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Conservation officers' tales - July 2005

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Conservation Officer (CO) Tim Jenniges (Windom) checked a father and daughter angling on a local pier. When the daughter was asked if she had a license, she said, "I don't need a license because I am sixteen." The father said the fishing synopsis stated sixteen and under did not need a license. After the two were shown they had read the synopsis wrong, the daughter stated she was actually seventeen. She thought she better tell the truth about her age since she was getting a ticket.


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, boaters, ATVs, and Safe Wheelin' weekend in International Falls. Highlights of the week included an unlicensed angler who decided to fish naked along with his clothed friends, a boater who has used a boat for the last 21 years without registering it, and an unlicensed angler with a warrant for his arrest with a $31,000 bond. After the unclothed angler was cited for fishing without a license, it was recommended that it would be best to keep his clothes on or face more charges. The unregistered boater said he had never seen a game warden on that lake.


CO Karl Hadrits (Crosby) reported that an ATV operator, who was enjoying the trails in Crow Wing State Forest, became angered and called the TIP line (Turn In Poachers) upon discovering another four-wheel drive vehicle that had driven around signs stating, "No Motorized Vehicles Permitted." The operator drove off-trail in the state forest and into a wetland where the vehicle did considerable damage to the wetland and became stuck. The vehicle, a four-wheel drive SUV, was seized. Alcohol and drugs were involved in the matter. The driver faces numerous criminal and civil charges, as well as restitution for environmental damage to the wetland and removal/towing costs. The concerned ATV operator met the officer on the scene to help out and told the officer, "This really makes me mad, guys like this give all of us off-roaders a bad name."


A burning violation detected by CO Tim Jenniges (Windom) and CO Adam Block (Prior Lake) resulted in a citation issued for burning a large amount prohibited materials. The violator advised CO Block that he burns wooden hay wagons and scraps the metal after the wood has been burned off. When Block asked the violator if wagons met the burning permit conditions such as trees, brush or leaves the violator stated, "Well, it is wood."


CO Troy Fondie (Orr) asked a lone female shore angler why she was fishing with two lines. The woman replied, "I always like to throw one line out for my mother too."


CO pilot Al Buchert (Grand Rapids) reported, while working remote access lakes with CO Troy Fondie (Orr), a "seasoned" angler was checked on a secluded area of the lake without any type of personnel floatation device (PFD) onboard. His comments implied a disregard for his own personal safety and the prevention message from the two officers. Ironically minutes later, Buchert was requested to assist officers with a search in a neighboring county where tragically, a lone angler had fallen from his boat and was presumed to have drowned. Wearing PFDs saves lives.


CO Dan Starr (Tower) worked on an over-limit case in which an Iowa State trooper stopped a Colorado resident possessing 40-50 walleyes from Lake Vermilion in Minnesota. The Iowa trooper contacted Minnesota officials. CO Travis Muyres (Anoka) called the Colorado Game and Fish Dept. and Colorado CO's who met the violator when he returned home. He was indeed in possession of about 46 walleyes. Starr interviewed the fisherman by phone and charged him with an over-limit violation.


CO Randy Posner (Brainerd) and CO Tim Collette (Cass Lake) observed a person wading in the lake with cut cattails floating all around him. When officers asked him what he was doing, he said he was looking for a lost anchor. The handles of a rake and weed cutter were sticking out of the water behind him. Charges are pending.


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reported, an apparently inexperienced 14-year-old boater, nearly capsized his boat when taking a turn too fast to show off. He was oblivious to the severity of the ordeal and thought nothing of it. He was escorted back to the lake cabin, warned, and turned over to a responsible adult. A boat safety course was suggested. He was later observed by another boater, doing similar antics.


Officer Neil Freborg (Lake George) asked three anglers how things were going on an area lake. After counting their fish he asked for licenses. The boat owner had a valid license, but only one PFD for the three men. The second angler said he wasn't fishing. The officer told him he watched him fish and the man then said he forgot to buy a license. The third angler said he was only 15 and didn't need a license. Math was not his strong suit, as the date of birth he gave made him 16. He dug himself an even deeper hole when he gave Freborg a false name. He later admitted his real name and told the officer he was 18. Enforcement action was taken for all violations. The fish of the unlicensed anglers were seized, photographed, and gifted to a law-abiding father with several kids leaving the lake.


Officer Mike Scott (Marine Unit) reported, while driving north on I-35 in the Duluth area, he observed a passenger in a motor vehicle smoking what appeared to be a marijuana pipe. After stopping the motor vehicle, the passenger stated that he was only smoking a cigarette. After a very short conversation with the driver, the driver produced the pipe the passenger was smoking from under the front passenger seat. While talking to the driver, a plastic bag with suspected marijuana was seen between the front seats. When removing the plastic bag, several other plastic bags came with it containing more marijuana and felony possession of hallucinogenic narcotics and some other unknown pharmaceutical pills. Case is still under investigation with felony charges pending.


Officer Keith Olson (Marine Unit) and CO Joe Stattelman (Mankato) worked boating and fishing enforcement on Lake Superior and the St. Louis River. As Stattelman was at the helm of the 17' patrol boat, a PWC jumped the wake of an outgoing boat in the Duluth entry nearly landing in the patrol boat of the officers. The operator of the PWC stated, "That sure was a stupid thing to do." The officers had to agree.

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I sent the one about putting out a line for mom to my mom. She thought it was hilarious.

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It has to be tought to go to work everyday wondering just what kind of chaos and human stupiity you are going to have to deal with.

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