CO REPORTS: Busy deer opener reported with firearms – Brainerd Dispatch
District 9 – Brainerd area
CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) I worked as a firearms deer hunting opener. A deer stand illegally left overnight in a water management area will result in an archery hunter being charged with taking big game on bait. The hunter’s equipment was confiscated, and after his conviction, he now faces a one-year revocation of big game hunting, forfeiture of equipment, and a hefty fine. Guida assisted with CWD efforts and educated some deer hunters in Permit District 604 about mandatory weekend opening testing requirements and carcass movement restrictions. Minnesota State Patrol was assisted with a vehicle-deer collision.
CO Chelsea Best (Pequot Lakes) Enforcement action was taken this week on charges of baiting, transporting loaded firearms and several other violations.
CO Tony Fleurleg (Crosby) Firearms worked the deer season opener. The success rate appears to be higher than previous years. He received complaints of trespassing, deer hunting, and too many wolves. Duck hunters are still out to target more divers and migratory birds.
CO Andrew Ladzinski (Pine River) He saw a lot of hunters out and about as firearms deer season opened. The harvest rate was low. Enforcement action has been taken for bait fishing, violations of the county feeder/attractant ban, unregistered ATVs, and litter. Hunters comply well with CWD testing requirements.
CO Amber Ladd RTO (Reserve Training Officer) Conclude Step 3 of field training with COC (Conservation Officer Candidate) Jahn. Time was spent on baiting issues during the opening weekend. Time was also spent enforcing waterfowl laws, law enforcement, and assisting other agencies.
District 2 – Bemidji area
Co Price Volbrecht (Bemidji #1) It worked the busy opening weekend of the firearms deer season. Several hunters have been contacted. They have had limited success. Waterfowl hunters and anglers are still trying to access area lakes. ATV activity was monitored on area trails and forest roads.
CO Andrew Goodman (Perham) She responded to various tips and complaints during the opening weekend of firearms deer season. Overall compliance was high in the area, with many hunters reporting moderate deer movement. A few hunters and waterfowl hunters continue to brave the icy waters, with limited harvest success. Safety equipment remains the most common violation. Goodman would like to remind people to wear fluorescent orange, a life jacket and/or helmet as applicable to your recreational activity.
CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) I spent the week checking on duck hunters and preparing for deer season. Over the weekend, Swedberg was able to handle multiple trapping cases throughout the area with other local COs. Swedberg, CO Shehak, and Captain Seefeldt were also able to work a case where a landowner was hunting and using a rifle while in the rifle area to get his money that morning.
CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) He spent the week finishing Step 3 of field training with COC Jamus Veit. They focused on deer hunting enforcement, which included pre-season baiting investigations. During the first weekend, hunter numbers showed up lower than usual and success rates were low. Public calls included reports of trespassing, harassment of hunters, and requests for permits for deer killed by vehicles. Trapping is still prevalent and several individuals have been cited and had their firearms confiscated. Enforcement actions were also taken for sighting of guns within five days of the season, trespassing, transporting a loaded firearm in a vehicle, no burn orange, and failure to obtain a burn permit.
CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) I spent the week patrolling for ATV, waterfowl, and small game activities. Fox also placed a heavy emphasis on deer hunting enforcement during the opening weekend. Violations this week included bait hunting, operating ATVs outside legal business hours during deer season, and a DWI.
CO Jack Johnson (Longville) Examine deer hunting activity. Various violations, such as harassment of poachers, dogs chasing deer, and feeding in the CWD area, were investigated. Enforcement measures have been taken for operating four-wheel drive vehicles during closing hours.
CO Mark Mathie (Cass Lake) Continue working with the new conservation officer. Officers primarily checked small game, big game, and trapped activity. Several deer hunters in the area were checked over the busy weekend. Work continues to follow ongoing investigations into the big games.
CO Adam Sieverman (Staples) It heralds a steady start to the firearms deer season, with many hunters making successful hunts. Reports on investigations of trespassing, poaching, and general complaints related to the firearms deer season. Some enforcement actions included transporting loaded firearms, unregistered and untagged deer, failure to verify location tag, bait hunting, and shine violations.
CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) He spent most of the week dealing with questions and issues related to his deer hunting activities. Enforcement actions were taken for various violations of illegal structures and abandoned properties on state forest lands, as well as a bright investigation that also included DWI and drunken hunting.
CO Michael Cross (Lake George) He worked in small game enforcement, waterfowl and deer hunting. Cross fielded many questions and answered many service calls. Cross saw mixed success throughout the Gunners opener. Action has been taken for waterfowl and deer hunting violations.
CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) She patrolled Cass County for waterfowl and big game hunting activity. Waterfowl and deer hunters have had mixed success. Enforcement actions have been taken for numerous waterfowl and big game violations.
Ko Kuri Sora (Rimmer) Deer hunters checked during a busy weekend. Success in the area was relatively low, but Sura made a few impressive bucks. The overall compliance observed in the field was very good. Some of the violations encountered included transporting loaded firearms, operating ATVs on a state highway, and allowing juvenile ATV occupants to ride without a helmet and seat belt.
District 10 – Mille Lacs area
CO Gregory Verkuelen (Garrison) He inspected the deer hunting activity, where he addressed violations and played the role of referee in hunters’ conflicts. Quad bike traffic was monitored as complaints came in of working during illegal hours. Waterfowl hunters were also out and about with less ice this week.
CO Victoria Griffith (island) Follow up on ongoing issues. Time was spent working on a deer opener for firearms. Violations encountered included baiting, failure to verify and tag deer, insufficient color orange, and hunting without a license. Griffith also received a trespassing complaint. As a reminder, you may not enter legally posted lands or agricultural land without permission.
CO Nate Penkowski (McGregor) COC Justin Fresh checked deer hunters in the area. Enforcement action was taken for bait hunting, failure to register deer, not having a deer hunting license, and illegally operating an ATV. Trespassing calls and shooting from the road situations were also investigated.
CO Dan Starr (Onamia) I worked the firearms deer season opener and the week leading up to it. Several cases were handled involving the transportation of loaded firearms and the hunting and untagged deer. Starr and CO Griffith assisted the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office with a carjacking case that led to a low-speed chase by deputies and a felony arrest. Starr also assisted in dealing with a felon in possession of a firearm in the Brainerd area. Overall, deer harvest appears to be down.
CO Ashley Whitoak (Aitken) He spent time managing deer farm inspections and patrolling deer season with firearms. I talked to many hunters and campers. Few hunters have achieved success. I have pursued numerous hunting violations, including leaving a stand at a WMA, wanton wasting, trespassing, shooting across the road, and baiting.
District 11 – St. Cloud area
CO Caleb Silgjord (SOC Center) I spent time during the week preparing for firearms deer season. Silgjord also testified in court regarding the DWI. Worked on fall hunting activity and completed follow-up on deer hunting issues. Silgjord assisted with field training for COC Sarah Jahn on the firearms deer opener. A lot of contact was made with people who went out hunting. Complaints about glamor and attitudes left at WMAs were investigated. Violations during the week included transporting loaded firearms, not having enough orange, not having a burning permit, not renewing the registration of an ATV, and the youth driving an ATV without a helmet. Silgjord also helped someone serve an arrest warrant at an area park.
CO Trent Anderson (St. Cloud) I focused on hunting enforcement this week. Time was spent handling wildlife calls and answering many questions regarding deer hunting season. Many deer hunters enjoyed opening firearms on the weekend and compliance was generally very good. Enforcement actions have been taken due to inadequate PFDs and violations of various fishing licenses.
CO Todd Vanderwest (Painesville) They worked as fishermen, waterfowl hunters, and deer hunters. Many questions have been asked regarding deer hunting and licensing. The use of a remote-controlled drone to locate the deer was investigated, with enforcement action being taken.
CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) He spent most of the week preparing for the 2023 deer opener by answering several phone calls from people with questions about tags and different areas. A wetlands violation was received and the investigation is ongoing. Time was spent working with area officers on a hunt during a drunkenness investigation. Deer opening was slow but many hunters were out and very few complaints were called in. Enforcement actions include untagged deer, failure to validate a deer tag, transporting a loaded firearm, failure to have a burner orange on a blind on public property, and flashing past legal hours.
Ku Tu Fang (Beers) He monitored the ATV and hunting activities and worked on unlocking the deer rifle over the weekend. Hunters reported that opening weekend was slower than usual, with few deer seen and fewer taken. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display ATV registration, failure to validate deer tag, failure to possess a hunting license, transporting a loaded firearm, and prohibited possession of a firearm.
District 12 – Princeton District
CO Rayan Hanna (Melaka) Investigating fishermen on charges of fishing with bait and fishing without a license. One of the hunters wasn’t wearing any orange. When asked, the hunter explained that every vehicle would honk at them, so they took it off so passing traffic wouldn’t see them 60 feet away in the woods off the state highway.
CO Mike Crowell (Maura) COC Sean Cannon’s field training continued this week. They worked on several investigations during the week and prepared for the opening weekend of deer hunting. During the opening weekend, numerous violations were observed and addressed, including fishing with bait and fishing without a license. Decent success has been seen among the fishermen who have been screened.
CO Adam Stinnett (Sauk Rapids) I focused on deer hunting activity last week. Tree stands were found left on WMAs overnight, and the poachers were contacted and cited. The firearms deer season opener was done with the assistance of CO Ben Ulrich (Osseo). A hunting party was contacted after they were transporting an elk in the bed of a Class II ATV. Officers found that the deer had been improperly tagged by a hunter in the group who was not present when the deer was harvested. The COs also found that another member of the group had harvested an elk earlier in the day and had not tagged the deer. Enforcement actions have been taken by multiple parties. COs stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation and found that the driver was transporting an unmarked doe. The hunter also failed to validate his hunting license. Executive action has been taken. Other enforcement actions this week included hunting without a license, hunting deer on bait, illegal party hunting, and lending/borrowing a hunting license.
(tags to translate) 2023 Firearm Deer Season Opener