Minnesota DNR - News Releases
June 16, 2007
Minnesota DNR - News
DNR issues safety reminder for
boaters to stop that prop
The Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources (DNR) reminds boat operators to make sure they
turn off their engines when people are in the water near the back
of the boat. This safety message comes after an accident on Monday
in the Twin Cities where a man was injured by a boat propeller.
"Even a slowly turning propeller can inflict serious or fatal
injuries to anyone caught by its spinning blades," said Tim
Smalley, DNR boating safety specialist. "Sometimes the propeller
can be turning even when a motor is in neutral, or someone can
bump the shift lever into gear accidentally, and injure or even
kill anyone in the water near the stern of the boat," he said.
The DNR has a new sticker available that warns boaters to shut off
their engines when picking up or dropping off skiers or tubers.
A "Stop that Prop" sticker can be obtained for free by calling the
DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free at
1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367). Computer users may e-mail the DNR at
Conservation officer tales -
June 2007 (2007-06-05)
THE THRILL OF VICTORY AND THE
AGONY OF DEFEAT
While checking a boat, CO Mike Lee (Isle) asked if they had kept
any fish. A very excited female party in the back of the boat
stated, "Yeah, you gotta see!" Before Lee could advise her that
she only needed to open the livewell cover, she reached in and
held up a very nice walleye that was flopping and wiggling in her
hands. Before her husband or the officer could tell her to put the
fish back in the livewell it flopped out of her hands, onto the
top of the outboard motor, and, well, you all know where the
walleye went from there. At that point, her husband expressed how,
let's just say, unhappy he was with the situation.
CO AND SKUNK RETREAT UNHARMED
CO Neil Freborg (Lake George) received several calls about a skunk
with its head stuck in a tin can. He located the skunk and debated
on how to handle the situation. "With a good 20 mph wind at my
back, I got a hand on the can and pulled, dragging the skunk with
me, but the can was on much tighter than I thought," Freborg said.
"I let go of the can and quickly retreated as the skunk spun
around and sprayed the area. I waited about ten minutes and
quietly approached the skunk. This time when I took hold of the
can I gave it a good quick jerk, a definite "pop" followed freeing
the skunk. We both retreated, unharmed."
HUNTER FINDS LOST FIREARM
CO Dan Book (Rushford) spoke to a turkey hunter who told the
following story. He and a friend had hunted a parcel of state land
without success and left the area in mid-morning. The hunter
returned to the area in mid-afternoon to take advantage of the
recent law change that allows turkey hunting all day. Upon driving
into the empty parking area, he said he couldn't believe his good
fortune when he saw a shotgun lying in the gravel. Upon closer
examination, he realized it was his own firearm. Apparently he had
set the gun down while loading his other gear. While lost in
conversation with his friend had forgotten it when he drove away!
HEN MALLARD SHOT IN HER NEST
CO Mike Shelden (Alexandria) handled a call in town about an
individual who shot a hen mallard to death as she sat on her nest
incubating seven eggs. The individual said he saw the hen mallard
cross the road and noticed she had an injured leg. He got his gun
and shot the duck on her nest, which was right next to the front
step of the neighbor's house.
GET OFF THE PHONE
CO Larry Francis (Remer) reported a party couldn't believe he was
getting a citation for not having his boat lights on almost an
hour after sunset. His excuse was he was talking on a cell phone
to his brother.
BAIT SHOP OWNER SAYS 'NO SALE'
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reported a local bait shop owner refused to
sell walleye and northern bait to a few anglers who told him they
planned on doing a little "fishing" prior to the legal fishing
opener. The bait shop owner knew this activity was illegal and did
the right thing.
HE CAN SEE CLEARY NOW
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reported a man living next to a state
park logged off two acres of timber to get better satellite
reception and to make the area look better.
FEELING GUILTY ABOUT THEIR ACTIONS
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) was trying to stop two ATVs in Aurora when
both took off at a high rate of speed and a short chase ensued.
With help from eyewitnesses, the two juveniles were later
identified. They called in a short time later after thinking about
their actions and knowing they would be found. Both face felony
fleeing charges and both ATVs impounded and subject to forfeiture.
WAKE UP CALL FROM CONSERVATION OFFICER
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) found an angler had not checked his line
on the dock for 12 hours. In the meantime, a 21-inch walleye was
caught and eviscerated by turtles. When awakened by the officer,
the angler was shown the walleye. The CO seized the rod and cited
the man for leaving an unattended line.
A PERFECT MATCH
Upon checking a group of campers and asking them where they had
thrown their cleaned walleye entrails, CO Tom Sutherland (Hill
City) walked with one individual to the waters edge where he could
see many walleye remains floating out in deep water. A boat was
used to gather the remains and to Sutherland's surprise there were
three walleyes from within the protected slot, including a 23-inch
walleye that was cut into three pieces to make it look like it was
a smaller fish. The remains were perfectly matched up and
presented to the group of campers. The campers admitted to keeping
the protected fish and were issued citations.
GRANDSON BUSTS GRANDPA
CO Nikki Shoutz (Pine River) reported a grandpa was "busted" by
his young grandson when the boy told Shoutz that grandpa's big
fish were "over there" in the nearby weeds. The boy said, "Grandpa
said that he could get in trouble if he put them in his bucket
since they were largemouth bass." A citation was issued for taking
bass in closed season.
YOU'LL REMEMBER NEXT TIME
CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) found an unlicensed angler hiding two
preseason walleyes that he had "forgot" about.
DUCKLINGS RESCUED BY TRUE OUTDOORSMEN
CO Alex Gutierrez (Metro Rec Specialist) reported rescuing 10
mallard ducklings with the assistance of the local police and fire
departments. The ducklings had fallen into a storm drain and were
unable to get out. They were spotted when a true outdoorsman saw
the hen mallard not leaving the area of the storm drain and heard
the ducklings chirping .
IMPAIRED OPERATOR STOPPED ON OLD WHISKEY ROAD
CO Cary Shoutz (Crosslake) reported a reckless ATV operator was
stopped and cited for no valid driver's license. During the stop,
alcohol was detected and subsequent testing revealed the operator
was just over the legal limit of .08. The ironic thing is the road
he was operating on was named Old Whiskey Road.
ANGLER 'BUMMED OUT' TO BE SPENDING SUMMER IN JAIL
CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) arrested one angler for two
outstanding warrants and possession of drug paraphernalia. The
angler stated he was really "bummed out" because he would be
spending his summer in jail. The surprising part was the angler
did have a valid fishing license.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reported a group of anglers
reported stopping at an access for lunch and letting their dog run
loose. They were startled by a yelp from their dog and noticed the
dog running with a timber wolf in hot pursuit. The dog made it to
the owners safely and the wolf ran off. The dog was missing a
little hair on its hind leg, but was no worse for the wear. The
officer also encountered five timber wolves during the week with
only two showing any real fear of humans.
WE HAVEN'T HEARD BACK FROM OUR 'FISHING EXPERT'
CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) reported a largemouth bass was seized
when it was discovered in a bucket while checking a boat that had
expired registration. The individuals stated they had a call into
the "fishing expert" in the family to see if they could keep it
but hadn't heard back from him yet.
While CO Mike Hruza (Bemidji) was checking anglers, a fisherman
pointed toward the shoreline where a dog was carrying a fawn by
the neck. The officer and angler were able to get the fawn away
from the dog. The bleating fawn was taken to shore and released.
After a short time the doe came to the fawn and herded it into the
woods. The dog owner could not be located.
GIVE HIM THE BOOT
After seizing a walleye that was clearly under the 15-inch minimum
size limit for the St Louis River, CO Randy Hanzal (Brookston)
asked the angler what he used to measure the fish. The angler
showed the officer his size 14 boot and stated he stepped on the
fish and could see walleye sticking out from each end of his boot
so he figured it must have been at least 15 inches.
NO, WE'LL CALL FOR A RIDE
While watching shore anglers along the Mississippi River over
Memorial Day weekend, CO Joyce Kuske (Little Falls) saw a couple
people drinking beer and throwing their cans in the rocks along
the river. This went on for some time. When the anglers packed up
to leave, Kuske met them in the parking lot to issue them tickets
for littering. To Kuske's complete surprise, the anglers had
picked up all their cans and more. Kuske then gave them the option
of having someone give them a ride home or a DWI. They immediately
called for a ride.
YOU KEPT THE WRONG FISH
CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) encountered a person with two
smallmouth bass on his stringer. The suspect didn't know it, but
Sladek had been watching him for some time. He then approached the
individual and said he would need to measure the fish. When Sladek
returned with the tape measure there was only one bass on the
stringer. The individual was adamant he had only one bass. Sladek
then advised the violator he had left the legal fish go and kept
the illegal bass. Enforcement action was taken.
Fur trapper receives hefty state
sentence, now faces federal charges
A northeast Minnesota trapper's
legal nightmare may just be beginning. Roderick "Rick" Kottom,
sentenced June 4 in St. Louis County District Court on a bevy of
state charges for illegal trapping activity, now faces federal
The long-time trapper from Chisholm was found guilty of state
charges of possession of a prohibited wild animal, misdemeanor
failure to check traps/snares, petty misdemeanor failure to
provide identification of traps/snares, and misdemeanor unlawful
storage of protected wild animals.
State conservation officers had been tracking Kottom's activities
since 2002. In 2004, conservation officers using a search warrant
seized a number of fisher and pine marten pelts from his home.
Kottom was convicted of possession of a prohibited wild animal and
received one year in jail, $3,000 fine, two years supervised
probation, $962 fine and surcharge, $200 restitution (two fisher
at $100 each). Kottom also agreed to report as directed to
probation authorities, remain law abiding, and be subject to
For the misdemeanor failure to check traps/snares, Kottom was
fined $320. Kottom was also fined $132 for petty misdemeanor
failure to provide identification of traps/ snares and $362 for
misdemeanor unlawful storage of protected wild animals. Both are
to run concurrent to the $962 fine and surcharge.
However, Kottom's legal problems may be far from over. A 2003
Internet sting lead a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent to an
advertisement on the Web placed by someone calling himself "Papa
Fisher." The person was offering to sell fisher and pine marten
pelts that had been trapped in Minnesota.
E-mail and telephone calls led the agent to Kottom, who now faces
federal charges of illegally buying and selling animals over the
Internet and a violation of the endangered species act for
possessing a Canada lynx. The federal court proceeding is
scheduled to begin in July in Duluth.
Floodwood man pleads guilty to
killing a federally protected wolf
Steve D. Bailey, 49, of Floodwood,
recently pleaded guilty to killing a wolf that was, at the time,
on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protected species list.
State conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources (DNR) received a call from Bailey on Nov. 7,
2004, who stated that he was deer hunting in a ground blind near
Floodwood when the wolf approached his son's location. Concerned
for his son's safety he said he fired several shots to scare away
the wolf. When the wolf continued toward his son, Bailey said he
killed the animal.
The officers reconstructed the scene, mapping the location of the
deer blind, the wolf's travel route, where the wolf was shot at
the first time, the location of the wolf after it was killed and
an area where deer were seen near the Baileys' location. An agent
with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided assistance with
ballistics. When presented with the evidence, Bailey plead guilty
to shooting the wolf, which was a protected species at the time of
Now sentenced, Bailey will pay a $500 fine, $2,000 restitution,
and lose his hunting privileges in Minnesota and other Wildlife
Violator Compact states for one year.
The Wildlife Violator Compact includes a reciprocal agreement that
license suspensions in one state will be honored in other states.
Losing license privileges in Minnesota are extended to other
member states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia,
Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan,
Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North
Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and
Minnesota's wolf population was officially removed from the
federal endangered species list earlier this year and is being
managed by the DNR.
Based on Minnesota law, the state wolf plan is designed to protect
wolves and monitor their population while giving owners of
livestock and domestic pets more protection from wolf depredation.
It splits the state into two management zones with more protective
regulations in the northern third, considered the wolf's core
The endangered species act requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service to monitor wolves in Minnesota for five years after
delisting to ensure that recovery continues.
The state wolf plan has new provisions for taking wolves that are
posing risks to livestock and domestic pets. Owners of livestock,
guard animals or domestic animals may shoot or destroy wolves that
pose an immediate threat to their animals, on property they own or
lease in accordance with local statutes. "Immediate threat" means
the observed behavior of a gray wolf in the act of stalking,
attacking or killing livestock, a guard animal or a domestic pet
under the supervision of the owner.
Additionally, the owner of a domestic pet may shoot or destroy a
gray wolf posing an immediate threat on any property, as long as
the owner is supervising the pet. In all cases, a person shooting
or destroying a gray wolf under these provisions must protect all
evidence and report the taking to a DNR conservation officer
within 48 hours. The wolf carcass will be surrendered to the
In the southern two-thirds of the state, a person may shoot a gray
wolf at any time to protect livestock, domestic animals or pets on
land they own, lease or manage. The circumstance of "immediate
threat" does not apply. A DNR conservation officer must be
notified within 48 hours. The wolf carcass will be surrendered to
the conservation officer. Also in this area, a person may employ a
state certified predator controller to trap wolves on or within
one mile of land they own, lease, or manage.
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