Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 10, 2021

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked bear hunters throughout the opening week of the season. A bear hunter was cited for establishing an illegal unregistered, unsigned bear bait in June, which is about two months early. Hunters were checked during the early teal and early goose openers. They were having spotty success. 

CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) reports working primarily waterfowl and bear-hunting activity this past week. Bear hunters report heavy bear activity with some good-sized bears being taken. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working bear-hunting and angling activity on special-regulation lakes this past week. Regas reports nuisance bears continue to be a problem and are causing crop damage. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked the bear, teal, and early goose openers. Area lakes and ATV trails were patrolled, too. He responded to a call about an individual being shot.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports providing security for the Greenwood Fire complex near Isabella. Rain and cooler weather made conditions better for those fighting the fire. The early teal season saw lots of hunters taking advantage of the early duck-hunting opportunity, with a lot of teal being taken. Vinton followed up with the area hydrologist and issued several restoration orders for work done in area lakes.  

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) checked many hunters enjoying the early teal season. For the most part, there was good compliance with the laws, but some hunters still need to work on their species identification. 

CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked the bear opener and the early teal season. The teal season participation appeared to be low. Some ricers and duck hunters reported more difficult access due to lower-than-normal water levels. 

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling and boating activity. A complaint about possible gray wolf depredation of a calf was investigated.  

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking angling, early teal, early goose, bear hunting, and ATVing activity. While on an ATV detail with CO Swedberg, the officers came upon an 87-year-old passenger in a side by side. She said it was the first time she had ever been on an ATV and was having a great time. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports seeing high turnout in the area for the early teal season. Many limits were observed on the first morning, with numbers going down by Monday. Dove hunting appears good if scouting is done properly.

CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports checking a fair number of teal and goose hunters during the holiday weekend. Compliance rates were high, and hunters had plenty of feedback on their thoughts about the experimental teal season.

CO Shane Osbourne (Evansville) checked early teal and early goose hunters. Complaints about shooting early and unplugged guns were received and investigated. The violation rate was very high for the early teal season among the groups that were checked. Osborne estimates the violation rate was over 80% for the first three days of the early teal season. 

CO Hannah Wood (Wheaton) took a report of a fish kill, which was confirmed by the Minnesota duty officer. The report identified a major fish kill that impacted several species, including game fish and rough fish. The kill was most likely due to the low oxygen associated with the drought conditions. Even though it was reported as a major fish kill, it is likely that it only killed a small portion of the total game fish population. The DNR Fisheries Section will be conducting routine fall electrofishing and gill-netting this fall and will have more information once that is complete.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports a quiet start to the early goose and experimental early teal-hunting seasons. A few groups were checked but there was little success. 

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for bear and waterfowl hunting this week. He found increased ATVing activity with the recent rain and long weekend. 

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking multiple hunters during the week with the bear, early teal, and early goose seasons opening. Multiple people had success with all three and violations found included failure to validate license, failure to register bear harvest, and failure to register bear baits. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports spending the majority of the week checking bear hunters and bear-baiting activity. ATV traffic also was monitored in the area.  

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked big-game, waterfowl, and ATV activity. Time was also spent speaking at a firearms safety class, investigating a wetlands violation, assisting local law enforcement agencies, and responding to calls. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) assisted with a two-vehicle crash in which both drivers sustained minor injuries. A number of boating safety violations were encountered during the week. 

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) observed few hunters in the field during early goose opener and the early teal season. Hunters who were encountered reported seeing very few geese and teal. Broughten also investigated a public waters violation.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports the bear-hunting season is off to a successful start. Several impressive bears were checked on opening day, and most hunters contacted said they were still seeing a lot of activity at their baits. 

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) spent a busy week working bear hunters and checking bait stations. Most stations were clean, but some trash and animal carcasses were located, and numerous ATV violations were noted. Nuisance-beaver complaints and bear-related complaints continue, including one bear that managed to lock itself inside a truck.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) spent time checking bear baits and working bear-hunting enforcement. Time also was spent on the early teal season and angling enforcement. 

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports an exciting week of bear hunting, angling, and ATV contacts. Bear hunters reported excellent success during the first few days of the season with some 300-plus-pound bears checked. Hill dealt with multiple hunters illegally concealing loaded handguns. A reminder to follow all handgun laws as there are serious consequences if you are found without a carry permit. Enforcement action was taken on a group of riders after Hill determined they illegally drove through a lake that had recently fallen victim to low water levels, leaving mud and sand exposed. Another local lake is seeing high numbers of fish in anglers’ coolers. Because Hill promised the anglers he wouldn’t divulge the name of the lake, all he can say is that the bite has been superior.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) reports that a hunter was assisted in tracking a bear that was harvested, which resulted in a successful recovery. A bear and firearm were seized as results of several bear-hunting violations.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked the early teal/goose opener, monitored ricing activity, checked bear hunters, and assisted with a personal watercraft that washed up on shore. Lots of teal were seen in the area but just a few hunters. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also provided a demonstration and searched for a possible firearm thrown during a pursuit. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the early goose and teal season, with very limited success had by hunters. Sutherland also worked bear opener activities with a high success rate had by area hunters. Despite the hunter harvest looking good, Sutherland still took multiple calls about bears destroying bird feeders and garbage cans.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) talked with a lot of folks who were headed to either the woods to try their hand at bear hunting, or to the water for the early teal and goose seasons. Success for both bear hunters and waterfowl hunters was moderate.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent time working past problem areas for illegal bear and deer baiting. He also worked ATV complaint areas. Duncan worked different areas for the early teal and goose seasons. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked bear, early goose, and teal season openers. Humphrey also continued to check wild-ricing activity. A wetland restoration order was issued.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked teal and goose hunters on the opening weekend of the early season. Complaints of sky-busting and early shooting were worked. One hunter failed to read the regulations and assumed that shooting hours were the same as the regular season. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) checked area bear baits and bear hunters. Sullivan also conducted observation during the teal and early goose seasons. During observation, Sullivan observed two hunters shoot a trumpeter swan. Hunting equipment was seized and enforcement action was taken.  

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked anglers, waterfowl hunters, and bear hunters during the past week. ATV enforcement was also done with many violations related to youth drivers or youth passengers. Benkofske assisted with a car crash caused by alcohol near Lake Minnewawa. He also stopped a driver going 100 miles per hour in the rain near Rat Lake.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time this week checking bear hunters and early teal hunters. Wetland violations were followed up on. Assistance was given to local law enforcement agencies on medical calls and an ATV crash. 

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found a lot of bear-hunting activity on state forest lands. While checking bear hunters, some of the violations found included hunting over unregistered bear bait, operating ATVs in restricted areas, transporting a loaded firearm on an ATV, and using solid waste in bear baits. 

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked high-activity areas this past week. Early goose and early teal seasons opened this past weekend, which brought hunters to the fields and water. Low success was seen among the hunters who were checked. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spent the week checking bear baits and bear-hunting activity. Westby also worked with a local beaver trapper who was dealing with nuisance beavers in the area. 

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) reports many goose and teal hunters were seen enjoying the weather. All hunters were having some success. Violations addressed included no federal duck stamp, unplugged shotgun, taking mergansers out of season, no waterfowl stamp, no personal flotation devices, and ATV and OHM violations.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) investigated a trespass complaint where the trespasser ended up being a crop insurance adjuster who the farmer requested to check on his crop. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) worked a busy early teal-hunting opener. Hunters were seeing lots of ducks and were being cautious to ensure they were not shooting illegal ducks. 

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for early teal and goose hunters. Seamans was disappointed to find many hunters not following the rules during the new early teal season. Violations included shooting early, shooting non-teal ducks, wanton waste, hunting with an unplugged shotgun, hunting without the proper licenses, and hunting from a boat without a life jacket. On a positive note, many hunters who knew the rules took the extra effort to place a TIP call.  

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked the early teal and Canada goose seasons in the metro area. He responded to calls for service, including suspicious people on state property, and hunting regulations. 

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) assisted Hennepin County with a minor boat crash and with a person who attempted to flee from a stop on the water.

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) assisted in rescuing a family of four from the Minnesota River. The family set out for a kayak camping trip but became stuck in a downed tree. Their kayaks went under the water and became stuck in the tree. Two of the kayakers were able to get out of the tree, but the other two were left hanging onto the tree. All four were picked up by COs and returned to the landing. 

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) spent the early goose and special early teal season on the water, checking hunters. Only a few hunters reported hunting exclusively for teal and did not have much luck. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports working the opener for teal and early goose. He handled TIP calls and investigated several possible public water violations. 

CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) patrolled Anoka County for the early teal season and early goose season. Hanna was watching two juveniles when one of them said, “I don’t see a game warden. Let’s shoot it.” Hanna quickly reminded the juveniles to do what is right even when they don’t see a conservation officer. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked public access, angling, dove hunting, and migratory waterfowl enforcement this past week. Many people came out for the early goose and teal opener, with most having decent success. 

CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) reports the teal season brought out good numbers of hunters, and some were able to find some teal on area sloughs. Enforcement action for the week included license violations and early shooting. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson) focused patrol efforts this past week on ATV and fishing activity as well as the early teal and goose seasons. Larson checked a duck hunter over the weekend who was participating in his 60th year of hunting ducks. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) reports that early teal season success was lower than predicted as many teal left the Swan Lake area within the week prior to the season opener. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on fishing and waterfowl hunting activities. The early teal and early geese opening weekend was busy with many hunters out. Hunter success was mixed.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked busy early goose and teal season openers. Hunting pressure in the area was high, and most groups managed some birds. Violations during these early seasons seemed to be common. Henke reminds all hunters to check the regulations prior to hunting and if you happen to make a mistake, taking responsibility for it and self-reporting your violation is the best course of action.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly anglers and waterfowl hunters during the week. Teal kept moving through the area during the week and hunters liked the new opportunity. 

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the week checking early goose hunters and anglers. Time was also spent monitoring ATV operators on the Chatfield trail. 

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) worked the early teal season and reports seeing a good turnout of hunters. Most of the waterfowl hunters checked had some blue-winged teal and said they liked the opportunity to hunt the new season. A complaint was received regarding shotgun BBs striking a homeowner’s deck. 

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports duck hunters taking part in the state’s early teal season were contacted. Hunters were cautious about species identification and, therefore, not many teal were observed in the bag. A report of illegal take of protected turtles was investigated.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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