Park Falls Team/April
Warden Tom Heisler, Jr., of Winter, received multiple calls regarding two dead tundra swans, just feet apart, near the bridge on Moose Lake. Callers were not sure what caused their death. After viewing the area, Heisler was able to determine the pair flew into the power lines while crossing the river. This was apparent by the location of the swans and burn marks on the swans from being electrocuted. One of the swans also had a broken wing.
Warden Joe Paul, of Phillips, responded to a complaint of a person burning tires and waste on private property. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Timothy Ebert, of Minocqua, investigated an illegal fish harvesting case related to the spring fish run in which four illegal gill nets were discovered and removed.
Warden Tim Price continued enforcing the deer baiting and feeding ban currently in effect in Vilas County. The ban has been in place since 2016 for the area.
Warden Amie Egstad, of Bayfield, responded to a 111-gallon diesel spill at a gas station in Washburn, caused by an overfilling of a station tank by a truck driver. Egstad worked with the fire department on how to keep any diesel from reaching Lake Superior through the storm sewer drains. A clean-up company was summoned by the fuel delivery company.
Warden John Krull, of Superior, contacted a turkey hunter who was sitting in a blind on opening day of the second period season. A significant amount of seeds and corn had previously been documented at the site. The man had placed additional bait when he walked in to hunt.
Warden Krull responded to a call of a recently deceased animal on the beach along Wisconsin Point. After contacting the very concerned caller by phone to get a location, Krull found it to be a deer that had died over the winter.
Warden Adam Stennett, of Brule, responded to a complaint of two people fishing in a closed portion of the Brule River near the Winneboujou Canoe Landing. Stennett found two people who stated they had been fishing in the area for a few hours.
Warden Stennett responded to a complaint of road hunting in the town of Cloverland. Based on the description of the vehicle, Stennett was able to find the parties involved. Stennett found that a man attempted to harvest a tom from a field while on his way to a friend’s house. Stennett also found that the hunter did not have a valid 2020 turkey license or stamp and that he was attempting to harvest a turkey in a time period for which he was not authorized.
Warden Phil Brown, of Iron River, contacted an individual who did not have a trout stamp or license while fishing for trout on the Brule River. The individual also purchased the improper trout stamp in 2019, did not purchase one at all in 2018 and admitted to trout fishing on the Brule River both years. Another member of the group was unable to provide proof of a license.
Warden Brown stopped an ATV operator in the Brule River State Forest for failure to have headlights on while operating on a road route. Brown also discovered the ATV registration expired in 2014, the ATV had not been transferred to the new owner from several years ago and there was no rear plate. Enforcement action was taken.
Warden Brown responded to a complaint of an individual with a camper set up on state land in the Brule River State Forest. Brown located the camper parked in a hunter walking trail lot right next to a sign that said the area was closed to camping. The occupant of the camper said he was camping for the evening.
Warden Jesse Ashton, of Luck, was on night patrol at Big Butternut Lake near Luck when he located two men who were attempting to net walleyes with a landing net. Butternut Creek is a designated and sign-posted fish refuge. One man also littered by throwing beer can in the weeds by the creek.
Warden Ashton was patrolling in rural western Polk County near the St. Croix River when he located a car parked near some campsites. The car’s license plates were expired, and, based on some of the contents visible inside the car, Ashton believed there may have been meth use activity associated with the owner/occupants. Warden Chris Spaight, of Grantsburg, responded to assist, and a man and woman were located. They were fishing without licenses. Both subjects were found to be in possession of a large amount of meth, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. The woman also had a valid arrest warrant. Charges were forwarded to the county’s district attorney for the drug-related offenses. Citations were issued to both subjects for fishing without a license.
Wardens Ashton and Pete Carlson, of Frederic, received a hotline call about two individuals keeping walleyes during the closed season in Interstate State Park. The wardens contacted the group when they were leaving the area and discovered they had four illegal smallmouth bass and two walleyes, with one of the walleyes being 10 inches. Enforcement action was taken for keeping game fish during the closed season.
Wardens Dustin Gabrielson, of Webster, and Ashton were on night fishing patrol in Burnett County when they contacted two fishing groups on the Clam River. One person in each group was found to be in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The illegal contraband was seized, and associated charges were forwarded to the county district attorney.
Warden Ashton overhead police radio traffic that Polk County Sheriff’s Department deputies were involved in a motor vehicle pursuit with a man who had assaulted a deputy and also had active arrest warrants. The deputies had lost sight of the vehicle, but a citizen observed the vehicle heading toward Luck. Ashton patrolled through Luck and located the vehicle. He followed the vehicle while other squads positioned to attempt a traffic stop. Upon attempting the stop, however, the driver fled again. Ashton, along with other officers, pursued the vehicle until the driver crashed at a residence and fled on foot. A perimeter was set up. Wardens Josh Loining and Pete Carlson also responded to assist. Ashton located the man an hour later sneaking through a rural property. Ashton summoned a Polk County Sheriff’s Department canine unit because the suspect failed to comply with officer commands. The suspect was apprehended by the dog.
Warden Pete Carlson, of Frederic, was working fishing enforcement when he saw a vehicle approach after dark. Two persons exited the vehicle; one wore waders and held a flashlight. The individual returned to the vehicle, retrieved a net and walked back to the shallow water. Carlson contacted the individual. Enforcement action was taken against the individual for taking game fish during the closed season, fishing without a license, fishing in a fish refuge and fishing by means other than hook and line.
Warden Joshua Loining, of Rice Lake, and a Barron County deputy contacted a person operating a dirt bike on the Cattail Trail in Turtle Lake. It is illegal to operate dirt bikes on the trail system in Barron County.
Warden Loining and a Barron County Sheriff’s Department deputy received complaints of a person operating a loud ATV in the city of Barron. They located the ATV operator and discovered he was under the age of 18, operating an ATV on a road not designated as a route, operating an ATV without a helmet as required, and operating the ATV with a modified exhaust in excess of the decibel limit.
Warden Dustin Gabrielson, of Webster, with the assistance of a Burnett County deputy, intercepted two individuals who were using a spear to harvest spawning walleyes. It was found that one of the individuals had speared a 24- and 28-inch walleye.
Warden Gabrielson contacted an individual near Siren who had kept a walleye during the closed season. This was the fourth time the individual was caught and cited over the previous one-month period for keeping game fish during the closed season.
Warden Gabrielson observed several unattended fishing lines off a dock with no one around. Gabrielson came back early the next morning and found the lines still unattended, and one of the lines held a catfish. An individual came down to check the lines when he saw Gabrielson.
Wardens Chris Spaight, of Grantsburg, Jon Hagen, of Spooner, and supervisor Mike Melgaard assisted the Burnett County Sheriff’s Department in catching a man who fled in a vehicle when he was caught burglarizing a home. The suspect ultimately got his pickup stuck in a wooded swampy area and fled on foot. Officers from multiple agencies responded to help secure the area and assist with the search. The State Patrol Air Support Unit provided aerial surveillance, and canine units from Burnett and Polk counties also helped. After several hours of searching, Melgaard caught the suspect in the woods. The suspect was turned over to the Burnett County Sheriff’s Department.
While Warden Pat Novesky, of Tomahawk, was talking to an angler who complained about slow fishing and having no luck, the warden noticed a rock with a fishing line tied around it. Novesky pulled the line in and learned the angler was using the line as a stringer to keep and to conceal the walleyes he caught that were below the size limit.
While conducting a patrol near the town of Hiles, warden Brad Dahlquist, of Forest County, overheard radio traffic from Forest County dispatch regarding a two-car accident on Wolf River Road. Dahlquist was requested to assist and aided the Forest County Sheriff’s Department and Crandon Police Department with the accident investigation. While on the scene, the investigation revealed one of the operators did not have a valid driver’s license or insurance and was cited for the offenses.
Green Bay Team/April
Warden Alyssa Neff-Miller, of Manitowoc, contacted a turkey hunter who was hunting for turkeys on private property. During the license check at the vehicle at the end of the hunt, it was determined the hunter had never purchased a turkey hunting license.
Northeast Marine Unit/April
Warden Mike Neal, of Sister Bay, resolved an incident involving the poisoning of two bald eagles with a local farm. Two citations were issued for the unintentional poisoning of the eagles and one coyote.
Warden Neal checked on a complaint at Newport State Park regarding individuals camping at the state park during the closed campground order. Two individuals said they came to the park to escape the COVID-19 issues in the Fond cu Lac area. Both said they knew about the governor’s Safer at Home order and chose to come to Door County anyway. A citation was issued for camping in an unauthorized area.
Wardens Jeff Lautenslager, of Peshtigo, and Gaven Brault, of Green Bay, followed up on a complaint of people taking walleyes out of a ditch after dark. The wardens contacted two people for shooting bows into the ditch at the walleyes. Citations were issued to each individual.
Warden Dave Allen, of Kewaunee, received a complaint of trespassing, littering and illegal spearing on the Little Manitowoc River. He found the responsible parties that left the fish along the bank of the property owner. The responsible parties returned the next day to clean up all the dead fish.
Warden Jordan Resop, of Sturgeon Bay, responded to the area of Little Sturgeon for a report of a capsized canoe with one individual in the water. The victim was pulled from the 43-degree water by two neighbors who heard the cry for help. The victim was treated by EMS and released on the scene with no injury. Kudos to the citizen heroes for potentially saving a life.
Warden Resop received a call regarding illegal netting below the Forestville dam. Warden Chris Kratcha responded with Resop. Two citations were issued for possession of perch over the daily bag limit. A verbal warning was issued for attempting to overbag on steelhead.
Warden Josh Voelker, of Sturgeon Bay, observed an ATV on a road route with a child riding without a helmet. He stopped the ATV and contacted the operator, who stated he was just out for a short ride. There were no headlights on the vehicle and no rear ID plate displayed. The operator was given a warning for the headlights and rear ID plate. Enforcement action was taken for allowing a juvenile to ride without a helmet
Warden Brault received a tip that someone had netted a fish on Brown Road. Brault responded and located the vehicle described in the complaint. Brault interviewed the individual, who admitted he intentionally netted a walleye. A citation was issued.
Wardens Brault, Darren Kuhn and Jill Weisensel worked together on a case of walleyes spawning in the ditches. Brault observed an individual get out of his truck and catch two walleyes, put them in his truck and drive off. Kuhn and Weisensel stopped the vehicle not long after.
Warden Brault responded to a complaint of an individual fishing at a refuge in De Pere. Brault contacted the individual and issued a citation for fishing in the refuge at the De Pere dam on the Fox River.
Warden Brent Couperus, of Fish Creek, assisted Door County Sheriff’s Department with a 911 call coming from 9891 Shore Road. The vehicle was located near Peninsula State Park golf clubhouse with no one around. About 15 minutes later, contact was made with the person. He was simply out running and showed back up at the vehicle. No emergency.
Wardens Nicholas Hefter, of Fish Creek, and Jordan Resop patrolled Lake Michigan and contacted a male who was fishing for brown trout. It was determined the male did not have a wearable PFD onboard. This was the second time the person was out in this boat that also had expired signal flares. Enforcement action was taken for not having a wearable life jacket onboard and a warning for the expired signal flares.
Warden Jacob Cross, of Shawano, assisted with a brush fire in Bowler. Cross helped secure the area and assisted with the investigation.
Warden Cross responded to a house fire in the village of Eland. Cross was first on the scene and checked the residence for people inside. The home was vacant. Cross then took up scene security until deputies arrived and fire departments arrived on scene. Cross worked with the sheriff’s department to provide security until the fire was out.
Warden Clark Delzer, of Shawano, responded to reports of an underage drinking party on state land. No one was of legal drinking age. Two people were operating an ATV in violation of absolute sobriety.
Lake Winnebago Team/April
Warden Michael Disher, of Chilton, investigated complaints of closed season spearing and bowfishing activity on Winnebago system waters. Disher contacted two anglers illegally harvesting fish with archery gear at the mouth of Mill Creek. One of the anglers did not have a fishing license.
Warden Disher investigated a complaint of hunter harassment during the first turkey season. Disher located two blinds that were illegally baited with sunflower seeds. Disher later apprehended two suspects for the illegal baits. One suspect had previously been convicted of an illegal baiting violation.
Warden Michael Disher contacted multiple turkey hunters in the field with loaded firearms, blinds, calls and decoys who did not have valid licenses and tags for the time period they were hunting. Enforcement action was taken for hunting outside authorized time periods or management zones.
Wardens Ben Mott of Wautoma, Jonathan Kaiser of Waupaca and Joshua Wiedenhoeft responded to a complaint of three individuals smoking marijuana in a motorboat while fishing in Waushara County. The individuals were contacted at a residence and, after working with the Waupaca County and Waushara County sheriff’s departments, enforcement action was taken for operating a motor vehicle and motorboat under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, fishing without licenses, and operating a motorboat without boater safety.
Wardens Jonathan Kaiser, Joshua Wiedenhoeft, Zachary Seitz and Kaitlin Kernosky, and a Waupaca County deputy, teamed up to patrol for fish run and boating enforcement on the Wolf River. Kaiser and Wiedenhoeft observed multiple boat occupants who appeared to be intoxicated and under the legal drinking age.
Wardens Kaiser, of Waupaca, and Kernosky and Seitz patrolled during the Wolf River walleye run. Anglers in two fishing rafts were contacted, one with two anglers who were seven walleyes over their bag limit. On the other raft they found two anglers who were fishing with four lures over the allowed limit of three per angler.
While patrolling on opening day of the turkey season, wardens Heather Gottschalk, of Waupaca, and Kaiser contacted an individual who had not purchased a turkey hunting approval and stamp prior to hunting. The individual had also harvested a turkey earlier that day without a license and unlawfully over bait and had failed to register multiple turkeys over the course of previous years.
Wardens Wiedenhoeft and Kaiser assisted the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department with a vehicle accident in which the operator fled the scene in the damaged vehicle – one wheel missing and a smashed windshield. The wardens were first on the scene with the individual and after ensuring medical attention was not needed, the case was turned over to the sheriff’s department.
Warden Kernosky and supervisor Ted Dremel, of Wautoma, addressed a hotline complaint in the Fremont area where an individual was reported to have overbagged on walleyes below the Hwy. 10 bridge on the Wolf River. The wardens located the man when he returned for a second time later in the afternoon with a companion. It was determined the angler had kept 10 walleyes in total from the previous evening and into the morning. The angler had taken the fish to his hotel in the New London area as to not to appear to possess more than his limit. This angler was aware the daily bag limit on walleyes was three.
Warden Kernosky contacted four people who were walleye fishing from a fishing raft on the Wolf River near New London. It was found that of the four raft occupants, two were fishing. Those two anglers had caught and kept 13 walleyes. One angler was kept six walleyes; the other took responsibility for the remaining seven walleyes. Both anglers knew the daily bag limit for walleyes on the Wolf River was three per person.
Warden Ben Mott followed up on a complaint of a possible turkey overbag or illegal take. Mott responded and his dog made quick work of a track and found a tom turkey. Mott continued to investigate that day and the next day. Mott contacted an individual in the area. It was discovered that instead of a violation, the second turkey had intentionally been shot by another licensed hunter who was unable to locate it. The bird had been preserved and was able to be returned to the hunter who had legally shot it.
Warden Ben Nadolski, of Montello, responded to a call of people bowfishing during the closed season and entering closed areas in a walleye spawning marsh along the Fox River in Green Lake County. The bowfishing/rough fish spearing season is closed in Winnebago system waters from Feb. 1 until April 21 each year. The area was also a DNR-owned marsh posted as closed March 1 until the first Saturday in May to protect spawning fish. Enforcement action was taken.
Editor’s note: Remaining field reports from April will appear in the next issue.
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