Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 16, 2021

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) did follow-up work on a couple of arson cases. Contact was made with a turkey hunter who was putting out bait to attract turkeys. The hunter was informed of turkey-baiting laws, which are similar to deer-baiting laws. Online training was completed.

CO Marc Johnson (Warroad) primarily worked angling activity on the Rainy River and at local public accesses. In addition, time was spent patrolling the station and monitoring for smoke/fire and ATV activity. The area received some much-needed precipitation throughout the week, which helped offset the extremely dangerous fire conditions from the prior week.

CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) investigated a grass fire that took place around the Lancaster area. He also completed training and monitored fishing activity. He spent a considerable amount of time with ATV enforcement this past week. 

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored the spring fish run and area ATV activity. He also responded to calls about nuisance badgers, burning prohibited materials and wildfires. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports monitoring ATVing activity, spring closures, and checking anglers on special-regulation lakes. Time was spent monitoring angler AIS compliance, checking spring beaver trappers, and taking several calls about incidental catches of otters and muskrats. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports following up on wildfire cases. Time also was spent checking anglers and watercraft operators. ATV operators were also contacted. Various angling and watercraft-related violations were encountered.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked fish run activity, spring trappers, and a few anglers.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked boat and water safety shifts with CO Larson on the Rainy River during the weekend. The river was busy and several large sturgeon and walleyes were observed being caught. Vollbrecht followed up on a complaint of individuals filling a wetland and patrolled areas for ATV activity. 

CO Hannah Mishler (Bemidji) patrolled for ATVing activity and followed up on a complaint of ATVers operating on wildlife management area land. A report of an accidental otter catch was handled, and assistance was given to the Bemidji Police Department. 

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports scouting for turkeys that hunters may be pursuing for the approaching 2021 spring turkey season. ATV and spring fire patrols were conducted, and complaints about a public water access that had ATV damage done were investigated. A possible violation of aquatic plant removal is under investigation. Questions were fielded about the new sunfish regulations. 

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing and ATV enforcement. Time also was spent issuing wildlife-possession permits and answering questions about the spring turkey season. 

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling, leeching, and fish-run activity. A call about a car-hit eagle was received. Upon investigation, it was identified as a Canada goose. WMAs and waterfowl production areas were monitored for activity. 

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring the spring fish run, checking anglers, and patrolling for ATV and OHM violations. With the early ice-out, bowfishers are reminded that the early bowfishing season is only for lakes south of Highway 210. While on patrol, Landmark and CO Swedberg observed bowfishing boats on an area lake. The anglers were surprised to see the officers and were unaware of the early bowfishing regulations because they did not read the regulations thoroughly. It was discovered that the anglers were taking rough fish out of season, taking rough fish in a closed spawning area, and had no life jackets onboard their watercraft. Enforcement action was also taken for multiple life jacket violations, watercraft registration violations, angling without a license, and several ATV/OHM violations.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) monitored fishing, boating, and invasive species throughout the week. ATV traffic was worked, and Plautz assisted with a firearms safety field day in the Battle Lake area. Incidentally caught muskrats from multiple trappers were handled. 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, fish-run activity, boaters, and ATV riders. Calls about trapping, firearms safety classes, and boating were received. The local streams and lakes are at full capacity after this week’s rain, so boaters should be careful of hazards while on the water.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and boaters. Calls were handled about the upcoming fishing opener and the husband/wife fishing license.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked anglers, recreational vehicles and trapping throughout the previous week. Time was also spent organizing a firearms safety class and monitoring spring fish-run activity. A TIP complaint was received and an investigation is ongoing. 

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) again spent the week on angling enforcement. She took calls from the public with questions and concerns. She is working with the area DNR Fisheries office to get signs for the Mustinka River to clearly identify where the line is for the border waters. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked throughout the week checking panfish anglers both from shore and boats. A few anglers were reminded that targeting bass before the fishing opener is not allowed. Another angler was cited for possessing marijuana and paraphernalia while fishing with his children. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) checked spring trappers and anglers, and responded to numerous incidental catches. An illegal bridge that was blocking navigable river waters was investigated. Cross also responded to an ATV accident and attended emergency medical training at Camp Ripley.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers, ATV riders, and fire activity. Mathy also investigated a report of littered snow goose carcasses along a roadway. Mathy also assisted at an ATV accident in the Paul Bunyan State Forest. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports spending the majority of the week working the Rainy River, checking anglers and conducting boat and water safety equipment checks. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time investigating a trapping complaint involving an untagged trap found on private property. After a lengthy investigation, the suspect eventually was identified and confronted about the violations. Enforcement action was taken. Zavodnik also spent time with the soil and water district and DNR aquatic plant management specialists involving multiple violations found on a nearby lakeshore property. 

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, trapping, and ATVing activity. Broughten also fielded calls regarding trespass, injured animals, and beaver trapping. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked accesses, completed required training and checked on areas with previous illegal motor use. He also received calls on beaver trapping laws and accidental catches and fur-buying requirements. Ice is nearly gone from area lakes.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports more drivers either stuck or nearly stuck on forest roads that were until recently snowmobile-only access. Again, mapping apps led some folks astray. Drivers are urged to talk with folks who are familiar with the road system before going out on a driving adventure. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) spent time working the Rainy River, patrolling for ATVing activity, monitoring the spring fish run, and completing departmental training. An individual drove his truck down a state snowmobile trail past numerous “no motor vehicle signs,” tore up the trail and a wetland, and got his vehicle stuck. Appropriate enforcement action was taken. CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked Lake Superior stream-fishing activity and spring beaver-trapping activity. Recent rainfall in the area has made both activities more difficult with rising water levels in streams and culverts. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) spent the majority of the week working trapping enforcement. Area rivers and streams were patrolled for fishing activity, and forest roads were patrolled for ATV activity. 

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked fishing, small game, and ATVing activities. He also patrolled area campgrounds and trails. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity, and attended training this week. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in locating a suspect who fled into the woods. 

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking local fishing activity, ATVing activity, working invasive species enforcement, and following up on forest-product-related complaints. 

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, boating, ATVing, trapping, and AIS enforcement throughout the area. Time also was spent closing out open investigations and conducting equipment maintenance. Several questions regarding new angling regulations and nuisance-animal complaints were fielded and handled as well.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) assisted the Duluth Police Department and Duluth Fire Department with a beaver obstructing traffic on Woodland Ave. The beaver was released to a more hospitable location. Rarely do conservation officers relocate wild animals, but this was an exceptional circumstance. An anonymous property complaint was investigated and found to be unfounded. The information was forwarded to the local government unit for possible zoning concerns.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked anglers along the North Shore and also at accesses along Lake Superior. ATV complaints and closed-area issues were worked. He also spent time on invasive species enforcement at accesses. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent time on the North Shore working shore anglers and the spring fish run. Smelting activity has started, and lots of smelters are fishing Lake Superior and river mouths for smelt. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) focused on OHV and angling enforcement throughout the week. Humphrey patrolled area state parks and state forests spring road and trail closures. He also handled incidental fur and took calls about spring safety classes in the area. Humphrey assisted with work details on Lake Superior’s North Shore and in the Duluth harbor. 

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a DNR Fur Committee meeting where discussions were had on future seasons for furbearing animals. K9 training continues with a new partner. 

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked Lake Superior and the tributaries along the North Shore. Smelters and night surveillance work were focused on, resulting in several equipment violations. Olson assisted with a fleeing victim suffering a drug overdose.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked steelhead anglers and shore casters. Trespass issues regarding water access and property postings were checked and found to be legal. Anglers need to follow postings that they find on site, not make assumptions from what they read on the internet. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled area lakes for angling activity. Numerous ATVers were out, operating on local township roads. Trails continue to be closed. 

CO Amber Ladd (McGregor) worked trapping activity and some early fishing activity as all area lakes are now free of ice.

CO Scott Fitzgerald (CCSAR) reports checking area lakes for fishing and boating activity. Several anglers were reminded that designated trout lakes are closed for every species until the opener of trout fishing. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area


District 11 – St. Cloud area


District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and working ATVing activity. Several violations were detected, from catching and keeping bass and northern pike out of season to operating ATVs in the closed area of a state forest. 

CO Nate Benkofske (Milaca) reports enforcing ATV laws. A deer investigation was looked into. Benkofske patrolled state forest areas and handled numerous animal-related and fire calls.

CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) took complaints about nuisance and injured animals, and assisted with wetland and public waters violations. 

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and boaters. Additional time was spent handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints. A damage-to-property complaint was investigated. It was determined that ice caused damage to the property.

District 13 – West Metro area


District 14 – East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time patrolling the Minnesota River, Vermillion River, and Mississippi River (pools 2 and 3). There continues to be many issues and people caught fishing for trout out of season on a designated trout stream. Many calls related to deer feeding also were handled throughout the county. 

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) reports assistance was given to Wisconsin wardens for an ongoing investigation. 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers and watercraft users. He handled several calls about nuisance animals and questions about the turkey season. 

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. Anglers are reminded to read the stream trout regulations closely and that most lakes do not open until fishing opener. Salzer also dealt with several nuisance-animal complaints.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers on area rivers. He continued to deal with illegal trout anglers on the Vermillion River. 

CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) patrolled the area for bowfishing. Hanna wants to remind people who bowfish to be courteous when out at late hours on lakes. Sound travels and not everyone wants to be awake at 2 a.m.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Stephen Westby (Madison) spoke at a firearms safety class in Madison, going over ethics and firearms safety. Westby also worked area lakes for early angling and worked ATV riders in the area. Westby worked on follow-up for a trespassing case and issued citations for tampering with legally set traps, property damage, theft, camping on a WMA, and trespassing. 

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week conducting investigations and checking anglers. ATVers on roadways continues to be a problem.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working angling and ATV recreational activity. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV in a careless/reckless manner, driving after cancellation of a driver’s license, and operating an ATV without headlights. Assistance was given with a firearms safety class at the Redwood Sportsman’s Club. 

CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent time checking anglers, ATV operators, and recreational boaters throughout the week. Many questions were answered about the spring turkey season. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, boating, ATVing, and state park enforcement. Cool and rainy weather during the week slowed outdoor activity. Investigations were done on complaints related to trapping and taking walleyes out of season. Bowfishers are reminded that bowfishing is allowed only from a boat during the early bow season, which runs until April 23. 

District 16 – New Ulm area


District 17 – Mankato area


District 18 – Rochester area

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the week checking anglers in Olmsted County. Fitzgerald also assisted the State Patrol with a medical call. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, providing a fictitious name to law enforcement, keeping bass during the closed season, and a crappie overlimit. 

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week investigating various ongoing complaints. Time also was spent at Camp Ripley for EMT refresher training. 

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) investigated a wildfire that burned approximately 40 acres near Shamrock/Zenner’s Reservoir on Monday, April 5. Anyone with information about the cause of the fire is encouraged to contact the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. 

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) handled a TIP call regarding northern pike being kept out of season. Trout-angler trespass continues to be a problem on the Little Cannon River. A complaint also was received involving ATVers rutting around in the North Fork of the Zumbro River. The CO also spent time checking anglers on the Mississippi River near Red Wing.

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) spent time checking into TIP calls about illegal netting and suspicious activity happening on the riverfront late at night. Time also was spent checking anglers on the Mississippi River near Red Wing. Kyllo taught the law and ethics portion of a firearms safety class and dealt with a call about an abandoned fox pup. The pup was taken to a licensed wildlife rehabber. 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working ATV-complaint areas. Trespass and registration were the most common violations. Calls about injured eagles were received.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) found OHMs being operated in a closed state forest and talked to several people in boats in closed areas. Hemker also attended a youth firearms safety class.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working with a couple of local county attorneys offices regarding cases from the past deer season. Convictions and restitutions were obtained. Several boat and water enforcement details were worked up and down the Mississippi River. 

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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