Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – July 30, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and monitored ATVing activity around Warroad. ATVs were checked on the trail west of Warroad after multiple complaints about fast and loud machines being operated behind residences. Charges are pending for the operator of an ATV who was driving recklessly – doing “wheelies” on a state highway while driving privileges were revoked and as a minor while drinking. Enforcement action also was taken for an angler using too many lines.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) handled nuisance-bear complaints and checked anglers on Lake of the Woods. A restoration order was served for a wetlands violation.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) assisted the U.S. Marshals Service with a ground search for a homicide suspect and taught a youth ATV safety class in Warren during the Marshall County Fair.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) checked anglers, investigated a possible wolf depredation, and continued to assist the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office with its fugitive search.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports investigating wolf-depredation complaints and working an ongoing case involving eagles that were shot earlier this spring. Regas reports progress was made and the investigation continues.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling area lakes for fishing, watercraft, and personal watercraft activity. Vinton was called by staff with DNR Wildlife to investigate a possible large-scale dumping violation on an area wildlife management area.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) patrolled for ATVing activity around Becker County and assisted county officials with traffic control during a barn fire.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted a local sheriff’s office, attended a Use of Force meeting, assisted other conservation officers with the execution of a search warrant, and responded to a complaint about the unsafe discharge of a firearm.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) reports a wolf-depredation complaint was investigated. Time also was spent issuing a cease and desist order for an aquatic plant management violation.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) reports that while working with CO Chihak, an individual was observed removing a large amount of wild rice from in front of his property and a cease and desist order was issued for the violation. Property owners are reminded to check the regulations prior to removing aquatic plants.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports monitoring public accesses and lakes for AIS, boating, and angling activities. Goodman joined a work crew on Lake Minnewaska during the weekend, which included enforcement action taken for boating while under the influence, minor consumption, and various boat safety equipment and registration violations.
CO Shane Osbourne (Evansville) reports several questions in regards to the early teal season were received and referred to the DNR Section of Wildlife.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked a detail on Lake Minnewaska with other COs and several citations were issued for underage consumption of alcohol and multiple arrests were made for BWI. One person required medical attention. She was severely intoxicated and alone on a boat that was sitting in the sun while her friends partied nearby.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports focusing efforts on seasonal activity such as ATV, AIS, angling, and watercraft enforcement. He reports fielding numerous calls about injured and deceased wildlife. He also reports assisting local law enforcement agencies and investigating damage-to-wetland cases.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked boating and ATVing activity. She responded to a PWC accident and investigated shoreline violations.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily worked boating, angling, and ATVing enforcement. Work continues on a public waters alteration case. Mathy also assisted with retrieving an injured loon, which was later transported to a care facility. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports fire danger and campfire use was a hot topic this past week. State campground day-use areas were again busy with people trying to get some relief from the heat. He fielded calls with questions about bear activity and checked on complaints of unauthorized trail/land use. With the smoke haze dissipating and increased winds, people seem to have forgotten how quickly exposure in clear sunny conditions can lead to undesired consequences.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and boating activities. Fire danger is extreme; numerous fires were reported in the area during the weekend.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked ATV, OHM, and angling activity. Time was also spent with other area COs instructing at a youth watercraft safety class.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) reports unusually hot and dry conditions have kept area lakes consistently busy during the week. Much of his time was spent educating individuals about boating safety rules and regulations. Zavodnik also fielded multiple nuisance-animal complaints and assisted other law enforcement agencies.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, boating, and ATVing activity. Broughten also assisted with a wildfire.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled state and federal forest routes, checking ATV operators. She also checked anglers and boaters and attended a planning meeting for upcoming statewide training for field officers.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a variety of enforcement activities throughout the week. Fifteen youths were certified in ATV safety in Babbitt. Nuisance-bear reports keep coming in. Another fire was left burning in Bear Head State Park by campers after check-out, resulting in another citation issued.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports hitting the water again during the week. Anglers are reporting an extremely poor walleye bite, but If you’re on the hunt for smallmouth bass, you won’t go hungry. Transporting fillets without a skin patch and no PFD on board a watercraft violations were addressed.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and boating activity during the week. Fire danger remains high in the area, and travelers are urged to check on fire restrictions before doing any outdoor burning. Murray also assisted local officers with a fleeing suspect and investigated an illegal-burning complaint.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked anglers and monitored ATVing activity. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession, fishing without a fishing license, operating a watercraft without proper navigation lights after sunset, expired ATV registration, and illegal burning.
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 Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity, and assisted with trees blocking the roadways after recent storms. Fairbanks and his K9 partner, Si, also attended training and provided a demonstration for area youth.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity during the past week with many anglers going out in the evenings or trolling in the overnight times to avoid the heat of the day. A reminder that the fire danger is still very high, even with the rain received in previous days. When having campfires, make sure they are out before leaving the area and also check for debris around ATV exhausts that can catch on fire and drop to the ground, starting the woods on fire.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on ATVing, boating, angling, and AIS activities. Van Asch assisted local law enforcement with several calls for service. Various nuisance-animal complaints also were fielded and addressed. Enforcement action was taken for multiple ATV violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) focused on ATVing, fishing, and boating activity. A birch-pole theft case was investigated, and a truck load of birch poles was seized from a suspect.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) attended a training meeting at Camp Ripley. Willis also assisted a local agency with a motor vehicle crash, and multiple phone calls were fielded while on other work details.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked angling and boating activity this week. ATV/OHM complaints were investigated and area trails were worked. Nuisance-animal complaints were handled, as was a wolf depredation on a sheep farm.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boaters and anglers on Lake Superior. Commercial and charter enforcement items were handled. Invasive species compliance was checked among anglers and boaters. Assistance was given to local agencies with emergency and medical calls. Enforcement action taken for invasive species and boating violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked cases involving illegal alterations in public waters. Sullivan also worked recreational boating and angling activity on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for operating a weed roller without a permit, altering the cross section of a public water, and no angling license.
CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking boaters and ATV riders in the area. Wetland and public-water violations were investigated.
CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) took enforcement action this week for numerous boating and ATV/OHM violations. On Saturday, Best pulled into a parking area at the Spider Lake ATV trails and watched an adult male on a Class 1 ATV come up out of the gravel pit and proceed to spin donuts in the main travel path of the trail and near where several vehicles were parked along the sides. As Best approached to make contact, the operator did a slow tip and landed the machine on its side right in front of Best’s squad vehicle. After it was determined there were no injuries or damage to the machine, the driver took his citation for careless operation without complaint. There were no other operators in the vicinity of the parking area or gravel pit when Best concluded the contact.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent time on the ATV this week, checking riders and trail conditions. He also looked into complaints of public-water violations.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked boating activity when the seasonally warmest days of the year make for more water recreation than fishing activity. Some operators tried mixing their sports, causing complaints to come in about ATV riders in Lake Mille Lacs. That is covered in mandatory ATV safety training, which was also lacking. Verkuilen also assisted with a medical call and a depredation complaint.
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored ATV activity on the Soo Line and other nearby trails. Several wetland violations were followed up on throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and wetland violations.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating, and ATVing activity. She also followed up on a complaint about people trespassing onto private lake property.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) patrolled state forests for recreational vehicle violations. Several individuals who camped overnight in a day-use picnic area, where it is signed “no camping,” were educated. Dispersed camping in state forests is allowed, but that doesn’t mean you can drive your RV off designated roads over vegetation to camp. “Leave no trace” is required.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) continued to follow up on pending cases involving damage to wildlife management area property. ATV traffic was monitored with one operator found to have a revoked driver’s license, no safety certificate, no registration, failing to transfer ownership, and no taillight at night. Concerns were heard about the early teal season, with opposition abounding. A reminder to waterfowl hunters to plan ahead, because lakes may be closed to motorized travel due to the ricing season.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) assisted state park staff with several instances of suspicious activity, unwanted people causing trouble, and campers staying in sites without paying.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling activity including a youth fishing tournament on Lake Koronis. He worked with neighboring officers on Lake Minnewaska for a boat and water detail.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports checking anglers and conducting ATV enforcement. Time was spent on a public waters violation and teaching at the youth firearms safety field day in Kimball.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking for anglers and working boat and water activity. Krauel also handled complaints about docks too far out in the water due to the lower lake levels.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and boaters. Additional time was spent following up on dispersed camping and shoreline-alteration complaints.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the past week checking anglers and following up with complaints. Grewe also assisted neighboring officers with a detail focusing on underage consumption of alcohol.
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) fielded wildlife-related calls and followed up on cases. Possession permits were issued.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on boating and angling activity during the week. He also dealt with illegal camping on public land.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time checking lake and river anglers locally. Thomas also assisted local agencies investigate a vehicle located in a wetland and investigated a complaint about an individual capturing songbirds.
CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) patrolled area public accesses for AIS enforcement. Hanna educated a few individuals on the boat drain-plug laws.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers and watercraft users. He handled calls about nuisance animals, investigated a public waters violation, and worked on open cases.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Stephen Westby (Madison) worked area lakes with a slow bite and a few reports of blue-green algal blooms in the area. Westby also received complaints about people operating ATVs on the highway while coming and going from the Appleton ATV Park.
CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent time checking anglers and ATV operators and monitoring recreational boating activity throughout the week.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working Catfish Days and angling activity in the area. Enforcement action was taken for extra lines, no angling license, unattended lines, unlawful tackle, underage drinking/possession of alcohol, and consumption of alcohol in a WMA.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, boating, ATVing, state parks, and AIS enforcement. Paddleboard and kayak users are reminded that they are required to either be wearing a life jacket or have one with them. Questions have started to come in about the fall hunting seasons, especially dealing with the new teal season.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working boating and AIS activity. He also followed up on a public waters complaint. Vernier also assisted the State Patrol with an accident with injuries.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) worked ATV, AIS, and angling enforcement during the week. With the forecast hot weather and smoke haze, activity levels were down with a few anglers out early in the morning and later in the evening, but not much during the heat of the day. Phone calls were received about nuisance animals and how to take care of them.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week fielding calls and handling nuisance-beaver trapping issues. Additional time was spent on sportfishing and assisting the Ecological and Water Resources Division with a site visit to a shoreline alteration project.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted AIS and watercraft inspections on area lakes. A variety of wildlife-related complaints were taken care of. Assistance was given to emergency personnel with a drowning in a local pond.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) patrolled this week for anglers, boaters, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent patrolling for AIS violations.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked angling, boating, AIS, and ATVing activity. Operators of Class II ATVs are encouraged to review the current OHV regulations synopsis. The synopsis describes the legal operation of Class II ATVs on public roadways as being on the right-hand shoulder of the road, or the extreme right-hand side of the road. Many operators seem to be ignoring this direction.
CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) worked fishing, boating, AIS, and litter enforcement. A DWI boating arrest was made while working boat patrol. Time also was spent responding to a bald eagle hit by a vehicle. Moua wants to remind and encourage drivers to slow down when coming upon road-killed animals when predatory birds are flying around them.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) followed up on reports about large amounts of trash being left at area shore-fishing locations. Please pick up your trash. Citations are not cheap and most locations have garbage cans close by!
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) and CO Meng Moua stopped an individual riding a personal watercraft on Lake Zumbro at 9:30 a.m. for not wearing a life jacket. The operator was arrested for DWI after being found to be twice the legal limit. Schneider also cited an angler for fishing while having privileges revoked due to many prior fish and game violations.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) worked a busy weekend on the Mississippi River. Time also was spent in Houston for the Houston Hoedown event.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) checked fishing on the Mississippi River and ATVers on the trails. He observed some anglers using illegal drugs and throwing beer cans. Upon contact, they told Hemker they thought they’d done pretty well by picking up most of their litter.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) reports a complaint about an injured great horned owl was received. Enforcement action was taken for various angling and boating violations.