Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 13, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) prepared for and worked the opening weekend of the firearms deer season. Several baited stands were investigated with Lt. Benjamin and CO Johnson, and charges are pending. A check of an illegal camp found the occupant with multiple arrest warrants.
CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) worked primarily ATV, small-game, and big-game enforcement. Larson encountered violations including hunting deer with the aid of bait, hunting deer without a license, knowingly allowing youth to violate fish and game laws, trespassing, and taking deer from a road right of way.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued Step 3 of field training with COC Brown. They noted a slow deer-hunting opener with unusually high temperatures. They received a call about an elk that was mistaken for a deer and killed by a hunter. Enforcement action was taken for an unregistered bear bait site, taking big game out of season, and failure to register a harvested deer.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports a busy firearms deer opener even with warm weather and high winds. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, shooting grouse from a moving vehicle and trespassing issues.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) responded to the usual deer-season opener complaints. He also found a young girl in shorts and flip flops, fishing with her dad from a public access dock, which was a firearms deer opener first for him.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) responded to a call about a small white-tailed buck that knocked a young boy down and roughed him up a bit while he and his brother were playing and chopping wood in their backyard (see full story elsewhere in Outdoor News). Vinton also assisted the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office with an assault and order-for-protection violation that led to Vinton engaging in a foot pursuit of the suspect through the woods and toward waiting officers. The suspect was taken into custody and a second suspect wanted on a state warrant also was apprehended.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked small-game and migratory waterfowl-hunting activity. WMAs were monitored for illegal activity. Complaints of trespass were received and investigated. Area lakes were checked for anglers. Assistance was provided to the Becker County Sheriff’s Office, White Earth Tribal Police, and White Earth Conservation with the search for a potentially lost hunter.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week monitoring deer hunting, duck hunting, and angling activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Deer hunters reported good success despite the unseasonably warm weather. Baiting continues to be a prevalent violation. Assistance was provided to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office for a deer drive that resulted in a house being shot.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) took several calls regarding the deer season, trapping, and youth hunting. Wood also rescued two hawks and brought them in for care.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked a busy firearms deer opening weekend around the Alexandria area. Enforcement action was taken for illegal stands in a WMA and transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle. Lawler also assisted the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office by finding and performing life-saving measures on an adult who was found unresponsive on the shore of a local lake. The man did not survive the incident.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) investigated a trapping complaint, trespass, dogs chasing deer, and fielded numerous calls about the deer season through the past week. Plautz is investigating the illegal shooting of an individual’s two dogs, which were the dropped in a ditch.
CO Emily Leeb (Morris) reports working a busy deer opener. Harvest and compliance levels were good overall. Leeb responded to and investigated a report about a poached deer off of Highway 28 after shooting hours on opening night.
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) and COC Charles Scott checked multiple duck hunters and pheasant hunters in the area. Anglers were checked, and multiple violations were addressed. Deer opener was busy. The warm weather and wind made things challenging at times and several violations were detected, including hunting deer over baited areas.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. The nice weather brought out a fair number of anglers, but success was low. Muskie anglers on Lake Alexander report fair success, with one catching a 48-inch fish and having two other follows. The CO also received a complaint of a person dumping a deer carcass in the Pillsbury State Forest.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) focused primarily on big-game enforcement during the week in both Wadena and Park Rapids stations. A lot of hunters were seen out on opening day, but the warm weather slowed things down on Sunday. Violations encountered during the weekend included taking deer with the aid of bait, failure to validate licenses, failure to register deer, trespass, erecting structures on state forest lands, and ATV violations.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked activities related to the deer-hunting season. One call resulted in a person who was found to have shot two deer before the season opened. Trespass, deer feeding, and a netting call also were received and investigated.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook Station) reports a busy weekend addressing individuals who were found hunting deer over bait. Everything from molasses to approximately 300 pounds of corn was observed while addressing the opening-weekend hunting violators. Zavodnik also ended up in a foot pursuit with an individual who was stopped for driving erratically. While in pursuit, the passenger in the vehicle thought it would be a good idea to hop in the driver’s seat and leave the scene. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) checked areas for deer baiting, worked deer-hunting opener, and addressed several deer-hunting complaints. One deer hunter had enough corn spread out to feed all the deer in the area. In the hunter’s deer stand was enough alcohol to keep a bartender and customers happy for quite some time. Two rifles were seized in that case. Assistance was provided to the Hibbing Police Department with a suicidal individual who had a knife. The incident ended peacefully and the subject was transported by ambulance.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) took reports about people erecting deer stands on other people’s property and various other trespass-related calls. Some ATV activity was noted prior to the deer season. On one particular ATV that Frericks stopped for a registration violation, the operator had a dozen ears of corn and some squash in the back of the ATV. Frericks gave the operator some advice and a lesson on the laws regarding deer baiting.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports time was spent returning calls in regards to deer-hunting questions, mainly in regards to the new zone designations in the area. A fishing complaint was followed up on, which resulted in a multitude of violations uncovered.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking whitefish netters and deer hunters during the warm opening weekend. He assisted Cook County deputies with a vehicular homicide.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) spent a warm week and firearms deer opener in the North Woods. Grouse hunters are still afield but reporting few birds. Manning took a couple reports of dogs caught in fox traps. Deer season was off to a slow start and hunters reported far more squirrels than anything else.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports many folks were visited on their deer stands during opening weekend who were hunting over bait. Citations were issued and rifles were seized. Deer carcasses are already showing up in places they shouldn’t be. Please don’t dispose of carcasses in road ditches, parking lots, or trail heads.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) reports time was spent assisting Lake County deputies with finding lost hunters.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports that many hunters were contacted and, as expected due to the warm weather, the success rate was extremely low. One of the few harvested deer that Hill did encounter, though, was found to be in violation after the hunter incorrectly validated his tag and failed to tag the animal. Another hunter was cited for hunting deer with the aid of bait after a bait block was found in front of his ground blind. Even though the hunter caught Hill on a trail camera inspecting his bait block, he still hunted the ground blind and even freshened the pile up with more bait.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked hunters, responded to TIP complaints, and monitored OHV activity this past week. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in serving a search warrant, located spent casings for an ongoing poaching investigation, and assisted the county in locating spent casings for an ongoing criminal investigation.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the first part of the past week looking for baited hunting areas. Opening weekend had plenty of hunters in the woods. Most hunters said the weather was too warm.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) focused work on the firearms deer season. Humphrey followed up on baiting complaints, unlawful target shooting, assisted local law enforcement with a suspicious vehicle, received calls about an orphaned bear cub in the Cromwell area, and issued wildlife-possession permits. Deer opener was tempered by mild weather and little deer movement. Several hunters checked were in T-shirts.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent the start of a busy deer season working baiting and other tips that were called in. One person who has had several DNR violations in the past was found to be hunting deer over bait, hunting deer without a license and unlawfully possessing a firearm. Assistance was given with a medical call where a hunter fell 16 feet out of his deer stand.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked his 32nd firearms deer opener. It turned out to be one of the warmest in memory. Olson worked with CO Murray in the Two Harbors area on baiting complaints, trespass, and landowner disputes.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) and Conservation Officer Candidate Stephen Westby investigated a deer-baiting complaint and also confirmed a hunter did not trespass during a lawful deer harvest. Some hunters were addressed who were transporting loaded firearms.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) worked big-game hunting activity this past week. Hunters reported seeing fewer deer due to warm and windy conditions. Sullivan encountered a wide variety of violations including taking big game with the aid of bait, untagged big game, failure to validate a site tag, and transporting loaded firearms. Trespass violations and property line disputes also were reported.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked a busy firearms deer-hunting opener. McGowan also assisted with a capsized canoe with occupants on the Whitefish chain.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) issued citations and seized deer and firearms for hunting over bait, illegally transporting big-game animals, and failing to tag and validate deer. Several trespassing complaints were handled, along with calls regarding hunting laws and licensing issues.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) reports trespass issues continue to be an increasing problem, as does rudely target practicing near deer hunters that are trying to have a peaceful hunt. A shining case with loaded guns continues to be investigated with interpretive services needed.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found a lot of hunters out during the unseasonably warm firearms deer opener. Hunting deer over bait continued to be a problem and corn piles were found under multiple hunters’ stands throughout the area. Piles of shelled corn were found near stands and some hunters flung corn kernels over large areas in hopes it would be less noticeable.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) worked a busy deer opener with COC Curtis Simonson. One hunter shot two bucks, which apparently wasn’t enough, because he tagged them with tags belonging to people who do not hunt. Another group of five hunters was found transporting five loaded guns in a motor vehicle.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) spent the past week patrolling for anglers and deer hunters. A boater on Sugar Lake was rescued after capsizing in the strong winds Sunday morning.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent a busy opening weekend checking deer hunters. Hunters were finding some success even with the wind and the warm weather keeping the deer from moving.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) worked the firearms deer-hunting opener, checked anglers, and responded to numerous trespassing complaints. Enforcement action was taken against five individuals who were caught hunting over bait on opening morning. One hunter stated, “If you knew this bait was here, why didn’t you come find me and tell me that before opener?” Londgren also worked with other divisions on wetland violations and an easement trespass violation.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) reports the 2020 deer opener was much like the rest of the year – odd! With 70-degree weather all weekend many hunters were in the their stands all day long. The deer harvest was good, with the rut in full swing. The one downfall was hunters had to take time out from the hunt to butcher deer and get the meat cooled.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked a deer-shining detail in Scott County and assisted local law enforcement in Scott County. He worked the firearms deer opener and small-game hunters. Many questions were answered from the Asian community regarding AR-15 pistol use in southern Minnesota and big-game hunting regulations.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) worked the firearms deer opener. Fogarty made contact with several hunters who were in blaze-colored T-shirts due to the warm weather.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports working a busy firearms deer opener and found many hunters had success. Arntzen investigated many TIP calls and also continued checking small-game and waterfowl hunters. Violations for the week included hunting with the aid of bait, hunting big game without a license, unsigned federal stamps, and hunting with an invalid license.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) took calls about wetland violations and miscellaneous WMA violations. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, taking deer with a rifle in the shotgun zone, and transporting a deer head or spine out of a CWD zone.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the past week working on big-game investigations and checking waterfowl and pheasant hunters. Deer hunter numbers in the area seemed to be up from previous years for opening weekend. Temperatures in the mid-70s and wind gusts over 30 mph were added challenges for deer hunting and processing.
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) primarily worked deer and small-game enforcement during the past week. With nearly all of the crop out, pheasant hunters have been having success.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) reports working duck hunters, pheasant hunters, and archery deer hunters this past week. Deer-possession permits are on the rise due to an increase in deer movement.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls requesting hunting law clarifications and reports of hunter harassment and sick or injured animals. Firearms deer hunting participation seemed higher than previous years, but the success rate seemed lower, likely due to the unseasonably warm weather and high winds during the opening weekend.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked small-game, waterfowl, and big-game hunters. The majority of the questions were regarding laws that have been on the books for many years, such as blaze orange requirements that were violated.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports a busy opening weekend to the deer season. Windy conditions hindered the harvest in some areas.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked small-game and big-game hunters, waterfowl hunters, anglers, and ATV operators during the past week. Davis also patrolled wildlife management areas, state parks, and waterfowl production areas. Numerous deer hunters took to the field for the Minnesota firearms deer season opener weekend. Many hunters struggled to see and harvest deer with the warm and windy weather conditions.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working a busy week and weekend of fishing, waterfowl hunting, and deer hunting in the southeast. Trespassing remains the No. 1 violation.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports a multi-year investigation was completed that resulted in charges for hunting without a license, trespass, and several tagging violations. The CO assisted in the on-scene care and evacuation of two hunters whose treestand collapsed. The hunters suffered injuries and were transported to a hospital.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) investigated several incidents of deer shot from the roadway. A deer-baiting case resulted in the seizure of three shotguns. Trespass complaints were also plentiful during the weekend. Schneider also handled an illegal goose-hunting case involving two hunters who trespassed on a residential property along Lake Pepin and shot geese in a backyard.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) assisted COs Schneider and Fitzgerald on a case in which individuals were deer hunting with piles of pumpkins in front of their stands. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) found duck hunters hunting in a closed area and hunting after hours. An angler being checked produced an expired fishing license. Upon conversation about the expired license, it was discovered the angler was attempting to use the fishing license of his roommate and did not realize it was last year’s license.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a slow start to the 2020 deer season. Warm weather made hunting success slow. One successful youth hunter told the story of falling asleep in the woods and when he woke up there was a buck staring at him from about 15 yards. He was startled, but reached over for his shotgun, aimed, and harvested the buck. The other hunters in his group, while laughing, shook their heads in disbelief.