District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked deer hunters throughout a slow second week of the firearms deer season. Violations encountered included shooting from a vehicle at deer, transporting an illegally taken big-game animal, trespassing, and transporting a loaded firearm.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued monitoring area firearms deer hunters during the final weekend of the season. He investigated a complaint of trespass that led to multiple pending charges, including use of artificial lights to locate game, trespass, a buck overlimit, transporting untagged deer, failure to register big game, and lending big-game licenses for numerous individuals.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working deer-hunting and trapping activity throughout this past week. Time was spent investigating TIP information and working deer hunting enforcement details in complaint areas.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked firearms deer-hunting activity. Several calls were taken from individuals who had questions regarding CWD.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking follow-up firearms deer season questions and patrolling the station for trapping activity. A case involving litter/dumping at a public water access was referred to the Parks and Trails Division.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week working the end of the firearms deer season and following up on cases from the deer season. Swedberg also started an investigation involving a potential walleye overlimit.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked deer hunters and responded to reports of late shots, a possible out-of-season deer kill and trespass.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on small-game-hunting activity. Angling activity was monitored with most ponds and bays having a thin sheet of ice. Wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas were patrolled for activity.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) followed up on several after-season deer-hunting and trespass complaints. Plautz also spoke to a snowmobile safety class on laws and ethics.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked pheasant and waterfowl hunters. Deer-season investigations are ongoing, and new complaints are being received.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued follow-up on cases stemming from the firearms deer season. Failing to register deer and lending and borrowing licenses are common violations relating to deer season.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were focused on checking trappers and waterfowl and pheasant hunters. Additional time was spent following up on complaints from the deer season and investigating littering complaints. Some small lakes have started to freeze over and anglers should use extreme caution on the new ice.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) continued to check deer hunters throughout the week. Calls received included deer being shot off private property in the middle of the night, deer carcasses being dumped illegally, and various hunting questions. Kunst also followed up on big-game violations from opening weekend, including shooting from the roadway and taking antlerless deer without a permit.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent the week following up on and completing big-game investigations from the regular firearms deer season. Preparations also began for the winter season with the impending colder weather.
CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports conducting squad maintenance and following up on investigations and reports from the firearms deer season. Calls from the public included assisting with the retrieval of a wounded deer and providing deer-possession permits.
CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked deer and waterfowl hunters throughout the week. Several lakes are starting to ice over, and hunters reported limited success.
CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for hunting activity. Baum took enforcement action for firearms deer hunting in a game refuge open for only archery.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the 2021 firearms deer season has come to an end. The muzzleloader deer-hunting season is next, and the trapping season continues. Overall, the deer season was a success for most people if success means harvesting a deer. In Kittelson’s opinion, it’s not always about killing something; it’s about being outdoors and all that entails – family, friendship, stories of past and present, shack food, and the hopes of seeing some wildlife.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports working deer-hunting activity with people trying to fill their tags on the last weekend. He also assisted neighboring officers with a hunting-over-bait violation. Simonson also handled deer-dumping complaint calls throughout the week.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports deer-hunting complaints continued to trickle in throughout the season. Shooting deer over bait, allowing a juvenile to hunt in violation of regulations, transporting illegally taken big game, driving ATVs during the closed hours, transporting loaded firearms, and license violations were investigated.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily deer-hunting activity. Larson spent time working cases related to baiting, illegal take of decorative materials, and shooting from the roadway.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time attending the PEER support training program during the week. He also followed up on several big-game cases. Zavodnik, along with several neighboring COs, worked a detail that led to a shooting-from-the-roadway case. Time also was spent following up on several decorative product violations.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked deer-hunting activity this past week. Hunting was slow overall, with many complaints about low deer numbers and high wolf numbers. Velsvaag received numerous calls about hours of operation for ATVs during the deer season and the deer-registration timeline.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking deer hunters during the last week of the firearms deer season. He also followed up on complaints, monitored whitefish netting, and executed a felony arrest.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) wrapped up a rather slow firearms deer season. Deer continued to be scarce and, by the final day, so were hunters. She also checked a few trap sets, took calls about nuisance beavers, and followed up on a burn permit issue.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the final week of the firearms deer season, as well as decorative materials and trapping enforcement. A buck was seized that was shot over bait. The deer also was untagged and unregistered. Bermel assisted CO Larson with a large balsam bough seizure. The boughs were cut off state land without a permit.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports the end of the firearms season came quietly in the area as deer harvests were few and far between. Hill saw quite a few small-game hunters taking advantage of the lack of people inland. Surveillance was done on a trapping case. A warning was issued for no deer license in possession.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked small-game and deer hunters as the 2021 firearms deer season came to an end. A TIP was received that an individual shot a deer from the roadway. Brown investigated the TIP call, which resulted in charges resulting for shooting a deer from a roadway. As a result of the investigation, the deer and the firearm used to take the deer were seized.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked hunters, attended training, and monitored trapping activity. Area lakes have started to freeze over.
CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) spent the week working deer-hunting activity throughout the area. Time also was spent checking grouse hunters and monitoring recreational vehicles. Holt followed up on a TIP complaint and injured-animal calls.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on the remainder of the firearms deer season. Work was completed on pending investigations.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jake Willis (Brookston) patrolled the station during the final week of the firearms deer season. Willis assisted a neighboring officer with cases of shooting from the roadway and trespassing – two unlawful deer were seized. Deer-shining activity also was worked, with two people cited for shining after hours.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) closed out the firearms deer season with baiting violations, shooting from the roadway, overlimits of deer, aiding and abetting, and various license/tag issues. Schmidt was in one camp and a 7-year-old child told his mom that the warden was at the cabin and to not say anything to get them into trouble.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) finished working the 2021 firearms deer season. During the week, Duncan spent time investigating a couple deer-dumping complaints, followed up on an illegal take of a deer resulting in citations, and assisted with an big-game overlimit violation that also involved trespass and shooting from the road.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) investigated complaints of trespass, baiting, and late shooting during the final week of the firearms deer season. Area lakes were starting to make ice this week. A reminder to use extreme caution when venturing out on early ice.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports his 33rd and final firearms deer season has come to an end. Many camps remained locked tight for the final weekend, and many hunters reported not seeing any deer during the course of the entire season. Timber wolf populations and management practices was a common topic among many during the season.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) reports that a TIP call was investigated with CO Sullivan, resulting in the seizure of a deer rifle, a buck, and a small sample of the illegal bait used to harvest it. Migratory waterfowl-hunting activity was monitored. One hunter was checked while attempting to recover a crippled duck in a small kayak in freezing-cold water, large waves, and wind. The hunter did not have a personal flotation device on or within the watercraft. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) worked several cases during the last week of the area’s deer season. One included a trespass case in which a hunter was unable to resist the buck sign observed on posted private property and later discovered a trail camera from which the hunter, knowing he was certainly caught, opted to remove the SD card. The hunter failed to notice a second camera on the property and later was identified. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) finished the firearms deer season. Participation for the last weekend was low. Many hunters voiced disappointment about deer numbers seen. The CO also performed Honor Guard duties at State Trooper Rob Veldkamp’s funeral.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling for ATV, small-game, and firearms deer-hunting activity. Whiteoak also followed up on a hunter-harassment complaint between a small-game hunter and firearms deer hunters.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) responded to a call in which a waterfowl hunter self-reported accidentally shooting a swan. The swan was injured but appeared to be doing OK. Enforcement action was taken for the incident. A deer hunter left a portable stand on a local WMA for several days. An investigation is ongoing.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) handled several phone calls from people with complaints regarding trespassing and other game violations. Westby assisted a neighboring officer with a baiting and a big-game lending/borrowing license violation.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked hunting activity this week. He also assisted a neighboring officer with a wetland TIP call. VanderWeyst also assisted with an investigation from a neighboring state.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) monitored archery deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters. A deer-possession permit was issued. Reminder to hunters to remove all equipment and portable stands from wildlife management areas at the end of hunting hours the day of the hunt.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) worked another week of deer hunting. Some hunters were having too much success and were found to be purchasing tags for and borrowing tags from nonhunters in order to take more deer than allowed. Krauel also assisted local law enforcement at crash scenes.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for waterfowl hunters, archery hunters, and anglers. The Mississippi River smallmouth bass bite was red hot during the week. Fishing pressure on the river was high and will continue to rise as lakes freeze.
CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled the area for deer hunting in the late season. Hanna received a TIP complaint about someone baiting and shooting a deer over the bait. Hanna promptly responded to the area and addressed the violation. The hunter said he thought it was legal to bait on your own property.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on big-game hunting activity during the week. In addition to checking deer hunters, he responded to two duck hunters who became swamped after attempting to boat through rough waters.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports working a wide variety of activities during the past week. A hunter was cited for transporting an intact deer across state lines.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked big-game and small-game hunters in the metro area. He assisted other officers, followed up on a deer case, and checked anglers.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County and Isanti County for big-game and trapping activity. Salzer answered several calls regarding waterfowl hunting.
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time patrolling for waterfowl and deer hunters in the area. Many calls were handled relating to deer feeding, nuisance animals, and an abandoned boat. Thomas also assisted in helping teach snowmobile safety classes and was interviewed by a local high school student regarding CO careers. Deer-baiting investigations and interviews related to killing a protected bird also were handled.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) continued checking deer hunters and investigating trespassing issues. He also worked late-shooting complaints, issued several car-killed deer possession permits, and fielded calls about coyote hunting.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked pheasant-hunting enforcement and deer-hunting investigations this past week. Enforcement action for the week included failure to register deer and illegal party-hunting violations.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working pheasant-, waterfowl-, and archery deer-hunting enforcement. Time also was spent working on follow-up investigations from the firearms deer season. High winds most of the week affected outdoor activities.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time on follow-up from the firearms deer season and worked waterfowl- and pheasant-hunting activity. He took trespass complaints and picked up multiple incidentally taken otters. Vernier also assisted neighboring officers on a deer-hunting violation.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time during the week checking pheasant, small-game, archery deer, and waterfowl hunters. Klehr also assisted South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks conservation officers with an illegal hunting investigation of Minnesota residents.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls regarding nuisance animals and sick and injured animals. Nelson also answered requests for hunting and fishing law info.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) reports some ice has made it difficult if not impossible to hunt smaller shallow basins for waterfowl.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) continues follow-up investigations from the deer season. Waterfowl hunters had to break significant ice on many area lakes this week.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked deer hunters, waterfowl hunters, small-game hunters, anglers, boaters, and ATV operators during the week. He also followed up on investigations. Davis patrolled wildlife management areas, state parks, and public water access sites.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on small-game-hunting and fishing activity. VanThuyne also followed up on information regarding the deer season and assisted local agencies.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking deer-, pheasant-, and waterfowl-hunting activity. Additional time was spent patrolling for fishing activity.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) worked goose hunters and deer hunters this week. Deer harvest during the firearms “B” season opener appeared to be down from other years.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) spent time checking deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters. A TIP complaint was investigated regarding an overlimit of bucks, and road-hunting problem areas were worked.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) observed a duck hunter shoot a green-winged teal that hit the water alive. Two eagles and a dog attempted to get the bird for an extended time, but it was finally retrieved by the hunter in his boat. A duck hunter who has been hunting the river for about 50 years reported he and his partner had three shot ducks taken by eagles. He said it had happened only one other time a few years ago.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) investigated deer-hunting violations during the “B” season opener. Tagging and registration compliance continues to not be taken seriously by some hunters. A truck full of hunters was stopped for shining after hours. Shining is legal only within two hours after sunset. Shining is never legal with a firearm, bow, or other implement of take in the vehicle.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) reports assistance was given to the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office with a call about duck hunters in distress on the Mississippi River.