Conservation officers’ tales – April 2005

by MN DNR

THE PENALTY FOR GETTING CAUGHT UP IN THE MOMENT<BR><BR>Conservation Officer (CO) Karl Hadrits, Crosby, reported a speeding snowmobile operator, who was signaled to stop, decided to turn around and flee the officer. The individual was tracked for more than eight miles down roads, through wooded areas, residential areas, yards, and across lakes and fields. The individual was located at a residence where he had hidden and covered up the snowmobile. He was arrested and the snowmobile was seized. The individual had no outstanding arrest warrants, wasn’t intoxicated, and had no other apparent reason to try to get away other than to avoid a speeding ticket. When asked why he ran, the individual stated: “I don’t know, I just got caught up in the heat of the moment.” He was taken to jail on a felony charge with penalties of up to three years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and revocation of driver’s license.<BR><BR>I GUESS HE DOESN’T BBQ<BR><BR>CO Paul Kuske, Pierz, reported an individual, when removing his fish house from the lake, took the BBQ grill he had by his house and threw it in the ditch at the public access. The individual was contacted and citation issued. This is the second time this individual has been ticketed for leaving litter behind when removing his fish house.<BR><BR>BURNING MAD<BR><BR>CO Keith Bertram, Sauk Centre, was on patrol when he observed a subject burning a pile of prohibited materials in the parking lot of a wildlife management area. The subject stated that he drove there to get rid of some trash. Upon further checking, it was determined the subject’s driver’s license was revoked and he had an active warrant for possession of stolen property. The subject was arrested.<BR><BR>SAME OFFENSE, DIFFERENT DAY<BR><BR>CO Troy Fondie, Orr, encountered one angler fishing from a fish shelter with no license and no identification. When asked for his shelter license, he said he did not have one and pulled out a warning he had received for the same offense a day earlier from another conservation officer. He was issued a $90 ticket.<BR><BR>NONRESIDENT POACHERS PAY THE PRICE<BR><BR>CO Gary Sommers, Walker, and CO Larry Francis, Remer, received a Turn in Poachers call regarding an overlimit on Lake Winnie. The gross overlimit involved three nonresident anglers with a combined overlimit of 129 perch. Fines and restitution totaled $1,390 per person. One of the subjects involved didn’t think the Minnesota possession limits were fair for nonresidents. He felt the limits should be higher for nonresidents because they have to travel a greater distance to fish.<BR><BR>DEER GONE WILD<BR><BR>CO Jim Guida, Brainerd, responded to a call of two deer inside a residence. The owner had locked herself in the bathroom after hearing and seeing a whitetail deer crash through a large window. She believed there were two deer because of the large amount of noise. Guida was able to get close enough and lasso the deer and pull it outside. Four observing police officers asked Officer Guida if they had taught that at the Conservation Officer Academy.<BR><BR>ANGLER ‘EDUCATED’<BR><BR>CO Dustie Heaton, Isle, CO Sam Hunter, Albany, had an interesting incident occur when they approached a fish house that didn’t have a shelter license. As the officers were about to knock on the door, the door came open and a walleye was thrown at their feet, landing between the two officers. When the fishermen looked out the door they said, “Wow, you scared us!” After talking to the proud individual who caught the fish, he presented a license for the 2004 license year but did not have a 2005 license. He told the officers that he thought the 2004 license was good until the end of March. When asked about the walleye, he replied that he didn’t know walleye season was over either. The angler was “educated” about his violations. <BR><BR>I SEE<BR><BR>CO Gary Sommers, Walker, received a call concerning a possible illegally taken bear. An individual discovered something while hunting for antler sheds. He saw a blue blanket with logs piled as well as black fur under the blanket. Not wanting to look under the blanket the individual called Sommers. Sommers found the site and a dead black lab dog under the blanket. The complainant was a little embarrassed but, Sommers thanked him for the call and said that if they saw anything out of the ordinary again to not hesitate to call.<BR><BR>WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM SOME FRIENDS<BR><BR>Officer Jeremy Woinarowicz, Thief River Falls, was called to handle a situation where a subject picked up an injured deer that had been hit by a car. He placed it in the back seat of his car and took it home placing it in his duck pen. The deer’s injuries were not life-threatening and it was <BR><BR>released back to the wild where it was found.<BR><BR>READ ALL ABOUT IT<BR><BR>CO Chris Vinton, Detroit Lakes, while in line at the gas station, saw the front page of a local paper. On it was a picture of a Frazee man with a 44 º inch northern pike that was said to come from a “private lake” in Becker County on March 2. That’s two weeks after the close of the season. The article said the man had taken the fish to a local taxidermist for mounting. A short investigation uncovered that the fish was caught out of state. in mid-February, The angler had the correct licenses and lodging information and the taxidermist showed he had received the fish back in February. The angler told Vinton that he was “joking around” with another angler who had suggested the out of state location to fish with the promise that he was not to share that information with anybody. <BR><BR>OWL<BR><BR>CO Larry Francis, Remer, met with local school officials regarding a permit to mount a great gray owl, which happened to fly through an open window of the bus before meeting its demise.<BR><BR>TOO MANY LINES<BR><BR>CO Don Bozovsky, Hibbing, reported two anglers, on an unnamed five-acre lake, were fishing crappies. One of the two had no fishing license and was using five lines. An hour later, when the officer was going back to town, the situation repeated itself with a different angler. He too had no fishing license and was using four lines. Both anglers responded that everyone else does it. The first individual stated that through his employer, he was mentoring a 13-year-old fishing partner by teaching him how to fish. He also had a crappie concealed in his backpack that he denied catching. The unlicensed multi-liners were cited.<BR><BR>Editor’s note: Minnesota Conservation Officer Tales is produced monthly by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – Division of Enforcement<BR><BR>