Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 23, 2022

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) conducted field training with COC Anthony Hams. They spent the week working ATV enforcement and checking small-game hunters, anglers, and goose/crane hunters. 

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) conducted field training with COC Paavola. They attended a public showcase event in East Grand Forks, taught the law and ethics portion of the Grygla firearms safety class, investigated complaints of unlawful bear baits, and checked small-game hunters during the small-game opening weekend. Enforcement action was taken for unplugged shotguns, no waterfowl stamps, no helmet on a juvenile ATV passenger, and ATV light and registration violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking anglers and goose, bear, archery deer, and small-game hunters this past week. Time was spent handling assorted wildlife-related calls, answering questions from the public regarding the upcoming seasons and opener of the small-game and archery deer seasons, following up on TIP information, and patrolling area recreational vehicle trails.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working bear-hunting activity this week. Time also was spent working on commercial enforcement activities. Anglers were contacted at area lakes and rivers.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) began field training with a conservation officer candidate. Time was spent patrolling area ATV trails and lakes. 

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking goose hunters and small-game hunters. Lots of squirrel hunters were checked, with most having good luck. Swedberg also attended training for ATV and patrol truck operation. Other time was spent following up on aquatic plant management complaints, checking anglers, and following up on complaints about lake service providers.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) started an investigation regarding a compliant about dead and injured sheep.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sport fishing, early goose hunting, and ATVing enforcement. Time also was spent working the small-game and archery deer openers during the weekend. Chihak gave a law and ethics presentation to a firearms safety class in Hawley. He also attended the Clay County Chapter of Pheasants Forever youth hunt near Downer.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) worked angling and AIS enforcement throughout the week, in addition to attending training at Camp Ripley. Hints of fall have begun to change fish and wildlife patterns and have gotten people thinking about the many upcoming seasons. Goodman encourages folks to grab an updated regulations booklet when they obtain their licenses to stay current on rules.

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) continued to monitor angling and ATVing activity throughout the week. Brown also offered a presentation for area fifth-graders about the mammals of Minnesota.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers and small-game and archery deer hunters. Emergency vehicle operations training was completed at Camp Ripley. A fishing overlimit complaint was investigated.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent a large part of the week on an enforcement detail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with CO Bermel. Boaters and anglers were checked, and enforcement action was taken in several instances. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, boaters, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent attending training, fielding calls about the upcoming waterfowl opener, and answering ATV-related operation questions. An overlimit complaint was investigated, as was an incident that occurred at a state park. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports patrolling public lands and lakes/rivers for seasonal activity. Some enforcement action consisted of off-highway vehicle passengers under 18 years old without helmets, registration violations, no license in possession, and resort requirements for watercraft rentals. He also received miscellaneous animal-related complaints and responded to a wanton waste goose-dumping complaint.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) began training a new conservation officer candidate who graduated from the CO Academy. The officers worked Cass County-area lakes and forest roads throughout the week. 

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) began field training with COC Znajda. Time was spent working the archery deer opener and small-game opener, as well as related OHV enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for ATV registration issues and hunting big game without a valid license.  

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and boaters. A fishing TIP was investigated. Mathy also checked hunting, ATV, and AIS-related activities. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports attending the Fur Takers of America Trappers College in Indiana this past week.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports grouse hunters were contacted with most reporting few birds in the bag due to heavy vegetation in the woods. Several calls about miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints and uncommon species for the area were fielded. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and public access sites. Area forest roads were checked, and ATV use was monitored. Small-game and waterfowl hunting were checked. 

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked ATVing and fishing activity. The small-game and archery deer seasons opened during the weekend, but overall, less activity than expected was observed. In addition, time was spent training at Camp Ripley, presenting at a firearms safety class in Hibbing, and checking areas throughout the station known for illegal timber harvest.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time following up on multiple complaints and assisting with EVOC training during the week. Heavy vegetation and warm weather led to a slow opening weekend of small-game season.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, ATVing, and hunting activity. Few hunters were observed during the small-game and archery deer-hunting opener. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports the Ely area had a well-attended small-game opener during the weekend. Although a huge number of hunters were contacted in the woods and on trails and forest roads, only a handful of hunters reported any success. Most blamed the still-green and dense cover for the slow beginning of the season.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked grouse hunters and anglers this past week. He also followed up on several complaints and fielded multiple questions about archery hunting and the firearms deer season.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked campers in state forest campgrounds and responded to a report about abandoned gear at a park campground. Manning also checked anglers and followed up on reports of illegally taken brook trout. She also found an overlimit of lake trout. Grouse hunters checked had good success and compliance was generally good. Manning did take calls about hunters littering, trespassing, and shooting toward cabins on posted property. ATV operators were checked and compliance was good. One group of Class 2 ATV drivers received tickets and warnings from Manning – which they apparently didn’t heed because they were stopped again the following day and cited by a neighboring officer.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports spending the early part of the week on a BWCAW patrol with CO Lawler. Later in the week, training began with COC Jesse Drown. A busy small-game opener was worked. ATVing activity was high. 

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports contacting a lot of hunters during the small-game opener during the weekend. Compliance was fantastic, with the only violations being no license in possession and transporting a fully dressed bird. Continued investigation was done on a public waters violation. Hill also found a paddleboarder in possession of controlled substances after Hill observed the contraband on the dashboard of their truck in the parking lot. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) worked the small-game opener and saw a decent number of grouse hunters in the woods. Brown also spent time enforcing bear-hunting, ATVing, fishing, and AIS laws. Enforcement action was taken for possession of an overlimit of walleyes, violating aquatic invasive species laws, transporting loaded firearms, and grouse hunting with no small-game license. An individual was caught in the act of dumping chicken carcasses on public land. The carcasses were picked up and disposed of properly by the individual. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the small-game and archery deer openers during the past weekend, with many small-game hunters in the woods. Sutherland also arrested an individual who had a warrant. 

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw a little bit of small-game hunting activity despite the rainy weather. ATVing activity was still high throughout the district. A trapping complaint was handled in Meadowlands, and a deer-hunting violation was investigated after the hunter self-reported. Enforcement action was taken for a juvenile without a helmet on an ATV, allowing unlawful juvenile operation of an ATV, and failure to display registration.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) and COC Dallas Cornell spent the beginning of the week preparing for CO Academy graduation at Camp Ripley. Cornell and 17 other officers graduated from the CO Academy on Sept. 13. Cornell and Duncan spent the rest of the week investigating multiple deer baits. They also spent time checking small-game hunters during the weekend. A follow-up investigation was done on a bear-bait complaint. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) worked on small-game, bear and archery deer hunting activities this week. Time was spent patrolling Cass and Crow Wing counties for ATVing activity. Enforcement action was taken for various offenses. 

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time checking small-game hunters and ATV riders throughout the week. Cook spent time around the Fifty Lakes area, monitoring activity for the ATV Ride and Rally as well. 

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent the week training in Indiana at the Fur Takers of America Trapper’s College. He learned skills to help with trapper education and trapping enforcement. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) attended the CO Academy graduation, then began his assignment by training COC Ben Ulrich in the station. Patrol was started for illegal big-game hunting over bait. Crow Wing County continues to be a chronic wasting disease management zone, so the use of salt/minerals and any deer feeding is prohibited.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity and found boats and docks were being taken out for the season.  

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reported checking hunters and ATV riders in the area. Enforcement was taken for taking woodcock out of season, transporting loaded firearms, trespassing, and no helmets on youth ATV passengers. Benkofske also assisted on a case of taking geese without an early goose permit and taking geese with unplugged guns.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) spent time working waterfowling, fishing, and ATVing activities. Bear hunting continues amid an abundance of acorns dropping.  

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes and rivers for angling and boating activities. He also spent time at a local firearms safety class and spoke with students in Upsala. Westby also worked a TIP complaint regarding someone burning tires and other restricted items. 

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked the small-game and archery deer openers during the weekend. Boaters and anglers were monitored, as were early goose hunters. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers and preparing for a busy archery deer and small-game hunting opener. Several hunters were checked, with few finding success with the warm weather and leaves still on the trees. An arrest was made for outstanding felony warrants. 

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for archery deer hunters and anglers. Additional time was spent investigating various complaints in the Sand Dunes State Forest. Seamans responded to the area of a TIP complaint involving a suspect using extra lines. The suspect had previously been revoked for angling with extra lines in the past. When contacted, the subject knew what he did wrong and was apologetic. The suspect was once again cited for using extra lines and the fish in his possession were seized. Additional enforcement action for the week was taken for littering, failing to have a PFD on a toddler, and wantonly wasting Canada geese. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports working a TIP call involving hunters shooting at doves from a motor vehicle. Additionally, several calls were fielded about the upcoming waterfowl opener. 

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked in southeast Minnesota during the small-game and archery deer-hunting season openers. He encountered violations including no small-game license, no small-game license in possession, and placing a fish trap in a designated trout stream.

CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time patrolling for small-game hunters. Time also was spent checking shore anglers and handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) and COC Cassie Rice had a busy week. They checked anglers and ATV operators in the area. Small-game hunters and archery deer hunters were checked on opener weekend. 

CO Christopher Tetrault (Maplewood) had his first week as a primary field-training officer with COC Violet Ohnstad, who just graduated from CO Academy. They focused their efforts on checking goose hunters, anglers, small-game hunters, and archery deer hunters. Tetrault and Ohnstad issued citations to anglers for keeping smallmouth and largemouth bass in Pool 2 of the Mississippi River, and also educated people about registering duck boats not used for waterfowl hunting during the waterfowl season.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) started field training COC Brett Fox. They spent time checking anglers, boaters, and archery deer and small-game hunters. 

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time patrolling for goose hunters, archery deer hunters, and small-game hunters on both state and private land. Thomas also investigated an abandoned vehicle on an SNA, fielded a trespass call, and investigated a waterfowl complaint regarding goose hunters shooting ducks. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) worked fishing, boating, ATVing, small-game, and archery deer hunting activity during the week. Temperatures in the 80s for the small-game and archery deer openers slowed activity. Assistance was given to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office with putting on an ATV safety class in Russell. 

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working the archery deer season opener. K9 Earl responded to a call for a wildlife/evidence search involving a complaint of shooting from a motor vehicle. Assistance was given to law enforcement with an evidence search for a weapon used in a crime. K9 Earl also responded to a call regarding a lost archery hunter. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this week checking anglers on area lakes. Block also spent time checking goose hunters and patrolling for ATVing activity. 

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week working big-game and small-game hunting enforcement. Additional time included a firearms safety class in Cedar Mills.  

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received complaints concerning hunting for species during a closed season, trespassing, and sick/injured animals. He also received calls requesting hunting, fishing, and boating law clarifications. 

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) began field training with COC Mason Bulthuis. Enforcement efforts were focused on angling, waterfowl hunting, and the archery opener. Numerous violations were encountered, resulting in enforcement action being taken. 

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked the early goose, archery deer, and small-game seasons. A few squirrel hunters working the woods were observed. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked hunters, anglers, boaters, and ATV operators during the week. Large numbers of hunters were in the outdoors for the small-game and archery deer hunting opener weekend. Davis reminds people to report game and fish violations by contacting Turn in Poachers at 1-800-652-9093 or keying in #TIP on their cell phones. You can also download the MNTip app on your mobile device to submit an anonymous tip online.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked the small-game and archery deer hunting openers. Fewer small-game hunters were observed than in a typical year, but there were plenty of archery hunters. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) checked archery deer and small-game hunters during the opener. Schneider also participated in an Honor Guard colors detail and attended training at Camp Ripley.

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) was checking small-game hunters this weekend when she and CO George were dispatched to a call about a naked man holding a hat as a “covering” and waving at vehicles along a state highway. When Kyllo and George arrived at the location, they were met by a clothed individual who said he had been relaxing at a friend’s cabin and needed to visit the outhouse. The doors were locked and he forgot to bring his key with him. The individual then tried to flag down cars to ask for help, but when that didn’t work and he realized he was probably frightening people, he went back to the cabin and located a spare key. The cabin’s owners were contacted, and the individual’s story checked out. 

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports littering complaint of fish dumped in a city park was investigated. A trespass complaint was investigated in Houston County. 

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying a detail to support waterfowl enforcement efforts. He located wetland impacts on the same flight. Jensen also flew a wolf telemetry flight.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *