Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 9, 2020

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) worked angling, small-game, big-game, and waterfowling activity. A call about an injured bald eagle also was received. After a brief pursuit, the eagle was safely captured and delivered to a raptor rehab center. 

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued to monitor waterfowling activity and investigated deer-baiting complaints. Area hunters are reminded that trail cameras may not be left overnight on wildlife management areas. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working small-game, deer archery, waterfowl hunting, and angling activity throughout this past week. Time was spent patrolling area ATV trails and assisting CO Vollbrecht with an overlimit investigation. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports contacting waterfowl hunters throughout the week. Time was also spent checking anglers and small-game hunters. Bear-hunting enforcement also was worked. Wetland violation cases were followed up on.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) looked into a hunter harassment complaint, a dead swan (electrocuted), and baiting complaints.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports conducting AIS inspections as cabin owners pull their watercraft out of lakes for the season. A TIP call about possible overlimits was taken, as was one regarding extra fishing lines. 

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked anglers, waterfowl hunters, and grouse hunters throughout the past week. The crappie bite on small lakes in the area is excellent. While checking one couple, it was found they were 46 crappies over their legal limit. Vollbrecht also assisted the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office with an individual who was armed with a pistol while walking along the highway. The individual was later taken into custody by the sheriff’s office.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked waterfowl, small-game, and archery hunting activity. Time also was spent on angling and boating activity. Trails were patrolled for ATV and off-road vehicle activity.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) continues to work with COC Meng Moua. A trespassing complaint and leaving deer stands in a wildlife management area were investigated. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) and COC Michael Cross saw fewer ducks and duck hunters during the second weekend. It was noted that additional diving ducks were observed in the bag, including scaup. Time also was spent enforcing WMA rules and taking information on possible violations. Some personal property was found at the Mud Lake WMA on Oct. 2. If you lost some of your hunting equipment, please contact CO Richards to describe and claim it for a return. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) submitted reports on a case from the duck-hunting opener to the county attorney for charges.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) focused enforcement efforts this past week on waterfowl hunters and fall anglers. One pair of anglers took out a State Park rescue boat without authorization and upon returning to shore, it was discovered that neither had a fishing license, and no PFDs were brought onboard. Citations were issued to both people.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) received questions regarding the waterfowl feeding and resting area of Mud Lake, minnow permits, deer depredation, hunters in a state game refuge, nuisance-beaver complaints, and South Dakota registration validity in Minnesota. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) continued working small-game hunting enforcement and ATV enforcement. Complaints were taken about duck hunters shooting after hours, using motorized decoys, and shooting at swans. Kunst also encountered ATV riders stuck in a wetland after operating the machines on a state highway. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports a public waters restoration order was served. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and OHM violations. 

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) continued to check hunters, anglers, and ATV riders. She assisted the county with a motorcycle vs. vehicle crash and a driving complaint. Enforcement action was taken on an ATV violation and a big-game violation. 

CO Randy Posner (Staples) checked waterfowl hunters this past week. Violations observed were expired registration, no HIP certification, and unsigned stamps. Complaints about ATVs on the roads and in ditches received enforcement time. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the sturgeon keep season came to a quiet close with not as many people as in past years attempting to harvest a fish. Nuisance-bear complaints are increasing. Grouse hunters are starting to see a few more birds as the leaves continue to fall. 

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports fall is in full swing with more than the usual number of visitors using the northwoods to get away and relax. Dispersed camping has become more prominent, although tent camping has become less popular as temperatures drop at night. A popular and disturbing violation encountered in recent days has been the transport of loaded firearms in or on a motor vehicle. In one instance, an individual had a loaded shotgun in the cab of his pickup with the safety in the fire position, along with an excited dog in the cab stepping on the gun. Situations like this are prime for a bad ending to a good day. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports duck hunting remains poor, with few ducks and fewer hunters. Complaining about the lack of ducks from hunters continues. ATV and small-game activities were monitored. Fishing and public access sites were checked. Free time was spent issuing permits, returning phone calls and working on administrative tasks.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) encountered the same individual who was cited the previous week for transporting spruce tops without a permit. Again, the person was found to be driving a borrowed pickup truck and transporting spruce top bundles illegally. The subject’s spruce tops were seized again. A 50-year volunteer firearms instructor award was given to an instructor from the Cook/Orr area.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) monitoring hunting and angling activity and ATV riders, and checked on a wetland fill complaint. A duck hunter who was transporting a loaded shotgun was arrested on a felony warrant. Everyone has heard of distracted driving, but distracted horseback riding was observed for the first time. The rider, however, continued on with the smartphone without incident. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports small-game hunting activity doubled during the week as the understory has opened up and the majority of leaves have already fallen. 

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked ATVers, waterfowl and grouse hunters, and anglers. Complaints about trespass, nuisance bears, illegal ATV use, and shooting from the road were worked. 

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked grouse hunters and ATV operators during another busy week of small-game hunting. She took reports of possible overlimits of grouse being taken. A caller was concerned that good grouse numbers are leading to the hunters filling their freezers back home with more than their possession limit. Another party reported watching a hunter fire out his Jeep window at a grouse near a residence. This was the fourth report of problem hunters in a 5-mile stretch of road this season. Hunters are reminded to double-check firearms before putting them back in their vehicles. A few hunters this weekend received the reminder along with some paperwork.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) and COC Vincent Brown spent the majority of the week working ATV and small-game enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for violations involving transporting loaded firearms and transporting fully-dressed grouse.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, small-game and waterfowl hunters and boaters, and patrolled campgrounds. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked hunters and anglers, monitored decorative material harvesting, and assisted the county with a house fire. The area waterfowl success was limited this week. Enforcement action was taken for taking waterfowl in closed hours and license issues.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked small-game, big-game, and duck-hunting activity this past week. Duck hunters are reminded that a couple regulations that are in place now will change this weekend. Starting this Saturday, shooting hours will be from half-hour before sunrise to sunset (it is to 4 p.m. until then). Also, starting this Sunday, motorized decoys are allowed (no motorized decoys are allowed until then).

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Charles Scott checked area small-game hunters. They also handled a nuisance-bear complaint about a bear dining in bird feeders. The COs transported two extremely social otters to a rehabilitation facility and performed equipment maintenance.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) and COC Curtis Simonson started the week working waterfowl hunters. The officers spent time providing a security detail while President Trump was in Duluth. A dead-deer investigation led to the determination of a bobcat or lynx being the culprit. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued to monitor a baited deer stand and toured the 148th Air National Guard base in Duluth. Duncan also investigated a trespass case during the week. 

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and small-game hunters along the North Shore. A security detail was worked for President Trump’s visit to Duluth. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, waterfowling, grouse hunting, and ATVing activity. The officer assisted an individual in capturing a loon and removing a hook and fishing line from it. The officer also assisted with a duck hunter overboard who is recovering after spending more than two hours in the water.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked waterfowl hunters and anglers throughout the week. Assistance was given to a waterfowl hunter who was yelling for help and in the water, hanging onto his boat. 

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports patrolling the SRA for illegal vehicle activity and also checked for state park permits. He checked anglers in the park who were trying their luck at some fall trout. A call regarding illegal hunting activity was investigated. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) responded to a dog-chasing-deer complaint and nuisance-beaver complaints. Moose sighting calls in Willow River and Askov have been a daily occurrence. A young bull has been spotted several times. 

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent time checking duck hunters, small-game hunters, and a few archery deer hunters. Assistance was provided with the apprehension of a group of thieves who ran and hid in a corn field after crashing their car. In addition to stealing property and running from cops, the suspects also made poor decisions by running into a cornfield on a cold, rainy morning while wearing flip-flops and pajama bottoms.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) primarily spent the week working hunting activity. Calls were fielded regarding duck hunting, hunting stands, trespass, and navigation hazards on Lake Mille Lacs. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking hunters and anglers in the station. Silgjord assisted with an Honor Guard detail for the funeral of retired CO Kjellberg at the Fort Snelling Chapel. 

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) handled multiple trespass calls this past week. He also is working with neighboring officers on upcoming work details.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) and COC Tou Vang worked duck hunters, bowhunters, anglers, ATV/OHM enforcement, and aquatic invasive species. They also worked on ongoing, and new, cases of deer baiting, wetland violations, illegal possession/overlimit of deer, and ATVs being operated on a waterfowl production area. They wrapped up the week with responding to a car-injured deer that was illegally shot and a turkey hunter who accidentally shot two turkeys. 

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) responded to a call about a bear in a corn chopper. The bear was apparently spooked by the chopper and ran into the machine while it was cutting corn. It was injured and took off into a swamp. Bertram received assistance from the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office. The bear had to be put down due to its injuries and the meat was salvaged. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and hunters. He investigated a complaint of leaving property on a WMA.

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking waterfowl hunters and investigating wetland violations this past week. Enforcement action was taken for unplugged shotguns, no federal duck stamps, lack of life jackets, and late shooting. Benkofske arrested one ATV operator for DWI.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) reports complaints about illegal camping in the Sand Dunes State Forest were investigated.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and following up on complaints. He also assisted with a VIP detail in St. Paul. Violations this past week included no fishing license.

CO Tim Maass (Osseo) spent the past week working waterfowl hunters on area lakes and rivers. Maass also investigated a report about three swans being shot on a local lake. Enforcement action was taken for taking protected birds, no federal duck stamp, and target shooting in a WMA.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week checking waterfowl and archery deer hunters. He also handled nuisance-animal calls and investigated several TIP complaints. Arntzen finished the week by working late shooters and working on open cases.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity. Salzer continued training COC Zach Larson, and the two handled several wildlife-related calls during the week. The officers also investigated several litter complaints.

CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) patrolled the area for waterfowl hunting and small-game hunting. One new hunter did not have a plug, federal stamp, or state stamp. Another hunter was transporting a firearm, uncased and loaded. Both violations were dealt with accordingly.

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) took a handful of TIP calls. In one instance, a person was found angling with extra lines and video was taken. Follow-up was conducted and resulted in a citation. A dogs-off-leash complaint at the Afton State Park was fielded as well. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) focused on migratory waterfowl, archery deer, and angling enforcement this past week. With the colder nights, some hunters have taken advantage of the early migrating waterfowl with good success.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time checking angling activity, archery, and migratory waterfowl hunters. Gutzwiller continued to follow up on big-game investigations. The corn and soybean harvest continues to progress in the area. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) continued field training with COC Stephen Westby. They worked area anglers and waterfowl hunters throughout the week. They continued follow-up on wetland violations and worked the vacant Madison station (Westby’s future station) for waterfowl hunters and anglers.

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this past week working ATVers, off-highway motorcycles operators, and waterfowl hunters. Investigations into big-game violations and trespassing continue. Additional time was spent investigating possible wetland and public waters violations. 

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) assisted with separating two bucks whose were locked antlers together.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports checking local lakes and small-game hunters. Lusignan is investigating a complaint of garbage left in a WMA.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) responded to TIP calls during the week. Davis checked waterfowl hunters, anglers, boaters, AIS activity, and ATV operators during the week. Davis also patrolled wildlife management areas, state parks, and waterfowl production areas. Multiple violations were encountered.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports spending most of this week on hunting enforcement. A report about hunting in a WMA that is closed to hunting remains under investigation. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports assisting the Wisconsin DNR with its waterfowl school. Time also was spent checking deer hunters, small-game hunters, and waterfowl hunters. Hunter numbers seem up this year in all areas, which is causing some tension between hunters. Contact landowners for permission and be respectful to other hunters. 

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) spent time working waterfowl-hunting enforcement on the Mississippi River. Schneider also handled numerous calls regarding sick raccoons in area communities.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly hunters during the past week. Some high-schoolers made the most of distance learning and were calling into class from the marsh. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) assisted Winona County rescue and local fire departments search for duck hunters who had their boat drift away and their cell phones went dead. The CO also investigated a complaint of a hunter taking a deer out of season.

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports two panfish-overlimit cases were investigated and enforcement action was taken. 

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) assisted CO Chad Davis with a large group that had been hunting in the middle of a baited sweet corn field. Enforcement action was taken.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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