Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – December 17, 2021
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked area muzzleloader hunting, trapping, and angling activity. Angling on Lake of the Woods was overall good, but inconsistent.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) spent days checking anglers on Upper Red Lake and Lake of the Woods. Violations encountered included an overlimit of walleyes/sauger, an overlimit of walleyes greater than 17 inches (on Upper Red Lake), fishing with extra lines, possessing marijuana, and ATVs without current registration.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) answered numerous calls with questions concerning the upcoming disease management deer hunt in deer permit areas 261 and 261. He also checked anglers on the Red Lake and Thief rivers and continued monitoring muzzleloader deer-hunting activity.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking ice anglers this week. Time also was spent checking small-game hunters and deer hunters during the last weekend of the muzzleloader deer season.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports ice conditions improved but anglers should check ice thickness often as they venture out. Muzzleloader deer hunters were contacted, and area wildlife management areas were checked for activity. A call about a swan, possibly stuck in the ice, was handled.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing and small-game-, goose-, and deer-hunting enforcement. Time also was spent preparing for and answering questions about the late-season CWD deer hunts in permit areas 261 and 262.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked small-game and muzzleloader-hunting activity. Area WMAs, waterfowl production areas, and state forests were patrolled for activity.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking pheasant hunters, deer hunters, and ice anglers in the Pelican Rapids station. Anglers were finding a good bite for all species on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time this week checking ice anglers atop varying thicknesses of ice. Plautz worked with deer hunters on the retrieval of game onto neighbors’ property, took complaints about goose hunters, finalized some division training, and scheduled snowmobile safety classes with area instructors. Plautz seized an incidentally taken fisher and performed snowmobile-equipment maintenance. A buck mule deer was reported seen in the area.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) reports an active week of checking anglers and hunters. Success among muzzleloader deer hunters remained high, while fish and pheasants were less consistent.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers and ATV riders. Ice thickness varies across the area. The muzzleloader deer season ended without a bang.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) monitored ice conditions this past week with foot traffic observed on several smaller lakes in the area. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, illegal-length northern pike, and trespassing. Muzzleloader deer and pheasant hunters also were monitored throughout the area.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking deer and pheasant hunters. Additional time was spent checking anglers on a few area lakes.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports seeing anglers beginning to get out on area lakes and rivers. He would like to remind anglers that upcoming weather will play a role in ice conditions and to always check ice thickness before venturing out.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked hunting and fishing activity, and also responded to a call about an eagle with lead poisoning.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time during the week patrolling local public lands for hunting and trapping activity. Numerous illegal structures were documented in the Huntersville State Forest and will be subject to removal.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked angling and snowmobiling activity. Snowmobile trails are fair but getting worse with the warm weather. Assistance was provided with an injured-eagle call, and a big-game case was worked. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATVing, and snowmobiling violations.
CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for hunting and angling activity. Baum has observed an increase in angling activity with ice conditions becoming more consistent. He continues to urge ice anglers to check conditions as they go out to ensure safe ice.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the muzzleloader deer season came to a quiet close. Overall hunter numbers in the area seemed to be down from previous years. Snowmobiling activity and spearing activity are picking up, but upcoming nice weather might hinder ice-making.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports working the last weekend of the muzzleloader deer season. Activity was low in the area.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) checked spearing activity as well as snowmobile and ATV operators. Ice is forming on area waterways but not at the pace area snowmobilers would like to see. The close of muzzleloader deer hunting was monitored, training was completed, and seasonal equipment maintenance was completed.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring ice-fishing activity. Lake travel was hampered with the recent heavy snowfall and slush has appeared.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Larson also spent time investigating illegal snowmobile trail usage and checking anglers on Lake Vermilion.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and small-game hunting activity. The muzzleloader deer season came to a close, and few hunters were seen during the final weekend. Time was spent investigating a trespassing complaint, attending a darkhouse association meeting in Hibbing, and maintaining station equipment.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports mild weather during the weekend meant a huge amount of hunting, fishing, ATVing, snowmobiling, and skiing activity. A good amount of time was spent focusing on ski trail pass enforcement. A 100% compliance rate was seen.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking snowmobilers and anglers. He also attended training at Camp Ripley and worked on equipment.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) helped provide use of force training and participated in annual training at Camp Ripley. Manning attended a meeting of the DNR’s Honor Guard to review previous events, plan for Police Week in 2022, and practice drill and rifle work. She also hit area forest roads on snowmobile.
CO Dave Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked early ice anglers, muzzleloader hunters, and trappers throughout the week. Recent snowfall has brought many snowmobilers to the area, but riders should use caution because trails are not in prime condition.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping and snowmobiling activity this week. More anglers are venturing out on the ice, but conditions are not yet safe for vehicle traffic on most lakes.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks, and checked anglers, big- and small-game hunters, and ATV operators. Numerous game and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked early ice anglers. Enforcement action was taken for not having an angling license in possession. Multiple road-killed deer tags were issued.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) focused on checking early ice anglers. Hochstein also talked with some late-season muzzleloader hunters. Assistance was given to other law enforcement agencies on calls for service.
CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked anglers and muzzleloader deer hunting. Time also was spent monitoring recreational vehicle activity, including snowmobiles. Complaints were received related to deer-hunting violations.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) attempted to locate the ever-elusive late-season muzzleloader and archery deer hunters. Anglers were checked on area lakes and ice conditions have been pretty good on smaller bays and bodies of water.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) followed up on a possible license issue with a muzzleloader deer hunter. Time was spent completing annual online training throughout the week. Ice fishing has been busy on area lakes. Duncan followed up on ongoing big-game investigations that recently were forwarded to the county attorney’s office for charging.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked area lakes for ice conditions and angling activity. He patrolled Moose Lake State Park and worked the special muzzleloader deer hunt held in Jay Cooke State Park through the middle of the week. Humphrey also followed up on a trapping trespass complaint and worked on a wetland case from this fall.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on the lakes north of Duluth and the St. Louis River. Success was limited but folks were happy to be out on the ice. Some area snowmobile trails have been groomed.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) wrapped up deer-season investigations and equipment seizures. Ice anglers were found testing ice on Duluth Harbor, but several more cold nights are required before it is passable on foot. Enforcement action was taken for big-game and snowmobiling violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked on muzzleloader, fishing, trapping, and litter issues this week. Enforcement action was taken for multiple hunting violations. Trapping and fishing investigations are ongoing.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked ice anglers who are finding consistent ice throughout the station. He received complaints about dogs chasing deer and attended as part of the Honor Guard the funeral for retired CO Tom Rau.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled for muzzleloader deer-hunting activity and sportfishing activity. Guida also worked a remote work detail.
CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) followed up on an illegal party-hunting case and an overlimit case. She also assisted with division use of force training at Camp Ripley.
CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking anglers and snowmobilers. Anglers had varying success on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for unlawful deer feeding in a CWD zone. Several deer-hunting TIP calls were investigated.
CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) conducted an investigation into illegal ORV operation in several wetlands. Ice conditions in the area continue to be variable.
CO Andrew Dirks (CCRSA) reports winter activities are picking up at the park, with bikers enjoying the snow-packed trails. Ice fishing is starting to pick up on some of the shallower surrounding lakes. A trespass complaint was investigated, and enforcement action was taken for a bowhunter not wearing blaze orange during the muzzleloader deer season.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) continued to check a trickle of ice anglers pushing their luck as ice thickens along shorelines. Some snowmobiling activity was observed, although conditions aren’t good. The weather was best for the muzzleloader deer hunters making use of the final days of the season.
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) monitored ice conditions on Lake Mille Lacs. The weekend was busy with anglers fishing in the bays. Many anglers traveled north from the Twin Cities and were excited to get out on Mille Lacs. Success was seen for perch and northern pike.
CO Ashley Whiteoak (Malmo) spent time patrolling the area for deer hunting, small-game hunting, and ice fishing.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) investigated a deer-hunting incident in which it appeared that a doe’s leg was shot off. The doe was found alive on the land of the person who called it in. An investigation is pending. Speldrich assisted the county with a vehicle that went into a ditch twice. The person who reported the incident assisted the driver in getting out but suspected the driver to be under the influence. Speldrich and a deputy located the vehicle. The driver was arrested for driving after cancellation inimical to public safety.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) took a call about two bucks that were locked together via their antlers during a fight. One buck was dead, but the other buck was able to be set free.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) found ice anglers who were finally able to make it out to the best fishing spots. Ice conditions on most lakes were enough to handle foot traffic as long as anglers were careful and checked ice thickness often.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked pheasant and muzzleloader hunters in the area. Ice conditions are poor, with a slow bite. Westby received phone calls about more deer stands on public land and other game-related questions.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked the last week of the muzzleloader deer season. Anglers were checked on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for possession of drug equipment and license violations.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) monitored small-game hunters and muzzleloader hunters. Snowmobile enforcement was conducted. A trespassing complaint is being investigated.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week checking big-game and small-game hunters. Time also was spent checking ice anglers and following up on ongoing investigations.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for muzzleloader and archery deer hunters. Time was spent checking ice anglers and answering various questions. Many area lakes still have open water and poor ice.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) patrolled for snowmobiling activity. Fogarty made several traffic stops for expired snowmobile registration. One operator went through the ice of Gifford Lake on his snowmobile. The operator was not injured and the snowmobile was removed from approximately 8 feet of water.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the metro area for hunting and snowmobiling activities. He responded to calls for service including trespass, illegally migratory waterfowl, and inquiries on hunting and snowmobiling regulations. He took enforcement action for trespassing, unsigned federal stamp, and no HIP certification.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on big-game and snowmobiling activity during the week. Ice conditions in the area remained thin, and Kpachavi is aware of at least one recreational vehicle breaking through ice.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time working ongoing investigations, handling nuisance-wildlife calls, and checking late-season hunters.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking deer hunters and anglers. He also handled snowmobile-trespass complaints and feeding ban issues.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) took several calls from people inquiring about laws and wildlife. He checked several snowmobilers after the recent snow.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked angling, small-game, and deer-hunting enforcement this past week. The muzzleloader deer season ended quietly with only a few hunters still out trying to fill their tags.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time working big-game and angling activity. Assistance was given to CO Miller with hunter trespass in a sanctuary closed to hunting. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working pheasant hunting, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and muzzleloader deer-hunting enforcement. A few anglers have been venturing out with portables, but extreme caution needs to be used.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working ice angling and snowmobiling activity. He spoke with anglers about variable ice conditions and ice safety. Vernier also followed up on a trespass complaint and worked area muzzleloader deer-hunting activity.
CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson) spent time this past week working trapping, small-game hunting, and muzzleloader deer-hunting activity. Larson also patrolled area public lands and public water accesses.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls reporting deer-hunting violations and injured animals. He worked mostly deer- and pheasant-hunting activity and snowmobiling enforcement.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked archery and muzzleloader deer hunting, pheasant hunting, and other small-game hunting.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports checking hunters and working snowmobile enforcement. Lusignan is investigating a trespass case.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on fishing and trapping activity. VanThuyne also checked muzzleloader and archery deer hunters and assisted local agencies.
CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on muzzleloader deer- and goose-hunting activities. Moua answered questions regarding the upcoming late CWD special hunts and handled other hunting-related conflicts.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) checked late-season deer hunters this week. Most reported little deer activity in the area. Ice anglers are reminded of aeration systems in place on Fountain and Morin lakes, which will create open water when they are activated.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) responded to a fire in which prohibited materials, including tires and shingles, were being burned. The fire was permitted as a brush fire.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week closing out cases from the deer season. Time was spent assisting other agencies with the recovery of an individual from the waters of the Mississippi River. Enforcement action for the week included expired registration on a snowmobile, failure to transfer snowmobile ownership, and failure to display valid registration.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working muzzleloader and archery deer hunters this week, along with goose hunters in fields and over water.