of the quick action of his camping partners who got him out of the water and helped him to breathe.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked anglers and boating activity on Lake Superior and inland lakes during the busy holiday weekend. He also followed up on boating complaints, monitored ATV activity, and responded to wildlife-related complaints.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a hot and dry holiday week and weekend. Numerous folks were advised of the extremely high fire danger regarding the use of fireworks, including many illegal ones. Many North Shore campgrounds are still closed and some campers did not check before traveling and were forced to move to dispersed camping or share sites. Manning also checked ATV operators, assisted Cook County with a fire and with fireworks complaints, issued a road-killed deer permit, and answered questions about lake access and trapping nuisance beavers.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports focusing on boat and water safety throughout the holiday weekend. The majority of the watercraft seen in the area were canoes, and PFD compliance was excellent with only a few outliers. With no recent precipitation, water levels on a few area lakes have dropped and operators stated they had to be a little more careful. Hill took a report from a group of kayakers who observed a person shoot and kill two geese on Lake Superior, just east of Lutsen. Hill would appreciate any and all help from the public with identifying the shooter as Hill wasn’t able to locate the shooter the day of the incident. Hill also stopped a 14-year-old on an ATV after the CO observed the operator ride a long wheelie in the lane of traffic on a state highway – in the wrong direction of travel. Contact was made with the parent, and it was determined the juvenile took the ATV without parental permission. The parent in question had one arm in a sling and Hill learned the parent was injured in an ATV incident a week earlier. A discussion about ATV safety ensued.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) responded to an incident in which a water-skier was injured by a tow rope.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted the county with a suicide attempt.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time following up on the illegal taking of a snapping turtle.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) reports that upon responding to a complaint on a small inland lake along with St. Louis County deputies, the CO found a pontoon boat with 14 people on board. Not only was this three people over capacity for the vessel, but there was only one PFD on board. Add the alcohol consumption by those on board and it was a recipe for tragedy. Officers got the boat safety back to the dock and enforcement action was taken against the boat operator.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports assistance was given to a local police department with a driver who caused property damage to a business with his vehicle and left the area while driving on a flat tire. A call from a concerned citizen resulted in a stop of a vehicle pulling a boat and trailer that had a large amount of aquatic vegetation on it. A citation was issued, and the owner was required to clean it off before continuing on the road.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent a hot and busy weekend on Lake Superior patrolling the Duluth to Two Harbors waters. Violations detected included registration issues, PWC operation, and navigational light use.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) assisted the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with ATV and watercraft accidents involving driving under the influence of alcohol.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked a busy Fourth of July holiday on the water. A TIP call was received about an individual spearing game fish off a fishing pier. Upon arrival, Guida located the suspect and seized a spear gun and a dip net that were used illegally to harvest numerous largemouth bass and bluegills. The individual was charged and assessed restitution for the fish killed.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a wolf depredation involving two calves. It was determined the calves were not killed by wolves. Speldrich also responded to a disturbance in which a man was allegedly threatening people with a knife. She assisted the sheriff’s office with the call.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) reports enforcement action was taken for no registration, lack of PFDs, jet ski violations, live bait on Lake Mille Lacs, northern pike within the protected slot, and no fishing license in possession.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) started the week with district equipment maintenance in Pierz. Upon returning to the station, a traffic stop was conducted after a vehicle passed Silgjord at a high rate of speed in a no-passing zone. The stop resulted in an arrest for a felony controlled substance violation. Silgjord also responded to a late-night boating crash on Big Birch Lake that resulted in multiple injuries. Silgjord provided assistance to the Todd County Sheriff’s Office with the crash investigation.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports assisting CO Benkofske with a boating while intoxicated arrest and also assisted CO Silgjord with a controlled substance arrest. Additional enforcement action consisted of a mixed bag of registration violations, insufficient PFDs, no fire extinguisher, angling without a license, no navigation lights after sunset, and operating a PWC after one hour prior to sunset.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) arrested a person on Blue Lake for boating while intoxicated. Another DWI arrest was made in Bock for operating an ATV while under the influence.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) reports the area lakes were busy during the holiday weekend with mostly recreational boaters. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, transporting weeds on trailers, no current registration on a watercraft, and no PFDs in a watercraft.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked anglers and boaters on metro-area lakes and rivers. He worked over the holiday weekend on Lake Minnetonka on boating enforcement. Violations encountered were riding on the transom and gunwales, speed in a no-wake zone, operating personal watercraft during closed hours, failure to display valid registration, and boating while intoxicated.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and boaters and working with the Hennepin County Water Patrol with Fourth of July activity on Lake Minnetonka. He assisted with medical calls and a fireworks show on the lake.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) focused primarily on boating and fishing enforcement on local lakes and rivers. He rendered assistance with multiple broken-down boats and handled a variety of complaints regarding boating activity.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports working area lakes and the St. Croix River, checking anglers and watercraft users. Arntzen also assisted with searching for a drowning victim on the St. Croix river.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports boating, fishing, and AIS were the main enforcement focuses during the busy Fourth of July weekend. Operation Dry Water details were worked with other area COs. ATV operators are reminded the Ag Zone ditch restrictions are in place until Aug. 1.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) took several calls about a black bear in the area.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) worked a busy Fourth of July weekend. The CO also assisted with a boat fire that was on shore by Lake Washington. The Dassel Fire Department was called to put out the fire.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time the past week patrolling sportfishing and AIS activity. Questions were fielded about boat and water laws pertaining to operating on flooded city streets.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received complaints about personal watercraft being operated on the Minnesota River and underage consumption of alcohol on a boat.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent much of the week checking anglers and boaters. Heavy rain early in the week brought area river levels back up. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of boating violations.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports a record-high number of lake users during the holiday weekend. A complaint about hunting small game out of season was addressed.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a swimmer drowned on the Mississippi River in Winona.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) patrolled a busy Mississippi River leading up to and on the Fourth of July. A disabled boat was towed back to shore after the operator hit a wing dam. A PWC operator was arrested for BWI.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the busy holiday weekend monitoring boating activity on Lake Minnetonka. One personal watercraft operator made the poor decision of operating under the influence. He made his bad situation worse by resisting arrest and fleeing after reaching shore. He was captured a short time later and taken to jail.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) reports assistance was given to the sheriff’s office with a domestic dispute on Lake Byllesby, along with cliff jumpers trespassing.