Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – January 21, 2022
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on the Roseau River and Lake of the Woods. Charges are pending for an individual who wasted several northern pike and a white-tailed deer.
CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) reports working snowmobiling and fishing activity throughout the area. He also continued to investigate big-game cases from this past year’s deer season. During the weekend, he assisted another CO with fishing enforcement on Lake Winnibigoshish.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) conducted follow-up investigations relating to the firearms deer season, spoke to a local snowmobile club about regulations, assisted the Division of Forestry with a possible timber theft, and attended a Deer Committee meeting.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) assisted Beltrami County officers with a domestic disturbance and evidence collection at the scene.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes and spent time patrolling snowmobile trails and lakes in vacant stations.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking snowmobilers and ice anglers. He also spoke with a local high school class about what it is like to be a conservation officer.
CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing, small-game, and snowmobiling enforcement. Time was also spent registering fur and responding to miscellaneous wildlife-related calls.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and fish house activity on area lakes. Ice conditions continue to vary, with some lakes having topwater and slush. Warren also assisted Becker County officers with a snowmobile crash.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time working snowmobiling and fishing enforcement and assisting with a snowmobile safety class. Plautz continues to work on a background investigation and follow up on deer-season violations.
CO Andrew Goodman (Elbow Lake) patrolled via snowmobile, checking most area trails and lakes during the latter part of the week and weekend. Additional time was spent on ATV and angling enforcement.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATV riders, snowmobile riders, and fish house occupants. Questions were received about the legality of fishing lures, ice conditions, and snowmobile operation.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked a busy week of ice fishing and snowmobiling activity. Enforcement action was taken for numerous angling violations throughout the week. One married couple was contacted while fishing in their shelter. The husband confidently produced a license as a combination with his spouse, but after a closer look, he had actually purchased an individual license. Needless to say, he was in hotter water with his wife than he was with the DNR. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent investigating a deer-poaching complaint and checking ATV operators and coyote hunters.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and snowmobile activity. Mathy continued to work on the background investigation of a CO applicant. A Bear Committee meeting was attended as well.
CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports local snowmobile clubs continue to do an excellent job grooming local trails. He reports focusing on snowmobiling and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for several snowmobile-related offenses. A possession permit was issued, and Seifermann assisted with a snowmobile safety class.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) checked anglers and snowmobile riders throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line, taking illegal-length northern pike, and speeding on a snowmobile.
CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and snowmobiling activity. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time following up on tips related to fishing and deer hunting. He gave a law and ethics talk at a local snowmobile safety class.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports anglers and spearers continue to be active, with a fair number of fish being harvested. Snowmobiling activity has picked up slightly in the area and overland trails are in fantastic shape. A litter complaint was checked on and a suspect identified.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports angling activities were monitored with anglers reporting little success. Local forest roads and timber sale sites were visited.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling and snowmobiling activity. He spent time working remote sections of his patrol area. Larson also spent time checking trout anglers, who were finding moderate success.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time checking anglers during the busy inland trout opener. The majority of anglers checked found success early in the morning but action tapered off throughout the day. Violations encountered included excessive snowmobile speed, illegal-length walleyes, unattended lines, extra lines, and possession of live minnows on a designated trout lake.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Anglers reported limited success this week, and few were observed taking to the ice for the trout opener.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports a nearly 30-below-zero start to the winter trout season resulted in fewer-than-normal people on many of the lakes checked. Slush was also an issue, and several anglers were checked who made their final lake choices based on the amount of slush seen.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) worked the trout opener with several officers. Some nice rainbow and lake trout were seen on the ice. He also attended training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for angling, snowmobiling, and drug-possession violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a busy trout opener. Easily accessed lakes were busy, while many smaller lakes remained untouched. Many anglers remembered their gear but left their licenses back at their cabins or vehicles. Snowmobile traffic was high and compliance was overall good. She did take a complaint about three riders driving aggressively and driving at and close to other folks snowshoeing on an area lake.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked a busy trout opener on area lakes. While traveling from lake to lake on the snowmobile trail, Schottenbauer found a snowmobile engulfed in flames. Nobody was in the area and the snowmobile had burned to the ground, leaving a hole in the trail. Schottenbauer decided to check the “nearby” bar, and as he entered he was greeted by a patron who stated, “I bet you are looking for the owner of a burning snowmobile.” Schottenbauer took the report and gave the owner instructions on how to clean it up.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity during the week. Anglers were having some luck on pike but the stream trout opener was on the slow side.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) patrolled area lakes and monitored snowmobile, ATV, and ice-fishing activities. Enforcement action was taken for several fishing license violations and several extra-line violations. Enforcement action also was taken for possession of marijuana, under-21 in possession of alcohol, and possession walleyes and northern pike within the protected slot. An individual spearing on Lake Winnibigoshish was found in possession of an overlimit of northern pike. The fish were seized, and enforcement action was taken.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, small-game hunters, and snowmobiling activity. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and to numerous complaints about people feeding deer since the deer feeding ban went into effect Dec. 30, 2021. People are not allowed to place feed for deer in Itasca or Koochiching counties, as well as in other counties.
CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) focused primarily on recreational vehicles and angling activity during the week. Time also was spent working trout anglers and designated trout lakes on the busy opening weekend.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the trout-fishing opener, with many people on area designated trout lakes. Enforcement action was taken for not possessing an angling license and a trout stamp.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling, darkhouse spearing, trapping, and snowmobiling enforcement activities throughout the area. Assistance was given to neighboring law enforcement agencies with various calls for service.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw an increase in snowmobiling activity as trails continue to improve. People are reminded to review registration display requirements.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked anglers on area lakes. Duncan also talked with a group of high school students who were ice fishing and discussed ice safety and the duties of a conservation officer.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked snowmobile and trail enforcement and checked area lakes for angling activity. Humphrey also patrolled Jay Cooke and Moose Lake state parks. He assisted with a snowmobile safety class field day in Cloquet. Humphrey also followed up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on wolf livestock depredation claims.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked ice fishing, snowmobiling activity, and trapping enforcement this week. A commercial bait harvest case remains under investigation.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled lakes and snowmobile trails this week. Complaints about snowmobilers trespassing were received, threatening future trail easements.
CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent the week checking snowmobilers and ice anglers. The trout opener saw many anglers out trying their luck, with several limits observed. Ice conditions vary on mine pit lakes, and anglers should remember to check the ice often. Ice on the pits is significantly thinner than on many of the area lakes.
CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking snowmobilers and anglers. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, extra lines, expired registration, no shelter license, and controlled substances. Benkofske also assisted other agencies with a fatal snowmobile crash in Savanna Portage State Park.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity. Slush conditions are still causing problems for fish house owners. Snowmobiling conditions are holding up, but proper registration continues to be an issue.
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked Lake Mille Lacs anglers. Griffith would like to remind anglers to keep fish measurable while out on the ice.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) worked the trout fishing opener and found anglers from all around the state who traveled to the Hinckley area for some trout fishing. Despite 20-below wind chills on opening morning, hundreds of anglers were set up and ready to fish by sunrise.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sportfishing and snowmobiling enforcement this past week. Anglers were checked throughout the week, with various violations addressed. Anglers are reminded to reel up their lines when they will not be within sight of them.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling activity on area lakes and patrolling snowmobile trails in the station. Assistance was provided to CO Woinarowicz with follow-up on a deer-hunting investigation. Ice conditions continue to be variable, with lots of water and slush on most of the lakes patrolled. Anglers should continue to use caution when venturing out.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) monitored snowmobiling and angling activity in the Stearns County area. The winter trout season started with several people out trying their luck.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) continued to work on a pre-employment background investigation. Time was spent checking anglers and handling miscellaneous wildlife-related calls.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and patrolling for snowmobiling activity. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, expired snowmobile registration, and no shelter license.
CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) checked anglers on Elk Lake. There was a thick layer of slush on top of the ice, which made ATV driving conditions difficult. Hanna addressed an illegal-sized northern pike and an individual with no license in possession.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and worked on cases from the deer season. Truck operators are starting to venture out on area lakes.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked trout anglers and snowmobiling activity in the metro area. Small-game hunters at wildlife management areas were monitored, and Lee also patrolled state parks and trails.
CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on angling and snowmobiling activity during the week. Kpachavi worked the stream trout opener. A large number of anglers came to participate on metro trout lakes.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobile riders. Grewe also followed up on complaints received and assisted a local police department with a medical call.
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports an ice angler was found to have expired registration on his ATV and claimed that COVID-19 prevented him from renewing his registration. The angler was informed that his ATV registration expired before the pandemic began. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile trespass, recreational vehicle registration issues, and fishing with extra lines on a designated trout lake.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling and snowmobiling activity. He also investigated a big-game violation in which enforcement action was taken. Salzer also dealt with equipment issues throughout the week.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week patrolling area lakes, checking anglers, ice shelters, ATV riders, and snowmobile riders. He also investigated a trespassing complaint and continued working on big-game cases.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week following up with a background investigation and attending K9 training with K9 Earl.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, snowmobiling, and coyote-hunting enforcement. Extra time was spent working a coyote contest held out of Marshall. Most of the area received 6 to 10 inches of fresh snow, which was welcomed by snowmobilers.
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked angling and coyote-hunting enforcement this past week. A storm bringing 8 to 10 inches of snow and wind to the area forced many anglers to move their houses from lakes. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display shelter registration and trespass.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls about sick/injured wildlife and questions about snowmobiling and fishing regulations.
CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson) worked snowmobiling activity on the Luce Line State Trail with a neighboring officer. Larson also patrolled for ice fishing and trapping activity in McLeod and Sibley counties this past week.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked snowmobiling, fish house, and angling enforcement. He also answered questions concerning coyote hunting and snowmobile registration.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted angling and shelter inspections. Litter is starting to be an issue around shelters, and anglers are reminded to police themselves and respect the environment. State and federal property was patrolled, with abandoned equipment being seized.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) continued to work through deer-hunting investigations, resulting in enforcement action taken for hunting without a license and site-tag violations. Ice fishing and trapping continue to be worked. All local aeration systems are now turned on. Please pay attention to signed areas.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week on ice fishing and ATVing enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of walleyes and illegal use of a bonus permit.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked angling and recreational vehicle enforcement this week. Henke found lots of anglers out after the snowstorm. Slush developed near shore in many areas after significant snow fell. Travel on area lakes is still manageable with four-wheel-drive vehicles or snowmobiles. Aeration systems were activated on Fountain Lake this week, creating several areas of open water. Please use caution.
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked ice anglers throughout the week. Ice conditions continue to improve, and the lakes are filling up with anglers. Small-game and trapping activities also were worked.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) spent time checking ice anglers. With consistent colder weather, river ice has been building, making new areas accessible to anglers. Open water can still be seen in places on the main channel near popular spots. Anglers should continue to use extreme caution because river ice is always unpredictable.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week patrolling for area ice angling and ATVing activity. Aeration inspections were completed and a local snowmobile safety class was attended.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking winter trout anglers, ice anglers, and coyote hunters. Shed hunters have started finding sheds.
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) conducted taxidermy inspections this past week. Ice anglers were checked on area lakes but success has been limited. A complaint was handled regarding a landowner obstructing a snowmobile trail along the roadway.