Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 18, 2022
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked deer hunters in Roseau, Kittson, Marshall, Beltrami, and Lake of the Woods counties. Violations for the week included transporting a loaded firearm, shooting from a road, leaving a camper unattended on a wildlife management area campground, hunting from a permanent scaffold on a WMA, and trespass.
CO Corey Sura (Baudette) investigated several deer-hunting related complaints including shining, shooting from a roadway, trespassing, and carcass dumping. The bays of Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River have developed ice, but much of the ice is poor and cloudy due to mixed precipitation in the area. Please remember to keep ice and cold-water safety in mind as we roll into the hard-water season.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working deer-hunting and trapping activities this past week. Time was spent investigating TIP information and handling an injured-eagle call. The eagle was transported to a rehabber for treatment of a broken wing. He also assisted DNR Wildlife staff locate and recover an ill deer, which Wildlife staff wanted for diagnostic testing.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports a slow conclusion to the deer season. A few complaints about dogs running in the woods, and hunters shooting from the road and trespassing were taken.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking deer hunters and duck hunters. Area deer hunters struggled to find deer while battling some tough conditions in the woods. Swedberg worked several big-game cases involving deer being shot from roadways and trespassing.
CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) focused on firearms deer-hunting activity, with hunters reporting fair success. WMAs and WPAs were patrolled for activity. Complaints about deer stands and driving in WMAs and shooting from the road were received.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) reports a successful investigation was carried out this week in conjunction with a North Dakota Fish and Wildlife Department game warden involving a nonresident shooting a deer in Minnesota without a license.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) continued working deer hunting and related activities throughout a wild week of weather fronts. Late week and into the weekend produced a significant increase in waterfowl presence and deer activity. Multiple baiting cases were investigated, with citations issued.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) finalized another deer season with hunters having mixed success through the area. Several hunter-harassment issues and dogs-running-at-large complaints were handled during the week.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked deer hunters and ATV riders. Deer-hunting activity picked up for the last weekend. Deer baiting, failure to register deer, no blaze orange, using full metal jacket rounds, driving while intoxicated, and hunting while intoxicated violations were encountered.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were focused on checking deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters.
District 4 – Walker area
CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports seeing fewer hunters and fewer harvested deer as the firearms deer season concluded. He received numerous calls and complaints from people regarding trespassing and injured wildlife.
CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) patrolled Cass County for big-game and waterfowl-hunting activity. Hunters are reporting mixed success throughout the area.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked deer hunters. Several deer hunters were looking for deer on roadways, which isn’t the right place to be looking. Two separate TIP calls led to enforcement action taken in both incidents for shooting a deer from a roadway.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the second weekend of the deer season was much like the first: slow. The first major winter storm of the year could be a contributing factor as people weren’t willing to venture out in the wind and cold. However, some people did, and some continue to not be able to follow the rules. Enforcement action was taken for illegal party hunting, borrowing and lending licenses, hunting over bait, transporting a loaded firearm, operating an ATV during closed hours, shooting a big-game animal from a road right of way, and allowing illegal juvenile ATV operation.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports deer hunting was the main focus this past week. Many hunters were contacted, with most concerned about the lack of deer and perceived abundance of predators. Reports were consistently negative, with pockets of success. The forecasted winter storm caused some people to leave hunting camps early to avoid being caught in difficult conditions like those of last year.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) and COC Fontes spent time conducting big-game enforcement. Trespassing concerns were also investigated. A traffic stop was initiated on a vehicle due to an egregious driving offense. During the stop, a loaded firearm was observed in plain view. The driver was found to have a canceled-inimical to public safety driver’s license status, and was also found to be a convicted felon who was prohibited from possessing a firearm. An arrest and enforcement action followed.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring deer hunting, trapping, and ATVing activity. Few deer hunters were observed in the field this week. Deer-hunting success is low. Broughten received a call from an individual who was surprised by a bear while he was picking cranberries. The individual was concerned people might not be aware of this bear activity. The individual was told that it is not uncommon to find bears near berries.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports deer-hunting pressure continued to be high throughout the week – right up the point the area received heavy freezing rain followed by snow and much lower temperatures.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked firearms deer hunters and a few small-game hunters. Deer harvest numbers remain low in the Cook County area.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports another slow week for deer hunters. She took a report about hunter harassment by an area landowner and a person with questions about the legality of food plots that include vegetables. Manning also located a pile of trash and household furniture dumped on an area WMA. Anyone with information is asked to call.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked predominately deer-hunting activity throughout the week. Overall hunter numbers seemed lower than typical, and harvest continues to be low. Enforcement action included discharging a firearm from a roadway at a deer, possession of an open bottle, and failure to display watercraft registration.
CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked deer and grouse hunters as the weather changed toward winter. Questions were fielded about the dumping of animal carcasses, beaver damage, ATV use, and access to state and federal land.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked deer-season activity along the North Shore this week. Hunting success improved with cooler weather and better hunting conditions.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) received a report that an individual shot a deer from a farm field without permission. Brown investigated the complaint and located the suspect and found the deer at the suspect’s residence. Two individuals were cited for agricultural trespass, lend/borrow of a deer license, and shooting a big-game animal from a motor vehicle. The deer and a firearm were seized.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and checked anglers, big-game hunters, and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish-related questions were answered.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Roemeling worked a busy second week of the firearms deer season. A lot of hunters were observed in the field, but the deer harvest appeared low. Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms and illegally transporting deer. Questions were fielded regarding CWD testing and carcass-movement restrictions.
CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) received littering complaints involving deer hunters discarding deer carcasses in random places, such as public accesses, trailheads, and on public and private lands. Holt took several injured-animal complaints and followed up on open cases.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to focus on deer-hunting activity. As the season goes on, success rates have improved, but are still low overall. Most hunters contacted in the field were in good spirits and seemed to be enjoying themselves, but said they had been seeing few deer.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) worked deer-hunting activity this past week. Many hunters were afield and success was decent. TIP calls were fielded and an investigation was started regarding a property dispute.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) finished the second weekend of the deer season with investigations involving hunting over bait, trespass, and party hunting violations. Weather conditions stabilized a bit into the weekend and deer seemed to be moving.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the week working deer-hunting enforcement throughout the district. Several work details with neighboring officers were completed involving a variety of illegal deer-hunting activities. Some of the violations involved hunting deer over bait, illegal party hunting, night deer shining, and trespass. Duncan also met with many honest and ethical hunters throughout the week enjoying their hunting traditions.
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time this week working deer-hunting activity. Common violations were for trespassing. Please read the regulation books and legally post your land. There has been a lot of garbage left/thrown out in the Chengwatana State Forest.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) worked the busy firearms deer season. Waterfowl hunting in the area also was monitored. Guida received TIP calls about illegal dumping of deer carcasses. A sick deer was reported to Brainerd DNR Wildlife for examination. Guida worked with another conservation officer on the seizure of a large white-tailed deer from an area taxidermist that was taken in an overlimit violation. The violator shot the deer, their second buck in the season, with illegal equipment and also solicited an individual to purchase a license to tag it after the taking. Both individuals are subject to criminal charges with large fines, restitution, and forfeiture of the deer and used equipment.
CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) continued checking deer hunters throughout the week. Success was average throughout the area. Multiple violations were found, including taking an overlimit of deer, transporting a loaded firearm, and failure to register deer. Cook also responded to calls about hunters falling from deer stands.
CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent most of the week focused on checking deer hunters. The second weekend had much better weather and fewer hunters compared with the opener. Lakes are freezing and ducks are moving through the area.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) continued to check deer hunters and ATV-riding activity. Protected landings were starting to ice up but some anglers were still doing well during the late-season bite. The cold front also brought out duck hunters who were taking advantage of the Lake Mille Lacs open-water exemption.
CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) continued working a busy firearms deer season. Hunting success picked up throughout the week. Griffith responded to complaints about felons being in possession of firearms, hunting without a licenses, hunting over bait, and target shooting.
CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) finished his training period with COC Bulthuis. Benkofske also assisted with the recovery of the body of a missing man in the area.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) reports deer hunting continued with some tagging violations found. Starr investigated a situation in which a deer hunter looked through the scope of his rifle at another hunter. This type of action is not safe and could result in criminal charges.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) continued to work the deer season. It started slowly, but after the temperatures dropped more deer were seen by most hunters. Several calls were taken regarding trespassing and hunter harassment.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) focused on deer-season activity and waterfowl-hunting activity. He assisted neighboring officers with baiting, lending and borrowing, and trespassing cases.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) finished training with COC Anderson. Poor midweek weather kept deer-hunting activity to a minimum. Activity picked up during the weekend. Several groups were found with untagged deer and transporting loaded guns in motor vehicles. A deer that broke through thin ice was rescued on a small pond.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled Isanti County for baiting complaints. Hanna came upon a vehicle with pumpkins in the backseat. It was parked on the side of a road. Hanna investigated by walking in where the hunter was believed to be and located a male hunting over pumpkins. He was advised of the hunting laws, and a firearm was seized.
CO Clint Fitzgerald (Buffalo) spent the week checking deer, waterfowl, and pheasant hunters. A few nice bucks were checked. Enforcement action was taken for taking deer with the aid of bait, taking a deer overlimit, lend/borrow a site tag, and transporting loaded firearms.
CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week working big-game and waterfowl hunters. Time also was spent following up on trespassing complaints.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) began field training with COC Mason Bulthuis this past week. Birdsall and Bulthuis followed up on a hunting complaint. While in the area of the complaint, they observed a male pour a bag of corn on the ground roughly 10 yards from a deer stand and begin hunting out of the stand directly in front of the corn. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer with the aid of bait and not wearing blaze orange while deer hunting.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent time this past week checking deer hunters and waterfowl hunters and following up on complaints. Violations included failure to validate a deer tag and no life jacket in a waterfowl boat.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) began field training with COC Andrew Ladzinski. They checked local deer and waterfowl hunters in the area and also dealt with multiple fishing violations on the Mississippi River. Time also was spent dealing with CWD deer-feeding ban issues, a hunter-harassment complaint, and a submerged watercraft.
CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) continued to work the firearms deer season. He investigated two different calls regarding trespassing with the potential of other hunting violations. No violations were found for either case. A deer was seized from a person who self-reported an overlimit of deer. The person took two deer when he thought he had two licenses, but he did not.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking firearms and archery deer hunters. He also issued several car-killed deer-possession permits, addressed trespassing issues, and handled a trapping complaint.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports the firearms deer season was the main enforcement focus during the week. Time also was spent working pheasant- and waterfowl-hunting activity. Deer hunters dealt with wind, rain, sleet, snow, and cold weather to finish the firearms season.
CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time working the firearms deer season and angling activity. Complaints about trespass, shooting from a roadway/motor vehicle, no blaze orange, and license and registration issues were fielded. K9 Earl conducted numerous evidence searches throughout the week.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) worked alongside COC Jesse Drown. Time was spent checking deer hunters for the remainder of the firearms season. The cold weather seemed to enhance deer movement and provide plenty of hunting opportunities.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked lots of deer hunters during the week, along with some pheasant hunters and duck hunters who were getting in their last hunts before ponds fully freeze over.
CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week working big- and small-game hunters. Other activities checked included ATV riding and trapping. The end of the week concluded with deer season enforcement and multiple reminders to hunters about wearing sufficient blaze orange when in the field.
CO Dustin Miller (Windom) continued to work a busy deer opener. Colder weather improved hunter success and even covered smaller bodies of water with sheets of ice. With the large number of hunters contacted, a high violation rate was encountered among deer hunters.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) spent much of the week checking pheasant- and deer-hunting activities. Pheasant hunters were out in higher numbers this past weekend.
CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) focused on deer-hunting and recreational vehicle activity. VanThuyne also checked waterfowl hunters and responded to numerous complaints.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) finished working with COC Dallas Cornell this week. The officers checked hunters, anglers, and ATV operators during the week.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) handled a complaint about hunters pointing firearms out of a vehicle. The driver was arrested for DWI, and multiple loaded firearms were located in the vehicle. A stolen shotgun also was recovered. A TIP call was received about two hunters without blaze orange. The hunters were found to be without licenses and had taken a deer. Another hunting case involved taking a buck on a DNR scientific and natural area, which is closed to hunting.
CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) checked waterfowl and deer hunters. Trespass, hunting after hours, and tagging and registration violations were investigated. Ramaker responded to a column of black smoke in Pine Creek that was seen by observers in La Crosse. Railroad ties, telephone poles and tires were being burned. The responsible party stated he should have waited until after dark. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports spending the week working with COC Ryan Christenson. They checked deer and duck hunters, as well as anglers. One duck hunter reported shooting a duck with two bands and a research GPS on it.