Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 14, 2022

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) continued field training with COC Hams. They spent time checking anglers and waterfowl hunters on Lake of the Woods and at the Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area. Violations encountered were taking a protected bird (sea gull), shooting before legal hours, unplugged shotgun, no license in possession, failure to transfer title, and no fire extinguisher onboard. 

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) worked with COC Paavola, checking waterfowl hunters and investigating bear-hunting complaints. They also taught the law and ethics portion of the Newfolden ATV safety class. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) worked hunting activity this past week. With the assistance of neighboring officers, he also planned and executed multiple after-hours shining activity details, which resulted in numerous violations encountered, including transporting loaded firearms, taking wild animals with the use of artificial lights, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and trespassing.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports walleye angling and grouse hunting have been successful endeavors around the area. Time was spent working hunting and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for shining/shooting from a motor vehicle, transporting a loaded firearm, possession of a controlled substance, and open bottle in a motor vehicle.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking waterfowl hunters throughout the week. Time also was spent working archery deer hunters and small-game hunters. Enforcement action was taken for various duck hunting-related violations.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) continued field training. Time was spent on the Cass Lake chain of lakes, checking fall anglers and boaters. A complaint was handled regarding two treestands left unattended in a WMA. One of the stands was legally placed off the WMA, and the other stand was seized.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking migratory bird hunters and small-game hunters. With cold weather moving in, many ducks have started moving through the area. Many muskie anglers have also been seen in the area, but not many are having luck getting them to bite. 

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on WMAs and WPAs. Areas were worked for small-game, waterfowl, and archery hunting. Patrol was conducted for shining activity. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) worked angling, waterfowl-hunting, and small-game hunting activity throughout the week. Additional time was spent working public water restoration order compliance and conducting equipment maintenance.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) took several calls about dogs seen on trail cameras. Plautz assisted families locate the owners of the dogs and discussed the importance of keeping dogs at home. Plautz also handled complaints related to trespass and youth operation of ATVs, and performed equipment maintenance. 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) received questions about the upcoming youth deer season, the early antlerless season, and licenses for the regular firearms deer season. Questions about water access from roadways were received and answered. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) responded to multiple reports this week of waterfowl hunters shooting ducks during the week-long season closure. Numerous citations were issued, and quite a few birds were seized in an effort to educate hunters about the season closure in the central zone.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, boaters, and bowhunters. Additional time was focused on investigating deer-baiting complaints. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) attended a firearms safety class and assisted with the field day. She also responded to a buck that got its antlers stuck in a hammock. 

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) continued training a new conservation officer. The officers worked Cass County-area lakes, focusing on angling and waterfowl-hunting enforcement. Time was spent on vehicle maintenance and patrolling area forest roads. 

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports checking grouse, squirrel, deer, and waterfowl hunters. He responded to complaints about property left on public land, trespass, littering, injured animals, and hunting-related issues with neighbors.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) and COC Choua Khang spent the week checking traps, monitoring grouse hunters on ATVs, and checking fishing activities along the Rainy River and Rainy Lake. Enforcement action was taken for unlawfully transporting game birds, no license in possession, youth ATV operations, and transporting unlawfully taken fish from Canada. 

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports angling activity has slowed considerably as recreationalists have shifted their focus to small-game hunting and ATV riding. Although the leaf drop accelerated rapidly this past week, there is still a considerable amount of underbrush foliage, providing a challenge to find grouse that have flushed. Time was spent working ongoing cases. Several injured-animal calls were received and investigated.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports ATV and small-game hunting activities were monitored during the week. Time was spent checking public access sites and area forest roads. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time completing a lengthy overlimit case during the week, which included two anglers in possession of a mixed bag consisting of largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, bluegills, and rock bass. The end result yielded a combined total of 68 largemouth and smallmouth bass and 60 bluegills, resulting in 56 bass and 20 bluegills over the legal possession limit. During the initial interview, it was discovered the party typically makes an annual fishing trip up to the lake where Zavodnik made contact with them. When Zavodnik asked how the fishing trip went, one of the party members stated, “Not so good.” The two individuals were charged with gross misdemeanors and gross overlimit of largemouth and smallmouth bass, plus overlimits of bluegills.

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked small-game hunters and anglers this past week. He also checked ATV riders and fielded several calls about trout-season dates and regulations. Grouse hunters have had some success, but waterfowl hunting has been slow.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking small-game hunters and anglers. Small-game hunting pressure has been high on area U.S. Forest Service roads. Enforcement action was taken for hunting and ATV-related violations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers, grouse hunters, and ATV operators. Manning assisted the county with a medical call at one of the state parks, followed up on a report of illegal access to a WMA, and issued possession permits for road-killed deer, bears, and otters.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked with COC Jesse Drown in his future assigned station in Baudette. Waterfowl hunters were checked both in fields and on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for leaving a treestand up after authorized hunting hours in a WMA, several no personal floatation devices on board watercraft, lead shot while waterfowl hunting, taking an overlimit of ducks, and taking pied-billed grebes. 

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked anglers, ATV riders, and small-game hunters. A waters and wetlands filling complaint was checked with help from the local soil and water conservation district. Trout anglers were reminded it is illegal to target a species during its closed season. Follow up was done on commercial charter records and abandonment of property on state forest land. 

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) contacted a husband and wife who were on a “cast and blast” trip. They presented Hill with full limits of grouse and walleyes. However, they were fully cleaned and therefore were illegal to transport. The two were forced to stay a few extra days to ensure they didn’t drive home with their fully-dressed critters. A routine ATV stop led to a warrant arrest for being a fugitive from justice from Wisconsin.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) reports an individual found trespassing on agricultural land was arrested for DWI, transporting a loaded firearm, and trespassing. Another group of individuals was caught shining farm fields for deer.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and checked anglers, waterfowl and big-game hunters, boaters, and ATV operators. 

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) spent the week checking grouse hunters and ATV riders. Time also was spent working area waterfowl hunting and following up on a wildfire arson investigation. 

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) worked small-game hunters in the area most of the week. ATV complaint areas were worked, and waterfowl hunters were checked. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) and COC Dallas Cornell spent the week patrolling for small-game hunters and doing ATV enforcement. They also checked shore anglers as well as boat anglers. The rest of their week was getting prepared for a youth firearms safety field day. 

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) continued to monitor small-game and waterfowl-hunting activity. Patrols were conducted on Lake Superior and other area lakes. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) and COC Ryan Christenson spent time patrolling ATV trails and checking anglers, deer hunters, and waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action was taken for leaving equipment overnight in a state recreation area, no ATV registration, waterfowl-related violations, and hunting over bait.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) continued working his field training assignment with COC Ben Ulrich. Numerous waterfowl and archery deer hunters were checked this week. Violations included hunting during a closed season, no license in possession, and transport of loaded firearms in motor vehicle.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) investigated calls about people feeding and baiting deer in the CWD zone. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked hunting activity that included trespassing complaints and reports of duck hunting during the split-season break. Aquatic invasive species were monitored as dock and lift removal was going strong.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked anglers, hunters, and recreational vehicle riders. Enforcement action was taken for unlawful off-highway motorcycle riding, juvenile passengers without helmets, no federal duck stamp, and transporting loaded firearms. Trespassing violations were investigated.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spent the week in Minneapolis for a defensive tactics instructor school. Westby also assisted partners during the weekend with a deer that was taken illegally over bait and many other issues. A complaint of hunter harassment was handled at Rice/Skunk WMA during the weekend as well.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) covered multiple station calls this week – mostly calls related to the closed waterfowl season. He assisted a neighboring officer with a TIP call. Class 2 ATV operators still continue to be under the impression that they can operate on a highway. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked duck and deer hunters. ATVing activity was monitored. TIP calls were investigated dealing with deer-hunting violations. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week working anglers and small-game and big-game hunters. Time also was spent working waterfowl hunters during the weekend.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for waterfowl hunters, anglers, and ATV operators. Additional time was spent following up on wetland cases and issuing a resource protection notification. 

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Buffalo) spent the week walking WMAs in his station and found many instances of unattended treestands and game cameras being left overnight. The equipment was seized. 

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) instructed an ATV law enforcement class in Benton County to assist with understanding ATV laws in Minnesota. After the class, Hanna received a TIP complaint about bear hunting. Hanna worked the case, which resulted in an unlicensed hunter taking a bear and littering. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked waterfowl and archery deer hunters. Several waterfowl hunters were checked on the few water bodies still accessible. Fogarty also checked many archery deer hunters who reported seeing plenty of deer. 

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked metro-area lakes and rivers for angling, boating, and hunting activities. He also took enforcement action for no vehicle permit in a state park.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports a lackluster duck reopener with below-average hunter turnout. Enforcement action was taken for possessing toxic shot in the field while hunting migratory waterfowl.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for hunting activity and responded to several wetland complaints this week. Salzer also received information about big-game violations occurring in the county. Salzer dealt with several waterfowl hunters hunting during the closed season. 

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time patrolling for small-game, archery deer, and waterfowl hunters in the area. Many violations were dealt with, including illegal rifle use in a wildlife management area, no federal duck stamp, fishing with extra lines, unplugged shotguns, trespass, camping in a scientific and natural area, litter, and illegal possession of deer. Thomas also dealt with numerous abandoned vehicles on state land.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) finished field training with COC Brett Fox. The officers spent a lot of time checking waterfowl, archery deer, and small-game hunters. 

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) continued training COC Violet Ohnstad. They were involved in multiple contacts that resulted in citations and warnings, such as failure to have license in possession, hunting in a shotgun-only area with a rifle, and hunting in a closed area. In addition, Ohnstad and Tetrault seized 19 waterfowl from two individuals who were hunting waterfowl during the closed season.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked hunting enforcement this past week. Deer-hunting and angling investigations continue. Rain midweek was welcomed by many, especially waterfowl hunters. Daniels would like to remind folks that driving motor vehicles outside of designated areas and leaving equipment on public lands is illegal.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers and hunters. Harvest remains in full swing. Enforcement action was taken for various waterfowl- and WMA-related violations.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week assisting with internal interviews with the K9 Unit. Time also was spent on active big-game investigations and trespass calls. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) worked hunting activity during the week. The reopening of the waterfowl season in the central and south zones saw spotty success. The lack of hunters to push ducks around continues to be an issue. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working duck-hunting and angling activity. He attended a rescue training drill at Sibley State Park. Vernier also completed commercial inspections.

CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this week patrolling the area for small- and big-game hunting activity. Block also focused efforts on fall angling and TIP calls. 

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week working small-game hunters and shore anglers. Other activities included fielding questions about deer permit areas and trespassing. The end of the week included responding to deer farm-related questions and deer-possession permits. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls requesting deer- and waterfowl-hunting law information and reporting waterfowl-hunting violations. He worked waterfowl, small-game, archery deer, fishing, boating, invasive species, and ATV enforcement activities. 

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) continued field training with COC Bulthuis. Deer-related investigations were worked. Waterfowl season reopened in the south zone with hunters continuing to experience success. 

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked the waterfowl, archery deer, and small-game seasons as well as angling activity. He has been fielding questions concerning the upcoming deer and pheasant seasons. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked waterfowl, small-game, and archery deer-hunting activity this week. Howe fielded numerous calls this week regarding hunting access on private property. If you have a question regarding access to private property, or easements across private property, you will need to start early with your research. Many counties have online property records to help get you in contact with property owners. 

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on waterfowl hunting and small- and big-game hunting. Numerous violations were encountered, resulting in enforcement action being taken. A complaint about geese shot out of season was investigated. 

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) and COC Fontes had a busy week checking anglers, ATV riders, and archery deer and small-game hunters. The officers also assisted in the recovery of a drowning victim on the Minnesota River.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly hunters during the week. Lots of hunters were out for the duck reopener. Heyn also worked on equipment, had a ride-along, and handled other calls. 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking waterfowl hunters during the weekend. Two stranded duck hunters were helped off the river after their motor broke down. Time also was spent investigating trespass complaints. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) investigated a trespass complaint in which a ginseng digger claimed he thought he was out for a walk in a state park when he realized he was on private property.

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) reports a landowner was found to be keeping a chicken coop on WMA property. 

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) reports assistance was given to local law enforcement in locating and removing two individuals who went hiking in Whitewater WMA and got turned around enough to feel they could no longer find their way out. 

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

Leave a Reply

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