Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 1, 2022
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) responded to a call about an injured bear. Upon Huener’s arrival, the bear was found to have been flooded out of its den, which was a culvert under a road. The bear was quite groggy but was completely healthy and moved on after waking up and getting its “bearings.” A calf depredation was investigated, and it was found to have been killed by wolves.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) checked anglers on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River and its tributaries. Enforcement action was taken for fishing with extra lines.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) taught the law and ethics portion of the firearms safety class in Thief River Falls and worked an angling enforcement detail on Lake of the Woods.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports that weather conditions have made recreation difficult. Prachar worked with local officers on Lake of the Woods and took enforcement action for using an illegal device while fishing, possession of fillets on special-regulation waters, and expired ATV registration. A business owner failed to remove fish houses from Upper Red Lake prior to the removal deadline. Because they waited too long, there were numerous issues in removing them with the water and slush that formed on top of the ice. A resolution is still forthcoming.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking various wildlife-related complaints. Time also was spent working on a deer violation from the 2021 firearms deer season.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports ice fishing has slowed due to warmer weather. Calls about sick and injured swans were passed on to DNR Wildlife staff. The callers were concerned the swans may have “bird flu.”
CO Al Peterson (Osage) attended training, and worked ice shelter removal enforcement and ongoing cases.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling activity, with ice near shore deteriorating quickly. Anglers are advised to use caution if attempting to gain access to lakes. Public accesses were monitored for litter and fish house removal items.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking panfish and tullibee anglers on area lakes. The ice has deteriorated quickly and some lakes have open water pockets near old ice roads.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports melting snow has revealed litter on area lake ice. Lakeshore property owners and local clubs have assisted with cleanup. Goodman took several reports of dumped snow geese, many of them fully intact, from Ashby to Fergus Falls. Anyone with information about these cases is encouraged to use any of the available TIP reporting methods.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATV riders, and trappers. Ice on local lakes has started to pull away from shore. Please be careful when venturing out on the ice and bring proper safety equipment with you.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports several calls about dead wildlife being found in road ditches and elsewhere as the snow melts and everything that was concealed all winter is now exposed. A lakeshore resident was cited this week for unattended tip-ups. In mid-February, Lawler found two tip-ups set and frozen in the lake ice. Efforts then to locate the individual responsible failed and a large snowstorm covered them. This week with the snowmelt, Lawler observed three tip-ups still set and frozen in the lake. One last interview conducted revealed the tip-ups’ owner. The man apologized for the violation, said he simply forgot to bring them in the night they were set, and then the snow covered them up for over a month. No fish were on the lines, and a citation was issued.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and ATV operators. Additional time was spent checking snow goose hunters and monitoring spring fish run activity.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Nick Baum (Park Rapids) patrolled the area for angling activity. He has noticed reduced angling activity with the varying ice conditions. Baum continues to investigate commercial licenses in the area. He reminds people to check the ice before venturing out.
CO Calie Kunst (Remer) continued to check angling activity on area lakes. She also responded to a call about an injured animal.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time during the week closing out ongoing cases and investigating deer-season violations. Litter was removed from local lake, including bags of human excrement.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and ensured fish houses were removed from area lakes. A litter complaint was worked in which several deer carcasses were thrown into a river. Mathy also assisted Hubbard County with a disturbance call and investigated a complaint of shooting from the roadway.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports snowmobiling and angling activity have both slowed considerably. Recent snow has created difficult conditions on area lakes with considerable slush. Shoreline checks were conducted for waters-related projects that are typical for this time of the year.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and local forest roads. Wolf activity was prevalent, and field patrols found that the snow has crusted over, making for ideal hunting for these predators.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time following up with anglers who hadn’t removed their permanent ice shelters from the ice yet.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports cold weather limited the number of anglers on local lakes. Although travel was much better on the lakes with much less slush found, reports of trucks getting stuck on lakes were common.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area trails and lakes. Manning and CO Humphrey represented the DNR Honor Guard for the celebration of life for retired CO Jerry Engelbrecht.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) spent the week checking last-chance trout anglers and snowmobile riders.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports the first ATV violation of the year was documented when Hill stopped an operator who was driving down the wrong lane of traffic with a pair of helmetless kids.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and ATVing activity during the week. Most Lake Superior streams are still ice- and snow-covered. Maple syrup harvest has begun when temperatures warm enough to allow the sap to flow.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) patrolled area lakes and monitored angling, snowmobiling, and ATVing activities. Time also was spent monitoring spruce top cutting, birch pole cutting, and maple tree-tapping activities.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, patrolled area snowmobile trails, handled nuisance-animal complaints, and attended K9 Unit training.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked late-ice panfish-angling activity with the ice conditions still holding out fairly well. A timber theft case was worked in which birch trees were illegally cut on private property in order to be sold as a decorative product.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling, fish house removal, and ATV activities throughout the area. A trespass complaint was fielded, and the investigation is ongoing.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) received numerous calls regarding injured and nuisance animals, along with feeding complaints in deer feeding-ban areas. Time was spent working ice anglers and shore anglers along the North Shore. ATV issues on snowmobile trails were handled.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked late-ice anglers and patrolled the Fond du Lac State Forest for spring trail closures. Humphrey took calls and questions about safety classes, turkey hunting, and bear licensing.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) investigated the report of a partially submerged tug boat in the Duluth harbor. The U.S. Coast Guard was notified and was on the scene immediately with a response plan. There were reports of spring coming in with sightings of skunks and bears, along with the corresponding calls reporting such activity.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) handled commercial permit complaints and records violations. Ice fishing on the Minnesota side of Lake Superior is about done, and enforcement action was taken for commercial and snowmobiling violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking anglers and ATV riders and attending training at Camp Ripley throughout the week.
CO Amber Ladd (Aitkin) worked spring trapping activity and ongoing angling activity in the Aitkin area.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled lakes for angling activity. Guida also followed up on a wanton waste case in which two deer were observed from the roadway, hanging in a shed. The deer were determined to have been harvested and registered during last November’s deer season. The hunter interviewed assured the CO that he was going to cut them up and make jerky out of them.
CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reports checking anglers on area lakes. Nuisance-animal calls were handled. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile registration and burning violations.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) checked anglers and ATV operators. Class 2 ATV operators are reminded that they are not in a car, and traveling down the lane of traffic is not allowed. They must stay to the extreme right when operating on a roadway.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) checked areas where the snow has melted for litter concerns and looked for late-season pike anglers. Starr is currently working on a cub bear that is struggling to survive in the wild and has found a resort-type area to hang out.
CO Mikeena Mattson (Wealthwood) worked sportfishing and fire enforcement this week. Time was spent completing equipment maintenance and meeting other station needs. Calls were taken regarding nuisance animals and incidentally taken animals.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spent time checking anglers in the area. Time also was spent working ATVing activity and litter cases at area boat landings.
CO Tou Vang (Pierz) checked ice anglers, talked to youths at a firearms safety class, and conducted equipment maintenance.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) attended shotgun armorer recertification training during the week. A possession tag was issued for a buck that was found. Calls were taken regarding dumped deer and dumped snow geese.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) saw angling pressure become lower with the recent rains, but a few people were venturing back out with the cold weather during the weekend. The CO also assisted neighboring officers with TIP calls and addressed ATV registration issues.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) talked with the Albany ninth-grade career class about the job of a CO. Time also was spent checking anglers. Ice conditions are rapidly deteriorating on most lakes, but access can still be found in spots.
CO Leah Kampa (Annandale) reports checking anglers and conducting ATV enforcement. Equipment maintenance was conducted. Kampa spoke to a natural resources law enforcement class at Central Lakes College about job duties and how to become a conservation officer.
CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers and trappers. Nuisance-animal complaints were handled, and ATVers were checked.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) checked anglers who are venturing onto the ice. Use extreme caution during this time of year and refrain from using ATVs to gain access to the ice.
CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and ATV operators. Additional time was spent presenting at a firearms safety class and assisting with the rescue of an individual stuck on river ice. Enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license, targeting smallmouth bass out of season, giving a false date of birth to a peace officer, failing to renew ATV registration, and allowing a juvenile to operate an ATV without a helmet.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Buffalo) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring ATVing activity. Time also was spent preparing station equipment for the open-water season.
CO Mike Krauel (Mora) checked anglers on area lakes. Ice conditions are declining rapidly, but anglers are still finding ways to get onto the ice. Krauel also attending training for armoring Enforcement Division shotguns.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the metro area for fishing and Fort Snelling State Park for park usage. He encountered violations of no vehicle permit, illegally operating a vehicle in the park, and driving after cancellation.
CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time checking anglers. Lerchen also followed up on calls about injured eagles. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line and angling without a license.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling and trapping activity. He continued the investigation of a deer case from the previous season. Salzer received complaints about snow geese carcasses dumped in a road ditch. Wild game carcasses should be disposed of properly. Anyone with information about who may have dumped the carcasses is encouraged to call.
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) primarily spent time patrolling Mississippi River pools 2 and 3 by boat for river anglers. Although boat traffic was heavy, fishing success was limited.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking the few anglers who are still venturing out on lakes. He spoke to a firearms safety class in Scandia about hunting laws and worked on equipment for the upcoming boating season. Arntzen also dealt with a nuisance-animal complaint and spent time doing training online.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) completed maintenance of equipment used in the winter and got equipment ready for the spring/summer. The ice on area lakes and rivers is deteriorating quickly. He also responded to several law-related calls regarding upcoming seasons. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license. Please ensure you purchase an angling license for the new season.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring anglers in the area. He also assisted other officers on a detail on the Mississippi River. Enforcement action for the week included expired registration and various other boating violations.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked angling, ATVing, and public access enforcement. Ice conditions are unsafe at this point, with most rivers completely open and lake ice having receded from shore. Boats are starting to come out of storage, and more are being seen on the roads. Remember to check boats for proper equipment before taking to the water and remember to drain all water and remove plugs before transporting.
CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking stream anglers and conducting investigations. Firearms safety was taught in Slayton. Goose numbers in the area continue to be high.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week attending K9 training with Earl at Camp Ripley. Time also was spent assisting with training involving a duck school held in southeast Minnesota.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports most of the ice fishing activity has stopped with ice conditions deteriorating quickly with windy conditions during the week. ATV and commercial enforcement continue to be worked. Assistance was given with a firearms safety class in Benson.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this week checking anglers in the area. Block also spent time working ATVing activity. Additional time was spent on litter complaints and completing follow-up from the 2021 deer season.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week patrolling local lakes. Other activities included an ATV investigation and a TIP call regarding shore anglers keeping walleyes. Additional time was spent checking local waters for beaver-trapping activity.
CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson) focused patrol efforts this past week on checking local public lands and fishing activities throughout the Hutchinson station. Larson also worked a commercial minnow-trapping case. A big-game investigation was wrapped up from this past deer season.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls pertaining to turkey hunting laws and injured animals. He also attended training. Nelson primarily worked fishing, ATVing, and solid-waste enforcement activities.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) saw ice conditions quickly deteriorate and turn to open water this past week with high winds and warmer weather. Investigations related to litter on WMAs and illegal possession of deer are ongoing.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked angling and ATVing activity this week. Area lakes are beginning to open. Howe also spoke at a wild turkey clinic.
CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports checking local lakes and public lands. Lusignan is investigating a trespass case.
CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) checked some of the first shore anglers of the year with several area lakes having fishable amounts of open water. Henke also spent time patrolling public lands and checking light goose hunters.
CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on fishing and ATVing activities. Time was spent following up on ongoing trespass complaints. Moua also assisted with firearms safety classes in the area.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports an airboat-rescue situation occurred on North Lake after an ice angler went through the ice. Several boat and water enforcement details resulted in enforcement action. Finally, assistance was provided to the county attorney’s office regarding a gross misdemeanor deer case.
CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week patrolling for area angling activity on the Mississippi River. Enforcement action for the week included various angling and boating violations.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking anglers on area trout streams. Fishing was fair as colder weather slowed the action. Time also was spent checking ATV areas and trails. Boyum is following up on more shed-hunting trespass complaints. Turkeys have been gobbling and strutting.