Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 25, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) reports checking sandhill crane, grouse, and goose hunters during the weekend. A firearms qualification in Perham was attended, and a presidential security detail was worked in Bemidji.
CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) worked primarily small-game and big-game enforcement. Hunters found some success hunting grouse, but it remains difficult with many leaves still on the trees.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) assisted with an executive protection detail during the President Donald Trump’s visit to Bemidji. Enforcement action during the week was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, transporting an uncased firearm, no helmet on a juvenile ATV passenger, and ATV registration violations.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working the small-game hunting opener, bear hunting, early-season goose hunting, and angling activity on special-regulation lakes this past week. Area ATV trails were patrolled.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports a busy small-game opener. Time was spent working small-game hunting activity and ATVing activity. Prachar worked with other COs and numerous local agencies surrounding the visit of the president of the United States.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked a busy opening weekend of small-game and archery hunting. ATVing activity increased during the weekend with the nice weather. Grouse hunters reported mixed success with tree foliage making it difficult to see birds.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a quiet small-game and archery deer opener. A couple of groups of squirrel hunters were contacted on local wildlife management areas, as were early goose hunters and a few bowhunters.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) started Step 2 of field training with COC Meng Moua. The officers spent the past week checking dove and early goose hunters, anglers, following up on aquatic plant removal violations, and assisting with President Trump’s visit to Bemidji. Anglers checked reported a few good crappies being found. Hydraulic jet operation was a common occurrence near many docks. Landowners were informed that hydraulic jets must not be used in a way that they disturb bottom sediment or uproot aquatic plants in the lake. Enforcement action was taken for removing emergent vegetation without a permit, failure to have enough wearable life jackets onboard watercraft, operating watercraft without a legal fire extinguisher, and taking waterfowl without the proper licenses or without licenses in possession.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week focused on checking anglers and goose hunters, and monitoring AIS law compliance. Baumbarger participated in a detail in Bemidji and a work crew during the small-game opener in the Itasca State Park area.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked goose and bear hunters, and fishing and boating activity. She received information on archery hunters starting the season a day early and an investigation is ongoing for multiple violations.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) worked small-game hunting, fishing, and boating activity throughout the week. Time also was spent on littering complaints and violations of the deer-feeding ban.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) issued several minnow permits and is working on ongoing investigations.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports an investigation into a group of goose hunters was conducted after carcasses were dumped into the woods across from their residence. Multiple citations were issued to the group for license and litter violations.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked boaters, anglers, and ATV riders. A controlled substance violation was detected during a fishing/boating contact.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked hunting and angling activity. She retrieved a sunken canoe for a person who tipped it over and was unable to get it back to shore.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on game, ATVing, and fishing enforcement, as well as division training. Several calls were received with questions regarding the deer seasons.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked fishing enforcement. He checked and watched a few anglers. He also checked boaters and observed expired registration. The CO also worked on a wetland complaint and report of ATVers driving carelessly in road ditches near Pillager.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) received three separate calls about illegally taken deer. An investigation into one of the incidents found that a deer was shot with a gun and with the aid of a light. Charges are pending. The others are still under investigation. A call about a gill net in Leech Lake was found to be an unidentified net and the net was removed from the lake. Mathy also assisted with an injury OHM accident in the Chippewa National Forest. Annual training was attended and a security detail in Bemidji was worked.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports a busy opening weekend of the small-game hunting and deer archery seasons. People also were out attempting to catch sturgeon on the Rainy River.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) attended annual training in Hibbing. Slatinski also responded to an ongoing bear complaint and coordinated with a local hunter in an attempt to provide some relief for the affected residents and businesses.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports boating and angling activity continue to be monitored. Big-game and small-game hunting activities were checked. Public access sites continue to be monitored, and equipment work was completed.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) reports a busy week of monitoring bear, deer, and small-game hunting. He also assisted local law enforcement with the ATVAM event as well as with an assault involving a victim being pepper sprayed by the suspect, who was under the influence.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the small-game and archery deer openers, ongoing hunting seasons, anglers and boaters. He also attended training. Bozovsky issued a resource protection notification for fill placed in a bog and worked details in Lake County and Bemidji.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing, hunting, and ATVing activity. Grouse hunter numbers appeared higher than expected, although hunters also reported limited success. Many hunters reported flushing grouse but due to the amount of foliage still on the trees, it was difficult to see birds.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) focused on ATV and small-game hunting activity during the weekend. He also fielded several complaints from visitors to the BWCAW who witnessed hunting activities. No violations were reported, and the visitors were informed that as part of the state of Minnesota, hunting is legal inside the wilderness.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked small-game hunters during the busy opening weekend. Every road was crowded with ATVs and vehicles. The hunters who got out of their vehicles, found a quiet trail, and walked found good hunting success.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) saw a busy start to the grouse opener. Fall colors also brought out folks, and forest roads were packed with ATVs, bicycles, and autos. Hunters are reminded that it is their responsibility to know where homes and occupied dwellings are before shooting at a grouse on the road. There are several apps with great aerial images for that. Numerous “No Trespassing” signs should also be a good clue that there is a home within 500 feet. Hunters also need to remember that some forest roads go through private property and those stretches, if posted by the landowner, are not open to hunting without permission. One hunter shot repeatedly at a bird on a roadway so close to several homes that three different homeowners rushed out to the road to confront the shooter, but the hunter had fled the posted area.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) started Step 2 of field training with COC Ryan Brown. A busy grouse opener was worked, as was the ATVAM weekend in the area with high ATV usage and participation noted. A variety of enforcement contacts were made with violations including no trout stamp, possession of marijuana, and no small-game license. The two encountered ATV and OHM violations, including driving after revocation.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports working a very hot pink salmon bite in the tributaries. A few anglers were spoken to about the legalities of hook choice and one angler was found to be angling with no license in possession. ATVs were out in force as a detail was worked in the Finland area. One operator was cited after Hill determined the machine he was operating did not have registration. Instead of updating the registration, the owner instead decided to put his friend’s extra dealer registration plate on his machine. Nuisance-bear complaints are still coming in almost daily.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) and his K9 partner SI assisted the local police department and county in searching for possible stolen firearms.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) worked grouse-hunting and archery deer-hunting activity. Not many birds were bagged, but the leaves are still plentiful and that can make harvesting grouse more difficult.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on big-game, small-game, angling, migratory waterfowl, and ATVing enforcement.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw moderate activity for the small-game opener and few violations. The warm weather seemed to push people to get one last weekend on the water instead of heading out into the woods.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) and COC Curtis Simonson started the week off working the bowhunting opener and small-game opener. Enforcement action was taken for deer hunting over bait.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended fall in-service training in Hibbing. The small-game and archery deer openers were slow in the area. A call was received about a dead deer found on someone’s property. It was determined the deer was likely hit and killed by a car.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended a joint U.S. Coast Guard meeting with multiple agencies and stakeholders for the western half of Lake Superior. Olson worked the small-game opener during a beautiful weekend in the Duluth and Two Harbors area.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked salmon anglers along the upper North Shore. Complaints about snagging and netting were received and checked. Nuisance bears doing damage are still being reported on an almost daily basis. ATV violations were found in the usual places. Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATVing violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) finished a commercial investigation, checked fall anglers, followed up on complaints from bear season, and patrolled during the weekend for archery and small-game opener as well as heavy fall ATV traffic.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked early goose hunting and sportfishing this past week. He also followed up on a complaint about a lakeshore owner cutting emergent vegetation without a permit. The landowner was cited earlier this spring for the same violation. The violator stated he was removing all the vegetation so his kids would have a hockey rink without weeds to skate on this winter.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking small-game and archery hunters during the opener weekend. A few bird hunters were having some luck, but there was still lots of leaf cover that made seeing birds a bit more challenging. Time also was spent patrolling the park for park passes and illegal vehicle activity during the week and weekend.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) attended firearms qualifications. She also assisted with a detail in Bemidji. A call about a dog caught in a trap on private property was taken. It was reported that the dog owner then illegally took the traps from the private property.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) saw high numbers of archery deer hunters, small-game hunters, and bear hunters. State parks were also packed with visitors looking at fall colors, and people had to be reminded to be patient and polite as parking areas exceeded maximum capacity. Wolf depredation of cattle was a problem as fall calving started and a few calves were killed by wolves.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) reports a training event was attended at Camp Ripley and he was able to present CO Joyce Kuske her retirement plaque after more than 19 years of service. Congratulations, Joyce!
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports a big-game investigation with several violations is ongoing. A suspicious vehicle/driver in the area of a WMA was arrested on traffic-related offenses.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) received several calls about a fawn that was wandering through the city of Browerville near a busy roadway. Efforts to walk the deer out of town were not successful. Bertram, with help from another former farm kid, was able to catch and “hog tie” the fawn. It was transported and released in a WMA on the edge of town.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for archery hunters and anglers. Additional time was spent checking small-game and goose hunters. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, driving off-road in the Sand Dunes State Forest, and operating an ATV without a safety certificate. A TIP about an individual transporting northern pike from the Elk River to a nearby pond was investigated. The suspect was cited for wanton waste after a northern pike was found in the pond with a stick shoved through its gill.
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking archery hunters and small-game hunters. Illegal fires were addressed around the area.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) focused patrols on small-game and archery hunting activity. He also followed up on a complaint about a turkey harassing business owners.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked hunting and angling activity. He assisted District 18 COs during the small-game and archery deer season openers.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked small-game and archery hunters during the opening weekend. Fogarty also followed up on lakeshore violations and complaints on Prior Lake.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the past week checking anglers and checking in with taxidermists. Grewe also checked small-game hunters and bowhunters. Violations included driving after suspension, fishing license issues, and operating an ATV in a restricted area.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked the small-game and archery deer opener in southeastern Minnesota. Trout anglers were checked, and he answered many questions from hunters about hunting regulations.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent time checking archery deer, small-game, and goose hunters. Arntzen also attended training at Camp Ripley and helped in getting a deer untangled from a rope.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) attended training during the week that was useful for case-building when violations are detected. He also worked the small-game and archery deer openers. Calls were fielded regarding upcoming hunting seasons as well. Enforcement action was taken for hunting without a small-game license.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) checked anglers, small-game hunters, and archery deer hunters throughout the past week. Enforcement action for the week included license violations and motor vehicles being driven in prohibited areas of WMAs.
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) focused on migratory waterfowl, AIS, small-game, angling, off-road vehicle, and archery deer-hunting enforcement this past week. Assistance was given to local law enforcement regarding a missing person.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the past week conducting investigations and fielding hunting questions. Many archery hunters took to the field as their deer season opened. Soybean harvest has begun and is in full swing in some areas.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) started Phase 2 of field training with COC Stephen Westby. They followed up on a call about a suspicious dead deer, and checked anglers and early goose hunters. The officers also investigated a public waters violation and took enforcement action for ATVing and angling violations.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) began training one of the new officers for Phase 2 of field training. Both officers followed up on a public access litter case, complaints about geese being dumped in a road ditch, and other violations, including leaving property on waterfowl production areas, using an unplugged shotgun while dove hunting, and several ATV safety and registration issues.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked anglers, ATV riders, and dove hunters. He also worked the small-game opener and the archery deer opener. Gruhlke noted some corn and beans have been harvested in the county. Area lakes, rivers, and marshes have low water levels.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls about hunting law clarifications and a car-killed elk in McLeod County.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked anglers, boaters, and ATV riders this past week. Small-game season seemed a little slow for an opening weekend, with high winds on Sunday.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) began field training with COC Victoria Griffith this past week. The small-game and archery deer openers were worked during the weekend. The officers also spent time on a couple of waters violations.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) checked hunters for the archery and small-game openers. A person was found hunting small game without a license and others were not wearing blaze orange.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) encountered a large amount of household garbage and an electric organ dumped in WMA parking areas. Hunters are encouraged to contact law enforcement if they witness littering on public land.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) reports spending time checking small-game and archery deer hunters on the opening weekend. A baited deer stand was located, and several trapping questions were fielded.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy small-game and archery deer opener. Squirrel hunters reported a poor walnut season and squirrel numbers seemed low.