Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – February 5, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working trapping, snowmobiling, and angling activity this past week. Time was spent patrolling area trails, assisting Bemidji DNR Wildlife with the bobcat/fur registration and conducting follow-up investigation of ongoing trapping cases. Regas also handled two separate incidents of incidental catches of wolves in trappers’ coyote sets.
CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) assisted with furbearer registration and worked angling activity on Lake of the Woods and at the Northwest Angle. Violations encountered included fishing with extra lines, taking fish with no angling license, no permanent shelter tag/identification, and no angling license in possession.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) worked furbearer registration, started an investigation on a trapping case, and checked ice anglers on Lake of the Woods and at the Northwest Angle.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored area angling and snowmobiling activity. He responded to trespass calls and conducted follow-up investigations from this past deer season.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on a big-game-related case and speaking at the Red Lake Falls snowmobile safety class. Predator hunters were checked.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) tagged furs and checked anglers and a few snowmobile riders.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a TIP about coyote hunters trespassing was investigated and the group was talked to about making sure they know where they are and that permission is obtained. Vinton assisted the Perham Police Department with a missing child who was suspected of walking outside in the bitter cold in nothing but pajamas. Vinton arrived on the scene and obtained a description and name of the child. When Vinton went to a neighboring house for permission to look for the child in a detached garage, he saw the child lying face-down in the snow and not moving. Vinton grabbed the child and carried youth to the waiting ambulance, which transported the youth to the local hospital. Vinton learned the next day the child was going to be OK.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week patrolling area lakes and snowmobile trails. Many lakes in the area had heavy angling pressure through the weekend. Swedberg also presented an area snowmobile safety instructor with a 40-year instructor award.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) followed up on a possible illegal wolf kill. The animal’s head was removed. He also dealt with a trapper taking small game without a trapping or small-game license.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, snowmobile riders, ATV operators, and fish houses. A court trial was attended for a hunting-while-intoxicated case from this past deer season.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked ice anglers and snowmobile riders and inspected aeration ponds this past week.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the past week focused on angling enforcement. She took TIP calls regarding dead turkeys and illegal angling on Lake Traverse, assisted the Wilkin County Sheriff’s Office, and took a report about a mountain lion sighting in Breckenridge.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) and CO Gutzwiller investigated a complaint about a poached deer near Appleton.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the majority of the past week on area lakes and trails, monitoring ice fishing and snowmobiling activity. Anglers in tight groups of shelters are reminded to reel in their fishing lines before visiting neighboring shelters, thus preventing unattended line citations.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Michael Cross (Lake George) reports activity for the week consisted of ice angling enforcement, snowmobiling enforcement, and assisting with a highway rollover. Enforcement action for the past week was taken for no license in possession, allowing youth to operate an ATV on a public roadway, no trout stamp, live minnows on a designated trout lake, and extra fishing lines.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked primarily on fishing and snowmobiling enforcement. Time also was spent at furbearer registration. Litter continues to be an issue on lakes, especially among anglers who are camping on the ice.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) attended a Bear Committee meeting and also responded to a call in which someone dumped and wasted 14 northern pike.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports spending time checking anglers on Rainy Lake and the Rainy River. Time also was spent working the Big Falls fur registration for bobcats and otters. The number of bobcats registered at the Big Falls station was very low this year.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports the promise of warmer weather and snow in the forecast brought out the snowmobile crowd. Several large groups were encountered visiting the local sites and enjoying the weather. Angler numbers continue to be above average. In one instance, two individuals stated they had never been ice fishing before and traveled to Lake Kabetogama for the sole purpose of trying it.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) responded to a single snowmobile crash during the past week, which involved the operator striking a tree and leaving him unconscious for a lengthy period of time. The operator was conscious when Zavodnik arrived at the scene, but he sustained head and leg injuries. Zavodnik also worked snowmobile speed enforcement and recorded an individual operating at a speed of 94 miles per hour on the trails. The operator was well aware of the 50-mile-per-hour speed limit and admitted to traveling too fast.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time addressing numerous accidental catches of out-of-season furbearers. A majority of the accidentally taken animals will be donated to the Minnesota Trappers Association Tanned Fur Project. After tanning, these pelts will get back to COs, who can teach children about the animals in the woods around them.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) spent the past week focusing on trout angling and snowmobile activity. He also assisted with an ice safety class where participants were able to practice self and team rescue skills.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking anglers along the U.S./Canada border. He responded to a fire in Grand Marais and followed up on cases from the fall hunting season.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling and snowmobiling activity, as well as deer season follow-up and ski trail enforcement.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports hitting the trails and lakes via snowmobile throughout the week. A citation was issued to a rider for an aftermarket exhaust. Anglers targeting trout experienced intermittent luck, but stream trout anglers found great success on lakes around Grand Marais. One person was contacted using live minnows and too many lines on a designated trout lake. Enforcement action was taken. Hill also assisted the Cook County Sheriff’s Office with multiple calls and also spoke on WTIP radio in Grand Marais.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) spent the past week checking ice anglers on area lakes. Some of the violations encountered included no fishing licenses in possession, no shelter license on nonportable fish houses, fishing with extra lines, and expired snowmobile registration.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobiling activity, and assisted the State Patrol with vehicles in the ditch.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling and spearing activity. Angling pressure seems to be increasing because many people have been using the outdoor resources for family fun and a way to supplement their food supply. A big-game case was worked in which a deer was poached out of season, with a crossbow, and over bait.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) monitored area snowmobile trials. The trails were busy despite being in fairly poor overall condition. Hochstein also attended fur registration for otters and bobcats. Assistance was given to local law enforcement agencies, and fishing and snowmobiling violations were addressed.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked area lakes for angling activity. Snowmobile trail enforcement was worked, and trespassing/exhaust complaints continue. Calls regarding wolf interactions with livestock were handled, and Schmidt assisted with a bobcat that had a hankering for domestic ducks.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent time working area lakes, checking ice anglers. Ice conditions remain very good in the Duluth area. On several lakes, people are able to drive vehicles where they haven’t in past years.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked angling and snowmobiling enforcement in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. The annual John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon took place along the North Shore State Trail on Sunday.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers and snowmobile riders. Great Lakes commercial fisheries items were handled, and activity was monitored between ice anglers and local events on the St. Louis River harbor.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Chelsey Best (Crosslake) spent time this past week on various winter activities. Snowmobile traffic was higher this past weekend and lots of folks were out ice fishing. Trapping investigations continue, and nuisance-animal calls were handled.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked angling, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling activity. A deer-feeding complaint was addressed, and outdoor recreation topics were covered on the local radio station. He also assisted DNR Wildlife staff with fur tagging.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports patrolling the area trails for snowmobiling activity. He checked area lakes and mine pits for fishing activity and answered many outdoor-related questions. Time was spent patrolling the SRA for illegal vehicle activity and checking for state park vehicle permits.
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) and COC Nicholas Baum primarily worked sportfishing and recreational vehicle enforcement. Sullivan and Baum observed violations of extra lines, no shelter ID and license, no reflective material on a shelter, angling without a license, no license in possession, tip-up farther away than 200 feet, unattended lines, and failure to tend traps.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked hunting activity. Little snow is making it easy to get around and see targets. Lakes were checked; ice thickness is still behind for this time or year.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling Lake Mille Lacs for fishing activity. The CO also assisted with fur registration at the Aitkin DNR office and spent time patrolling Jay Cooke State Park. Along with CO Dustie Speldrich, Whiteoak saved a domesticated farm duck that was found on a busy road and was nearly hit by cars. The duck made it home to its owners. The owners where happy to have their duck, named Mo, back. They explained that Mo is known as their “watchdog.”
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) assisted with fur tagging and took a complaint about a nuisance fox. Speldrich also checked anglers on area lakes and assisted Lake Mille Lacs COs with fishing enforcement on Mille Lacs near Isle Bay.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) assisted his neighboring officer with a snowmobile crash in which a beginner sled driver drove into the woods off a steep ditch. The novice operator was not hurt and was coached on how to avoid future predicaments.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found an increase in ice-fishing pressure on area lakes during the past week. Improved ice conditions had lakes full of anglers. Higher fishing activity also created a high number of fishing violations found, with the most common violation being fishing with too many lines. Anglers were found using up to seven lines at a time. The most common excuse heard for violating the two-line law basically blamed it on the fish for not biting and causing the anglers to be bored.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked ice anglers, snowmobile and ATV riders on area lakes, and snowmobile riders on trails. He responded to reports of fishers incidentally caught by trappers, and an injured swan.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent the past week working angling activity. Trappers turned in incidentally caught fishers from the bobcat season. A work crew on Lake Mille Lacs was worked. It resulted in several violations. An ongoing deer investigation was concluded.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) checked an angler using too many lines. The angler told Bertram he was switching lines and never pulled up the first two. His excuse was that he became distracted while trying to find a date using Match.com on his phone.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking anglers and patrolling for snowmobiling activity. Several anglers were attempting to jumpstart their fishing by using extra lines. One angler tried to hide his extra line by throwing his rattle reel down the hole, but the reel and bracket got stuck in on the ice and he was unable to kick it down before Krauel saw it. Another angler attempted to cut a tail on a walleye to get it into the legal slot limit. When Krauel pointed out that walleyes don’t normally have tails that go in a straight line and usually have longer tails, the angler admitted to cutting the tail.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent following up on cases from the deer season.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the past week checking anglers, monitoring snowmobile trails, and following up on complaints. Violations included license-possession issues, improperly marked fish houses, and no fishing license.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked ice-fishing and snowmobiling activity in the metro area. He also answered questions from the Asian community on the small-game season and youth firearms safety classes.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) continued to work ATVing, snowmobiling, and angling enforcement on area lakes and trails. Maass also investigated a littering complaint in which an ice angler left a large amount of garbage on the ice.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on angling and snowmobiling enforcement. In addition to checking anglers on area lakes, he assisted CO Grewe with a snowmobiling while intoxicated arrest.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled Fort Snelling State Park for cross-country ski trail passes and trail usage. He also assisted with deer management distribution to local nonprofit organizations. He took enforcement action for no ski pass, an unleashed dog, no fishing license in possession, failure to display valid ATV registration, and shelter violations.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week doing snowmobiling enforcement and checking ice anglers. He also spent time investigating littering complaints and did follow-up on open cases.
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time checking ice anglers on local lakes. Time also was spent patrolling for snowmobile trespassers and coyote hunters. Enforcement action was taken for many issues, including improperly marked shelters, license and stamp violations, illegal fishing equipment, and illegal aerators in public waters.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) reports a minnow-retailer inspection was conducted, which led to improper paperwork being kept. As a result, golden shiners were seized because the source could not be determined.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent time checking snowmobile riders and anglers. Ice conditions are improving but anglers are still reporting varying ice thicknesses. Coyote hunters are having some success.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working snowmobiling and angling activity. K9 assistance was given to assist in locating evidence involving a deer that was taken illegally.
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) checked coyote hunters, snowmobile riders, and anglers this past week. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display snowmobile registration. Assistance was provided at a structure fire.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time checking anglers on area lakes, working with other officers in high complaint areas, and patrolling snowmobile trails. Block would like to remind anglers to continue to be vigilant and aware of the ice conditions when they head out to lakes.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent the majority of the past week checking anglers and ATV and snowmobile riders on the lakes. A group of high school students was checked taking advantage of distance learning by attending their classes and doing their school work from a fish house.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls concerning sick and injured wildlife. He also worked snowmobile, ATV, and fishing enforcement activities.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked angling, snowmobiling, and ATVing enforcement. Gruhlke completed his radio program with KKOJ discussing topics including ice safety, lake aeration systems, and snowmobile safety when riding in ditches and on rivers.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports checking anglers and snowmobilers this past week. More hard-sided shelters have shown up on area lakes.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) patrolled lakes this past week checking for angling activity. A burning complaint was addressed.
CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) reports time was spent investigating deer-feeding complaints.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) reports that litter continues to be a problem on the lakes. Clean up after yourselves!
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) checked anglers and snowmobiles. License and extra-line violations continue to be encountered.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent a majority of the past week patrolling for snowmobiling activity on area trails. A trespass complaint also was investigated.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) answered multiple coyote-hunting questions this past week.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) fielded snowmobile trespass complaints. Riders are reminded of the importance of staying on the trails to avoid losing them.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports some snowmobiling activity in the area but the trails were in rough shape. Ice fishing continues to be hit or miss, with many people trying unusual locations. Hemker spent time in areas where snowmobiles were being operated off the trails.