Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – January 22, 2021

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working trapping and angling activity on special-regulation lakes throughout this past week. Time also was spent patrolling area snowmobile trails and answering assorted wildlife-related calls about car-killed deer and incidental catches of fishers and pine martens.  

CO Corey Sura (Baudette) assisted Koochiching County, Lake of the Woods County, and Border Patrol with a search and rescue of a lost snowmobiler. The rider was located alive and well.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) gave a presentation on angling regulations and fish species to the fifth-grade class at a local elementary school, responded to complaints about coyote hunters trespassing, and took enforcement action for transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles and license violations. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked anglers on area lakes. Individuals are reminded to check shelters for reflective material and IDs before leaving them on the ice. Vollbrecht also completed field training with COC Bechel. They assisted with a search on Irving Lake for an individual who broke through the ice. 

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working sportfishing, small-game hunting, and snowmobiling enforcement. Time also was spent on fur registration.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATV riders, and fish houses. A complaint about dogs chasing deer was received in Douglas County. A reminder to fish house owners that portable fish houses have to have proper identification on them when not occupied.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) assisted area snowmobile safety instructors with teaching two safety classes during the weekend, certifying 30 students from around the state. Plautz also checked fishing activity and found fishing is tough in the area. Aeration inspections were conducted, and a road-killed fisher was seized. 

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports checking anglers, shelters, and recreational vehicles during the week. Calls requesting information on water access were received. Fishing-related complaints were received and investigated.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week were focused on checking anglers and ATV and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent checking fur trappers and following up on reports of fish houses, ATVs, and vehicles breaking through the ice. Anglers are reminded that ice is never safe. Area ice conditions have not improved during the past two weeks. 

CO Emily Leeb (Morris) reports working fishing and recreational vehicle enforcement. Enforcement action for the past week was taken for fishing without a fishing license in personal possession and operating unregistered ATVs. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time this past week monitoring ATVing and angling activity on area lakes. Anglers using too many lines and possessing illegal substances were issued citations. 

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) focused the past week’s enforcement efforts on angling and big-game violations. She continues to work on follow-up investigations and closed one ongoing case from deer season. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked primarily ice angling and snowmobiling. Enforcement activity for the past week consisted of fishing out of season on a designated trout lake, angling with an extra line, and possessing live minnows on a designated trout lake. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked anglers during the busy holiday weekend. Open wetland and aquatic plant management cases were completed. Work continues on an investigation from the bear season. A fishing TIP call also was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for several angling, snowmobiling, and ATVing-related violations. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports q busy week with training new conservation officers in snowmobile operations and enforcement activities. Kittelson also assisted the Lake of the Woods and Koochiching County sheriff’s offices in locating a lost snowmobiler in the Pine Island State Forest area. The snowmobiler was found safe.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports angler numbers continue to be above average for the area while snowmobiler numbers are limited. Slush has become more prevalent on area lakes. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time patrolling area snowmobile trails and checking anglers during the week. He also helped out with snowmobile training in International Falls.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time checking area lakes for ice-fishing activity. Few ice anglers were observed. A couple of people spearing from darkhouses were checked, however. One person told Frericks that he was not spearing even though he was in a darkhouse, looking down a spear hole, had a decoy down the hole, and there was a spear in the darkhouse next to him. He later changed his tune and admitted he was spearing. His partner in another darkhouse, who admitted to spearing, told Frericks he did not have a darkhouse spearing license and claimed he didn’t know he needed one. Both were cited.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports angling activity was high during the winter trout season opener, with the greatest increase seen on Burntside Lake, which had nearly double the number of anglers seen in past years. Success, however, was overall not good for lake or stream trout on designated trout lakes. 

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time in the BWCAW checking anglers with CO Mary Manning. He worked with several officers during the busy trout opener weekend. Enforcement action was taken for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, and snowmobiling and angling violations.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports some deer-case follow-up is being conducted, resulting in enforcement action for unlawful use of a bonus tag and taking does in permit areas without a doe permit. One person didn’t feel he should receive a citation due to the following: The regulations aren’t printed on the license, he only hunts 11⁄2 days per year, and the cabin isn’t on his property so the other members of his party should advise him of the rules. 

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports focusing his efforts on ice anglers throughout the week. The trout opener came with a flurry of people trying their luck for various species. However, multiple people were cited for possession of live minnows on a designated trout lake. Almost all of the anglers said they knew about the law but used the live bait anyway. One angler decided to throw an extra line in the water for good measure. Splake, rainbows, and brook trout were seen on the ice. Only two people failed to purchase trout stamps. Remember: Trout stamps make trout fishing possible. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and snowmobile trails, and worked anglers, small-game hunters, and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.  

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobiling activity, and worked trapping activity and assisted with vehicles in the ditch. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si certified in detection at the USPCA detection trial. 

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) worked an extremely busy stream trout opener where folks came from far and wide to try their hand at catching trout on local lakes. Enforcement action was taken for multiple fishing and ATVing violations.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked ice angling, snowmobiling, and trapping enforcement throughout the week. Humphrey took calls regarding fishing, litter, vintage snowmobile registration, ATV and snowmobile operation, and ice conditions. Humphrey also investigated a trapping complaint and conducted an aeration inspection. 

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked snowmobilers and anglers along the North Shore and in the Two Harbors station. Olson fielded several questions about snowmobile registration as it relates to upcoming vintage snowmobile events.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sportfishing enforcement this past week. A big-game investigation and a litter complaint were concluded with charges.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) was accompanied by COC Nicholas Baum and worked ice-angling and recreational vehicle activity. Sullivan and Baum assisted with a snowmobile accident and want to remind riders of the variable trail conditions and the need to ride with caution. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area


District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked with snowmobile owners with registration numbers and serial numbers that weren’t matching up. He continues to hear about thin ice conditions from a trapper who broke through the ice on foot – not once but twice on two different bodies of water on the same day.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) checked an angler on a special-regulation lake who stated he didn’t have any fish. A trail of blood in the snow told a different story. The illegal fish was located, and the angler apologetically accepted his citation. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the past week working ice anglers and snowmobile riders. Time also was spent following up on complaints and investigations.

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports finishing multiple deer investigations. Enforcement action was taken for deer hunting without a license, untagged deer, overlimit of bucks, and illegal party hunting. 

CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers, ATV riders, and snowmobiling activity. Violations were found for no angling license and no registration. A hunting trespass complaint was investigated, and animal-related calls were handled.

District 13 – West Metro area


District 14 – East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent most of the past week working on an ongoing big-game case. He issued a wildlife-possession permit for a roadkill fisher and completed vehicle maintenance. 

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity and continued to investigate big-game violations from the past deer season. 

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) checked anglers and monitored snowmobile trails in his station. Follow-up was conducted on various ongoing investigations. Calls were fielded regarding a wide variety of DNR laws.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working angling activity and following up on big-game investigations. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines. K9 detection trials also were attended.

CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) reports time was spent monitoring ice conditions and checking anglers and snowmobilers. Ice conditions are spotty throughout the area, and anglers should check thickness often when venturing out.

CO Stephen Westby (Madison) continued working ice anglers on Lac qui Parle Lake and other areas lakes. Westby also attended snowmobile training in International Falls during the weekend. 

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Strong winds during a winter storm preceded by warm weather earlier in the week caused open water on many area lakes. Be extra cautious when venturing out onto the ice as thickness can range from 12 inches to 1 inch in a short distance.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the past week working ice fishing, snowmobiling, ATVing, and coyote-hunting enforcement. Midweek temperatures near 50 degrees, followed by rain, then blizzard conditions late in the week caused issues with ice conditions. Caution needs to be used because multiple area lakes have open-water spots.  

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working snowmobile and ice angling activity. He completed aeration inspections and also issued a wildlife-possession permit.

CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this past week checking anglers on area lakes as well as working ATVing enforcement. Block worked with another officer to remove treestands left on public land.  

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent the majority of the past week checking anglers, ATV riders, and snowmobile riders on lakes. Little Mud Lake was extra busy this year for the trout opener. 

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) reports outdoor ice recreation is on the decrease as ice conditions continue to fluctuate. Additional time was spent patrolling state trails, WMAs, and area lakes for sportfishing. Trapping was a popular pastime this past week. 

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked small-game, angling, and ATVing enforcement. Gruhlke completed his radio program with KKOJ, dedicating it to Iowa Conservation Officer Steve Reighard, who passed away Jan. 8. It should be noted that Reighard also had a radio program on the same station.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked small-game hunters, trappers, anglers, and snowmobile and ATV operators during the week. Davis also patrolled wildlife management areas, state parks, public water accesses, and waterfowl production areas. 

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) spent time working fishing, ATVing, and snowmobiling enforcement. Time also was spent attending snowmobile training in International Falls.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) spent time on the ice this past week checking anglers. A trespassing complaint was addressed. The CO is also investigating an overlimit case from the deer season.

CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports checking anglers and working snowmobiling enforcement. Ice conditions have worsened. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the past week checking anglers on the reservoirs and Lake Zumbro. Enforcement activity included expired ATV registration, fishing without a license, and possession of marijuana. 

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the past week checking area ice anglers and open-water anglers. A trespass complaint from the hunting season was followed up on, and a big-game-violation investigation was continued. 

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) spent time checking ice-fishing activity and contacted an angler without a license. Schneider also arrested an intoxicated driver after observing the man’s vehicle all over the roadway before striking a stop sign.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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