Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – July 23, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) donated seized walleyes to a local nonprofit fish fry. A fire near Strathcona was investigated, and assistance was given to U.S. marshals in searching for a fugitive near Thief River Falls.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) investigated wetland violations, worked AIS enforcement for Upper Red Lake, checked anglers on Upper Red, Lake of the Woods, and the Rainy River, and patrolled for ATVing activity.
CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) continued to provide assistance to law enforcement agencies concerning a homicide investigation.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling area lakes for AIS and boating enforcement issues. Calls about injured eagles were taken, as were calls about orphaned animals. Calls also were taken for increased patrols on some lakes for personal watercraft violations. Vinton assisted DNR Wildlife staff with a possible dumping violation on an area WMA.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working sportfishing and boating activity. Several muskie anglers were checked, including a couple who claimed to have caught a near-record fish. Swedberg also assisted Becker County with a welfare check of a nighttime swimmer who witnesses believed never came back to shore. After an extensive search, the swimmer was located safe on shore.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked a possible shoreline and aquatic plant violation, a potential trespassing case, and spoke to kids at a firearms safety class.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spoke with members of the Turtle Lake Association at their annual meeting. Time also was spent working the TIP trailer at the Clay County Fair.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity, as well as ATV and ORV activity. Leeching activity was monitored, and a deceased eagle was transferred to federal wardens. Warren attended the Island Lake Association meeting, providing regulation information and answering many questions.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week monitoring boat and water safety, angling activity, AIS, and ATV activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Calls from the public included reports about nuisance animals and watercraft users harassing wildlife. Landmark responded to a report of a grass fire, in which an individual ignited a small pile and ended up burning approximately 6 acres, including several acres of a neighboring property. The individual ended up being cited for a careless fire by a deputy on the scene.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports fishing continues to be strong on certain area lakes. Time was spent working on fishing and aquatic vegetation complaints. Lake and river levels continue to drop with high summer temps and no rain. Getting watercraft into the lakes and off of lifts may pose some challenges for some folks.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) followed up on complaints about sick or injured animals, wetland violations, and ATV complaints.
CO Shane Osbourne (Evansville) checked boaters and anglers and ATV and OHM riders. A complaint about a person camping on a WMA was received and investigated.
CO Dan Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, ATV operators, and boaters. Additional time was spent on AIS enforcement and nuisance-beaver issues.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked boating and angling, and assisted the Aviation Unit with an angling survey. Cross also worked with the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office on an arrest of a boater for BWI.
CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) continues to work with local governing units in regards to wetland and public water violations.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) worked at a community event, investigated fishing and PWC complaints, and assisted with a DUI arrest.
CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) continued investigation of area shoreline and wetland violations. Baum encourages people to look at the regulations books before operating a recreational vehicle or boat.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked boaters and ATV riders. Time also was spent working on open public water alteration cases and Bear Committee items.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the heat wave continues with no moisture expected in the near future. With that being said, people are reminded of the increased burning restrictions in place throughout the state. A few more animal-related complaints are being reported. Kittelson believes this heat is taking a toll on the critters as well.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports spending time this week working Rainy Lake and the Rainy River, checking anglers and boating activity. Litter complaints were worked, and ATVing activity was monitored in the area.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) heard more positive reports from anglers this past week. The prolonged high-temperature trend has led to more people targeting the early morning and later evening hours to be on the water fishing.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) worked on boating and angling activities. Fire danger remains extreme, and outdoor burning is prohibited. Lake and river levels are very low due to a lack of rain. Bears have been causing problems again.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, boating, ATVing, and OHMing activity. Some anglers reported a few small fish die-offs due to the lack of oxygen in some smaller water bodies. Broughten investigated a public waters violation and assisted with a couple of brush fires. Wildfire danger in the area is extremely high due to a lack of rain this summer.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports taking numerous questions regarding the current fire ban, a result of continued warm and dry conditions. One motorist was spotted stopped in the middle of the Gunflint Trail with a door flung open, the result of seeing a beaver walking up the road. Fewer than five minutes later, the same driver was found slowly chasing said beaver up the road (presumably “helping” it), nearly causing a vehicle accident.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) investigated an OHM crash in Babbitt, took nuisance-bear calls, started an investigation into work on a shoreline of a local lake, assisted on a security detail, provided assistance with a local fire, and spent time patrolling for resource activity.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports spending the week in the BWCAW with fellow officers patrolling for backcountry anglers. Quite a few anglers left their licenses in their vehicles. Please remember to add a fishing license to the list of essential items to bring into the backcountry.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) enforced ATVing, boating, and angling activities. A call about a suspicious activity was taken, and calls about orphaned raccoons were handled.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, watercraft, and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on angling, boating, and ATVing activities. Van Asch also assisted CO Hochstein in responding to a report about a large grass fire in the area.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) responded to an ATV accident in which the passenger and the ATV rolled down the steep embankment of an old railroad grade. The passenger didn’t sustain serious injury, but she did injure her leg and couldn’t climb the bank. An anchor line and a water rescue throw bag assisted in the efforts to stabilize the patient and pull her approximately 30 feet out of the ravine.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jake Willis (Brookston) patrolled busy ATV areas and area waters. Bears are becoming nuisances at a few properties, most likely due to lack of forage during this dry season. Please keep all food sources, including garbage and bird feeders, inside to avoid attracting bears to your property.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked area accesses, talking with boaters about AIS laws. He checked several anglers and worked area lakes for boating and water recreation enforcement. Schmidt also followed up on calls for service involving bears getting into people’s garbage and feeders.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked area lakes for fishing and boating enforcement. Warm weather had public accesses full of trailers, and boat traffic was busy. A possible wolf depredation was investigated, and advice on living with bears was given to a few callers.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling, boating, AIS, aquatic plant management, ATV, OHM, and Wetland Conservation Act enforcement throughout the week. Humphrey continued working investigations on a trespass/property boundary issue and lakeshore violations.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Assistance was given to local agencies with in-progress calls, and phone calls taken from residents concerned with low water levels.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) fielded several complaints about PWCs being operated carelessly and harassing wildlife. Recreational boating activity continued to be high. Sullivan also investigated illegal use of hydraulic jets.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked aquatic plant management vegetation complaints. Property owners were found spraying chemicals on aquatic vegetation in violation of current laws.
CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) attended training at Camp Ripley this week. Enforcement action was taken for boating violations such as dangerous wake, no PFDs, and gunwale riding. Numerous ATV violations were addressed as well.
CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) spent time checking anglers and boaters on local lakes. A boater was arrested for DWI on Big Sandy Lake. Benkofske also held multiple ATV safety classes in Lawler with the help of the Evergreen PAC ATV Club.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) investigated shoreline-alteration calls, worked ATV trails and the Mississippi River, attended training at Camp Ripley, and worked in the Cuyuna recreation area.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) worked summer lake activity, including late and early PWC riders, a lot of nonresident anglers, and boat operators perpetually searching for safety equipment. Drought conditions are raising questions and concerns about shoreline alterations and fire use.
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored angling activity throughout the week on Lake Mille Lacs. The live bait restriction ended, bringing more anglers out on the lake during the weekend. Several wetland violations were followed up on throughout the week.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating, and ATVing activity. Enforcement action was taken for failure to have a fire extinguisher in the boat, failure to have life jackets for all passengers in boat, failure to display an ATV registration decal, failure to display ATV registration numbers, youth operating ATVs without helmets, youth operating ATVs without a guardian, no lights while operating an ATV, operating an ATV on a state highway, operating an OHM on a state highway, and operating an OHM without registration. She also followed up on a complaint about two landowners removing aquatic vegetation along their shoreline. Resource protection notifications and citations were issued.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) followed up on a wolf-depredation investigation in which a livestock producer lost three calves. Speldrich also investigated a school bus left on state property by a private party.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took a call from a college student moving back to a second-story apartment. When a storage bag containing floor rugs was opened, a stowaway opossum popped out and made a ruckus. The transient marsupial was captured and released unharmed.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) handled several nuisance-animal calls that included wolves harassing livestock and property damage caused by bears. Reports of coyotes running around within the city limits were also taken, along with a few complaints about a rogue peacock roaming around and visiting multiple homes.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATVing activity, worked AIS and boating safety, and checked anglers. An investigation was conducted on an area lake dock and platform that were not in compliance.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked the local area and assisted other law enforcement with cattle on a highway, a vehicle off the road, and a traffic stop that resulted in a driver who was revoked from driving and his passenger with a felony warrant.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) concentrated most efforts on anglers and boaters. One individual got a citation due to fact that the boat landing was full except for the handicapped spot. He chose to park there, even though he was not disabled.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and ATV riders. Unpermitted weed rollers were located and addressed.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and ATV operators. Additional time was spent following up on after-hours personal watercraft-use complaints and patrolling for aquatic invasive species violations. Seamans also assisted the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office with an ATV crash that involved significant injuries.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked fishing and boating enforcement on metro-area lakes and rivers. He responded to a dead eagle report in Stillwater and checked on the Bayport WMA.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and boaters and following up on complaints. Grewe fielded several nuisance-animal complaints as well.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) worked a concert on Prior Lake with the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports that while conducting fishing checks, an angler fled on foot into a nearby thicket. Upon the arrival of assisting officers, the suspect was located and arrested. The angler had multiple active warrants from multiple counties and stated he had been dodging COs for the past year and a half.
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time checking anglers and boaters. Lerchen fielded numerous wildlife-related calls.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked angling, boating, AIS, and state park activities this week. He encountered violations including riding a bicycle in a restricted area, off-leash dog, no vehicle permit, and disorderly conduct.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the weekend on the Mississippi River, checking anglers and boaters during River Town Days. He also assisted Wyoming wardens with an investigation from their state.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) started working on an investigation of a possible public waters violation and fielded calls regarding nuisance wildlife.
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for boating and angling activity. Salzer also assisted with an out-of-state investigation during the past week, and took complaints about ATV trespass and trapping activity.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Stephen Westby (Madison) spoke at a firearms safety class at the Appleton Sportsman’s Club. Westby also worked with a U.S Fish and Wildlife Service officer on a trespassing complaint in the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports that warm weather and a lack of rain is starting to cause issues with weeds and algal blooms on some area lakes. The city of Cottonwood has closed the beach on Cottonwood Lake due to a blue-green algal bloom and is asking people to stay away from the water, because it can be harmful to humans and deadly to pets.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) worked ATV enforcement throughout the week and encountered numerous side-by-side violations involving juveniles. Other time was spent working boating safety, angling enforcement, and following up on turtle traps. Klehr also spent a morning at the Eden Valley Library for their summer program. Klehr talked with the kids about the forest and the job of a conservation officer.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked watercraft and anglers. Water temperatures are pushing 82 degrees and lakes are full of algae.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) assisted another state with a big-game-hunting investigation. He also received calls pertaining to the taking small game by illegal methods as well as fishing and boating questions.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports working boat and water safety, AIS, and checking anglers on local lakes. Enforcement action was taken for a person not removing aquatic vegetation from a boat trailer before transporting.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked angling, AIS, and boating enforcement this week. Henke also spoke with several ATV operators who had children riding with them without helmets.
CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) worked fishing, ATVing, boating, and horse pass enforcement. Moua also followed up on ongoing wetlands issues and responded to nuisance-animal calls.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) spent time looking into a complaint about a stream being dammed up by brush and logs that had been pushed into it. With low water levels, the brush had caused the stream to dry up. Kyllo also responded to a deer-feeding complaint and checked anglers.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the week checking anglers on the reservoirs around Olmsted County. Time also was spent providing a ride-along to a college student interested in becoming a CO.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) checked ATV trail areas and took a couple nuisance-rattlesnake calls.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports working a detail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) worked ATV and OHM enforcement in the area of the Spring Creek Motocross. A Class 2 ATV was observed traveling out of control around a curve on a gravel road while the passenger side door came open. The operator was stopped for careless operation and arrested for DWI.