Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 2, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) investigated arson fires in western Roseau County and Kittson County. Evidence was transported to the BCA lab in Bemidji.
CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) worked angling activity on the Rainy River and public accesses, patrolled local state parks and forests, responded to calls for service, and answered questions regarding Lake of the Woods and Rainy River fishing regulations. In addition, a detail focusing on fire prevention was worked with DNR Forestry.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) monitored public accesses on the Rainy River, worked boat and water enforcement, and assisted DNR Forestry with additional patrol, looking for any fire or burning activity while restrictions are in place. Enforcement action was taken for violations including fishing without a license, fishing with extra lines, fishing with unattended lines, open burning during a burn ban, open burning of garbage, and miscellaneous boating safety equipment and registration violations.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) conducted training and patrols for illegal burning and wildfires this week. Elwell has received reports of bears starting to emerge.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports the spring season has brought with it dry conditions and a high fire danger. Check local burning restrictions before burning. Prachar worked with CO Mishler on the Rainy River for angling and boating safety enforcement.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) wrapped up a deer wanton waste case and looked for spring trappers.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked area lakes for angling activity. Ice conditions have deteriorated enough to where anglers are unable to get onto lakes.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reminds people that burn permits are now required if they’d like to clean up leaf and brush debris. The dry spring and windy conditions make for a high risk of wildfires. Ice conditions have deteriorated to the point where the ice-fishing season has come to an end in the area.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing, trapping, and ATVing enforcement. He also investigated a report of a dog possibly killed by wolves.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) monitored activity in area WMAs and waterfowl production areas. Patrol was conducted for ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Leeching activity was monitored as ponds continue to open. Patrol for illegal fire activity was conducted.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked areas for spring beaver-trapping activity. Questions about firearms safety classes and a call about early bowfishing activity were received.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and ATV operators, and monitoring spring fish run activity. Additional time was spent following up on a potential trapping violation.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) focused this week’s enforcement efforts on angling and recreational vehicles. She took several calls from the public with questions and concerns. Angling activity in the area has increased significantly now that the ice is off the lake. Wood would like to remind people that the border waters for Lake Traverse and the Mustinka River ends at the State Highway 117 bridge. (North of the bridge is inland Minnesota waters and the walleye season is not yet open.)
CO Brian Holt (Osakis) spent the week working recreational vehicle activity and trapping. Time also was spent following up on miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints. Holt followed up on ongoing investigations and monitored spring fish run activity.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time enforcing trapping regulations, with enforcement action taken for trapping without a small-game license and untagged traps. Kunst also took a call regarding an incidental otter trapped in a beaver set.
CO Mike Cross (Lake George) worked spring trapping and angling on the Rainy River. He also assisted the sheriff’s office with setting up a landing zone for the medic helicopter, and responded to a bear-related complaint. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no license in possession, no watercraft registration, and watercraft safety violations.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports fishing activity on the Rainy River is in full swing with most accesses from International Falls to Baudette to Lake of the Woods open.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area forest roads and local lakes during the week. ATVing activity was checked, and numerous phone calls were returned.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) followed up on a number of events pertaining to litter left on the ice after the shelter removal date. He also assisted other agencies with calls pertaining to a suicidal individual with a gun, an unwanted individual at a residence, and a fatal vehicle crash. Zavodnik took enforcement action for littering, burning without a permit, and operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and ATVing activity. Broughten fielded calls regarding ATVs on closed trails, trespass, and timber theft.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports that ice conditions continue to slowly worsen on area lakes. Some anglers hit the lakes for the last weekend of the winter trout season, and success was fair. Violations included angling without a license and taking trout with no stamp.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) followed up on a report of small game being taken illegally and on a report of birch pole theft. She also checked area Lake Superior tributaries and North Shore state parks as well as inland forest roads. One bus driver took a wrong turn and ended up where even four-wheelers fear to tread this time of year.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity. Time also was spent checking watercraft on Lake Superior.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked Lake Superior stream fishing and ATVing activity this week. Anglers are just starting to see fish showing up in the streams, but water levels were high with recent rain and snowmelt in the area. Spring closures have begun for some area trails and roadways to protect the areas during the spring thaw.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) worked ATV enforcement and checked the last few ice anglers of the season.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, forestry, small game, and ATVs. Numerous game and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking ATVing activity this week. Trails are still closed in the area for many reasons. Reminder to folks that due to spring breakup, ATV trails on Blandin lands and U.S. Forest Service lands will remain closed even after April 1 (when many ATV trails will open) because of their policies and laws governing the use of those lands. Therefore, ATV and OHV trails on the above-mentioned lands will be closed through April and open up sometime in the beginning to middle of May.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, trapping, ATVing, and wildfire activities throughout the area. Van Asch assisted local law enforcement agencies responding to a motor vehicle accident.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw heavy ATVing traffic during the warm weather. Extra patrol was given to areas of seasonally closed forest roads. Significant damage can occur when operators disregard closed gates and ride in closed areas. A dumping complaint investigation was opened, vehicle maintenance was conducted, and assistance was given to local agencies with calls for service
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked shore angling and river anglers along the North Shore. Most of the rivers have opened up for the spring, and anglers are trying their luck. Lake Superior angling has been busy with numerous boaters out for coho salmon. Trespassing complaints and ATV use on snowmobile trails have kept Schmidt busy as well. Nuisance-animal complaints were handled. There was lots of ATVing activity with the nice weather.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) reports increased ATVing activity and high fire danger in the area. Calls/questions about wetland concerns, upcoming wild turkey seasons, and nuisance animals were received.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked early steelhead anglers as rivers opened up. Water temperatures have not begun to rise much, and no fish were seen. ATV-related complaints about riding on closed trails were received, and damage was checked. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) investigated a complaint about a dirt bike being illegally operated in a public road ditch, tearing up road approaches. Guida also received a call about an accidentally trapped otter from a beaver trapper.
CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked a trapping case, prepped watercraft for the open-water season, and completed some commercial inspections. Closed forest roads and ATV trails were worked.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked area lakes for angling activity. McGowan also worked the Rainy River, where numerous boats were observed.
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) checked area lakes. Ice conditions along shorelines are deteriorating quickly. Ice-fishing activity was low. Sullivan also patrolled spring closure areas and checked for illegal ATV operation and contacted a subject with a warrant. The individual was arrested.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSRA) reports patrol was done in the SRA for park passes and illegal vehicle activity, and time was spent monitoring closed trails in the SRA.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked trapping, ATVing, and angling activity. A swan that apparently hit power lines was recovered.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked ATVing traffic as ditches became snow-free and are drying out. Ice anglers were checked, and a fish house was removed early in the week, but area ice has since become mostly inaccessible from shore. Beaver trappers were checked and some abandoned boats were addressed.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling the area for fishing, trapping, and ATVing activity. Enforcement action was taken for burning without a permit. She also worked on training, equipment maintenance, and presented a 40-year service award to a local Minnesota DNR firearms safety instructor.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) responded to wildfires. Enforcement action was taken for no burning permits. Speldrich received questions regarding sucker fishing and nuisance beavers.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) checked late-season ice anglers and early season river anglers. A fish house was successfully removed from Lake Mille Lacs. Starr also assisted local law enforcement with a felon in possession of a firearm when a coyote was shot on the ice of a lake.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) dealt with some ATV complaints and investigated reports of grass fires and possible wetland violations. Many state forest areas were closed to vehicles and ATV riding in order to minimize damage during spring thawing.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked ATV/OHM, trapping, and burning activity during the week. Calls were fielded about trapping, sport netting, and wildlife management areas.
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) reports there has been more trash being dumped in the Chengwatana State Forest. If you see someone dumping garbage, get a license plate number and inform the sheriff’s office or the DNR.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) talked to youths at a firearms safety class held in Little Falls, monitored ATVing activity, and responded to a call about an injured sandhill crane.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking angling locations. A call regarding swans killed by a power line was investigated. A career presentation was provided to natural resources law students at Central Lakes College.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) helped a neighboring officer remove treestands from WMAs. VanderWeyst observed a large influx of bald eagles in the area this week.
CO Adam Seifermann (St. Cloud) reports seeing the Mississippi River completely ice-free as well as an increase in shore anglers. The CO conducted ATV enforcement and investigated several litter complaints in which fish and game animals were dumped in local ditches.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week checking anglers. Time also was spent following up on public waters complaints.
CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) concluded several deer-hunting investigations. Citations were given for hunting without licenses, overlimits, and untagged deer. ATV laws were enforced in the area. Benkofske also assisted local departments with impaired individuals.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and ATV operators. Additional time was spent issuing wildlife-possession permits, presenting at a firearms safety class, and inspecting a game farm.
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 Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and following up on complaints. As the open-water and boating season approaches, Grewe encourages people to go through their boat safety equipment so they are prepared in case of an emergency in frigid water.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on angling activity during the week. In addition to checking area waterways, he also worked on preparing station watercraft for the boating season. A trapping complaint was investigated with enforcement action taken for failing to check traps.
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time checking anglers. Lerchen also fielded questions regarding aggressive turkeys.
CO Tim Maass (Osseo) checked shore-angling activity on area lakes and rivers. Maass also assisted the city of Plymouth with a coyote complaint. Time was also spent preparing equipment for the upcoming boating season.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. Salzer also patrolled for trapping activity and responded to several animal-related complaints.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers in the area. He continued to find people illegally trout fishing the Vermillion River. The bite remained slow on Pool 2 of the Mississippi River. Enforcement action for the week included no fishing license and trout fishing during the closed season.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) conducted fishing checks in the area with area lakes and rivers opening up. Follow-up was conducted on several lakes where docks had floated away from shore after they froze into the ice. The ice pack carried them away.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers and investigating several public waters violations. He also issued a car-killed deer-possession permit, patrolled the WMAs, and continued working on a big-game case.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent time checking anglers and ATV riders, and monitoring spring beaver-trapping activity. Nice weather has many anglers out catching crappies. A few snow goose hunters were also out trying their luck throughout the week, but most snow geese have pushed through the area.
CO Stephen Westby (Madison) spoke at a firearms safety class in Canby. Westby also investigated complaints about people shooting raccoons out of season, and trespassing.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this week working trapping and commercial activity. Enforcement action was taken for wanton waste and possession of a pheasant during the closed season.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this week checking area streams for signs of the spring fish run, and following up on complaints about litter. Block also conducted commercial inspections with a neighboring officer and followed up on cases from the 2020 deer season.
CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson) spent time this past week working in McLeod and Sibley counties, monitoring shore-angling activity. Burning and ATVing activity have started to become more prevalent.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) conducted commercial inspections and focused on trapping enforcement over the past week. Ongoing investigations into large amounts of litter being deposited at public hunting/angling locations continue. Public access points were patrolled, and AIS enforcement was conducted.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked angling, ATVing, and commercial enforcement this week. Henke also spent time on the water for the first time this season and found several anglers out searching for crappies, but with limited success. Remember to buy your 2021 fishing licenses!
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked anglers and ATV operators this week. ATV riders are reminded that the “Ag Zone” closure that prohibits riding ATVs in the road ditch started April 1.
CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports checking local lakes and public lands. A trapping complaint is being investigated.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked rivers in the area for beaver-trapping activity. Several ATV-related complaints were taken.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the week checking anglers and responding to deer-feeding complaints. Enforcement action was taken for feeding ban violations, targeting bass during the closed season, fishing without a license, and no trout stamp.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) continues to check walleye and perch anglers on the Mississippi River. The orange and white symbols posted on the east and west sides below the dam indicate the boundary of the closed area. Enforcement action is being taken when boaters enter the closed area.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) did a career and regulations talk online for the local high school fish and game class, and continued to follow up on an illegal deer case. Hemker also received calls and complaints about nuisance wild animals.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) responded to the scene of a rail tanker explosion in Cannon Falls. Molasses from the tanker spilled into the Cannon River. As a reminder, off-highway motorcycles are not allowed in the road right of way. Trout-angling activity has been increasing, and beaver trappers were checked.