Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Minnesota Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – December 30, 2022

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. 

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 rivers. 

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 tracks. 

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 conditions. 

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 service.

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 checked.

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. 

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. Big-game 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 speeding.   

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 agencies. 

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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