Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 15, 2021

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked duck hunters on Thief Lake and the Roseau River WMA. Bags are almost completely dabblers and geese, with few divers. Anglers were checked on Lake of the Woods. Trapping and archery deer-hunting activity also was monitored. Violations for the week included taking an overlimit of pintails, possessing lead, not enough life jackets in a watercraft, and illegal party hunting of waterfowl.

CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) worked mainly small-game enforcement this past week. Brown also fielded calls regarding the upcoming deer season. He spent time investigating several suspicious dead deer around Oslo. It’s suspected they died from EHD.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) investigated archery deer- and bear-hunting violations this week. An illegal-burning investigation was started. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking duck, grouse, and archery deer hunters as well as anglers this past week on special-regulation lakes. Regas received reports about hunters seeing fair numbers of grouse. Time was spent investigating TIP information, patrolling area ATV trails, and monitoring complaint areas, with enforcement action taken for ATVs being operated on non-motorized hunter walking trails.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports attending a firearms safety class in the Mentor area. Time also was spent checking waterfowl and grouse hunters. Anglers were checked on area lakes.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking calls about off-highway motorcycles being operated on county highways and in the ditches. He also answered questions related to the archery deer season and trespassing. 

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing, waterfowl- and small-game hunting, and ATVing enforcement. Time also was spent responding to miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) checked waterfowl hunters and monitored fire activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Duck numbers remain low with mostly wood ducks and mallards on area sloughs. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) worked a waterfowling complaint in which hunters failed to retrieve their downed game. Plautz also assisted the State Patrol with a two-vehicle crash involving injuries, handled nuisance-animal calls, and issued car-killed deer permits this week.  

CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports his primary focus for the week was waterfowl-hunting and angling enforcement. Wildlife activity picked up around a strong weather front that moved through the area, with most waterfowl-hunting parties finding a mixed bag of duck species. Reports of trespass on a waterfowl refuge and illegal deer stands were investigated. 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) received a call about individuals hunting ducks in the closed zone south of Highway 210 near Dalton. CO Goodman and Osborne responded and found three people hunting ducks during the closed season. Deer-season tagging questions were received and answered, with a lot of people advocating for simpler deer-tagging options. Those people were referred to DNR Wildlife staff.

CO Brian Holt (Osakis) checked small-game hunters and recreational vehicle riders during the past week. Time also was spent checking angling activity and waterfowl hunters. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and bowhunters in the area. Duck numbers in the area are still low, with no new birds seen.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for hunting and recreational vehicle activity. He assisted local law enforcement with the search for and apprehension of a person. Baum also assisted the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office with an ATV accident. He continues to investigate a big-game violation. He assisted with an ATV class in Park Rapids and certified 13 youth riders. 

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) conducted training, answered numerous questions, and performed equipment maintenance. Outdoor activities were monitored, and an increase has been seen in hunting participation as fall continues. As we enter the last week of the bear season, hunters are reminded to clean up bait stations and leave the woods as they found them once they’re done hunting.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports most of the week was spent checking grouse-hunting activity and fishing activity on the Rainy River. Animal-related complaints, primarily related to bears, keep being reported. People are reminded to do their part by removing any food sources from their yards. 

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) continues work on a background investigation. Grouse hunters are reporting tough hunting conditions with the underbrush still hanging onto its foliage. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring ATV riding, boating, angling, and hunting. Duck-hunting reports are poor and most report few ducks observed.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily small-game and ATVing enforcement. Larson investigated a deer-hunting case from last year that resulted in several violations, including hunting without a license, failure to validate a tag, failure to tag a deer, failure to obtain a roadkill permit for a turkey, and other violations. Larson also assisted in capturing an injured eagle to be brought to wildlife rehabilitation.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked small-game and ATVing activity. Time was spent speaking at three firearms safety classes in Hibbing, investigating calls that were received, and maintaining station equipment. Investigations continue on open trespassing and illegal-hunting complaints.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports that because of the continued fair weather, ATVing activity was high in the Ely area during the week. Trespass, nuisance-bear, and shoreline complaints were investigated.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and hunters this past week. He also followed up on several ATV-related complaints regarding illegal operation on the highway. Velsvaag also took several calls about trapping regulations and waterfowl-hunting questions.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked anglers, ATV riders, and small-game hunters. Time was spent in the BWCAW for a work detail.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked grouse anglers, worked ATV enforcement, followed up on several complaints, and issued possession permits. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, no small-game license, an open container (alcohol) on an ATV, operating an ATV in public waters, unregistered ATV, and removing numerous lake rocks without a permit.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports contacting multiple anglers on Lake Superior tributaries throughout the week. One angler was observed utilizing treble hooks in a necked-down section of the Temperance River. Hill contacted the angler after the angler foul-hooked a fish in the tail. The angler was hesitant to disclose to Hill what he was using, but finally pulled the illegal lure out of a pocket. Enforcement action was taken. A commercial bear guide inspection was conducted, and a few miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints were handled. 

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked illegal deer-baiting activity and small-game hunters during the week. Nuisance-bear activity continues as bears try to pack on the calories before a long winter nap. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) worked small-game, ATV, and big-game enforcement. Large numbers of hunters in the area report small numbers of grouse and woodcock being taken. Questions related to small-game hunting were answered, and miscellaneous hunting complaints were taken.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, big-game and small-game hunters, boaters, and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. The CO also responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers and investigated complaints about litter, wanton waste, trespass, and hunting after hours. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked duck-hunting activity with a lull in area action. Enforcement action was taken against an individual who dumped a large amount of construction debris on private property. A citation was issued, and the party cleaned up the pile.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) responded to a complaint about trespassing that involved numerous landowners and violations. Trespassing complaints have been quite common with the upcoming deer season and the small-game season in full swing. ATV-complaint areas were worked, and a complaint about litter was handled. He also assisted with a missing person search in Pine County. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent time working a shining complaint that involved an illegally-taken deer. Trespass complaints were investigated, and time was also spent on a hunter-harassment violation. A bear-hunting violation was investigated.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) assisted Pine County with a search and checked small-game hunters throughout the week. As the boating season comes to an end, AIS checks were done on lakes in the Duluth area. He also checked Lake Superior accesses for enforcement of the closed lake trout season. Olson responded to a trespass case and a shooting-from-the-roadway complaint in the Floodwood area. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) continued to stay busy with several trespass-related questions and complaints in the area. Ladd also worked a couple of deer-bait complaints and continued work on a background investigation for the next CO Academy. 

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked fall hunting, fishing, and ATVing activity this week. Assistance was provided with an ATV crash with injuries. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) attended a community outreach event called “Touch a Truck.” Large trucks and heavy equipment from around the Brainerd last area were on display. Community members who attended were educated on how the equipment is used and had conversations with equipment operators.  

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity. Warmer-than-average weather resulted in a lot of anglers and dock removal. Verkuilen also checked ATV traffic, issued nuisance-animal permits, and assisted with an arrest in a neighboring station. 

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked on two separate wolf-kill investigations in which beef calves have been killed. A wetland fill case also was worked.  

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) continue to monitor ATV and hunting activities in the station. He investigated a wetland-violation complaint, issued a permit for a black bear that was hit by a car, and arrested an individual for DWI.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked waterfowl enforcement this week with a focus on hunters out during the closed season. 

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking hunters and anglers. A trespass call was handled in which a person entered a neighbor’s property and closed a drainage ditch. A deer-shining complaint area was worked.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking small-game hunters and checking anglers. Krauel also checked migratory waterfowl hunters and patrolled for ATV activities. 

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers, waterfowl hunters, and archery deer hunters. Additional time was spent following up on Wetland Conservation Act violations and attending outreach events. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked anglers and small-game hunters on metro-area lakes and in WMAs. Boating activity was also monitored, and he responded to a fishing TIP complaint in North St. Paul. Violations encountered included fishing with extra lines and no angling license in possession. 

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked anglers and archery deer hunters. Several anglers were checked. Fogarty noticed two anglers throwing fish back as he approached a small boat to check the couples’ fishing licenses. The fish were clearly dead as they floated near the boat. Fogarty ordered the anglers to stop throwing fish back. The anglers did not listen to the commands as they continued to throw fish back. Fogarty found the anglers in possession of an overlimit of crappies. He later learned the same anglers were cited the previous week for possessing an overlimit of crappies. Enforcement action was taken. 

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports spending most of the past week checking archery hunters and duck hunters on the waterfowl second season opener. One duck hunter was encountered during the closed season. He no idea the Central and South zones have a split season.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) coordinated a meeting with DNR Wildlife, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a local nonprofit organization for the upcoming deer management distribution program. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) reports checking anglers, boaters, and waterfowl hunters. He also investigated a wetland complaint, fielded many calls about accessing water bodies from the road right of way, and took complaints about late shooting. 

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time checking waterfowl hunters and anglers. Time also was spent assisting a local agency in responding to an altercation between boaters on Pool 2 and with a missing person in a county park. 

CO Ryan Hanna (White Bear Lake) patrolled the area for duck hunting during the closed season. He had to educate multiple people about the closed season in the Central Zone. Once the season opened again, Hanna found good compliance with the regulations. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked archery deer hunters and migratory waterfowl hunters during the second opener. Continued time was spent doing backgrounds on a CO Prep candidate. 

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working waterfowl and small-game hunters. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. K9 Earl also assisted with a request for an article/evidence search. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fall hunting, fishing, and ATVing activity. Extra time was spent working the re-opening of the waterfowl season in the Central and South zones. Most of the investigations worked dealt with hunter-trespass issues. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week patrolling for shore angling and walking local state wildlife management areas. A TIP call was fielded about waterfowl hunters hunting during the closed season. Phone calls continue to come in regarding the boundary changes for deer permit areas. 

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports the re-opening of the waterfowl season proved to be busy, with large numbers of hunters contacted afield. Calls were fielded related to trespassing and taking pheasants out of season. Another contact with an angler resulted in felony drug charges.

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) responded to a report of two dead swans. He also worked small-game and angling enforcement. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent much of his time on waterfowl and small-game enforcement this week. High hunting pressure was observed for the second waterfowl opener in the South Zone. 

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on hunting and fishing activities. Waterfowl hunting re-opened in the South Zone this past weekend. Waterfowl hunters reported a slow and uneventful weekend with few ducks flying. There were a lower number of hunters out turkey hunting and archery deer hunting this week, likely due to the warmer weather, which rose to over 80 degrees this weekend. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking archery deer hunters throughout the week. The warmer weather has slowed deer movement. Small-game hunters were checked, as were a few anglers. Boyum assisted Iowa conservation officers with a person illegally harvesting ginseng. The person was located, and enforcement action was taken. 

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) spent the week checking anglers and waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license and no federal duck stamp. 

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) and a couple other area COs contacted some waterfowl hunters during the week. The hunters stated they had hurried out to the field right after school let out because they were one of three groups who had permission to hunt a particular field this fall, and they wanted to get ahead of any other evening hunters. What they failed to remember is the waterfowl season was closed from Monday to Friday this past week. Enforcement action was taken. 

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) responded to a complaint about someone burning tires in a brush fire. While he was investigating the fire, an adjacent barn caught fire. The Brownsville Fire Department responded, and Ramaker and a Houston County deputy assisted in applying water until more firefighters arrived. A bass tournament angler was checked and claimed to not have his license in his personal possession. A later check of the electronic license system showed the angler purchased his license online five minutes after being contacted. Enforcement action was taken. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) checked an angler who claimed he was not aware of the new river fish limits from several years ago. Upon Hemker counting the fish, it was found the angler was not only over the current limit, but also was over the previous bag limit. 

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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