Wisconsin Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 16, 2021

NORTHEAST REGION

Peshtigo Team / February

Wardens Jacob Cross, of Shawano, and Mark Schraufnagel, of Clintonville, located the responsible party of an illegal feeding operation.

Warden Cross contacted a group of hunters hunting with hounds during the wolf season in the town of Fairbanks. Upon making contact Cross found that two of the hunters had loaded firearms in the vehicles.

Warden Clark Delzer, of Shawano, assisted the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department in the investigation of a house that had been struck by a bullet that went through a wall, into the bathroom, and through the bathtub. The investigation revealed that the shooter was target shooting his AK-47 toward the direction of the house over a half-mile away. There were no injuries.

Warden Delzer and Keshena Wildland Fire assisted the Raptor Education Group in capturing a trumpeter swan with a broken wing. The swan was rehabbed by REG and is in good health. The swan will be kept at the compound or transferred to a zoo.

Warden Delzer investigated a snowmobile accident on the Mountain Bay Trail. The operator struck a deer at a high rate of speed, which caused the operator to be thrown from the machine. The snowmobile struck several trees. The operator fled from the scene and was located the next morning.

Warden Delzer responded to a UTV accident on private land where the operator drove off a 20-foot ravine. The UTV went airborne and struck the bottom of the ravine with the front of the machine. Both occupants suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Wardens Paul Hartrick, of Oconto Falls, and Logan Woods investigated a case involving illegal feeding/baiting for deer. The individual had placed approximately 200 pounds of corn out for deer by his stand.

Wardens Hartrick and Woods assisted the Oconto County Sheriff’s Department with a call of a vehicle in a ditch. They were close to the scene and responded to see a vehicle in the ditch and an individual walking away. Hartrick and Woods were able to stop the driver, who was trying to walk away from the scene. The driver was later arrested for OWI by the sheriff’s department.

Wardens Hartrick and Woods contacted coyote hunters in Little Suamico and found one individual in possession of a loaded shotgun in his vehicle.

While on patrol at High Falls Flowage, wardens Tim Werner, of Crivitz, Dale Romback, of Wausaukee, and Jacob Neve, of Madison, came upon a campsite where they found an unoccupied ice shanty and several unattended tip-ups. Upon return of the angler, it was determined the person had been living there for two weeks. Eight walleyes were located with only one being of legal size. Enforcement actions were taken for numerous violations.

Green Bay/Lake Michigan Marine Enforcement Team/February

Warden Jordan Resop, of Sturgeon Bay, found an individual to have harvested two bucks with a crossbow in 2020 while hunting without having any deer licenses.

Warden Resop found an individual to be in possession of more than 200 perch over the limit. All fish were caught on Green Bay.

Warden Jeffrey Lautenslager, of Peshtigo, responded to a one-person snowmobile crash in Marinette County. The operator was traveling down the Menominee River at a high rate of speed, lost control, and struck a tree. It was determined the operator had consumed alcohol prior to the crash. Enforcement action was taken for OWI and careless operation.

Warden Joshua Voelker, of Sturgeon Bay, partnered with a deputy from the Door County Sheriff’s Department for snowmobile patrol when the pair responded to a UTV rollover and found the operator sustained minor injuries. Shortly after, they came across a vehicle in the ditch and checked on the operator. It was determined that alcohol may have been a factor. The Door County Sheriff’s Department completed the investigation.

Wardens Michael Neal, of Bailey’s Harbor, and Resop used a DNR airboat and worked with the Door County Sheriff’s Department, Brown County Sheriff’s Department, and the U.S. Coast Guard to rescue 66 individuals from the ice on Green Bay near Larson’s Reef. The rescue effort was assisted by local fishing guides and medical personnel.

Warden Neal completed an investigation into an individual who was working as a crew member on a commercial fishing boat in violation of a lifetime revocation of the ability to engage in commercial fishing operations. Enforcement action was taken against the individual and commercial business owner.

Wautoma Team/February

Warden Jonathan Kaiser, of Waupaca, joined the UW-Stevens Point Student Law Enforcement Association for a Zoom meeting related to Wisconsin conservation warden recruitment, a “day in the life” of a Wisconsin conservation warden, and related DNR topics.

Warden Kaiser took enforcement action on a case related to multiple individuals unlawfully hunting deer over bait, possessing an over-limit of bucks, failing to register multiple deer, providing false information to the DNR, and hunting deer without licenses over multiple years.

Wardens Jason Swaney, of Winneconne, and Jonathan Kaiser worked with other wardens from the Wautoma and Lake Winnebago teams to patrol for the sturgeon spearing season with action taken for individuals spearing before legal hours, failing to possess and validate a carcass tag upon harvest, and recreational vehicle violations.

Wardens Kaiser, Swaney, and Zachary Seitz, of Shiocton, patrolled the Battle on Bago ice fishing tournament on Lake Poygan with enforcement action taken for multiple individuals fishing with unattended and too many lines, and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, in cooperation with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department. 

Wardens Seitz and Kaiser patrolled the Upper River Lakes of the Winnebago system and the Battle on Bago fishing tournament during the closure of the sturgeon spearing season on those lakes, with enforcement action taken for individuals fishing with too many lines and without a license, in addition to an individual found to be operating a snowmobile while under the influence of an intoxicant and refusing chemical tests.

Wardens Kaitlin Kernosky, of New London, and Ted Dremel, of Wautoma, contacted an individual who was sturgeon spearing on Lake Poygan and also hook-and-line fishing with a jig pole in his sturgeon spearing ice hole. Additionally, the spearer was found to be fishing with too many lines. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden Kernosky responded to a complaint of a hound hunter who found his dog caught in a foot-hold trap on private land in Waupaca County. Kernosky determined the trapper had not been checking his traps daily, as required. The individual lived in Shawano County. Warden Clark Delzer, of Shawano, interviewed the individual and found he had not checked traps in at least 10 days. Delzer also found the individual had a separate untagged trap on state land behind the residence.

Warden Ben Mott, of Wautoma, was patrolling for snowmobile enforcement after a recent snow when he observed an ATV on the side of Hwy. 22. The ATV had a plow on it but did not have an amber light, nor current registration shown. Mott stopped the driver and discovered the man was within most of the exceptions for plowing snow, but did not have a light and traveled on a portion of the state road that is not allowed under the snowplow exemption.

Lake Winnebago Team / February

Warden Michael Disher, of Chilton, patrolled Lake Winnebago for the annual sturgeon spearing season. Violations were found, including: failure to display a sturgeon tag, failure to validate a sturgeon tag, spearing after legal hours, transporting an unexposed sturgeon, and sport anglers fishing with too many lines and with unattended lines. 

Warden Disher patrolled the trails, frozen waterways and road routes in Calumet County. Enforcement actions were taken for expired registration, expired trail passes, equipment violations, no license plates, riding double, failure to stop at a road crossing, and failure to display headlights. 

Wardens Jon Kaiser, of Waupaca, Jason Swaney, of Winneconne, and Zack Seitz, of Shiocton, were on night patrol on the upriver lakes on the Winnebago system when they took enforcement actions against four groups fishing with unattended lines. 

Wardens Annette Swanek, of Neenah, and Mary Bisch, of Appleton, responded to a truck that broke through the ice by Buoy 100 within minutes of the sturgeon season opening. They provided assistance until Neenah/Menasha Fire and Rescue arrived and were able to get the man off his vehicle and into a relative’s shanty. The two wardens responded to a second truck through the ice by Buoy 100 on the last Friday of the sturgeon season.

NORTHERN REGION

Antigo Team / February

Warden Brad Dahlquist, of Antigo, had his 2017/2018 deer case in Forest County concluded. The investigation showed individuals illegally harvested deer, mostly at night by motor vehicle and from a shack behind a residence, throughout a 20-year span. The two main suspects were each sentenced to one-year probation (no alcohol consumption/firearm possession), 50 hours of community service, three years of DNR privilege revocation, fines, and 45 days in the Forest County jail.

Spooner Team/ February

Warden Pete Carlson, of Frederic, stopped a snowmobiler operating without a trail pass on a snowmobile trail.

Warden Carlson stopped a snowmobiler due to his machine’s extremely loud exhaust noise. The operator stated a purchased replacement exhaust system was back-ordered. Carlson gave the individual time to provide proof of the purchase. The individual later advised the story was fiction. 

Warden Carlson stopped to talk with a couple coyote hunters hunting along the edge of a road and found the hunters had two loaded rifles inside their vehicle, and stated one of the firearms was loaded while they were driving around. 

Wardens Jon Hagen, of Spooner, and Matt Koepke contacted a fisherman on Long Lake checking his three tip-ups. The wardens discovered the fisherman was also fishing with two additional jig poles inside his shack. 

While performing snowmobile enforcement patrol on the Wild Rivers Trail near Trego, wardens Hagen and Koepke contacted three snowmobilers operating without valid registration and also without trail passes. In addition, one of the snowmobiles had very loud exhaust noise, and one of the operators did not have their snowmobile safety certificate, as required.

Warden Joshua Loining contacted a person operating a UTV on a closed trail in the city of Barron. Loining determined the UTV’s exhaust noise was above the 88-decibel limit and the exhaust system did not have a spark arrestor installed.

Warden Loining, while patrolling on the frozen waters of Chetek Lake, contacted a person operating an ATV with two passengers riding illegally on the front and rear racks of the ATV where riding is prohibited. Upon contact, Loining also discovered the operator had not completed ATV safety certification, as required.

Warden Jesse Ashton, of Luck, followed up with an illegal baiting complaint from the 2020 gun-deer season. The case involved a person and an illegal harvest of a spike buck over bait and then the person’s failure to register the buck.

Warden Bob Kneeland, of Chetek, contacted an angler fishing with tip-ups on a local lake. The angler was in his truck facing away from the tip-ups he said were his, while declaring multiple others in the area were not. As Kneeland was leaving the area, he saw the angler collecting all the additional tip-ups he said were not his. Kneeland returned and spoke with the angler who stated he was fishing with four tip-ups and that a friend, who was away getting some firewood, owned the others. However, the person then said he was responsible for all the tip-ups.

Wardens Kneeland and Pete Wetzel, of Amery, contacted a person operating a UTV on a state highway where operation was prohibited. Upon contact, the wardens also discovered the UTV had no visible registration displayed. The wardens educated the operator on various UTV regulations. Enforcement action was taken for the illegal operation on a state highway.

Park Falls Team/February

Warden Dylan Belisle, of Ladysmith, responded to a medical call of an individual who had stopped breathing. Belisle was second on the scene and assisted with CPR and AED until area medical responders arrived. The patient started breathing again and was transported to a local hospital.

Warden Belisle responded to a report of a vehicle stuck near a snowmobile trail on private property. Belisle noted a chainsaw in the vehicle and asked the vehicle owner if any illegal birch pole cutting was underway. The following morning, Belisle linked the vehicle owner to a pile of birch poles on Rusk County property. Enforcement action was taken for cutting birch poles illegally.

Wardens Kurt Haas, of Medford, and Andy Johnson investigated an individual who harvested a bobcat in Rusk County and then gave it to another person to register in Taylor County. The wardens also discovered that the cat was originally trapped with an illegal cable restraint. 

While patrolling rural Taylor County, wardens Kurt Haas and Andrew Johnson discovered the site of a likely wolf kill within 50 feet of a roadway. The wardens’ investigation led to an individual, confirmation of the illegal wolf kill, and enforcement action.

Warden Joe Paul, of Phillips, reported a 13th person involved in the 2018 thrill-kill deer case was found guilty in Price County Circuit Court of illegal deer hunting violations and was ordered to pay $4,000 in fines. The defendant’s DNR privileges were revoked for five years and they were ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. All defendants in this case have been ordered to pay fines and perform community service. The defendants’ DNR privileges have been revoked for a combined 54.5 years. 

Warden Paul reported two defendants were found guilty in Sawyer County Circuit Court of bear hunting violations stemming from an attempt to pass off a bear killed in Zone C as a bear killed in Zone A. The two defendants were ordered to pay nearly $7,000 in combined fines and each had their DNR privileges revoked for three years.

SOUTH-CENTRAL REGION

Madison Team/February

Warden Ryan Caputo, of Madison, hosted a snowmobile patrol day in Dane County with 17 wardens from other teams and deputies from the Dane County Sheriff’s Department. The officers took enforcement actions for operational violations.

Warden Nick King, of Green County, investigated a complaint from Cadiz Springs Park staff about illegal disposal of household refuse in the park waste receptacles. The warden identified the responsible parties.

Warden Henry Bauman, of Madison, investigated a complaint of illegal possession of a captive wild gray squirrel. Bauman determined the person had taken in the abandoned baby squirrel several years prior. The individual surrendered the squirrel and the squirrel was transferred to Dane County Four Lakes Wildlife Center for rehabilitation.

Wardens Jake Donar, of Madison, and Mason Weber investigated a case involving a buck harvested during the antlerless-only holiday hunt. The individual in this case was located and enforcement action was taken.

Warden Donar investigated a complaint of trapped raccoons in live traps. Donar ended up helping the homeowner release the raccoons as the homeowner was terrified the raccoons were going to attack him upon release. The homeowner was attempting to get rid of whatever had been scurrying around his house. Although violations were encountered, Donar took an educational approach given the situation.

Wardens Pete McCormick, of Columbia County, and Derek Hansen responded to a complaint of a fox caught in a snare. When the wardens arrived, they saw the red fox in an illegal snare. They released the fox, then searched the area and found several illegal snares and traps. Their investigation led them to the person who was in possession of two unregistered otters, fox and coyotes that had been illegally trapped.

Warden McCormick responded to an ongoing complaint regarding molesting of traps. The person had been releasing legally caught game and was committing other acts of interference. McCormick contacted the person responsible and enforcement action was taken.

Wardens McCormick and Derek Hansen investigated a complaint regarding a squirrel in a residential neighborhood with a dart from a blow gun in its side. The wardens located the person who was hunting squirrels illegally with the blow gun and without having a license.

Sauk Team/February

Warden Nick Engelhardt, of Wisconsin Dells, followed up on information of cable restraints being left at the Pine Island Wildlife Area after the season closure.

Warden Engelhardt responded to a car accident at Mirror Lake State Park. There were no injuries and appropriate reporting was completed for the operator.

Wardens Madison Bryan, Nick Engelhardt, and Mike Williams responded to a deer caught in a barbed-wire fence. The deer’s hind leg was entangled in the fence. With the permission of the landowner, Engelhardt was able to cut the fence. The deer was then set free.

Warden Bryan responded to three vehicle crashes at state properties throughout the weekend of Feb. 13. No injuries were reported but significant damage to two of the vehicles occurred.

Warden Bryan assisted the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department with locating an intoxicated driver at Devil’s Lake State Park. Initial tests indicated the driver was over three times the legal limit after entering the park. The driver was taken into custody by Sauk County Sheriff’s Department.

Warden Bryan worked fishing enforcement on Devil’s Lake the weekend of Feb. 27. Due to warm temperatures there were a large amount of people fishing on the lake. Bryan issued one citation for over bagging on brown trout and issued multiple warnings.

Warden Michael Williams, of Reedsburg, patrolled to ensure safe snowmobile operation, including night time speed enforcement. Multiple enforcement actions and warnings were issued.

Dodgeville Team/ February

Warden Al Erickson, of Iowa County, responded to a complaint of unattended lines at Blackhawk Lake. The responsible party was determined, and enforcement action was taken for undersized walleyes, four extra lines, unattended lines, and a portable ice shack left up overnight without proper identification.

Warden Pearl Worden, of Grant County, investigated several cases from deer season. Two hunters were found to have purchased a license after hunting and killing a deer. A third hunter did not hunt, but purchased a license to tag a buck for another hunter.

Warden Dave Youngquist received a call of untagged beaver traps at Birch Lake. He located three untagged beaver and muskrat traps and a fourth trap with a tag.

Warden Youngquist received the 2020 River Champion Award from the Friends of the Lower Wisconsin River for all his work on the river over the last 20 years.

Warden Mike Burns, of Lafayette County, investigated a citizen complaint at a residence in Darlington with large amounts of deer activity in the backyard. The homeowner was placing corn in the backyard in an effort to attract deer and had wired an elaborate system of lights to observe the deer at night. This is the second time the homeowner has been contacted for violating deer feeding laws. Enforcement action was taken.

Wardens Kyle Halverson, of Iowa County, and Jason Higgins, of Oshkosh, received a tip about unattended ice fishing lines on Lake Winnebago. The wardens responded and found two tip-ups baited with minnows and one ice fishing rod baited with a pink jig that were left unattended for more than an hour. An individual eventually arrived and action was taken for the violations. 

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