District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports checking fishing and boating activity on Rainy River and Rainy Lake, along with monitoring activity at the North American Sturgeon Fishing Contest on the Rainy River. Bear baiting activity was also monitored as hunters and guides began the process of establishing their bait sites.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports an uneventful slow week locally. Fishing remains poor. Hunters voiced concerns over the reduced number of bear licenses and the reduction of the intended wolf harvest. Trappers voiced concerns over the fisher and marten limit reduction.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports lots of fall hunting related questions were received. Bear baiting has begun and it appears the number of people baiting bears is down considerably, likely due to the low number of tags compared to previous years. Angling activity was monitored and success was quite slow.
CO Dan Starr (Tower) worked some early bear baiting activity and checked fisherman. Weather patterns have made fishing slow. ATV activity is really picking up. Numerous calls for information. A great blue heron juvenile that was starving and weak. CO Starr transported the bird to a marsh area, went to the bait store to get minnows, and left the bird actively eating the dead minnows.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, ATVs, the state park and bear baiting enforcement. An aquatic plant violation complaint was investigated with cutting and spraying of aquatic plants without permits discovered. Two Resource Protection Notifications were subsequently issued. Enforcement action also will be taken. The officer assisted the Hibbing Police Dept. with several calls. A 26-year-old male and his friend were observed breaking the male’s I-phone with large rocks on a railroad track rail. When asked why he was doing this, he stated he didn’t want his mom calling him anymore. Enforcement action was taken on recreational vehicle trespass and a number of ATV violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) followed up on numerous trespass violations reported by area mining companies. Most people who were found on mining property report seeing the “No Trespassing” signs but just choose to ignore them. CO Frericks received a TIP call concerning an illegal length sturgeon. After waiting for the subject to arrive at his residence CO Frericks met the subject and interviewed him. Eventually the angler produced the sturgeon and it was measured. The sturgeon was almost five inches shorter than the slot allowed. The sturgeon was seized and the angler was cited. Fines and restitution for the sturgeon could total $885.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked for bear baiting activity and found hot humid buggy weather and few bear baiters. More boating activity was observed than fishing activity. Fredin responded to an ATV accident where the operator was thrown after hitting a rock and was reported to have broken her pelvis. Some invasive species time was spent at boat landings.
Ray - vacant.
I. Falls # 2 - vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked early bear baiting and fishing activity over the weekend along with handling nuisance animal complaints in the Silver Bay station. Fishing success remained good with most anglers having at least some luck.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers, bear baiters, and patrolled ATV trails. The officer instructed students on the shooting range during the Silver Bay FAS field day. Bear baiters were out finding their spots and complaints are already coming in.
CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports bear baiting season is in full swing and many hunters have taken advantage of the good weather. Also, with the warm weather, there has been a jump in ATV activity in and around the Ely area. Violations include operating an ATV with a passenger under 18 without a helmet, fishing without a license and operating an ATV in a prohibited area.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy week of fishing and ATV enforcement. A litter complaint was followed up on with enforcement action taken. Many citations were issued during the week for fishing without a license. The occupants of one boat were issued eight citations, four of which were for fishing without a license. Many ATV and OHM violations were detected and addressed throughout the week. Other violations included no trout stamp, no life jackets, under 21 possession of alcohol, no navigational lights after sunset, unregistered watercraft, and no fishing license in possession.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) issued a permit for beaver trapping, and was in contact with Forest Service officers regarding problem bear in the BWCAW. Manning attended Active Shooter training with officers from US Border Patrol, Lake County Sheriff’s Department and US Customs and Border Protection. The officer also checked area SNAs and found one instance of someone driving a motor vehicle around a closed forestry gate for access.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked anglers on Lake Superior, took enforcement action for extra lines and people failing to display registration on kayaks. Not educating yourself on the rules is not a valid excuse for breaking game and fish laws. People without experience fishing on Lake Superior should reference Page 85 of the synopsis for basic information on telling the difference between salmon and steelhead.
Silver Bay - vacant.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, watercraft, ATVs, state parks and campgrounds. He also taught an ATV safety class during the week.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Tony Arhart (Grand Rapids) worked aquatic invasive species, sport fishing, bear baiting, and ATV activities. Area wild rice continues to look good if the water levels do not fall too much more. Enforcement action was taken for insufficient personal flotation devices. Two Wetland Conservation Act restoration orders were issued for wetland impacts in St. Louis County. CO Arhart also assisted at the enforcement/ information booth at the Minnesota Trapper’s Association convention.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) monitored area ATV trails during the week and also monitored bear baiting activity. Enforcement action was taken for failing to transfer ownership of an ATV and failure to display decals. Wichmann also received questions about special regulations on area lakes and questions about bear baiting.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) worked angling and boating enforcement this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license violations, fishing too close to the dam, and boating violations, including insufficient PFDs and registration issues. She assisted Itasca County Sheriff’s Office Deputy with a complaint concerning explosives being used on a local lake. The complaint was investigated and action was taken. She continues to receive calls about nuisance animals, most of which can be dealt with by removing food sources. She was able to attend the Splithand Lakes Association meeting where topics like invasive species, aquatic plant management and special regulations were discussed.
CO John Velsvaag (Region II ATV officer) worked in the Brainerd area this past week, assisting with ATV complaints and in Aitkin county on ATV trails. CO Velsvaag also checked bear baiting activity and handled an injured animal complaint.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked area boating activity with multiple individuals out enjoying the nice August weather. CO Sutherland gave a law talk at an area youth firearms safety class and also worked the DNR booth at the Itasca County Fair. CO Sutherland worked bear baiting activity and took numerous questions on rules and regulations.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) worked area lakes and rivers for anglers and boaters. The officer assisted with firearms safety classes in Alborn and at United Northern Sportsmen. An illegal fire is being investigated.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked angling, boating, and OHV enforcement. CO Humphrey patrolled for ATV activity in the Fond Du Lac State Forest and local area trails. CO Humphrey conducted a ride along with a local Law enforcement student. Follow up on investigations were conducted for area wetland filling and aquatic vegetation removal. CO Humphrey issued a Cease & Desist order on a wetland violation in St. Louis County. He assisted local law enforcement in the search for a suspect vehicle in a robbery in Cloquet. Several phone calls were handled with various questions about upcoming hunting seasons, ATV operation, youth safety classes, and open burning. Violations for angling, boating, and OHV operation were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a meeting and worked the MN Trapper’s Association Convention in Litchfield where numerous questions were answered and a K9 demo was done. Assistance was given to the State Patrol with a vehicle accident on I-35. Assistance was also given to the Cloquet Police Department in searching for a firearm that was used in an armed robbery and tossed from a vehicle. An area access was worked for Invasive Specie compliance. A few nuisance bear complaints were handled by phone and information was forwarded to the area DNR Wildlife office.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Mike Scott (NE MN) worked with DNR Fisheries and MPCA on a sediment impact to a local stream near a designated trout stream. An AIS booth at the Carlton County Fair was staffed with MN Sea Grant Folks discussing AIS issues and concerns with fair goers. Information on a wetland violation was taken and follow up to planned. Work with Fisheries and local officers on closing out several Aquatic Plant Management violations was worked on.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Worked with USCG and USBP crews on the boat for harbor and port security details. Calls on bear season and baiting fielded.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Salmon are still being caught with good frequency in the upper shore areas. Many steelhead are also around, so anglers need to make sure they are able to identify one from the other. Many questions were asked as to when the regs may be changed to allow the keeping of a steelhead. The Rainbow Trout Management Plan will be up for renewal in another year or two, so anglers need to watch for the opportunities to share their thoughts with Fisheries managers. Enforcement action was taken for angling, boating, public access, traffic, and ATV violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked boaters and anglers on Lake Superior and inland lakes. Responded to a marine radio hail of a disabled boater on Lake Superior. Boat located and towed to closest safe harbor. Worked a joint boating safety patrol with Coast Guard. Took a wolf call. Took another call of a road kill wolf pup. Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations.