Park Falls Team / April
Warden Aaron Koshatka, of Hayward, assisted Sawyer County officials with a report of four 911 hang-ups from a location north of Winter on Hunter Lake Road. Upon arrival, he discovered a large wild fire approximately 6 acres in size. Koshatka assisted DNR fire staff with traffic control, the investigation, and interviews after the fire was contained and extinguished. It was discovered the fire started from the property owner trying to start a Chevy Cavalier that had the muffler cut off near the engine.
Wardens Kurt Haas, of Medford, and Joe Olson were checking fishermen in the city of Medford when they heard movement in a tackle box. The fishermen had two live trout in the bottom of the tackle box. The wardens then looked in both suspects’ cars for more trout and found marijuana and paraphernalia in both vehicles. Trout season was closed, so both trout were placed back in the river and enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Haas and Olson received information about a van stuck in the middle of an ATV trail in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The van’s windows were busted out and was missing a front tire. The wardens learned the vehicle was sold at auction. They spoke to a high school student who later admitted that he was going to abandon the vehicle in the forest. Enforcement action was taken, and the student removed the van and cleared the other garbage left in the area.
Woodruff Team / April
Warden Tim Ebert, of Minocqua, responded to a call of a turkey being shot from the road during the closed season. With the assistance of the caller, Ebert was able to identify the responsible party who had shot a turkey during the closed season from the road and had also attempted to illegally harvest another bird. Enforcement actions were taken.
Warden Ebert patrolled waters while investigating the illegal take of muskellunge and walleye during closed seasons. In two cases, Ebert found multiple individuals attempting to illegally net and spear fish. Enforcement actions taken.
Warden Matt Meade, of Boulder Junction, was contacted by a turkey hunter self-reporting that he had accidentally harvested two turkeys with one shot. Meade took possession of the second bird and thanked the hunter for being honest and coming forward with the information.
Wardens Meade, Tim Otto, of Rhinelander, Audrey Royce, of Lake Tomahawk, Lt. Chris Bartelt, of Woodruff, and Logan Woods assisted the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department and local first responders in a search for a missing person. Royce and her canine completed a ground search and wardens also used watercraft with side-scan sonar to check area lakes. The person was found alive after having been missing for nearly 48 hours.
Warden Otto contacted a person in Oneida County who was attempting to use a spear to harvest fish during the spring spawning period. Possession of a spear, including its use, is prohibited along the shores or in the waters of Oneida County.
Wardens Royce, Otto, and Mason Weber, along with Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission wardens, investigated a complaint of illegal birch pole harvesting off public lands in northern Oneida County. The wardens found that two persons were responsible for the illegal harvest and transport of more than 600 white birch poles.
Spooner Team / April
Warden Jon Hagen, of Spooner, checked two fishermen at the Nelson Lake dam. One of them had recently purchased a 2021 trout stamp but had not purchased his fishing license. The man believed he had purchased both. Hagen also checked two younger anglers below the Long Lake dam. One of them failed to update his license for the new license year. Warnings were issued in both instances.
Warden Hagen assisted with a 115-acre wild fire west of Trego. Hagen warned many nearby residents about the fire so they could evacuate to safety, and he also provided traffic control as the fire grew. Hagen determined the fire started from someone illegally burning garbage without a permit.
Warden Hagen responded to a large wild fire off of Lakeside Road. He helped with initial fire suppression to prevent the fire from reaching an outbuilding. He also assisted with care of an elderly man who had become very exhausted while attempting to put out the fire. Hagen later determined the fire started by someone illegally burning garbage without a permit.
While working ATV patrol in the Trego area, warden Hagen was requested by the Washburn County Sheriff’s Department to assist a call of a person shooting at people in a rural area near Minong. Hagen and other officers responded. The man was taken into custody with no one being injured.
Warden Chris Spaight, of Grantsburg, responded to a wild fire and assisted with the investigation. The person believed to have started the fire fled the scene when firefighters arrived. Spaight patrolled the area, ultimately located the suspect van, and conducted a traffic stop. The driver provided a false name and initially stated he didn’t know how the fire started. Eventually, Spaight determined the real identity of the driver and learned the man had a revoked driver’s license, a warrant for his arrest, false license plates on his van, no registration, and no insurance. In addition, the van contained a large amount of burglary tools. Spaight ultimately learned the driver had started a debris pile on fire while burning plastic off copper wire. The man said he thought he had put the fire out prior to leaving the area to go sell the copper wire and a catalytic converter.
Warden Dustin Gabrielson, of Webster, stopped a UTV rider for not displaying valid registration. The operator, who had been drinking intoxicants, was arrested for operating a UTV while intoxicated with a passenger under 16 years old.
Warden Gabrielson found a large pile of household debris dumped in the Burnett County Forest. Gabrielson located the responsible party.
Warden Gabrielson responded with the Burnett County recreational officer to a call of an ATV rider who was stuck. Upon arrival, it was found a male individual was illegally operating his ATV with a young passenger on a closed portion of the Gov. Knowles State Forest hiking trail when he became stuck in a wetland. In addition, the ATV was not registered, the under-aged passenger did not have a helmet as required, the ATV had been illegally operated on a highway, and the operator had not completed ATV safety, as required.
Warden Gabrielson contacted a man fishing at the Clam Lake narrows who did not have a fishing license and was fishing during a period of revocation. This was the individual’s seventh fishing-related citation within the past year.
Warden Joshua Loining, of Rice Lake, contacted a person operating an off-highway motorcycle on a Barron County ATV trail just north of Turtle Lake. Off-highway motorcycles are not allowed on Barron County trails.
Warden Loining received a complaint of someone operating a truck pulling a trailer equipped with a tank and dumping “sludge” on private property near Mikana. Loining determined a cable and utility company had dumped waste from its drilling operation onto private property and into a wetland. Loining and DNR regulatory staff are working with the company on cleanup and remediation plans.
Warden Loining contacted a person operating a UTV on a township road at 51 mph where the speed limit was 35 mph. Upon contact, Loining determined the ATV’s exhaust noise exceeded the allowable decibel limit and the ATV also did not have a spark arrestor, as required.
Warden Jesse Ashton, of Luck, followed up on a spill complaint where a tie rod had broken on a vehicle being operated on a highway east of Balsam Lake. The rod break caused two 250-gallon totes full of gas that were on the vehicle to fall into the ditch. The totes were empty when a county sheriff’s deputy arrived on scene. Ashton learned the responsible party had dumped the 500 gallons of gas in the ditch so he could remove the totes. Enforcement action was taken, and site clean-up was organized at the responsible party’s expense.
Warden Jesse Ashton contacted a person suspected of hunting deer without a license near Balsam Lake during the 2020 gun-deer season. Ashton found the person had shot a doe behind his house and then purchased a license and registered the deer. The person also was found to have hunted without a license in 2018.
Warden Ashton contacted several parents who allowed their children to operate or ride ATVs and UTVs without a helmet. Enforcement action was taken. This violation is becoming more and more common with the increasing number of recreational vehicles operating on the roadways.
Ashland Team / April
Warden Richard Maki, of Ashland, received a complaint from an Ashland County Sheriff’s Department recreation deputy regarding timber theft and ATV trespass near Mellen. Maki and the county deputy worked the case together. With the help of Mellen Police Department officers, Maki was able to identify three individuals involved with the timber theft. It was also determined that there were numerous ATV violations with illegal operation and registration issues.
Warden Amie Egstad, of Bayfield, observed a vehicle by a tributary stream that was not open yet for fishing. Egstad located an adult male and a female companion by the stream with him stating he had only casted a few times and he was just “practicing.” Egstad asked for a license. The man admitted he had not bought a new license or inland stamp. Egstad then asked if they had seen the yellow sign they walked past explaining the open season dates. The fisherman stated he did not look at the sign. As they walked back past the sign to the vehicles, they both stated: “Yup, it says right there what the dates are!” Enforcement action was taken.
Wardens Lynna Martin and Egstad patrolled the south shore of Lake Superior while checking sport anglers. The wardens found about 60% of the operators of the contacted vessels did not carry flares/signaling devices. These devices are required to be carried by state and federal law on federal waters.
Warden Adam Stennett, of Brule, responded to a wild fire at the request of the local DNR forestry team. The homeowner was being aggressive and interfering with the suppression effort and went into his home prior to Stennett’s arrival. Enforcement action was taken for a burning violation.
Antigo Team / April
Wardens Brad Dahlquist, of Antigo, and Travis Sindles assisted DNR foresters with an investigation into the illegal burning of household materials near Lily. It was found an individual residing at a residence illegally set fire to mattresses, painted wood, and other household materials. Enforcement action was taken for the burning violation.
Wardens Dahlquist and Sindles patrolled several rivers and spring ponds in Langlade County focusing on individuals targeting trout during the closed season. They contacted two individuals illegally fishing trout on the Hunting River near Pearson. Enforcement actions were taken. They also contacted an individual on Saul Spring Pond illegally fishing for trout. Enforcement actions were taken for fishing trout during closed season and without a license.
Wardens Justin Bender, of Woodruff, Joe Paul, of Prentice, and Kurt Haas, of Medford, investigated an off-highway motorcycle noise complaint. The wardens discovered through sound meter testing that all OHMs tested were in compliance with state law. The wardens also tested the sound level of the machines from the property line to give a baseline level to ensure that the area was not a public noise nuisance. The highest decibel (dB) reading at the property line was approximately 80 dB – the volume of an average lawnmower or leaf blower. Most of the property line readings averaged approximately 60 dB, which is less than the average washing machine during operation. The wardens also worked within the community to address the OHM noise complaint through information with all appropriate parties.
Lake Winnebago Team / March
Warden Michael Disher, of Chilton, took enforcement actions on multiple days for violations related to fishing. One case involved the anglers casting large spinnerbaits while catching and keeping northern pike during the closed season on the Manitowoc River. One angler drove an ATV to the location and was found to have committed several violations. Another angler drove to the location with a revoked driver’s license and failed to install a required ignition interlock device in his vehicle. A third angler didn’t have a fishing license.
Warden Jason Swaney, of Winneconne, completed the removal process for a vehicle left in Lake Winneconne within the village of Winneconne in Winnebago County. Swaney worked with the DNR spills staff, EPA, the Winneconne Police Department, and local contractors to have the vehicle removed from Lake Winneconne.
While patrolling on the Wolf River with an Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department deputy, warden Mary Bisch, of Appleton, observed one individual fishing from a floating raft with nine cane poles and lines in the water. When the individual saw the patrol boat, he began reeling in one of the lines. He was the only person fishing from the raft. The man said three of the poles were for a friend who had not yet arrived and the other three were for another person not at the property.
Warden Bisch assisted the Michigan DNR with a residency fraud case. It was found that a Wisconsin resident had been purchasing resident licenses in Michigan for more than 10 years. Bisch was able provide findings to the Michigan officials for enforcement action.
Lake Winnebago Team / April
Warden Michael Disher, of Chilton, investigated illegal closed-season sucker-spearing on several tributaries to Lake Winnebago. Over a four-day period, Disher encountered a dozen individuals spearing fish or bowfishing during the closed season. Other violations included: Multiple individuals without fishing licenses, spearing at night, leaving dead fish along the shoreline to rot, clubbing fish with spear handles, and one individual taking live suckers in pails filled with lake water to stocking his private pond.
Warden Disher was on patrol at High Cliff State Park and observed a vehicle parked in a day-use area with no license plates displayed and no park admission sticker displayed. When contacted, the driver had illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle and on his person.
Warden Zack Seitz, of Shiocton, contacted two individuals fishing in a boat on the Wolf River near Shiocton. One individual had kept all five walleyes that were in the live well and the other individual had not caught any. In Wisconsin, it is illegal to group bag while fishing. Enforcement action was taken.
Green Bay/L. Michigan Marine Team/April
Warden Jeff Lautenslager, of Peshtigo, contacted an angler fishing on the Peshtigo River near the dam. The angler was fishing without a license due to prior license revocations and convictions of fishing during revocation. The angler also was found to have harvested well over the daily bag limits for walleyes by making multiple \trips over multiple days to the Oconto and Peshtigo rivers. At the time of contact, the angler was found to have more than 20 prior DNR violation convictions.
Wautoma / April
Wardens Zachary Seitz, of Shiocton, Jeff Nieling, of Fremont, and Jonathan Kaiser, of Waupaca, followed up on a complaint of individuals “double-tripping” by possessing an over-limit of walleyes after fishing two times in one day with contacts made. Enforcement action taken.
Wardens Seitz and Kaiser followed up on an investigation involving an individual who was found to have harvested several bucks with archery equipment over the course of multiple years prior to purchasing a license.
Warden Kaiser worked with wardens Jason Swaney, of Winneconne, and Zachary Seitz to follow up on calls of walleye fish run violations with enforcement action taken for individuals fishing with multiple unattended lines, possessing an over-limit of walleyes, and “double-tripping” over the course of multiple days.
Wardens Seitz and Kaiser followed up on a complaint of individuals unlawfully baiting/feeding deer and committing registration violations related to archery and firearm deer hunting after an extensive investigation.
Wardens Kaitlin Kernosky, of New London, and Clayton Peters contacted an individual who was fishing on the Wolf River during a period of revocation and was found to have his fishing privileges revoked. The individual was unable to purchase a license, but decided to fish anyway after driving up from the southern part of Wisconsin.
Wardens Kernosky and Peters addressed a complaint of an ATV rider causing damage to state land just within the city limits of New London. The party was contacted. The machine was not registered, and the operator did not have an ATV certification course.
Warden Brad Latza, of Berlin, responded to reports of bowfishing on the Fox River, currently closed to bowfishing. Boats are also bypassing signs of closed spawning grounds to access marshes. Latza is working with property owners to make attempts to contact the responsible parties.
Warden Latza responded to a call from the Green Lake County Sheriff’s Department regarding a report of a bullet striking a building. It was determined a man was shooting at sparrows with a .22 rifle. The individual was not aware of buildings beyond his target and struck a neighbor’s shed across the highway. It was also learned children were in the area playing outside. The situation was mediated. All parties agreed to work together to allow repairs to be made. Time was also spent educating the responsible party about safety concerns.
Warden Benjamin Mott, of Wautoma, was called to assist the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department and a local landowner who had some kids driving ATVs and pickup trucks on private land. The call came in after one of the landowner’s employees nearly struck one of the ATVs as it came onto the roadway from the field. All the kids on the ATVs were under 16 and operated illegally on a route. All the youths had ATV safety. Only one kid had permission to fish the landowner’s pond but brought the rest of the group along. The landowner revoked all permission and all parents were contacted. The ATVs were loaded in the truck and taken home that way. The sheriff’s department issued formal warnings for all involved.
Warden Mott received a call about an individual who has been leaving lines unattended throughout all times of the day. The complaint said this has been going on for a couple years. Mott followed up and found the operator of the fishing pole was still in bed sleeping. Enforcement action was taken.
Peshtigo Team / April
Wardens Clark Delzer, of Shawano, and Mark Schraufnagel, of Clintonville, responded to a complaint from the Marinette County Sheriff’s Department regarding a fisherman who was attempting to keep a sturgeon caught on the Wolf River. Delzer contacted the person who was leaving as Delzer arrived. The person had a hook-and-line sturgeon tag and thought it was legal to keep the fish, but had already released the sturgeon before the wardens arrived after realizing it was not legal to keep. Delzer educated the fisherman on sturgeon regulations.
Warden Delzer organized a search-and-rescue for a lost hiker on Navarino State Wildlife Area lands. Delzer coordinated with Lessor-Navarino Fire Department and Shawano County deputies to locate the hiker and return her to safety uninjured.
Warden Paul Hartrick, of Oconto Falls, assisted Marine Enforcement Unit wardens with fish run enforcement on the Oconto River at the Stiles dam. Wardens Jamin Leuzzo, of Lakewood, Alek Henseler, of Crandon, and Hartrick issued three individuals citations for catching and keeping walleyes in excess of their possession limit.
While on patrol, warden Tim Werner, of Crivitz, contacted an angler fishing on the Menominee River in Marinette. Werner determined the angler was in possession of numerous illegal substances, paraphernalia, and was also on federal probation for drug trafficking. The individual was arrested and charged with several felonies. In addition, the individual was found to be fishing without a license and in possession of illegal walleyes. Enforcement action was also taken for the natural resources violations.