Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 24, 2021

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) monitored early goose season hunting activity and followed up on a large litter complaint in the Lost River State Forest. ATV- and grouse-hunting activity were worked on the opening weekend of the small-game season. 

CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) spent most of his time on small-game and bear-hunting enforcement. Small-game hunters reported a low number of grouse being spotted in the area. ATVing activity also was monitored throughout the week. The CO fielded a few calls about injured animals and answered questions about the upcoming firearms deer season.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) checked goose, crane, and small-game hunters this week. Crane and goose numbers continue to increase throughout the station. A wildlife-harassment complaint was investigated, and calls about nuisance bears were taken. 

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports the small-game and archery deer season was successful for hunters in the area. Time was spent working small- and big-game hunting activity.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking early goose, archery deer, and grouse hunters this week. Time also was spent following up on some wetland- and public waters-related cases. Complaints about stands left on area wildlife management areas were addressed. A few fall anglers were contacted throughout the week.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked a busy opening weekend of the grouse and archery deer seasons. He also assisted the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office with the search for a missing individual on a local lake. An airboat was used for the search. The individual was located and safe.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports beginning work on a conservation officer candidate’s background investigation. Vinton conducted the initial interview and began with other reports. He also assisted other officers with annual emergency vehicle operations training at Camp Ripley. 

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week patrolling area ATV trails, lakes, and assisting the county. More squirrel hunters were checked than grouse hunters in the area, and all of the groups had squirrels in the bag. Swedberg also assisted Clearwater County with a report of a lost wild rice harvester. When the person was found, he did not want to be rescued and said he was just taking his time harvesting rice.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing, and early goose- and small-game-hunting activity. Chihak attended the North Dakota State University criminal justice career fair in Fargo where time was spent speaking to students interested in a career as a conservation officer.

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

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) continues to sign up youth for an ATV safety class in Henning. She looked for small-game hunters and bowhunters during the weekend. Plautz spent time on a background investigation and fielded calls about a person possibly poisoning gophers and foxes.

CO Shane Osbourne (Evansville) checked anglers, boaters, and small-game hunters. Questions were received and answered about becoming a conservation officer. 

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked small-game hunting and AIS compliance during the week. Time also was spent following up on a public waters complaint and working the opening weekend of archery deer hunting. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) finished work on cases from 2020 hunting seasons and prepared for the upcoming seasons. Time was spent on equipment maintenance, and questions were answered on various license and law changes for this year.

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for angling, big-game, and small-game activity. He also assisted the Becker County Sheriff’s Office and spoke at a firearms safety class about the current laws. Baum responded to a call about two bucks with antlers locked together, with one buck still alive. Baum safely separated the bucks. That buck that was alive ran off into the woods, while the other was salvaged and given to a family. 

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time working ATV riders, as well as the small-game and archery deer opener during the weekend. Multiple contacts with hunters were made, with few birds observed harvested.  

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County lakes for angling and boating activity. Enforcement action was taken for numerous violations. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) checked hunters and anglers. An aquatic plant management alteration was checked, and a deer hunting-related complaint was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for removing emergent aquatic vegetation without a permit.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) spent time this past week checking bear baits and hunters. With the small-game opener last weekend, a lot of people hit the trails. Hunters reported seeing low numbers of birds. The high winds and green forests were factors in hunters not having much success in the area.  

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) checked ATV, small-game, archery deer, and boating activities. Grouse hunting was a non-event, with few hunters observed. Public access sites were checked, and area forest roads were monitored.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked ATVing activity and the small game/archery deer opener. Time also was spent attending training at Camp Ripley and investigating a wetlands/shoreline complaint. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent the majority of the past week training for Honor Guard duties with the Law Enforcement Memorial Association at Camp Ripley.  

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports the small-game opener was well attended with higher-than-normal numbers of hunters seen in the Ely area. Although drought conditions made for less-than-usual underbrush for the small-game opener, few grouse were reported taken by hunters.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) worked with area officers during the small-game opener. Trails were busy with ATV riders and hunters. 

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a busy small-game opener. One pair of hunters tried telling Manning that “we just got checked yesterday” as a way to avoid being checked in the field. Both were transporting loaded shotguns on their ATV. She also discovered an unattended and unpermitted burning brush pile on a recently cleared parcel of land. The fire was extinguished by the local fire department, and the property owner was educated when he returned. 

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a great week of outdoor activity in the station. The pink salmon are hitting the rivers with anglers reporting multiple fish throughout the day. Grouse hunters saw great success as Hill checked multiple groups that were close to limits. A few hunters were cited for transporting loaded shotguns on ATVs.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) continued monitoring bear-hunting/baiting activity and patrolled ATV trails. Brown worked small-game and archery deer-hunting opening weekend and saw smaller numbers of grouse and deer hunters in the area than he anticipated. The remains of a bird of prey were seized from a small-game hunter who said he thought the bird was a grouse. Hunters are reminded to know the species they are hunting before heading to the field.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) and his K9 partner, Si, assisted in searching for a firearm that was thrown as a suspect evaded law enforcement. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the small-game and deer archery openers. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, aiding and abetting hunting deer over bait, and for operating ATVs in closed areas. 

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) monitored the opening of small-game and archery hunting. Hochstein responded to a large fire that required several aircrafts to assist with containment of the flames. ATV traffic in the area remains high, with good compliance rates among riders.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) fielded calls regarding regulation questions and gave advice on nuisance-wildlife issues in the station. Training was attended at Camp Ripley for new Honor Guard members. 

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) attended Honor Guard training at Camp Ripley during the week. Schmidt also worked areas of heavy small-game hunting activity, with moderate success observed. A case regarding camping on state land was followed up on. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent time investigating a netting violation that resulted in many turtles dying. Another ongoing investigation involved a bear being killed and dumped. The bear was field-dressed and headless. No meat was taken

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Salmon are starting to gather and enter rivers with the recent rain. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and public access violations.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) spent the past week at the Fur Takers of America Trappers College in Wolcottville, Ind. Conservation officers, biologists, and trappers from across the country attended to learn principles and benefits of trapping in managing wildlife. Many topics were learned and will be used in Benkofske’s career working with wildlife, working with trappers, and in teaching new cadets.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled for angling, archery, and small-game hunting activity this week. Guida investigated a hunter-harassment report and served as a mediator between two archery deer hunters. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time monitoring angling and ATVing activity in the Isle area. Walleye fishing opened again on Lake Mille Lacs, which brought more anglers onto the lake. Small-game hunters and archery deer hunters were also checked throughout the weekend. 

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for fishing, boating, ATVing, bear hunting, and small-game hunting. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm in a vehicle, expired ATV registration, and operating an ATV without lights. She also assisted the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with various calls.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found a few grouse hunters and deer hunters out on the small-game and archery deer openers. A majority of hunting activity continued to be those still out attempting to harvest a bear. Goose-hunting success increased throughout the week as crops started to come off the fields.

CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked ATV/OHM, sportfishing and small-game, bear, and archery deer enforcement this past week.  

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) monitored ATVing activity, goose hunters, bear baits, and the archery deer and small-game openers. Enforcement action was taken for hunting bears in the wrong zone, failure to transfer ATV title, failure to renew ATV registration, and failure to display valid ATV registration.

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes for angling and boating activity. Westby also worked trespassing and nuisance-animal calls during the week. The CO worked the small-game and archery deer openers, with many people out enjoying the warm weather. Westby assisted a bowhunter in locating a deer that was shot and ran onto a posted area.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) assisted with water survival training for the State Patrol Academy. A TIP call about a bowhunter out before the start of season was fielded and investigated.

CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) checked hunters and anglers. Time also was spent working on a pre-employment background investigation and teaching about laws and ethics to the Annandale firearms safety class.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) primarily worked goose, squirrel, and deer hunters. Anglers, ATV riders, and wetland issues also were worked. Two ATV safety classes were attended.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking small-game hunters, as well as early goose hunters and archery hunters. Enforcement action was taken for no small-game license, possession of marijuana, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and several ATV violations.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers, archery deer hunters, and small-game hunters. Violations encountered this week included hunting deer with the aid of bait, possessing smallmouth bass out of season, and failing to remove a drain plug from a boat. Seamans also assisted in the apprehension of a suspect wanted in an ATV theft investigation. Additional time was spent issuing cease and desist orders and resource protection notifications for wetland violations. Please consult your local soil and water conservation district if you plan to alter a wetland on your property. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked anglers and archery deer hunters. Fogarty also checked archery deer hunters in the south-metro CWD area. Hunters were advised on deer-carcass transport regulations within CWD areas.  

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked anglers and boaters on metro-area lakes and rivers. He worked the small-game and archery deer opener in southeast Minnesota and responded to trespass complaints. Violations encountered included no blaze orange while small-game hunting and no fishing license in possession.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on angling and big-game hunting activity during the week. In addition to working the archery and small-game openers, he continued working on a CO Prep background investigation. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports taking multiple calls on hunting trespassing issues and questions about public hunting land. Hunters also were advised regarding legal areas to hunt waterfowl in the metro area. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for hunting activity during the archery and small-game openers. Higher temperatures slowed some of the hunting, but persistent hunters found some success. 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent time checking anglers and archery deer and small-game hunters. He fielded questions about deer hunting and the upcoming waterfowl season. Arntzen also patrolled William O’Brien State Park and did ATV enforcement, where action was taken for no helmet and registration issues. 

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time patrolling for goose and archery deer hunters. The warm weather made hunting conditions especially challenging.  

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) checked anglers and small-game and archery deer hunters throughout the week and weekend. Hunting was lower with all the foliage and warmer days.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this last week working the small-game and archery deer openers. Calls about trespass were fielded. Training with K9 Earl was conducted. K9 Earl also aided in evidence recovery. 

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked migratory waterfowl, archery deer, and ATV enforcement this past week. Many hunters were out for the archery deer opener. Assistance was given at a firearms safety class in Tyler, with approximately 20 kids in attendance.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, boating, ATVing, state park, and hunting enforcement. Warm and windy conditions slowed the start to the archery deer and small-game openers. A memorial ATV run was attended with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office at the ATV trail near Russell. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports that several bowhunters who were checked had early season deer-hunting success. Anglers and hunters looking to access the Talcott Lake WMA are encouraged to refer to the DNR website for information regarding road construction in the area that is making travel to certain locations difficult. Numerous questions continue to be fielded because of crop damage locally for waterfowl hunting and the potential for fields being considered baited. Waterfowl hunters should refer to www.fws.gov regarding fields that could be considered baited as a result of recent storm damage.

CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this week checking anglers and hunters throughout the station. Block also focused time on boat and water safety and AIS. Block would like to remind hunters that AIS laws apply to boats and equipment. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls reporting trespassing and requests for hunting law clarification. He spent the majority of the week working waterfowl hunting, fishing, boating, invasive species, and ATV enforcement.  

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent time patrolling for archery deer hunters and responding to related calls and questions about the upcoming firearms season.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) helped a group of landowners sort out some trespass problems. The usual advice bears repeating: Know whose property you are on, and know that you have permission to be there, doing the activity you plan to engage in. 

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) spent time working small-game and archery deer-hunting activities. Archery deer hunters reported seeing good numbers of deer in the area, but also reported seeing a lot of fawns and smaller deer. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy small-game and archery deer opener. Squirrel hunters reported low squirrel numbers and were frustrated. Archery hunters reported seeing deer but the warmer weather slowed deer movement. 

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week continuing a deer-poaching investigation. Time also was spent checking area small-game and archery deer hunters during the opening weekend. 

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) reports that a TIP call resulted in anglers being located taking nine trout out of season. 

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports high participation rates in outdoor activities continue, with many hunters taking to the field this weekend. 

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester #2) spent the week checking early goose, small-game, and archery deer hunters. Compliance was high. 

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working a busy opening weekend of the archery deer and small-game seasons in the southeast. Many of the state forest campgrounds were busy, with more than 100 folks found in one. 

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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