Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 9, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) followed up on an ongoing case, investigated a new arson near Hayes Lake, and prepared equipment for use on the Rainy River.
CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) worked ATV enforcement, monitored activity at public accesses, patrolled state parks and forests, and worked a fire enforcement detail with DNR Forestry. In addition, calls regarding open burning and dogs chasing deer were investigated. The ice is starting to leave Lake of the Woods and anglers are reminded to renew expired boat registration and ensure boats are equipped with all required safety equipment.
CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) assisted local law enforcement in Mentor and the Beltrami Island State Forest with a fire investigation and traffic control. He continued to monitor fishing activity in the area. Reports about a deceased great horned owl and incidental otter were taken.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports monitoring seasonal closures for ATVing activity and spring beaver-trapping activity. Time was spent following up on an ongoing case from the deer season and assisting Forestry with the investigation of several suspicious wildfires. The investigations are ongoing.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) followed up on a complaint of a possible wetland violation and fielded calls regarding use of public lands.
CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji) and K9 partner Storm attended training at Camp Ripley. The team also participated in K9 detection trials in St. Paul, where they were certified for another year in detection of various wild game species and zebra mussels.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting neighboring officers with a search warrant and patrolling for fire activity during times of fire restrictions.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) investigated several reports of illegal burning in the county. Swedberg reminds people that they need a permit to have a fire bigger than a campfire and that having a permit only allows for the burning of certain things.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) monitored illegal fire activity, checked anglers, conducted vehicle maintenance, and patrolled for ATV violations. Most area lakes are now ice-free Landmark seized incidentally caught otters, followed up on reports of dead eagles, investigated a fire in Maplewood State Park, and followed up on a commercial bait complaint.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports area lakes are for the most part ice-free. Time was spent around fish-run areas and assisting with a work crew along Minnesota/South Dakota border waters during the weekend. Bowfishing south of Highway 210 on lakes has already started.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week focused on checking anglers and ATV operators. Additional time was spent monitoring spring fish-run activity and organizing upcoming firearms safety classes with local instructors.
CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the majority of the past week focused on angling enforcement. Several area COs came out to assist Wood during the busy weekend. Wood assisted the Traverse County Sheriff’s Office with a boat crash on the Mustinka River. The incident remains under investigation.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) set up and instructed two ATV safety classes during the weekend, certifying almost 40 students from around the state. Plautz monitored high activity at Glendalough State Park, fishing activity, and fish-run activity. Plautz is investigating a TIP of a turkey shot out of season.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports an ice-fishing case was closed with a citation issued for angling without a license and providing a false name to a peace officer.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked primarily ATV and fire enforcement. Forest roads/trails remain closed due to trail conditions and the potential for fires, given the dry conditions. Several questions were fielded about the bowfishing season.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) primarily worked ATV and trapping enforcement. ATV violations that were found included failure to display registration, operating an unregistered ATV, allowing illegal operation by a juvenile, and operating without headlights. Kunst also received a call about a mountain lion sighting in the Remer area.
CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked trapping, angling, and ATVing enforcement. Cross also responded to a nuisance-bear call, trapper-trespassing incident, and to a gray wolf that had been hit by a car.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports Rainy River fishing continues to be the main emphasis of the workload as people are fishing from International Falls to Baudette and out into Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action for the week included no angling license, failure to display boat registration, insufficient number of PFDs, no fire extinguisher onboard, angling with extra lines, and possession of a small amount of marijuana.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time investigating trapping violations and patrolling on ATV during the week. With the warmer weather, Zavodnik observed a heavy increase in ATV traffic. He wants to remind operators to page through the OHV regulation book before heading out.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing, spring trapping, and ATVing activity. Ice on area lakes is rapidly deteriorating. Broughten fielded calls regarding trespass and timber theft. The CO also investigated a grass fire.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and ATV riders this past week. Ice conditions are poor with the warmup. Velsvaag received several calls about fishing regulations and road closures.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked anglers trying to bag their last lake trout before the close of the season. He also spent time on border lakes, checking walleye and northern pike anglers.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers on area Lake Superior tributaries. Anglers are reminded to respect property owners’ postings and stay in the riverbed where land is posted. Cook County has several fish sanctuaries and a few of those rivers also were patrolled. Manning also assisted Lake County with traffic control during a brush fire during the weekend.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity along Lake Superior. On his way home Saturday, he passed a small 2-foot by 2-foot grass fire in the ditch of Highway 61. By the time Schottenbauer was able to turn around and attempt to extinguish the fire, it had grown to at least 20 yards by 15 yards, and was climbing a cliff, into the woods. Schottenbauer radioed for Silver Bay Fire, and started an investigation into the origin. As the fire department started its response, they were stopped for three more fires along Highway 61, and Schottenbauer realized there were more fires behind him. The investigation turned to notifying residences of the danger and that they may need to leave. Fire support from up and down the North Shore, and DNR air support, were able to put the fires out. One building was lost, and the fires are still under investigation.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) spent the past week working trapping and OHV enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for operating ATVs in a wildlife management area, allowing children to operate ATVs without helmets, and expired ATV registration. An injured bear cub was captured and taken to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended training, monitored OHV activity and handled nuisance-animal complaints. The warm weather and high winds have ice clearing from area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and illegal operation of an OHV by juveniles.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking spring beaver-trapping activity. Water-level fluctuations and cold weather have not been helpful variables in trapping so far this spring. She also worked on a possible timber theft complaint with a neighboring officer.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, trapping, boating, and AIS enforcement. Van Asch also spent time working on the Rainy River, where there was no shortage of anglers to contact.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time monitoring road and trail closures. With the dry weather conditions, several roads and trails have firmed up and are now open, while others remain impassable and closed. Issues with beaver trapping and birch-pole theft also were investigated.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent much of the past week working shore anglers and anglers on Lake Superior. Trespassing complaints and illegal ATV use on closed roads were handled. Smelting inquiries were the most common questions of the week.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked OHV, fire, and angling enforcement throughout the past week. Humphrey observed heavy ATV traffic during the warm weather and patrolled state forests’ seasonally closed forest roads and trails.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports the warmer weather during the weekend produced a busy Lake Superior. Boat anglers were out in full force, with hundreds of boats observed between Duluth and Two Harbors. Wildfires and ATV complaints in closed areas made up the remainder of the workload during the week.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked all-terrain vehicle traffic and sportfishing enforcement. Some lakes are opening up. Guida assisted the sheriff’s office with a traffic stop of a suicidal suspect who had made terroristic threats toward another person.
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) was accompanied by COC Nicholas Baum. Sullivan and Baum patrolled for recreational vehicle activity, with violations for too many passengers on a Class 1 ATV, no headlights while operating, allowing illegal operation, no helmet for youth operators/passengers, and operating on a closed forest road.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked ATVing, angling, and trapping activity. Complaints on the blocking of a stream and deer feeding also were investigated.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) monitored burning activity and checked burning permits due to all dead and dry vegetation in the area. Beaver trappers were out making use of mostly open water along area shorelines.
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) focused on angling and ATVing activity in the Isle area. With the warm weather and area trails opening up, ATVing activity picked up. Griffith also got a call to respond to a land fire. The rising temperatures, high winds, and low humidity have put fire danger into the high-risk category. Griffith would like to remind everyone to check the DNR website daily for the current burning restrictions.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated Wetland Conservation Act violations. Resource protection notices were issued. She also issued a cease and desist order for a public waters violation. Speldrich investigated a trapping violation and answered questions regarding the Nemadji State Forest being close to recreational vehicle riding.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) checked waterways for spring fish-run activity and checked ATV traffic. Firearms safety classes are full and the need for extra classes is abundant.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found an increase in boating and open-water fishing activity. A few landowners, attempting to do some spring burning, had their controlled fires get out of control in a hurry.
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) assisted the State Patrol in stopping a vehicle operator who had already been stopped two times since the county line.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked anglers and monitored ATVing activity. A complaint about trash being dumped on state land and a complaint of illegal ATVing activity on a snowmobile trail were investigated.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time working with CO Vang during the past week. They followed up on a dumping complaint and addressed ATV violations in the Little Falls station. Silgjord worked a late-night shift monitoring bowfishers in the Sauk Centre station. While standing a short distance away, Silgjord observed an angler shoot a largemouth bass. The group also was found to be in possession of sunfish that had been taken with archery equipment. The group was surprised to see the CO, to say the least.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) reports assistance was given to CO Bertram with freeing a deer that got stuck in a beaver trap. A large fire was handled. It required two fire departments and a DNR Forestry helicopter to put out. The cause was a fire that a homeowner thought was out when he left the home.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) checked anglers and worked ATV complaint areas. Violations were found for an overlimit of crappies, no angling license, and no PFDs. A litter complaint was investigated.
CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports working ATVing enforcement across the area. Wetland impact cases were looked into, and a firearms safety class was presented near Bradford.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the past week checking anglers and patrolling for ATVing activity. Krauel and CO Griffith had a stop that proves no stop is “routine.” Upon stopping two individuals for illegal operation of an ATV and an OHM, the two individuals gave Krauel false names. Upon discovery of their true names, Krauel found they had several felony warrants. During the arrest, Krauel also found several controlled substances, an illegal weapon, and that the ATV was stolen.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) has received numerous complaints about litter and dumping. Violators will be prosecuted. Please dispose of your trash responsibly.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) checked anglers on the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. He also returned calls about fishing regulations and patrolled Fort Snelling State Park.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on angling and boating enforcement during the week. In addition to patrolling area lakes and waterways, he assisted local agencies with an injury rollover crash and a fire.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked anglers, boaters, and for AIS in the metro-are. He continues assisting with fishing regulations translation.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent most of the past week checking anglers and monitoring boating activity. Grewe also followed up on complaints and was pleased to see several people out catching crappies during the weekend. Violations included a crappie overlimit and license issues.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent a lot of time again this past week monitoring illegal trout anglers along streams in Dakota County. He also patrolled Pool 2 of the Mississippi River.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the past week checking anglers and doing AIS enforcement. He also continued working on an ongoing big-game case and patrolled William O’Brien State Park.
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent the majority of his time patrolling the Minnesota, Vermillion, and Mississippi rivers. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of things including not enough life jackets, fishing for species out of season (most issues involved trout and bass), fishing at designated trout streams and lakes out of season, and various license and registration issues.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) responded to several wetland complaints and homeowners. Please contact the DNR or city you reside in before doing any work on, in, or near a wetland.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Stephen Westby (Madison) spoke at a firearms safety class in Canby at the Canby Sportsman’s Club. He received calls about dogs chasing wild game, and one about a fisher that was hit by a vehicle. Westby also worked a trespassing complaint, which led to a property damage and theft case.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week conducting investigations and checking anglers. Warm weather has resulted in high ATVing activity and an uptick in panfish angling.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) reports that a call about an otter found in a foothold trap was fielded. The otter was released without incident.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this past week checking anglers on area lakes and checking recreational vehicles. Block also spent time working bowfishing activity with a neighboring officer.
CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson) spent the majority of this past week patrolling McLeod and Sibley counties. Several burning violations were encountered, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked angling, boat and water, and aquatic invasive species enforcement. Gruhlke also taught firearms safety in Jackson, discussing laws, safety, and ethics. He also presented two 40-year volunteer safety instructor awards at the class.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) patrolled the Minnesota River this past week, checking angler and trapping activity. ATV complaints were addressed.
CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) spent time working angling and ATVing enforcement. Water levels on local streams are slightly lower than they were a week ago, but anglers continue to report good fishing. Moua also spent time answering questions about trout fishing from anglers who were not familiar with the area.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the past week checking anglers and monitoring ATVing activity. Additionally, Fitzgerald was interviewed by reporters from KTTC after responding to a complaint regarding a dead bald eagle that had its wings and tail feathers removed.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports recreational boaters showing up on the river earlier than usual. There were some sandbar gatherings, along with personal watercrafts and some swimmers on Easter weekend.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) checked anglers on the Cannon and Zumbro rivers. Some anglers were found without licenses, using extra lines, targeting fish in the closed season, and in possession of drugs. Trespass calls have begun regarding trout anglers.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) spent time checking anglers and on boat and water safety this past week. Time also was spent on two trespassing complaints and a complaint about a suspicious box on state forest land.