Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – December 10, 2021

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Corey Sura (Baudette) spent time checking anglers on Upper Red Lake throughout the week. Much like anglers’ success, the thickness of the ice also varied across the lake. It was reported that an ATV went through the ice on the northeast side of the lake, even though the average thickness of the ice on the lake was about 8 inches. Please use caution and keep safety in mind.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) taught the law and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class in Warren and checked area muzzleloader hunters. He also responded to a TIP call resulting in the seizure of two white-tailed bucks and a muzzleloader. Charges are pending for a buck overlimit, transporting untagged big game, shooting from the roadway at big game, failure to register big game, borrowing a big-game license, taking deer with an invalid license, and transporting illegally taken big game.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports a lot of fishing pressure on Upper Red Lake. He worked with other officers on the lake in response to the high numbers of anglers coming to the lake. Prachar learned of an ATV rider who found open water in a wide separation in the ice. All people involved made it out safely. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked area lakes for angling activity. He also spoke to a group of students at Bemidji State University about ice safety and winter angling regulations.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) worked with area hydrologists on an active restoration order and checked area wildlife management areas for muzzleloader deer-hunting activity. 

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week following up on cases from the deer season and checking ice anglers. Ice thickness ranges from open water to 6 inches on smaller lakes. 

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on small-game and muzzleloader hunting activity, with checks performed. Ice angling activity was monitored with ice conditions continuing to vary. A complaint of possible trespass was investigated. A complaint about a dead swan was received. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued to follow up on cases from the firearms deer season. Trespassing and lending and borrowing licenses were cases that needed some attention. Permits for car-killed deer are still being issued. Evidence lockers were cleaned out.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked ice anglers, trappers, and some deer hunters through the week. Plautz also helped an Amish family locate a lost horse.  

CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) continues to locate hunters who have not registered their deer from the regular firearms season. He’s explained that a late-registered deer is a better situation than an unregistered deer. Enforcement action was taken for unregistered deer, transporting loaded firearms, and illegal-substance possession.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) received notices about incidentally trapped animals. Questions were received about nuisance-beaver problems and what shot can be used for pheasant hunting on public hunting areas.  

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking deer hunters, pheasant hunters, and trappers. Additional time was spent checking anglers and following up on injured-animal complaints.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for big- and small-game hunting activity. He continues to investigate big-game violations. Baum also patrolled the area for early ice-angling activity. 

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) spoke at two snowmobile safety classes. Enforcement action was taken for use of an aeration system without a permit.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking grouse hunters and trappers throughout the week. She received calls in regards to trespassing and deer-possession permits. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the muzzleloader deer season continued to be the main emphasis, but activity was slow. Trespass and animal-related complaints also were handled throughout the week. Snowmobiling activity should be increasing with the recent snowstorm. People are reminded to make sure their snowmobiles have current registration.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports working muzzleloader hunters, small-game hunters, and early ice anglers. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no license in possession, and being in possession of drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana. Simonson would like to remind people to use caution while participating in early ice-fishing activities. 

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) addressed questions about muzzleloader deer hunting and the validity of tags. Follow-up on some public waters-related violations was completed with the area hydrologist. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports heavy snow has arrived. Caution should be used on newly formed ice coupled with heavy, insulating snow. There was a report of an ATV through the ice on an area lake.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling enforcement. Larson came across a few violations related to state park usage. He also took a trapping-related call.  

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling, small-game, and muzzleloader-deer activity. In addition, time was spent responding to calls and registering furbearers for trappers who were unable to make the upcoming registration dates. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time testifying in court and investigating a trespass complaint during the week. He also worked on completing paperwork and assisted the State Patrol with various calls related to the heavy snowfall during the weekend. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports muzzleloader deer hunters continued to report little success, and fewer hunters were afield than the previous week. 

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers, hunters, and trappers this past week. Ice conditions got worse in some areas with the warm-up and high winds. 

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) investigated a report of a person staying in a camper on a WMA. The person was advised to find a new camping location. Manning also handled equipment-maintenance issues, trapping issues, and a report of an injured bald eagle.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked ice angling, a deer-baiting complaint, equipment maintenance, and presented to a natural resources class at Northeast Range High School about the job duties of a CO and other wildlife topics. The first snowstorm of the year hit the area, which could affect ice conditions.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and spearing this week. Ice was good until the 12 inches of snow arrived. It will take cold weather to firm things up.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports checking a few late-season muzzleloader hunters during the week. While on patrol, Hill noticed a vehicle parked on the side of Highway 61 by Cascade River State Park, with a set of footprints leading up the hill. A brief track led Hill to a hunter illegally hunting deer. A citation was issued. 

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked muzzleloader deer hunting, angling, and trapping activity this week. Anglers should be checking ice conditions frequently because recent snowfall may hide ice hazards such as thin ice and springs. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked ice anglers and monitored trapping and decorative material-harvesting activities. An unmarked bear bait site was located in the woods. It contained a bait drum and was found to have been left out since the 2020 bear-hunting season. The hunter who established the bait site was tracked down, and enforcement action was taken for an unmarked bait drum, failure to pay the bait drum surcharge, and failure to remove the drum at the close of the season. The drum was removed by the hunter. An ice angler was found in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The marijuana and paraphernalia were seized, and enforcement action was taken. Two anglers were found in possession of fully dressed walleyes taken on special-regulation waters. The walleye fillets were seized, and enforcement action was taken.

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

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity, and assisted with motor vehicle accidents. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and operating a snowmobile on a roadway.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked anglers, muzzleloader deer hunters, and recreational vehicle activity. Time also was spent on complaints involving trespassing and injured animals. Ice conditions vary greatly on area lakes, and caution is still advised. The illegal dumping of deer carcasses in places such as lake accesses continues to be a problem. 

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) worked a mix of big-game, small-game, and angling activity. More and more ice anglers are beginning to take to the lakes for the early ice season. 

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) followed up on complaints from the deer season and checked early ice anglers. Ice conditions vary in the area. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) followed up on a couple of deer-hunting complaints. One involved a possible trespass and another involved a licensing issue. Deer-dumping complaints also were investigated, and a big-game illegal take investigation was completed and forwarded to the county attorney for charging. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked area lakes for ice conditions and angling activity. He patrolled area state parks and worked the special muzzleloader deer hunt held in Jay Cooke State Park. Humphrey responded to a trapping trespass and closed out a case on a property trespass and dispute from the deer season. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) continued working deer-hunting and ice-fishing activity. Area lakes are unpredictable with the warm weather and fresh snow. 

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked on open trapping and muzzleloader investigations. She checked ice conditions and a few anglers. Dumping cases also were investigated. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked sportfishing and big-game-hunting activity this week. A detail was worked with another CO, focusing on trapping and angling activity. Guida is monitoring case prosecution and convictions from this past deer season.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking anglers and hunters. Wetland-related complaints also were investigated.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) continued to see variable ice conditions in the area. Muzzleloader deer hunters were out in numbers exceeding the regular firearms season. 

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked a detail on Upper Red Lake, checking ice anglers. Trapping activity was monitored throughout the week. Assistance was given to Mille Lacs County with the search for a lost snowmobile operator. 

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling the area for deer hunting, trapping, and ice fishing. She also went to Upper Red Lake to patrol ice-fishing activity. 

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took deer-dumping, trespassing, and early fishing complaints. A warrant arrest was made of an ice angler who did not know he had a warrant. A fish house fell through the ice on an area lake, underscoring safety concerns for those who continue to venture out on thin ice. 

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) handled some trespassing complaints involving muzzleloader deer hunters entering private property without permission. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area WMAs and other public hunting areas for muzzleloader-hunting activity. He located several deer stands that had been left out overnight. Westby also located a male who had a deer run into his truck at night and called friends to assist him in locating the deer. They put the deer down without contacting law enforcement. Westby spoke with all parties involved and advised them to not put deer down on their own and to obtain a permit before moving any wild animal. 

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked archery and muzzleloader hunters. He took a call about a fish shelter partially going through the ice due to the warmer weather. 

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week patrolling the station for pheasant and deer hunters. Some ice anglers were seen out trying their luck. A cease and desist order was issued for an ongoing wetlands violation.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled the area for small-game hunters and conducted some follow-up to the gun deer season. He investigated trespass complaints and attended a snowmobile safety class.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking muzzleloader hunters and small-game hunters. During a small-game-license check, Krauel noticed the individual who was hunting did not match the description on the hunting license. When he asked to see ID, the individual stated he did not have ID with him even though Krauel had just seen ID in his wallet when he took out the hunting license. The individual then admitted that he gave Krauel his brother’s license because he didn’t have one. The hunter also claimed he was alone, but when Krauel asked about the three other gun cases in the back of the car, the hunter stated he was with one friend. That friend was found later and after a brief search for his hidden firearm, he also admitted to hunting without a license. Enforcement action was taken.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked anglers and muzzleloader deer hunters. Fogarty also checked anglers on the Minnesota River. Low water levels made for potentially dangerous travel on the river. Fogarty also fielded several calls about coyotes in the metro area. 

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on big-game and angling activity during the week. Anglers were few and far between and reported little success in the area. He also responded to multiple animal-related complaints.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) participated in the annual Waconia High School Conservation Club youth pheasant hunt at a local hunting preserve. 

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the metro area for fishing and Fort Snelling State Park for park usage. He took reports about injured wild animals and illegal operation of an ATV on a non-motorized trail. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week working on big-game cases and checking deer hunters. He also issued a car-killed deer possession permit and handled a hunter-harassment issue.

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time checking archery hunters and late-season goose hunters in the area. Many wildlife-related calls were dealt with, as was a public waters issue that resulted in a cease and desist order. 

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring muzzleloader and small-game hunters in the area. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working big- and small-game hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for taking deer in the wrong zone, failure to tag deer, and hunting pheasants in a scientific and natural area closed to public hunting.  

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) primarily worked small-game and deer-hunting enforcement this past week. Muzzleloader hunter numbers remain low, but many people are still chasing pheasants with decent success. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working pheasant-hunting, deer-hunting, and trapping enforcement. Muzzleloader deer-hunting activity picked up for the second weekend. Hunters are reminded that lands enrolled in CREP or RIM do not need to be posted and are private property. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working pheasant- and deer-hunting activity. He followed up on a shooting-from-the-roadway complaint and a trapping violation. 

CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson) focused patrol efforts this past week on pheasant-hunting, trapping, and deer-hunting activity. Larson followed up on a complaint regarding three domestic pigs in an area WMA. The pigs were found to be back in their pen after getting out. 

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) focused enforcement efforts over the past week on pheasant- and muzzleloader deer-hunting activity. Nuisance-animal calls were handled and dogs-chasing-deer complaints continue to be addressed. Raccoon-hunting activity was worked, resulting in numerous violations encountered. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked anglers on rivers in the area this past week. Some muzzleloader hunters were checked, and complaints about trespassing were addressed. 

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked late-season hunters, anglers, and ATV enforcement this week. Late-season hunters saw some success, but generally deer harvest in the area seems below normal.  

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports open water in the area continues to allow river boat fishing and Wisconsin duck hunting. He followed up on complaints of duck hunting during the closed season, deer-hunting trespass, and additional deer-hunting issues. Hemker continues to spend time on a waters violation where a boathouse was moved to a new area.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking muzzleloader hunters in the area. One hunter who was successful shot a buck with one antler. The hunter located the antler a short while later. Numerous phone calls were received and returned about the upcoming CWD two-day hunts.

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Rochester) reports that geese are starting to show up in the Rochester area, and the harvest rate among hunters has increased.  

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) investigated a nonresident deer hunter who unlawfully transported a deer head to a taxidermist in Minnesota. 

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) finished up several deer-season investigations. An incident was handled in Dakota County regarding a deer shot from the roadway. Employees at an area business observed a person stop in the roadway and shoot a deer. The person quickly fled the scene and didn’t retrieve the deer.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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