Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – December 23, 2022

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) continued field training with COC Hams. They spent time during the week checking anglers and following up on various complaints. Violations encountered were angling without a license, trapping without a license, extra  fishing line, failure to transfer ownership, and littering. 

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports monitoring trapping activity, deer-hunting activity during the disease management Deer Permit Area 184 hunt, and angling activity on area lakes. The recent heavy, wet snow has brought slush issues to many lakes, which is posing a challenge for many anglers. The cold weather that followed is helping with travel on lakes. 

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports the fisher/pine marten season began with trappers having difficulties getting to trapping areas due to the snow.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) continued field training with COC Andrew Ladzinski. Time was spent patrolling local lakes on snowmobile. Multiple shelter violations were observed, and owners were notified. Patrols were conducted on Upper Red Lake. Enforcement action was taken for an unregistered deer.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) continued field training COC Znajda. They are starting to see more snowmobile riders, with enforcement action taken at times. The officers are still seeing anglers, even with the deep slush on area lakes.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking snowmobilers and ice anglers. Ice conditions changed for the worse during the week, as the area received between 15 and 20 inches of snow. Area lakes are full of slush and water, and several inlets/outlets have opened up, creating dangerous conditions. Area snowmobile riders also report somewhat challenging conditions on area trails as heavy snow/ice has damaged trees and made some trails impassable.

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

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) watched fish houses disappear as fast as they appeared on area lakes. Heavy snow and slush made conditions tough, but below-zero temperatures should improve things. 

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) found several individuals bringing fish houses off of area lakes where there was a lot of flooding. 

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) reports checking snowmobiling and angling activity throughout the week. Ice conditions are improving, but some spots are still unstable. Vehicles breaking through the ice have been reported. Use caution when venturing out. 

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobile riders. Recent heavy snowfalls have made trails decent, and lots of snowmobile riders have been observed and checked. Anglers are getting around slowly with heavy slush on almost all area lakes. Several anglers in both Douglas and Todd counties were cited for possessing illegal substances as well as angling with too many lines. 

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers, snowmobile operators, and pheasant hunters. Additional time was spent checking bowhunters and fielding calls related to area ice conditions. 

District 4 – Walker area

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) spent time checking anglers. Slush has developed in many areas of the lakes after the latest heavy snowfall, creating difficult traveling conditions in spots. Four to 12 inches of ice was seen or reported. A hunter-harassment call was also received. 

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports following up on big-game-related concerns, checking anglers, and conducting snowmobile enforcement. 

CO Corey Sura (Remer) continued investigation of a deer hunting-related complaint. Ice anglers were checked. Several groups of snowmobile riders were out enjoying the first big snow of the year. The trails have plenty of snow – and just as many fallen trees due to the amount of wet, heavy snowfall received in the area. 

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) saw limited fishing activity, with the winter storm keeping people and shelters off the ice. Approximately 12 to 16 inches of wet, heavy snow were received locally, causing obstructions to the trails. 

CO Michael Cross (Lake George) worked the late-season CWD hunt, conducted snowmobile patrol, and checked traps as the annual bobcat and fisher season opened. Limited success was seen with the CWD hunt with the recent snowfall and colder weather. Additionally, Cross conducted local area taxidermy inspections. 

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports time was spent on Lake of the Woods, checking ice-fishing activity. Ice fishing on Rainy Lake has been minimal, with most people getting things ready for spearing. 

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports working the marten, fisher, and bobcat opener this past weekend and checking anglers on area lakes and rivers. Area lakes and rivers have become slushy, with the recent snowfall making travel difficult in some areas. Simonson would like to remind people of the current whitetail feeding ban in Koochiching County. If you are going to feed birds, you must follow the guidelines and take measures to keep deer from having access to bird feeders. 

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports the recent snowfall in the northern part of the state has created potentially hazardous conditions for several outdoor activities. The depth of snow has slowed the creation of ice on area waterways, with open water noted on several area trails that cross swamps and ponds. At least one snowmobile was located in the water after the rider attempted to cross a pond along the trail. Slush is also prevalent, creating difficult conditions for anglers and the spearing crowd. Trapping activity is rather slow, and areas are more difficult to access due to trees drooping across trails due to the heavy snow.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports heavy snow hit the area. A number of forest roads are not passable due to heavy snow and downed trees and brush. Heavy slush and a foot of heavy, wet snow fell on newly formed ice. Anglers have already begun trying to jack up fish houses to prevent water from freezing houses in. Deer are now belly-deep in snow as movement is limited. Wolf activity is high.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling, snowmobiling, and trapping enforcement. Anglers had a tough week with the large amount of snowfall that occurred throughout the week causing slush on Lake Vermilion.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring ice fishing, trapping, and snowmobiling. Few trappers and anglers were encountered in the field. Recent heavy snowfall has created deep slush on area lakes. 

District 6 – Two Harbors area

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) took reports about car-kill deer and bobcats. She also assisted with firearms qualifications at Camp Ripley. Visitors to the North Shore are reminded to check before venturing onto unfamiliar roads that are more than likely snowmobile access-only.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) continued field training with COC Jesse Drown. They worked angling, snowmobiling, and trapping enforcement. The big snow event made it difficult for trappers to get in the woods. A trespass complaint was investigated and resolved.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a warning was issued for allowing a smoldering fire in Lutsen. Trappers were out in force this weekend, and multiple fisher and pine marten traplines were checked. Compliance was great. 

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked people spearing and ice fishing, monitored ATVing and snowmobiling activity, and checked deer hunters. Questions were answered about the CWD hunt, as well as trapping. Ice anglers report they are dealing with flooding due to the recent heavy snowfall in the area.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) spent the week working trapping and fishing enforcement. Heavy snowfalls in the area led to a tough start to the fisher and marten trapping season. 

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked early ice angling in the area with many anglers venturing out. With ice conditions spotty, a snowmobile and an ATV were reported to have broken through the ice. The riders were able to climb out and get to safety.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) worked one of the quietest fisher/marten/bobcat openers in recent history. Significant snowfall hampered both trappers and anglers alike, making forest roads impassable and lakes difficult to access.

District 8 – Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth) spend much of the week working anglers and snowmobiling activity. He assisted with a snowmobile safety class and completed equipment maintenance.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) got COC Cornell training in snowmobile operation this week. They prepared for the large amount of snow that fell throughout the Duluth area. Snowmobile operators are reminded to check their machine before heading out on the trails to verify that their registration is current and displayed in the proper location on the snowmobile.

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) monitored ice angling and snowmobiling activity this week. Heavy snowfall midweek slowed activity to a near halt. Ice conditions have gone from excellent to extremely poor due to nearly 2 feet of wet snow causing slushy conditions. 

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd East) patrolled the station for angling activity, snowmobile operational contacts, and verification of cross-country ski passes as required. Heavy and wet snow has occurred, causing trees to become hazards along local public-use trail systems. 

CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spent the week checking trappers, anglers, and snowmobile riders. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, and investigations were begun for trapping violations. 

CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) and COC Ryan Christenson spent time checking ice anglers, ATV riders, and snowmobile riders throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for trout fishing during a closed season and recreational vehicle registration violations.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) spent time checking snowmobiling activity on area trails. The snowstorm made a mess of the local trails. Time also was spent checking ice anglers on local lakes. Success was seen among anglers, and, in some cases, too much success, resulting in a sunfish overlimit. Griffith would like to remind anglers to check each lake for special regulations that may differ from statewide regulations.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked ice fishing, ATV riding, and snowmobiling activities. Enforcement action was taken for no ATV registration, no shelter license, taking protected-sized northern pike, and trespass. 

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Tou Vang (Pierz) assisted with training at Camp Ripley, monitored snowmobiling activity, and checked ice anglers. Ice angling has slowed because the recent snowfall has made it a challenge to get onto the lakes, but snowmobiling has started to ramp up.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) assisted with training at Camp Ripley. Calls regarding an injured swan and CWD hunts were fielded during the week. Ice conditions deteriorated greatly after rain and heavy snow. 

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) reports fishing activity in the area has slowed, given the heavy snowfalls making conditions wet and slushy.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked area anglers and ATV and snowmobile enforcement. Snowmobile-trespass complaints have been coming in. A deer-related case was investigated, with citations issued for several violations.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers and snowmobile riders. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license, no shelter ID, no snowmobile registration, and no snowmobile safety training. Area lakes are very slushy. 

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Ryan Hanna (Milaca) took to the trails after the big snowstorm. Be cautious on the lakes. There was a report of a spear shelter that went through the ice on Green Lake. 

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) focused enforcement efforts on anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent presenting at a snowmobile safety class and handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints. Enforcement action was taken for operating a snowmobile with expired registration, operating with an illegal muffler, and angling with extra lines. 

District 13 – West Metro area

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) checked ice anglers on local lakes. Fogarty also answered many questions in regards to the special CWD hunt and coyote hunting. 

CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time checking ice anglers. Large weather fluctuations have resulted in sloppy ice conditions. Deer-possession permits were issued, and a dog-chasing-deer incident was investigated. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) took advantage of recent heavy snowfalls to patrol the area on snowmobile. Follow-up investigations were conducted from the recent deer-hunting season. 

CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) patrolled the metro area for fishing activity. He also attended annual training at Camp Riley. He patrolled Fort Snelling State Park for trail usage. He took enforcement action for no state park permit, off-leash dog, illegal operation of a motor vehicle in a state park, and trespass.

CO Arnaud Kpachavi (Mound) focused on training during the week. He also assisted deputies from Davenport, Iowa, with a stolen-boat investigation.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) monitored local ice fishing, snowmobiling, and hunting activity. Ice conditions remain slushy and inconsistent. Thomas also continued to work on an ongoing hunter-harassment case and took enforcement on a variety of violations including unattended lines, license issues, and multiple instances of taking trout out of season. 

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for angling activity. Salzer also received complaints regarding hunting and trespassing. 

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent the week monitoring snowmobiling activity after the snowstorm. He also checked deer hunters participating in the special CWD hunt. 

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) completed two investigations and submitted paperwork for court cases. The recent snow and rain have some bodies of water fairly sloppy under the snow. Ensure you proceed with caution when venturing onto the ice. 

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) continued field training with COC Brett Fox. The officers spent time checking anglers and archery deer hunters and doing snowmobiling enforcement. They also handled a big-game TIP and issued restoration orders for a wetland and public waters violation. 

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) spent the week working angling and pheasant-hunting enforcement. A background investigation is being conducted for a 2023 conservation officer candidate. 

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking hunters and snowmobile riders. Deer-hunting investigations continue. Hunters who braved ice, snow, cold, and wind were able to get close to late-season pheasants. 

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports fishing and hunting activity was brought to a stop during the middle of the week due to a winter storm that brought warm weather, rain, sleet, ice, snow, and wind to the area. Cold weather during the weekend did not stop people from getting back out. Pheasant hunters are seeing many birds. Ice conditions deteriorated due to the winter storm, with some open-water spots on a few lakes.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working deer-hunting investigations and angling activity. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and extra lines. K9 training was conducted with Earl.

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked ice anglers and a few pheasant hunters. With all the rain and wet snow in the area this past week, anglers are reminded to check ice conditions when going out because the ice conditions may have changed. 

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week following up on big- and small-game-related complaints. Other time was spent conducting taxidermy inspections. 

CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson-East) assisted a neighboring officer with a big-game investigation. Patrol efforts were focused on ice-angling and pheasant-hunting activity. A ride-along was given to an area high school student who is interested in becoming a conservation officer.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) conducted angler checks. Ice is not very good, with slush and areas of open water. 

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Jeremy Henke (Albert Lea) worked angling enforcement this week on area lakes. Expected cold weather this week should fix many of the ice issues area lakes are having. Henke has received several litter complaints regarding ice anglers already. Clean up after yourself when on the ice!

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) saw winter arrive this week. A winter storm produced snow and high winds. Ice conditions should begin firming up with this week’s cold snap. 

CO Meng Moua (Spring Valley) focused on snowmobile, fishing, and hunting activities. Pheasant hunting continues to be active with good numbers of pheasants observed feeding in fields. The late-season CWD hunt saw a handful of participants, and coyote hunters were out in good numbers.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) spent time this week following up on a trespass complaint and handling multiple calls about deer, goose, and pheasant carcasses unused and dumped in a ditch. 

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working pheasant, squirrel, and goose hunters this weekend. He also checked a few backwater ice anglers. Ice conditions are spotty at best. 

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a slow late CWD hunt. Hunter numbers seemed low. Violations encountered were transporting a loaded firearm, operating a motor vehicle in a restricted area, and failure to validate a deer tag. Coyote hunters were also out and having success.

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) continued training COC Adam Stennett this past week. They conducted a taxidermy inspection and uncovered multiple violations. Ramaker and Stennett also worked the late CWD hunt.

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