Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – January 1, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked traps, followed up on angling and drug cases, and investigated a complaint about hunting deer over bait.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) reports spending time patrolling on Upper Red Lake and investigating a TIP report with several area officers. Violations encountered included no fish house/shelter license, fishing without a license, possessing dressed/filleted fish on special-regulation waters, fishing with extra lines, and possession of marijuana.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) conducted angling and trapping checks in the area. Enforcement action for the past week included ATV registration, angling license, and ice shelter license violations.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time this past week checking anglers. Time also was spent contacting ATV operators and checking archery deer hunters.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers and trappers. He also registered some fur.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking several calls about suspicious activity in fish houses on area lakes. Ice conditions remain variable across the station, with typical thicknesses ranging from 6 to 10 inches. A report of a shelter through the ice on Otter Tail Lake was taken, but it was stated the house was removed and people attempted to mark the hole with branches. Some light snow in the area brought out snowmobilers but trail conditions were poor.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week checking ice anglers and snowmobile riders and following up on cases from the deer season. Most lakes in the area have 10 inches of ice, but some have as much as 14.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working small-game and sportfishing enforcement. Time was also spent registering fur and issuing deer-possession permits.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling activity. She also monitored wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas for activity. Questions were answered about fish house regulations.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week focused on checking anglers, trappers, and small-game hunters. Baumbarger continues to follow up on a littering complaint involving multiple deer parts being dumped in a road ditch. Area ice conditions continue to vary greatly from one lake to the next, with reports about fish houses breaking through ice.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked ice fishing activity this past week as ice continues to thicken. Ice conditions are still widely variable. Possessing illegal substances, angling with extra lines, unattended lines, and expired ATV registration were a few of the violations detected.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked ice anglers, ATV riders, and fish houses. A complaint about a fish house through the ice on a lake by Millerville was received. Deer-hunting violations were investigated.
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) continued to monitor angling activity throughout the area. There have been a couple of instances in which ATVs have gone through the ice recently in Douglas County and in the Osakis area.
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) continued to monitor angling and goose-hunting activity. Follow up continues on deer-hunting investigations.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) worked ice anglers and late-season pheasant-hunting activity. Investigations from the deer seasons are still under way.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking anglers on multiple lakes in the area. Kunst has also noticed some snowmobiling activity on trails and lakes in the area. Kunst wants to remind ice anglers to clean up their garbage from the ice prior to leaving.
CO Mike Cross (Lake George) worked primarily ice fishing and trapping activity throughout the past week. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession, fishing without a license, and expired ATV registration.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked fishing and trapping activity. Some snowmobiles were seen out after a few inches of snow fell in the area.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked ice anglers. Some time was spent working deer-season cases and checking traps.
CO Randy Posner (Staples) worked fishing enforcement this past week. Ice anglers were out in large numbers during the holiday weekend. The CO also checked snowmobilers out in ditches and on lakes. Violations for expired registration and no youth safety certificate were found. ATVs operating in the closed Pillsbury State Forest were reported.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the pine marten and fisher trapping season came to a quiet close with fewer trappers observed in the woods compared with previous years. Injured-animal complaints were handled throughout the week.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports anglers are having some success in the area. Simonson reports trappers having some success during the fisher/martin season that came to a close this weekend.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports additional snowmobile traffic was noted in the area. There are several ice heaves that have formed on the local lakes, creating hazards for unsuspecting riders. The final days of the marten and fisher season were monitored and it appeared most trappers were done earlier. Questions were received in regards to the northern pike regulations and the differences from zones to border waters and angling to spearing.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) reports that with the recent snowfall, an increase in snowmobiling activity was observed on lakes. Zavodnik checked a number of permanent fish houses with anglers in violation, including unattended lines, extra lines, and taking walleyes within the protected slot limit. One individual who admitted he had three lines out, stated, “Good thing you checked me now, because I was just about to put three more tips-ups outside.” During the incident, the angler also stated that he thinks everyone should be able to have an unlimited number of lines out in order to catch the first fish. He was informed of the rules and regulations and enforcement action was taken.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent a majority of his time patrolling for fisher and pine marten trapping activity during the nine-day season. Very little activity was noted.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing, trapping, and snowmobiling activity. Recent snowfall created some slush on local lakes but still isn’t quite enough for the snowmobile trails. Broughten also fielded calls regarding dogs chasing deer and vehicles being operated on snowmobile trails.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) spent the past week focusing on angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Violations included angling without a license in possession and operating a snowmobile with no trail sticker.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports a relatively quiet end to the fisher/pine marten season. The area finally got enough snow to allow for snowmobile operation, although riders should use caution on rougher sections of trail as the base layer is sufficient to conceal but not fully cushion some rocks.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked angling, snowmobiling, and trapping enforcement. A reminder: Altered snowmobile exhaust that increases the volume and produces sharp noises is illegal in Minnesota.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports the fisher and pine marten season came and went with low activity despite Hill seeing decent critter sign leading up to the season.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping and angling activity during the past week. Snowmobiles were starting to show up on lakes and ditches but trails in the area are still ungroomed.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vincent Brown (Northome) focused enforcement efforts on trapping and ice-fishing activity. With improving ice conditions, there have been an increasing number of anglers showing up on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling license and ATV registration violations.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity, and assisted the State Patrol with vehicles in ditches. Enforcement action was taken for license issues.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked angling activity this past week. As colder weather has moved in, area lakes are getting more good ice but people still need to be cautious because many lakes have natural current due to springs and being connected to river systems.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, darkhouse spearing, trapping, and snowmobiling activities throughout the area. An open big-game investigation was completed.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked snowmobiling and ice-angling activities this past week. Ice conditions continue to improve in the area and lots of people are out fishing. Schmidt also assisted the Duluth Police Department and St. Louis County with a lost hiker.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) checked ice anglers on area lakes. Time also was spent checking snowmobiling activity. Duncan continues to work on possible deer-hunting violations.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers along the shores of Lake Superior and the Duluth-Superior Harbor off Park Point, as well as inland lakes north of Duluth. Olson also investigated a complaint in Gary-New Duluth of damage caused by a Jeep off-road vehicle on school district property. The Duluth Police Department will be following up on the issue.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers on a busy holiday weekend. Trail conditions are still rough, with a little bit of snow to pack for a base but not enough for sustainable grooming. Cross-country ski passes were checked at area trails with good compliance. Multiple snowmobile violations were found on all groups checked. Modifying a muffler to be louder than stock, no trail sticker, registration, and roadway violations were common.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) continued to train a conservation officer candidate. He patrolled Upper Red Lake, Lake Mille Lacs, the Whitefish chain, and local lakes. McGowan also investigated a big-game violation and a complaint about an angler on a designated trout lake.
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) worked fishing, trapping, and snowmobiling enforcement this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and unattended lines. Investigations were started for deer-hunting and trapping violations.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking anglers during the week. The state recreation area was checked for state park permits and illegal vehicle activity.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity as more hard-sided fish houses are being left out overnight. Trappers were monitored as they attempted to catch fishers this past week. Verkuilen also recovered a stolen car and checked the first snowmobile trail traffic of the season.
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored ATV and snowmobiling activity in the Isle area. Ice anglers were checked on Lake Mille Lacs. Several anglers on the south side of the lake commented on how the fishing has been slow. Assistance was also given on a lost-hunter call.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) assisted with a big-game investigation. Assistance was provided to CO Thesing with two large bucks whose antlers had become entangled. They freed one of the deer by cutting an antler.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports seeing an increase in angling and spearing activity on local lakes. Many area lakes have had open areas due to geese and swans, which has resulted in recreational vehicles going through the ice. Only fish and recreate in areas that you know are safe and always let someone know where you will be.
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked ice anglers on area lakes. There are still areas of thin ice, and there was a snowmobile that went through the ice on Platte Lake.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) monitored angling and trapping activity. Complaints of dumped deer carcasses were received, and public land was patrolled for small-game and archery hunters. Time also was spent following up on TIP investigations.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) focused patrol efforts on ice anglers and snowmobile operators. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer with an invalid license, possessing an overlimit of crappies, and operating a motor vehicle off-road in the Sand Dunes State Forest. While patrolling a local lake, Seamans observed an individual operate an ATV from a fish house to a vehicle parked at the access. The individual had a bucket in his lap and nothing else. When contacted at the vehicle, the individual admitted that he was trying to hide what he thought were illegal northern pike. Turns out, all three pike were of legal size. However, the individual was operating an ATV with expired registration and was cited for the violation.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking ice anglers and following up on deer-hunting cases. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of deer, possession of marijuana, possession of an illegal-length northern pike, and several fishing license violations.
CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) assisted Kanabec and Mille Lacs counties in extracting a hunting party from the Mille Lacs WMA after one member of the group was injured and became hypothermic.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked ice anglers. Plenty of ice anglers have been checked on local lakes. Violations encountered were extra lines, angling without a license, and overlimits of fish. Fogarty assisted the Wisconsin DNR by investigating a big-game case.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the past week checking ice anglers and monitoring ice conditions. Grewe also continued followed up on several deer cases.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time checking ice anglers and deer hunters in the area. Thomas also participated in a virtual career seminar for high school students and presented a 40-year teaching award to a local snowmobile safety instructor.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week checking ice anglers and snowmobilers. He fielded questions on nuisance animals, continued working on open cases from the deer season, and investigated a littering complaint.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the past week monitoring anglers and pheasant hunters in the area. He responded to a report of a fish house breaking through Lake Byllesby.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked small-game and angling enforcement this past week. Assistance was given to local law enforcement with vehicles stuck during a recent snowstorm.
CO Stephen Westby (Madison) assisted the State Patrol with crashes during the blizzard. The heavy wind caused most of the ice on Lac qui Parle Lake to break up. The lake has frozen over again, but the ice is still weak.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working ATVing and ice angling activity. He followed up on a public waters violation and worked area pheasant-hunting activity. Vernier also followed up on a trapping violation.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time following up on trapping violations and registration violations. A few pheasant hunters were checked, and follow-up is being conducted on a possible deer-poaching case where the deer were left to waste.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) checked ice anglers this past week. Time also was spent working big-game investigations and canvassing wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas for property left or abandoned within.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports deer investigations continue, with multiple license and overlimit cases being worked. A big thank you to the Cottonwood County Game and Fish/Des Moines Valley Minnesota Deer Hunters Association chapter for donations that will assist local COs with enforcement efforts. Miller assisted the Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office and State Patrol with rescuing numerous motorists who were stranded or had drove off the roadway during the recent blizzard. One particular group was surprised to find the bad conditions when they became stuck, as several occupants were wearing shorts and traveling from the southern United States.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) reports there was an increase in deer-hunter numbers out this past weekend for the special hunts in the CWD zones.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked on big-game and small-game enforcement this past week. This past week’s blizzard had extreme winds, which opened up several area lakes that had been icing over nicely.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reports a busy week of checking anglers throughout the area. Small-game and archery deer hunter numbers have declined with the cold weather.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a slow late deer season. Hemker investigated a complaint of a deer shot from the roadway at night. He found it was a coyote that had been shot with proper permission.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the past week patrolling for area fishing activity. Time was also spent checking deer hunters participating in the late-season CWD hunt.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working the late season 600 hunt. Success was limited. Violations encountered were no blaze orange, shooting from the road, and trespassing.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) monitored commercial fishing activity and continued to follow up on deer-hunting cases from the shotgun season. Shining complaints were investigated.