Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – December 25, 2020
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods, as well as archery deer-hunting and trapping activity around Roseau County. Violations for the past week included hunting deer with the aid of bait, possessing an overlimit of walleyes, possession of marijuana, angling with an extra line, and felony possession of cocaine.
CO Aaron Larson (Baudette) worked angling, ATVing, and trapping enforcement. The weekend brought a large number of anglers to Lake of the Woods.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) reports spending most of the past week checking anglers on Upper Red Lake, Lake of the Woods, and the Rainy River. Recent cold weather has caused many cracks to shift and separate on both lakes.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued monitoring area angling activity. He also patrolled during the fisher/marten and bobcat opening weekend. Numerous traps and snares were checked.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking anglers throughout the past week. Time also was spent inspecting aeration systems.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored ATVing activity and ice anglers on area lakes. Vollbrecht also monitored trapping activity in the area.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week checking ice anglers and working ongoing cases from the deer-hunting season. Swedberg also checked numerous ice anglers around the Detroit Lakes area.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working small-game and sportfishing enforcement. Time also was spent responding to trespassing and dogs-chasing-deer complaints.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the past week wrapping up deer-season cases and checking ice anglers.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) followed up on some potential deer-hunting violations and checked ice anglers and goose hunters. Like most years, ice conditions are inconsistent. An ATV went through on Otter Tail Lake. Fishing success is also spotty. Please check ice thickness; don’t assume someone else already did.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reported heavy ice fishing activity this past week as ice thickness has increased on a number of lakes. Lots of people have been walking out, and some are taking ATVs. Ice conditions still widely vary and caution should be exercised. Several citations were issued to anglers for marijuana possession, extra lines, expired ATV registration, and no shelter license. Information was received regarding a goose being run over purposefully by a motor vehicle. The investigation is ongoing.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) focused primarily on angling activity throughout the week. Time also was spent checking pheasant hunters and archery deer hunters. Holt monitored ice-fishing shelters on area lakes for compliance with shelter licensing, identification, and safety reflectors.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) patrolled Glendalough State Park, took another dogs-chasing-deer complaint, and handled an injured-swan call this past week. Trappers were found in the area doing well even though fur prices are still low.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the majority of the past week focused on big-game enforcement. She also took calls regarding an injured pelican and questions regarding lifetime licenses. Along with the reports from earlier of a bear being in the area, Wood also received reports and photos of a young bull elk in the area and a map with the path of a wolf that crossed through Traverse County before making its way to South Dakota and then going back north. Wood and CO Osborne are assisting South Dakota wardens with an ongoing investigation.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Michael Cross (Lake George) spent the past week primarily checking ice anglers on area lakes. Ice conditions in this area are still not safe for cars and trucks.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time following up on big-game cases, conducting trapping enforcement, and monitoring fishing activity. A “daring” soul decided the ice was thick enough for a full-size pickup on an area lake. The driver made it safely off the lake. Ice conditions vary greatly in the area, with thickness ranging from 2 inches to 12 inches.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked multiple anglers throughout the past week. She also investigated a report of a dead bear.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked on fishing enforcement this past week. He also checked snowmobile riders out in ditches and on the area lakes. Expired registration violations were found.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked ice anglers. The CO also spent some time checking traps in the area and following up on a wetland case.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the opening of the pine marten and fisher trapping season was slow, with few trappers out in the woods. Spearing on Rainy Lake and Lake Kabetogama continues, with success experienced by most anglers.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports ice-fishing activity is on the rise in the area. Simonson also monitored trapping activity in the area with the fisher and pine marten season opening. Simonson also assisted another agency by providing lights and traffic control after icy roads caused people to end up in the ditch.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ice anglers and the fisher, marten, and bobcat trapping opener. Anglers were found on all lakes checked, even on the lakes smaller than five acres in size. Enforcement action was taken for angling license and ATVing violations.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook), along with the State Patrol, responded to a reported wounded deer on a nearby lake. When both officers approached the deer, it was clear the slick ice conditions had led the deer to exhaustion due to difficult walking conditions. Once Zavodnik and the State Patrol officer got the animal back to shore, it ran away, showing no apparent injuries.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing and trapping activity. Anglers continue to report limited success. Ice conditions continue to improve with reported ice thickness on average of 5 to 7 inches.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the pine marten trapping opener, as well as anglers throughout the past week. Trapping participation seems higher with the good conditions for getting into the woods and high marten numbers.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking trappers and anglers. He also followed up on big-game investigations.
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports the pine marten and fisher trapping season saw a strong opener, with more trappers taking part than in years past.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping and angling activity this past week. Some area lakes have up to 12 inches of good ice, while others have far less. Checking ice frequently is always advised during early ice conditions.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) noted lots of folks out looking to photograph wildlife this past week. There were no reports of stranded drivers on trails this past week. Trappers and their sets were checked on opening weekend. Low fur prices appear to have had an effect on trapper numbers. Area trout lakes have seen early activity with a couple reports of early angling and numerous tracks indicating people checking the lakes out on foot. A citation was issued to a driver for using his truck to chase a moose on an area forest road while he was looking for wildlife to photograph.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vincent Brown (Northome) spent the past week checking ice anglers and focusing on trapping activity. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations, including no fishing licenses in possession, illegal-length fish, and ATV-registration issues.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked ice-fishing activity this past week. Although there were reports this past week of a skater and an ATVer going through the ice, everyone was OK. Please be careful and check conditions before going on the lakes.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the fisher, pine marten, and bobcat trapping opener, with plenty of trappers in the woods this season. Sutherland also checked multiple panfish anglers.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on angling, trapping, and darkhouse spearing activities. Enforcement action was taken for several angling license violations.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) checked ice anglers and public accesses. Anglers are having some luck in the area and ice conditions continue to improve. He also followed up on deer-season investigations and handled complaints related to nuisance and injured animals.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) checked many ice anglers throughout the past week. CO Duncan also spent time following up on deer-hunting cases. A few beaver trappers and grouse hunters were checked during the week.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked ice anglers on area lakes with panfish and pike being targeted. Ice conditions varied, but averaged 8 to 10 inches. Humphrey also responded to calls about trapping, an injured deer, and a trespass concern.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent time checking fishing activity on area lakes. People are asked to be careful on area lakes and to remember that ice thickness varies. A complaint about someone shooting grouse on private property was investigated. Even though the property was not posted, a hunter was cited because he shot two grouse within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked two special details during the past week and checked anglers along and on Lake Superior. U.S. Coast Guard crews have started ice rescue training in the Duluth-Superior Harbor.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers as the Duluth Harbor finally has a thin sheet of walkable ice. Anglers are reminded to pay close attention to conditions, as shipping traffic and varying winds can quickly turn ice fishing into iceberg riding.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports ice angling activity has increased thanks to increased ice thickness and wonderful weather. Sullivan continued working deer-hunting violations detected throughout the season. Trapping activity in the area was also checked.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) reports working early ice anglers. Activity has been slow so far, but Ladd was sure to remind anglers to clean up the area when they pack up because litter continues to be an issue on area lakes. Ladd also worked some trapping activity and bough-cutting activity.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) checked area lakes for angling activity. One angler on a frozen waterway was using an ATV that hadn’t been registered since 2009. The angler said the ATV never goes off the property. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) continued to train a conservation officer candidate. He worked Upper Red Lake for angling and ATV enforcement, and area Crow Wing County lakes. McGowan also investigated a trapping complaint and an ice shelter left on the ice illegally.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking for fishing activity throughout the SRA during the past week and weekend. Time was spent patrolling the park for state park vehicle permits and illegal vehicle activity.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time assisting the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office on a medical emergency and crash, and rescuing anglers who were stranded on Lake Mille Lacs from a large crack in the ice near shore. She also spent time checking trappers and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for a juvenile passenger on an ATV without a helmet, operating an ATV with an extra passenger, operating an ATV without lights, youth trapping without a youth license and trapper education, and no license in possession.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) patrolled area lakes checking ice anglers. Speldrich also responded to a trapping complaint, and an investigation is ongoing. She also checked public lands for small-game hunters and received complaints about dumped deer carcasses.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked ice fishing, trapping, and ATVing activities. Numerous dog complaints were taken, as pet owners are not doing a good job of containing their canine friends. A novice spear fisher was observed with a very skinny and small pike. The beginner thought he did not have to count the skinny pike in the slot limit, which was not accurate.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) completed commercial inspections that included minnow retailers and taxidermists. An increase in fishing also created littering problems, and several groups of ice anglers were dealt with after they left trash on lakes. A couple of anglers argued with Grundmeier because they didn’t think cigarette butts should be considered litter.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sportfishing enforcement this past week. Assistance was given to the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with a personal injury crash and with helping anglers stranded on Lake Mille Lacs get to shore safely.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked ice anglers, conducted maintenance of station equipment, responded to a fisher that was caught in a raccoon trap, and released a dog that was caught in a foothold trap set for coyotes.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports checking anglers and small-game hunters. Time also was spent completing training and annual equipment maintenance and removing portable deer stands left on WMA land. .
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity in the area. Ice conditions vary, with numerous swans and geese keeping some water open on area lakes. He also worked trapping activity in the area, finding snares being set illegally.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week following up on big-game cases. Krauel also checked several ice anglers this past week. Enforcement action was taken for taking an overlimit of deer, possession of marijuana, possession of illegal-length northern pike, and several deer license and tagging violations.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and hunters. Complaints were investigated related to litter and burning prohibited materials.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) assisted the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department with a mountain lion hide seizure. The mountain lion hide was seized from a taxidermist in the Savage area and turned over to a South Dakota officer. Fogarty also received many calls related to the upcoming CWD hunt. People interested in the hunt are advised to check the DNR website for more information.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) assisted a Wisconsin game warden and another district officer with a big-game investigation.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) assisted with distribution of venison to a local nonprofit organization as part of a deer-management program.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) investigated a potential wetland violation complaint.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time patrolling for early season ice anglers. Archery hunters also were checked. Many calls/complaints were handled, including trespassing, illegal aeration systems, wildlife permits, and various fishing-related violations.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) received a couple of TIP calls this past week that warranted follow-up. One person was cited for hunting without a deer license. His equipment was seized. Another person was cited for hunting deer over bait. His equipment also was seized.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the past week monitoring pheasant hunters in the area.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working angling and small- and big-game hunting activity. Two cease and desist orders were issued involving work done on a public water basin. Gutzwiller and K9 Earl responded to a call to assist local counties in attempting to locate an individual with an outstanding warrant.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the past week checking hunters and conducting investigations. Ice anglers are venturing out in force. Pheasant hunters are continuing to struggle for birds.
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) reports deer investigations were conducted and assistance was given to local law enforcement in locating an assault suspect.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) continued dealing with wetland violations throughout the past week.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) reports an increase in the number of ice anglers this past week. Other highlighted activity includes big-game investigations, assisting the local soil and water conservation district with a potential wetland violation, and responding to calls about shooting from the roadway.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) located a misplaced Buick ignition key found at the Bergdahl Wildlife Management Area north of Madelia in Watonwan County. Please contact Nelson at email@example.com to claim the key.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted site inspections on public waters shoreline excavating, resulting in cease and desist orders.
District 17 – Mankato area
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the past week checking goose hunters and preparing winter equipment. Enforcement action was taken for no federal duck stamp, unplugged shotguns, transporting a loaded firearm, and possessing toxic shot while waterfowl hunting.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) continued to finish cases from the deer season. Time was spent checking ice anglers on the Mississippi River backwaters. Enforcement action for the past week included angling with extra lines and failure to register deer.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports ice conditions in the backwaters continue to be tricky and many folks were checked this past week with life jackets being worn and spud bars in hand. Enforcement action this past week was taken for undersized fish on the Mississippi River and no license.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers during the past week. Anglers are venturing out on the ice but there is still plenty of open water. Heyn also handled other calls and attended training.