Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – March 18, 2022

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued to monitor ice shelter removal prior to the upcoming removal date, conducted equipment maintenance, and investigated the dumping of deer carcasses on a local wildlife management area.

CO Tony Elwell (Thief River Falls) monitored angling and snowmobiling activity this week. Enforcement action was taken for storing ice shelters at public accesses and snowmobile registration violations.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time this week checking anglers and snowmobile operators on area grant-in-aid trails. Time also was spent working on open wetland and public waters cases. An incidentally taken otter was picked up from a beaver trapper. Lake aeration systems were inspected.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports patrolling area lakes for fish house removal, litter, and shelters that may have been left at public accesses. Anglers fishing from portables are finding slushy conditions as they use ATVs and snowmobiles. Vehicles are limited to plowed roads. 

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking area lakes for fishing activity and making sure all fish houses in the southern half of the station were removed. Swedberg also prepared for an upcoming court trial from a case that began in the fall of 2020.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing and snowmobiling enforcement. Time was also spent conducting aeration inspections.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on snowmobiling activity. Anglers and fish house removals were monitored. Questions were answered about aquatic vegetation permits, and a call about an injured deer was investigated. Warren also assisted Becker County searching for a missing person.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking angling and snowmobiling activity in the Pelican Rapids station. Time was spent monitoring fish house removal. A shoreline complaint was investigated.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) responded to complaints about trespassing, hunter harassment, and sick or injured wildlife. Additional time was spent on equipment maintenance, online training, and attending a funeral of a retired conservation officer. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time patrolling the snowmobile trails in the area. Injured-animal calls were handled, and timber wolf concerns were fielded.  

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked lakes for fish house removal and litter. A floor of a fish house was still frozen into the lake. The owner was found and contacted. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports a few fish houses did not get off the ice before the deadline. The owners were contacted, a plan for removal was determined, and enforcement action was taken. A snowmobiling/trout-fishing detail was worked in Lake and Cook counties with CO Bermel. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and ATV operators. Additional time was spent on injured-animal complaints and following up on a complaint about snow being piled up to prevent access to Lake Leven. Whoever is responsible is reminded that lakes in Minnesota aren’t private, and the use of lakes in Minnesota where there is legal access to the water is open to all, not just those who own property along the shore of the lake. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continues to check anglers and snowmobile trails. Time also was spent working on a public waters alteration case that resulted in enforcement action for failing to comply with a restoration order. Mathy also completed training and worked on testing the new enhanced bear bait registration website. 

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) verified all station lakes had been cleared of fish houses by the deadline. Training was completed, and big-game cases were followed up on. 

CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled area lakes and snowmobile trails. Baum made contact with anglers taking advantage of nice weather. He also was able to check a few snowmobilers out for possibly the last ride of the year. Baum wants to remind everyone of the upcoming deadline for fish house removal in the northern part of the state (March 21).

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking anglers and snowmobile riders throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for taking fish without a license, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and for speeding on a snowmobile.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports another busy weekend with snowmobiling and ice fishing activities. People are reminded to use caution and common sense as the weather warms and ice conditions change. Also, it might be a good time to get the shelters off the ice of Rainy Lake even though the deadline is not until March 31. 

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports spending time this past week monitoring crappie anglers and snowmobiling activity.  

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports snowmobile trail conditions remain in good condition. Crappie anglers have been out, breaking in their new angling licenses, but success has been mediocre at best. Equipment maintenance was tended to, and questions about shoreline/waters projects were answered. A reminder to check for permit requirements and obtain them if needed before starting projects on shorelines or waterways. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and snowmobiling activities during the past week. Comments continue about high numbers of wolves. Weekly field patrols revealed plenty of wolf sign across the work area. Area forest roads and logging operations continue to be checked. 

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Fewer anglers were found on area lakes this week. Anglers who were out reported limited success. Broughten also fielded calls regarding nuisance animals, firearms safety, and new fishing regulations. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports spending time checking anglers and monitoring snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Some nice lake trout were seen on the ice, but the anglers had to work for them. Hill took part in a snowmobile detail up the Gunflint Trail. A few snowmobilers were contacted with modified exhausts. The operators who were contacted did not agree with the law, stating that they had loud exhausts so that they would be found if they got stuck operating in deep snow off of the trail. Remember, regardless of your reasoning, if the exhaust makes the snowmobile louder than stock, it is illegal. 

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobiling activity this week. As the ice shelter removal deadline approaches, area lakes were checked for potential litter violations. Murray also spent time working on permit compliance for shoreline alterations.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked trout anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Slush is still present on area lakes but not as bad as the past several weeks. 

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked snowmobile riders and area lakes. She attended a DNR Honor Guard meeting and training and assisted with the funeral of retired CO Kurt Nelson. She also was contacted regarding tip-ups left unattended near a local lodge. An investigation is ongoing. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked snowmobiling and angling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for expired registration, failure to transfer ownership, and loud exhaust.  

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and checked anglers, snowmobiling activity, and small-game hunters. Numerous game and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to complaints about dogs chasing deer and deer feeding during the feeding ban.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice-angling activity with some panfish and tullibee activity on area lakes. The snow and slush are still deep, but with the weather warming in the near future it looks like it will begin to be easier to move around on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a 2022 angling license. Angling licenses were good through the end of February, and new ones are now needed for the new season.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked anglers and recreational vehicle activity throughout the week. Time also was spent handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints and checking fish houses. 

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports fishing success in the area has slowed dramatically. Please remember the fish house removal date for the northern portion of the state is March 21.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked area snowmobile trails and local lakes most of the week. The bite has been tough on the lakes. Area trails have been in great shape this week and most of the winter. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent time working ice fishing on Lake Superior and area inland lakes. Several anglers forgot to purchase their 2022 angling license and were caught with expired licenses. A few days were spent working area snowmobile trails. Duncan also worked with the Attorney General’s Office on a natural resources-related case that included a virtual deposition. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked snowmobile trail enforcement and followed up on fish house removal on area lakes. Humphrey also followed up on a snowmobile accident involving injuries and a fish overlimit investigation.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked ice anglers along the North Shore and the Duluth/Superior harbor. Olson fielded a call about a curious bobcat hanging out below a bird feeder in Duluth. 

 CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice and shore anglers on what looks to be the last ice of the season. A trespass issue was checked, and late ice houses south of Highway 210 were investigated. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobiling and angling violations.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) checked area lakes for shelters left on the ice after the deadline. One portable was worked that Ladd had been keeping an eye on all winter because it was not licensed. She was able to make contact with the owner after some investigation, and the owner was in possession of nine crappies. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the angler had not purchased a 2022 angling license, and he also did not have a 2021 angling license.

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports snow depths are decreasing on area lakes, and anglers are having better luck with cross-country travel. Anglers in the area reported having success catching crappies and eelpout. 

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking anglers and snowmobilers. Benkofske notes great compliance was observed with anglers getting permanent fish houses off the ice in time for the deadline. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled snowmobile trails and lakes for activity. A pickup truck operator was addressed for operating on a snowmobile trail. A couple of nuisance-animal calls were fielded.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) attended training for Honor Guard and the funerals of retired Border Patrol agent Gordon Reed and retired CO Kurt Nelson.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) handled complaints about ice shelters left on lakes after the deadline. She also answered calls regarding snowmobile registration and where to find fish population information.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked late-season ice anglers and found some pike being caught. One individual was cited for having two tip-ups out on a lake while he was back in the cabin. A call came in from a local butcher shop owner who had a cow get loose that was on the run. The panicked owner was asking about the legalities of hunting the wild beef as compared to wild game. Starr explained the laws that applied and suggested he pursue a shooting preserve permit if the current mishap becomes more frequent. 

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) noticed an increase in car-killed deer throughout the area, along with high numbers of bald eagles feeding on the carcasses. The increase in eagles hanging out along roads resulted in a few eagles also getting hit by cars. Drivers should keep in mind that an eagle that has just eaten its fill is often slow to move out of the way. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spent time on equipment and squad maintenance. Time was spent on area lakes and neighboring stations’ lakes for angling and snowmobiling enforcement. Several questions about area angling activity and trail conditions were answered. With warmer weather coming, please use caution on lakes and rivers because ice conditions can change quickly.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked ice anglers, monitored snowmobiling activity, assisted local law enforcement, and spent time out Pierz Lake with the fifth- and sixth-grade classes from Royalton during their ice-fishing trip. 

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent time this week dealing with fish house deadline issues. Most lakes were cleaned up well with little garbage left on the ice. 

CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports checking anglers. Time was spent checking area lakes for shelters left on lakes past the deadline. Enforcement action was taken for a fish house left on the ice after deadline and failure to have proper identification on a shelter. A reminder that fish houses and other equipment can’t be left or stored at public accesses.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and monitored shelter removal. Additional time was spent presenting at a local high school. Several complaints were received regarding anglers targeting smallmouth bass out of season along the Mississippi River. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, possessing a northern pike in the closed season, leaving a shelter on the ice past the deadline, and storing a shelter at a public access. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) patrolled lakes for abandoned ice shelters. Fogarty located two shelters that were not removed by the deadline. The owners were called, and shelters were removed. Fogarty took a TIP complaint of deer feeding in the CWD zone. The homeowner was contacted, and the feeders were removed.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on angling and snowmobiling activity during the week. Most area fish houses appeared to have been removed by the deadline. Enforcement action for the week included snowmobile operation and registration violations and angling license violations.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports that while investigating a fish house left on the ice after the deadline, a call was aired about someone trespassing with a Class 2 ATV on city property. Birdsall responded to the scene and discovered the trespassing driver was also the owner of the fish house. Enforcement action was taken for metro recreational vehicle trespass, no shelter tag, improperly marked fish house, and leaving a fish house on the ice after the deadline.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) checked local lakes to ensure shelters were removed. A couple of houses needed to be removed from area lakes, along with other litter. Both houses were frozen well into the ice, making removal difficult.  

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time monitoring ice anglers and tracking down owners of fish houses left out after the removal deadline. Multiple abandoned shelters filled with garbage were removed from lakes by local COs. Owners will be cited. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this last week completing a background investigation. Time was also spent on an ongoing trapping investigation. Aeration inspections were conducted on Wood and Tyson lakes.

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) spent the week checking anglers and ATV operators. Fishing on area lakes has slowed significantly. Shelter owners were timely with their shelter removal from area lakes. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week on sportfishing and commercial inspections. He also investigated a dead adult male mule deer in Sibley County.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) conducted aeration inspections on local lakes during the past week. Patrol for ice shelter removal compliance also was done. Trapping investigations resulted in enforcement action for a multitude of violations. 

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted site inspections on lakeshore restoration projects. Investigations are ongoing for taking deer out of season.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) has been focusing on fishing and recreational vehicle activity. VanThuyne also followed up with fish house and public access violations. 

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) continued to monitor ice-fishing activity throughout the week. Commercial inspections were completed with the assistance of neighboring officers. 

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent time checking the few anglers who are still venturing onto the ice in the area. Thank you to area anglers, as all ice houses on area lakes were removed prior to the deadline!

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on fishing and trapping activities. Anglers are reminded to get their new annual fishing licenses, because their previous fishing licenses expired at the end of February. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) spent time this week checking into a trespass complaint. Multiple sick-animal calls were dealt with, and various trapping questions were answered this week.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a busy weekend with the nice weather. Shed hunters, anglers, hikers, and more were all out during the weekend. Boyum spent time on trespass issues concerning shed hunting and ATV use. 

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week continuing to investigate an ongoing deer-hunting case. Time also was spent patrolling for area angling and boating activity on the Mississippi River.  

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) handled calls regarding deer feeding and property left in an aquatic management area.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) checked ATVing and angling activity in the backwaters area. He also worked a fishing detail on Lake of the Woods and at the Northwest Angle. Violations were found for overlimits, extra lines, and unattended lines.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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