Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 16, 2022

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Corey Sura (Baudette) followed up on complaints from the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for failure to allow AIS inspection of water-related equipment.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued to monitor local bear-hunting activity, taught game enforcement at the CO Academy, and taught the law and ethics portion of the firearms safety class in Halma. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working bear-hunting, the close of the early teal season, and early goose-hunting activities this past week. Time was spent investigating a wolf-depredation complaint, checking anglers, and patrolling area ATV and off-road-vehicle trails. Regas assisted the sheriff’s office with a trespassing complaint with enforcement action taken. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending time this week at the CO Academy with game week instruction. Time also was spent working on bear-hunting-related complaints. Goose hunters were checked.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked area anglers, goose hunters, and bear hunters. A deer farm inspection was completed.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking bear hunters, ATV riders, and some early teal hunters. Bear season has been going well, and most hunters are having bears hit their bait stations. The teal season went well for the most part for hunters, with most being able to find some blue-winged teal. There were some license and duck ID issues, and hunters are reminded that they need to be careful about what ducks are shot at.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing, early goose hunting, and ATVing enforcement. Time also was spent working the youth waterfowl season during the weekend. The most common violations encountered continued to be no licenses and/or stamps and unplugged shotguns.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on ATV and off-road vehicle activity. Calls about nuisance bears, a possible injured eagle, a deceased fawn, and litter on a WMA were received. Wild rice harvest was monitored. A call about possible trespass while goose hunting was investigated.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) continued focus on waterfowl hunting and angling enforcement. A few ducks were around for youth waterfowl weekend, while geese remained limited. Additional time was spent on follow-up and reports related to wetland and public waters violations.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) assisted training conservation officer candidates at Camp Ripley throughout the week on small- and big-game enforcement. Plautz also assisted a local Amish group of kids get supplies for an upcoming firearms safety class. 

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) reports checking hunters for the early teal, goose, and youth waterfowl seasons. Several waterfowl-related violations were observed, and enforcement action was taken. 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, boaters, ATV riders, and waterfowl hunters. A question about the legalities of shooting ranges in Hubbard County was handled. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) kept an eye on early goose hunters and early teal hunters this past week. Angling activity remains high throughout the area with several citations issued for no licenses and overlimits. A call is being investigated involving an attack on a person by a domesticated raccoon.   

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent time working around the state this past week. She worked the DNR Enforcement booth at the Minnesota State Fair with CO Calie Cook; assisted with a female-only hunter education/firearms safety field day in St. Cloud with COs Emily Douvier, Cassie Block, Leah Kampa, Jen Mueller, and Amber Ladd; and took part in Kerkoven’s “Welcoming Week.”  

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports time was spent investigating a complaint of illegal work being performed in a wetland. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked Cass and Crow Wing county lakes throughout the week. Numerous boaters were out enjoying the warm weather and a decent fish bite. Enforcement action was taken for numerous boating and angling violations. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and recreational vehicles. A public water alteration complaint and litter complaint were investigated. 

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) received calls regarding hunting questions, firearms questions, nuisance-animal concerns, and complaints about people target practicing. Now is a good time to ensure your land is posted legally. Check the safety of treestands and read the current rules/regulations for the upcoming deer and small-game seasons. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports fishing and bear hunting are the main focuses of work activities with more people venturing into the woods. People are reminded to check that they have current registration on their ATVs. A special operation was worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the U.S. Customs Port of Entry during the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for illegal bear transport, fish-transport issues, and an overlimit of fish.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports bear hunters were active earlier in the week, and the harvest of some larger bears was reported. Waterfowl hunters were contacted, with some success reported. Slatinski investigated complaints of illegal trail use. A location was found where approximately 35 gallons of chemicals, tires, and other debris were left along a county roadway. A complaint was investigated, and the responsible party was contacted in an incident in which an individual was getting rid of a camper by cutting it into pieces and burning it. 

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily bear  hunting and ATVing enforcement. Larson testified in court and investigated several complaints. He also spent extra time enforcing aquatic invasive species laws.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time following up on a possible aquatic plant management complaint. 

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, bear-hunting, and goose-hunting activity. Anglers continued to report moderate success, whereas goose and bear hunters reported limited success. Wild rice harvesters reported a poor harvest. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked bear hunters and anglers this past week. He also followed up on ATV-related complaints and a litter call. Velsvaag also checked public access sites for illegal camping.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked anglers, boaters, and bear hunters. He assisted with a search and rescue and responded to wildlife-related calls. 

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked anglers and boaters on area lakes. Bear hunters are seeing some success despite abundant forage in the woods. ATV riders were contacted riding along the shoulder of a state highway where they are not allowed. A forestry encroachment issue was worked. 

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports an uptick in AIS-related traffic stops throughout the week. A reminder to remove all boat drain plugs prior to transporting. Bear hunters and guides were checked. No violations were detected, and Hill thanks hunters for a clean season so far. Hill issued a cease and desist order to a landowner and a contractor after Hill found unpermitted work within a public water.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked bear hunters and monitored decorative materials and ATVing activities. Enforcement action was taken for child helmet violations. A fugitive with multiple warrants was apprehended while Brown was conducting birch pole-harvesting checks. A family who took a wrong turn in a remote area and whose vehicle became stuck in the mud was given assistance.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and checked anglers, boaters, ATV riders, and big-game and waterfowl hunters. Numerous game- and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked waterfowl complaints, monitored wild rice harvesting, checked anglers, instructed at the CO Academy, and assisted the county with trees blocking a roadway. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in teaching a youth firearms safety class and gave a presentation at the CO Academy this week. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the early goose season, youth waterfowl, and bear-hunting activities.  

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked big-game, boating, angling, and ATVing activities throughout the area. Van Asch also assisted with CO Academy training at Camp Ripley. 

District 8 – Duluth area

 CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) followed up on several cases involving trespass, hunter harassment, and ATV-related complaints. Field work included assisting another law enforcement agency with a possible fishing violation that turned into a much larger incident that is still ongoing. He continued to work bear-hunting activities, fishing enforcement on area lakes, and worked some ATV complaint areas. Time was spent following up on past illegal archery deer-hunting locations that required follow-up from the year prior.  

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked at the CO Academy this week. Recruits were evaluated on their responses to an active shooter situation. Guida also fielded calls about illegal lakebed filing. The landowner was contacted, and Guida explained the laws regarding placing fill in a public lakebed. 

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking anglers, ATV riders, and watercraft operators throughout the week. Time also was spent at Camp Ripley assisting with the final week of training for the new conservation officers before they go to the field for the final stages of their training.  

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked ATVers, and waterfowl- and bear-hunting activities this past week. A timber theft case is under investigation.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angling activity, including anglers participating in tournaments. Hunters were monitored, including youth waterfowl season participants. Verkuilen also addressed a littering complaint and assisted with CO Academy training.

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) assisted with a firearms safety class in Pine County. ATV, litter, and wetland complaints were followed up on, and enforcement action was taken for violations found. Nuisance- and injured-animal complaints were followed up on. Assistance was given regarding an ATV accident in Aitkin County. 

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked hunters, boaters, and ATV riders in the area. Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms, children on ATVs while not using helmets or seatbelts, and no small-game licenses. Assistance was provided at a rollover crash.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) continued to work area lakes and rivers for boating and angling activities. Westby also checked multiple early teal hunters and early goose hunters. Remember that if you’re hunting from a boat of any kind, you are responsible for keeping life jackets on board for all people.  

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked goose hunters, youth duck hunters, and ATV-related activity. Anglers and boaters were monitored. Assistance was given at the CO Academy for game week. 

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking hunters and anglers. Bertram also spoke with youth duck hunters who were having fair success. Several vehicle-injured deer calls were handled.  

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) participated in multiple ATV safety classes, giving the laws and ethics portion of the training. He also spoke with a couple of sportsmen’s clubs in preparation for the 2022 deer-hunting season.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and working early goose hunters. He also took several calls about the upcoming deer season. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, no life jacket, and unlicensed watercraft.

CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week working waterfowl and bear hunters. Time also was spent checking anglers on the St. Croix River for the sturgeon opener.

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Buffalo) spent the week checking waterfowl hunters and anglers. Early shooting of teal continued to be a problem on Pelican Lake. Enforcement action was taken for shooting teal during closed hours, possession of toxic shot while waterfowl hunting, no federal duck stamp, hunting small game without a license, an ATV youth helmet violation, fishing without a license, extra fishing lines, and taking a spiny softshell turtle without an aquatic farm or fish hatchery license. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on watercraft safety and training activity during the week. In addition to patrolling Lake Minnetonka, he assisted at the CO Academy. Enforcement action was taken for watercraft-operation violations.

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) returned from fire duty in Oregon. He spent time conducting online training in preparation for a fall firearms qualification and other administrative works.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports spending most of the past week in the field, checking bird hunters. A TIP call was received about hunters shooting a sea gull. The hunter was located and confessed to the action. The hunter stated at first he thought it was a goose. Enforcement action was taken for the violation, and the hunter was educated on target discretion while hunting.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling and waterfowl-hunting activity. He dealt with several calls regarding general hunting questions and trespassing. 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent time checking waterfowl hunters and working on a big-game case. He fielded calls about accessing water bodies from the road right of way and questions about nuisance animals. Arntzen also worked on a trespass case and continued checking anglers and boaters. 

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) responded to a call about a black bear in the Oakdale area. The bear was spotted on several occasions and moved out of the area on its own and was unharmed. The CO also conducted follow-up on an ongoing public waters violation. Additional administrative activities were completed in anticipation of field training a new conservation officer candidate from the CO Academy.  

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring hunters for the remainder of the early teal season. He also checked anglers along the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working fishing, boating, ATVing, and dove- and waterfowl-hunting enforcement. Youth waterfowl weekend was quieter than the teal season, with hunters having limited success. Hunting-related investigations were worked on, and assistance was given with a firearms safety field day near Tracy.  

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked angling, ATVing, and migratory waterfowl enforcement this past week. Teal and youth duck hunters had some success despite low water levels. 

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week meeting with the public with K9 Earl at the Minnesota State Fair. K9 Earl also assisted with a meet and greet at a community event held in Kerkhoven. K9 Earl also assisted on an investigation with a wildlife search for waterfowl this past week. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working waterfowl hunters and anglers. He also followed up on a trespass complaint.  

CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time checking waterfowl hunters this week. Block also spent time working angling and ATVing activity.  

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) investigated waterfowl hunting and wildlife management area violations. He received calls regarding ATV use in wetlands, excavation in wetlands, and sick/injured animals. 

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) focused enforcement efforts on waterfowl hunting and boating activity during the week. The youth duck opener occurred during the weekend with good weather and ample numbers of ducks to be had. 

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked dove, teal, and goose seasons. Gruhlke also responded to calls relating to the waterfowl season and assisted Cottonwood County officers at an accident scene.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted checks on early goose, dove, and teal hunters. Participation in the youth waterfowl weekend was very low compared to past years. A large fish kill on an area lake resulted in many DNR divisions along with the MPCA focusing efforts to determine a cause. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on fishing, boating, and waterfowl-hunting activities. Anglers are reminded that after Sept. 14, trout-fishing bag limits in the southeast transition to catch-and-release only. 

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) spent the week checking early goose hunters and early-season teal-hunting activity. An AIS complaint was addressed as well.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked early goose-, teal-, and mourning dove-hunting activity. Hunters are reminded to read their hunting law synopsis and follow the instructions to the best of their ability. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports assisting at the CO Academy for game week. Time also was spent investigating an illegal-burn complaint and people hunting geese too close to residences.  

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports spending time checking waterfowl hunters and anglers on the river. ATVers were checked on the trails. There were many hunters out talking to landowners and scouting for upcoming hunting seasons. 

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports fishing continues to be good, but several folks are still being found with under-sized walleyes and bass. 

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) contacted an individual angling with an extra line. When the individual found out he would be receiving a citation for the offense, he was upset because, he stated, he saw people using extra lines all the time. It was explained that the fact people frequently violate in that area was one of the reasons Kyllo was there in the first place.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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