Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Cuffs & Collars: Field reports from Minnesota DNR conservation officers

District 1 – Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) continued field training with COC Anthony Hams and focused efforts on angling, snowmobiling, and trapping activities. Violations encountered related to angling licenses, recreational vehicle registrations, and possession of alcohol by an individual under the age of 21. The officers also investigated a complaint about deer feeding within the no-feed zone.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) continued field training with COC Matthew Paavola and spent time patrolling for angling, snowmobiling, and trapping activity. Poor weather conditions kept angling activity down. The officers also participated in a “Shop with a Cop” event in Thief River Falls. Enforcement action for the week included unlawfully pre-empting a trapping location and leaving cameras in a state wildlife management area.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck) reports working furbearer-trapping and angling activity. Time also was spent conducting an ongoing pre-employment background investigation.

District 2 – Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports checking ice anglers and conducting aeration system inspections. Time was further spent checking snowmobile and ATV operators. Several big-game-related cases were closed out.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) continued field training with COC Andrew Ladzinski. Multiple days of a patrol were conducted on Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for multiple people angling with extra lines.

• Compiled by Joe Albert, Minnesota DNR Enforcement.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) continued field training COC Znajda. They are starting to see more snowmobiling activity in the ditches and on lakes. Snowmobile education and ice safety continues to be enforced. They responded to a snowmobile through a lake due to thin ice. Recent blizzard conditions kept some anglers away, but not all.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) spent time on angling and netting activity. Snowmobile trails and snowmobiling activity were worked.

District 3 – Fergus Falls area

CO Andrew Goodman (Fergus Falls) monitored ice angling and trapping activity leading up to the holiday weekend. Blizzard conditions slowed activity throughout the week, but a few lakes have firmed up to allow easier access. Ice conditions remain highly variable across short distances. This should be taken into account while scouting from lake to lake and even on the same body of water.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent the week monitoring fishing, snowmobiling, and trapping activity. Plautz had the opportunity to work with COC Znajda for a couple of days, exploring her new station in Osakis.

CO Ryan Brown (Elbow Lake) continued to monitor angling and snowmobiling activity throughout the week. Cases from the deer season were investigated, and equipment maintenance was conducted. Brutally cold weather kept a lot of anglers off the ice this past week.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, fish houses, and snowmobile riders. Ice conditions vary across the area, with slushy conditions common. Please have a plan in place before venturing out on area lakes.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked a few anglers and snowmobiling activity. The slush on area lakes seemed to firm up well but it was too cold and windy to enjoy the outdoors.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) focused this week’s enforcement efforts on angling and snowmobiling. Assistance was given to local law enforcement agencies.

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week were concentrated on checking anglers and snowmobile operators. Additional time was spent following up on deer-season cases and handling injured-animal calls.

District 4 – Walker area

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) continued training a conservation officer candidate for the final phase of field training. The officers worked Cass, Itasca, and Lake of the Woods county lakes and trails. High winds, snow, and low temperatures have impacted lake accessibility. Enforcement action for the week included possession of drug paraphernalia, snowmobile registration, shelter tag, and numerous angling violations.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake)
primarily worked on a background investigation of a CO applicant. Some
time was spent checking anglers and snowmobile trails. Enforcement
action was taken for snowmobiling violations.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) reports ice varies on lakes. With added snow,
people should continually check ice while traveling on lakes.

District 5 – Eveleth area

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls) reports spending time this past
week monitoring trapping activity and checking anglers on area lakes and

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports conditions on area waterways and trails continue to hamper snowmobiling activity.

Those persisting in angling and spearing activities are finding difficult complications with slush and extreme cold.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports a week of below-zero temperatures, strong
winds, and unsafe lake travel found no fishing activity. Trappers who
got away from the roads caught animals. This involved walking,
snowshoes, or snowmobile travel. Some trappers continue to complain
about access and deep snow impacting catching animals. Field patrols
away from the road showed numerous areas of fisher, marten, and bobcat

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) spent time throughout the week working primarily
snowmobiling and trapping enforcement. Larson also worked on ongoing
wetland and trapping cases. Cold weather limited snowmobiling activity.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling, trapping, and
snowmobiling enforcement. Time was spent maintaining station equipment
and continuing open investigations.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time patrolling local lakes and
snowmobile trails. Recent snowfall has paved the way for excellent trail
riding in the near future but made lake travel difficult due to slushy

District 6 – Two Harbors area

No report available.

District 7 – Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) monitored snowmobiling activity and checked
trappers and ice anglers. Enforcement action was taken for spearing with
no angling license, no angling license in possession, and for having an
unmarked permanent fish house on the ice with no reflectors.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) reports high winds and deep snow have kept
most anglers indoors. Trappers are still battling the elements, and
snowmobile trail conditions continue to improve.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice-angling activity in the
area during the past week with moderate success being had by anglers.
Ice conditions are still spotty, with the snow cover deep for this early
in the season. Enforcement work was done by checking spearing and
trapping activity.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports low outdoor activity levels with
few people willing to brave the sub-zero temperatures and wind. Both
big-game and small-game follow-up investigations were worked on.
Assistance was given to other law enforcement agencies on calls for

District 8 – Duluth area

No report available.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

No report available.

District 9 – Brainerd area

CO Eric Sullivan (Brainerd) reports area snowmobile trail groups continue
to work hard on clearing area trails. Thank you to all who volunteer to
help clear trails. Ice anglers are starting to get fish houses out on
area lakes after challenging ice conditions. CO Jim Guida (Brainerd)
spent the week training with COC Ulrich. Activity levels were down this
week due to the cold weather and windy conditions. Anglers and
snowmobile riders were observed out in small numbers. Permits were
issued for collector snowmobiles.

District 10 – Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) checked ice anglers on area lakes. Trapping
activity was monitored in deep snow conditions. Snowmobilers were

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) monitored little outdoor activity with extreme cold making it miserable to be outside. A trespass case was worked on, along with a
failure-to-register-deer case. Slush was making lake travel treacherous.
Trapping, hound hunting, and snowmobile activities were also monitored.

REPORT OF THE WEEK District 15 – Marshall area

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working
ongoing deer-hunting investigations and pheasant-hunting activity.
Inclement weather caused roadway closures and limited recreational
activity throughout the week.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Aitkin) maintained equipment and patrolled for ice
anglers and snowmobilers in the area. Snowmobile trail cleanup was
making progress. There were still many trails, blocked with trees, that
had not been groomed. A majority of trails along roads and outside of
the woods had been groomed.

District 11 – St. Cloud area

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes and rivers for angling
and snowmobiling activity. Many lakes have heavy slush on them, so it
has been making angling activity tough. With the colder weather, most of
the slush has frozen. Ice conditions are getting better, but continue
to use caution. Some of the snowmobile trails have been groomed, but
many are still in rough condition with the heavy snowfall received. Most
trails should be open by the end of the week.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week monitoring
angling and hunting activity in the station. Frigid weather and high
winds limited access to both. Silgjord attended “Shop with a Cop” along
with officers and deputies from area agencies. A good time was had by
all in attendance. An injured-deer call in the Osakis area and an
injured-swan call in New Munich were handled.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked complaints about road hunters
trespassing to shoot pheasants. Vehicle maintenance, training, and
administrative work were completed this week.

CO Chad Thesing (Albany) worked anglers and snowmobile activity. Extreme
cold kept activity low. The slush on lakes is firming up with the cold
weather. Enforcement action included failure to display snowmobile
registration, no snowmobile safety certificate, and no angling license.

CO Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) spent the week checking anglers,
snowmobile riders, and trappers. Aeration-system inspections were
conducted, and follow-up was done on open cases.

District 12 – Princeton area

CO Trent Seamans (Big Lake) patrolled for anglers and snowmobile
operators. Additional time was spent handling miscellaneous
wildlife-related complaints and working on evidence processing.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week tracking anglers. Krauel also spent
time on snowmobile maintenance and clearing evidence from old cases.

CO Blong Lor (Center City)
spent the week working ice anglers and snowmobilers. Time was spent
working trespassing complaints/issues during the snowmobile season. CO
Ryan Hanna (Milaca) patrolled area lakes to see if there were any
anglers. Hanna also received multiple complaints about snowmobilers
trespassing on agricultural fields. Stay on the trail or stay at home.

District 13 – West Metro area

CO Mike Lerchen (Bloomington) spent time assisting another state with a
big-game investigation. Time also was spent following up with
miscellaneous wildlife-related concerns. Enforcement action was taken
for trespassing.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) spent most of the past week working
snowmobiling enforcement. Recent heavy snowfalls are a welcome change
from the previous winters for local snowmobile enthusiasts. Enforcement
action was taken for riding off-trail and trespassing.

CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week following up with complaints
and monitoring ice conditions. Grewe also checked a few anglers battling
the bitter cold.

CO James Fogarty (Prior Lake) worked fishing and snowmobiling activity. Biggame cases were followed up on.

Equipment maintenance was performed.

District 14 – East Metro area

CO Garrett Thomas (Eagan) continued to check ice anglers. The high winds
and heavy snow this week made fishing a challenge, with limited luck
observed for most anglers. Thomas also completed local aerator
inspections, patrolled snowmobile trails, and continued working on
ongoing investigations.

CO Tony Salzer (Ham Lake) patrolled Anoka County for snowmobile and
angling activity. Trails are in decent shape, but forecasted weather may
change trail conditions quickly. Salzer also received a TIP regarding a
big-game violation and began investigating it.

CO Chris Tetrault (Maplewood) checked anglers in the area and found mixed
success. The best success was observed right before the big freeze that
was experienced this past week. After the deep cold set in, the fishing
slowed. A new investigation was started regarding big-game hunting
issues and follow-up was conducted on another case.

CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) continued field training for COC Brett Fox.
The officers spent most of the week monitoring fishing activity and
doing snowmobile enforcement. Violations for the week included expired
registration, failure to transfer ownership, no safety certificate, and

District 15 – Marshall area

CO Derek Daniels (Lake Benton) spent the week working angling and
pheasant-hunting enforcement. Snow and high winds in the area created
blizzard conditions for much of the week. A background investigation is
being conducted for a 2023 conservation officer candidate.

CO Jim Robinson (Slayton) spent the week checking hunters and snowmobile
riders. Widespread blizzards eliminated most hunting activities.
Enforcement action was taken for registration issues.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (Redwood Falls) spent time this past week working
ongoing deer-hunting investigations and pheasant-hunting activity.
Inclement weather caused roadway closures and limited recreational
activity throughout the week.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent the week working ice fishing, pheasant
hunting, snowmobiling, and coyote hunting enforcement. A multiple-day
blizzard slowed outdoor activity. Time also was spent working on
big-game and other investigations and assisting other law enforcement

District 16 – New Ulm area

CO Shane Vernier (Willmar) spent time working snowmobiling and ice-angling
activity. He also completed commercial inspections. Vernier also issued
a wildlife-possession permit.

CO Cassie Block (Willmar) spent time this week checking anglers on area
lakes. Block also spent time working snowmobiling and ATVing activity.
Additional time was spent completing various inspections.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked ice anglers and finished
taxidermy inspections. With more snow in the area and more on the way,
snowmobiling activity is picking up. Riders are reminded to not go
across property they do not have permission to ride on and to stay on
the trail.

CO Brett Wiltrout (Hutchinson) spent time this week working commercial
enforcement. Other activities worked included angling/spearing and ATV
riding. The end of the week included fielding phone calls about
importing cervids and coyote hunting. CO Zachary Larson (Hutchinson)
focused patrol efforts this past week on snowmobiling and ice angling
activity. A ride-along was given to a college student who is interested
in becoming a conservation officer.

Trapping activity in the area was monitored. CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) worked
mainly angling and snowmobiling enforcement activity. Few anglers
reported fishing success. The drifting snow made for tough snowmobiling
conditions in the ditches and on the trails.

CO Dustin Miller (Windom) continued with field training COC Bulthuis. A
trapping investigation led to enforcement action being taken for failure
to tend and failure to notify a CO of nuisance trapping. Deer-hunting
investigations are ongoing. Pheasant-hunting activity continues as we
near the end of the season. Ice fishing and snowmobiling activity have
picked up.

CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) assisted the State Patrol with numerous traffic
issues related to the extreme weather. Snowmobiling activity was
monitored. A few ice anglers and shelters are starting to come out with
the colder weather.

District 17 – Mankato area

CO Jamie VanThuyne (Mankato) and COC Dustin Roemeling focused on angling
and snowmobiling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for extra
line violations, ice shelter violations, and ATV violations. Assistance
was given to local agencies during the recent winter storm.

CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) focused on fishing, ATVing, and snowmobiling
activity this week. Time also was spent patrolling for predator hunters.

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato), along with COC Coby Fontes, spent the week
conducting snowmobiling and ice-fishing enforcement. Assistance was
given to local agencies to help with the effects of the winter storm.

CO Tyler Lusignan (Faribault) reports working big-game hunters and anglers. Anglers are having varying success.

CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) checked hunters, anglers, and snowmobile and ATV
operators during the week. Davis attended a Turn in Poachers membership
meeting. Davis also patrolled aquatic management areas, wildlife
management areas, state parks, and waterfowl production areas.

District 18 – Rochester area

CO Tyler Ramaker (La Crescent) continued training COC Adam Stennett this
week. The officers checked the Winona area for ice fishing activity and
traveled to Upper Red Lake for a work detail. Enforcement action for the
week included no license in possession, fishing without a license, no
shelter license, and possession of fillets on the water of a
special-regulation lake.

CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports a quiet, cold week. Coyote hunters have
been out and seeing activity. A few small-game hunters have been out as
well, braving the frigid temperatures. Time was spent doing online
training and following up on calls from the previous deer seasons.

CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked anglers and hunters during the week. Heyn also handled other calls and completed training.

CO Annette Kyllo (Rochester) spent time this past week following up on
deer-season cases. Kyllo also checked ice anglers and worked on
equipment maintenance.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports spending time checking ice fishing and
snowmobile riders in the area. He also assisted local law enforcement
with weather-related calls such as stranded motorists.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working ice-fishing and snowmobiling
enforcement before the holiday. Ice continues to be sketchy in the
area. The archery deer hunters report some improved success with the
harsh winter conditions.


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