Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – March 19, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working ATVing and angling activity on special-regulation lakes this past week. Regas reports starting to see open water on some lakes. Two tires of an ATV dropped through the ice on a bad spot of the ice on Gull Lake.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) worked angling, off-highway vehicle, and fire enforcement this past week. Anglers should be aware that ice conditions on most areas of Lake of the Woods are degrading fast. Forest roads and burning restrictions are now in place. Check the DNR website for updates.
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and attended training for arson investigation. A litter complaint was investigated south of Badger regarding dumped deer carcasses. Anglers are reminded to buy only certified dead bait for pike fishing and to keep the packaging with the bait.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) investigated a complaint about unlawful snaring of coyotes.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) worked angling and ATVing enforcement and responded to several wildfires this past week.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports ice condition have begun to deteriorate at accesses. Abandoned fishing shelters were addressed.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week checking ice anglers. Other time was spent patrolling for fire activity. Swedberg wants to remind Becker County residents that they are required to have a burning permit on hand if they are planning on having any fire larger than a campfire, and to make sure they are not burning any garbage or other prohibited materials.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling activity and fish house removal. An ice-fishing tournament was monitored. Patrol was conducted for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Warren investigated a call of a possible injured eagle.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports the ice is going fast and that it probably won’t be safe to access lakes by next weekend. It is a great time to check and clean wood duck boxes.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week were concentrated on checking anglers and ATV operators. Ice conditions on area lakes are deteriorating, with most lakes only accessible by walking.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) took several calls from the public with various questions ranging from the light goose conservation season to lifetime licenses.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked with other officers on an incidentally taken wolf. This past week, Plautz monitored ice conditions and ice anglers, assisted numerous ELS agents with questions and troubleshooting the new husband/wife combination angling license, and spoke to a firearms safety class about laws and ethics.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) watched throughout the week as ice conditions continued to deteriorate. Several citations were issued for angling without licenses, as well as operating a side-by-side ATV on a snowmobile trail. A dead bald eagle was found in the middle of a lake with no signs of injuries. Lawler seized the bird and transferred it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for proper disposal.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time working state forests due to recent forest road and trail closures. Ice conditions are deteriorating quickly. Anderson also made a DWI arrest.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking anglers and ATV riders during the past week. Kunst wants to remind people planning to ride ATVs in the Remer area that the ATV trails are still closed for spring thaw. Kunst also responded to a call about a snowmobile that went through the ice.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) and COC Baum checked various lakes around the area. The ice has started to weaken and is variable in thickness in spots due to the recent warm weather.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports spending the past week monitoring conditions on the Rainy River. The first people were launching boats earlier in the week with more during the weekend. ATV enforcement, animal-related complaints, and forestry-related issues were also part of the workload. People are reminded that the Blue Ox Trail is not open for ATV use until April 1.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports checking anglers fishing open portions of the Rainy River in boats. Most area landings are still blocked with shelf ice, preventing people from launching their boats like they normally would. Simonson would like to remind people to double-check registration on their boats and to make sure everyone has the proper number of PFDs before heading out on the open water for the first time this spring.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling activity on area lakes. Area forest roads were checked, and equipment work completed.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) primarily worked trout anglers, checked fish house removal, and wrapped up a big-game case. A complaint about a deer with a bullet hole, hanging in a garage, was investigated. The individual had shot the deer with a bow and out of season, but claimed it was first hit by a car. A second individual also was charged because the deer was stored at that person’s residence. Bozovsky assisted the Hibbing Police Department with a felony warrant suspect who fled in a car and then on foot. Bozovsky assisted with searching for the suspect and with the arrest after he was found hiding in a pickup box in someone’s driveway.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing activity. Recent heavy snowfall caused a lot of slush on local lakes. Broughten also fielded calls regarding spring beaver trapping.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports a fresh snowfall across the Arrowhead gave snowmobilers an extra few days of fair riding on local trails. Fishing reports worsened as temperatures climbed, and by the weekend few successful anglers were seen.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers this past week. Velsvaag received several questions on road-killed animals and permits and ice conditions. Litter continues to be a problem on area lakes and at public accesses.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) was busy on the ice this past week as trail conditions deteriorated and lake conditions made for mostly easy traveling. A snowmobile event on one lake during the weekend led to at least one citation for speed after the event had concluded. Manning also took calls on an injured wolf and a road-killed deer.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling activity and checked area lakes for ice shelter removal. Deer vs. vehicle incidents are on the rise as spring arrives and deer are trying to find the first areas of exposed grass along roadways.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) reports enforcement action was taken for taking fish with illegal devices. A bald eagle was released back into the wild in the area from where it was rescued after it spent seven weeks recovering from poisoning and an injury.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended a wildfire arson meeting, checked anglers, worked a detail in Jacobson, and assisted the county with an ATV accident. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted the county with a search warrant for firearms.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice-angling activity. The main ice shelves on lakes are still good to get out on, but the shorelines are quickly receding with the sunny and warm weather.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on angling throughout the area. Follow-up work was completed on open investigations. Assistance was also given to neighboring law enforcement agencies with various calls for service.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent time working area lakes, focusing on angling activity and ATVs. Time also was spent working Jay Cooke State Park trails and parking areas. Nuisance-animal complaints were handled, as were questions related to spring fishing on Lake Superior.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spoke to a college class about the job of a conservation officer and continues to attend K9 training with a new K9 partner.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked along the North Shore, checking anglers and boaters fishing Lake Superior. Time also was spent assisting the sheriff’s office with a detail in Halden Township. The CO investigated a trapping trespass complaint in Carlton County.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boaters and anglers as Lake Superior’s sporting seasons continued their switch. A reminder to check your watercraft for current registration and safety equipment before showing up at the boat launch. Some river anglers are showing up this year with a misconception as to where they have access. Accessing public waters only gets you access to the surface of that water. You do not have the right to walk on private posted land up to the high-water mark or with any kind of buffer along the river.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) primarily worked late ice anglers. She also investigated a situation in which a beaver dam was removed, possibly affecting water levels on an adjacent lake. She also presented a 30-year appreciation award to a volunteer snowmobile safety instructor at the snowmobile club’s meeting this past week.
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked fishing activity and litter complaints on area lakes. Ice conditions on area lakes are deteriorating quickly, and anglers are using ATVs for travel. He also investigated deer-hunting violations.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) monitored angling activity on station lakes. A call was received from State Patrol dispatch about a large cat that was living under a home. The caller, who was older, was fearful for her life and didn’t want to get scratched.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports checking anglers throughout the week and weekend. Patrol was done throughout the state recreation area, and parking permits and illegal vehicle activity were checked.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked anglers as lake edges with a lot of sun exposure start getting spongy. He also completed training and monitored the spring goose migration.
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) continues to monitor angling and ATVing activity in the area. With the warm weather, there has been a big increase in ATVing activity. Fire enforcement also was focused on throughout the week because many people are out doing spring cleanup.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling the area for fishing and ATVing activity. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations. She also followed up on a call about a vehicle being operated on a snowmobile trail and litter in the Solana State Forest.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) checked people targeting northern pike. He saw a few large pike being caught. ATV riders have arrived in full force, which is creating some issues with muddy ditches. Starr took action for false application on a license and being more than 200 feet from tip-ups.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found an increase in beaver-trapping activity with the melting conditions and opening up of rivers and creeks. Vehicle use on most lakes was limited due to warm weather reducing ice thickness.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sportfishing and ATVing enforcement this past week. Time was spent addressing fires as a result of spring yard cleaning. People are reminded to check on burning restrictions in their county before starting a fire. Calls were fielded regarding new panfish regulations on area lakes.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked ice anglers and monitored ATVing activity this past week. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration and decal as required on an ATV, failure to transfer ATV registration, operating a prohibited motor vehicle (pickup truck) on an ATV trail, and driving after revocation.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the past week checking late-season ice anglers. A complaint about two dead calves being dumped at the Uhlenkolts Lake access near New Munich was investigated. If anyone has knowledge of the person or people responsible, please contact the TIP line.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on educating anglers about the new sunfish limits on the Horseshoe Chain of Lakes.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports warm weather has caused ice conditions to diminish quickly. There’s also been a significant increase in ATVing activity.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports checking anglers and responding to wildlife-related complaints. Lake shorelines have deteriorated greatly with the warm weather and rain. Please use caution when venturing onto the lakes.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports working on investigations related to unlawful angling and deer hunting. A case was made involving an overlimit of bucks taken during the past hunting season. An otter pelt was seized that was being possessed illegally.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers, boaters, and recreational vehicle operators. Additional time was spent issuing wildlife-possession permits and following up on a shoreline complaint. Anglers continue to target smallmouth bass out of season along the Mississippi River near Monticello. Several citations were issued to anglers not following the rules.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked ice anglers and ATV riders. A trespass complaint was investigated. Animal-related calls were handled.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time patrolling the Mississippi River for angling activity. Time also was spent following up on big-game investigations. Enforcement action was taken for lending/borrowing a big-game license, no PFD, and angling without a license.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) continued to work angling activity on area lakes, as well as ATV enforcement. Maass also handled several trapping-related investigations. Time was spent on follow-up investigations from the deer season.
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) removed the last ice shelter from Lower Prior Lake. Fogarty contacted the owner of the ice shelter but ended up having to remove the shelter from the lake. He checked late-ice anglers and reminded them of the new sunfish/crappie regulations on Upper and Lower Prior lakes. With midweek rain and temperatures in the mid 50s, ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly. Education/enforcement action was taken for failure to remove an ice shelter by the removal date, failure to display shelter license, and wanton waste of sunfish.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked fishing and ATVing activity on metro-area lakes. He also met with the Asian community regarding the advisory Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation Council. Enforcement action was taken for having a dog off-leash in a state park.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the past week monitoring anglers in the area. Once again, many trout anglers were illegally fishing designated trout streams.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. Angling has slowed and the ice is beginning to deteriorate with last week’s rainfall.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports checking anglers, doing ATV enforcement, and checking on littering complaints. He also handled nuisance-animal calls, patrolled a state park, and investigated TIP calls.
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time patrolling the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers for both boat and shore anglers. Both rivers have been busy with anglers. Time was also spent patrolling the Vermillion River for people fishing for trout out of season.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Stephen Westby (Madison) worked area lakes for late ice-fishing activity. Ice on local area lakes is less than safe, and Westby advises people to stay off until all ice is clear from the lakes. Westby worked ATVing enforcement and continued working on follow-up investigations.
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) checked snow goose hunters and ATV riders throughout the week. Ice is quickly leaving area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for illegal operation of ATVs on the interstate, and investigations for taking migratory waterfowl during a closed season.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week following up on complaints about trespass and litter. He also handled numerous wildlife-related calls.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this past week monitoring angling activity on area lakes. Ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly, so anglers should use extreme caution on the ice.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this past week patrolling local waterfowl production areas and wildlife management areas. Additional time was focused on monitoring scientific and natural areas and ATV enforcement.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) conducted airboat training and ice rescue training with local law enforcement during the past week. TIP calls were fielded resulting in ongoing investigations. Numerous light goose hunters contacted Miller with questions related to the ongoing season.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on fishing and recreational vehicle activity. VanThuyne also followed up on dumped animal carcasses
CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on fishing, trapping, and ATVing enforcement. A few local anglers had questions about designated trout streams and thought trout fishing was closed. It was explained that trout fishing is currently open for catch-and-release only in the southeast part of the state.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports that in the matter of one week, Mississippi River anglers have transitioned from fishing on ice to open water. Before launching the boat for the first time this year, make sure you have the required equipment on board. Several anglers were found to be fishing without licenses and in possession of walleyes under the size limit of 15 inches.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the past week checking area anglers on the open waters of the Mississippi River. Assistance was given to the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office with a sunken channel marker on the Mississippi River. Many complaints had been received about the marker being just below the water’s surface. Multiple boats had collided with it. Officers were able to locate it and secure a large floating buoy to the marker until the U.S. Coast Guard can make necessary adjustments.