Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 5, 2021

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) investigated complaints about hunter-harassment and trespass. Other various preparations are under way for the firearms deer season.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette) attended a meeting of the Lake of the Woods “Keep It Clean” campaign and took care of miscellaneous vehicle and equipment maintenance. Sura checked waterfowl hunters and anglers on Lake of the Woods. 

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) checked waterfowl hunters and investigated big-game hunting violations this week. Elwell also conducted inspections of several white-tailed deer farms in the northwest. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking grouse hunters, archery deer hunters, and anglers this past week. Time was spent issuing car-killed deer possession permits, patrolling area recreational vehicle trails, and assisting firearms safety instructors with a firearms safety field day. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) patrolled area lakes for angling and waterfowl-hunting activity. He also worked shining activity and worked with a neighboring officer on a case involving an individual archery hunting for deer over bait.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports working with area DNR hydrologists to inspect and close out a number of open wetland and lakeshore violations. He also patrolled for ATV and small-game hunters on area trails and WMAs. Vinton and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers dealt with an abandoned vehicle on a waterfowl production area. Several TIP calls were taken relating to trespass, deer shot and not recovered, and hunters being harassed. 

CO Al Peterson (Osage) assisted on a trespass and theft case, worked a baiting TIP that was unfounded, took enforcement action on a dogs-chasing-deer complaint, and started an investigation of a deer hunter using a rifle during the archery season.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity, with pheasant hunters finding a few birds. Angling activity was worked. Open investigations of illegal activity in WMAs were continued. Warren also patrolled her station for shining activity.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) checked anglers, waterfowl and pheasant hunters, and monitored deer-hunting activity prior to the upcoming firearms season. Landmark also assisted local law enforcement with two horse riders who were bucked from their horses in Maplewood State Park. Landmark received several calls this week regarding what deer hunters could legally buy at the store to hunt over. If the item purchased contains any liquid or solid food product, it is illegal to place in front of your stand and hunt over.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) continues following up on deer-hunting and trespassing complaints. She finalized a background investigation for the upcoming CO Academy. Plautz also checked pheasant hunters and a few anglers during the week. 

CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports that questions about retrieving wounded game and trespass were fielded, along with many inquiries about CWD testing. Deer hunters in the Elbow Lake and Fergus Falls areas are encouraged to participate in the voluntary CWD sampling. 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) investigated whole deer that were dumped after the youth and early antlerless seasons. The deer were shot, field-dressed, and tagged, but then later dumped after the season with no meat being taken.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports a case was worked after a report came in about a hunter shooting a pheasant out of a truck window. Also, a business owner was cited for burning a large pile of trash and brush without a permit. Two deer were found dumped on a rural Osakis road after being shot and field-dressed. The suspect had hung them up for several days and then decided they were of no use, so the deer were wasted. Any information on this case can be anonymously called into the TIP line. Butchered deer carcasses are starting to show up on roadsides and field edges, giving all hunters a black eye.

CO Emily Douvier (Morris) reports multiple trespass complaints were handled, one of which included an individual hunting after revocation. It resulted in multiple citations issued and the seizure of a firearm and game. Douvier also spoke at a local snowmobile safety class. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for small- and big-game hunting activity. He took enforcement action for various violations involving burning without a permit and operating a motor vehicle on a closed trail. 

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked waterfowl and big-game hunters throughout the past week. Numerous waterfowl hunters were checked on Leech Lake, with most hunters reporting limited success. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked hunting activity. Two deer-related complaints and a trapping complaint were investigated. A littering case where fish carcasses were dumped also was checked. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports that as the firearms deer season approaches, hunters have been busy preparing hunting shacks and camps. Deer are becoming more active near roadways, and an increase in reports of car-hit deer have arrived. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports decorative tree thefts from state land continues throughout the area as the holiday season approaches. He heard numerous complaints from hunters regarding a lack of deer. 

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked small-game, ATV, and archery deer activity. Time was spent preparing for the upcoming deer firearms opener and responding to calls for service. 

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting and trapping activity. Small-game and waterfowl hunters reported limited success. Many deer hunters were observed preparing for the upcoming firearms deer season. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and small-game hunters this past week. He fielded lots of questions about deer permit area boundaries and trapping regulations. Velsvaag also followed up on several complaints about illegal fishing.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked bowhunters and walked deer stands, checking for illegal baiting within the 10 days before the firearms opener. Manning also handled a trespass case involving a deer stand, a theft from a cabin, and a road-kill deer permit. 

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and small-game hunting activity this week. Time was also spent assisting the county with a few trespass issues. 

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports walking about a dozen miles throughout the week, looking for baited deer stands. Unfortunately, Hill has a laundry list of stands to visit on opening morning. Hill also responded to a trespass call in which a hunter discharged a shotgun and shot a grouse very close to an occupied house. The investigation showed the hunter illegally accessed a private road and discharged his shotgun 120 feet from the house. This was especially concerning because the hunter did not know the occupied dwelling was even there due to the roadway being directly below the house on a steep embankment.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked small-game and deer-hunting activity. Time also was spent monitoring recreational vehicles in the area. Complaints were received regarding trespassing and littering. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked archery hunters during the week. Enforcement action was taken for attempting to take an overlimit of deer, untagged big-game animal, an un-validated deer tag, and illegally transporting a big-game animal. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked hunters, monitored OHV activity, investigated TIP complaints, and worked shining complaints. Cooler weather has deer on the move. 

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) checked duck hunters, anglers, ATV riders, and small-game hunters. Numerous questions were fielded and answered regarding the firearms deer season. Several hunters were contacted who were making last-minute preparations before opening day. Enforcement action was taken for multiple hunting and ATVing violations. 

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) followed up on multiple trespassing and posting-of-public-property complaints. Anglers and small-game hunters were checked, and a few grouse were seen. A wolf-depredation complaint was handled. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) completed an investigation involving an illegal take of a black bear. He spent a few nights working night deer-shining complaint areas and checked small-game hunters throughout the week. Trespass complaints were investigated involving discharging a firearm to close to an occupied building and posting signs on public property.  

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) investigated three separate incidents of public lands posted as private. Charges are pending. Shooting too close to an occupied dwelling in Meadowlands was also investigated. 

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked small-game hunters and ATV riders. Calls were received about deer season land access questions, and use of ATVs during the season. Timber trespass and theft complaints were checked, and balsam bough cutters were monitored. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking small-game hunters and following up on trespass complaints. A trapping case was completed, and several violations were dealt with. Rules about unlawful tree cutting on state land and kids riding ATVs without helmets also were enforced. 

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) worked a wide variety of calls related to small-game and big-game hunting. Reports included illegal taking of deer, possession of a firearm in a state game refuge, no blaze clothing, ATV operation in wetlands, and trespassing. Sullivan also investigated a wolf-depredation incident. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) reports preparations for the firearms deer season are under way as hunters built stands, reviewed regulations, and marked property lines. There’s an uptick in small-game hunters, with most of the leaves off the trees. 

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked small-game, archery deer, trapping, and ATVing activity in the Isle area. A trespass complaint was investigated. Fall anglers were checked. Several contacts were made with hunters getting their stands ready for the upcoming firearms deer season. 

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for ATVing activity and small-game and archery deer hunting. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations. She also assisted the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office and followed up on calls from people with various hunting questions.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) wrapped up some youth deer season violations that ended up with some good coaching sessions. Shining work continued with complaints a bit lower this year from past years. 

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) spent much of the week taking calls and questions about the firearms deer opener. A steady stream of calls came throughout the week from hunters who were confused about deer limits, CWD mandatory testing, ATV use on public land, license purchasing, and how to post property boundaries. Time also was spent in Banning and St. Croix state parks, monitoring the special state park youth deer hunts.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked along the Mississippi River and located several people fishing for muskies. He also worked the Camp Ripley archery hunt during the weekend, with more than 2,000 hunters taking part.  

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre)reports that two anglers were observed on a local lake, trying their luck. However, they were both using extra lines. Upon addressing the violations, it was found that one of the anglers had a suspended fishing license for failing to appear for an extra line violation he previously received. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked pheasant, deer, and squirrel hunters. Some anglers were out trying their luck. Time was spent assisting at the Camp Ripley archery hunt. One group of hunters were found hunting in a closed impact area where there may be unexploded shells. The two were issued citations, and their bows were seized. Assistance was given to a man who was hanging upside-down from his bow stand for 20 minutes before officers arrived.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking hunters. He also handled litter and trespass complaints. A deer-shining complaint was worked. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week working small-game, big-game, and waterfowl hunters. Time also was spent following up on investigations and public waters issues.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers, archery deer hunters, and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent following up on a Wetland Conservation Act violation and issuing wildlife-related permits.  

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) received information about a headless deer on Highway 169 south of Milaca on Thursday, Oct. 28. It is illegal to cut the heads off of deer for their antlers and leave their bodies in the ditch. If you see this type of activity, please report it to your local conservation officer. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the metro area for hunting, fishing, and boating activity. He took enforcement action for no federal duck stamp, unsigned federal duck stamp, no hunting license in possession, unplugged gun while waterfowl hunting, no vehicle permit while in a state park, being in a state park during closed hours, and no PFD.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports receiving a complaint about a lakefront landowner harassing hunters and placing decoys on the water to “reserve” the spot to “hunt later on.” Birdsall followed up by noting the decoys were left out unattended for more than three hours and worked waterfowl hunting in that area. While the CO set up to work the area that evening, the landowner told Birdsall he could not be there and he was going to hunt that spot that evening. Birdsall then informed the landowner he was talking to a conservation officer. Enforcement action was taken for hunter harassment and the illegal placement of decoys.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking waterfowl hunters and bowhunters and following up on TIP complaints. Grewe also assisted with a couple of wetland violations. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking anglers and small-game and archery deer hunters. He also investigated a wetland violation and fielded calls about the upcoming firearms deer season. 

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) encountered a person who had a large fire burning without a permit, and with prohibited items in the fire. Nearby was a juvenile on an ATV with several different ATV safety issues. The fire and ATV issues were discussed with the parent. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this week responding to K9 calls for evidence searches involving big-game and small-game investigations. A K9 demo was conducted at a youth Pheasants Forever hunt in Redwood County. 

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week working hunters. Pheasant and archery deer hunters are struggling because a good amount of corn remains in fields. Several roadkills being reported suggest deer are moving, perhaps due to both the rut and corn harvest.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week investigating trespassing complaints and patrolling for small-game hunters. Additional time was spent at public accesses, enforcing AIS laws. The end of the week included fielding questions on the new deer permit area boundaries. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls describing hunter-harassment concerns, dead and injured animals, and requests for hunting law clarification. He worked waterfowl, small-game, trapping, boating, fishing, invasive species, and ATVing enforcement activities. 

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) reports a TIP call resulted in contact with a pheasant hunter trespassing into a WMA sanctuary. While Miller approached, the suspect attempted to hide two pheasants that were illegally taken. Those pheasants ultimately ended up being hens and not roosters. 

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) checked waterfowl, deer, and pheasant hunters during the past week.  

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) spent the week checking waterfowl, pheasant, and deer hunters around the area. Several trappers were checked during the weekend. 

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent much of his time on hunting enforcement and answering questions related to hunting. Henke reminds all deer hunters to check regulations prior to the opening of firearms deer season on Saturday. 

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) spent time working small-game and deer-hunting activities. Archery deer hunters have been out in high numbers. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports numerous calls about the upcoming firearms deer season. Hunters are reminded to contact landowners sooner than later and also to check in with the butcher they use to check their status with regards to taking deer.

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) reports time was spent assisting Olmsted County with an assault incident that occurred in the Whitewater WMA. Additionally, a case involving a hunter allegedly taking a cub black bear was investigated. 

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) investigated a large cloud of smoke early this week. The responsible person told Kyllo that he had just started a small pile of brush on fire but he knew the nearby grass would probably start on fire as well. He also told Kyllo he was usually able to get his unpermitted fires out before anyone called the fire department. By the time the fire was extinguished, the individual had burned three to five acres of grass, besides his small pile of brush. Enforcement action was taken. 

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) spent time checking archery deer and waterfowl hunters. Deer hunters are reminded that the use of salt/mineral blocks is not allowed in this part of the state due to a CWD deer feeding/attractant ban. A complaint was handled regarding goose hunters on a WMA that is closed to waterfowl hunting.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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