Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 20, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) and COC Tou Vang checked deer hunters throughout the past week. Violations for the week included hunting with the aid of bait, transporting a loaded rifle, failure to register deer, and failure to tag deer.
CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) continued working the firearms deer season. Many calls and complaints were fielded and investigated, including a felon in possession of a firearm and an ongoing hunter-harassment issue on public land.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored deer-hunting activity and took enforcement action for taking deer while privileges are revoked, untagged big game, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, shooting from the roadway at big game, borrowing a big-game license, deer overlimit, recreational trespass on ag land, transporting illegally taken big game, and open bottle violations.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports focusing enforcement efforts on firearms deer hunting and trapping activity throughout this past week. Time was spent checking deer hunters, issuing wildlife-possession permits for car-killed deer and bears, dogs chasing deer, investigating reports of shining, and road hunters shooting deer from the roadway. Regas worked a road-hunting enforcement detail with CO Vollbrecht, and high shining-activity areas were monitored for illegal shining activity.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked deer-hunting activity throughout the week. Several calls about individuals hunting on the Bemidji Game Refuge with firearms were taken. Individuals are reminded to check where they are hunting and not use hunting apps to determine if areas are open to hunting because they may not show state game refuges in the area.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week working a busy rifle deer season in the Becker County area. Several trespassing complaints were handled and most were easily resolved. Swedberg also assisted Becker County and the Detroit Lakes Police Department with several calls throughout the week.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked various calls including complaints of baiting, trespassing, and shooting from the road. Charges are pending for all three, and two rifles and one large buck were seized.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent the past week working deer-hunting activity with hunters reporting poor success. Assistance was given to the Becker County Sheriff’s Office with the search for a lost hunter. Complaints about trespass and illegal ATV use in a WMA were investigated. A car-versus-moose call was received. Due to its injuries, the moose was euthanized.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer conducted an investigation that resulted in multiple deer-hunting violations, including shooting from a roadway and an overlimit of deer. A trespassing complaint was also investigated and it was found that a hunter shot from the road. The deer and the hunter’s firearm were seized, and he was issued a citation for the violation.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked deer, waterfowl, and pheasant hunters. Lending and borrowing deer tag violations were detected, and hunters are reminded that members of the hunting party who want to tag deer for others need to be afield hunting at the time the deer is taken.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the past week focused on big-game enforcement. She took calls regarding injured deer and an injured swan. Wood assisted the Wheaton Fire Department with a house fire in town that ended up a complete loss. Wood also witnessed an individual shoot and kill a pheasant from a motor vehicle, after hours, on property that wasn’t theirs, and without blaze orange on.
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports spending the past week concentrating on the firearms deer season. Canada goose numbers have increased the past few days. The goose pits in the area are having good harvest reports.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) worked primarily deer-hunting activity throughout the week. Complaints were received concerning trespassing, hunter harassment, and injured deer. Time also was spent following up on a TIP complaint. Violations encountered included hunting license violations, no blaze orange, trespassing, and deer-tagging and registration violations.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) primarily focused on enforcement around big-game hunting activities including off-highway vehicle use and forestry enforcement.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking multiple deer hunters throughout the past week. With the cooler weather, the deer have been moving around more than opening weekend. Kunst also received multiple phone calls in regards to dogs chasing deer in the Remer area.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked deer-hunting enforcement this past week. The nice weather brought out large numbers of hunters. Violations observed were trespass, untagged deer, and shooting from a road.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked deer hunters in the area. The deer harvest seems to be lower than prior years. Mathy received complaints about deer feeding-ban violations, ATV use in a WMA, and a couple of road-hunting complaints.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time conducting deer-hunting regulatory checks throughout the past week. Zavodnik assisted CO Frericks with a complaint involving shots heard well after legal shooting hours. During the course of the investigation, several individuals in a hunting camp were found to have been hunting over bait. One of the party members was also successful in harvesting a decent buck, but it was later determined the deer was taken over bait. Enforcement action was taken in regards to numerous big-game violations during the event.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) and COs Frericks and Zavodnik worked a road-hunting complaint detail and encountered deer hunters shooting from the road, transporting a loaded firearm, and wearing no blaze orange.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time writing reports for several baiting citations issued during the past week. Once those were completed, COs Frericks found yet another person hunting over at least two gallons of shelled corn. Several trespass cases continue to be investigated.
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) and COC Curtis Simonson started the week by checking local deer camps in the area. Hunters reported having some success. Overall, hunters reported the deer movement being slow. Trespass complaints were addressed and handled.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) took a report about an individual believed to be hunting within a city limits. It is the responsibility of the hunter to know what type of land he is hunting.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked deer hunters and trappers this past week. Deer hunting was slow and traps were getting iced up. Velsvaag received several calls on topics ranging from brook trout to tagging furs.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked deer hunters and small-game hunters. Fresh snow seemed to do little to help with deer movement as hunters reported another slow week.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports working a busy week of deer-hunting enforcement. Two mature bucks were seized one morning in separate cases of shooting from a road right of way – within a mile of each other. Several folks were contacted for hunting while revoked. In another case, an individual was contacted when pulling a buck out of the woods. When checking his license, the CO discovered that he purchased his license an hour and a half before the check, and the individual admitted to shooting the deer in his yard and then going and purchasing a license.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports that on his way to the regional office in Grand Rapids, he encountered illegal balsam bough harvesting on U.S. Forest Service land. He also cited a party for transporting a loaded rifle in a motor vehicle after the CO contacted three hunters near the wood line of a county road after the group attempted to take a deer that had crossed the road. Enforcement action was taken on two ATV riders for registration violations. Hill issued a new adult trapper a warning for violating lynx management zone trap laws. Hill spent time explaining the laws to the trapper, who also was thanked for bringing along a teenager and showing them around the great outdoors.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) and COC Stephen Westby began Phase 4 of field training in Bigfork. They checked several deer hunters during the second weekend of the season, with only a few deer harvested. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, untagged deer, failure to validate a deer tag, a small amount of marijuana, and attempting to take deer over the limit.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked hunters, responded to TIP calls, and handled injured-animal complaints. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also located spent shell casings from a shooting-from-the-road case and assisted county officers in locating a handgun that was hidden by a suspect.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) continued to focus enforcement efforts on big-game hunters during the firearms deer season. The weather for the second weekend changed significantly for hunters, with temperatures dropping during the week. Assistance was given to the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office with an ATV accident.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) followed up on ongoing big-game cases. Willis also assisted a Fond du Lac biologist in locating a collared wolf in the Floodwood area.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent the past week working deer-hunting activity. Baiting, trespassing, and shooting from the roadway complaints were handled. Schmidt also assisted St. Louis County with a deer shack break-in/squatter and also with an escaped prisoner from the Northeast Regional Correctional Center.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) followed up on deer-season calls during the past week. Several of them involved baiting complaints. Humphrey also assisted neighboring officers with ongoing cases.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) and K9 Schody assisted with several calls during the past week that included assisting in searching for a shot wolf, rifle casings that were used in a trespass and overlimit case, and tracking a fugitive from a correctional facility in Duluth.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) handled deer-hunting complaints and checked hunters in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. ATV-operation violations were found, and the season’s first snowmobile riders started to appear. Baiting, tagging, and transport violations were found related to deer hunting.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) took complaints about trespassing throughout the past week. Dumped deer carcasses on the roadside were seen too frequently.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) had several contacts involving loaded firearms in motor vehicles, untagged deer, tags not validated, trespass, and shooting from roadways. She also worked several deer-baiting cases. Ladd took several questions and, like she does every deer season in Aitkin County, is investigating a wetland violation.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) took enforcement action this past week for trapping issues, transporting loaded guns, baited stands, hunter harassment, trespass, operating motor vehicles on closed trails, and timber theft.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked the busy firearms deer season. Numerous hunters were contacted. One hunter, in the moments before sunset, was able to take three deer out of one herd. The hunter told Guida the moment of the harvest “got pretty wild.” Guida also interviewed a suspect in a shooting from the roadway/trespass complaint in which a rifle and a fawn that was shot were seized in the violation. The poacher faces substantial fines, forfeiture of equipment, and loss of hunting privileges if convicted.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking deer hunters throughout the week and weekend. Calls about trespassing, illegal recreational vehicle activity, and dumped deer carcasses were fielded.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked deer-hunting activities and found overall compliance good. An overlimit of buck deer was found, along with illegal party hunting.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent a majority of the past week dealing with deer-hunting complaints and violations. Some trappers were also out attempting to catch otters, mink, and beavers. Hunters placing bait to attract deer continued to be a problem. One deer hunter was found set up next to several piles of corn and sunflower seeds. As Grundmeier approached, the hunter’s ground blind and identified himself as a game warden, the first words heard from the hunting blind were, “Oh, no.”
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) reports voluntary CWD sampling numbers are very low in the area. Please go online and find a voluntary CWD sampling site. If you are in the Pine City area, there is a drop-off location at the Pine City National Guard Armory located in the city of Pine City. There is also a drop-off location on State Highway 70 by the Wisconsin border. If you have a trophy deer, you can have the deer caped or mounted by a taxidermist and they will collect the lymph nodes to deliver to the state. Please go to the DNR website (mndnr.gov) to find drop-off locations, taxidermists, and instructions.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week checking deer hunters throughout the station. One hunter was arrested for DWI after being found behind the wheel at over three times the legal limit.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) continued with a busy deer season this past week. Enforcement action was taken for lending/borrowing a license, failure to validate a tag, failure to register deer, and transporting loaded firearms. Several trespass calls were handled.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) and CO Starr observed an individual shoot an overlimit of bucks and then wait in his treestand for an acquaintance to show up from his house to unlawfully tag it.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking deer hunters. Krauel also assisted local law enforcement with a foot pursuit.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) contacted three juveniles on snowmobiles near Palmer. He was about to release the juveniles with warnings when he received a call that the juveniles had just trespassed in an agricultural field. The juveniles did significant damage to the crop and the farmer was not happy. Enforcement action was taken, and the juveniles’ parents/guardians were talked to about the incident.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) continued checking hunters. He returned calls for service including TIPs, injured wildlife and hunting regulations. He worked with District 18 during the last days of the 3A season and encountered violations of failure to validate a site tag, taking big game in the wrong zone, and no hunting license in possession.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) investigated a trespassing case that led to criminal charges.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week checking deer hunters. Arntzen also worked on several big-game investigations, and handled trespassing complaints and hunter-harassment issues.
CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) patrolled Carlos Avery WMA during the firearms deer season. Hanna investigated a party hunting violation that resulted in the seizure of a buck.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time working the firearms deer season. K9 Earl was deployed to search for shell casings and wild game on multiple complaints leading to enforcement action involving trespass, shooting from the roadway and shooting within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the past week working a busy firearms deer season. Complaints dealing with trespassing, discharging a firearm from a roadway, baiting, shining, and illegal party hunting were some of the investigations conducted.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) worked deer- and waterfowl-hunting activity. He also responded to several hunter disputes and trespass complaints. Vernier also followed up on a wanton waste complaint.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) reports assistance was given to duck hunters on Cedar Lake who had motor issues.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) congratulates a caller who described himself as a beginning hunter. He turned himself in for allowing his teenage son to shoot at a deer from the roadway. The caller learned from another hunter after retelling the story that shooting from the road was illegal. This violation wasn’t witnessed and the caller had no fear of being reported. His conscience was his guide.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports several complaints were addressed related to trespassing and harvest violations. ATV and angling violations also were addressed.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked small-game and big-game hunters, waterfowl hunters, anglers, and ATV operators during the week. Davis also patrolled wildlife management areas, state parks, and waterfowl production areas. Multiple violations for various small- and big-game violations were encountered.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports beginning Step 4 of field training with COC Corey Sura. The officers remained busy throughout the week with both deer and duck hunters. Violations encountered included not wearing blaze orange during the firearms season, shooting big game from the road right of way, not validating deer site tags, and transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports two waterfowl hunters ended up in the water after their boat capsized in Pool 8 of the Mississippi River. A local resident along the river, after hearing the hunter’s calls for help, was able to quickly launch his boat and rescue both hunters. Other waterfowl hunters helped out by collecting the two hunters’ decoys, guns, and other belongings that were floating down the channel.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) and COC Meng Moua followed up on complaints of illegal shining, trespass, deer baiting, and hunter harassment. On a day when there were up to 30-mph winds, there were 20 duck boats out of one river access.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) reports trespass complaints have been frequent and often involved hunters who were blood trailing deer on properties where they didn’t have permission. Another call involved a group of hunters who were suspected of shooting a building with a slug while making a deer drive.