Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 11, 2022

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked deer hunters during the busy opening weekend. Overall, deer-hunting success was hit or miss. Several contacts were made with deer hunters using bait. Other violations included feeding during the feed ban, erecting a permanent blind in a state forest, failing to register deer, transporting loaded rifles, no blaze orange, allowing a juvenile to violate game laws, failing to validate a deer tag, hunting deer without a license, and trespassing.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette) investigated multiple complaints about baited stands leading up to and during the firearms deer season opener. Overall hunter numbers and success seemed to be lower than in recent years for the Lake of the Woods area. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) worked a busy opening weekend of the deer season. Things slowed down Sunday as the weather conditions got worse and wind gusts neared 40 mph. Time was spent responding to complaints about trespassing and hunting over bait. 

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports preparing for the deer season and checking area WMAs for stands and bait. Vinton received calls about dogs possibly chasing deer. The opening weekend of deer season was a mix of nice weather and terribly windy conditions. Few deer or hunters were observed on the second day. Vinton contacted an Amish family who had a small fire rekindle several days after they had burned a few old hay bales. They were able to extinguish the fire before the strong winds caused a bigger fire.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week focusing on small game, migratory waterfowl, and deer-hunting enforcement. The weekend saw plenty of hunters afield for the firearms deer season opener. Violations encountered were numerous and varied. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, allowing a juvenile to violate fish and game laws, and illegal party hunting. The weekend concluded with a report of a cow having been shot and killed near Twin Valley. Anyone with information is asked to call the TIP line  – (800) 652-9093 – or the Norman County Sheriff’s Office.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) spent the week preparing for the deer season opener. Deer-hunting success as well as the number of hunters was down throughout the station. Many hunters reported it’s the fewest deer they have seen and fewest shots they have heard in a long time. Officer Landmark also followed up with a complaint about a wetland violation. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) and COC Ryan Christenson spent time checking archery and firearms deer hunters. The officers responded to trespass/hunter harassment complaints. 

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked deer and pheasant hunters. Trespassing complaints were received and investigated. Landowners should take the time ahead of the deer season to properly post their property. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) reports heavy deer-hunting pressure during opening weekend throughout Douglas and Todd counties. Deer harvest success was limited and sporadic. High winds on Sunday shut down most deer movement completely. Numerous hunters were issued citations after operating their ATVs with loaded long guns onboard, which is illegal on public roads as well as private property.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and pheasant and deer hunters. Additional time was spent checking trappers and waterfowl hunters. A lot of deer hunters were out for opening weekend, but weather conditions limited hunter success. Complaints about trespass and shooting from the road were the most common complaints during the weekend.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports deer hunters having some success despite difficult weather conditions on Sunday. Big-game investigations consisted of hunting with the aid or use of bait, shooting/shining big game from a roadway, and a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass and Hubbard counties for deer-hunting activity. Area lakes were also worked for waterfowl-hunting activity.  

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) worked a busy deer-hunting opener weekend. Hunting success appeared to be lower than normal. 

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked deer and small-game hunters. Enforcement action was taken for damage to public property, no small-game license, and various deer-hunting violations. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports opening weekend of deer season was relatively quiet and slow in the northwoods, with few deer seen harvested. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, no license in personal possession, recreational deer feeding in a prohibited county, and transporting loaded firearm. 

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports working the busy rifle opener this past week. The much-anticipated opening weekend had many people out in stands. Simonson assisted neighboring officers with hunting over bait violations.  

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports one of the poorest deer seasons he can remember. Hunter participation was extremely low, and numerous camps were vacant. Zero deer were observed harvested during the weekend. Deer management continues to be a lively topic. 

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked small-game activity and the firearms deer season opener. Hunters reported few deer seen and fewer harvested. Strong winds and rain capped off the weekend, keeping many hunters from returning to their stands. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time investigating several deer-baiting and trespass complaints during the week. Lower-than-normal deer-hunting activity was observed during the opening rifle season with few deer being harvested in the area. Zavodnik assisted with a multi-agency search for an abducted child during the weekend. Just before an Amber Alert was sent out, Zavodnik, along with surrounding agencies, were able to locate and apprehend the suspect who was in possession of the child. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports hunting pressure during the deer firearms opener in the area of the Echo Trail was high. Nearly every pull-off and trailhead was occupied by a hunter. Reports from hunters were poor. Violations included false bill of sale for decorative materials, careless fire, hunting without a license in possession, and insufficient blaze orange.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) worked the firearms deer opener and checked whitefish nets throughout the week. The officer responded to several big-game hunting complaints. 

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) took calls on hunting and checked deer hunters and stands during a slow firearms opener. Manning checked hunters in Magney State Park and reminded several that firearms must be cased and unloaded in areas closed to hunting (like parking lots). She also responded with other wardens and deputies to handle an ongoing property line dispute that erupted into a yelling match; parties cooled down and dispersed. One hunter eventually was cited for placing bait and hunting over it right off the main trail used by his neighbors with whom he had been arguing.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy opening weekend of firearms deer season. A doe was seized that was taken in a buck-only area. An arrest was made of an individual illegally transporting spruce tops. The person had controlled substances in his possession. 

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked deer and grouse hunters on opening weekend of the firearms deer season. Complaints about treestands on WMAs, baiting, and off-hour ATV operation were received and checked. Assistance was given to local agencies with a fatal car crash.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) and COC Hudson Ledeen report a tough opening weekend of firearms deer season. Hunters reported seeing few deer and expressed frustrations about local wolf populations. Hill and Ledeen want to express their concern regarding the lack of blaze orange compliance throughout the weekend. One hunter even exited the woods without any blaze orange on, and had a loaded firearm on his ATV to boot. The officers also were disappointed to not see a single youth hunter, and want to remind sportspersons to bring a kid hunting. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) worked opening weekend of firearms deer season. Some hunters had deer hanging but most reported minimal deer movement. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked the firearms deer opener, checked waterfowl hunters, and monitored decorative materials activity. Hunter success was good. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy weekend of deer opener, with many hunters in the woods. Sutherland reminds hunters across the state to wear harnesses attached to the tree while high off the ground. One unlucky hunter fell asleep Sunday afternoon during the high winds, slanted forward, and fell to the ground from over 12 feet up. Luckily, he was able to slowly make it to a trail and call for help. 

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued field training with COC Andrew Ladzinski. Hochstein and Ladzinski assisted other agencies with multiple vehicle crashes and a vehicle fire on Highway 169. Many questions were fielded regarding the new CWD regulations for Itasca and Aitkin counties. 

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spent the week training with COC Ben Ulrich. They worked deer baits and TIP calls before the deer season opener. Along with other officers, they went to baited stands, and appropriate enforcement action was taken. 

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) patrolled the area for illegal bow cutting, deer shining, and worked the firearms deer opener. Elwell observed a slow opener, but some hunters found success. 

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) and COC Fontes had a busy week leading up to firearms deer opener. Many phone calls were taken regarding trespassing issues and general questions for the opener. Hunters seemed to have better success this year than last year. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) focused on deer-hunting activity this past week. During the opening weekend of firearms season, Sullivan contacted hunters who were transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, hunting deer with the aid of bait, and trespassing. During the investigations, firearms and illegally taken deer were seized. Sullivan also contacted a subject who was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance. Hunters reported seeing good numbers of deer. 

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time checking hunters during the busy firearms deer season opener. Many deer were seen in the bag throughout the area, and in talking with CWD check station staff, harvest was comparable to opener last year. 

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) worked the deer season opener. He assisted with an injured hunter and took calls about dumped deer carcasses. It’s a shame to see so many deer carcasses dumped in illegal places, because there are dumpsters at CWD check stations that provide a free and legal place to dispose the deer. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked a busy firearms deer opener and monitored angling activity. Guida fielded a trespassing complaint in which a landowner was posting public property for personal gain. In addition to the trespassing violation, the landowner contact revealed an untagged big-game animal hanging from a tree in his yard and the suspect failing to validate his big-game site tag. Enforcement action was taken.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) saw a busy firearms deer opener. Numerous hunters were checked, with enforcement action taken for hunting over bait, untagged deer, and violations of deer-feeding ban regulations.  

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked shining complaint areas and scouted for baited deer-hunting areas. An abandoned camper was found at a public water access parking lot.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) fielded various questions from the public prior to the firearms deer opener and investigated deer baiting complaints throughout the week. A report about a bear bait station left out on a WMA after the close of the season was investigated. A car-killed buck was discovered in the area with its antlers sawed off. As a reminder, it is illegal to cut off the antlers or possess a car-kill deer without a possession permit. 

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking hunters and anglers in the station. A baiting complaint was received and investigated, with enforcement action taken.  

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) had a busy firearms deer opener. Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded guns, untagged deer, hunting over bait, and ATV violations. A few hunters tried to save some money by not buying licenses. Along with hefty fines, these hunters will be revoked from hunting for three years. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) had a busy deer opener. While speaking with hunters on the illegal use of bait, one hunter stated that the pumpkins were there before the hunt began. When the officer addressed that they were not there in the days leading to gun opener, the subject stated that was because the new ones were from a local hardware store. He was advised of baiting laws and how they apply to gun hunting. 

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) and COC Tony Hams spent the week following up on baiting complaints and checking deer hunters. Violations encountered were hunting over bait, failure to validate tags, transporting loaded firearms, no blaze orange, and leaving stands in WMAs. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) worked metro area lakes and rivers for angling and hunting activities. He worked in District 18 during the firearms deer opener. 

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports a relatively calm firearms deer opener in the area. Assistance was given to hunters trying to recover wounded deer from posted private property.

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked deer hunters during the firearms deer opener. Fogarty found hunters in a closed area of the Minnesota Valley SRA. Hunters were educated and escorted out of the park.  

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) spent time checking deer hunters, anglers, and waterfowl hunters in the area. The rain and windy conditions made for a challenging weekend. Some violations encountered included multiple instances of motor vehicle trespass, illegal firearms use in an archery-only area, and a variety of licensing issues. 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking waterfowl and small-game hunters, and working the firearms deer opener. He handled complaints regarding deer carcasses being illegally dumped.  

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) worked small-game hunting throughout the week and got ready for firearms deer opener. The officer assisted in Morrison, Cass, and Todd counties during the weekend and responded to several calls. One call involved hunting over bait and another for shooting from a roadway toward a private property, which resulted in a trespass violation. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time working the firearms deer opener. K9 Earl conducted numerous evidence searches throughout the week for game, shell casings, and firearms. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports the firearms deer season started with a lot of hunting pressure but spotty success. Pheasant and waterfowl hunters are reminded to review the firearms deer season blaze-clothing requirements during that season.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking hunters of deer and pheasants. Firearms deer season opened with a good number of hunters taking to the field. Success seemed lower than expected considering that little corn remains in fields. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working deer-hunting activity during the firearms deer season opener. Violations from the weekend included shooting big game from a road, untagged deer, transporting loaded firearms, hunting deer over bait, hunting deer without a license, and tag validation issues.

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week prepping for 2022 deer opener. Additional time was spent on possession permits and working with the MPCA on a possible public water issue.

CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) received reports of common deer-hunting violations and requests for hunting law clarifications. He spent most of the week working deer, small-game, fishing, and ATV enforcement activities.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted firearms deer season checks and investigations. Multiple violations were documented. Waterfowl and small-game hunters were checked. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused primarily on deer-hunting enforcement. The first day of the firearms opening weekend saw lower numbers of deer harvested, likely due to rain and wind. 

CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports working the firearms deer season opener. Hunters are seeing varying success with few bucks taken. 

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent the week focusing on deer-hunting enforcement, including work crews with neighboring officers. Baiting deer remains a problem. Numerous baiting violations were encountered. High winds Sunday hampered hunter success. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) took a complaint about a turkey shot after the close of the fall season. The scene was investigated, and the turkey was found to have been shot with a rifle and left to waste. Metro COs assisted with identifying and interviewing the suspect and K9 Mack assisted with searching for evidence. The suspect admitted to the violations. 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working the deer opener. Heavy rain on Saturday made hunting miserable, and deer movement was poor at best. On Sunday the hunting picked up and most hunting groups harvested multiple deer. 

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) and COC Choua Khang spent this week working boating safety enforcement, fishing, and waterfowl hunting on the Mississippi River. 

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports a poor deer take due to weather for the first weekend of the first season. He followed up on several complaints about trespassing, road hunting, deer baiting, and hunting in closed areas. 

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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