Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 1, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked grouse hunters in the Beltrami Island State Forest. Enforcement action was taken with an individual who dumped multiple bags of garbage and two large televisions in the state forest. A report was investigated regarding a bear in a trap.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) assisted local volunteers with firearms safety field days, attended training at Camp Ripley, checked anglers on the Rainy River, and checked duck hunters during opening weekend. Enforcement action was taken for violations including possessing/using shot other than nontoxic while waterfowl hunting, a crappie overlimit at the U.S. Port of Entry, operating an OHM on public roadways, and allowing youth/minors to violate fish and game laws.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) worked the waterfowl opener in the Thief Lake area, seeing much success. Area grouse hunters saw much less success than waterfowl hunters.
CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) patrolled the station for big-game hunting activity during the week, and worked the waterfowl opener. Waterfowl-hunting success was excellent for most. Limits to near-limits were observed for most parties checked, with teal and wigeon making up the majority of the bag and a few geese added to the mix.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working bear, archery deer, small-game, and the waterfowl-hunting opener. Time was spent investigating TIP information, reports of burning violations, and issuing permits for car-killed game.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked a busy opening weekend to the waterfowl season. Area lakes were patrolled, and time was spent working Leech Lake with CO McGowan.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) followed up on a TIP complaint regarding a couple who fished multiple days in a row on the same lake. No overlimits were found, but the couple did have illegal-length northern pike.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing, small-game hunting, and ATVing enforcement. Time was also spent working the waterfowl and prairie chicken openers during the weekend. Waterfowl hunter participation was high.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling and boating activity. A complaint of goose hunting out of season was investigated.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) checked waterfowl and prairie chicken hunters. A surprising number of typical late-season birds such as pintails, wigeon, and northern shovelers was observed in hunters’ bags.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports that duck hunting on the opener was poor to fair for most hunters checked. Green-winged teal appeared to be the species that was most prevalent.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked several waterfowl hunters during the opening weekend. They had minimal success. One hunter had an interesting experience when a goose flew into him, hitting him in the back and shoulder area. No injuries were reported.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports working the regular waterfowl hunting opener and fall angling over the weekend. Waterfowl success was limited to those who found the remaining local teal and wood ducks. Warm, calm weather dispersed hunters early, with a few taking advantage to the extended season hours.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time this week monitoring fall angling activity, as well as several groups of waterfowl hunters. Assistance was given to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with removing a horse that became stuck in a swamp while someone was trail riding.
CO Dan Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, bowhunters, and waterfowl hunters. Record-low numbers of waterfowl and hunters were observed around the area for duck opener.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) worked a variety of activity during the week, including boating, fishing, big-game hunting, and waterfowl hunting. Hunters saw very few ducks in the area on the waterfowl opener.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking waterfowl hunters. The majority of the hunters found success in the morning hunts. Kunst also assisted Cass County officials with a search for a missing person.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and small-game hunters. Complaints related to bear and duck hunting were investigated. Mathy also assisted with a driving complaint.
CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports continuing work on background investigations and checking anglers, small-game hunters, waterfowl hunters, and archery deer hunters. He reports getting calls from the public regarding nuisance beavers and several hunting-related questions.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports spending the week checking small-game hunters, ATVing activity, sturgeon anglers, and duck/goose hunters this past weekend. A goose carcass-dumping case was investigated as well.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) continued work on a background investigation, fielded various animal-related calls, and attended division training at Camp Ripley.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling, boating, small-game and big-game hunting, and ATVing activity. Area forest roads and public access sites were checked.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) worked ATV enforcement, small-game activity, and waterfowl opener. Time also was spent returning calls regarding hunting regulations, responding to TIP information, and nuisance bears. Most waterfowl hunters reported seeing few ducks and having fewer shots.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) reports that while on boat patrol, he addressed a person angling with an extra line. The individual in violation also was found to be in possession of an overlimit of fish at his residence. Zavodnik continues to address trespass complaints and spruce top-theft cases.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting, fishing, and ATVing activity. Small-game and waterfowl hunters reported limited success. Many ponds, rivers, and creeks that usually hold ducks are dry.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports warm, dry weather made for a slow and poorly attended waterfowl opener. Some ducks were found in the area, including ringnecks and wood ducks, but overall they weren’t seen in any numbers.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked small-game hunters, duck hunters, and anglers this past week. He also received several calls about nuisance animals and trapping regulations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked small-game hunters and archery deer hunters. Anglers fishing Lake Superior tributaries were also checked as the pink salmon move in.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports that a habitual spruce-top violator was charged again for cutting without consent and also for providing false documentation after being found cutting on Minnesota Power-controlled land.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports seeing a large number of harvested grouse in the station throughout the week. One hunter was cited after he was observed shooting a grouse from his truck window. Had he taken the time to step out of the truck, he wouldn’t have received a few-hundred-dollar ticket. Reports of anglers illegally snagging pink salmon in local tributaries are starting to come in with the ongoing run.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) stayed busy with small-game, bear-hunting, angling, and waterfowl-hunting activities taking place. A campsite was checked after grouse hunters had vacated the area and their fire was found still smoldering and smoking. The hunters were contacted, and enforcement action was taken for failing to extinguish the fire.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked the waterfowl opener, monitored OHV activity, and checked small-game hunters. Hunter success was good this week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and stamp violations.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked waterfowl opener with many ducks and hunters present in the area. Dry conditions in the Dakotas have seemed to push ducks east. A group of young hunters was observed shooting crippled ducks while driving with loaded guns around a marsh. Enforcement action was taken, and a lesson in firearms safety was given.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) focused efforts on checking duck hunters during the waterfowl season opener. Several hunters reported having a difficult time navigating to their traditional hunting spots due to low water levels.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked the waterfowl opener and saw one lucky crew with a limit of ducks, but most others were reporting high-flying ducks and poor shooting as reasons for a lack of success.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued working on hunting and OHV enforcement throughout the week. Humphrey also patrolled the Fond du Lac State Forest, wildlife management areas, and county forest lands. Humphrey and other area COs assisted with the search for a suspect who fled from local police.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked waterfowl and small-game hunters during the weekend. One group of bear hunters was assisted in looking for a bear after legal shooting hours. He and other District 8 officers assisted the Cloquet Police Department with the search for a wanted fugitive in the area of Highway 33. The milder weather had anglers out on Lake Superior, trying to catch lake trout before the season closes Oct. 3.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) took enforcement action this week for various ATV-related violations. Reports about unattended decoys and operating motor vehicles in public waters were handled.
CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking bear, grouse, and duck hunters in the area. Mixed bags of ducks were seen in most areas. A mallard/wigeon cross was seen in a local hunter’s bag as well. Benkofske also returned a dock segment to a camp on Big Sandy Lake that had floated away in a storm and became a hazard to other boaters.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled for migratory waterfowl hunting and sportfishing. Assistance was given to a couple of individuals in determining who owned the cattle that were showing up on their game cameras and affecting their archery deer hunting.
CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) worked small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity. She also patrolled ATVing activity in the area and contacted several juveniles who were operating illegally. Several trespass calls were responded to as deer hunters are beginning to put up stands and small-game hunters are afield.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for ATVing activity and small-game, archery deer, and waterfowl hunting. She also assisted with a firearms safety class at the Wealthwood Rod and Gun Club.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) primarily worked small-game hunting, waterfowl hunting, archery deer hunting, and sportfishing enforcement this week. Various violations were encountered, ranging from boating safety violations to licensing violations, and firearms-related violations.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) worked the busy waterfowl opener. Hunting success was sporadic throughout the station, but most hunters were seeing some birds. Hunters’ bags included pintails, wigeon, ringnecks, mallards, teal, and Canada geese.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers and waterfowl and deer hunters. Complaints about trespassing and deer baiting were investigated.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) reports duck hunter numbers during opening weekend were below average. A few limits of ducks were found, with most being wood ducks and mallards. Bertram also responded to a car vs. bear crash near Browerville.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week checking small-game hunters, waterfowl hunters, and big-game hunters. Time was also spent following up on public waters issues and attending divisional training at Camp Ripley.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for archery deer hunters, waterfowl hunters, and anglers. Additional time was spent presenting at a firearms safety class and certifying ginseng. Enforcement action was taken for illegally hunting on a scientific and natural area, hunting waterfowl with an unplugged shotgun, hunting waterfowl while in possession of toxic shot, hunting without a small-game license, hunting without federal and state waterfowl stamps, and hunting deer over bait.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and working a busy waterfowl opener. He also spent time working on ATV complaints. Enforcement action was taken for no state/federal waterfowl stamps, unplugged shotgun, taking fish in a closed season and fishing without a license.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked waterfowl hunters during the opening weekend. Fogarty found that the drought had concentrated hunters and birds. Fogarty checked archery deer hunters and found the warm weather was keeping deer from moving much during the day.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked boating and fishing activities on metro-area lakes and rivers. He also worked duck opener and checked small-game hunters around the metro.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) focused on waterfowl and archery deer hunting. Opening morning was a success for most hunters, with a majority of the birds harvested being teal.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time checking archery, small-game, and waterfowl hunters in the area. Hunters had pretty decent success, especially for wood ducks and geese.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports working the waterfowl opener. The low water levels made it tough for some hunters to get out, but they ended up having success.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) worked a busy waterfowl opener. Hunters were out in force, but far fewer birds were seen in the bag. He also checked small-game hunters and anglers in the area.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) checked anglers throughout the week. They had varying success. Waterfowl opener was worked and hunters had some success, but not as much as they hoped. No limits were seen.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) spent the week checking archery deer hunters and migratory waterfowl hunters during the opening weekend. Quite a few hunters were out over the weekend, with many having success.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working angling activity and the waterfowl opener. Enforcement action was taken for license and stamp issues. K9 training was attended at Camp Ripley.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports waterfowl hunters had success for the opener, but low water levels made for extra work. Most of the ducks harvested were wood ducks, mallards, teal, gadwalls, and shovelers. A few pintails, wigeon, and redheads also were taken. Duck hunters are reminded that a federal duck stamp is required if you are 16 or older. You must sign across the face of the stamp when you receive it and have it in possession. An injured bald eagle was captured and delivered to DNR Wildlife personnel, who transported it to a local veterinarian.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received trespassing calls and requests for hunting law clarification. He worked predominantly waterfowl hunting, boating, and angling enforcement activities.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports angling activity has picked up locally. The waterfowl opener was worked by Miller with a large number of hunters contacted and monitored. Numerous limits of ducks were taken, and weather proved to be perfect for opening weekend.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked AIS, waterfowling, angling, and small-game enforcement. A number of daily waterfowl limits were observed.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked waterfowl hunters. The majority of hunters had little to no luck in the area and hunting pressure was low.
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working waterfowl hunting during the opening weekend. He also worked angling, archery hunting, and followed up on a trespass complaint.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on hunting activities and angling enforcement. Waterfowl opening weekend was busy with many hunters out on area lakes. The majority of waterfowl hunters checked had a successful weekend. Time also was spent following up on trespass complaints from landowners.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) assisted state and federal agencies at the Greenwood Fire in northern Minnesota.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on waterfowl hunting and fishing activity. VanThuyne also checked recreational vehicle riders and archery deer hunters.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a busy weekend on the river with a local festival. Waterfowl opener was busy with about 40 units at the main accesses at 4:30 a.m. There were many wood ducks shot, with only few other species checked in the bag. He helped in the Wabasha area with a complaint of an illegally taken deer. Hemker also received a call about a fox in a fenced school area while there were several sporting events taking place.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week working on a deer-poaching complaint.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) worked a busy opening weekend of the 2021 waterfowl season on the Mississippi River. Hunting success appeared a little above average with teal and wood ducks being the most popular birds in the bag. An illegal deer-hunting investigation was also completed with charges being filed. Further investigation was completed on a trespass complaint.
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) reports many hunters were successful this waterfowl opener. Several individuals were checked who had shot a limit of ducks, and most others had at least a couple ducks bagged. First aid and CPR training was attended at Camp Ripley.