Wisconsin Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 23, 2022

NORTHERN REGION

Spooner Team/August

Wardens Jesse Ashton, of Luck, contacted a person fishing without a license at the Little Butternut Lake boat landing. Ashton recognized the person as someone DNR Game Warden Dustin Gabrielson, of Webster, had cited for fishing without a license and arrested on a warrant the previous weekend in Burnett County. Ashton also had cited the man in the past for fishing without a license and had arrested him on a warrant. Enforcement action was taken for the man’s third time fishing without a license.

Warden Joshua Loining, of Rice Lake, contacted a juvenile who was operating an ATV without the machine’s headlights illuminated on a road at Barron. The juvenile was not accompanied by an adult and was not wearing a helmet. The ATV was not registered. Enforcement action was taken.

While patrolling in the city of Spooner, DNR Game Warden Jon Hagen, of Spooner, responded to a report of a nearby intoxicated driver. Hagen patrolled to the area and assisted a Spooner Police Department officer, who already had the vehicle stopped. The driver was initially uncooperative, but was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Wardens Hagen and Evan Fox, of Gordon, patrolled for fishing activity at the dam and along the shoreline on Rice Lake. They checked numerous anglers. Enforcement action was taken for the one person who was fishing without a license.

Wardens Pete Carlson, of Frederic, and Chuck Wincek were checking anglers on Coon Lake in Polk County. One person was found to have a 101⁄2-inch largemouth bass. The minimum length for bass on Coon Lake is 14 inches. Enforcement action was taken.

Wardens Carlson and Wincek investigated a deer hunting complaint. The person was found to have harvested a deer on the opening day of the 2021 gun-deer season, did not purchase his license until several days afterwards and registered the date of harvest incorrectly. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden Dustin Gabrielson stopped an ATV operator in the village of Webster and issued the operator/owner a citation for not having valid registration on the ATV. This was the third ATV-related citation given to the operator in 32 days. 

Warden Gabrielson contacted multiple ATV/UTV adult operators and issued several citations to them for failing to have helmets on their juvenile passengers.

Wardens Chris Spaight and Gabrielson, while checking fishing activity on an area lake, contacted a person who failed to release a 211⁄2-inch walleye. The lake has a slot limit regulation requiring release of all walleyes 20 to 24 inches long. Enforcement action was taken.

Woodruff Team/August

Warden Matt Meade, of Boulder Junction, investigated a complaint where a homeowner was observed disposing of his household garbage in a dumpster at a state campground. The homeowner admitted he knew the dumpsters were just for campground use but he did not want to pay to dispose of the garbage properly. Enforcement actions were taken.

Warden Meade continued working many evenings patrolling area lakes for illegal fishing activity, including on Trout Lake in Vilas County. Meade found violations, to include fishing without licenses, possession of undersized walleyes and trolling with too many lines. Enforcement actions were taken.

Warden Justin Bender, of Woodruff, assisted the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department recreational deputy in locating an authentic and intact hand grenade. The Marathon County bomb squad conducted a controlled detonation of the hand grenade.

Park Falls Team/August

Warden Dylan Belisle, of Ladysmith, assisted the Rusk County Sheriff’s Department search for two missing kayakers on the Chippewa River. The kayakers were found safe and given a ride back to their vehicle.

Warden Tom Heisler, of Park Falls, assisted with several boat accident investigations, including a four-day search for a missing boater on Lake Superior. Heisler also took enforcement action against three anglers found on a Price County lake in possession of panfish beyond the daily bag limit.

Warden Aaron Koshatka, of Winter, responded to a complaint of a swimmer being bitten by an otter. The otter was believed to have kits in the area, and it may have been a reaction to protect the kits. Koshatka also responded to a report of an overturned kayaker. Upon arriving at the scene, the kayaker had made it to shore and was not injured. The kayaker stated a spider in the kayak caused him to panic and overturn the boat.

Antigo Team/August

Wardens Brad Dahlquist, of Antigo, Kelly Crotty, of Florence, and Matt Meade, of Boulder Junction, with assistance from the local DNR fisheries team, conducted an annual introduction to muskie fishing clinic in Boulder Junction. Approximately 16 individuals participated in the event, which included classroom and on-the-water education. During the event several muskies were caught and released from local lakes in the Boulder Junction area. 

NORTHEAST REGION

Green Bay Team / August

Warden Brent Couperus, of Peninsula State Park, was on park patrol when he contacted a group of people walking from the beach parking lot at Peninsula State Park after hours. Couperus found a group of eight persons under the age of 21 were camping at the park. The majority of the group admitted to smoking marijuana and underage drinking. Enforcement action was taken.

Peshtigo Team/August

Warden Mark Schraufnagel, of Shawano, attended the Shawano Night Out event and met with parents and children.

Warden Schraufnagel took enforcement action against an individual who shot and killed a goose with a pellet gun.

Lake Winnebago Team/August

Warden Michael Disher, of Chilton, was on boat patrol on Lake Winnebago and saw a kayaker a long distance from shore during sustained winds and wavy conditions. The kayaker appeared to be consuming an alcoholic beverage and appeared intoxicated. Disher found the kayaker did not have any personal flotation devices on board. The kayaker was escorted to shore and enforcement action was taken for failure to have a lifejacket. 

Wardens Higgins, of Oshkosh, and Aspenson, of Waukesha, were on patrol and contacted several individuals fishing on the Fox River at Rainbow Park. The wardens found none of the anglers had fishing licenses and all were fishing with too many lines. The wardens also found the individuals were using live crayfish as bait, transported to Wisconsin from Illinois. Enforcement action was taken.

Wardens Higgins and Aspenson took enforcement action against a person fishing without a license after the individual declined to provide personal identifying information. Instead, the person encouraged the wardens to write a citation, and the person would then purchase a license and have the citation dumped in court. The wardens found the person had his fishing privileges revoked by the court previously, making buying a license impossible.

WEST-CENTRAL REGION

Lower St. Croix Team/August

Wardens Madison Bryan, of St. Croix County, and Joe McMahon, of Pierce County, responded to a UTV crash with injury near Roberts. The UTV had seven occupants, none of whom were wearing seatbelts. Two passengers were not in manufactured seats as required. Two of the occupants were transported for non-life-threatening injuries. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden Kyle Kosin, of Pierce County, investigated an ongoing fishing trespass complaint on the Rush River. The person was located on private property without permission and found to be in possession of illegal sized trout. Enforcement action was taken for the fishing violation and the trespassing was enforced by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. 

Wardens Kosin and McMahon investigated kernel corn that was spilled on a roadway adjacent to a property enrolled in the Managed Forest Law (MFL) program. Numerous illegal baited sites were located on the property. The illegal bait sites consisted of corn, mineral blocks, and granular mineral. Enforcement action was taken for illegal/early baiting. 

Warden McMahon contacted three anglers fishing at Willow River State Park near the dam. On the stringer was a bass which was under the 14-inch minimum size limit. All three individuals were found not to have valid Wisconsin fishing licenses and said they thought they were in Minnesota. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden McMahon was contacted by Kinnickinnic State Park staff regarding illegal camping in a parking lot, where camping is not authorized. McMahon contacted the individual regarding the illegal camping and being in the park after hours. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden J.J. Redemann, of Dunn County, investigated a complaint of an individual catching and retaining a lake sturgeon on the Red Cedar River in Menomonie. Redemann found the person kept the fish on a stringer for an extended period of time while the person’s friend traveled to the fishing spot to photograph the fish. State law prohibits fishing for lake sturgeon in these waters and, if caught incidentally, they must immediately be released. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden Redemann stopped a UTV operator on a Dunn County ATV route for an equipment violation. Redemann found the operator wasn’t certified in ATV/UTV safety. The operator said he didn’t know he needed it, but a records check showed the individual had been cited for operating without ATV safety in the past. Enforcement action was taken.

Wardens Redemann and Jaime McDermid, of Dunn County, located multiple salt and mineral bait sites in August and issued multiple citations for these violations. Baiting and feeding continues to be a problem in Dunn County. Game wardens remind the public that mineral and salt are considered bait because these materials cause deer to congregate and to feed in the same spot, the same or worse as any other bait. The purpose of the baiting and feeding ban is to stop this activity to slow down the spread of chronic wasting disease.

Black River Falls Team/August

While working fishing enforcement at a body of water located south of Warrens in Monroe County, DNR Game Warden Matt Modjeski, of Sparta, checked a shore angler who said he was trying to catch perch. Modjeski found the angler had a perch, along with an undersized largemouth bass, in his covered bucket. The angler said he kept the bass because it was gut-hooked. Modjeski didn’t see any fishing line or hook in the mouth of the bass that was swimming in water in the bucket. Modjeski also found two more undersized largemouth bass on ice in another bucket in the back of the truck. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden Michael Weber, of Mauston, testified at a jury trial concerning a 2020 deer case when wardens Weber and Blaine Ziarek, of Muskego, contacted a man who was hunting during the nine-day gun season on private property. The area was illegally baited with salt blocks and corn. The wardens found the individual also was a convicted felon and in possession of a firearm, which prompted an arrest. At trial, the defendant was found guilty and sentenced to six months of jail time.

Mississippi River Team/August

Warden Cody Adams and a Prairie du Chien police officer partnered for boating enforcement on the Mississippi River. A boater was stopped for going faster than no-wake in a buoy restricted area. The operator was under the influence of alcohol and prescription narcotics and was arrested.

While parked at a major highway intersection, DNR Game Warden Bob Jumbeck, of Alma, observed a vehicle go by pulling a trailer carrying a UTV. Several buckets/pails were in the UTV. Jumbeck found the individual was placing mineral and corn out for deer in Buffalo County. It is illegal to bait or feed wildlife in Buffalo County.

Wardens Meghan Jensen, of Trempealeau, and Heath Hampton were on patrol when they observed two vehicles pulling boat trailers drive past them with aquatic vegetation hanging from the trailers. The wardens contacted the vehicle operators, who were traveling together, and found they were not from the area and were on their way home. The boat landing where the individuals left had signage detailing the law to remove aquatic vegetation prior to leaving. Enforcement action was taken.

Wardens Jensen and Kaitlin Kernosky assisted DNR wildlife staff and the Wisconsin Trapper Association and Wisconsin Cooperative Trapper Education Program to host a women’s trap camp, for women and taught by women. Thirty-one women from five states participated in the three-day trap camp, and 28 received their Wisconsin trapper education certification during the camp. Students were taught by 10 instructors on a variety of trapping components, including trap familiarization and setting, best management practices, releasing incidental catches, fur handling/putting up, laws/regulations and enjoyed a wild game dinner. 

Wisconsin River Team/August

Warden Nicholas Hefter, of Stevens Point, responded to a call regarding a weed harvester that overturned while operating on McDill Pond. The operator was not injured.

Warden Hefter attended the Lake Jacqueline Lake Association meeting.

Warden Erika Leigh, of Marshfield, participated in an annual learn-to-hunt deer event coordinated by the DNR Bureau of Wildlife at the Sandhill Wildlife Area. Leigh gave a law enforcement presentation for participants of both sessions.

Warden Josh Litvinoff, of Schofield, worked with DNR Game Warden Tyler Flood and the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department to address birch pole cutting on the Marathon County Forest property.

Wardens Litvinoff and Korey Trowbridge participated in the annual Sporting Heritage Youth Day held at the Wausau School Forest. The wardens staffed the laser shot event and focused on safe gun handling.

Warden Kyle Ziembo, of Wausau, patrolled the Mead State Wildlife Area and located several illegal baits and violations. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden Bryan Lockman, of Stevens Point, contacted a group of trout fishermen south of Plover and found them in possession of illegal size fish.

Wardens Lockman and Hefter assisted the staff at the Boston School Forest during their annual “fun run” event. They provided emergency lights at two road crossings and interacted with participants. 

Warden Lockman assisted the Amherst School in securing raptor mounts from out of state. He coordinated with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent to ensure the transfer was handled properly.

Lower Chippewa Team/August 

Wardens Kevin Christorf, of Clark County, and Meng Yang observed a UTV being operated at a high rate of speed in a 10-mph zone near Hatfield and followed up with a traffic stop. The wardens found the operator did not have valid ATV and was arrested for operating while intoxicated. 

Warden Ryan Lowry, of Eau Claire County, was assisting a motorcyclist when a UTV with an expired registration passed by. Lowry noted the operator of the UTV and the passenger. Lowry left the motorcyclist and performed a traffic stop of the UTV. However, Lowry noted the passenger now was in the driver’s seat and the operator was now the passenger. Both said they had consumed alcohol throughout the day. The individual who was operating when they passed the warden performed poorly on field sobriety testing and was arrested for OWI.

Warden Richard Maki, of Chippewa County, was on fishing patrol on Lake Wissota in Chippewa County when he contacted a boat and found underage drinking, possession of drugs, paraphernalia and fishing license issues. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden Maki responded to a call from Lake Wissota State Park regarding boaters on the water near the beach. The caller was worried for their safety and the safety of others. Maki and a Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department deputy located the vessel in question anchored off a sandbar near the beach. The officers determined the boat was over-capacity with 16 adults on a 12-capacity pontoon and was missing the correct number of lifejackets for everyone on board.

Warden Clayton Peters, of Chippewa County, contacted a person observed fishing near a closed refuge well into the night. Peters contacted the person back at his vehicle. The man denied having kept any fish, but repeatedly touched his hip boot during the conversation. Peters found a walleye in the hip boot. The walleye was of legal size, but close to the protected size. The person had not measured the walleye but thought it was the illegal size.

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