Joe Foxx has been putting huge muskies in the boat and he’ll tell us how he does it and how you can get in the boat too. We used 20″ suckers to catch 50″ muskies. Read more about our day on Lake Minnetonka here.
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Matt Breuer sits on the MN Sharp-Tailed Grouse Society board and recently filmed an episode of “The Flush” near Thief River Falls with Bob St Pierre from Pheasants Forever and Travis Frank from The Flush. He’ll tell us how that episode went and where in MN you can hunt sharpies.
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From the DNR
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked Boat &Water, trapping, archery deer, waterfowl and leeching activity. He assisted other agencies and responded to calls about baiting, car kill and possible trespass. Gill netters cleaned the walleyes but dumped all the other fish on the road edge for disposal in the public view. While out checking pheasant hunters one individual didn’t want to be checked so he hid in a corn field for several hours.
District 1 – Baudette area
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked duck hunters on Thief Lake and Roseau River WMAs. Duck hunting success has been good, but we are still waiting for bluebills to migrate south. Assistance was given to local law enforcement on Lake of the Woods. Charges were submitted for a deer that was shot from the road on private property. Enforcement action was taken for failing to make an attempt to retrieve ducks on Thief Lake and possessing a deer without a car kill permit.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) worked with CO Huener on Thief Lake monitoring waterfowl hunting activity and performing AIS checks and educational contacts. Small game hunting and trapping activity was monitored in the area and a gray wolf depredation complaint was investigated. CO Woinarowicz conducted interviews with ginseng dealers taking enforcement action for failing to file ginseng dealer reports. Other enforcement action for the week included ATV registration violations, OHM operation and registration violations, fail to make reasonable effort to retrieve game bird, and transport loaded firearm in motor vehicle.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports checking waterfowl hunters, small game hunters, bough harvest activity, working the opening of the trapping season, working angler activity and AIS compliance on special regulation lakes and Upper Red Lake throughout the week. A detail was worked with a neighboring officer. Time was spent investigating a report of a swan that had been shot, burning violations and hunter trespassing complaints. Enforcement action for the week included unlawful transporting loaded firearm violations, burning violations and trespassing violations.
Baudette #1 -vacant.
Baudette #2 -vacant.
Blackduck #2 – vacant.
Karlstad – vacant.
Warroad #1 – vacant.
Warroad #2 – vacant.
District 2 – Bemidji area
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) and a COC worked big game, small game, waterfowl and trapping seasons. The unseasonably warm weather brought plenty of fishermen out to area lakes and rivers. Fishermen were checked and reminded that small mouth bass season is open, however it is catch and release only. Some ATV and motorcycle activity was observed. Enforcement action was taken for possession of marijuana, traps set too close to water prior to the start of mink and muskrat season, license and stamp violations, operating a highway licensed motorcycle on a designated off-highway vehicle trail, and allowing a minor passenger on a class II ATV without a helmet or seatbelt. Waterfowl hunters and fishermen were educated about AIS laws during contacts.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) worked Boat &Water, trapping, archery deer, waterfowl and leeching activity. He assisted other agencies and responded to calls about baiting, car kill and possible trespass. Gill netters cleaned the walleyes but dumped all the other fish on the road edge for disposal in the public view. While out checking pheasant hunters one individual didn’t want to be checked so he hid in a corn field for several hours. During FAS classes a young man spoke to the class about his embarrassment and shame of taking an extra elk in Utah and then being court ordered to tell his story to the Minnesota students.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) continued field training with a COC. CO Vollbrecht worked with the MPCA regarding the investigation of a residence which was burned. Patrol time was spent checking archery, waterfowl, and small game hunters.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji) checked grouse hunters, duck hunters and archery deer hunting activity. Complaints were received regarding dogs chasing deer. Time was also spent checking trappers on the opening day of trapping season. OHV activity was also monitored.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports working on TIP calls of possible baiting, shining and over limit deer. Complaints of duck hunters trespassing were investigated and enforcement action was taken for no license in possession and no waterfowl stamps. CO Vinton participated in a shining work crew with CO Oldakowski (Wadena).
CO Al Peterson (Osage) continued field training with a COC. They participated in a detail with neighboring officers and responded to various complaints and requests for service. Follow-up work was completed for a shining case from the previous week.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) spent the week checking waterfowl and pheasant hunters. Duck hunters finding some birds in the area which were mostly ringnecks. Pheasant hunting is still tough going. Fishermen were also checked with follow up done of complaints of fisherman keeping slot walleyes. Time was also spent on follow up on dead deer; interviews on a shining case, shooting too close to occupied buildings, illegal taking of muskrats, and working deer baiting tips.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) checked anglers and boating activity on area waters with anglers finding a few late walleyes. AIS checks were performed on angler and waterfowl hunting equipment. Follow up was conducted on complaints of possible wanton waste, waterfowl hunting outside legal hours and deer baiting activity. Questions were answered in regards to the upcoming firearm deer season. Areas were monitored for possible illegal shining activity. A complaint of dogs chasing deer was investigated.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week attending the Upper Midwest AIS Conference in Duluth. Time was spent on follow up interviews for a background investigation.
Moorhead – vacant.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) took complaints of big game violations and assisted with a work crew over the weekend. Duck hunters were also checked with redheads dominating the bag. Canada goose numbers remain low, although slowly increasing in numbers around the area. Angling remains good for walleye on several local lakes.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) checked fishermen, waterfowl and small game hunters. Complaints were handled regarding trespass on WPAs. Additional time was spent checking a minnow dealer and answering questions about deer season and youth licenses.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl hunters, boaters and fishermen. A late shooting complaint was investigated which resulted in six hunters shooting 10 to 45 minutes past shooting hours. A wolf depredation complaint continues to be investigated.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) investigated a report of a swan possibly shot on the Pocket Lake WPA. Anyone with information can anonymously call the TIP hotline at 1-800-652-9093. Pheasant hunters were also checked with little success while one hunter was using lead shot on a WPA. Trespass, nuisance animals, and out of season trapping calls were handled. A work crew with D3 officers was worked in Douglas County as well.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to work fall hunting activity involving waterfowl, pheasant, small game, and archery deer. Time was spent patrolling for trapping, ATV, fire activity and a couple of possible wetland impacts were investigated. Several hunting and fishing related complaints were investigated and followed up on throughout the week. Fall fishing is going strong in the area, especially on Lake Osakis, where more crappie overlimit violations were handled.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts checking pheasant hunters, waterfowl hunters and fishermen. Anderson reports waterfowl hunting was spotty. A report was received about a possible wetland filling violation in Stevens County. After checking the complaint area and determining it was not a WCA violation, it was passed along to NRCS. Anderson participated in working two deer shining work crews. A trespass call was handled in the vacant Wheaton station as well. Additional time was spent issuing minnow transportation permits and handling calls on waterfowl hunting, firearms safety requirements and deer season questions.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the week included checking fishermen, waterfowl hunters, pheasant hunters, and bow hunters. Additional time was spent on a work crew in the Elbow Lake area and a work crew in the Alexandria area. Baumbarger investigated complaints of fish over limit, and hunter harassment. Calls were fielded on nuisance beaver issues as well.
Wheaton – vacant.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) worked on deer shining activity this week, as well as trespass and baiting issues. Small game hunters were out with limited reports of success. Wildlife Management Area issues were addressed, with illegal stands and trails cut into the WMA.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked ATV activity and hunting activity. Complaints of stolen deer stands came in along with questions on bait and trespass. A reminder that one can only shine a field looking to locate wildlife for the first two hours after sunset.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) worked hunting activity and ORV activity. Calls of dead/injured loons were received as well as a nuisance bear call. A TIP call was investigated.
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) primarily checked duck hunters and trappers. Time was also spent teaching a firearms safety class and investigating aquatic plant, bough cutting, and minnow taking complaints. Enforcement action was taken for no federal duck stamp, licenses and stamps not in possession, and ATV on the roadway.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on ATV activity, small game hunting and waterfowl hunting activity. Angling and waterfowl hunting success continued to be slow. CO Broughten assisted with a shining work crew. CO Broughten also investigated complaints of aquatic plant violation, deer poaching, and trespass. Enforcement action included: no small game license in possession, no blaze orange while small game hunting, and transport loaded firearm on ATV.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked a shining detail in Wadena County. Complaints on beaver causing damage to trees, trespass, cutting wood on public land and a calf killed by coyotes were investigated by CO Halverson. An information booth was set up at the Sportsmen Supper in Brainerd.
Water Recourse Enforcement Officer Shane Siltala attended the 2014 Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference in Duluth this past week. Many seminars were attended regarding current research that is being conducted to help curb the spread of invasive species. Officer Siltala assisted with a district work crew. Time was also spent checking waterfowl hunters and educating them on invasive species laws.
CO Colleen Adam (NW OHV Recreation Officer-Park Rapids) worked on miscellaneous ATV/public land related issues. An injured deer was dispatched and a waterfowl hunting complaint was investigated. CO Adam responded to a call of smoke in a cattail swamp area that turned out to be a seasonal homeowner burning leaves and burning off the vegetation along his lake shore. A quick education of the burning permit requirements and related laws was given to the bewildered individual. Fires are starting easily and spreading in the dead grass and dry leaf litter.
Remer – vacant.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports checking fishing and boating activity on the Rainy River with CO Patten, with fair amount of activity observed considering the windy conditions. Invasive species checks were also performed on water related equipment entering and leaving the Rainy River. Predator control zones were closed in the Littlefork area. CO Kittelson spoke at a local Rotary Club meeting where deer hunting regulations were discussed and questioned answered on upcoming season. A few more grouse seen in hunters’ bags this past weekend.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) returned phone calls, issued permits, checked access sites, monitored forest roads, and monitored hunting, angling and trapping activities.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports checking on hunting and fishing activity throughout the week. A few muskie anglers were pursuing their favorite fish. Grouse hunters are seeing more birds now that the leaves have fallen off the trees. The birds also flush more wildly with the lack of leaves. Assistance was provided at a detail in Hibbing. A complaint of a net in an area lake was turned over to tribal officers.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ongoing hunting seasons, anglers, balsam bough cutters and a bough buyer, ATVs, invasive species enforcement, seized a fisher, and investigated a dog in a trap incident. Enforcement action was taken on take small game after hours, and a number of boating, waterfowl hunting and ATV violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time investigating reports of dumping garbage. By going through the garbage pile CO Frericks was able to find and piece together enough information to locate the owner of the garbage. Still more deer baits are being found. Reports of people posting state land with “No Trespassing” signs are being investigated and monitored closely. Duck hunters report finally seeing more ducks but taking few due to lack of cooperation from the ducks and their own marksmanship skills.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked boaters on Lake Vermilion and for the most part all stated fishing was slow. A few more grouse are being seen with the leaves all but gone. Fredin received a TIP call of three shots heard at night followed by fireworks being set off. The caller believed the fireworks were intended to deceive people into believing the first shots were fireworks also.
International Falls # 2 – vacant.
Ray – vacant.
Tower – vacant.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) patrolled several trails inside the BWCAW with active small game hunting activity. Hunters are still reporting seeing a good amount of grouse, but success levels continue to be low. Violations include storage of boats at a public landing and taking small game with no blaze orange.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked the whitefish opener in the BWCAW. Almost all of the boats that were at Pipestone did not have the required navigational lights to operate after sunset and most of those intended to motor out in the dark after picking their nets. One group encountered had all been drinking heavily and had a long list of violations, including: no BWCAW permit, possession of cans, littering fish guts into the water, damage to campsite trees by throwing knives into them, not enough PFDs, nets set too close to other nets, no fishing license in possession, no legal net buoys, possessing two northern pike illegally and no navigational lights. The group was planning to motor out in the dark without lights in a couple hours after they sobered up. They were a happy group and said they were proud that they had been whitefish netting this way all their lives.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked grouse hunters, ATVs, and whitefish netting activity during the week. Calls were answered on wolf concerns and about an eight point buck that may have been taken unlawfully. The designated trout lakes are producing some nice fall brook trout and splake. Enforcement action was taken for unlawful transport of game birds and for no hunting license in possession.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt/Ely) spent the week primarily working small game, trapping, boating, and netting activity. The week ‘netted’ many violations, including a group who had kept two northerns out of their whitefish nets. The same group was short on PFDs and had aluminum cans in the BWCA. Other violations during the week included possession of methamphetamine and marijuana, transport loaded firearm in motor vehicle, untagged traps, unregistered watercraft, no navigational lights, and license and stamp issues.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area hunting and trapping activity. Time was spent working a detail with District 8 as well. CO Schottenbauer also worked area ATV activity.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) monitored ATV activity, followed up on past bear bait station complaints and checked small game hunters. The Officer gave an aquatic invasive species presentation at the Cook County High School. Time was also spent on nuisance animal complaints.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked big game, small game, and trapping activity over the weekend. More grouse were seen being taken as most of the leaf cover is now gone along the North shore. Enforcement action was taken for game transporting violations and having no blaze orange while taking small game. Trapping investigations and trespass calls were also handled during the week.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked grouse hunters and anglers, answered several calls about the upcoming deer season, and enforced aquatic invasive species laws. Enforcement action taken for operating ATVs on a state highway and transporting dressed fish.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, worked small game, big game, waterfowl , and ATV activity. Violations included no license in possession, and youth without a helmet on an ATV. He also took small game complaints, and wildlife complaints.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked archery deer hunting, patrolled for OHV activity and checked waterfowl hunters. Warmer temps over the week brought many anglers out to the water. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession and navigational light issues.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time working on a division background investigation. She also assisted two trappers with accidentally trapped wolves. She worked shining activity and took enforcement action. She handled a couple trespassing calls from around the area.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, ATVs, trappers, small game and archery deer hunters. He also handled several trespass and hunting complaints during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working waterfowl, angling, ATV, and invasive species activity. Enforcement action was taken for not removing boat plug and a cease and desist order was issued for excavating in public waters.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) worked OHM enforcement in several areas and responded to ATV complaints of illegal operation on the roadway. CO Velsvaag also assisted with a TIP complaint on illegally taking a deer. He also worked ATV and OHM complaint areas on the Mesabi Bike Trail.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) worked waterfowlers, anglers, boaters, trappers, OHVers and he checked water-related equipment. CO Arhart also tracked new and open wetland and public waters inventory violations and restorations. The ducks have not kept up with the hunting pressure. Many people out road hunting grouse and placing deer stands. Buck scrapes are now being sighted in the woods. Numerous hunting, trapping and angling-related questions were received. He also responded to a complaint of someone driving a car at a high rate of speed, directly into Dixon Lake off the public water access. No injuries were observed or reported. The vehicle was partially submerged and was retrieved.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) followed up on trespassing complaints in the area. Time was spent working ATV complaint areas and trails. Small game hunters were checked along forest roads and most were reporting some flushes. Trapping opener was worked and trappers checked.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reports another busy week. Reports receiving calls with questions about hunting rules, regulations and about the upcoming firearm deer season. A few calls of hunters baiting stand sites were also received. The officer participated in a trapping detail with other district officers. Hundreds of trap sites were inspected with almost no violations detected. The Officer responded to a call for assistance in apprehending a person who stole an ATV and was currently fleeing from the police. Along with a Floodwood Police Officer, Officer Hanzal located the suspect deep in the woods on an ATV trail and arrested the individual.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued with the final weeks of training with a COC. Officers took enforcement action on waterfowl hunters shooting late, checked a large number of grouse hunters and took enforcement action on hunting with loaded firearms in the vehicle. Officers investigated two separate incidents where dogs were killed by wolves in the north Duluth area. Officers worked a trapping detail with a number of local Conservation Officers and investigated an illegal dumping and a trapper harassment complaint. Officers also took enforcement action on illegal shining.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted with a district detail and found good compliance with the laws on the water trapping opener. Time was spent working on equipment and getting ready for the fall and winter seasons. Complaints of illegal stands and hunting deer over bait were looked into and are still under investigation. K9 assistance was given to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office in searching for evidence in a case.
WREO Mike Scott attended a three day conference for the Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference in Duluth. The conference focused on aquatic invasive species and terrestrial invasive species with presentations put on by experts from around the Midwest and country. Valuable information was learned; new ideas and methods of dealing with some of these invasive species were discussed. Work on a background investigation is ongoing.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked small game hunters, worked a shining detail and received calls on the upcoming firearms deer season. Olson also worked a trapping project with District 8 officers, checked local rivers and anglers on the North Shore and received a nuisance bear complaint.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) answered questions about the upcoming deer season. An incidentally captured bobcat was released from a fox trapper’s set without injury, but with many loud and intimidating noises made to the assisting officers. Enforcement action taken for ATV violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked on a deer with an arrow in it that died in someone’s yard in Duluth. He spent most of the week finishing the background report on the CO Prep Candidate. He also participated in a trapping detail. One untagged trap was seized.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) checked grouse hunters and fall anglers, and worked areas of reported deer shining activity. Calls of a deer that had been shot found on the Paul Bunyan Trail, shots fired at deer on a field after dark and a dead buck with just the head removed were investigated.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) checked anglers and hunters during the week. Enforcement contacts included illegal length walleyes and insufficient PFDs on 52 degree water. A group of teenage waterfowl hunters checked by the officer decided to stash a shotgun under their decoys in the bottom of their boat upon seeing the officer. One of the young hunters was without a Federal Waterfowl Stamp, had a previous contact over the same issue and said he was just watching. It didn’t sit well with the officer when the loaded gun was dug out with the safety off. The officer also assisted with an eagle hit by a car. The bird seemed to recover amazingly well and it was brought to the Garrison Animal Hospital for care.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) checked anglers this past week who were reporting a so-so bite. Officer Lee followed up on cases for hunting inside a game refuge, and hunting waterfowl after legal shooting hours. Officer Lee also received a call of a wolf killing a dog. The complaint was investigated and it was confirmed that the dog had been killed by a wolf. Officer Lee also spoke to an individual about beaver doing damage to trees on their property. The property was advised of options and a local trapper will be assisting the landowners. Officer reminds waterfowl hunters that if they are hunting from a watercraft on water they need to have a Life Jacket for each person on board. A floatable cushion or ring does not count as a life jacket. Enforcement action was taken this past week for insufficient PFDs, unsigned federal waterfowl stamp, no trapping license, and untagged traps.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) checked waterfowl hunters throughout Cass and Crow Wing counties. Waterfowl hunters are reporting limited success. CO McGowan also followed-up on TIP calls, and prepared documents for an upcoming court trial.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity included waterfowl, small game, and big game hunting enforcement, issuing disability permits, investigating suspicious hunting activity complaints, and checking for early water sets.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) had a busy week with waterfowl hunting, fall angling, as well as turkey, small game and archery deer hunting all underway plus high ATV activity around her station. Unfortunately, CO Peterson also handled a case at Savanna State Park where a participant in the special youth hunt chose road hunting as the method of choice for bagging a buck. The father and son were unable to locate the deer but with the assistance of her dog and a helpful civilian, she located the buck which was badly wounded. CO Peterson was able to dispatch the deer. Enforcement action was taken and the deer was seized and gifted to a local family.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) checked a lot of anglers making use of the warm weather. There was also a lot of ATV activity many of them working on deer stands. Hunters are out in full force and some are wandering across property lines which generated trespassing complaints. Verkuilen also responded to a TIP complaint where waterfowl hunters claimed confusion between migratory bird regulations and those for other species.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) had a busy week with many hunters and anglers in the area; however, the warmer weather did not allow for much success. Invasive species checks were conducted with water related equipment with emphasis on waterfowl hunters. Big game and small game hunters were checked throughout the week. The officer seized a bow for hunting deer over bait. Other enforcement activity included juveniles on ATV’s without a helmet, transporting loaded firearms on ATV’s and other small game related violations.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports continuing working with a COC in the last phase of field training. They spent much of the week patrolling county and state land where they encountered both small and big game hunters. Many people out reported they were grouse hunting and setting up stands for firearm deer season. Fitzgerald and COC worked several nights monitoring complaint areas for shiners and assisted on a night shining detail in the neighboring county. They assisted a neighboring officer on a baited deer stand case. They also returned many emails and fielded several calls in regards to big game hunting. Assistance was also given to the Sheriff’s Office on a motorcycle accident.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) was called to a report of ATV’s operating in a WMA. The reporting party stated the ATV’s were stuck and had been running over newly planted seedlings. An investigation revealed the ATV operators were working with wildlife to spray the oak seedlings to prevent deer browsing. Speldrich issued car kill deer possession tags and reports of nuisance beaver were handled.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) fielded several complaints throughout the week to include beaver complaints and trespass complaints. Please remember to mind your p’s and q’s and know where you are hunting. An over limit of redhead ducks were seized on Lake Onamia. Other violations included duck stamps violations, ATV violations and hunting over deer bait.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) and a Conservation Officer Candidate (COC) checked anglers and waterfowl hunters on area lakes. A handful of anglers did well finding late season crappies. Assistance was provided to one angler that accidentally backed his boat, trailer and tow vehicle a little too far down a boat ramp. Thankfully nobody was injured as the entire truck and trailer ended up fully submerged and needing a tow. Calls and complaints about deer hunting and trespassing increased due to the upcoming firearms deer season. An outdoor field day was provided for a group of young hunters needing their firearms safety certification. A game farm inspection was completed and presentations were provided for an annual Township Officers Association meeting.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) answered questions about the upcoming deer season throughout the week. He checked waterfowl hunters, small game hunters, and worked a detail with other district officers. CO Wynn continues to follow up on a complaint from the bear season and checking deer baiting complaints.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) investigated a TIP complaint of anglers taking an over limit of crappies. Time was spent patrolling complaint areas for shining activity and car kill deer permits were also issued. Waterfowl hunters were checked with mainly ringneck ducks seen in the bag. A meeting regarding fish diet and bioenergetics study on Mille Lacs Lake was also attended.
WREO Rob Haberman attended the Upper Midwest AIS Conference in Duluth. WREO Haberman also investigated an APM & public waters violation near Merrifield. WREO Haberman also worked the Camp Ripley archery hunt.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent time during the week checking anglers at area lakes and monitoring areas for early trapping. A wetlands and public waters violations was investigated. Work was found to have been done in the Sauk River without a permit.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) spent the week working on TIP information related to the illegal taking of deer. A complaint of persons target shooting on a WMA was addressed; this sort of activity is prohibited on Wildlife Areas. A wetland violation was investigated and referred to County SWCD for resolution. CO Kuske conducted some equipment maintenance on station boats.
WREO Keith Bertram spent most of the week attending the Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference in Duluth. Time was spent working AIS in Wright County. A Benton County wetland restoration order was also served.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers last week. CO Mies worked on deer stand cases in WMA. CO Mies checked deer and waterfowl hunters, and worked on complaints.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent time working the Camp Ripley Archery Hunt. Success was down this year with 70 total deer taken over the weekend. Thesing checked duck, pheasant and deer hunters as well as anglers. AIS and wetland issues were worked.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and small game activity. The officer tool calls concerning trespass issues and waterfowl hunting questions.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) participated in a call-in radio show in Little Falls talking about deer hunting. The subject of deer baiting was the most popular topic for callers. One caller also asked if they could use their deer license from last year since they didn’t use the tag yet. The answer to their question was no. CO Kuske is investigating a possible record smallmouth bass taken from the Mississippi River in Little Falls around October 17. If anyone has any information on this please contact CO Joyce Kuske at 320 745 2046 or the TIP line at 1-800-652-9093 or #TIP on your cell phone. All information received is kept confidential.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) concentrated on wrapping up background investigations. CO Friese assisted with the Camp Ripley archery hunt.
St. Cloud – vacant.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) continued field training of a COC. Areas worked included AIS, ATV, angling, waterfowl, small game and archery deer. CO Reller and his COC responded to a TIP call concerning waterfowl hunters shooting late. Four juveniles were found to be in violation. They were under the impression that they could shoot up to a half hour after sunset; enforcement action was taken and parents of all juveniles were contacted. Calls for service included a fire at Lake Maria State Park where a campfire got out of control and caught an area of grass, brush and leaves on fire, prompting a response from multiple agencies to get the fire extinguished. A reminder that this is a time of year to be extra cautious when having recreational fires, due to winds, dry conditions and accumulated fallen leaves. Enforcement action was taken for taking wild animals without a license in possession, insufficient PFDs on board a boat, failure to sign federal duck stamp, hunt deer over a baited area, take migratory waterfowl in closed hours, take small mouth bass in closed season, take small game after closed hours and operate a Class 1 ATV on a public highway.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) investigated a wetland/drain tile and trapping complaints, spoke at firearms safety classes, and checked waterfowl/archery/and small game hunters. Officer Londgren also attended a district meeting, took nuisance and injured animal calls, and checked state and federal lands.
CO Tony Musatov (Sauk Rapids) worked a complaint of illegal ATV operation on a WMA. Hunters and anglers were checked. A trapping violation was investigated for placing illegal traps within 500 feet of a residence in the road ditch.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked hunters and anglers during the week. Anglers have seen some good fishing weather along with some success. A firearms safety field day was held and nine Amish students were certified.
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) followed up on a deer hunting TIP. He issued summons and written warning for lending and borrowing of a deer license. He caught a great horned owl and had it delivered to the Raptor Center. He assisted with another injured trumpeter swan which his rehabilitation team caught and took in for rehabilitation. He checked waterfowl hunters and took enforcement action on a number of violations. He worked invasive species inspection at a number of accesses. He answered waterfowl hunting questions regarding the Mississippi River.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports a slow week of activity in the area but the cooler temps over weekend brought out the hunters. A good number of pheasant hunters were out over the weekend but birds were hard to find. A few trappers were checked in the area as well. The bow hunting has also picked up in the area. CO Langevin also spoke to a Firearms Safety Class during the week.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) followed up on AIS violations. Waterfowl hunters were worked all week having poor success. Anglers were checked on area lakes and rivers. Calls were returned daily on hunting and trapping questions.
CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) finished work on background investigations. Salzer patrolled the Crow River for waterfowl activity. One group was observed and had several violations. Salzer assisted CO Arntzen and Forest Lake PD and Firefighters in finding two lost hunters in a local WMA.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week monitoring hunting activity and investigating ongoing complaints. CO Grewe responded to a shoreline violation and answered several questions on the upcoming deer season.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked duck and small game hunters in Scott County area. He continued to follow up with a deer case in Kansas this past week and issued a beaver permit. He answered phone calls in the Hmong community on small and big game hunting regulations and dealt with a hunting harassment complaint.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) completed two cases of AIS violations in Bloomington station. He checked anglers and hunters in the district vicinity. He assisted Fort Snelling State Park staff on beaver problems. CO Le took enforcement action for unsigned Federal duck stamp and transporting of aquatic macrophytes and invasive species. He assisted Mendota Heights PD with a vehicle that was illegally parked in a State Park and assisted Maplewood PD on a case of several individuals that were using pellet guns to hunt small game in the city limit without a valid small game license.
Bloomington – vacant.
Mound – vacant.
Prior Lake – vacant.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking waterfowl hunters, small game hunters and working deer shiners. CO Arntzen assisted a neighboring law enforcement agency with rescuing two lost hunters in the Hardwood Creek WMA. He also attended a District meeting and handled numerous calls about the upcoming firearms deer season. Violations for the week included entering a WMA during closed hours, attempting to take deer by shining and transporting an armed bow.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) checked waterfowl, pheasant and bow hunters around the Metro WMAs and fields. He spent some time swapping an old snowmobile for the new one and took care of boat maintenance. CO Pril also spoke at a snowmobile safety class in Lakeville and spent a few hours training online.
CO Brad Johnson (Ham Lake) reports that he was able to release the Bald Eagle he helped rescue two weeks ago near Shafer. The Eagle was joined by her mate soon after landing in a nearby tree. He spoke to a snowmobile safety class in Andover sponsored by the Andover Sno-Dragons. CO Johnson picked up an escaped game farm deer that had been killed by a vehicle in Nowthen. He also attended a district training meeting in St. Paul.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) checked waterfowl and small game hunters in Anoka County. She issued a couple of road kill deer permits, worked AIS enforcement at local accesses and handled various TIP calls. CO Kruse attended a District meeting, winterized equipment and continued working on deer cases.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent time attending an Invasive Species conference in Duluth. Time was also spent following up on wetland and shoreline related violations. A meeting was attended in St. Paul regarding invasive species. WREO Block also continued with a pre-employment background investigation.
Eagan – vacant.
Hastings – vacant.
Maplewood – vacant.
Metro Officer – vacant.
District 15 – Marshall area
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) attended an AIS conference in Duluth. Hunters and fishermen were checked in empty stations. WCA and Public Waters violations continue to be monitored.
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) did his weekly radio show on KLOH. A moose has been spotted in the area, the officer requests that the public remain a safe distance from it and not to chase the animal. Enforcement was taken for ATV registration violations. Hunters are reminded that they are required to have their license in possession while hunting. In spite of the warm temperatures, waterfowl hunters continue to have success.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) assisted with a joint investigation in Lac Qui Parle County. Pheasant, turkey, waterfowl and archery deer hunters were also checked throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for illegal ATV operation on WMAs along the Minnesota River near Redwood Falls. ATV operators are reminded that WMAs are closed to ATV use. With some of the furbearer seasons underway, trappers are reminded that there are water restrictions until the start of the mink and muskrat season.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) checked angling, archery deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunting activity during the week. Corn harvest is in full swing within the Ortonville station. Reports of shining during prohibited hours were taken. Hunters are reminded to review the rules regarding the use of artificial lights. Burning violations were encountered.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) is conducting several big game investigations. Anyone with information regarding the illegal take of big game animals is asked to call the Turn in Poachers hotline with information. You can remain anonymous.
Benson – vacant.
Madison – vacant.
Redwood Falls – vacant.
Worthington – vacant.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) followed up on a deer hunting complaint. He checked anglers and waterfowl hunters. Denz also followed up on trespassing complaints
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) patrolled in Renville and Redwood counties along the Minnesota River where ATV’s have been driving in the WMAs, making illegal trails, disturbing legal hunters and causing damage to the rock outcrops. Enforcement action was taken on ATV’s driving within the WMA. She also responded to a call of people shinning for deer in the early morning hours. Duck and pheasant hunters were checked throughout the week.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports little success pheasant hunting around the area. Hopefully prospects will pick up as crops are harvested. Oberg spent time following up on a trespass case as well as nuisance animal calls. A burning violation was also handled with enforcement action taken.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) investigated a solid waste case and WMA violations. He worked primarily waterfowl, deer, small game and AIS activities. Waterfowl hunting success picked up as flocks of ringnecks, redheads, canvasbacks and a lesser amount of mixed dabbling ducks are beginning to migrate through the area.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked waterfowl, pheasant and other small game hunters. Archery deer season was also worked as well as AIS. Gruhlke answered several calls for information via telephone. Time was also spent following up on an angling case from earlier this summer.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) received and investigated illegal/improper disposal of deer and waterfowl along roads and bridges. Waterfowl and small game hunters were checked. Deer hunters are having more luck with shooting and seeing deer as crops come out. Investigations into early/late shooting along with trespassing were performed.
Litchfield – vacant.
Willmar #1 – vacant.
Windom – vacant.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) checked waterfowl, small game, and archery deer hunters. Waterfowl and pheasant hunting have been slow. CO Howe also recorded a radio interview, and responded to calls of a motorized boat on a feeding and resting area, as well as a male deer tangled in a volleyball net.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked angling, AIS, ATV, big game, small game, and migratory waterfowl activity during the week. The law & ethics presentation was given at a firearms safety class in Dodge Center.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked anglers, waterfowl hunters, and archery hunters. Time was also spent monitoring ATV riders and doing invasive species checks at public accesses.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week working small game hunting, archery (deer) hunting, and the trapping season opener over the weekend. Time was also spent attending a firearms safety field day at the Gamehaven Boy Scout Camp in Rochester. Car killed deer possession permits were issued. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.
WREO Julie Siems worked on background investigations and attended an AIS conference.
Albert Lea – vacant.
Mankato #1 – vacant.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports spending the past week and weekend checking angling and hunting activity. Fall fishing success is still low in the area. Time was also spent working on some equipment issues and meeting with other DNR staff.
CO Phil George (Rochester) continued field training with a COC. He reports lots of hunting and angling activity during the week with ATV activity as well. Enforcement action was taken for allowing illegal youth operation of an ATV, no license in possession, and expired watercraft registration.
CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports continuing training with a COC in the Wabasha and Zumbrota areas. The officers investigated deer, waterfowl, trespass, litter, ATV, trapping, and shining complaints. Time was also spent on the Mississippi River where waterfowl hunting and fishing has been spotty with both good and slow days found. Enforcement action included waterfowl, big game and ATV violations.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly deer and duck hunters during the week. Duck hunting success was slower with the bluebird weather. Heyn also checked on deer complaints and worked on equipment.
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports duck hunters found varied success. Fishing continues to very be good on Mississippi River. He dealt with several small game trespass complaints over the week. He had a self-reported antler point restrictions (APR) deer taken by a bow hunter.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports checking turkey hunters, squirrel hunters and raccoon hunters. Success was fair to good for most. Blaze orange issues were address as were trespass complaints. CO Boyum is investigating a report of a buck shot with a rifle in the Canton area. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the TIP line. Trappers were out over the opening weekend. The raccoon numbers at this point seem to be better than previous years.
CO Tom Hemker (Winona) is working with a COC and responded to complaints of trespass, APR violations, deer baiting, and late duck hunting. They checked a taxidermist and followed up on an environmental complaint. The officers also attended a boating and fishing class at a local high school along with a public meeting to discuss sunfish special regulations.
Rochester #2 – vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
Pilot/CO Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) worked on aviation training and aircraft maintenance.
CO Pilot Bob Geving spent the week in Grand Rapids flying forestry photo missions. Geving also provided assistance in search of stolen property and participated in flying for a big game violation detail.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed maintenance tasks on aircraft, and prepped for an upcoming meeting. He also assisted in a search for a lost child.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew photo flights for DNR Forestry and a waterfowl survey.
How would you like to drink beer and create more wildlife habitat at the same time?
Beer For Wildlife founder Jason Markkula explains what BFW is all about. When you purchase his beer, proceeds go into habitat creation. Matt Breuer sits on the MN Sharp-Tailed Grouse Society board and recently filmed an episode of “The Flush” near Thief River Falls with Bob St Pierre from Pheasants Forever and Travis Frank from The Flush. He’ll tell us how that episode went and where in MN you can hunt sharpies. Joe Foxx has been putting huge muskies in the boat and he’ll tell us how he does it and how you can get in the boat too.
Click here to listen to Segment 1:
by Bret Amundson
Among the well-manicured lawns and million-dollar-plus homes sits a 14,500 acre body of water that holds a giant predator. It reportedly roams these waters consuming unsuspecting prey before moving on to another ambush location. We spent 10 hours on this lake just west of the Twin Cities on Saturday in search of such a giant without any success.
Maybe we should have just gone after Lou, the legendary sturgeon that supposedly lurks beneath the surface of Lake Minnetonka, but instead we were casting giant baits in search of 50″ muskies.
“We’ll be targeting 50-inchers. We’re not going to be going for 40-inchers or anything like that,” said muskie guide Joe Foxx during last week’s MNSJ Radio show. Foxx spent 3 days with the film crew from “The Bucket List” on the Outdoor Channel. “We’re just going after large fish right now.”
Foxx would eventually put a big fish in the boat which is tough enough on it’s own, but when you put cameras in the boat the pressure level goes way up. That’s usually what happens when I take out the still camera…the fishermen in the boat tend to get mad. “The Curse” of the camera.
Mandy Uhrich and I would climb in Joe’s boat on Saturday to chase these big fish, knowing full well that this time of year the big mamas are putting on the feedbags. We also know that we might cast for 10 hours and not see a single fish. Such is life in a muskie boat.
We’d put in around 8am and began by casting giant crankbait-type lures the size of your arm.
“People at the landing always ask if we’re fishing for alligators when they see those,” Foxx said. We’d cast them along weedy breaks and current edges in search of hungry fish but as the morning drug on, we’d see more jet-skiers and surfers than fish.
That’s the problem with a big recreational lake like this. There are going to be people out for a cruise on a nice Saturday afternoon. Even if you don’t expect to see it during the backside of October. There were literally people in snowsuits riding jet skis.
The forecasted temps were in the 60’s (despite the winds that kept it feeling cooler) and that’s probably what prompted the deluge of giant cabin cruisers and sailboats that zipped and coasted across the water. We’d have to compete on a few spots with other fisherman, but mostly had to deal with boats the size of small homes coming too close to where we were casting. You’d wonder how that could happen when you have a body of water the size of a small country.
We’d change lures from giant rubbery contraptions with huge treble hooks, to spinners with multiple blades of varied sizes. Whether it was the moon phase, the relative warm water temps (54 degrees) or water that was too clear to fool the fish in, we weren’t sure. But it was obvious that the fish were turned off.
That wasn’t going to stop us from trying. It’s always fun to get a bunch of fish in the boat, but when you can hook into a creature that weighs around 50 pounds, you’ll cast until you’re arm falls off to do it.
“There’s bass fishing. And then there’s muskie fishing,” Foxx explained. “If you lay into a 50″ fish, you’re never gonna have a hook set like that. You’re just never gonna have that feeling-that rush.”
One popular method of muskie fishing that has been taking off in recent years is sucker fishing. It’s essentially the equivalent of down rigging like you would for walleye or lake trout, but there is a different method for muskie. It involves using “bait” fish that are bigger than some of the game fish people target.
“We are literally dragging 20″ suckers right now catching muskies on them,” said Foxx. “We use whitefish suckers. There are a lot of guys that drag them shallow, but what I do is drag them along deep weed edges. If you can find a combination of deep weeds to rocks to coon tail? That’s where the fish are holding right now.”
“We got an epic sucker bite (recently). We got 16 fish over 50 inches in 3 weeks (of fishing),” Foxx said while adding that one day he got 11 muskies on suckers. While I’ve always been one to shy away from down rigging as much as possible, if you said we could catch big muskies like that? Let’s go!
“One of my clients (is) the owner of Lord Fletchers… (he)caught a 40-pounder with me,” Foxx said while explaining that it was a 51.5″ (long) x 24″ (girth). The replica is hanging in the Oar House Bar at Lord Fletchers.
We’d break there for lunch and to see the mount before heading back out. A few curious glances were cast in our direction as our runny noses were drying and our fishy-smelling bibs stood out among the North Face vests. But they were there mostly to watch the Gophers lose a heartbreaker to Illinois. The food was delicious and a microbrew or two were tried and soon we heard those magical 50 inch-fish calling our names.
The rest of the afternoon offered a few camera opportunities, but they’d end up being pictures of casting and figure-8’s versus catching. We’d be more awestruck at the various Minnesota celebrity and athlete homes instead of giant fish.
But as reports came in from around the state, it sounds like most muskie fisherman experienced similar results on this day. That’s just the way it goes. I can see the allure of hooking into one of those giants, but I can also see why it turns off many fisherman. Casting baits that are upwards of a full pound with 9-foot rods for 10-12 hours a day can be a good workout and a good way to get burned out.
“A long time ago I was bass fishing on Tonka,” Foxx described the day he became a muskie fisherman. “I had this moving log behind my bait. I looked over at my buddy and said ‘Is that a pike?’ And he said, ‘That’s no pike! I think that’s one of those muskie things!’ I’m like,’What the heck is a muskie?’ Ever since then I’ve been ruined.”
“I tell people that haven’t caught one, don’t catch one because everything you do is going to be about this fish.”
While I haven’t caught one since I was very young, I’ve been around the big ones enough lately that I will continue the chase. I’m not sold yet on abandoning every other fish out there to focus on muskies, but then again, I haven’t caught a 50″ fish yet. Hopefully there will be another opportunity or two out there yet this year. Only I think we’ll find a spot that has fewer rooftop swimming pools along it’s shorelines.