Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 7, 2022

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) spent time during the week investigating a waterfowl-hunting trespass complaint. The remainder of the week was spent training. 

CO Corey Sura (Baudette) spent time checking anglers on the Rainy River, where the fall bite seems to be picking up. Waterfowl hunters were checked throughout the week as well. Enforcement action was taken for operating unlicensed watercraft and transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working hunting activity this past week. Time was spent checking anglers, monitoring watercraft AIS compliance, and attending training at Camp Ripley. Regas also reports patrolling area recreational vehicle trails. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking waterfowl hunters throughout the week. Time also was spent checking prairie chicken, grouse, bear, sandhill crane, and archery deer hunters. 

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) reminds waterfowl hunters to make sure they properly identify what they are shooting at prior to taking the shot. 

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports beginning field training with COC Felicia Znajda. Area wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas were patrolled for archery deer, waterfowl, and small-game hunters. A TIP call of possible trespassing resulted in contacting two waterfowl hunters, with enforcement action taken for unplugged shotguns and ATV-registration violations. 

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working prairie chicken, waterfowl, and small-game hunting and ATVing enforcement. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) continued to check waterfowl hunters and anglers throughout the week. A few diver ducks have been found, but teal are still the most commonly bagged bird. Additional time was spent working ongoing investigations from the opening weekend of duck hunting and training at Camp Ripley.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) attended mandatory training and received calls about possible waterfowl-hunting trespass and upcoming hunting seasons. Plautz also is investigating a big-game-hunting violation complaint.  

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) reports checking waterfowl hunters and anglers throughout the week. Brown also received a few trespass complaints. Be sure to do your homework on where you can and can’t hunt. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued monitoring waterfowl hunters throughout the area. Muskie anglers were checked in some wet and windy conditions, with success limited. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, waterfowl hunters, and deer hunters. Additional time was spent investigating deer-baiting complaints and answering questions about hunting regulations.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) finalized his background investigation and participated in annual training at Camp Ripley. Additionally, Cross worked angling, waterfowl hunting, small-game hunting, and big-game hunting. Enforcement action was taken for numerous waterfowl, small-game, and boating violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked small-game hunters and anglers. She also responded to calls about an injured eagle and an injured bear. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers, duck hunters, and ATV riders. Mathy also investigated a deer-hunting TIP and a report about littered animal carcasses. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) attended annual in-service training at Camp Ripley, and COC Choua Khang attended training in Arden Hills. A youth firearms safety class was held in the International Falls area, where approximately 30 kids received their certifications. 

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports working the Rainy River this past week and working grouse-hunting activity throughout the area. Simonson also assisted with a firearms safety field day in International Falls. 

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports more seasonable conditions have brought on an increase in ATVing and small-game-hunting activity. Two TIP complaints were investigated using the TIP411 app. If using this avenue, try to leave as much pertinent information as you can for officers. Images are always helpful if available. Public waters violations were followed up on, as were miscellaneous animal-related complaints. Assistance was provided at a firearms safety class where 26 youth received their certifications and instructor Tom Worth was recognized for more than 50 years of volunteer instruction. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring ATV use throughout the week. Small-game hunting activities were checked. Area lakes and public access sites continue to be monitored. 

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) primarily spent time working ATV enforcement and small-game enforcement. He also spent time in meetings with local law enforcement, addressing illegal ATVing activity.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) followed up on a suspicious-vehicle complaint that resulted in two individuals found to have illegally harvested approximately 430 spruce tops on private land. Zavodnik also worked ATV and small-game enforcement during the weekend. 

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, hunting, and ATVing activity. Anglers and hunters reported limited success. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) spent the week focusing on small-game and waterfowl-hunting enforcement. A good number of grouse hunters who were specifically looking for spruce grouse were checked. The area has increased in popularity as a destination for the species. A few were seen in hunters’ bags.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and small-game hunters this past week. Fishing has been good and grouse hunters were out in full force. Velsvaag had several calls about nuisance animals and trapping-regulation questions.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked grouse hunters and saw many people in vehicles just out looking at leaves. Many were oblivious to the fact that they were stopping in the middle of regularly traveled roadways and putting themselves and other drivers at risk. “Bear” was the word of the week given numerous reports about bears cleaning up under bird feeders and trying to take food packs. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) continued work with COC Drown. Saturday morning provided a mixed bag with many hunters out. Enforcement action was taken for watercraft operators without the required safety equipment, shotguns without plugs, transporting a loaded firearm, toxic shot, no small-game license, no federal stamp, and no HIP certification. 

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked grouse hunters and ATV riders in the Finland area. The weekend saw the end of the stream trout and lake trout seasons, with continued windy conditions giving anglers a challenge on Lake Superior. 

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports the pink salmon run is still going strong with stringers of fish being checked on various tributaries. One angler was cited for not having a trout stamp. He admitted that he realized in early August that he forgot to purchase a stamp. He told Hill that his laziness got in the way and he still hadn’t purchased one. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked anglers and grouse hunters and conducted follow-up of ongoing investigations. Wildlife-related calls were responded to, as were trespassing complaints. 

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

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) reports limited success for waterfowl hunters. Grouse-hunting conditions continue to improve, and ATV users have been capitalizing on the beautiful autumn season. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked waterfowling activities during the past week with plenty of ducks still in the area. Enforcement action was taken for not having the proper stamps to hunt waterfowl and not having enough life jackets on a watercraft. Sutherland also gave out road-killed deer permits and ATV permits for partially disabled hunters.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working waterfowl- and small-game-hunting, ATVing, and angling enforcement activities. Several questions regarding waterfowl and angling regulations were fielded and answered.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to focus on small-game hunting and ATVing activity. Grouse hunting continues to be good and is expected to get better as more leaves fall. Enforcement action was taken for grouse- and woodcock-hunting violations. Several cases were worked on where people abandoned property and/or dumped garbage in the woods.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked small-game hunters and waterfowl hunters during the week. Leaf cover is still heavy but some birds were seen in the bag. He also assisted Pine County officials with a search for a missing hunter in the Nemadji State Forest.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) and COC Dallas Cornell assisted with locating a lost small-game hunter in the Nemadji State Forest. They also checked shoreline anglers. They patrolled the area checking waterfowl and small-game hunters, and conducted ATV enforcement.

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) assisted the Pine County Sheriff’s Office with a missing hunter in the Nemadji State Forest. The hunter was found safe. Elwell also patrolled the station for waterfowl-hunting activity throughout the station. Elwell observed that blue-winged teal numbers have increased, whereas wood duck numbers dropped throughout the week. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled this week for big-game, migratory waterfowl, and small-game hunters. Field training continued with COC Ulrich. A livestock producer reported a calf loss due to wolf depredation. A trapper was notified and confirmed it as a wolf kill. Nine gray wolves were removed from the area of the kill.

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) checked small-game, waterfowl, bear, and deer hunters this past week. Enforcement action was taken for various violations, and assistance was provided at an ATV crash.  

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time checking small-game hunters and ATV riders throughout the week. She also responded to an ATV crash and answered numerous calls from the public with hunting related questions.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) saw an increase in small-game hunters and the number of grouse taken. Ducks have stayed in the area, and hunters are enjoying the season so far. ATV use and fishing participation have decreased, but some people are still going out. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked lake activity, where falling water temperatures caused angler success to pick up. He also attended some training, assisted with the confiscated equipment auction, and assisted with an injured loon. 

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) followed up on wetland and trespass complaints. Time was spent checking small-game and archery hunters. Griffith also worked an ATV detail on the Spider Lake trails. 

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked hunters and anglers in the area. State parks and forest campgrounds were patrolled. Assistance was given at the scene of an ATV crash.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) assisted area county sheriff’s deputies with two vehicles in a ditch. One was a semi driver who was arrested for DWI. VanderWeyst also assisted with a capsized boat when an angler went out on Rice Lake on a windy day. The boater’s ability to pull the inflation cord on the life jacket he was wearing saved his life. 

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked duck hunters and hunting complaints. Trespass issues were investigated. A hunting incident was investigated in which a hunter’s shotshell pellets hit a man camping approximately 200 yards across a pond, on a hill. Enforcement activity included no federal duck stamp. A shotgun was found at a hunting area and was returned to its owner a few days later.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent most of the week working duck hunters. Enforcement action was taken for license violations and transporting loaded guns. A case was also made in which a bowhunter shot a doe and decided not to tag it and cut it up himself so he could save his tag and continue to hunt. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and archery hunters. Additional time was spent investigating various complaints on state lands and issuing a cease and desist order for a possible wetland violation. Enforcement action taken for illegal dispersed camping illegally, failing to pay for a campsite, and failing to have a license in possession. 

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) fielded questions about the use of WMA lands and leaving duck decoys unattended on public waters. Hanna also conducted some ATV and firearms safety classes. 

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Buffalo) spent the week checking waterfowl hunters and anglers. Fitzgerald observed a northern shoveler and some snipe in the bag. The majority of birds taken continue to be teal, wood ducks, wigeon, and the occasional pintail. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked metro-area lakes and rivers for angling, boating, and hunting activities. He encountered violations including angling with extra lines, no angling license in possession, unregistered watercraft, lack of PFDs and fire extinguisher, off-leash dog, unsigned federal duck stamp, and illegal camping on state park land.

CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time checking anglers and waterfowl hunters. Time also was spent following up on wildlife-related complaints. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time checking small-game and duck hunters. Thomas also took a call from a concerned caller who wanted to report “multiple dead raccoons and squirrels with their heads cut off along a stretch of the highway, likely from a ritualistic poacher displaying kills to get a reaction from the public.” Thomas arrived on the scene and determined not only was it just three normal road-killed raccoons, but all had their heads intact. 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) continued field training COC Brett Fox. They spent the week working duck hunters, anglers, and archery deer hunters. 

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring waterfowl hunters in the area. Enforcement action was taken for wanton waste of a migratory bird, no small-game license, and other violations.

CO Christopher Tetrault (Maplewood) was accompanied by COC Violet Ohnstad in the third week of field training. They made contacts with anglers on area lakes, the Mississippi River, and the St. Croix River, and with small-game hunters in local WMAs.  

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) spent time working archery deer hunting, migratory waterfowl hunting, and angling enforcement. Low water levels have hunters struggling for spots, but some still have had decent luck with local ducks. Complaints about equipment left on public lands were received.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers and hunters. Harvest is in full swing, with some areas being done with both beans and corn. Deer and raccoons are on the move as a result. The dominant question Robinson is fielding is: What makes an AR pistol a legal hunting handgun?

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working waterfowl- and archery deer-hunting activity. K9 Earl assisted with multiple evidence searches throughout the week. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working waterfowl-, small-game, and archery deer-hunting activity. Time also was spent working fall fishing activity. Waterfowl hunters are reminded that the south and central zones are closed to waterfowl hunting Oct. 3-7. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working duck-hunting and boating activity. He also followed up on a burning complaint and a trespass complaint. 

CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this week checking waterfowl hunters on area lakes. She also focused efforts on small-game hunting and ATV enforcement.

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week patrolling for duck and small-game hunters. Other activities included fielding questions about motor usage on waterfowl feeding and resting areas and attending annual training at Camp Ripley. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls pertaining to waterfowl-hunting regulations and land use. He worked waterfowl, archery deer, small-game, angling, boating, invasive species, ATV, and commercial enforcement activities. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) spent time working waterfowl hunters this week. Henke also spent time working small-game hunters and archery deer hunters. Henke reminds small-game hunters that blaze clothing is required while hunting squirrels.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) reports working small-game, archery deer, and waterfowl-hunting activity this week. Access remains difficult on many wetlands due to extremely low water levels. The Minnesota River is also extremely low, with some accesses not useable due to water levels. 

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) and COC Fontes worked the week checking waterfowl hunters, anglers, and ATVing activity. The officers handled a call about feral swine in Faribault County. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) spent time this past week checking waterfowl hunters. Kyllo also investigated a report of deer baiting, checked anglers, and attended training at Camp Ripley.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking small-game hunters, waterfowl hunters, and archery deer hunters. The first season for waterfowl closed without a bang. Most hunters checked had few birds and added that wood duck numbers seemed low. Time also was spent returning calls about the upcoming deer season. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) made contact with a duck hunter who had been in a closed area. The young hunter, who was still learning how to drive his long-tail mud boat, became flustered as he drove twice into Hemker’s boat. 

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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