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MN DNR Weekly Report for March 31, 2014

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports several animal complaints were handled, including a great gray owl hitting power line, car killed bald eagle, and deer killed by wolf within city limits of Int’l Falls. A DNR booth at the Int’l Falls Outdoors Expo was attend along with other DNR staff. The Rainy River was monitored for boat fishing activity; a few boats accessed the river at Kuttes Access. Deadline for ice shelter removal on Minnesota/Canada border waters is March 31st.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports little outdoor activities over the week. Unplowed forest roads and snow depths even difficult for snowmobile use. Lake travel remains difficult. Work planning is ongoing. Seasonal equipment transition has begun. Administrative activities continue.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the warmer weather over the weekend brought a few more folks outdoors. There is still a lot of snow on the ice and not many people are fishing for panfish. The deer seem to prefer using the area roads rather than the woods due to deep snow so be careful when driving and give the deer a brake.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, ATVs, snowmobiles, attended training at the District Office, assisted CO Sindelir contacting the owner of a fish house left after the removal deadline in her station, dealt with litter and a fish house that had been left out after the removal deadline in the Hibbing station. The officer also manned the TIP Wall of Shame at the Virginia Home & Sport Show. Enforcement action was taken on angling without a license, unregistered ATV, littering, fish house on ice after deadline and forest resource theft.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) investigated reports of dogs chasing and wounding a deer. The deer died of its wounds before CO Frericks could destroy it. CO Frericks was able to follow the tracks of the dogs for a short distance but high winds wiped out the remaining tracks. The only dog owner that lived in the direction where the tracks were headed refused to believe that her dogs could kill a deer. CO Frericks manned the TIP Wall of Shame at the Virginia Home Show. The TIP wall brought in a vast array of people to speak to, notably people who had complaints. One such individual was convinced that loons were killing all the ducklings and that was the primary reason behind the declining duck population in Minnesota. This person wanted the DNR to do something about it. Another individual was upset at CO Frericks because the DNR wouldn’t buy deer feed for him to feed deer on his private property.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) gave a FAS law presentation to students in Palo and Hoyt Lakes. He also attended district training on the licensing system and a firearms refresher. Officer Fredin has been receiving calls of road injured deer due to deer feeding on the grass along roads and the deer unwilling to go into the deep snow instead they run down the road way. 

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports the first real spring like weather arrived in the Ely area over the weekend, and many residents and visitors took advantage of the sunny skies and warm weather. Many of the popular crappie lakes saw a big influx of anglers with many having good luck. The designated trout lakes in the area also saw a boost of activity for the last few days of the season but success was spotty. Violations included operating an ATV on a state grant in aid trail.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked the trout lakes both in and out of the BWCAW. There were very few people out trout fishing, but a fair number trying for crappies here and there. The lake snow has dropped down considerably so traveling is pretty good, but some terrible slush areas were found in the BWCAW. The officer traveled by skis and dogsled and found that the conditions were generally very good for both. Remember to get your new fishing license.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that there is still plenty of snowmobile season left in the Arrowhead. Trout anglers were checked on the last weekend of the season and some people were caught off guard that the fishing license expiration date changed this year back to the way it used to be. The consensus is that the license should be good through the end of the winter trout season. Most people saw some pretty good fishing throughout the whole season. He did hear a couple of complaints from people who got sunburned while ice fishing the last weekend. Only in Minnesota.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled snowmobile trails and checked anglers. Lake conditions are quite varied and slush is deep in some locations. CO Manning assisted CO Stage in the Ely area patrolling BWCAW lakes. The officer took calls on road kill deer and one call from a party concerned that nefarious means (such as baiting) were used by a photographer to capture a nice eagle picture posted online.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) seized and removed a fish house still out on a station lake. Enforcement action for the week included fish house on the ice past the legal deadline, litter, expired snowmobile registration, expired ATV registration, operating a truck on a GIA snowmobile trail, failure to transfer ownership of a snowmobile, and no fishing license in possession.    

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) assisted with a youth snowmobile safety class and worked angling and snowmobile enforcement efforts along the North Shore. Area trails were in good shape for the most part and many people were out enjoying the groomed trails. While working trail enforcement two riders were encountered that sped through a stop sign narrowly missing the officers. The riders then proceeded passing more uniformed officers remaining on the left side of the trail while tailgating yet another uniformed officer by only a few feet as if they were in a race event. For their racing efforts the two riders received careless operation citations as grand prize from the officers.

Silver Bay - vacant.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers on area lakes, gave a law presentation at a trapper education class, took calls on a sleepy raccoon and a car killed owl, and assisted in looking for an elderly gentleman who was overdue on his return home.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended an EVOC meeting at Camp Ripley, checked anglers and monitored OHV activity. Area anglers are having success. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and operating an ATV on a roadway.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked angling activity this past week. Panfish are biting okay in the area. She also handled a litter complaint involving a deer carcass that was dumped. In the past few weeks, she has dealt with four other complaints like this one. Enforcement action was taken for a fish house left on the ice past deadline and ATV and snowmobile registration violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling activity with some pan fishermen out in the area. CO Sutherland also performed commercial minnow checks and took calls of dogs chasing deer.

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobile and ski trails. He also handled several calls for service during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working ATV and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for wanton waste and not having fishing license in possession. Wichmann also returned numerous calls throughout the week.

CO John Velsvaag (NE Region Recreational Vehicle Officer) John Velsvaag checked snowmobilers and ATV’ers this past week. Conditions were great for snowmobiles but trails have deteriorated quickly with the warm weather. CO Velsvaag also checked anglers and saw some nice panfish and trout caught.

Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) checked anglers, ATVs, and snowmobilers. Angler success improved greatly from last week, with many people out and some driving trucks on the ice. Wetland Conservation Act and public waters cases were tracked. Enforcement action was taken for no angling license and for snowmobile speeding violations. The first migrant mallards, Canada geese and gulls were observed in the area this week.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) spent time attempting to locate the owner of an abandon fish house that was left at a boat landing. The abandoned property will be seized and disposed of properly. Time was also spent checking some last of the year snowmobile operators. Trails were still in pretty good condition throughout the weekend. Only a few anglers were seen venturing out onto local lakes however not many fish being caught.

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked snowmobile trails in the area. Trail conditions were excellent during the week and into the weekend. Violations ranged from registration to unsafe/careless operation. Anglers on Lake Superior are still at it and having some luck with herring and salmon.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the first part of the week working fishing enforcement on Lake Superior. The rest of the week was focused on snowmobile enforcement. Trail conditions were very good with many riders out enjoying the late season riding. Violations encountered included speed, registration, modified exhaust, and careless operation. Officer Duncan also returned several calls. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. CO Humphrey received a complaint of dumped deer carcasses along a roadway which is under investigation. Another complaint was received about a snowmobiler who struck a fence in a ditch causing damage to the sled. CO Humphrey completed online ELS training.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) reports that there is still a small amount of fishing activity in the area, but not much success. Calls on a few sick deer were received and forwarded to the DNR Wildlife staff. Initial assessment is that they were starving. Some snowmobile activity to report in the area. Trails are in decent shape but are deteriorating quickly with some of the warmer weather we have been having. Work continues on a case from last bear season. Training continues with K9 Schody.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Marine Unit) attended a Great Lakes Fisheries Conference in Ontario. The group consists of biologist and conservation officers of states and providences with borders along the Great Lakes.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) traveled to Windsor, Ontario and attended a Great Lakes Fisheries Commission Enforcement meeting where topics of invasive species, commercial angling, and bait harvest were covered. Snowmobiles were checked on a beautiful final weekend of riding. Multiple violations were found for riders having modified their sled’s exhaust to make it louder. Along with being illegal, this leads to the loss of trail easements around the state. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.

 
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