Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 17, 2021

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked early teal season hunters and dealt with hunters regarding shooting a wigeon, wanton waste, and hunting with an unplugged shotgun. Several calls have been received regarding bears in people’s yards, eating acorns.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette) checked anglers and goose hunters. ATVing activity was monitored in the Beltrami Island State Forest. 

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) checked teal and goose hunters and patrolled the area for bear-hunting activity as well. Boat and water safety patrols were conducted, and the two-day youth waterfowl season was worked. 

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports time was spent assisting Beltrami County and DNR Forestry with a fire that got out of control while an individual was cutting shooting lanes for his deer stand. Even with the recent rains, conditions are still ripe for fires.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking bear hunters and waterfowl hunters. Time also was spent contacting anglers and watercraft operators. 

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent time checking youth waterfowl hunters and assisting Becker County with several calls for service. Swedberg worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers to conduct investigations and interviews of several groups on whom they received TIPs during the teal season. Citations were issued for shooting mallards and wood ducks during the teal season, and several trespassing issues were addressed with hunters throughout the week. 

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing, early goose, and dove-hunting activity. The end of the early teal season saw few hunters and even fewer teal in the area. 

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and boating activity. AIS compliance checks were performed. Assistance was provided to the Becker County Sheriff’s Office and the White Earth Police Department with an automobile crash, a search for an individual who fled on foot after a vehicle pursuit, and a disturbance call.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports the youth waterfowl weekend was disappointing for several young hunters. Most public water bodies were void of ducks and little shooting was heard. This was a stark contrast from what was observed during the early teal opener. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) assisted with an all-day firearms safety field day. Plautz worked early goose hunters and youth waterfowl hunters. Plautz spoke to a group of anglers preparing to launch their boats onto an area lake. A short conversation revealed that they were active Illinois game wardens.

CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports checking goose hunters and anglers throughout the week. Waterfowl-hunter compliance remained high, but numerous angling violations were encountered. Additional time was spent contacting youth waterfowl hunters. One group of youngsters were excited to see a warden and to show off their ducks. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the majority of the week on the water with angling activity still high on area lakes. Several anglers who hadn’t purchased 2021 licenses were cited during the week. Other enforcement activity included illegal off-highway motorcycle operation, expired watercraft registration, and illegally transporting hundreds of gallons of lake water to water planted trees.

CO Dan Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, boaters, and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent checking dove hunters and attending training at Camp Ripley. Baumbarger observed low participation on Saturday of the youth waterfowl hunt. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked youth waterfowl, goose hunting, ATV riding, angling, and bear hunting. Cross also handled numerous complaints. Additionally, he assisted the Hubbard and Cass county sheriff’s offices. 

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) handled several calls regarding trespass complaints in WMAs as well as numerous calls related to the upcoming hunting seasons. Seifermann is also assisting with background investigations of future CO hires.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for bear and migratory waterfowl hunting and recreational vehicle activity. Baum also patrolled a local fishing contest and found many anglers having luck. He was informed by the fishing contest staff there was a boat taking on water. Baum assisted the anglers in getting their boat safely to the access. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports checking anglers on Rainy Lake as well as checking bear baits in the area. Unregistered bear baits and bear baits without the required signage were located. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and boating activities. ATV-riding and goose-hunting activities were checked. 

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily ATV enforcement and bear-hunting enforcement. Larson worked a case related to ATVs in a state park, and assisted another CO with a case related to operating an ATV while under the influence of alcohol.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and boaters this past week. He also followed up on a couple of burning complaints during the current fire restrictions. Bear-hunting activity, including bear baiting, has been slowing down, as have bear-related complaints in general.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked bear hunters and followed up on big-game investigations. Time also was spent checking anglers and ATV riders. Enforcement was taken for big-game and ATVing violations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked bear hunters and rechecked the bait stations of successful hunters. After some investigation, she located a hunter who had used entire beaver carcasses at a bait station that was registered to a young hunter who had already gotten his bear. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked Labor Day patrol of local ATV trails and complaint areas with CO Larson. A couple of citations were issued for allowing illegal youth operation of an ATV and operating on a closed trail. One individual was arrested for DWI on an ATV.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports bear hunters have all but left the area after an extremely busy first week of the season. Violations have been minimal since the first few days. 

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked early goose and bear-hunting activity during the week. Bears continue to be active, with hunters seeing high use at baits. Murray also checked fall anglers and wild rice harvesters. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) spent the week focusing primarily on bear-hunting activities. Time also was spent enforcing ATV laws and checking a few anglers and waterfowl hunters. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked bear hunting, monitored OHVing activity, and investigated TIP complaints. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked bear hunters, with the hunter success rate being high. Sutherland also worked fall fishing activities. 

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working big-game, migratory waterfowl, angling, and boating enforcement. Assistance was also given to local law enforcement agencies for various calls for service. 

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) responded to several nuisance-wildlife and injured-animal calls. Bear-hunting activity has slowed significantly after the first week. Assistance was given to other law enforcement agencies, and enforcement action was taken for various violations, including burning prohibited materials.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) checked several past deer-baiting locations. He continued working an illegal bear-baiting station that is not registered or signed, and checked anglers on area lakes and shorelines. ATV activity was worked at high-use locations. A trespass complaint was investigated and will require follow-up. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued working various hunting and OHV enforcement. He investigated litter and bear-carcass-dumping complaints. A nuisance-bear permit was issued at a farm with crop damage. Humphrey also attended a 9/11 memorial event in Grand Rapids as part of a joint Honor Guard detail.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore anglers and those trolling. Goose hunting was monitored, and commercial fishing items worked. ATV-related complaints were received, and yet another operator was found transporting young children without helmets.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking anglers and bear hunters. Nuisance-wildlife questions were answered. Several shoreline violations were addressed. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked on a background investigation for a potential conservation officer candidate. Guida also checked youth hunters attempting to hunt ducks and geese during the youth waterfowl weekend. A large black bear was reported shot during the early morning hours and is being investigated. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) continued an ongoing litter investigation. Sullivan also worked with local agencies to locate a person on state property who had a felony warrant. The person was taken into custody and advised of remote camping regulations. Sullivan also made contact with people violating invasive species regulations. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent the week monitoring angling and ATVing activity. Time also was spent checking bear hunters. Several calls were fielded regarding the upcoming hunting seasons. A possible shoreline violation was investigated.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating, and ATVing activity, as well as waterfowl and bear hunting. She also checked bear baits in area. Whiteoak followed up on a call in which a group of youth waterfowl hunters accidentally shot a cormorant. In that case, enforcement action was taken for allowing minors to hunt illegally/violate game laws, hunting waterfowl without a plug in a shotgun, taking a cormorant, and failure to have legal life-saving devices in a boat. She also assisted the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with a medical incident and an ATV crash. 

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on bear-season issues and attended training. A wetland restoration order and wolf-depredation cases were also worked.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) continued to work the bear-hunting season and deal with violations that included ATVs in restricted areas, illegal bait sites, and leaving garbage at bait sites on state forest lands. Several hunters had to be reminded that barrels used at a bait site need to be labeled with the hunter’s information and properly secured to a tree. Time also was spent working on cases of vandalism and theft at DNR public accesses and campgrounds.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked waterfowl hunting, bear hunting, sportfishing, boat and water enforcement, and ATV/OHM enforcement this past week. Enforcement action was taken for ATV/OHM violations and boat and water violations. One life jacket is required for each occupant of motorized and non-motorized watercraft, even in shallow water.  

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) continued working the early teal and goose seasons in the area, with lower numbers of birds and hunters this week. He received several calls about waterfowl hunters’ shots landing on buildings and reminds hunters to be aware of their shots. Westby also worked ATV riders, boaters, and bear-related complaints. 

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked with neighboring officers on waterfowl work this week. He also focused on fishing, boating, and AIS.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, boaters, waterfowl hunters, and ATVing activity. The weather was nice for youth waterfowl weekend. A car-injured bald eagle was caught and transported to the Raptor Center for rehabilitation.

CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports checking anglers and hunters. Time also was spent working on a background investigation. 

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking hunters and anglers. Training was attended and a wetland complaint was investigated. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking goose hunters and anglers. Krauel also spent time on equipment maintenance. He also assisted local and state law enforcement with several different things, including a vehicle crash, a drug overdose victim, and the execution of a search warrant. 

CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week working waterfowl hunters, anglers, and bear hunters. Time also was spent responding to wildlife-related complaints.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent following up on Wetland Conservation Act violations and patrolling state lands. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and boaters and following up on nuisance-animal complaints. Grewe also started a background investigation of a possible conservation officer candidate.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked Lake Minnetonka and checked duck hunters in Hennepin County. He checked anglers in the metro area and answered questions from the Asian community on hunting and fishing regulations.

CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time checking waterfowl hunters. Assistance was provided to another agency. Enforcement action was taken for hunting without a small-game license, no PFD, and registration issues.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) spent most of the past week checking early goose hunters and teal hunters. While a group of hunters was being checked, a solo blue-winged teal landed in the hunters’ decoys and stayed the duration of the check. As soon as the check was complete the duck flew away as if it knew it was once again in danger. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking waterfowl hunters, anglers, and boaters. He responded to TIP calls, spent time doing AIS enforcement, and did maintenance on equipment. 

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) checked early teal hunters and anglers throughout the week. Some hunters had a lot of success and others not so much. Many people played it safe if they couldn’t identify birds correctly. One party was less fortunate and didn’t get their identification correct. 

CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) patrolled area fields and waterways during the early teal and goose seasons. Many hunters had reported that by the second or third day of the teal season, the teal had already made their move south. 

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time patrolling for duck and goose hunters. Violations located throughout the week included many issues with licenses/stamps, hunting waterfowl in open water, and many deer-feeding violations. Thomas also made a stop on a 700cc ATV in the roadway being driven by a 10-year-old with a 13-year-old passenger. Neither of the kids were wearing helmets, and they were breaking almost every ATV law. The parents were cited for allowing the illegal activity.  

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) spent the week primarily working migratory waterfowl and ATV enforcement. Wetland Conservation Act violations were investigated. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, ATVing, and hunting enforcement. The teal season closed with little hunting pressure Tuesday and Wednesday. Lack of water made access to some sloughs difficult. Hunter participation for the youth waterfowl weekend seemed to be down from previous years.  

CO Andrew Dirks (Worthington) spent the week working waterfowling, fishing, and ATVing enforcement. Hunter pressure in the area for youth waterfowl weekend was light. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working waterfowling and ATVing activity. He also followed up on a wanton waste call and early shooting. 

CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time checking waterfowl hunters on area lakes. Block also spent time checking anglers and working ATVing activity. Time was spent following up on ongoing cases, and enforcing AIS as well as boat and water safety laws. 

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week working ATVing and sportfishing. Questions were fielded about the youth waterfowl hunt and whether adults accompanying the youth hunter can hunt other small game. 

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked early teal and goose hunters. Complaints about early shooting and out-of-season ducks were investigated. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports checking anglers and waterfowl hunters. The teal hunt dropped off quickly and there were a fair number of youth duck hunters during the weekend. 

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on fishing and waterfowl hunting activities. A good number of youth hunters were seen during the early teal season, but there was very little youth hunting activity for the youth waterfowl weekend. 

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked waterfowl, angling, AIS, and ATVing activity this week. Howe worked on a trespass case and assisted in the recovery of a couple of kayaks that had been caught in a “strainer” on the Minnesota River after the kayaks capsized.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) reports a deer-poaching and trespass complaint was received and is currently being investigated. Assistance was provided to multiple agencies with the search for a drowning victim on the Mississippi River.  

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) assisted COs Joel Heyn and Mitch Boyum with a waterfowl investigation. A party of hunters trespassed and attempted to shoot as many geese as possible that had been on a pond. Many dead or wounded geese had been left behind at the scene. The offending hunters were identified later that afternoon. Enforcement action was taken for wanton waste and unplugged shotguns. 

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) responded to several rattlesnake-related calls throughout the week. Ramaker presented at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s JAKES event in La Crescent.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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