Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 21, 2022

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked duck hunters on the Thief Lake and A hunter was found to be in possession of lead shot. Area ATV riders and grouse hunters were also checked.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette) checked anglers on the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods. An individual was cited for netting whitefish during a closed season. 

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) spoke at the Whitetail Fever conference on CWD issues and new regulations, and responded to calls about injured deer and eagles. He also monitored waterfowl-hunting activity.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) monitored angling activity on area lakes and patrolled ATV trails. Time was spent checking waterfowl hunters and completing deer farm inspections.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) received several reports about car-killed or injured eagles. With a large influx of eagles into the area, drivers should be aware that eagles often feed on road-killed animals and can fly into the driving lanes of oncoming traffic. 

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) began training with COC Jesse Drown this week. They spent the weekend checking duck hunters and pheasant hunters. Enforcement action for the week included trespassing, not having PFDs in a waterfowling boat, and some licensing issues.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working sportfishing, migratory waterfowl hunting, archery deer hunting, and ATVing enforcement. A busy pheasant opener was worked during the weekend. Time also was spent conducting deer farm inspections.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports checking duck, deer, and squirrel hunters during the week. Numerous calls about sightings of uncommon wildlife were fielded, along with questions about the upcoming deer seasons. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) and COC Ryan Christenson spoke at a local school career class about the duties of a conservation officer. They also taught an ATV safety class. They responded to multiple wildlife-related complaints, including an injured swan and deer. 

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) reports seeing a lot of hunters out for the pheasant opener, but not many birds were harvested over the weekend. Several violations relating to small-game hunting were addressed, and enforcement action was taken. 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked small-game and waterfowl hunters. Several questions about Lake Christina’s motorized/non-motorized areas were handled. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent time checking area wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas for waterfowl and pheasant hunters. One hunter was contacted while finishing hunting. He was excited about some birds he had harvested. Upon further inspection, however, the birds harvested were actually protected nongame birds mistaken for another species. Also, the hunter had a loaded firearm he’d been transporting unknowingly in his vehicle for several months. Enforcement action was taken for both violations.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, waterfowl hunters, and pheasant hunters. Baumbarger observed a few pheasants in the bag during opening weekend, but there is still a lot of standing corn in the area. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports checking small-game, waterfowl, and deer hunters. He also patrolled local lakes for angling activity. He investigated a deer-dumping complaint, Walk-In Access violations, assisted other agencies, and provided advice regarding trespassing. 

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time completing required training, assisting with firearms safety training classes, and handling miscellaneous animal-related complaints. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations, transport of loaded firearms, and failure to register deer. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked anglers and hunters. Grouse hunters were doing well, while angler success slowed down after the cooler weather arrived. 

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked angling, small-game, waterfowl, and big-game enforcement. Many questions were fielded about the upcoming deer season and current seasons. As a reminder, all feeding and attractants for deer are banned in Hubbard County. A large number of filleted walleye carcasses were found at Grace Lake. If you have any information, please contact the TIP line. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports that despite cold weather and snowy conditions, grouse hunters were active, with birds being harvested. Waterfowl-hunting activity has been steady, with birds now on the move. Reports of illegal stands being built on public lands were investigated. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring hunting and ATVing activities during the week. Local public water access sites continue to be checked. Area forest roads and state lands were checked. 

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) spent time checking grouse hunters throughout his station. He also spent time investigating cases related to shooting within 500 feet of an occupied structure and other complaints from Lake Vermilion property owners.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked small-game, ATV, and big-game activity. Time also was spent speaking at a firearms safety class in Hibbing and assisting the Hibbing Fire Department locate and transport a lost and injured hiker. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time investigating multiple timber-trespass complaints. 

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, hunting, and ATVing activity. Poor weather conditions limited recreational activity. Waterfowl hunters reported limited success and stated few ducks were seen. Grouse hunters reported seeing more birds this week. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports hunting activity tapered off toward the weekend as several days of rain and snow arrived. Waterfowl reports were generally poor. Grouse-hunting reports were fair, although most hunters did not make it far into the wet, snow-covered woods.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) worked angling, small-game hunting, and ATV activity throughout the week. He responded to several hunting complaints in the area and assisted with an investigation regarding a vehicle that was shot in a person’s driveway. 

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) took calls about road hit-moose and ATVs being operated on a highway. Grouse hunters were checked. Late-season muskie anglers were trying their hardest, and a few anglers are still searching the tributaries for salmon. 

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) spent the week field training COC Ledeen. Hill and Ledeen picked up a party on a local warrant. A few anglers were contacted while possessing limits of brook trout. Worms seem to be working quite well. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked grouse and duck hunters, anglers, and balsam bough harvesters. Enforcement action was taken for no HIP certification while waterfowl hunting, and grouse hunting without a license. A TIP call about a grouse being shot from a motor vehicle was investigated. The investigation resulted in two individuals being cited for shooting within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling and assisting/taking small game without a license.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked waterfowl hunters, monitored OHV activity, and investigated TIP calls. Area waterfowl hunter success was good this week. Fairbanks and his K9 partner, Si, also assisted in locating a lost person. The person had been lost in the dark for about 5 hours before Fairbanks and Si were able to get to him. 

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) began field training with COC Ladzinski. Small-game-hunting activity has slowed due to the cold and windy weather that moved in this week. Reports of muddy trails came in from local ATV riders in the Hill City area. Follow-up investigations continued for a bear hide that was left in a logging area.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) fielded complaints regarding hunting from the road and timber-harvesting issues. Ongoing complaints were followed up on as well. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV without headlights and juveniles without ATV helmets. 

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) started field training with COC Ulrich during the week. They worked waterfowl and small-game hunting, sportfishing, and bear baits. 

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) continued to monitor small-game and waterfowl hunting activity. Snow and cold weather have pushed a lot of waterfowl out of the area, but more northern birds should start filtering in on the northwest winds from this weekend. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) took enforcement action this week for registration issues and no helmets on kids on ATVs. An investigation is ongoing regarding a shot-and-dumped bear in the Backus area. Information can be given anonymously by calling the TIP line (1-800-652-9093). 

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time working small-game and waterfowl hunters, anglers, and ATV operators throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for operating ATVs on a posted closed trail, shooting after hours, and license violations. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) checked angler activity where the fall bite was producing some crappie limits. Archery deer hunters were making use of leaves falling off the trees and increased deer movement. Verkuilen assisted with the pheasant opener in the western part of the state, where birds were still hiding in standing crops and a late hatch made it difficult to differentiate roosters from hens. 

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time checking small-game and waterfowl hunters. ATVing activity was busy through the weekend. Griffith responded to litter, trespass, and burning complaints. Several disputes between neighboring landowners were handled.  

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) reported checking hunters and anglers with COC Bulthuis. Enforcement action was taken for federal duck stamp violations, transporting dressed grouse without a wing attached, and early and late shooting. Deer-feeding ban violations also were addressed.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked waterfowl, small-game, and bowhunting activities. Assistance was given to local law enforcement on a variety of items. A bobcat-possession permit was issued, and a stolen vehicle from Cass County was found in a wooded area near Lake Mille Lacs. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) spoke with students at St. Cloud Tech High School about conservation officers and their roles in the community. Time was spent preparing equipment for fall and winter use. A complaint of dead sheep was received. It was verified that they were killed by wolves. Several pheasant hunters were checked during the weekend. Very few roosters were taken.

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) conducted equipment maintenance, worked AIS, checked duck and pheasant hunters, and investigated a wildlife-feeding complaint. Enforcement action was taken for prohibited feeding of wildlife while under a county feed and attractant ban.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring angling activity and checking hunters. The pheasant opener was worked. A complaint regarding hunting at a public access site was investigated and addressed, along with resulting deer-hunting violations. Time also was spent following up on wetland violation complaints.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked pheasant opening weekend with not much for hunters to brag about. One recreational dope smoker thought it would be a good idea to park in a wildlife management area parking lot to smoke his marijuana. VanderWeyst advised him it is still not legal in Minnesota and issued proper “coupons” for such illegal activity.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) began training a new conservation officer from the recent CO Academy. They focused on various hunting activities. TIP complaints and wildlife-related calls were fielded. 

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) checked several pheasant hunters on opening weekend. One was hunting without a license and transporting a loaded shotgun. A group of anglers were keeping smallmouth bass during the release-only season. A wetland violation was found. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) followed up on trespassing complaints and hunting small game without blaze orange. Upon arrival to both calls, the suspects were gone. Trespassing is illegal, and not wearing blaze orange when required is dangerous.

CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week working waterfowl hunters, big-game hunters, small-game hunters, and anglers. Time also was spent investigating TIP calls.

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Buffalo) began phase two of field training with COC Fox. Time was spent patrolling WMAs and WPAs, checking duck hunters as well as pheasant hunters. An investigation was conducted to find the owner of an abandoned commercial turtle-fishing net.  

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) spent most of the past week conducting follow-up investigations. Numerous calls have been fielded regarding access to public waters given the drought conditions. 

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked metro-area lakes and rivers for angling, boating, and hunting activities. He encountered violations that included angling with extra lines, no vehicle permit, and vehicles parked in closed areas. 

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) took over as FTO for step two of COC Stennett’s field training this week. The pheasant opener was worked in the Benson station. Many hunters were contacted. Local agencies were assisted with an injury crash in Carver County. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time checking waterfowl hunters and pheasant hunters. Thomas also handled multiple trespass investigations and complaints.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for waterfowl and small-game hunting activity. Several violations were observed, and enforcement action was taken. 

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) completed training step one with COC Ohnstad. She has moved on to step two with a different CO. Tetrault attended training at Camp Ripley. Waterfowl and angling checks were conducted throughout the week. There was more variety of waterfowl seen in the area with the cooler weather.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking anglers and hunters. A great deal of the corn is still in the fields. Pheasant opener was fair-weathered and windy. 

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working trapping and hunting activity. Most pheasant hunters found some success during the opening weekend. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports dry and windy conditions definitely affected success for the pheasant opener. Duck hunters are waiting for a new influx of ducks to arrive in the area.

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked migratory waterfowl, angling, archery deer, and pheasant hunting enforcement this past week. Public lands were packed with hunters during the pheasant season opener. Enforcement action was taken for license and trespass violations.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this week checking waterfowl hunters in the area. Time also was spent working the pheasant opener. 

CO Nick Klehr (Litchfield) reports beginning field training with COC Znajda. Area WMAs and WPAs were patrolled for archery deer, waterfowl, and pheasant hunters. The weather did not hold back pheasant hunters on opening weekend. 

CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson) reports working a busy pheasant opener. With the nice weather, many hunters were observed in the field. Waterfowl and archery hunting continue to be tough going for hunters in the area. 

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received calls concerning hunting and fishing law clarification and licensing. Pheasant-hunting activity in the New Ulm area remained high during the opener. 

CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked the waterfowl, archery deer, and small-game seasons. He also checked angling and pheasant-hunting activity. The success rate for those hunting pheasants was decent. 

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) worked small-game, waterfowl, and big-game hunting activity during the week. Opening weekend of the pheasant season brought plenty of pressure to public lands.  

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) worked fishing, waterfowl, archery, and pheasant hunting activities. The pheasant opener was busy, and roosters were seen in the bag for a handful of hunters. The streams were also busy with anglers and guides. Anglers are reminded to review the southeast trout stream regulations. The general eight-county catch-and-release season closed Oct. 15.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) had a busy week with many hunting activities in full swing. Fall angling action is picking up on area lakes. Anglers and hunters are reminded to wear their life jackets while on the water. Water temperatures are dropping throughout the fall, and wearing a life jacket could save your life.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) and COC Khang spent the week patrolling North Lake and the public boat accesses of the Mississippi River. They checked on waterfowl hunting and angling activity. 

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly hunters during the week. Duck-hunting success was good for some, with various violations encountered. Heyn also worked on deer cases and handled other calls. 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking pheasant hunters and archery deer hunters. Most pheasant hunters checked had no birds in the bag. Archery deer hunters were out with the cold front and reported good deer movement. Boyum returned calls about the early antlerless season and handled an illegal-burn complaint. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a good duck migration brought out more hunters, with several limits seen. A person who Hemker was working with on a boathouse waters violation called him after hours to advise him about having worms invade his boathouse.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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