Minnesota Conservation Officer Tales - May 2008
The Fishing Shack
I'm going for some fresh air, dear
While checking a group of four fishermen on Lake of the Woods, CO Robert Gorecki (Baudette) noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the fish house. When questioned about this, two of the men produced marijuana and marijuana pipes. One of the men stated he was fishing in a portable fish house nearby with his wife, and asked if he could go back there to continue fishing since he did not possess any marijuana, and was only "visiting." After issuing citations to that group, CO Gorecki went to the portable house to check the husband and wife's fish. When the discussion returned to the marijuana incident, the wife became quite upset with the husband. Apparently the husband told his wife that he was going for some fresh air.
A fowl story
CO Mike Shelden (Alexandria) interviewed an individual who was observed swerving towards the shoulder of the roadway to run over a Canada goose with his pickup. The driver admitted he had swerved to run the goose over because, "It's only a goose." The individual was charged with killing the goose and also charged restitution for the goose.
Must be a Texas thing
CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) followed up on a TIP call of a person riding in the bed of a pickup truck hunting with an uncased bow. Contact was made with the hunter and it was determined that the individual was hunting rabbits and squirrel from the pickup with his bow. The hunter went on to say that he often hunts this way in his home state of Texas and was following in the footsteps of his grandfather who holds the record for the largest armadillo taken in Texas with a bow.
An ATV operator cited for intentionally riding on a trail in the closed Pillsbury State Forest told CO Jim Tischler (Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area), "You do what you can get away with."
The Fishing Shack
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) responded to the report of an ATV that was stuck in the ditch along Highway 53. People driving by called in to report the operator of the ATV appeared to have difficulty standing, was at times falling over and had his pants around his ankles. Once on scene CO Frericks arrested the subject for DWI. This was the subject's 4th DWI in 10 years and his driving license had been canceled. The subject refused to submit to an alcohol test and was transported to jail. Upon arrival at the jail CO Frericks was told that the subject was too intoxicated to be jailed. The subject was transported to the hospital where he is currently being treated for numerous psychiatric conditions.
No valid reason for such a senseless act
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) received a TIP call that a deer had been shot at a local golf course. The deer was located with a fatal bullet wound through an eye. Two suspects were interviewed and admitted to shooting the deer with no valid reason other than it was there and they had a gun.
CO Mike Martin (St. Cloud) investigated a large plume of smoke rolling skyward in eastern Stearns County. Officer Martin found several men standing around a large pile of burning debris. The pile contained copper wire (plastic coated), empty five gallon buckets, green treated wood, Styrofoam, and other assorted wood and building products. The owner was unhappy when instructed to put the fire out and wanted to know "Since when?" that he couldn't burn plastic and green treated products. A summons was issued for burning prohibited material.
A gambler of several sorts
CO Gary Sommers (Walker) encountered a situation that necessitated his intervention. During a recent 24-inch snowfall the highway was covered with packed snow, which became very slippery and rutted. This made travel in the area dangerous and difficult. While on patrol, a vehicle approached from behind the officer and started to drive on the shoulder, which was clear of snow, as vehicles had not packed it down like the traffic lane. The car continued to approach on the shoulder and soon overtook Officer Sommers, accelerating as it went by. CO Sommers initiated a traffic stop, however the driver failed to stop, even though emergency lights had been activated. After some distance, the car finally started to slow, eventually pulling over. When the driver was questioned regarding his driving conduct he said, "I thought you were some dummy driving too slow, besides, the road was too bad to drive on and I could drive faster on the shoulder." The officer further questioned the driver why he had failed to stop when he observed emergency lights, he said, "I thought you were a snow plow." CO Sommers advised the driver that it was illegal to pass on the right. The driver questioned, "I thought if there was an emergency you could pass on the right." When the officer inquired as to what the emergency was, he stated, "I'm on my way to the casino."
Out of this world warning to trespassers
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) chuckled after reading a huge "no trespassing" sign on an unoccupied lake home, which read: "Warning, trespassers will be atomized and beamed to Pluto."
Which ones do I keep?
CO Alan Peterson (Osage) observed an angler catching bluegills nearly one per minute, placing the small ones on the ice and keeping the larger ones in a pail. On two occasions he left smaller fish on the ice for 20 minutes, the second time pushing them back in the water on the Officer's approach. The angler said the little ones were interfering with his attempt to catch the bigger ones. He was cited for culling.
They had dad's permission
CO Mike Shelden (Alexandria) stopped an ATV being operated on a tar county road by a 10-year-old boy (no helmet and unregistered machine) with his young sister as a passenger. The youngsters said their father said they could take the ATV down the road to go buy a can of pop. When Officer Shelden called the father to advise him of the danger of having a 10-year-old operating an ATV on a highway without a helmet, and the fact that this is illegal, the father said the children could get hit by a car walking down a sidewalk as well.
Officer defers to Judge Mom
CO Pilot Al Buchert (Grand Rapids) was working ATV's in the Grand Rapids vicinity when he observed a rider on and near the shoulder of a county blacktop highway when he should have been in the ditch. When asked where he should be, he replied "At home?" His mother, now stopped behind the officer's squad, had been monitoring his progress enroute back to their residence a short distance away. After making sure the laws were understood by all, the Officer deferred the situation to the higher court, Judge Mom.
Caught at their favorite watering hole
CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) received a call about two men spearing rough fish in a river before the opening of the spearing season. Upon arrival, the men and the vehicle were nowhere in sight. However next door at a "watering hole," the vehicle was found, with speared fish in a pail, and 2 spears in the back of the truck. Enforcement action was taken.
Kayaker lays an egg
CO Marty Stage (Ely) issued a citation to a man with an unregistered kayak that had taken all the eggs from a Canada goose nest. He said he was going to eat them for breakfast and that he felt it was okay since "they" were trying to reduce the geese numbers in other areas anyway.
Smelters enjoy officer's catch
CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) checked several groups of anglers having luck catching smelt. Unfortunately alongside the smelters, other groups were dealt with that preferred to drink more than their share and then toss their empty beer cans and booze bottles into the creek. The smelters seemed to enjoy watching the boozers get citations and then clean the garbage out of the creek with their smelting dip nets.
You never know who might be fishing next to you
CO Todd Langevin (Center City) came across an angler without a license. The angler did not have any identification and the first two names he gave to the officer were false. Once the suspect's real name was given, it turned out he had 2 felony warrants totaling $13,000 in bail. The suspect was arrested and charged accordingly.
Officer reported as suspicious person
CO Aaron Kahre (Minnetonka) went to inspect a public waters violation when a lady came out of the house and threatened to call the police for trespassing. CO Kahre gave the lady his card and told her she could call the police and to tell them that CO Kahre was out there. When the police arrived at the area, they told CO Kahre that he was reported as a suspicious vehicle on the person's property. After a little ribbing by the local police, the CO was able to conduct his inspection without incident.
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The Fishing Shack
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