Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 25, 2022

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked deer hunters during the last week of the firearms deer season. Hunter numbers were low with the snow and cold weather. 

CO Corey Sura (Baudette) continued work on the firearms deer season, fielding complaints including hunter-harassment and shooting after legal shooting hours. Sura anticipates a quick transition to early season ice fishing and wants to remind anglers to keep ice and cold-water safety in mind during the upcoming weeks.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued to work firearms deer activity in the area and conducted follow-up on open cases. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, an untagged big-game animal, allowing a juvenile to unlawfully possess a firearm, feeding deer during the feeding ban, and operating an unregistered snowmobile.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports a slow end to the firearms deer season. The weather has turned a lot of focus onto the ice conditions on Upper Red Lake. The ice is not safe yet and caution should be taken prior to venturing onto any ice.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) patrolled with COC Matt Paavola, following up on cases from the firearms deer season. Time also was spent fielding calls about trespass complaints and beaver permits. 

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports taking several calls from waterfowl hunters asking about public access via road rights of way, and calls from lakeshore property owners asking what distances from residences waterfowl hunters must be. The right-of-way issue was explained, and it’s up to the person wishing to access from a particular road to determine whether or not the body of water falls within the right of way. DNR Fisheries staff asked if CO Vinton could relay lakes that are beginning to ice over so staff can begin with winter angling surveys.  

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working small-game, migratory waterfowl- and archery deer-hunting enforcement. Time also was spent following up on open investigations from the firearms deer season.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) conducted deer-season follow-up investigations and reports this past week. Questions regarding the upcoming muzzleloader season and waterfowl hunting were fielded. Additional time was spent working wetland violation restoration orders and hunting complaints. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) followed up on deer carcass-dumping complaints and trespass complaints. Lakes were monitored for early ice-fishing activity.  

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) worked on deer-season investigations, reports, and follow-up. A complaint about people not registering deer was received. Smaller bodies of water have begun to freeze. Please keep safety in mind when venturing out because ice is never 100% safe.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued field training COC Anderson. They focused on completing deer-hunting investigations, waterfowl enforcement, and public access concerns. Area ponds and lakes are showing signs of skim ice. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking deer, waterfowl, and pheasant hunters. Baumbarger fielded calls from people with questions related to using night vision for predator hunting and the upcoming muzzleloader season.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked deer hunting, OHV enforcement, and small-game hunting and trapping. Activity seen was much less this week as the firearms season ended. 

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked and investigated big-game hunting activity. She also served a restoration order. Enforcement action was taken for an untagged deer. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to check deer hunters. Some late-season duck hunters were checked. They reported slow hunting. A report about an injured swan was received. 

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) continued field training COC Znajda. They handled multiple dogs-chasing-deer complaints, with various enforcement action taken. People are reminded, as a safety precaution, that it is a good idea to wear orange when walking in public woods during firearms deer seasons. Enforcement action was taken for cutting down vegetation on WMAs.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports the regular firearms deer season came to a quiet close with cold weather moving into the area. Overall, it appears the local harvest rates were lower than previous years. The area has seen enough snow to bring out some snowmobile traffic. 

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports spending time this past week monitoring deer-hunting activity, trapping activity, and grouse hunters. ATVing activity was also monitored throughout the week.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports an uptick in deer movement as the firearms season ended. The number of hunters on the last days also appeared to be up compared with previous seasons. Overall for the season, the number of hunting complaints was down for the area. Several individuals contacted were not giving up for the year and planned on shifting gears and dusting off their muzzleloaders for another try.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports the firearms deer season came to a close much like it started, with few hunters, if any, out hunting, no deer observed harvested, and numerous complaints about a lack of deer.  

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) checked deer hunters the last week of deer season. Larson focused on working road hunters and doing game checks. He followed up on complaints related to vehicles on trails and found violations relating to this. He also encountered ATV-related violations and investigated several state park violations. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia), along with COC Fontes, continued to work on a trespass case from the previous week and worked a waterfowling and angling detail during the week. Fontes and Zavodnik also worked the third weekend of the rifle season in the area. 

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring deer-hunting and trapping activity. Few deer hunters were encountered during the last week of the firearms deer season. Deer hunters who were out continued to report limited success. Many hunters reported seeing more wolves than deer. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports the last week of the regular firearms deer season fizzled into the least active weekend of any deer season in memory. Miles of empty, snow-covered roads and clear-cut pull-ins revealed that hunters’ interest did not return after a disappointing first week of the season. Few hunters were contacted and fewer still reported seeing deer. 

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) patrolled backroads and visited deer camps. Combining low deer numbers and large amounts of snow in Cook County, hunting success was low. He also responded to complaints and followed up on big-game investigations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) wrapped up a snowy finish to the firearms deer season. Extreme snow depths inland hampered access and good hunting for many. 

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily firearms deer hunters throughout the past week. Time also was spent on a search warrant for an ongoing investigation. 

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked grouse and deer hunters as winter began and deer season drew to a close. Hunters reported tough conditions and low deer activity. 

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked deer-season and trapping activity during the week. Deer were moving a bit more this week in the cold weather, but not many hunters were encountered the final weekend of the firearms season. Ice continues to form on area lakes but varies greatly and must be checked frequently.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) continued checking deer hunters and saw an increase in deer-harvest numbers as the season came to a close. As the season went on, increasing numbers of trespassing complaints and after-hours gunshot reports came in. Enforcement action was taken for transporting unregistered deer, failure to register deer, and traffic violations. With smaller area lakes and ponds beginning to freeze, people are reminded not to venture onto the ice because this puts not only you at risk, but also bystanders and first responders as well.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Roemeling worked a busy last week of the firearms deer season. Enforcement action was taken for taking a deer out of season, an overlimit of deer, unregistered deer, tags that weren’t validated, ATV-related violations, deer-feeding ban violations, transporting loaded firearms, and theft of spruce tops.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) monitored the second week of the deer firearms season. The success rate seemed to improve slightly from the first week. 

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw hunting activity decrease this week because the weather was particularly harsh with wind and snow. The hunters who were out seemed to have some success. 

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) finished the rifle season with a relatively quiet final weekend. He assisted district officers with a baiting case and responded to complaints about shooting from the roadway. Complaints about trespass and deer-dumping were investigated. 

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued working the firearms deer season throughout the week. Calls were answered regarding trespass, license types, and night-shining complaints. Duncan assisted with legal access to retrieve deer for two different hunting groups. A few nights were worked at complaint locations of past deer-shining areas. Time also was spent investigating deer-baiting locations. 

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) worked the final week of the firearms deer season, checking hunters and patrolling the area for illegal shining activity. Trespassing calls were also investigated

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports deer hunters and waterfowl hunters were in the area, enjoying time outdoors as the firearms and waterfowl seasons come to a close. Hunters reported that deer movement was minimal but reported some success.  

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) patrolled for deer-hunting and waterfowl-hunting activity this past week. Guida addressed deer-feeding complaints and also checked on baited deer-hunting stands. 

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) spent the week checking deer hunters. There were fewer hunters than the past two weekends, and those who braved the cold weren’t seeing many deer. 

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time checking deer hunters throughout the week. Success rates were low, but people were still happy to be out in the stands. Cook wants to remind people that ice is starting to form on lakes in the area, but it does not mean it is safe to go out.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Gregory Verkuilen (Garrison) continued checking deer hunters. There were complaints about baiting, trespassing, and hunting after the season closed. 

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) continued monitoring firearms deer season activities. Fewer hunters were observed throughout the week with the cold weather. Griffith followed up on trespass complaints, littering cases, and burning prohibited materials violations.  

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked the last weekend of the firearms deer season and found some tagging and registration issues. Ice fishing had started and some anglers were found throwing common sense to the wind with regards to what safe ice truly is.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) conducted follow-up investigations from the firearms deer season. Westby also assisted partners with their investigations in the Little Falls area. Time was spent preparing for the winter season. Many lakes in the area have started to freeze over but still are not safe for travel. 

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) and COC Tony Hams spent time during the week following up on deer hunting-related cases. Hams participated in a deer farm inspection with CO Chad Thesing. 

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers, pheasant hunters, and archery deer hunters. Poor weather through the week kept activity to a minimum. The lakes in the area started to freeze over. Several calls about deer on ice came in on Sunday, where deer were injured and couldn’t get up. Assistance was given to a Nebraska game warden on a deer case involving a Minnesota resident. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Clint Fitzgerald (Buffalo) spent the week checking waterfowl and pheasant hunters. A large number of treestands that were left unattended overnight on WMAs were seized. Additionally, Fitzgerald followed up on a report of a hunter taking an overlimit of deer. Enforcement action for that case is pending. 

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent a busy week checking deer hunters. Deer hunters were finding it difficult to spend time in the woods with the frigid temperatures. However, those who did were often rewarded with a successful hunt. Krauel was also surprised to see multiple anglers out on one lake with dangerously thin ice. Krauel would like to remind anglers that the DNR suggests at least 4 inches of clear, new ice before walking out onto the ice, and that no ice is ever 100% safe. Krauel would also like to remind anglers that no fish is worth a cold November swim in the lake.

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) continued to check late-season hunters. One hunter was observed carrying a rifle and shotgun but wearing only a partial blaze orange hat. The hunter advised they were grouse hunting but would shoot a deer if they saw one. They were advised of the blaze orange/pink rule and how unsafe it is to wear only a hat during hunting season. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on big-game activity during the week. He continued working with COC Dallas Cornell and checked deer hunters and small-game hunters during the B season opener. 

CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time working big-game and waterfowl hunters. Follow-up was conducted on big-game-related violations from opening weekend. 

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled for hunting and fishing activities. He spent time following up on several violations, performed maintenance on his patrol vehicle, took TIP calls, and answered hunting-related questions. 

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for hunting activity. He continued investigation of an overlimit-of-deer case, baiting cases, and a hunter-harassment/baiting case. Enforcement action was taken for several violations throughout the week.

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) continued field training with COC Andrew Ladzinski. They checked local anglers along the Minnesota River regarding complaints about illegal net use. They also fielded two complaints about hunter-harassment issues. Wildlife feeding continues to be an issue in residential neighborhoods in regards to the CWD feeding ban. 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking deer hunters and following up on recent TIP calls. He issued several deer-possession permits, handled nuisance-animal complaints, and addressed a trespassing issue. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week following up with ongoing deer investigations. K9 Earl spent time conducting evidence searches for game. Extreme caution should be used when venturing onto early ice. 

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking hunters. Firearms deer season investigations continue. Several violations were addressed related to deer and pheasant hunting. 

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) worked sportfishing and pheasant-hunting enforcement this past week. Deer cases were followed up on. Many of the smaller lakes are frozen over. Enforcement action was taken for an illegal-sized minnow trap.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working pheasant, waterfowl, and archery deer-hunting activity. Some ice-fishing activity started late in the week, but most lakes still have open-water spots. 

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this week checking hunters in the area. She also spent time following up on ongoing cases and responding to TIP calls. Additional time was spent speaking to high school seniors at a career fair.

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) focused time on big- and small-game hunting enforcement. Other activities included patrolling for ATV riders and migratory waterfowl hunters. The end of the week concluded with phone calls about CWD zones and the upcoming muzzleloader deer season. 

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) continued to work on deer cases from the recent firearms season. Numerous deer-possession tags were issued this past week. Ice angling activity has begun with very limited ice on lakes. Anglers are urged to use extreme caution. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports checking local lakes and public lands. Lusignan also checked deer hunters during the season B opener.  

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) continued to follow up on deer cases throughout the past week. Some ATV and angling activity was worked. Trespassing continues to be an issue.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) continued training COC Adam Stennett this week. They worked the end of the 200 series firearms deer season. The officers checked area lakes that were freezing over quickly and found one angler trying his luck on the remaining bits of open water.  

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) responded to a TIP complaint of a possible road hunter. Upon arrival in the area, a gunshot was heard close by. A road hunter was found attempting to take a deer during the closed season, and had just fired from the window of a vehicle. Another call involved a hunter who missed a deer standing on a hill crest. The slug traveled through an occupied shed. 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a quiet 3B opener. Hunter numbers seemed much lower than previous years. 

CO Brittany Hauser (Red Wing) spent the week following up on various hunting complaints from the A season. Time also was spent working a very cold B season opener.  

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) checked B season deer hunters throughout the weekend. Groups with three generations of hunters were braving the cold weather and high winds to fill their tags and freezers.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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