Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – December 4, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) and COC Tou Vang did follow-up from the deer season and investigated an illegal snare case. Enforcement action was taken for failing to tend traps and having no breakaway device on a snare.
CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) primarily worked big-game enforcement. Larson spent time following up on deer-hunting violations that occurred throughout the season. He also spent time preparing for the muzzleloader and ice-fishing seasons.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) conducted follow-up on cases from the deer season, investigated a possible gray wolf depredation (a horse), and responded to a complaint about dogs chasing deer.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking ice anglers on area lakes. Time also was spent checking deer hunters during the muzzleloader opener. A bear-hunting case was investigated.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) followed up calls from the firearms deer season. He assisted the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office and Red Lake Police Department with a fatal hunting incident.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked new cases of deer-carcass dumping and unregistered deer. He also continued with ongoing rifle deer season cases.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked small-game and pheasant-hunting activity in area wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas. Angling activity was monitored, with ice conditions continuing to vary. She worked the muzzleloader deer opener and assisted the White Earth Police Department with a search.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week focused on checking small-game hunters and trappers. Additional time was spent checking waterfowl hunters and following up on wetland restoration orders.
CO Emily Leeb (Morris) reports working small-game hunters, ATV riders, and muzzleloader hunters throughout the past week and weekend. Overall, compliance levels were high, with enforcement action taken for people burning without burn permits.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) monitored ice conditions and found a few people venturing onto the ice this past week. Ice is inconsistent and caution should be used when going on early ice.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) reports that a couple of complaints about hunter harassment were received and investigated.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the past week following up on deer-season cases and complaints. Eight Canada geese were found killed and dumped off County Road 8 without being breasted out. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the TIP line.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) continued to work hunting activity including pheasant, waterfowl, archery, and muzzleloader deer. Follow-up investigations from the firearms deer season are taking place.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked fishing enforcement this past week. Ice and open-water anglers were out. Success is limited and, according to the anglers, the fish have not been very active. Muskie anglers were most numerous. He worked the muzzleloader deer opener as well. The CO received a complaint about a person dumping a deer carcass in the Rock Lake campground and another of an abandoned camper.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) worked on deer-season cases, checked traps, and saw a few ice anglers out. Venturing onto the ice is a risky choice at this point. Mathy responded to a report about a possible hunting violation in a game refuge.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) followed up on big-game-related complaints, including several involving the illegal dumping of deer carcasses. Some ATV riders were seen out during the weekend with mild weather. Some of the area lakes are frozen over, but ice conditions are still questionable. Some anglers were checked during the weekend, but no fish is worth risking your life.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook), along with CO Kittelson and COC Simonson, responded to a complaint involving a party retrieving a dead deer on private property. Upon further investigation, the passenger in the vehicle associated with the incident was found to have taken a doe in a lottery zone without the appropriate license, had failed to validate and attach the tag, and had registered it as a buck because the person knew a doe could not be legally taken with that license. During the course of the interview, the known driver, whose driving privileges are canceled, pulled into the driveway with the suspected pickup truck that transported the illegally shot deer. He also smelled strongly of alcohol and was ultimately found to be under the influence of alcohol. Enforcement action, including a DWI arrest and the seizure of a rifle, deer, and a motor vehicle, was taken during the course of the investigation.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the muzzleloader deer season, a special state park muzzleloader deer season, and a complaint about several large deer-hunting-related items left on a local WMA.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) responded to a report that a wolf was shot after displaying odd and concerning behavior.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports assistance was provided to individuals having trouble obtaining deer-hunting licenses. People are reminded to discard unwanted deer remains appropriately. Along roads and trails is not appropriate, and this behavior does not shed a good light on the hunting community.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports opening weekend of the muzzleloader deer season saw everything from sun and 40 degrees to snow and 30-mph winds. Ice conditions still vary greatly, and no lakes were yet safe in the Ely area.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked muzzleloader deer hunters and anglers this past week. Ice fishing was slow as anglers had difficulty getting out on the early ice on most lakes. Velsvaag had several calls about trapping regulations and northern pike size restrictions.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area forest roads and trails. She also checked a few archery deer hunters and grouse hunters. Lake ice conditions still vary.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked muzzleloader deer hunters, ice anglers, and ATV riders. Enforcement action was taken for littering, allowing illegal juvenile ATV operation, and leaving duck decoys to freeze in public waters after the close of the season.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports checking early ice anglers in the area. Ice thickness varies between 2 and 6 inches. Water flowage may make ice dangerous. A person was contacted for illegally burning garbage in a burn barrel.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked deer muzzleloader hunting and trapping activity this past week. Time also was spent on follow-up investigations from the firearms deer season and monitoring bough-harvesting activity.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) and COC Stephen Westby continued with Phase 4 of field training. They located several people pheasant hunting and muzzleloader hunting. Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms, small-game violations, and no license in possession. Pheasant hunters and trappers are required to wear full blaze orange during the muzzleloader season.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended training, checked hunters, and worked decorative material enforcement. Fairbanks and his K9 partner, Si, also assisted in locating spent casings in a trespass case, sat on the perimeter of a barricaded-suspect situation, and searched for a firearm that was thrown from a vehicle.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) did follow-up from the firearms deer season this past week. She answered questions about the recent deer harvest and current muzzleloader deer season. Some lakes are seeing a build-up of ice and ice-fishing activity.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) continued follow-up work on open big-game investigations. Seasonal maintenance was also performed on equipment.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time following up on firearms deer season cases, checking muzzleloader hunters, and talking with people who are gearing up for the ice-fishing season. A few ice anglers were checked on smaller lakes.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) and COC Charles Scott report the deer season closed with a hunting-over-bait complaint. Questions were answered pertaining to the proper way to post property to prevent trespassing.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended K9 training with the rest of the DNR K9 Unit at Camp Ripley. K9 assistance was given in a case that involved shooting from the road and trespassing in Aitkin County.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) finished up on remaining items from the firearms deer season and checked muzzleloader hunters and a few trappers during the weekend. Boats have been launched from the McQuade Safe Harbor and fishing the waters around Duluth with limited success.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) wrapped up cases from the firearms deer season. Commercial cisco netters were checked as they wrapped up their season. Even the cisco meat and roe markets are being affected by COVID-related closures.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) received calls regarding the dumping of deer carcasses. Please check the regulations on where your deer carcass may be dumped.
CO Eric Sullivan (Pequot Lakes) continued training with COC Brown. They saw a shortage of hunters out for the muzzleloader season opener, but saw an increase in car-killed deer due to icy road conditions.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked late-season waterfowl hunters and followed up on deer-hunting complaints. McGowan also worked open-water muskie anglers.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking muzzleloader deer hunters during the weekend. Even with the warmer weather, most people were reporting not having much luck. Fitzgerald also started seeing anglers on the early ice. Calls regarding car-killed deer permits, illegal ATVing activity, and a possibly poached deer were fielded.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a possible violation of taking deer out of season and shooting from the roadway.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) saw a quiet end to the rifle deer season and a busy start to the muzzleloader season. Some ice anglers were observed on sketchy ice with open water not far away. The overall consensus among First Responders is that a fish is not worth risking human lives. Starr received a call late at night from an obviously intoxicated muzzleloader hunter who wanted him to settle a hunting party argument.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked big-game and sportfishing enforcement this past week. Calls were fielded regarding hunting stands and dead deer.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week working with COC Larson. Follow-up complaints from the firearms deer season were handled, including a deer carcass-dumping complaint. A TIP complaint regarding the illegal taking of deer was investigated, with enforcement action taken.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked the last of duck-hunting activity as well as trapping activity. He took reports about equipment left on WMAs and handled a request for a roadkill permit.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked on deer cases and checked anglers and muzzleloader and archery deer hunters. A few duck hunters were out for the close of the duck season. One deer-season investigation resulted in a citation for illegal party hunting, among other violations. After the case was done, the hunter went and got a photo album that had a photo of the suspect and Thesing posing with his first buck that he got five years ago when Thesing checked him. The illegal deer meat was donated to an area food shelf.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) attended a memorial service for Officer Tommy Decker (Cold Spring Police Department) and Officer Brian Klinefelter (St. Joseph Police Department), who were killed in the line of duty.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports calls about littering and injured animals were received and investigated. An incidental fisher was reported, and a deer-possession permit was issued.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports that a rifle that was seized as part of a deer case was found to be stolen from West Virginia.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Nathan Benkofske (Milaca) reports deer-carcass littering continues to be problematic, generating many calls from the public.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) checked hunters, followed up on deer-hunting cases, and conducted site visits for wetlands and public waters violations.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and hunters. Violations were found for no blaze orange and possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) investigated several dumping and trespassing complaints. Please remember to dispose of deer carcasses legally. Dumping carcasses on public lands and road rights of way is unlawful.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked deer and duck hunters in the metro area. Small-game hunters and some shore anglers also were checked. He also patrolled state trails.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) observed several people angling for trout during the closed season. Upon checking these anglers, it was found two of the three did not have angling licenses and one did not have a trout stamp. The anglers were fishing right next to a designated trout lake sign. Fogarty also responded to a report about an owl shot in the city of Shakopee. Fogarty determined the owl had hit overhead electrical lines and was not shot.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) spent time investigating a possible wetland-violation complaint.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked fishing activity on the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for deer-hunting activity. Salzer received calls regarding deer hunting out of season. If anyone has information regarding deer being harvested out of season within the past week, please contact him through the TIP hotline.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the past week monitoring deer hunters and waterfowlers in the area. Enforcement action was taken for trespassing in a closed WMA, hunting in a closed AMA, as well as no blaze orange.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) continued with ongoing investigations stemming from the firearms deer season. Assistance was given to some other COs who requested help on some of their cases.
CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) received a complaint about people trespassing while looking for a deer. Hanna talked with the landowner about how to properly post his land. Hanna also received some deer-dumping complaints.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the past week checking hunters and conducting investigations. Muzzleloader deer season opened with good numbers of hunters hitting the fields.
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked deer- and pheasant-hunting enforcement this past week. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register a big-game animal, dumping litter or offal in a WMA, no license in possession, and operating a motor vehicle in a WMA.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time checking hunters and following up on complaints of shooting from the roadway or a motor vehicle, trespassing, and littering. Numerous deer investigations are ongoing.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the past week checking pheasant, waterfowl, and deer hunters. Shore-fishing activity was worked. Pheasant hunters outnumbered deer hunters for the opening weekend of the muzzleloader deer season. A criminal damage to property investigation is ongoing, pertaining to a large wooden WMA sign that was spray-painted near Marshall. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the TIP hotline at 1-800-652-9093.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) worked a lot of pheasant hunters and a few duck hunters as the waterfowl season came to a close during the weekend. Klehr followed up on possible trespassing violations and complaints about hunters who were hunting on property lines. A buck was seized from a special muzzleloader hunt as the shooter thought it was a doe until the person got up to the dead deer, realized the mistake, and made the right decision to self-report.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received several calls about deer shot during the closed season and two heads cut off of two bucks in two WMAs.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) worked opening weekend of the muzzleloader season and fielded numerous TIP calls related to trespassing and shooting from motor vehicles and roadways.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato #1) focused on deer-hunting and trapping activity this past week. VanThuyne also checked anglers and recreational vehicle riders.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent much of the past week on work related to deer hunting. Hunters are reminded to check blaze orange requirements during the muzzleloader deer season. They are the same as during the regular firearms deer season.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked muzzleloader hunters during the weekend. A few waterfowl hunters also continued to chase ducks and geese in the area. Complaints about hunters dumping deer carcasses continue to be made.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) spent the past week checking deer and waterfowl hunters. Several complaints were received regarding road deer hunters and shining activity.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) responded to multiple trespass complaints throughout the week. Three hunters were stopped for illegally shining deer.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports that a guy wearing orange and carrying a full backpack was reported to be in a remote area of a state park. The man was located and was found to be trying his HAM radio from a bluff.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) and COC Corey Sura report worked the final week of the 3B deer season and the muzzleloader opener. Violations encountered included an unplugged shotgun, hunting deer without a license, failure to register deer, illegal transportation and trespassing. The latter continues to be the leading complaint of the deer season.