Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 2, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers and boaters along the Roseau Rive while also working hunting activity throughout the station and investigating illegal hunting stands on the Palmville Wildlife Management Area. Duck hunters were checked in pools 1, 2, and 3 of the Roseau River WMA during the opening weekend.
CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) worked big-game, small-game, and migratory waterfowl enforcement. Small-game hunting remained challenging with thick foliage still in the forests. Johnson responded to a report about a wounded swan. Upon arrival, he determined the reported swan was actually a domestic goose.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working hunting, boating, and angling throughout the past week. Time was spent patrolling area ATV trails, assisting CO Vollbrecht investigate TIP information about a possible overlimit of panfish, and working a detail in Minneapolis.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) made the “Red Fox Drug Bust” while working a waterfowl complaint. Prachar stopped to investigate a dead red fox next to a vehicle along a dirt road. During his questioning, Prachar learned the driver was canceled inimical to public safety, which is a gross misdemeanor. Further investigation led to the seizure of both methamphetamine and heroin. The driver was arrested and is charged with multiple felony counts and a gross misdemeanor.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a moderately successful duck opener for many hunters. Vinton checked one 13-year-old hunter who shot his first duck on the wing. The young hunter was very excited about it. Boats coming off area lakes for the season were inspected for AIS, and a caller reported finding a dead osprey in his yard. A TIP call about anglers using extra lines was investigated.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week preparing for the waterfowl opener and working boating activity. There was plenty of shooting during the opening weekend of waterfowl hunting. Enforcement action for the week included no state waterfowl stamp, recreational trespass, transporting loaded guns in a motor vehicle, no navigational lights on a boat, and no life jacket for a juvenile under 10 years old.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) reports a wolf-depredation complaint was investigated. Time also was spent working the waterfowl opener. Hunter participation was good, as was the number of ducks they were seeing.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) continued to work with COC Meng Moua. The officers checked anglers and worked the waterfowl opener. A hunter-harassment complaint call was investigated, and officers also investigated a complaint call about a wolf stalking livestock.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) monitored small-game and archery deer hunting throughout the past week. Time also was spent checking boating safety and anglers on Lake Osakis. Holt also worked a busy opening weekend of the duck-hunting season and took complaints concerning illegal activity in a wildlife management area.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked a rather busy waterfowl opener with Lt. Johanson. They found numerous violations, including hunting ducks without a plug in a shotgun, using lead shot, unsigned federal duck stamp, transporting a loaded firearm in a boat, a duck overlimit, and hunting without valid licenses for ducks. Plautz also is investigating a deer that was shot at night from the road and with the use of a crossbow.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the majority of the past week focusing on waterfowl and angling enforcement. She took calls regarding a sick-looking deer in northern Wilkin County, minnows causing damage, shelter tags for fish houses, the use of a “quiver magnet” on waterfowl opener, and archery licenses.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time working the waterfowl opener, as well as small-game and archery deer-hunting activity. Duck hunters were numerous with decent numbers of wood ducks, mallards, and teal seen. Time also was spent completing investigations related to big game, public waters, and AIS violations.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked waterfowl, small-game, and deer-hunting activity. She also assisted with a search for a lost/injured grouse hunter.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked the waterfowl opener this past weekend. Hunters had fair success. Complaints about ATVs on the roads and ditches causing damage near Pillager received some enforcement time.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking small-game and migratory waterfowl hunters. Kunst took enforcement action for failure to have a state migratory waterfowl stamp and failure to have hunting licenses in personal possession.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports more nuisance-bear complaints are coming in as a lack of food seems to be the issue. Enforcement action for the past week included illegal transport of fish, fishing and hunting license issues, and unplugged shotguns.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports options for outdoor activity in the area are plentiful, and more than the usual number of people have been observed in the area for this time of year. Sturgeon anglers were observed in strong numbers as the end of the fall harvest season draws near.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) assisted the sheriff’s office with an individual who was stopped for a traffic violation. Along with several traffic violations, he was transporting a large number of spruce tops without a permit in possession. When the operator was advised he would be getting his vehicle towed, he proceeded to deflate all of his tires and disassemble the light assemblies on his vehicle. The subject was cited for multiple violations, and 1,000 spruce tops were seized during the stop.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the waterfowl opener, the ongoing small-game and archery deer seasons, anglers, and ATV riders. Two duck hunters were observed having a breakfast of beer in the boat, in the early morning hours. Guns and alcohol, in a boat with no PFDs, and an unplugged gun were dealt with.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked duck hunters and anglers this past week. Fishing was slow, as was duck hunting. Abnormally high outdoor use continues, with lots of people canoeing and fishing.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) continued to work bear hunters, checking abandoned stations and following up on registration issues. Grouse hunters also were worked.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) continued training with COC Ryan Brown. They worked a busy waterfowl-hunting opener and conducted a BWCAW patrol. A vehicle pulling a boat was stopped after observing water spilling out of the livewell. Violations addressed were transporting water in the livewell as well as live fish.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) checked multiple groups of hunters with bags full of grouse. One party was cited for agricultural trespass after an investigation determined a hunter illegally shot a grouse in a cattle pasture. Even though the Arrowhead is full of public land, private land still exists and it needs to be respected. Hill also cited a party for illegally and intentionally snagging pink salmon.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked small-game, waterfowl, and archery deer-hunting activity this past week. Reports about litter being dumped continue to be problematic this year, and enforcement action was taken for such activity.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked the waterfowl opener, monitored decorative materials harvesting, checked anglers, and assisted the county with a missing person. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in locating stolen firearms.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working a busy 2020 duck opener during the weekend. Blue-winged teal, wood ducks, and ringnecks made up the majority of hunters’ bags. Enforcement action was taken for hunting without a license, no federal duck stamp, possession of lead shot, unsigned federal duck stamp, and no license in possession.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) found some waterfowl hunters out despite the fog on opening morning. Violations found included no small-game license, no federal waterfowl stamp, and hunting waterfowl with an unplugged shotgun.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) and COC Curtis Simonson started the week by monitoring ATVing activity and small-game hunting activity. Shore anglers were monitored in the area as well. The week built up to the 2020 Minnesota duck opener. Opening morning consisted of a lot of shooting, with hunters having limited success.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) focused work on waterfowl-hunting and OHV enforcement. Area duck hunters reported seeing and harvesting a wide variety of ducks and geese, with several limits observed. Wild rice stands were so thick in some areas you couldn’t paddle a canoe through them. A TIP call about a dead fox was investigated.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked duck hunters and salmon anglers during the past week. Complaints about anglers snagging fish were worked, and state parks were checked on another busy weekend. Duck hunters saw good numbers of birds and good rice, making for a good opener.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) reports a busy past week capped off by the waterfowl opener. Ladd also worked a trespass complaint and a complaint about a hunter shooting a swan. She worked ATV enforcement and made two arrests for DWI.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked with another CO and addressed numerous waterfowl and an extra-line angling violation. One two-person group was checked and displayed immediate remorse for an admitted overlimit of wood ducks. The hunters were relieved and just “ducky” when the officer team advised them that their ducks were actually six green- and blue-winged teal.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked waterfowl and bear hunting, as well as angling activity. A waterfowler reported a swan shooting, which resulted in charges.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) patrolled Cass and Crow Wing counties for waterfowl-hunting activity. Numerous hunters were checked during the weekend. McGowan also attended Enforcement Division training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for numerous waterfowl-hunting violations.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) saw a busy duck opener. Many hunters got out and saw mixed results. No limits of birds were seen, and a few got skunked. He also took a call about a swan injured in an electric fence. The fence was turned off and the swan was gone before he arrived. He also assisted the sheriff’s office with a fatal crash.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a littering complaint and a hunting-deer-over-bait complaint. The most recreational activity observed during the weekend was recreational vehicle activity. Class 2 ATV operators: Please remember that you are not driving a car and are not allowed to drive right down the lane of traffic.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) spent time this past week preparing for and working the waterfowl opener. Small-game hunters had some success hunting gray squirrel but low success hunting grouse.
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time this past week checking small-game hunters and waterfowl hunters. Hunters are reminded to bring life jackets in the boat even while waterfowl hunting. People shooting in the Chengwatana State Forest are reminded to pick up after themselves. Yes, this includes the hundreds of shells and spent casings that were left behind.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) reports the waterfowl opener was worked and a decent number of birds were seen in the area and most hunters were finding some success. While patrolling, CO Silgjord checked several anglers at an area dam. One of the anglers checked didn’t have any fish, but he did happen to catch a citation for illegal possession of marijuana.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) handled many nuisance-animal calls, ranging from raccoons with distemper to turkeys attempting to get into a local discount store. Apparently, they wanted to beat the after-Thanksgiving crowds, or perhaps they had a premonition they may be unavailable then.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) continued field training with COC Tou Vang. They investigated hunter-trespass, deer-bait, and bear-hunting complaints. They also worked sportfishing, ATV enforcement, and the duck opener weekend.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports a busy waterfowl opener. Numerous calls were fielded in regards to trespass and people concerned with hunters shooting too close to their homes. Stearns County officials requested assistance with a hunter who was threatening other hunters. The man eventually was located and charged with disorderly conduct..
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for archery deer and waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action was taken for hunting waterfowl without a small-game license, hunting waterfowl without a HIP certification, and archery hunting without a license.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) reports waterfowl opener was busy as expected in the Pelican Lake area. Hunters had fair success, with blue-winged teal making up most of the harvest.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) worked the busy waterfowl opener on area lakes and rivers. Maass also spent time checking anglers and answering waterfowl-hunting related questions. Enforcement action was taken for illegal shining, taking cormorants, an unplugged gun, no state stamp, no federal stamp, and no small-game license.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) participated in a work detail and worked fishing enforcement. He worked small-game hunters and the duck opener during the weekend, and answered questions from the Asian community about small-game and big-game hunting regulations.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on waterfowl- and deer-hunting activity during the past week. He worked the waterfowl opener and encountered a large number of first-time waterfowl hunters and waterfowl hunters who had not hunted for years.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) fielded a lot of questions regarding waterfowl hunting. Hunters were checked during the weekend. In one instance, two hunters killed a trumpeter swan. They thought there was an open season. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent a very busy duck opener checking hunters in the area. Success was marginal with lots of shooting but not so much hitting. He also checked squirrel and archery hunters in area WMAs.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week checking small-game, deer, and waterfowl hunters. Arntzen also worked on a big-game case and responded to several TIP complaints.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) checked archery deer hunters, waterfowl hunters, and small-game hunters throughout the past week. Waterfowl hunters who found some water had good success opening weekend.
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) primarily worked migratory waterfowl, archery deer, and angling enforcement this past week. Violations encountered included an unplugged shotgun, no federal duck stamp, no licenses in possession, and trespassing.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the past week conducting investigations and fielding hunting questions. Duck hunters encountered warm weather and low water levels for the duck opener. Soybean harvest is nearing completion.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) continued field training with COC Stephen Westby. They checked anglers and followed up on an angling complaint. They also followed up on a possible wetland violation and worked a busy waterfowl opener.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) reports good numbers of hunters and ducks during waterfowl opener. Additional time was spent patrolling waterfowl production areas and working shore angling and AIS activity. A game farm inspection was conducted and a steady inflow of deer- and duck-hunting questions were fielded.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked angling, ATV riders, AIS, and the waterfowl opener. Some shore fishing is taking place as well.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked an extremely busy 2020 waterfowl opener. Hunter pressure was high, with most lakes having full or overflowing parking lots. Hunter success was average. Henke also spent time investigating TIP calls and assisting other law enforcement agencies.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) patrolled for deer, waterfowl, and other small-game hunters this past week. Additional time was spent responding to litter complaints.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports waterfowl hunters had fairly good success on area sloughs. Crop harvest is well under way, so it is starting to look like autumn in the area.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) checked duck hunters during the waterfowl opening weekend. Time also was spent responding to civil unrest in the metro area.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports participation on the opening weekend of the duck season was at record levels with folks describing the swamp looking like an ”airport runway” with all the lights out there.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a good waterfowl opener with high hunter numbers, as hunters reported more than a dozen units at one access at 1 a.m. A group of waterfowl hunters made an unsafe shot that resulted in some property damage to a home, along with a person being hit by shot while sitting on her screened porch. A bear was reported harvested in Winona County. Hemker also assisted Wisconsin wardens with an illegal fishing case in which illegal equipment was used and possibly protected fish were taken.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) worked a busy waterfowl opener. Hunters commented that it was the most crowded opener they had seen. Time also was spent investigating multiple trespass complaints. Citations were issued in some cases.