Wisconsin Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – July 15, 2022


Wisconsin River Team/May

Wardens Nicholas Hefter and Bryan Lockman were checking fishing licenses when they observed a vehicle parked along the road. They found that three juveniles who were on lunch break from school were smoking marijuana and were going to return to school. The case was handed over to the Portage County Sheriff’s Department. 

Warden Hefter responded to a commercial pontoon boat that had overturned on the Wisconsin River/Lake Dubay. The company that owns the boat uses it to place and remove boat lifts. The crew was moving a large boat lift when the vessel took a wave and the boat overturned. The operators on the boat were unharmed. Enforcement action was taken for a registration issue.

Wardens Kyle Ziembo, Bryan Lockman and Korey Trowbridge participated in an annual Wisconsin River clean-up event. They worked with high school students in their boats and cleaned a stretch of the lake shore on Lake Wausau.


Racine, Kenosha Team/May

Warden Brandon Smith, of Twin Lakes, followed up on the dumping of about 20 gallons of garbage at the New Munster State Wildlife Area. The person responsible for the trash was located and enforcement action was taken. 

Warden Smith was patrolling at Richard Bong State Recreation Area and came upon a person in possession of several cedar trees. The person admitted to digging cedar trees from the park to plant in his yard. Enforcement action was taken. 

Wardens Brandon Smith and Mike Hirschboeck, of Waterford, responded to a complaint of a person allegedly keeping undersized bass at Veteran’s Memorial Park. The person, who was fishing with a relative, was found to be in possession of seven undersized largemouth bass. Neither had a fishing license. 

Wardens Smith and Alex Basting, of Racine, responded to a complaint at Richard Bong State Recreation Area of individuals operating an ATV on the hiking trails. The individuals thought they were on the designated ATV trails, which they also knew were closed at the time, but decided to ride anyway. The individuals did not have ATV registration, had no ATV safety certificate, and had caused damage to the trails. Enforcement action was taken. 

Warden Basting responded to Richard Bong State Recreation Area for a call about two pickup trucks being driven on the walking trails. Basting contacted the drivers who had been “mudding” on the trails. Enforcement action was taken for destruction of state property and operating in a closed area.

Warden Basting was patrolling near Eagle Lake when he observed an ATV rider operating on a road that is not a designated ATV route. Basting conducted a traffic stop and found the operator was 14, was not wearing a helmet, was operating on the road without supervision, and was not operating with active headlights. The ATV was returned home, and enforcement action was taken against the parents.

Wardens Basting and Smith worked traffic enforcement at Richard Bong State Recreation Area and cited four vehicle operators for speeding in a 25 mph zone, all within three hours. All of the drivers had been traveling 15 mph or more over the posted speed limit in the park.

Wardens Taylor Meinholz and Smith responded to Tichigan State Wildlife Area for a report of a vehicle operator who had driven past a gate and got stuck deep in the state land. The wardens learned the first tow truck driver who arrived also had gotten stuck on the trail while en route to remove the first vehicle. Due to the car and tow truck being driving on the trail, large ruts were created on the trail. Enforcement action was taken.

Wardens Meinholz and Basting followed up on complaint of a captive mallard. The wardens located the mallard, which has been in captivity for two years. The mallard was dropped off two years ago by an unknown person when the duck was injured. The wardens explained the laws and told the individual to release the duck or take it to the local wildlife rehab center.

Wardens assisted the Wisconsin State Capitol Police Department with a Planned Parenthood protest at Madison. The protest ran and there were no issues.

Wardens Meinholz and Travis Sindles were on night patrol at Richard Bong State Recreation Area when they were contacted by two campers who had not seen their relative in a few hours. The wardens were joined by officers from Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, Kansasville Fire Department and the Racine County Sheriff’s Department, who searched the area. The missing relative was found by the Racine County Sheriff’s Department several miles away. The relative said he was drunk, lost and happy to see the officers.

Milwaukee/Ozaukee/Washington County Team/May

Warden Erik Anderson, of Milwaukee, investigated multiple illegal dumping incidents at Havenwoods State Forest. Items deposited included building material, yard waste and a tractor tire. This has been an ongoing issue generating citizen concern. Anderson took enforcement action against a landscaping company for the yard waste. Anderson contacted the party responsible for the tractor tire and took enforcement action for the disposal of the tire and had them remove it from the property and dispose of it properly. 

Wardens Steve Swiertz, of Washington County, and Yang Meng responded to Slinger Middle School for an active shooter threat. Swiertz and Yang were the first on the scene and entered the middle school with a Wisconsin State Patrol trooper and a Slinger Police Department officer to address the threat. Two middle school students made threats that they had guns at school. No guns were found, and no one was injured. After the school was cleared, Swiertz and Yang helped escort parents to their kids.

Wardens Erik Anderson and Adam Strehlow, of Milwaukee County, assisted the Milwaukee Police Department with crowd control, emergency scene security and Milwaukee harbor patrol the night of a Milwaukee Bucks playoff game on May 13. Several were injured following the game after a series of gunshots were fired in the vicinity of the Deer District near Fiserv Forum.

Warden Jason Roberts, of Waukesha, participated in a West Bend PFD giveaway community event with the U.S. Coast Guard and a local law firm. The event was well attended with more than 100 PFDs were distributed.

Waukesha and Walworth Team/May

Wardens Dan Hodge, Chad Ziegler, Sam Eagan, and Andrew Starch responded to Eagle for a mass business explosion and structure fire. The wardens assisted with the evacuation of local schools, traffic control, fire fill stations and DNR spill/air quality response at the incident location.

Wardens Eagan and Ziegler responded to a call of an individual who had returned to the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Southern Unit after being evicted the previous day. As wardens arrived, they observed the individual operating a vehicle at the entrance of Pinewoods Campground, driving toward the exit. Due to prior contacts, it was known the individual did not possess a valid driver’s license. A traffic stop was conducted, and the operator was arrested for a third criminal OWI offense.

Warden Steve Sanidas contacted an angler in the Delavan area who was found to be over his daily bag limit for bluegills. The individual acknowledged that he stopped counting how many fish he was keeping and added he sometimes keeps extra fish to fertilize his garden. The individual did not recognize the significance of bag limit laws. Enforcement action was taken.

While checking shore fishermen in the East Troy area, warden Steven Sanidas contacted two individuals who were found to be in possession of three illegal sized largemouth bass. Both individuals advised that they didn’t have anything to measure the fish with and guessed that they were close enough in size.


Madison Team/May

Warden Henry Bauman, of Dane County, cited two anglers who were fishing in the Yahara River fish refuge below the Wingra dam in Madison and warned them for fishing without licenses.

Warden Bauman took enforcement action against a man for bowfishing at the Yahara River fish refuge below Dunkirk dam from the Hwy. N bridge. Bauman also warned him for discharging his compound bow and arrow from within 50 feet of the roadway’s center line.

Warden Bauman cited a man who was in possession of two illegal-sized walleyes caught from Lake Mendota at the Warner Park inlet in Madison and warned the man for fishing without a license.

Wardens and park rangers from the DNR South-Central Region patrolled state bike trail enforcement over Memorial Day weekend. This effort stressed state trail passes were mandatory to use the trails, and educated riders how the passes help maintain the trail system.

Warden Ryan Caputo, of Dane County, observed a vehicle driver swerving all over the roadway while traveling on the interstate. An expanded authority stop was conducted by Caputo, and the driver was arrested by Wisconsin State Patrol for OWI.

Warden Caputo heard a small explosion at a campsite at Lake Kegonsa State Park and found one of the occupants had thrown a lighter into the fire and it exploded. In addition, Caputo found people on site were underage and were consuming alcohol.

Warden Nick King, of Green County, responded to Yellowstone Lake State Park in Lafayette County for a complaint that multiple subjects had rinsed what looked like paint buckets in the lake. King found individuals had rinsed a paint bucket in the lake to use the bucket for fishing bait. Three of the individuals also were found to be fishing without a license.

Warden King observed a UTV driver operating at 53 mph on the roadway. Lafayette County has a county-wide speed limit of 30 mph for ATVs/UTVs. Contact and further investigation found that the operator of the UTV was operating while under the influence of an intoxicant. The operator stated he had consumed two to three alcoholic beverages and hand sanitizer. The operator was arrested for OWI. A sober passenger took possession of the machine.

Warden King observed a UTV being operated on a trail with what appeared to be passengers under 18 not wearing helmets. The UTV operator was 15 years old, did not have UTV safety training, failed to dim the light bar upon approach, and had multiple passengers not wearing seatbelts. The father of the driver was one of the passengers and law enforcement action was taken against driver’s dad.

Warden King was asked by the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department to respond to a private campground adjacent to the Yellowstone State Park for a possible domestic dispute. King arrived in a few minutes and safely separated the two parties involved. A responding deputy took the lead and eventually arrested one of the individuals for battery and assault.

Wardens Pete McCormick and Paul Nadolski, both of Columbia County, completed an investigation regarding illegal baiting, which resulted in three individuals found to have been baiting deer and turkeys at multiple sites on a property near Portage. Legal action was taken.

Warden McCormick contacted a person seen fishing at Lake Wisconsin who had more than the legal number of lines in the water. Upon contact, the man said he had not caught a single fish. McCormick discovered a hidden stringer with a 111⁄2-inch walleye attached to it. Slot size for Lake Wisconsin is 15 to 20 inches and one over 28 inches may be kept. It also was found the subject did not have a valid fishing license.

Wardens McCormick and Joe Olson, of Sauk County, and the Lodi Police Department, assisted the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department with a traffic stop resulting from a two-vehicle crash and road rage incident. One subject was arrested for fourth offense OWI, misdemeanor eluding, operating after revocation due to OWI, failure to install an interlock device, felony bail jumping, going armed while intoxicated, and hit-and-run.

Warden McCormick responded to a hotline call of individuals catching rough fish and leaving them on the shoreline. McCormick confirmed how one individual caught and tossed a bowfin into the brush alongside the water. Another shot a carp with an arrow and discarded it in another patch of brush. Other violations included fishing without a license and littering.

Warden Paul Nadolski, of Portage, responded to a report of a 200-gallon diesel fuel spill. The fuel was being offloaded from a large truck into a holding tank and the procure suffered a malfunction. The fuel station took responsibility for the spill. The Portage Fire Department, along with environmental contractors, took over clean-up of the site.

Warden Nadolski responded to a hunting accident where the shooter received a hand injury from firing a shotgun. In the process, the shooter killed two turkeys with one shot and called Nadolski to turn himself in for shooting two birds without having another approval.

Warden Nadolski assisted the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department with a road rage incident that occurred where a handgun was being pointed at another vehicle while traveling down the highway. Nadolski assisted with scene security.

Sauk County Team/May

Wardens Keith Meverden, of Sauk City, and Matt Weseli, of Devil’s Lake State Park, responded to Lake Redstone for a vehicle that was launching a boat when the transmission failed, and the entire vehicle became submerged in the water. No fluids leaked into the lake, and the vehicle was removed by a tow company.

Warden Meverden received a call of a person who was netting minnows from a river where doing so is prohibited due to the presence of the viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) fish virus. The person was said to have placed the minnows in his truck and left the river. Meverden conducted a traffic stop a few miles away after locating the vehicle and investigated the complaint. Enforcement action was taken.

Wardens Brennan Kearney and Nick Engelhardt, of Wisconsin Dells, contacted two individuals at the Newport Beach in response to a fishing complaint. It was discovered one individual had kept a slot walleye while the other was fishing during a period of revocation.

Wardens Kearney and Engelhardt investigated information of an individual who bought a deer hunting license after-the-fact and registered a deer for a relative. Enforcement action was taken for loaning/borrowing a harvest authorization.

Wardens Kearney and Engelhardt arrested a man for first offense OWI at Devils Lake State Park over Memorial Day Weekend.

Wardens Derek Hansen and Matt Weseli responded to a call on the North Shore Beach of Devil’s Lake State Park where an individual had overdosed on hallucinogenic mushrooms. The individual was transported to a hospital in Baraboo via ambulance and recovered within a few hours.

Warden Weseli received a call from the Sauk County Sheriff’s Deparrtment dispatch center of a group of individuals on a campsite who were partying and playing loud music after hours. It was found the individuals were all underage and were intoxicated. Enforcement action was taken and the individuals were evicted from the park.

Warden Weseli responded to a Devil’s Lake State Park rescue call involving a rock-climbing fall where an individual suffered a severely dislocated ankle. The individual was flown for treatment to University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison.

Dodgeville Team/May

Warden Mike Burns, of Iowa County, observed a vehicle traveling in Yellowstone Lake State Park at twice the posted 25 mph speed limit. Burns cited the driver for operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license and speeding.

Warden Burns responded to a call for a 68-year-old male in the Yellowstone Wildlife Area reporting rib and groin pain after a horse rolled over him. The man was unable to walk, so Burns transported the victim in his truck from the horse trail to the trailhead where the victim was evaluated by local emergency medical staff.

Wardens Mike Burns and Ryan Caputo, of Dane County, patrolled the Capital Springs State Bike Trail on Memorial Day. The wardens spoke with about 180 individuals using the trail and issued 68 violation notices for failing to buy a trail pass. One person who failed to stop when waved down by the warden, and then continued to ignore the lights and siren of the squad car for a significant distance, was issued a citation for no trail pass.

Warden Burns was flagged down by a camper at Governor Dodge State Park who said a raccoon appeared out of the woods and took the man’s cell phone off the picnic table while they were standing around their campsite. The raccoon ran off clutching the man’s cell phone and climbed a nearby tree. Eventually the mischievous raccoon dropped the cell phone at the base of the tree.

Rock River Team/May

Dodge/Jefferson/Rock Counties

Wardens Kyle Johnson, of Janesville, and Lore Vang, contacted a person fishing on the banks of the Rock River below the Centerway dam. The wardens found the person fishing with four poles and equipped with six hooks. The person also did not have a valid fishing license.

Wardens Johnson and Vang responded to a complaint of a family catching and keeping several short walleyes below the Indianford dam on the Rock River. The wardens contacted the family and found the family members to be in possession of eight undersized walleyes. The group was found to also have been using illegal bait. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden Alex Brooks, of Jefferson County, was working fishing enforcement on the Rock River near Fort Atkinson when he contacted numerous anglers with undersized fish. The undersized fish included walleyes and smallmouth bass.

Warden Austin Schumacher, of Janesville, contacted a person fishing on the Rock River in Beloit. Prior to the contact by Schumacher, the man abruptly put his fishing pole down and later claimed he had not been fishing. But after further conversation, Schumacher determined the man had indeed been fishing for approximately three hours, but he did not have a fishing license. A search of the individual citation history showed the man had been cited for fishing without a license just one month prior. Enforcement action was taken in this case.

Warden Ryan Mannes, of Horicon, contacted a person who was seen fishing in the closed fish refuge at the Hustisford dam. The man was fishing while standing between two refuge signs explaining that the area was closed to fishing. 

Warden Mannes investigated a complaint of the illegal shooting of multiple geese during the closed season by two individuals who had been riding in a UTV. Mannes contacted two individuals who matched the description left by the concerned citizen and found that the two men had shot several Canada geese out of season, while discharging a firearm within 50 feet of the roadway center. Numerous UTV registration violations were documented, as well.

Warden Mannes investigated a complaint of a man who had been illegally hunting turkeys without having a license. Mannes found the individual had harvested a turkey in 2022 while hunting without a license. Mannes also learned the man had harvested a turkey in 2021, again while hunting without a having license.

Warden Mannes responded to an illegal airboat complaint in the Mud Lake Wildlife Area. Mannes arrived and later observed the airboat being operating in a prohibited area. It was found that one of the occupants was fishing without a license. The operator was educated on restricted airboat use in the wildlife area. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden Mannes responded to a complaint of an injured snowy owl in Beaver Dam and successfully captured the owl. The snowy owl was later transported to Dane County Humane Society for treatment.

Warden Brad Burton, of Beaver Dam, checked a group of anglers who were fishing below the dam in Beaver Dam. Burton found one individual to be in possession of a short walleye. Burton also discovered another individual was in possession of two short northern pike and was fishing without a license. Enforcement action was taken.

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