Tuesday, February 7th, 2023
Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

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Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – December 2, 2022

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) assisted the Kittson County Sheriff’s Office with a call about two mature buck deer locked together. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to get close enough to go “hands-on” with the bucks, it was determined the only safe way to dislodge the antlers was with a well-placed long gun round. A Kittson County deputy struck the main beam of one of the bucks, breaking the rack and setting both deer free to fight another day. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking anglers and small-game and muzzleloader deer hunters this past week. Blackduck Lake has seen the most activity by early ice anglers, who are experiencing a slow bite and ice depths of about 4 to 6 inches. One group avoided a patch of ice when their chisel broke through the ice and revealed only about 21⁄2 inches in that location. Regas cautions anglers to use a chisel or spud to test and monitor ice conditions when venturing out on early ice. 

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports significant fishing pressure on Upper Red Lake. Fishing success dropped off quickly as angler pressure increased. 

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) patrolled with COC Paavola. Follow-up continued for cases from this year’s bear and firearms deer seasons. Time also was spent checking muzzleloader deer hunters and ice anglers. 

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) followed up on cases from the firearms deer season. Muzzleloader deer season activity was worked and time was spent conducting deer farm inspections. 

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week following up on cases from the deer season and checking first-ice anglers. Ice conditions improved slightly during the week, but warm conditions did not help during the weekend. Some muzzleloader hunters were seen during the weekend, but foggy conditions made hunting difficult in much of the area. Swedberg also assisted Becker County officers with a DUI arrest.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working small-game, migratory waterfowl, and deer-hunting enforcement. Time also was spent conducting deer farm inspections.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on wildlife management area and waterfowl production area activity. Follow-up continued on open cases. Area lakes were monitored for ice and angling activity. Ice conditions vary, with some lakes still open and others having iced over. 

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) reports minimal activity afield while checking pheasant, waterfowl, and muzzleloader deer hunters. A few ice anglers were checked upon returning to shore. They reported 2 to 4 inches of ice and no fish in the bucket.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) checked early ice anglers out on some first ice. Plautz also worked opening weekend of muzzleloader season, with scattered hunter activity. 

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) continued to monitor pheasant hunters through the week. Brown reports not many muzzleloader hunters out for the opener. Ice anglers have made an appearance.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked muzzleloader and archery deer hunters, pheasant hunters and ice anglers. Several lakes have frozen over but the ice is thin. Please use safety measures when venturing on the ice.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and pheasant and deer hunters. Additional time was spent investigating wetland violations and checking late-season waterfowl hunters. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports checking small-game and deer hunters. Anglers are starting to get out on the early ice as well. He would like anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to be aware of changing ice conditions during the early ice season and to make personal safety a priority. 

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) continued field training COC Znajda. They investigated cases of illegal deer dumping in addition to several unregistered deer. Loaded firearms in vehicles and untagged-deer investigations resulted in various enforcement action. Hunters are reminded to wear an adequate amount of blaze clothing during the muzzleloader season. 

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) continued to work on big-game cases from this fall. He also spent time winterizing station patrol boats and other seasonal equipment. Ice conditions remain poor in the area, and several lakes still have open water. 

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked muzzleloader deer hunters. One complaint about shooting deer from the roadway was investigated and eventually led to enforcement action taken for deer-hunting violations. A few ice anglers were seen out on the ice. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports it was quiet during the holiday and weekend with the deer muzzleloader season opening and the relatively nice weather. A few miscellaneous animal-related complaints were handled. He also answered questions about licenses, youth muzzleloader hunting, and trespass issues. 

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports spending time this past week monitoring muzzleloader deer hunting, trapping, and small-game hunting activity throughout the area. Nuisance/injured-animal complaints were handled, and trapping-related questions were answered.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports the muzzleloader deer hunt has started much like the regular firearms season came to a close: Hunters wondering where all the deer are. Quite a few grouse hunters were encountered, and they reported fair success. One landowner was enthusiastic to show Slatinski videos of a grouse that has taken a liking to him, jumping onto the front of his ATV or onto his pickup. 

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports the muzzleloader season started like the rifle season ended: No hunters observed and no deer. Lakes and streams have again begun to open, with open water noted and most snow melted. 

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) spent time maintaining and preparing station equipment for the upcoming seasons. Time also was spent assisting local law enforcement agencies, following up on calls, and investigating a trespass violation. 

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) and COC Coby Fontes conducted follow-up in reference to a trespassing complaint, which resulted in enforcement action being taken against a person who was attempting to take deer with a firearm after the close of the season. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports warmer weather arrived for the opening of the muzzleloader deer season. Few hunters were seen, and the pattern of little hunter success continued.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked ice anglers, grouse hunters, and deer hunters. Activity is low in the area. Time was spent on an ongoing investigation.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) wrapped up a slow deer season that ended with heavy snow for much of the area. A few snowmobile riders were out enjoying the early snow.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports conducting equipment maintenance throughout the week. Yearly training was completed. Hill issued a cease and desist order to a contractor for unpermitted work along Lake Superior.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping activity and monitored decorative materials harvesting in the area. Most area lakes are still unsafe for travel at this time. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked small-game hunters and a few anglers out taking their chances on some early ice. Spruce-top thefts were investigated. One spruce-top theft investigation led to a residence where an individual with an outstanding warrant was encountered. The individual was placed under arrest on the warrant and was found in possession of methamphetamine and a loaded handgun. Spruce tops were seized, along with equipment used in the theft. 

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks, checked anglers, and worked big-game hunters and ATV riders. Numerous game- and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Roemeling spent the week following up on a big-game violation case and a spruce-top theft case. Several smaller lakes in the area have frozen over and anglers have been having moderate success.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) followed up on complaints from the firearms deer season. Time also was spent investigating a TIP complaint of people illegally cutting decorative boughs and spruce tops.  

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) fielded TIP calls regarding ATV/OHM complaints, late shooting, and ongoing hunting complaints. One was found to be unfounded, the others remain ongoing. Enforcement action was taken for trespassing.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) assisted with deer-hunting complaints that came in after the firearms season and followed up on an ATV-trespass complaint involving a closed area. Duncan checked trapping areas and checked some trappers who were enjoying the access to open water.  

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) worked on follow-up investigations from the firearms deer season and prepared for the muzzleloader deer season. Nuisance-beaver complaints were fielded, as were ATV and OHM complaints. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spent time on outstanding deer-season complaints. Anglers were testing the ice and found some panfish-fishing success. 

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) saw a low number of hunters for the weekend muzzleloader opener. Grouse hunters were more common, as were squirrel hunters. 

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked the opening weekend of the muzzleloader deer season. Warm weather slowed the activity and slowed ice formation. Guida continued following up on deer-feeding and hunting-with-aid-of-bait violations. An ATVer was stopped after the driver was observed failing to stop at three public road intersections and the front tires of the ATV were observed leaving the ground.

CO Calie Cook (Crosslake) spent time checking hunters in the area. The warmer weather brought small-game hunters back out, as well as muzzleloader deer hunters for opening weekend. Cook took enforcement action for transporting a loaded firearm, lend-borrow deer-hunting licenses, and hunting without a small-game license. 

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time doing equipment maintenance and following up on big-game cases. Litter complaints were followed up on. Griffith would like to give a reminder to keep safety in mind now that ice is beginning to form on waters across the state. 

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) investigated post-deer-season reports from the public. Issues of illegally dumped deer, trespass, and hunting over bait were called in from concerned hunters and landowners. Illegal bough cutting also was investigated.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked fishing via boat, fishing via ice, and checked duck hunters. A new regulation on limits is in place for panfish on Shakopee Lake, and anglers should refresh their knowledge of regulations before taking fish. Muzzleloader season was under way with a few nice bucks harvested. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) and COC Tony Hams spent time checking pheasant and deer hunters. Hunters reported limited success. A shining complaint was also fielded and is under investigation. 

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked on TIP calls concerning baiting. He also worked duck-hunting activity and pheasant hunting in the area. He took calls concerning a deer that was ear-tagged and appeared to be tame in western Stearns County.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking hunters and the first ice anglers of the season. Muzzleloader deer season started slowly, with only a few deer harvested. Bertram also assisted the Saskatchewan DNR with an investigation. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) checked some trappers who were targeting various furbearers. Through checking the sets with the trapper, it was noticed that there were some violations. The trapper was educated and continued on his way.

CO Blong Lor (Center City) spent the week checking waterfowl and big-game hunters. Time also was spent following up on a wetland violation.

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) focused patrols on deer and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent checking a few ice anglers and issuing wildlife-related permits. Ice on area lakes is not safe. Several individuals broke through the ice on multiple area lakes. 

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking deer hunters. Hunters were reporting moderate success with the recent weather shift. Enforcement action was taken for hunting without a license, shooting from a roadway, hunting over bait, and several tagging/validation violations. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked deer hunters and small-game hunters. Fogarty also assisted Sibley and Scott counties on emergency calls and participated in Honor Guard training with the State Patrol.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) continued field training COC Bulthuis this week. With warmer weather returning, ATV riders were out in full force. One ATVer was observed doing doughnuts in a boat launch parking lot. Upon further investigation, several ATV-related violations were found. The ATV was not displaying valid registration, was multiple riders over capacity, contained unrestrained juveniles without helmets, and was found to be trespassing on park property. Enforcement action was taken. 

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) continued working hunting activity. He worked in southeastern Minnesota for the last day of the “B” season and opening weekend of the muzzleloader season.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on big-game and angling activity during the week. Training continued with COC Cornell. Enforcement action included license and stamp violations and taking trout out of season.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) continued field training with COC Andrew Ladzinski. They attended a local angler monthly meeting and answered various questions. Ladzinski spoke for a DNR ice safety video and they patrolled local WMAs and conducted multiple big-game, fishing, and waterfowl checks. 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking waterfowl, deer, and small-game hunters. He handled several injured-animal calls, fielded questions about road right of way access, and issued car-killed deer-possession permits. 

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) reports lots of waterfowl hunters were making the most of the last week of duck season. Most hunters were seen with small bags of birds.

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking hunters. Muzzleloader deer season has begun and both deer and pheasant hunters filled the fields. Several violations were addressed relating to both.

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) primarily worked pheasant- and deer-hunting enforcement this past week. Nice weather had many pheasant and deer hunters out during the holiday weekend. Muzzleloader deer hunters appeared to have decent success during the opening weekend. 

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working deer-hunting activity. K9 training was attended in the Brainerd area. K9 Earl assisted with evidence searches for game and firearms. Assistance was given to local law enforcement with trespass and theft of property.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked lots of pheasant hunters taking advantage of the nice weather. Other time was spent checking a few ice anglers venturing onto the ice. Anglers are reminded to check the ice conditions themselves this time of year before heading out. 

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) focused patrol efforts on big-game investigations and ATVing activity. Local lakes have seen some activity from ice anglers, but anglers are cautioned about thin ice. 

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) fielded numerous calls during the past week related to trapping and muzzleloader hunting. Waterfowl hunters experienced a heavy push of waterfowl into the area and were able to take advantage of field hunting with good success. The Talcot Lake WMA area in particular had high numbers of hunters and waterfowl. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week checking deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent patrolling for fishing and ATVing activity.

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on ATV, small-game, and deer-hunting enforcement. Geese have been active in the Rochester area, with a handful of large flocks seen flying through into the Root River area.

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) continued training COC Adam Stennett this week. They followed up on various deer-hunting complaints and checked area lakes for ice conditions. They also assisted the Iowa DNR with enforcement work along the Minnesota/Iowa border. 

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) reports a residency fraud violation was investigated. Ramaker also assisted Wisconsin DNR and Texas Fish and Wildlife with hunting investigations. 

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) spent time checking deer hunters and goose hunters. Goose hunting has continued to be good in the Rochester area.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports that during the last week of the duck season, a duck hunter located a cased shotgun and chair left at a boat landing. The shotgun and chair were given to Hemker. A day later, Hemker was contacted by another duck hunter in search of the shotgun that he accidentally left at a landing because he was in a rush. The shotgun was returned.

CO Derek Schneider (Zumbrota) continues to receive calls regarding deer hunters shooting from their vehicles and off of roadways. Assistance was provided at a hunting accident where a hunter fell from his treestand. 

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of flying wolf pack survey flights. Jensen monitored ice conditions across portions of the state from the air, and is investigating an aeration system being operated in a public water body.

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