Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – December 18, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) removed illegal stands from area wildlife management areas and attended training at Camp Ripley.
CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) primarily worked angling activity on Lake of the Woods. Ice on the lake is still forming and shifting. It remains very dangerous with many large cracks, heaves, and areas of open water.
CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) worked primarily angling and ATVing enforcement. Larson spent time checking anglers on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River. He also worked a complaint related to operating a business for economic gain at a state public water access.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued to monitor muzzleloader-hunting activity and early ice anglers. Enforcement action was taken for taking deer without a valid license, litter, and wanton waste of a big-game animal.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working trapping, muzzleloader deer hunting, and angling activity on special-regulation lakes throughout this past week. Time also was spent patrolling area trails for activity and investigating reports of trespassing.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking muzzleloader deer hunters this past week. Time was also spent checking trapping activity and small-game hunters.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored ice anglers on area lakes. Most of the week was spent checking ice anglers on Upper Red Lake. Enforcement action was taken for multiple angling and ATVing violations.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week checking ice anglers and finishing some cases from the deer-hunting season. Swedberg reports that while most lakes have solid ice, anglers need to continue checking as several lakes do not have thick enough ice for permanent houses or recreational vehicles to go out on them.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working the remaining days of the muzzleloader deer season and ice-fishing activity. Time was also spent closing open cases from the firearms deer season. One case involving a trespass violation in Minnesota resulted in the discovery by Wisconsin game wardens of an illegal taxidermy business in Wisconsin.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week checking pheasant hunters, muzzleloader deer hunters, and anglers. Anglers are urged to use extreme caution on the ice as some areas have reopened and other areas have 3 inches of ice or less. Calls from the public included a trespassing complaint and requests for deer-possession tags.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) finalized field training with COC Cassie Block. The pair of officers checked ice anglers and monitored whitefish-netting activity. Plautz attended training and continues to investigate dogs-chasing-deer complaints. Dog owners are encouraged to keep their dogs at home; hunters do not appreciate dogs running on land where they are attempting to hunt.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the majority of the past week focused on small-game, archery, and muzzleloader deer enforcement. She took calls regarding an injured eagle, which turned out to be a hawk, a deer-carcass dump site, and a deer with its head cut off. Wood also followed up on resource protection notifications issued early last week with the area hydrologist and the soil and water conservation district at a site visit.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) reports a goose-dumping complaint was investigated. It turned into a case involving wanton waste of fish, wanton waste of geese, littering, fishing without a fishing license, and taking waterfowl without a state waterfowl stamp.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) followed up on deer-hunting and Wetland Conservation Act violations that are ongoing. A report was received about a deer shot from the road and left near the Spruce Creek WMA in Douglas County on the evening of the last day of the muzzleloader season. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the TIP line.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked hunting and fishing activity. She also responded to a call about someone falling out of their deer stand. The CO also received calls regarding trap tampering and animal carcasses dumped along roads.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) reports public waters and wetland violations were investigated in Wadena, Hubbard, and Otter Tail counties.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) reports a TIP call about a hunter possibly hunting deer out of season turned out to be a legal porcupine hunter. Mathy also responded to a report about a hunter pointing a rifle at oncoming traffic. Evidence of that happening couldn’t be found. A deer-season case was completed and submitted to the county attorney’s office for formal charges of taking an overlimit of deer out of season.
CO Michael Cross (Lake George) arrived at his permanent station. Time was spent conducting district familiarization and meeting with community members and regional staff.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers and muzzleloader deer hunters, and followed up on a firearms deer season case. Drug evidence was sent to the BCA lab from a 2nd-degree possession and sales of a controlled substance case, which originated from a spruce top theft case.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) investigated a number of trespass complaints during the past week.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time following up on several trespass violations. He spoke to a landowner who has started to feed deer in such large numbers that several car-deer accidents have occurred near the landowner’s residence. The landowner was advised that with the mild winter at this point, the deer population is not hurting.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports muzzleloader deer hunters were scarce but northern pike spear-fishing activity was high. Slatinski was flagged down by an individual on a bridge after the person observed three deer trying to cross the bridge. The animals panicked when they met the CO’s truck. Two of the deer continued on, but one jumped over the side and did not survive the drop. The deer was collected and its meat was utilized.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked on Upper Red Lake with area officers and CO Lawler. High levels of activity were observed, and many violations were encountered such as extra lines, unattended lines, overlimits of walleyes, too many walleyes over 17 inches, possession of dressed fillets, unregistered recreational vehicles, no shelter tags, and drug paraphernalia.
CO Sean Williams (Ely) checked a number of anglers on several lakes across the Ely area. ATVs have become abundant and are being operated on the lakes that froze early. However, a fish house broke through the ice on one those same lakes. People are reminded to continue to be vigilant of ice conditions.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ice angling and trapping activity this past week. Ice conditions continue to improve on most area lakes, but anglers must still use caution on early ice.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked with CO Wahlstrom on a case involving a deer caught in a trap and another trapping situation that turned out to be legal. CO Manning also took reports about drivers led astray by Google. At least three drivers, including one in a semi-truck, followed their smartphone’s advice down unplowed forest roads and ATV trails that are part of the county snowmobile system. The semi-driver shared a nice evening and dinner with the good Samaritan who rescued him while he waited five hours for a tow.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked the muzzleloader deer season. He also checked anglers and small-game hunters, patrolled campgrounds, and monitored ATV riders.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) and his K9 partner Si assisted in locating spent casings and searched for evidence thrown into the woods by a fleeing suspect. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, allowing illegal youth operation of an ATV, and transporting an uncased firearm.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked ice anglers this past week and weekend. She took a couple of complaints about nuisance and possibly sick animals, too.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, darkhouse spearing, big-game, and ATV-related activities throughout the surrounding areas. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license in possession and spearing without a license.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) monitored big-game and small-game hunting activity. Follow-up work was done on open cases, and several game- and fish-related phone calls were fielded.
CO Vincent Brown (Northome) spent the past week familiarizing himself with his new station.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked muzzleloader and archery deer-hunting activity most of the past week. Ice conditions have improved greatly.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) completed the field training process for Conservation Officer Candidate Charles Scott. Duncan also checked hunting locations for late-season archery and muzzleloader hunters. Baiting locations were found, and enforcement was taken for hunters hunting over bait. Other activities included checking beaver traps and ice anglers.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) patrolled Jay Cooke State Park while the special muzzleloader deer hunt was going on. Humphrey also checked ice anglers on several area lakes.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent time conducting K9 training and following up on hunting violations from the deer season. A complaint about a butchered deer carcass was investigated. The suspect was easily found because his deer tag was still attached to the ear of the deer. Enforcement action was taken for littering and failing to register the deer.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers as well as those venturing in boats onto Lake Superior. Olson also worked a special detail in the Ely area. Violations detected included extra lines, deer baiting and license-related issues.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) reports some ice fishing is under way in the area, but anglers need to be aware ice conditions vary greatly. A deer went through the ice on an area lake.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) checked muzzleloader hunting activity and early ice-angling activity. A gross misdemeanor case from the deer season was presented to the county attorney for charges.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) had a busy week of checking anglers. McGowan worked the Mississippi River for open-water anglers and Upper Red Lake for ice fishing. He began field training a conservation officer candidate and responded to a vehicle crash.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked ice anglers and muzzleloader deer hunters. He also checked trapping activity.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) finished the muzzleloader season with a trespassing case. Best also took enforcement action for no fishing license, commercial bait violations, operating a motor vehicle on a grant-in-aid snowmobile trail, operating a motor vehicle off-trail, and no timber harvest permit. Investigations remain open for baiting, failure to register big game, and deer overlimits.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked ice anglers making their way onto smaller lakes. Trappers where also making use of the clear ice and a lack of snow.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) followed up on a report of an abandoned boat and other litter left on Aitkin County land.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked trapping season items and muzzleloader deer hunters. The warm weather has been hampering ice formation, and extreme caution should be used. A call about a possible wetlands violation was taken, along with questions related to lake-level laws.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) reports muzzleloader and archery deer hunters were taking advantage of the warmer weather. Other CO activities included finding trappers in pursuit of foxes, otters, and muskrats.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked big-game, small-game, and sportfishing activity this past week. Time was also spent working on a deer-hunting investigation.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) spent the past week getting to know his station. He checked WMAs for muzzleloader deer hunters and area lakes for ice anglers.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked with neighboring officers on fishing, hunting, and trapping activity. Fishing on local ice still is not advised.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) checked pheasant and deer hunters. Some ice anglers were out trying their luck, but ice conditions deteriorated during the week. Time also was spent dealing with trespassing and trapping complaints. A baited deer stand was worked during the week.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports a busy week of checking small-game hunters, deer hunters, trappers, and anglers. While observing one angler, Seifermann noted that the man had caught seven crappies through the ice. When the angler noticed Seifermann, he left the fish on the ice and hurried to his vehicle. The angler was charged with fishing while his angling privileges were revoked and driving while revoked. He was arrested on a local warrant.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) completed a snaring investigation. The individual did not have a license and wasn’t checking his snares as required.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked on muzzleloader deer hunters at the Lake Maria State Park special hunt this past week. A snowmobile antique collector was assisted in getting his older snowmobiles (over 25 years old) special collector permits.
CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports checking muzzleloader hunters during their final days of trying to harvest a deer during this year’s season. Two young thrill-seekers were stopped because they were operating ATVs and dirt bikes carelessly around Spectacle Lake. Benkofske and CO Krauel arrested an individual driving a stolen car taken from Princeton.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for deer hunters and anglers. Ice on area lakes is still thin, but some anglers are venturing out on foot. Numerous wildlife-possession permits were issued during the past week.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) continued to work archery and muzzleloader deer hunting activity. Maass also handled several trespassing and legal access questions. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register a big-game animal and littering.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked anglers on the Minnesota River. Open-water anglers were still found in good numbers on the river. Fogarty found most people did not carry their fishing licenses with them. The anglers were advised they must have their angling licenses in their possession while fishing. Fogarty also took complaints about deer feeding within the CWD zone. A homeowner was contacted and advised of the new rules.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked small-game hunters and assisted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with interpretation on big-game violations.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time patrolling WMAs for late-season hunters and the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers for walleye anglers. On local lakes, ice anglers are starting to venture out despite very thin and inconsistent ice.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling and hunting activity. Salzer responded to several hunting complaints and continued to investigate hunting violations from the past season.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week following up on ongoing big-game investigations. Litter in a WMA was also investigated.
CO Stephen Westby (Madison) checked numerous pheasant and muzzleloader hunters during the past week. Many pheasant hunters checked had insufficient blaze orange due to the open muzzleloader deer season. Enforcement action included untagged deer, failure to validate a deer tag, and blaze orange violations.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent a lot of time dealing with possible wetland violations. With the dry conditions, many people are tiling or ditching wetlands. It is not legal to drain a wetland. Klehr also followed up on complaints about pheasant hunters hunting in the Greenleaf State Recreation Area which is only open to archery deer hunting. One hunter admitted to knowing it was for archery only, but decided to go anyway because he previously saw other pheasant hunters out there.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls concerning stands left on wildlife management areas, shining, and hunting deer with the aid of bait.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports numerous complaints of trespass and shooting from the roadway continue to be worked.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) followed up on complaints from the firearms deer season. He also checked river anglers and worked with neighboring officers checking trapping and small-game hunting compliance.
CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) spent time getting familiar with the Spring Valley station. Time was spent answering questions about nuisance beavers.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked the end of the muzzleloader deer season this past week. Activity levels seemed to be down from previous years. Fishing activity on the Minnesota River has slowed somewhat.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports time was spent investigating trespass complaints, shooting from the road complaints, and baiting complaints. He is also finding trout anglers fishing in closed areas and streams.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the past week checking deer, waterfowl, and pheasant hunters. Enforcement action was taken for no pheasant stamp, transporting a loaded firearm, hunting without a license, and unplugged shotguns.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) assisted CO Boyum with a deer case in which an individual was in possession of a buck and called in two weeks later to see if he could get a possession permit for it.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working the final week of muzzleloader deer-hunting enforcement. Complaints regarding trespassing, littering, and deer-hunting-related issues were investigated.