Wisconsin Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – January 8, 2021
Waukesha-Walworth Team / October
Warden Marcus Medina responded to snagging complaints regarding the salmon run while on patrol. He found two men snagging salmon using spoons and plain treble hooks. The two violators had also been found guilty of similar activities in the same year.
Warden Medina contacted an archery hunter found hunting over illegal bait and on county land that is closed to hunting.
Warden Medina took enforcement action against an individual who was found shining deer while in possession of a .380 Ruger handgun, a shotgun and archery equipment.
Warden Andrew Starch responded to two calls to help deer in predicaments. The first was a doe stuck in a new construction foundation basement. The second was a buck with its antlers tangled in a nylon cargo net in a backyard. Starch was able to release both deer back to the wild.
Warden Starch re-investigated an Oconomowoc hunter who was found in the past to have numerous unregistered deer. He also shot two archery bucks in 2019. This year, he was found to have harvested a buck over illegal bait.
Warden Starch investigated a bull elk sighting on Oct. 17 in the city of Delafield. Further investigation confirmed the bull was identified as a wild elk from northern Wisconsin.
Wardens Steve Sanidas and Blaine Ziarek, along with officers from the village of Mukwonago and town of Mukwonago police departments, responded to a significant target shooting complaint in the Vernon Marsh Wildlife Area. Six individuals were contacted and found to be target shooting with heavy caliber rifles, pistols, and shotguns within the boundaries of the wildlife area where target shooting is prohibited. Hundreds of rounds had been fired, which generated numerous complaints and safety concerns. Target shooting is prohibited on DNR lands in Waukesha County.
While working small game enforcement in the town of Eagle, warden Steve Sanidas contacted an individual hunting on a pheasant release area with a dog. It was discovered the person had not bought any licenses for the current season. Additionally, the individual had been duck and goose hunting on several occasions without any licenses or stamps.
Warden Brad Wilson took enforcement action against two individuals who were cutting up what they thought were snow geese. The birds they harvested were two trumpeter swans.
Warden Wilson received a complaint of an individual hunting deer without a license. Wilson contacted the individual and it was found the individual did not have a valid license to hunt deer.
Warden Wilson contacted four individuals as they emerged from the Bloomfield Wildlife Area. One of the individuals was hunting with no state waterfowl stamp, and another did not have a plug in his gun.
Wardens Blaine Ziarek and Mike Hirschboeck responded to a complaint and found three hunters with geese and wood ducks during the closed season.
Waukesha-Walworth Team / November
Warden Steve Sanidas responded to a boating incident on Pewaukee Lake where the transom of a 16-foot tri-hull boat began to fill with water. The boat became completely swamped and sank in about 15 feet of water. All three occupants were wearing life jackets and survived being in 40-degree water for several minutes. Two of the occupants were able to swim to a nearby island and call for help. The third remained in the water until being rescued by fire department personnel. All three were treated for hypothermia at a local hospital and later released.
Warden Sanidas contacted a deer hunter from New Jersey who was found to have purchased resident rate deer hunting licenses, to which he was not entitled. Sanidas discovered the person represented himself as a student in order to receive reduced rate archery deer, gun deer and small game licenses. The individual was not a student in Wisconsin and was not eligible for any reduced rate hunting licenses.
Warden Blaine Ziarek responded to a call of hunting waterfowl within the Big Muskego Wildlife Area Refuge. The hunters were found by the warden who found the hunters also had loaded guns in the boat while underway. They had shot before the start of shooting hours and were hunting within the refuge. Each hunter was found to be in excess of their daily bag limit for scaup.
Warden Ziarek responded to a complaint of an illegal 220 Conibear land set without the legal amount of recess for the enclosure. The trap had been set in a busy pheasant release area.
Warden Ziarek was on patrol in Waukesha County when he contacted a hunter sitting over corn and salt. The hunter was found to be falsely registering antlerless deer with improper approvals from another county.
While working in southern Waukesha County during opening weekend of gun-deer season, warden Sanidas contacted an individual who was returning to his vehicle after dark on public hunting land. The individual was dressed in full camouflage and had been still / stalk hunting for deer with archery equipment.
On Thanksgiving Day, warden Sanidas contacted a gun-deer hunter who was returning to his vehicle after a morning hunt. Sanidas conducted a routine license check and found that the individual had borrowed a rifle from a friend and never purchased a license.
Warden Sanidas contacted a gun-deer hunter at a public hunting area who had returned from hunting in the north. The individual was found to possess a loaded rifle inside the rear passenger area of his vehicle. The firearm was loaded with one round in the chamber and a fully loaded magazine. The individual had transported the rifle in this manner from his hunting land located in another part of the state.
Warden Sanidas responded to a call from a concerned wife, whose husband was late to return from hunting. Sanidas was familiar with the property and set out to look for him. Sanidas located the man who was in the process of tracking a deer. Sanidas assisted the hunter with tracking the deer and phoned the man’s wife. The individual had left his cell phone in his vehicle while hunting and had not realized his wife was concerned about his tardiness.
Warden Sanidas responded to a call from an employee at Tractor Supply Company in Mukwonago. The employee reported finding a snake in a shipment box that the store received. Besides almost having a heart attack when the employee opened the box, concerns were raised that it may be dangerous, not knowing where the shipment originated. Sanidas responded and took possession of the snake, which turned out to be a Wisconsin native brown snake. Sanidas worked with DNR staff to release the snake on DNR-managed land.
Warden Swaney was contacted by a Michigan game warden about a large amount of litter left on a Michigan state campsite. Swaney contacted the individual suspected of the littering and was able to verify the Michigan warden’s information. All information was forwarded to the Michigan officer for enforcement in that state.
Warden Wilson followed up on a complaint of individuals hunting a property where hunting is not normally allowed. Wilson contacted three hunters and found some of the hunters shot and killed an antlerless deer and did not have a Walworth County antlerless tag.
Racine-Kenosha-Walworth Counties / October
Warden Brandon Smith, of Twin Lakes, responded to multiple complaints of people hunting during the southern zone five-day waterfowl season closure. In one contact, a hunter was hunting without a small game license and during the closed season. The hunter had shot two pied-billed grebes he believed to be wood ducks.
Warden Smith assisted several days with fall fish run enforcement on the Pike River in Kenosha and Root River in Racine. Smith responded to several snagging complaints on both rivers. Numerous contacts were made for violations involving failure to release foul-hooked fish, snagging, possession of snag hooks, no fishing license or salmon stamp, fishing Lake Michigan tributaries at night, and fishing in a refuge. In most cases, enforcement action was taken.
Warden Smith responded to a complaint of a departed camping party at Richard Bong State Recreation Area. The party members had left litter all around the campsite and had also cut down a couple trees.
Racine-Kenosha-Walworth Counties / November
Warden Smith received a complaint of an illegal stand and bait site on the New Munster Wildlife Area. A hunter was found to be hunting over a bait site consisting of corn and bird food. The hunter had also left a stand on state land for the past two years and cleared shooting lanes.
Warden Smith responded to 12 complaints concerning stands being left on state land. In many cases the stands were removed, and in some cases the hunters were contacted and enforcement action was taken.
Warden Smith was parked in a parking lot at the Honey Creek Wildlife Area when another vehicle pulled alongside. The vehicle occupants were unaware the vehicle next to them belonged to a warden. The driver prepared to smoke marijuana and was in possession of multiple drug paraphernalia items.
Wardens Mike Hirschboeck, of Racine, and Zack Feest responded to the Tichigan Wildlife Area for a fire. They assisted local fire departments in containing the fire and notifying residents. This was not a controlled burn initiated by the Wisconsin DNR .
Wardens Taylor Meinholz, of Union Grove, and Brandon Smith followed up on complaint concerning a person hunting over an illegal bait pile of pumpkins and corn. They contacted the hunter in a ground blind who was wearing a camo jack over his blaze orange. He admitted to placing three mineral blocks and corn.
Warden Meinholz followed up on a complaint of illegal bait in the city of Kenosha. Meinholz contacted the person in the hunting blind. The person was bowhunting, was not wearing blaze orange and was hunting over illegal bait.
Warden Meinholz followed up on a complaint of a large amount of garbage that was left at a campsite at Richard Bong State Recreation Area. Wardens contacted the individuals who had rented the site. Two individuals took responsibility for all the garbage on the site. Park staff removed the garbage.
Warden Adam Strehlow, of Milwaukee, was on patrol near Theresa Marsh when he saw the occupants of a vehicle driving slowly and shining deer in fields after 10 p.m. Strehlow contacted driver of the car and found two deer rifles in the vehicle.
Sheboygan-Fond du Lac Team / October
Warden Isaac Hackett, of Sheboygan, followed up with a non-fatal hunting incident that took place on the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit. A hunter shot at what he thought was a turkey through some thick brush. The shooter misidentified and ultimately shot another hunter, who at the time, was bowhunting from the ground. The victim was treated and released.
Warden Anthony Arndt, of Fond du Lac, contacted three hunters from North Fond du Lac actively pursuing waterfowl during the southern season break on Lake Winnebago. They were also trespassing on a private hunting blind, hunting within 100 yards of a residence, and they left their decoys out well past legal hours. One of them also was using lead shot.
Warden Arndt was contacted by a Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department deputy in reference to a suspicious call he was on in the city of Sheboygan. It was found two Sheboygan area men were fishing for salmon using landing nets. They did not possess licenses nor Great Lakes stamps.
Warden Arndt contacted a Milwaukee man in the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit hunting over a corn pile in a no-bait county. The man had been leaving his stand overnight and had also cut down in excess of 50 trees to clear shooting lanes.
Warden William Hankee, of Fond du Lac, followed up on a report of a mechanical feeder being used to hunt over. Hankee confirmed the mechanical feeder was being used and had been in place for several years. Hankee discussed food plots with the property owner and hunter. Enforcement action was taken.
Sheboygan-Fond du Lac Team / November
Wardens Isaac Hackett and Jacob Mertzig, both of Sheboygan County, responded to a call of a house struck by a rifle round on the gun-deer season’s opening day. The hunter was located and stated he was shooting at a deer. The hunter thought his back drop was enough to stop the bullet. The bullet missed one of the house occupants by 2 feet. The occupant was sitting in the living room when the bullet struck the wall just above him.
Warden Hackett responded to a call where a vehicle was struck by a rifle round. The vehicle was parked in one of the parking lots of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The shooter is not known.
Wardens for Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties received several complaints of people shooting from the road. In one complaint, the shooters left and returned in a different vehicle. Warden Hackett was investigating and looking for shell casings when the shooters stopped to speak with him, admitting to the violation.
Warden William Hankee responded to a call of endangering safety by use of dangerous weapon. The Investigation revealed probable cause for a criminal referral; however, the victim did not want charges filed on the person. Instead, the warden discussed with the person the topics of safe firearm use.
Wardens from the Sheboygan and Fond du Lac teams received numerous complaints of baits and tree stands on state property.
Warden Juan Gomez contacted a hunter on the Kettle Moraine State Forest who was hunting deer with a rifle and did not have a valid license. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Anthony Arndt and Kettle Moraine Northern Unit ranger Jeffery Leisle responded to a report of four lost hikers in the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit. The officers located the group standing in 2 feet of water near the Milwaukee River. They were contacted by a person who was waterfowl hunting in the area. The waterfowl hunter and was able to remove the most hypothermic hiker and get the person into a duck skiff. The group was later extracted by the Campbellsport dive team on their boat as the temperature dropped below freezing. All parties were released without any significant injury.
Madison Team / November
Wardens Paul Nadolski and Pete McCormick of Poynette took enforcement action against a person who shot a pheasant from the road in the French Creek Wildlife Area.
Warden McCormick assisted the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department with a complaint concerning shining deer after 10 p.m., and hearing gun shots near the Mud Lake Wildlife Area. Deputies made a traffic stop for equipment violations and warden McCormick arrived with his canine and spoke with the two individuals in the car. An investigation found the persons in the car were shining after hours and had shot a buck that was hidden in the trunk of their car.
Rock River Team / November
Warden Austin Schumacher, of Janesville (south), investigated an incident involving an individual shooting a pheasant from a roadway. The wardens found the person had shot a pheasant while standing on the roadway while shooting onto private property and within 100 yards of a dwelling. They did not have a valid pheasant stamp.
Warden Schumacher contacted an individual hunting over bait on the opening day of the gun-deer season. Baiting deer is illegal in Rock County.
Warden Schumacher took enforcement action against a UTV operator who admitted his disregard of laws regulating where the vehicles could be operated in Rock County.
Warden Schumacher investigated a report of an individual hunting out of a pop-up-style blind on state lands without having any blaze orange on the blind. The individual had hunted numerous times throughout the season on state lands without blaze orange on the blind and had trespassed several times on the neighboring landowner’s property.
Wardens Kyle Johnson, of Janesville (north), and Dan Hodge investigated a possible illegal bait site and located a mineral block in front of a treestand. The person admitted to illegally placing and hunting over the mineral block.
Wardens Johnson and Hodge assisted warden Nick King, of Green County, with a complaint of illegal shining for deer. They located a vehicle, whose occupant had been shining deer after hours.
Wardens Johnson and Hodge observed a UTV operator fueling up at gas station on Hwy. 14. Upon contact, the operator admitted to operating the UTV on the highway, which is not a UTV route, from his residence about three miles away. The defendant also was found to not have valid registration.
Wardens Johnson and Hodge contacted a person in blaze orange who was sitting in a truck on the opening day of the gun-deer season. Enforcement action was taken when the wardens found the person sitting with a loaded rifle in the passenger seat.
Wardens Johnson and Hodge contacted a man at his vehicle who was getting ready to go deer hunting. Upon approaching the vehicle, the man frantically trying to unload his rifle. The wardens found the man had a loaded gun in his vehicle. Enforcement action was taken. Approximately a week later, warden Dave Youngquist, of Iowa County, took enforcement action against the same man for hunting within 50 feet of a roadway.
Wardens Johnson and Hodge contacted a person who was deer hunting while his licenses were revoked. The wardens found the person had harvested a buck during the 2019 bow season, also while revoked.
Wardens Johnson and Hodge observed two waterfowl hunters shoot and harvest ducks between 15 and 23 minutes after shooting hours had closed.
Warden Alex Brooks investigated possible illegal hunting in Aztalan State Park, which is only open to hunting during a specific time period. Brooks located a deer hunter who was found to have committed several violations, including hunting in a closed area, leaving a treestand overnight, and damaging state property.
Wardens Brooks and Mike Dieckhoff made contact with a landowner who had placed illegal mineral blocks out to attract deer.
Wardens Brooks and Dieckhoff investigated complaints of illegal treestands and a ground blind left on state land overnight illegally near Palmyra. The wardens located a hunter in the area and it was found the hunter had left numerous stands out on public property illegally and had been doing so for years.
Wardens Brooks and Drew Starch, of Oconomowoc, investigated a person suspected of harvesting two bucks during the archery season. They were able to confirm the hunter had shot two bucks during early November.
Warden Ryan Mannes, of Horicon, had just checked off-duty for the day when Dodge County dispatch called to report a group of stranded hunters on the Horicon Marsh. Mannes geared back up, drove into Horicon and picked up the boat, then launched from the Greenhead landing. He located the hunters approximately two miles into the marsh. Mannes attempted to help them repair their motor, but was unable to get their boat running. He instead towed them back to the boat launch while battling strong winds, currents, and rain.
Warden Mannes responded to a complaint of duck hunters hunting in the refuge in Theresa Marsh. Mannes located and contacted the hunters in the closed refuge, after they walked past three signs indicating the closed refuge.
Warden Mannes investigated illegal deer baiting near Horicon. He located a ground blind with apples and corn placed in front of it, and later found that a hunter had shot a deer over the bait and then never registered the deer. Upon contacting the hunter, it was determined the hunter had later falsified his deer registration record to make it appear as though he had not registered the deer late. The hunter admitted to shooting a doe and the buck over the illegal bait pile.
Warden Mannes investigated illegal treestands, trail cameras, and bait placed on state property. These violations were located on two islands in Mud Lake Wildlife Area, only accessible via a 7-mile boat ride each way. Mannes was able to identify a person involved. Warden Mannes’ investigation led to more members of the same hunting party involved in illegal baiting activities, as well as unmarked trail cameras and using a boat with expired registration. Mannes discovered 12 violations.