Gary Fiedler from Radiant Spirit Gallery spent 7 months in the Boundary Waters and Quetico. Why did he take this trip? What did he encounter along the way? He’ll tell us in this podcast from Minnesota Sporting Journal Radio on 11/22/14.
Gary Fiedler from Radiant Spirit Gallery spent 7 months in the Boundary Waters and Quetico. Why did he take this trip? What did he encounter along the way? He’ll tell us in this podcast from Minnesota Sporting Journal Radio on 11/22/14.
Mattracks was started in the early 1990’s in northwest Minnesota after the founder’s son “Matt” drew a picture of a vehicle with tracks on it. Today it has customers all over the world. Vice President Dan Laux tells us the story and what new products they have this year.
Ever had a problem bear come into the backyard to steal from the bird feeder? What measures have you taken to avoid this situation? Ever try bulldogs? Watch as these two break through the porch railing to scare off the invader!
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CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit)
One hunter called for a possession tag for the rack and skull of a deer he had been seeing during season. Before the hunter could legally take the deer, he overheard a pack of wolves take down the nice buck. A check of the area a few hours later revealed no remnants of the 11-pointer other than a backbone, ribcage, skull, and a leg.
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre)
CO Silgjord also assisted the State Patrol with a bear that had been struck on I-94. The bear, a large male, was estimated to be about 350 pounds and totaled out a full-size pickup truck. The bear was donated to a local organization and the meat will hopefully be salvaged.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany)
One TIP complaint investigation found that a suspect hit a large buck with his car in September, took the deer without a permit and saved it for his work, big buck contest. The suspect shot a small 6-point buck during gun season, then used his tag for the car hit buck and brought the head to work to win the contest. Enforcement action was taken and the deer was seized.
The entire list:
CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked deer hunters in Zone 1 and followed up on some deer complaints. A trespass was investigated and information was taken for several other cases.
CO Eric Benjamin (Warroad) focused on big/small game and ATV enforcement throughout the Warroad area to include the Northwest Angle and Beltrami Island State Forest. The firearms deer season concluded and proved to be a disappointment to many hunters in the area; most hunters spoken to report very low encounters with deer throughout the season. Calls for service included a report of a deer taken by a firearm from a motor vehicle on the road right of way in Williams, investigation is on-going. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display valid registration on an ATV.
CO Hannah Cowden (Warroad) spent the week wrapping up the rifle deer season for 2014. Time was also spent on trapping, small game, and ATV enforcement. A complaint of a deer shot from a vehicle, off the road, is also under investigation.
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports a slow deer harvest to close out the firearms season. Spearing activity has shown mixed results on the frozen bays of Lake of the Woods and Rainy River. Enforcement action was for fail to register deer, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls) monitored firearm deer hunting activity for the final week of the season, seeing limited success. Early ice anglers were checked on the Red Lake River in Thief River Falls. Anglers are reminded that ice conditions vary greatly on bodies of water with current and caution should be used whenever traveling on ice. CO Woinarowicz answered calls for car struck deer, illegally disposed of deer carcasses, and possible cougar sightings. Enforcement action for the week included failure to register big game and unlawful party hunting.
CO Traci Hanson (Thief River Falls) worked zone 1 deer hunters. Enforcement action taken for illegal party hunting, transporting loaded firearm in motor vehicle, lending hunting license and fail to possess licenses. CO Hanson spoke to a 97-year-old hunter who was hoping to fill his deer tag.
CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck) reports working deer hunting, trapping and angler activity on Upper Red Lake and special regulation lakes throughout the week. Many anglers took to the early ice on Upper Red Lake. Two anglers received a scary reminder that travel on ice is not safe when their ATV broke through the ice on Upper Red Lake. The two anglers were extracted from the frigid water and were treated for exposure by EMS personnel. CO Regas worked a special detail with neighboring officers, which resulted in enforcement action taken for shooting from a roadway.
CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports working on big game related cases from the firearms deer season. Time was also spent working archery deer hunters and trapping enforcement. Some anglers are also venturing out onto the ice.
CO Dan Malinowski (Fosston) had a report of an injured swan, assisted other agencies and had reports of trespass concerns after the fact.
CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked firearms deer hunters, a few trappers and had court.
CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) worked the closing weekend of the 2014 firearms deer season. Hunting activity was moderate with more people observed heading out ice fishing. Ice depths vary greatly and caution is advised. CO Vollbrecht worked a detail with neighboring officers and an individual was observed shooting from the roadway and cited. Time was spent working with fisheries staff on an Aquatic Management Area violation. A complaint of improperly posted property was taken.
CO Brian Holt (Bemidji #2) checked deer hunters, ATVs and trapping activity throughout the week. Complaints were received regarding trespassing, shooting from the road at a big game animal, shining and highway licensed vehicles operating on closed GIA trails. A TIP complaint was also investigated.
CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports following up on cases from the 2014 rifle deer season, assisting CO Alan Peterson (Osage) with a search warrant and felony arrest for a felon with a firearm, dealing with dogs chasing deer and attending the Perham snowmobile safety class. Ice on many of the smaller lakes averages 4-5” and ice anglers should remember all safety precautions. Many of the larger, deeper, lakes remain open.
CO Al Peterson (Osage) worked with neighboring officers on a case involving a felon in possession of a firearm, hunting w/o a license and transport illegal big game. An arrest was made, a search warrant was obtained, executed and charges are pending.
CO Gary Forsberg (Pelican Rapids) reports that fishermen are starting to venture onto the ice, but conditions vary. Pheasant hunters are stilling chasing birds and a few goose hunters are still out. A bald eagle was recovered that appeared to have ingested lead, possibly from a gut pile of a deer. The bird was sent to the raptor center for recovery.
CO Angie Warren (Detroit Lakes) received and investigated calls of possible injured swan, illegal dumping of deer carcasses, accidentally caught fisher and possible angling violations. Follow up was conducted on open cases from the firearms deer season. Questions were answered in regards to ice angling and trapping.
CO Bill Landmark (Moorhead) spent the week following up with deer season activity. The officer also spent time speaking with snowmobile safety instructors in the area and preparing for upcoming snowmobile safety classes. The officer fielded calls from the public regarding baited deer stands, archery hunting, and muzzleloader questions. The officer took enforcement for shooting big game from the roadway.
WREO Joe Stattelman spent the week working on WCA cases and completing site visits.
Time was spent assisting a neighboring officer with a search warrant and apprehension of a felon who was believed to be in possession of a firearm. Several fishermen were talked to. Many had caught some fish and reported 2 to 4 inches of ice on the lakes. Caution is urged. Ice conditions do vary in the region and with warm temps ice is unpredictable.
District 3 – Fergus Falls area
CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reported follow-up activities related to the firearms deer season. Richards checked waterfowl hunters and answered questions related to trapping. Information was taken on incidental caught fisher and planning with Fergus Falls Community Education for snowmobile safety classes. Ice anglers are venturing out but caution is still advised.
CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) finished up investigating cases from the firearm deer season. Plautz spoke to a Natural Resource class in New York Mills School and taught laws and ethics portion of a snowmobile safety class. Plautz monitored ice conditions and checked ice fishermen through the weekend. Waterfowl hunters were checked with minimal success.
CO Paul Nelson (Elbow Lake) finished up on calls from deer season and focused enforcement activity checking fishermen. Nelson warns anglers to be careful as ice conditions are not good after the recent rainfall.
CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked waterfowl hunters and ice fishermen. Ice thickness varies throughout the area and anglers should take safety precautions if they venture on the ice. Goose numbers are down from previous weeks. The majority of the snow in the area has decreased with the warm weather over the weekend.
CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) continued working on deer hunting investigations throughout the week. Lots of questions were answered regarding waterfowl hunting on the remaining open water throughout the area. A deer shot in a Missouri CWD zone and brought back to Minnesota was given to DNR Wildlife for testing.
CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) continued to follow up on investigations from the firearms deer season. Additional time was spent checking waterfowl, pheasant, small game, and archery deer hunters. Trapping and snowmobiling activity was monitored. Ice fishing and spearing activity has started in the station with Lake Osakis already receiving a lot of fishing pressure.
CO Tony Anderson (Morris) focused enforcement efforts on the ice fishing activity, ATV operation and snowmobiling activity. Snowmobile complaints regarding trespass, operating on roadways and expired registration were handled. Fishing success has been spotty. Minnow transportation permits were issued as well as questions answered regarding legal snowmobile operation, antlerless deer permits, and muzzleloader season questions. A call on an injured heron was also taken care of.
CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports fishing activity around the area has increased over the past week, despite an ATV and truck going through the ice on Lake Minnewaska. The officer checked fishermen, coyote hunters, pheasant hunters, bow hunters, and monitored trapping activity. Additional time was spent checking snowmobile operators, ATV operators, and investigating illegal fires. Calls were handled regarding muzzleloader season, and injured animals.
Wheaton – vacant.
District 4 – Wadena area
CO Paul Parthun (Lake George) worked another busy week of firearms deer season. Hunters enjoyed much warmer weather for the last weekend. Some evidence was processed and special details were worked. Ice anglers were checked. Enforcement action was taken for hunting on a closed game refuge, transporting loaded firearms and setting untagged traps.
CO Sam Hunter (Park Rapids) checked hunters and trappers. Officer Hunter received a call of a deer that had been found on their property that they believed had been shot. The rightful archery hunter claimed the deer.
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) finished up some deer season work in the area. Assistance was provided to other officers on a search warrant. An accidentally taken fisher was seized and donated to a trapping organization. Ice anglers were checked, as some shacks started appearing on the ice. A reminder to ice anglers that all shelters on the ice are required to have the owners identification properly displayed.
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) focused on big game hunting activity. Nothing unusual to report. He handled a trespass complaint.
CO Beau Shroyer (Remer) focused enforcement efforts on the end of the firearms deer season. The cold weather and relatively low number of harvested deer led to fewer hunters in the woods than previously. Only a handful of harvested deer were checked. Hunters reported seeing a fair number of does and fawns, but few bucks. CO Shroyer switched gears later in the week to check early ice fishermen and trapping activities. Sportsmen are cautioned to be wary of deteriorating ice conditions with the warm weather this past weekend. Not all bodies of water in the station have safe ice yet. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, failure to validate a site tag, and operating an ATV without a visible tail-light.
CO Duke Broughten (Longville) spent the week focusing on deer hunting activity. Deer hunting success was limited last week. Deer hunters expressed that they are seeing a fair amount of does, but limited bucks. Smaller lakes in the Longville area are starting to freeze over, however there is still open water. Anglers are advised to check ice conditions before venturing out on the lake. CO Broughten fielded calls of trespass, shooting from roadway, and taking a doe without a permit. CO Broughten also assisted Cass County Sheriff’s Office with an attempt to locate a burglary suspect. Enforcement action included: transported loaded firearm in motor vehicle, failure to transfer ownership of ATV, operate ATV on roadway, no ATV safety, and no doe permit.
CO Jeff Halverson (Staples) worked the deer season in zone 1, one contact for loaded gun. Ice fishermen showing up on small lakes and back waters of rivers. Accidental fisher turned in and gifted to Minnesota Trappers Association. Investigation started on a parked truck being shot with a shotgun.
WREO Shane Siltala met with local SWCD staff to review current WCA concerns. A CDO will be issued for illegal wetland filling. Deer hunters were also checked during the last weekend of the firearm season. Hunters reported seeing more wolves than deer. Few deer were seen harvested. Area trapping activity was monitored as well as early ice fishing activity.
District 5 – Eveleth area
CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) worked the deer hunting activity in the area. Hunters continued to find little success during the last week of the season. Follow up investigation is being conducted on a trespass complaint. Time was also spent on trapping enforcement and checking surrounding ice conditions with a few individuals getting out on the early ice to spear. CO Van Asch also assisted International Falls Police Department with a possible bomb threat at a local business in town.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports low numbers of deer hunters and it appears many have given up for the season. Ice houses are starting to show up on area lakes and a few snowmobilers are out on the first snow of the year.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the 2014 firearm deer season ended quietly. Some hunters voiced their opinion that perhaps too many quality bucks, and small spikes and forks were killed due to the buck’s only season in the area. Ice fishermen are starting to venture onto the ice. Some reported up to 7 inches of ice in some of the shallower bays. A couple 40 inch plus northerns were taken. Caution is urged due to the fact that ice is never consistent in depth and is never totally safe.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) during the week officer took complaints on trespassing and hunting over bait, investigation into these matters is ongoing. It appears that many deer hunters in the area had given up on the final weekend. Ice has now covered Lake Vermilion and anglers are venturing out into the bays. Ice is reported to be 2-8 inches in the bays) depending on the area. It is still very early so use extreme caution when venturing out on the ice. Enforcement action was taken on angling with extra lines and license not in possession.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) closed out the firearms deer season just the way it started, with a deer baiting case. Snow aided in the case as a deer was shot over bait the previous day. All the evidence was easy to follow, including the destination of the illegally taken deer via an ATV to the hunter’s house. ATV tracks were also followed over a mile into a Hunter Walking Only access area where two hunters were installing a huge deer stand, aided with the ATV. Enforcement action for the week was taken on hunt deer over baited area, multiple transport loaded firearms, deer over limit, unlawful party hunting, operate ATV during restricted times, operate ATV in prohibited area (hunter walking area) and unregistered ATV.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time checking the few deer hunters remaining in the woods and observed that some of those hunters began resorting to rather unsportsmanlike practices including trespass, operating ATVs during closed hours and not wearing a stich of blaze orange. Most area lakes started to make good ice and a few spearing shacks were seen out but with warmer temps over the weekend the ice seemed to have deteriorated a little. Angler area advised to use caution when venturing out onto Virginia area lakes.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) finished up the week’s deer season with does being shot from roadways and fields. One individual found in possession of a doe stated that while in his stand a injured doe ran by and he let it go knowing not to shot does, but later found it dead and harvested it. The bullet hole in the doe’s side clearly shows cause of death. Most hunters who did not see deer stated wolf signs were everywhere and wished more wolves would be removed.
Ray – vacant.
District 6 – Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) assisted St. Louis County with a lost hunter on the Echo Trail. The hunter was 8 hours late meeting with the rest of his hunting party when rescuers arrived. He was however able to find his way to a road where he was found by another group. When Officer Williams arrived on scene two of the lost hunter’s party had gone into the woods in an attempt to locate him and were now unaccounted for. Rescuers had to then turn their attention to finding the other members of the group who went searching with no way to communicate. Fortunately they were able to hear the sound blasts from a rescue vehicle and followed it the St. Louis County Rescue Squad.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked on some fall cases and stored seasonal equipment. The deer season was very quiet and the deer were a bit tough to come by. The weather didn’t always help with some days having what seemed like hurricane force winds. Now everyone will be on to ice fishing. The ice was building nicely, but with the recent warm rains, it will be more dangerous than ever. Be extra careful and use safety equipment such as ice picks, PFDs, and an ice chisel to check ice thickness.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports a significant increase in wolf sign compared to the last two deer seasons. Many of the tracks seen were from packs and scent marking spots were common during the last couple of weeks. Many of the shallow lakes were checked by the CO and he found 4-7 inches of ice on the lakes he checked. Use caution on all lakes especially the deeper ones that take longer to freeze. If you feel you must venture out, ice picks and throwing on a life jacket would be good ideas. The warmest weather of the deer season couldn’t coax hunters out on the last weekend as most had given up. Early ice walleye fishing has been good so far.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) took a report of a vehicle dragging a beaver; the carcass was located along with a number of others intended as bait for the upcoming wolf hunt. The officer checked deer hunters and several stands and blinds; few successful hunters were encountered. The officer also checked ice anglers, who reported better success
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling and deer hunting enforcement, including road hunting complaint areas. A few more hunters were out with the warm weekend weather. Ice conditions are good for foot travel in most areas. Enforcement action for the week included transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, too far from tip-up, and no license in possession.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked another week of deer hunting. It ended the way it started with few hunters, and fewer deer. Time was also spent checking those that are starting to venture out on area ice. CO Schottenbauer encourages caution on area lakes as ice conditions vary.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked deer hunters, trappers and ice fishermen. A few anglers are making their way out onto the ice with some nice fish caught. The firearm deer season wrapped up with a foggy and rainy day. Many hunters were discouraged with the low deer numbers along the shore. Complaints were handled and investigations were followed up on.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) continued to investigate big game and trapping cases. Baiting and illegal dumping of animal carcasses and debris on public lands continue to be common complaints. The last weekend of firearms deer season was a warm and foggy one with few deer harvested. Some dark house spearing and angling has started on some area lakes with a few shallow lakes having up to seven inches of ice being reported.
District 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked deer hunters and worked complaints of possible hunter harassment, baiting, trespass, shoot from a roadway, and shoot from a motor vehicle. Enforcement action was taken for lend/borrow license and tags.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked angling, big game, and ATV activity. Violations included hunting deer over bait, shoot from the roadway, lend borrow a license, illegal transportation of big game, take antlerless deer in bucks only area, deer over-limit, fail to validate tag, fail to register deer, and operate ATV in closed hours.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked deer hunting complaints, monitored bough harvesting, investigated trapping complaints and checked anglers. CO Fairbanks and his K-9 partner Si assisted CO Hanson with a shooting from the road case. K-9 Si was able locate a spent rifle casing on the roadway where the illegal hunter had shot from. Enforcement action was taken for fail to tag, fail to register and shoot from roadway
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked firearms deer hunters this past weekend. Deer hunting seemed slow, even though the weather was warmer. She also worked trapping and fishing enforcement. Ice is never considered safe, please use caution. She responded to a call about a fire on an island on Deer Lake, no one was hurt and no buildings were on fire. As it turns out, it was a recreational bonfire.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the last week of rifle deer season with some hunters out braving the cold weather. CO Sutherland also worked late season duck hunters with some local success had. Enforcement action was taken for taking an antlerless deer in a lottery zone without a permit, wanton waste, deer over-limit and failing to register a deer.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working deer hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for shooting from roadway, allowing minor to hunt in violation and trespassing.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) checked ATV activity and deer hunters during the past week. CO Velsvaag also checked a few ice anglers venturing out onto thin ice. CO Velsvaag received several calls about the upcoming fisher/marten season and spearing regulations.
District 8 – Duluth area
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued working the firearm deer season. Many telephone calls were received and returned during the week. Several deer shacks were visited. A couple TIP complaints continue to be investigated and an antlered deer taken in an antlerless only zone was reported.
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) followed up on trespassing complaints, ATV off hour’s complaints and followed up on a trapping issue; which resulted in an enforcement action.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) worked firearm deer season hunters, where low success rates were being reported in most deer camps; however the stories were plentiful. Early ice fishing anglers are now venturing out. Some lakes are reporting up to 7 inches of ice, however, thickness can vary greatly this time of year so use extreme caution. A bobcat that was accidentally caught in a snare was released.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked game enforcement. CO Humphrey issued a restoration order on an APM violation at Eagle Lake and assisted with training at the DNR’s Forest Officer academy in Cloquet. CO Humphrey investigated baiting, trespass, and shooting from roadway complaints during the week. Deer hunters continued to report a slow season with fewer deer seen and harvested than in previous years.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) observed very low numbers of deer being taken in the area during the firearms deer season. The number of hunters was also down in the area. Complaints of hunting over bait, shining and hunting without licenses were investigated. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s office when it was reported that a hunter accidentally shot himself in the foot while climbing out of a stand. A person came into the local DNR office to report a large hairy object in the ditch of I-35 near Cloquet. After the individual nervously asked several questions about Bigfoot, the area was checked and no large hairy object was found.
WREO Mike Scott checked deer hunters in the Duluth area. They talked to about the lack of deer in the area, comparing it to 1970s deer hunting. He staffed the MSP Dispatch center in Roseville during the weekend. Several calls from folks reporting deer that had fallen through the ice on area lakes. Most wanted to know what to do and how the deer could be saved. Folks were advised on the safety issues trying to save deer on the thin ice.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) worked with fellow District 8 officers in several locations in the district. The final week of firearms season continued to be slow for hunters. Most deer camps checked over the final weekend had already been cleaned up and locked for the season. Some hunters North of Duluth reported seeing very few deer tracks for the entire season. Ice anglers have been venturing out on the ice. Most reports are coming in with 4-6 inches of ice. A reminder to anglers that ice is never safe. Proceed with caution and care. Reports of bears still roaming the woods came in.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked a few deer hunters on the final weekend of a very slow season. One hunter called for a possession tag for the rack and skull of a deer he had been seeing during season. Before the hunter could legally take the deer, he overheard a pack of wolves take down the nice buck. A check of the area a few hours later revealed no remnants of the 11-pointer other than a backbone, ribcage, skull, and a leg. Multiple dumping sites have been discovered where lazy hunters dumped carcasses in the ditch, some very close to houses. This gives a bad image to all hunters. Enforcement action taken for ATV and litter violations.
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Tim Collette (Pequot Lakes) followed up on cases from the 200 series deer season, helped out with 100 series zones still open and checked early season ice anglers. Although some lakes have good ice, others are still open or have thin ice. Reports were heard of a couple of trucks falling through the ice when they drove onto the edge of the lake.
CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reports activity including follow work on firearms deer season cases, and assisting the sheriff’s department in the investigation of an incident where a bullet from a deer hunter’s high power rifle was found to have entered an occupied residence.
CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) worked ice fishing, trapping and deer hunting activity. A grandfather is facing charges after allowing his 8 year old grandson to shoot a high powered rifle across the vehicle from the passenger seat while on the roadway. Another hunting party spent hours tracking down a wounded deer, waiting for enforcement assistance and seeking adjoining landowner’s permission in an attempt to recover the animal. By chance it crossed the Mississippi on good ice and willing landowners allowed the pursuit to continue. Their ethical/legal decisions were rewarded with a nice young buck on the final day of the season.
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked on equipment this week as well as the monitoring of public land use. A couple of deer stands left on Aquatic Management Areas were called in and were marked for enforcement action and removal. Officer Guida received a complaint of timber trespass and illegal motor vehicle activity on the Gilbert Lake AMA. The violator is subject to restitution of the firewood and a fine. A shooting from a motor vehicle violation was also charged out in a Hubbard County.
CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) checked deer hunters on the last week and weekend of the rifle season. Numerous hunters were out and reported limited success. Time was also spent checking ice anglers, and late season waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action was taken for multiple violations.
CO Mike Lee (Crosslake) continued with checking deer hunters in Zone 1 this past week and following up on other open investigations. Officer Lee also spoke to anglers that were venturing out onto the ice. Anglers are reminded that ice conditions are varying from lake to lake, and be very cautious. The anglers and dark house spears were reporting so-so success on area lakes. Officer Lee received a call of a deer being shot in the middle of the road. Follow up investigation into the complaint led parties being issued citations for lending and borrowing deer hunting licenses, and unlawful party hunting. Other enforcement action taken this past week included Failure to Tag deer, Failure to Register deer, and operate ATV during closed hours on public lands.
CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Rec. Area) monitored deer hunting in the Cuyuna Country SRA and assisted the Hinckley Conservation Officer and Park staff with the St. Croix State Park special deer hunt.
CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) checked anglers and northern spearers. The bite has been slow and the ice unpredictable and dangerous. Reports of double trippers and anglers using extra lines received enforcement time. Violations found were litter and no shelter license. Complaints of vehicles on closed trails and road hunters in the Pillsbury Forest were investigated. Reports of deer carcass dumping in the city of Lake shore were investigated.
CO Amber Peterson (McGregor) reports checking deer hunters the last week of the season, responding to trespassing complaints, and checking a few anglers trying out the early ice. CO Peterson responded to a call of a deer out on the ice on Big Sandy which made its way to shore unassisted. She also assisted an unprepared hunter gut and drag out his buck.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Greg Verkuilen (Garrison) began checking ice anglers, ice spearers, and the ATVs that come with them. Some ice is approaching 7 inches thick but still gives you serine view of the open water nearby. Some canoers thought it would be fun to transition between the two without registration or life jackets on board. The final week of Zone 1 deer season was monitored along with bow hunters in Zone 2. Small game hunters were also out making use of the warm weekend.
CO Chris Tetrault (Isle) assisted Aitkin County with lost hunters near the McGrath area; the hunters were found promptly. Deer hunters had little success over the week with minimal deer being seen. Anglers were happy as they were out on the early ice for the year. Anglers were checked on Pine and Mille Lacs Lake. People spearing on Mille Lacs Lake had mixed success based on location of spearing. Enforcement action was taken for no spearing license, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Scott Fitzgerald (Malmo) reports working the final week of the 2014 firearms deer season. A few hunters come out the last weekend but most reported not seeing many deer. Several calls of trespassing were fielded throughout the week and weekend and also shining activity was monitored during the week. A couple of TIPs regarding illegal road hunting were fielded, lots of law related questions were also answered, and several car kill deer permits were issued for deer. Assistance was given to the local sheriff’s office on a call of a lost hunter and patrol was done around area lakes where fishermen were venturing out for some ice fishing. Enforcement action was taken for various big game violations.
CO Dustie Speldrich (Willow River) worked the final weekend of firearms deer season finding very few deer being taken. She responded to call of shining and shooting after hours. The occupant of the vehicle shot in the direction of a pastured area, farm buildings and a house. The incident remains under investigation. A call of trespassing was investigated. The individuals who were trespassing left the scene however, a blood trail was detected and a deer was eventually located. Additional violations with this incident may include hunting without a license. An investigation is ongoing. CO Speldrich received additional baiting complaints and assisted neighboring officers with baiting cases. Hunting deer over baited areas was the most prevalent violation seen this deer season. CO Speldrich also issued car kill possession tags, answered questions regarding ice safety and checked traps.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked spear fishermen on Mille lacs Lake and found poor harvest results. Some pike are showing up, but very few for the amount of fisherman out. Deer hunting season came to a close with little activity. Rain and wind made for difficult hunting. Trappers are battling freeze up conditions. Mille Lacs WMA issues were handled, mostly related to stands left in the WMA. Ice conditions vary, please use caution and never assume ice is safe.
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) had an increase in complaints of trespassing deer hunters during the last week of the firearms deer season. Some otter, beaver, and mink trapping activity was found and the first ice anglers of the season were checked. Some area lakes were found with not enough ice for safe foot travel and other lakes had 6 inches of ice or more. Time was also spent monitoring a couple hundred deer hunters that were lucky enough to draw tags for the St. Croix State Park deer hunt.
CO Eugene Wynn (Pine City) spent the week working complaints of deer shot off roadways. CO Wynn answered questions about waterfowl hunting, muzzleloader hunting, ice conditions, and trapping throughout the week. With the roller coaster weather we’ve been having recently, anglers should use extreme caution when venturing out on local lakes. Ice conditions varied from 2-4 inches in places, but rain and warm weather over the weekend is sure to deteriorate local ice. CO Wynn also spent time assisting with the special hunt at St. Croix State Park over the weekend.
CO Luke Croatt (Wealthwood) checked deer hunters during the week and weekend. Several complaints of trespass were handled. Hunters were reminded to contact land owners before tracking wounded deer on private property. Ice fishing has started on Mille Lacs mainly on the south end. Most activity has been northern pike spearing and success has been fair.
WREO Rob Haberman checked deer hunters throughout the week in zone 100. Colder temps earlier in the week kept most hunters indoors. WREO Haberman also checked early ice fishermen on area lakes. Ice conditions are spotty so caution is always advised. WREO Haberman worked on wetland cases in his assigned area.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) spent the week following up on cases from the firearms deer season. Ice angling activity was monitored with a few more anglers seen venturing out on the ice. A trap tampering complaint was fielded and is currently under investigation. CO Silgjord also assisted the State Patrol with a bear that had been struck on I-94. The bear, a large male, was estimated to be about 350 pounds and totaled out a full-size pickup truck. The bear was donated to a local organization and the meat will hopefully be salvaged.
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) investigated a complaint call of hunters attempting to locate deer after the close of the firearms deer season. In tracking the deer the hunters trespassed on posted private property without permission. CO Kuske did a law talk at the Snowmobile safety class in Upsala and continued investigations of possible illegal tagging from firearms deer season.
WREO Keith Bertram spent the week conducting follow-up on wetland cases. Assistance was given to neighboring officers regarding deer hunting complaint investigations. The first ice fishermen of the season were also checked.
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) dealt with the fact deer season isn’t over the last day of hunting. Investigations continue regarding lend / borrow cases, fail to register deer, purchase of duplicate licenses and calls of injured deer. Ice on area lakes is looking real good and people are starting to get out in several places.
CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) worked angling and hunting activity in the area. The officer assisted with a vehicle versus train accident. Enforcement action was taken on waterfowl hunting violations.
CO Chad Thesing (Albany) spent time following up on calls from the deer season to include a lend/borrow violation, over limit violation and registration violations. One TIP complaint investigation found that a suspect hit a large buck with his car in September, took the deer without a permit and saved it for his work, big buck contest. The suspect shot a small 6-point buck during gun season, then used his tag for the car hit buck and brought the head to work to win the contest. Enforcement action was taken and the deer was seized. Snowmobile activity was seen in the Albany area with enforcement action taken on loud pipes, and trespass. Ice conditions vary from lake to lake, but the shallower lakes have 5-6 inches of good ice. One angler checked resulted in an extra line ticket.
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) station checked anglers this past week. CO Mies worked on follow up deer cases. CO Mies checked sleds and worked on complaints.
CO Rhonda Friese (Long Prairie) finished up cases from firearms deer season. A TIP call was investigated.
St. Cloud – vacant.
District 12 – Princeton area
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked waterfowl hunters on the Mississippi River. He followed up on a Big Game investigation with charges pending. He answered a number of hunting questions. He checked on some trapping complaints and followed up on a couple TIP calls. He assisted with an injured swan in Monticello.
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) reports finishing up investigations on deer cases from the season. CO Langevin received numerous calls regarding dumped deer carcasses in the area. Hunters are reminded to find an appropriate place to dump processed deer parts. CO Langevin also worked the area for ice anglers. The cold temperatures already have ice fishermen on area lakes. Anglers are reminded no ice is safe especially early ice.
CO Brandon McGaw (Mora) checked deer hunters during the last week of deer season. Hunters stayed out of the woods during the cold weather and deer harvest appeared to be below average. Enforcement action was taken on possession of small amount of marijuana and operating an unregistered snowmobile.
CO Angela Londgren (Cambridge) received several complaints of a couple of hunters that were hunting deer the day after the season closed. The hunters were located and stated that they were tracking a wounded deer, the problem however was that they were shooting at the deer. Enforcement action was taken and the deer was seized. Officer Londgren also followed up on complaints from the deer season, checked anglers, snowmobiles, and took injured/nuisance animal calls.
District 13 – West Metro area
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked the 3B deer opener finding very few deer taken. Goose hunters were checked having very good success field hunting. A few anglers were venturing out on the ice but it was not very safe. Enforcement action was taken for no blaze orange clothing during firearms deer season, no small game license, unsigned federal duck stamps, no federal duck stamps and over limit of geese.
CO Tony Salzer (Osseo) patrolled Hennepin County for deer hunting activity. Violations including failing to validate a tag and uncased firearms. Salzer also patrolled Dakota County for waterfowl activity. Duck hunting activity was slow.
CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) monitored hunting activity and ice conditions. CO Grewe did an ice safety presentation and asks anglers to prepare and beware of ice conditions before travelling out on to Minnesota waters.
CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) checked ice fishermen in Scott County and worked the 3B deer season in Scott County. He talked to an Asian group in St. Paul on hunting and fishing regulations and responded to a few TIP complaints in Scott County. Violations were fail to validate deer tag and hunting with shotgun slugs and pistol in a wildlife management area that is restricted to shot gun with fine shot only.
CO Thephong Le (ELCOP) gave a presentation to the IBEW (International Brotherhood Electrical Workers) Local 160 retirees and the subject was the Minnesota Conservation Officer’s role as well as the mission of the Law Enforcement Division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He assisted CO Chihak with a case where a trumpeter swan was shot and two subjects admitted to the violation.
Bloomington – vacant.
Mound – vacant.
Prior Lake – vacant.
District 14 – East Metro area
CO Brad Johnson (Maplewood) reports that he checked deer hunters during the week. He spoke to a snowmobile safety class in Coon Rapids sponsored by the Coon Rapids Sno-Cruisers. CO Johnson assisted a CO from Arizona regarding a license revocation investigation. He received a number of calls about deer violations, and deer hunting questions.
CO Scott Arntzen (Forest Lake) spent the week checking archery deer, small game, and waterfowl hunters. CO Arntzen investigated a trapping complaint, handled TIP calls and monitored area lakes for fishing activity. He also spoke to a snowmobile safety class in Ham Lake and patrolled wildlife management areas.
WREO Adam Block (Metro) spent the week patrolling for big game and AIS activity. WREO Block also followed up on wetland and shoreline related cases. An extension was issued to a wetland restoration order due to the early arrival of winter.
CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) reports a busy opening to the B firearm season. He responded to TIP complaints and various questions concerning where people can hunt. He investigated a deer caught in a snare as well as patrolled Spring Lake with other officers. Enforcement action for the week included, untagged snares, and hunting deer over bait.
CO Vuthy Pril (ELCOP) worked the season B deer opener weekend with CO Kruse in southeast Minnesota and checked a number of deer and small game hunters there. CO Pril continued checking the metro zone deer area hunters and waterfowl hunters during the week. Some ice fishermen were also checked on a couple of metro lakes and rivers. CO Pril responded to a number of calls and complaints during the week.
CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) checked small game and archery deer hunters in the area. She checked individuals at shore that tested the unsafe ice and went ice fishing. CO Kruse and CO Pril assisted COs with the 3B season by working in southeast Minnesota. She continued working on a few deer cases, took nuisance animal calls, and handled TIP calls. Violations included transport loaded gun, target shoot in a WMA, license not in possession and litter.
Eagan – vacant.
Metro Officer – vacant.
District 15 – Marshall area
CO Doug Lage (Marshall) conducted his weekly radio show on KLOH radio. Warm conditions have helped the pheasant hunters and pheasants. Several calls of injured deer have been received. Deer injured during the slug season are being found by pheasant hunters.
CO Ed Picht (Montevideo) reports that ice fishermen are finding from 4-6 inches of ice on area lakes. Late season pheasant hunters are finding pheasants in large groups with the snow pack. CO Picht continues to work on deer hunting related investigations and LqP Refuge violations.
CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) spent most of the week conducting follow up investigations from the firearms deer season. Calls were received from landowners finding dead deer on their property that had been shot by slug hunters. Nice weather over the weekend brought out pheasant and archery deer hunters. A few ice fishermen are venturing out onto area lakes with ice thickness reports varying. Extreme caution needs to be used. Ice thickness seems to be ranging from 3-7 inches but lakes with less are also being reported. Please visit the DNR website for information on ice safety.
WREO Larry Hanson (Southern Region) assisted Eco/Waters with follow-up on AIS complaints with K-9 Reggie. Checks were completed on boat lifts and docks in Becker and Hubbard Counties. Officer Hanson also assisted Eco/Waters with groundwater and compliance hydro interviews in New Ulm. Follow-up was completed on WCA and PW cases.
CO Craig Miska (Ortonville) followed-up on cases from the firearms deer season. Ice fishing activity has started on local waters. Please use caution when venturing out, as ice conditions can vary from lake to lake. Late season pheasant hunting activity was also monitored.
Benson – vacant.
Madison – vacant.
Redwood Falls – vacant.
Worthington – vacant.
District 16 – New Ulm area
CO Jeff Denz (Willmar) followed up on cases from the firearms deer season. He continues to take trespass complaints regarding snowmobile operation and pheasant hunting. Denz spoke about regulations at a snowmobile safety class in New London.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time during the week checking pheasant hunters and ice fishermen. Pheasant hunters are having some luck in this cold weather and seeing a few more birds moving around. Ice fishermen have to check the ice before going out and have to stay off of a few lakes due to the lack of ice. The lakes they are able to get on they are catching fish. There were even some deer left from the firearms deer season that were checked. The hunter hung them in a tree in his yard and they froze in the cold weather. The hunter had them tagged and registered.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked anglers taking advantage of the early ice. Anglers should be cautious as ice is still very thin in spots. She spoke at two probation groups meetings in Glencoe. She discussed hunting rules and regulations and answered a variety of questions. Mueller also answered questions on coyote hunting.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) followed up on some deer issues from the firearms season. Oberg also worked snowmobile enforcement in the area with a few sleds trying to get out before the snow melts. A work detail was also worked in the area.
CO Thor Nelson (New Ulm) investigated calls of taking deer from the road, trapping and trespass violations. Anglers have been venturing onto the ice with little success. Ice conditions vary greatly and extreme care must be taken when fishing local lakes.
CO Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) worked small game, angling and big game enforcement throughout the week. Pheasant hunters have become more active now that the firearm season closed, with some having good success. There are fewer ducks and geese around although nearly all the snow cover is gone. A few anglers are venturing on to the area ice both on lakes and the Des Moines River.
CO Eric Schettler (Fairmont) continued investigations from the firearms deer season. Waterfowl hunters were checked in fields. Anglers are venturing out on ice and reports are 3-4 inches of ice. Trapping activity picked up for a couple of days as weather warmed up.
Willmar #1 – vacant.
Windom – vacant.
District 17 – Mankato area
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) continues to follow up on cases from this past week’s deer season. Some snowmobiling activity is being seen. The officer also reports ice fishing activity is picking up due the cold weather.
CO Brent Ihnen (Waseca) spent the week patrolling for deer, pheasant and waterfowl hunters. Additional time was spent checking snowmobile operators who were taking advantage of recent snowfall. Officer Ihnen also responded to several calls relating to injured deer following the firearms season, as well as complaints of trespassing.
CO Chad Davis (Owatonna) worked big game and small game activity during the week. Complaints were received regarding deer hunting activity. Several violations were encountered.
CO Steve Chihak (Spring Valley) spent the week following up on investigations from the firearms deer hunting A season. The firearms deer hunting B season opener was worked over the weekend. An illegal shooting of a trumpeter swan was investigated with enforcement action taken. Requests from the public seeking information were returned.
CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) worked on wrapping up cases from deer season. Some ice anglers have been out, pressing their luck. One angler reported 3 to 4 inches of ice in some places, with many other places where the chisel went through the ice on the first poke as he was walking. Lots of water was seen on top of the thin ice, with Sunday’s warm weather.
CO Luke Belgard (Faribault) worked the opening of the 3B firearms deer season. Hunters with the wrong license or in the wrong zone were common issues. Waterfowl hunters and archery hunters were also checked.
WREO Julie Siems worked 3B deer opener resulting in APR, unlawful party hunting and lend/borrow violations. Non-compliance with the lake service provider permit was also addressed.
Albert Lea – vacant.
Mankato #1 – vacant.
District 18 – Rochester area
CO Scott Fritz (LaCrescent) reports hardcore duck hunters that found open water shot some nice mallards and black ducks. Early in the week ice fishermen were having luck in the backwaters. Main channel opened up again after the warm weekend. 3B deer opener had wet rainy weather. The larger groups did well with deer drives. Bucks are in lock down mode. He assisted the Winona Sheriff with a search for a fisherman who’s been missing for two weeks. Enforcement for the week included shining after hours without a firearm, fail to tag deer and APR violation.
CO Phil George (Rochester) conducted follow up from the deer season and checked waterfowl hunters. A few snowmobiles were out before all the snow melted over the weekend. One person located had warrants and was in possession of methamphetamine. Other enforcement action involved some waterfowl hunting issues.
CO Mitch Boyum (Rushford) reports working the 3B opener. Warmer weather made it more comfortable but deer movement was slow. The muddy weather made driving deer difficult as well. Most groups did have deer but added it was slow. Trespass complaints were investigated as were shooting from the road complaints. A few pheasant hunters were out and seeing a few birds now that the majority of corn has been harvested.
CO Tyler Quandt (Red Wing) reports following up on deer cases during the week and spending the weekend checking B season deer hunters. Waterfowl hunters were having a difficult time finding open water to hunt by the end of the week. Hunters took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday and fewer people were observed during the rain on Sunday. Some deer hunting violations were detected and a few people called to turn in deer that did not meet the Antler Point Restriction.
CO Joel Heyn (Plainview) worked mainly deer and waterfowl hunters during the week. A number of deer hunters were out, but it was slower overall compared to the A season. Duck hunters who managed to get out on the river with all the ice did well with limits and overlimits seen taken.
Rochester #2 – vacant.
Planning is ongoing for this year’s training activities, including ordering equipment and supplies and reserving training areas at Camp Ripley.
NR Pilot John Heineman (Bemidji) flew fisher, marten and wolf telemetry. Heineman also worked on instrument training. Aircraft was also brought in for scheduled maintenance.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (New Ulm) conducted training flights with CO Pilot Lofstuen and maintenance issues. Geving also participated with a big game enforcement detail.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on aircraft and administrative tasks, and started teaching helicopter ground school training for one of the pilots. He also flew a deer baiting activity for district 8.
CO Pilot Chris Lofstuen (Bemidji) flew as a safety pilot for John Heineman during a proficiency flight. Also, ground and flight training was received for a required instrument proficiency check. An aircraft was repositioned from New Ulm to Bemidji and a Big Game flight was flown in Districts 2, 4, 7 and 9.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen reports a week of flying support flights for officers on the ground to aid in the investigation of illegal deer hunting. Jensen also searched for missing collared wolves and started pack counts on wolves that could still be found with working collars. Jensen flew a new CO around his station to give him a view of the landscape from above therefore shortening the learning curve for the officer in this first year in the area.
By Doug Leier
Leading off with, “It seems like yesterday” is pretty good qualifier to acknowledge I’m not a kid anymore.
Fact is, it’s been 20 years since I took my final college exam, and also took the North Dakota Game and Fish Department game warden exam, which is the first step in the process for becoming a North Dakota district game warden.
I can remember the reality of the situation. In a state with fewer wardens than counties, and a heritage of hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation, interest in a career as a game warden runs high. While the odds aren’t quite the same as making it in professional sports, I wasn’t very optimistic when I took the test, as more than 100 other prospects were in the room with me, vying for what turned out to be one position.
The process proved me wrong, however, and I was fortunate to spend the first five years of my career at the Game and Fish Department as district warden.
The warden test remains the initial procedure for filling a vacant position amongst the 3 dozen or so North Dakota game warden positions. The tests don’t come around all that often, but the next one is on the calendar for Dec. 29 at 10 a.m. at the Game and Fsh Department’s main office in Bismarck. It’s a great opportunity for anyone who has envisioned a career as a game warden.
To begin the process, applicants must register to take the exam by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.
No doubt a background in hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation will serve a candidate well. Many current wardens have degrees with a natural resources or law enforcement focus, but others come from a variety of educational backgrounds as well.
Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have a bachelor’s degree. Other requirements are a current North Dakota peace officer license, or eligibility to train for a peace officer license, and a valid driver’s license. Candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills in communications and writing, and must not have a record of any felony convictions.
The work of a warden continues to focus on enforcement of game and fish laws and related regulations in an assigned district and other locations throughout the state. Wardens often work alone under varied conditions, and sometimes experience work days that can extent to all hours of the day.
In addition to law enforcement duties, wardens assist in the areas of public relations, education programs, and hunter and boat safety education.
While the test is the first step, the selection procedure following the test may include an evaluation of the application, a structured oral interview, background and reference checks, and psychological and medical examinations.
While the next game warden exam is scheduled for Dec. 29, there is no guarantee on when the next one will be held. They typically are only scheduled when there is an open position, which may or may not occur on an annual basis.
So if you’ve ever considered a career as a game warden, or know someone else who may be interested, don’t be apprehensive like I was. You just never know what might happen. And you certainly will never know unless you start the process.