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Weekly DNR Enforcement report: Report of 'skinned mountain lion' on Lake of the Woods turns out to be a bobcat carcass

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) worked a New Year’s Day detail on Lake of the Woods. During the detail, a report of a skinned mountain lion along the ice road was received. Investigation showed it to be a bobcat carcass, and not the aforementioned cougar.

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Contributed / Minnesota DNR

Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota and adjacent areas of northern Minnesota for Monday, Jan. 4:

District 1 - Baudette area

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked coyote hunters and anglers around Roseau County. Anglers were checked on Lake of the Woods, where the bite has been slow. Violations encountered included angling without a license and angling with extra lines.

CO Aaron Larson (Baudette West) worked angling, ATV, snowmobiling and trapping enforcement. Larson attended the fisher/marten registration in Baudette and spent time checking anglers on Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake. Violations encountered this past week included no shelter license, no angling license in possession, angling with extra lines, unattended lines, possession of marijuana, possession of illegal-length walleyes, possessing fish fillets on a special regulations lake and a walleye overlimit.

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  • Trophy Room: EGF angler lands big sturgeon while ice fishing for walleyes and saugers on Lake of the Woods Do you have a fishing photo you’d like to share with Herald readers? Send jpeg photos to Brad Dokken at bdokken@gfherald.com. Please include the person’s name, town of residence and whether the fish was kept or released.
  • Explore Minnesota fishing report: Ice conditions improve with onset of colder weather Ice fishing is in full swing on Lake of the Woods, with good numbers of walleye and sauger being caught. Most of the ice fishing is taking place in 23-27 feet of water.

CO Corey Sura (Baudette East) reports participating in snowmobile safety and operations training, checking furs and trappers at the recent furbearer registration, patrolling the area for trapping activity and checking anglers on the Rainy River and Upper Red Lake. Violations encountered included fishing with extra lines, no shelter license, no license in possession, and possessing filleted fish on special regulation waters. Sura wants to remind folks to make sure they have current registration on their ATVs and snowmobiles before hitting the lakes/trails, and that all non-portable fish houses and shelters require a license.

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CO Ryan Brown (Karlstad) worked mainly snowmobile and angling enforcement. Brown saw a huge increase in recreational activity out on the waters this past week due to the holiday season and weather. Enforcement action taken this past week included expired snowmobile registration, failure to transfer title, no fishing license in personal possession, juvenile on a snowmobile with no helmet and hunting deer with the aid of bait.

CO Jeremy Woinarowicz (Thief River Falls West) worked a New Year’s Day detail on Lake of the Woods. During the detail, a report of a skinned mountain lion along the ice road was received. Investigation showed it to be a bobcat carcass, and not the aforementioned cougar. Enforcement action for the week included possession of a small amount of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, angling with extra lines, angling with unattended lines, possession of dressed fillets on a special regulations water and snowmobile/ATV registration violations.

CO Demosthenes Regas (Blackduck South) reports working angling activity on special regulation lakes throughout this past week. Anglers reported mixed results, as the bite on Blackduck Lake slowed, and the panfish bite on Gull Lake appeared to be picking up. Time was spent investigating a TIP (Turn in Poachers) report with CO Brown of an archery hunter hunting deer with the aid of bait. Violations encountered and addressed included transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, hunting deer with the aid of bait, possession of a small amount of marijuana, angling license violations and snowmobile registration violations.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports assisting the DNR Wildlife Section with annual fur registration. Time was also spent checking several anglers throughout the past week. ATV and snowmobile operators were contacted. Various angling, ATV-, and snowmobile-related violations were encountered.

CO Tim Gray (Bagley) checked anglers, a few snowmobile riders and tagged some fur.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) checked anglers on area lakes. Snowmobile activity has increased with the recent snowfall. Time was spent on Upper Red Lake checking anglers.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports snowmobile and winter angling activity is picking up. Several riders have taken to area road rights-of-way to ride and have found some trails passable, although the snow base on those trails is still needing more snow. Anglers are finding 11 to 14 inches of ice, and larger houses are starting to show up on area lakes. Anglers should always use good judgment and check ice conditions for themselves. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, failing to display valid snowmobile registration, no shelter license and no angling license.

CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the past week checking ice anglers and snowmobile riders. Area lakes were busy over the holiday weekend with anglers. Anglers were able to find some panfish and the occasional walleye. The first groomers were seen on area snowmobile trails, but more snow is needed for quality riding. Violations for the week included slot violations for walleyes and crappies on Lake Lida, registration issues on snowmobiles and ATVs, and no license in possession. Swedberg also assisted Becker County with several calls for service and a medical on area lakes.

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CO Al Peterson (Osage) checked anglers, followed up on a possible kill of a nongame animal and worked ongoing cases.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the past week working sport fishing, small game and snowmobile enforcement. Time was also spent responding to miscellaneous wildlife-related calls.

CO Angie Warren (Mahnomen) worked angling activity and found anglers having fair success. Snowmobile and ATV activity was worked on area trails and lakes. Follow up on open cases was performed. Questions about fish house shelter tags, angling licenses and fish house reflective materials were answered.

CO Bill Landmark (Pelican Rapids) reports one of the busiest New Year’s weekends he’s worked in his career. A long weekend for most, warm weather and more people enjoying outdoor sports led to the increase in activity. Snowmobilers were out, but the trails haven’t been groomed yet and were in poor condition. Anglers are finding decent success on walleyes and panfish on some lakes, while action is slow on others. Anglers need to check ice conditions and use extreme caution. Most lakes have 11 inches of ice and are flooding around houses. On more than one occasion, Landmark checked anglers in a permanent house on 11 inches of ice and they reported that just yards away they found 6 inches of ice. Anglers fishing special regulation lakes are also reminded to get a good measuring board and measure their fish with the mouth closed and tail pinched. Enforcement action included several citations for illegal-length crappies, unattended lines, unregistered ATVs and snowmobiles, angling without a license, angling without a license in possession, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling, and no walk-in-access validation.

District 3 - Fergus Falls area

CO Daniel Baumbarger (Glenwood) reports enforcement efforts for the past week were concentrated on checking anglers, ATV operators, snowmobile operators and pheasant hunters. Ice conditions around the area are improving, but caution is urged to those driving trucks onto area lakes as most lakes only have 10 to 13 inches of ice.

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) took reports of snowmobiles through the ice. Luckily, there were no injuries. The holiday weekend saw beautiful weather and a lot of activity around the lakes. Pheasant hunters were blessed with great conditions for the last weekend of the season. Enforcement action was taken for fishing violations along with recreational vehicles on or near the lakes.

CO Emily Leeb (Morris) reports working a busy holiday weekend. Few fish were seen on area lakes, but not for lack of angler effort. Enforcement action included allowing juveniles to ride on ATVs without helmets, operating unregistered ATVs, fishing with extra lines and fishing without a fishing license.

CO Hanna Wood (Wheaton) spent the majority of this past week focused on small-game and angling enforcement. Angling success has varied from day to day. She would like to remind anglers on the border water that shelter tags are not required but that portables (if left unattended) and permanent shelters need to have ID attached (DNR number, driver’s license number, or name and address). She would also like to remind those who are using their ATVs on the ice to make sure their registration is current. Violations for the week included no angling license in possession, angling without a license, operating an unregistered ATV, failure to display ice shelter identification and youth passenger without a helmet.

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CO Brian Holt (Osakis) worked ice fishing, pheasant hunting and recreational vehicle activity throughout the previous week. Time was also spent assisting with fur registration in Glenwood. Complaints were received concerning nuisance wildlife, trespassing and a vehicle through the ice on Lake Osakis. Enforcement activity involved angling licenses, ATVs and fish houses. Reckless operation of a snowmobile resulted in a DWI arrest of an individual by officers working on Lake Osakis over the weekend.

CO Tricia Plautz (Henning) spent time on the lakes focusing on fishing, ATV and snowmobile enforcement. Many eager people were out enjoying the warmer weather over the weekend, and several kids were observed playing in the snow. Still a very common violation is not properly displaying a shelter tag or identification on fish houses left overnight. Other violations encountered were fishing with extra lines, leaving lines unattended, expired registrations on ATV/snowmobiles, and no license in possession. Ice conditions vary widely across the area and caution needs to be used when venturing out onto area lakes.

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) checked anglers, ATV riders, snowmobile riders, fish houses and small-game hunters. An intoxicated snowmobile operator was arrested on Lake Osakis. A shooting complaint was handled outside of Sebeka on the last day of the grouse season.

CO Mitch Lawler (Alexandria) worked heavy ice fishing activity throughout the past week, with several lakes seeing the highest level of fishing pressure in recent memory. Lots of kids were out learning how to fish and work tip-ups, with several proudly showing Lawler their day’s catch. Numerous citations were issued during the week for many different kinds of violations. Possessing marijuana and paraphernalia has been more commonly found this year, as well as expired ATV registration. A pair of anglers were having great success catching crappies one evening when Lawler stopped by their shack. They proudly showed off their catch, saying they had around 13 fish in the pail. After counting together with Lawler on the ice, their pail actually contained over their limit, and a citation was issued.

District 4 - Walker area

CO Mike Cross (Lake George) worked trapping, snowmobiling, ice angling and big game hunting investigations, as well as ATV enforcement. Cross attended the Park Rapids fur registration and saw fairly good success among local trappers this season. Enforcement action was taken in a big-game case.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and snowmobile activity. She also followed up on a deer case and assisted with a vehicle off the road. Enforcement was taken for illegal possession of big game.

CO Calie Kunst (Remer) spent time checking multiple anglers and snowmobile riders. Snowmobile traffic and ice fishing activity was heavy over the holiday weekend. Many people were enjoying the warmer winter weather we had this past week. Snowmobile trails were groomed but still need more snow for a smoother ride. Enforcement action was taken on multiple expired registrations on both snowmobiles and ATVs, taking fish without a license and failure to have angling licenses in personal possession.

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time on fishing and snowmobile enforcement and assisted wildlife staff with furbearer registration. The number of furs registered was up drastically from last year, which is surprising, given the low fur prices. Some snowmobile trails were groomed, but conditions remain poor. Enforcement action for the past week included trapping without a license, taking fisher out of season, failure to validate a site coupon, angling with extra lines, no license in possession and failure to display snowmobile registration.

Walker – vacant.

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