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MN DNR Weekly Report for April 7, 2014

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Duluth News Tribune
(218) 723-5295 customer support
MN DNR Weekly Report for April 7, 2014
Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) along with CO Patten and CO Bozovsky executed a search warrant at an individual’s residence in regards to a moose that was taken illegally from Ontario, Canada and imported into Minnesota. Fishing activity on the Rainy River was monitored with a few more anglers then the previous weekend; the Birchdale area is still locked up with ice. CO Kittelson also testified at a civil trial in regards to a snowmobile accident that occurred back in 2010.

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CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports working angling activities over the week. Assistance was provided in the Baudette/Lake of the Woods/Rainy River area relating to sport fishing. Snowmobile activities continue. Snow remains deep as deer continue to struggle.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports that warmer weather finally arrived and the snow is melting fast. A few anglers were observed, however the panfish were not cooperating.  A few calls of injured/sick/dead deer were received.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, snowmobiles and ATVs. The officer assisted COs Kittelson and Patten serve a search warrant in International Falls on an illegally taken moose case. The officer worked Vermilion Lake snowmobile water skipping with four other officers. Several citations were issued to participants. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license in possession and snowmobile and ATV violations.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) has received a number of calls for deer injured by vehicles and trains. He has also received calls of road-killed Great Grey Owls. Fredin spent time chipping ice out from an abandoned fish house where the owner stated he would remove but only ripped the wall and roof off leaving the rest. Time was spent with other law enforcement officers on Lake Vermilion monitoring snowmobile activity.

I. Falls # 2 - vacant.

Ray - vacant.

Tower - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) assisted officers in enforcement activities on Lake Vermilion over the weekend. Ice conditions have been changing daily with warm weather and rain for the last few days. Although there is several feet of ice in most places traveling across area lakes is getting more difficult. Violations included careless operation of a snowmobile and, operating a snowmobile without a helmet by a person under 18.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked snowmobile trails and some BWCAW fishermen. Officer found dead deer in a lot of places throughout the week. The winter has been very hard on the deer and it’s likely to get worse for a little while. Keep your dogs restrained. The deer can’t take any more stress than they already have. Officers dealt with some northern pike fishermen in the BWCAW that were fishing where the season has been closed for a month and a half. They said two guides and a DNR fisheries employee had told them that it was closed, but that they didn’t believe them and did it anyway.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) attended training at Camp Ripley in preparation for spring in-service later this month.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports monitoring crappie lakes throughout the week. Many anglers were out with the nice weather. Assistance was provided at the Trout Lake Portage water skips, which was a very popular place to be on Saturday. Assistance was provided to CO Stage with a closed season northern case. Citations were issued for angling without a license, attempting to take northerns in closed season, expired ATV registration, expired snowmobile registration, and snowmobile speed.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) assisted in training the new use of force instructors at Camp Ripley. Time was also spent at Ripley reviewing lesson plans for the upcoming in-service and completing instructor training. Officer Wahlstrom returned nuisance animal calls and checked the few remaining snowmobilers

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) continued to work snowmobile and fishing activity during the week. Several calls of injured deer were handled along with a report of a grey owl being struck on Hwy 61. Area Lakes are still in great shape with plenty of folks out trying their luck with panfish over the weekend. A complaint of illegal dumping is also being investigated by the officer.

Silver Bay - vacant.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, attended a meeting in Deer River, and assisted CO Kittelson with the execution of a search warrant.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity and assisted the county with a suicidal person call. The warm weather has many people out and about. Enforcement action was taken for angling license issues and operate ATV on roadway.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time checking anglers fishing panfish this past week. She checked various local hot spots and found there to be moderate success. Enforcement action was taken for license violations. She also received a complaint of a dog chasing deer. After investigating the complaint, she found a very tired and thin looking deer about 100 yards from a ski trail. She addressed the issues with the dog owner. This time of year, pets, especially dogs can smell things better because the air carries more moisture in it and things are thawing. Please keep an eye on your dogs.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy week of pan fishing activity. Due to the nice weather many sportsmen were getting out on the ice to finally enjoy the nice weather while catching crappies and bluegills. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling for bass during closed season and failing to display registration on a watercraft. CO Sutherland also assisted the county on a domestic violence call. 

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing and ATV activity. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration and ATV operator under 18 without a helmet.  

CO John Velsvaag (NE Regional ATV Officer) checked anglers this past week and followed up on remaining fish house complaints. CO Velsvaag checked snowmobilers on Lake Vermilion and Itasca County trails.

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) worked anglers, ATVers, and snowmobilers. Angling success was variable during the week. Jumbo perch, panfish and tullibee observed in creels. Many vehicles observed traveling on lake ice, allowing easy access for anglers. Enforcement activity was taken for angling license violations. CO Arhart also attended the Itasca County TEP wetland meeting and tracked Wetland Conservation Act and public waters cases. Migrant American goldeneyes arrived on Third River during the week.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked snowmobile trails in the area for the last chance riders. Registration issues continued in the last week of the season. Shore anglers and ice anglers were checked in the area. Lakes are in good condition with some slush but very manageable with a snowmobile. Follow up on an abandoned ice house at a public access was completed. Officer Schmidt assisted State Patrol Officers with crashes during inclement weather and also assisted with a pursuit of a stolen vehicle. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. Snowmobile activity has slowed with warm weather and deteriorating trail conditions.  Ice angling activity was observed on area lakes. Anglers reported mixed results. A livestock depredation complaint was received in the Moose Lake area. CO Humphrey completed seasonal equipment maintenance and changeover.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) received complaints of dogs chasing deer and also sick or injured deer in the area. One depredation complaint was received and is being investigated where a cattle owner lost a calf and believes it was wolves that got it. One snowmobile complaint was received on a snowmobile that was operating in the median of Interstate 35. After finding the area and following the tracks on foot through waist deep snow, the suspect was found at a residence and admitted to operating within the interstate right of way. He was cited for that violation. With the warmer weather, some ATV complaints are starting to come in. Complaints of careless operation and unlawful juvenile operation were received. Assistance was given to the state patrol on a pursuit on I-35 where a stolen vehicle was driving very erratically. The suspect was taken into custody after being forced off the road by Troopers.  More training was done with K9 Schody and other work was done for the DNR’s canine unit.

WREO Mike Scott worked with a local individual on a new logging area that contained possible wetland impacts and what was expected from the state as this was a private logging sale. Officer Scott attended the Duluth Home Show staffing a booth with the MN Sea Grant folks talking to participants of the show about AIS issues, concerns and solutions to some it the current issues. Information was very well received with over 1,000 folks stopping by the booth to engage us in conversation.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked looper anglers on the North Shore. The ice on Lake Superior is no longer safe, due to warmer temps. and the diligence of the USCG ice breaking crews.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked late season ice anglers and a few residual snowmobilers riding on fading snow. Several riders contacted on the now closed GIA trails across private land were reminded that they risk the existence of everyone's ability to ride our wonderful trails when they use these routes after the annual sunset of the easement. Several other groups of riders showed very poor respect for other trail users and posted trail signs.  The snow is slowly starting to melt, and tributaries are starting to show some runoff over the ice. Continued warmth will help. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

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Kris Vereecken
(218) 723-5322
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