Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 6, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) reports charges are pending for the drivers and passengers of two different vehicles stopped near Grygla for shining. They were found to be in possession of firearms, and the occupants of one vehicle also possessed a deer. A juvenile swan was captured and will be brought to a rehab facility.
CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) worked primarily waterfowling enforcement. Larson also spent time preparing for the upcoming deer season by making contacts with hunters and answering many questions about the season.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) patrolled the station for trapping activity and the last remaining diehard waterfowl hunters in the northwest. Although some large flocks of geese and cranes are still being observed, most birds are bypassing the area at high altitude for open water to the south.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports checking archery deer hunters and duck hunters and monitoring fall beaver-trapping during the week. Time also was spent monitoring area ATV trails for activity, fielding questions from the public regarding the firearms deer season, following up on shining complaints, and making preparations for the upcoming firearms deer season.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking archery deer hunters and small-game hunters this past week. Time also was spent contacting waterfowl hunters and answering hunting-related questions.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) spent time checking waterfowl and grouse hunters. Time also was spent preparing for the upcoming firearms deer season. Area forest roads and ATV trails were patrolled.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports warmer weather has melted much of the snow and many of the lakes are reopening after freezing with light ice. Vinton assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office with the rescue of three duck hunters who lost power in their trolling motor battery and became stuck in wild rice and ice. Before the officers could reach the hunters, another hunter contacted Vinton and advised he was hunting close to the group and offered to tow them to the launch. The hunters were uninjured and thankful to all involved.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week working on ongoing cases and preparing for the upcoming firearms deer season. There are still plenty of ducks in the area, and area hunters are finding bluebills, ringnecks, and some buffleheads.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted with a search warrant, checked waterfowl hunters and followed up on a shooting-from-the-roadway complaint.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity. Colder weather has most of the smaller ponds frozen over and, as a result, there’s less hunting activity. Area forest trails were worked for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. WMAs and WPAs were monitored for activity. Complaints of possible trespass and illegal activity on a WMA were received, with investigations ongoing.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) reports an overlimit of scaup was discovered among hunters who did not identify the birds prior to shooting and waited to retrieve them until after the morning activity subsided. Waterfowl hunters are reminded that party hunting is illegal for waterfowl and that it is their responsibility to identify waterfowl prior to shooting.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the past week checking pheasant and waterfowl hunters. She took calls regarding hunting border waters, an injured pelican, a poached fawn, obtaining a trapper’s certification, buying a bonus tag for a resident lifetime license after you move out of state, trespass complaints, and magazine capacity for deer hunting.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) is working with the soil and water conservation district on a potential wetland violation.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) focused on waterfowl- and pheasant-hunting activity during the week. Complaints were received concerning dead or injured animals and trespassing.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) checked several deer and waterfowl hunters this past week. Muskie anglers are still out using mostly live-bait rigs now, and one was cited for using too many lines. Pheasant hunters were monitored and a citation was issued for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. A hunter-harassment call was taken involving waterfowl hunters and a lakeshore owner. The investigation is ongoing.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked big-game, migratory waterfowl, small-game and trapping enforcement during the past week. Several waterfowl hunters and archery hunters were checked, and several trappers were out even though fur prices are at historically low levels. Several complaints were received regarding violations of the deer feeding and attractant ban in Hubbard and Wadena counties.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) responded to a call about waterfowl hunters stuck on Lake Placid. Mathy also took possession of a bobcat that was accidentally caught in a snare. He also spoke with an individual who had come across a car-killed wolf. Complaints of illegal deer stands and unattended lines were investigated.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time finishing decorative material cases and completing vehicle maintenance. Zavodnik received multiple complaints regarding spruce-top theft during the week, including one in which an off-duty forester observed suspicious spruce-topping activity. Initially, the suspect denied taking spruce tops on private property without permission, but quickly changed his tune when there was clear evidence that he was the culprit. More than 1,200 spruce tops were seized at the individual’s residence, and enforcement action was taken. Zavodnik also assisted local law enforcement with several physical domestic assault cases during the week and arrested an individual who was charged with fourth-degree DWI.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) reports time was spent patrolling for and finding several deer baits. These baits were documented and samples were taken. Anyone hunting over these deer baits can expect a meeting with Frericks during the upcoming opening weekend of deer hunting.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports that miscellaneous wildlife-related calls were dealt with. In one instance, an individual had been watching a deer off and on most of the summer when it had been fleeing from wolves and seeking safety by standing in a river. On the day of the call, the buck was found by the caller after the caller was alerted to the scene by birds. The caller offered several images that told the tale throughout the year, with the wolves ultimately winning the cat-and-mouse game.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports duck-hunting activity saw a spike during the week as flights of birds arrived and then quickly left after several cold nights in the low teens froze over many lakes. Although several hunters attempted to hunt them during the short window, the sheets of ice made for difficult travel.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the past week checking whitefish netters. He also worked a detail in the BWCAW on Basswood lake. Enforcement action was taken for whitefish netting, trapping, and firearms violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) followed up on cases from the bear season and began the hunt for early stands and deer bait. Manning also worked with U.S. Forest Service law enforcement on a deer-possession and extended camping case.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports conducting bear-hunting interviews after a few registration violations were uncovered that occurred during the season. Hill checked whitefish netters coming off of Fall, Newton, and Basswood lakes in the Ely area earlier in the week. Those who went in a long distance found the most success.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked hunters, monitored decorative material harvesting, responded to TIP complaints, and assisted the county with a pursuit and barricaded person. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in locating a suspect who fled into the woods and assisted in searching for spent shell casings from an ongoing criminal investigation.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time answering questions about the upcoming firearms deer season. She also checked grouse and archery deer hunters and continues to work on forest product theft.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, big-game, small-game, ATVing, and decorative forest product enforcement throughout the area.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) continued working big-game cases regarding the archery hunt in progress and followed up on TIP calls regarding the upcoming firearms season. Trespass complaints were also investigated. Willis and COC Brown also assisted local agencies with arresting a robbery suspect that resulted in additional controlled substance charges.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) followed up on a complaint about an illegal hunter in Duluth. The investigation led to a citation for hunting without a license and resulted in the seizure of an 8-point buck and a 10-point mule deer from North Dakota.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended monthly K9 training at Camp Ripley. Time also was spent working a shining complaint and following up on a tip in which a deer was supposedly shot and left to go to waste. A nuisance-bear complaint was received.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked pre-firearms deer season baiting complaints in and around Duluth. A shining complaint was also worked with fellow district officers. There are reports of salmon being caught on Lake Superior in the Duluth and Knife River waters.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) investigated a shoreline-alteration violation on Gull Lake. He also worked waterfowl hunters, and enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked waterfowl and big-game hunters throughout the past week. Waterfowl hunters are finding icy conditions, and numerous small lakes are frozen over. Enforcement action was taken for several waterfowl-hunting violations.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) answered calls about trespassing and deer baiting and issued permits for car-killed deer. There are lots of ducks in the area. The warmer weather has kept water open for duck hunters.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, waterfowl, grouse, and archery hunting activity. A timber-trespass complaint was worked, and an injured swan was captured and brought in for rehab.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked with COC Stephen Westby this past week. An archery deer hunter, hunting with a permitted crossbow, was checked afield while hunting over a baited area. The hunter had a crossbow and a handgun seized for this violation. The hunter faces a one-year license revocation from the date of conviction, a hefty fine, and forfeiture of firearm/archery equipment used in the violation.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on a potential archery hunting-over-bait TIP complaint. Speldrich also investigated a trespass case and assisted the county with a water rescue for a family of five on a local lake.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on shining complaints and issued several permits for deer hit by vehicles. Trapping activity appears to be down as fur prices are low. Assistance was given to a novice motorist who blew out a truck tire and was driving on the rim.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) took complaints about feeding deer in areas with CWD restrictions, poaching deer at night, and other illegal taking of deer. One suspect was interviewed about a poached deer and initially denied any wrongdoing. After the CO explaining strong evidence, which included the finding of a dead deer and a blood trail that led to the suspect’s back porch, the poacher finally admitted to shooting a deer over bait, from the porch, and with no license.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent time working the second Camp Ripley archery hunt. Hunters had great success despite windy weather.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports a commercial taxidermist inspection was completed. It was found that the taxidermist was doing taxidermy work without a license. Enforcement action was taken.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked hunters, anglers, and ATV riders. Time also was spent working baiting and littering cases. Londgren also took calls about injured animals, dogs chasing deer, and trespassing.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and hunters. Hunting complaints were investigated, and animal-related calls were handled. Complaints about stands left in WMAs were received.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) received a call from a waterfowl hunter on the Mississippi River who supposedly found a dead swan. The hunter claimed that someone upriver shot the swan and it floated by his decoys. While on the phone with the hunter, a nearby landowner called to report that a hunter had just shot a swan. The waterfowl hunter who accused someone upstream of shooting the swan was now being accused of the crime. The hunter eventually admitted to shooting the swan and making up the story. He was cited for shooting a swan and his firearm was seized.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked angling and hunting activities in the metro area. He patrolled Fort Snelling State Park for vehicle permits and fielded complaints about unleashed dogs. He took enforcement action for an unsigned federal duck stamp, unleashed dog, angling in a closed season for trout, trespass, and no trout stamp.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on hunting and angling activity during the past week. Area duck hunters reported moderate success, and anglers willing to brave the winds during the weekend had some success on the Minnesota River.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) spent time checking archery deer and small-game hunters. Time also was spent working fishing activity along the Minnesota River. Several questions were answered regarding the upcoming firearms deer season.
District 14 – East Metro area
Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) continues field training with COC Cassie Block. The pair focused efforts on waterfowl-hunting and deer-hunting activities. Time also was spent on community outreach and following up on cases from last deer season.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week checking waterfowl and archery deer hunters. Arntzen investigated several big-game violations and also responded to TIP calls. Violations for the week included taking deer with the aid of bait, trespassing, fishing for trout during the closed season, and no federal duck stamp.
CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) has seen an increase in deer carcass dumping in the area. If anyone has information on deer carcass dumping, please call the TIP line to report it.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) continues to work with COC Meng Moua. The officers spent time checking pheasant, waterfowl, and archery deer hunters. Time was also spent investigating trespass calls.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working big-game investigations and migratory waterfowl activity. Enforcement action was taken for using artificial lights in an attempt to take wildlife after hours. K9 Earl was deployed to an incident to search for shell casings involved with a big-game hunting violation.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the past week working pheasant-, waterfowl-, and archery deer-hunting enforcement. Investigations were done on illegal hunting activities. Warmer weather has melted most of the snow and brought hunters back out to the woods and grasslands. Corn harvest and tillage has resumed.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) worked pheasant-hunting and angling activity. He also followed up on a possible wanton waste complaint and a hunting land dispute.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this past week working big-game and small-game hunting, trapping, and trespassing complaints. WMA and WPA violations also were investigated. ATV and big-game violations continue.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) continued to field train COC Zachary Larson and patrol Cottonwood and Watonwan counties. Violations included archery hunters hunting over bait, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, an arrest of a felon in possession of a firearm, and a DWI arrest.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent much of his time working on waterfowl- and deer-hunting enforcement. He noted the return of duck hunters to area lakes after the ice melted. Duck hunters reported some limited success in the area with fields being better than water hunting.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reported checking waterfowl hunters, pheasant hunters, and archery hunters this past week. Complaints about trespassing and shooting too close to a dwelling were addressed. Several road-killed deer-related calls also were taken.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked small-game and big-game hunters, waterfowl hunters, anglers, boaters, AIS activity, and ATV operators during the past week.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports an archery deer hunter was found hunting over approximately 500 pounds of corn. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) was patrolling his station and detected the distinct odor of burning plastic. He drove around until he eventually located an active fire nearby. He spoke with the landowner, who claimed the fire only contained leaves. A closer inspection of the fire revealed that it contained large car parts and the remains of an electric organ. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) responded to a report of target shooting at a state forest where it is prohibited. The people were checked while leaving the area in their vehicle and a loaded firearm was found.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) reports a large pile of litter was found and work was done to contact the responsible person.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working deer and waterfowl hunting, along with fishing on the Mississippi River and the backwaters. Violations included overlimits of ducks, failure to retrieve ducks, and some safety equipment issues.