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MN DNR Weekly Report for Oct. 9, 2017

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (Int’l Falls) reports lots of people out enjoying the nice weather while grouse hunting, bow hunting, fishing, and riding ATV’s.  Several nuisance bear complaints were handled along with injured eagle and fisher. 

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) reports with the dry weather in the area, activity has increased greatly. Grouse hunters are beginning to find pockets of success, as well as more competition. Time was spent on waterfowl activity with hunters still doing fair but expecting things to slow until the weather turns colder up north. A meeting with several local agencies was attended to address ongoing concerns. CO Slatinski also acted on a call for assistance from an Ontario conservation officer in regards to an over-limit reported to be heading for the US port of entry. Enforcement activities included various issues involving registration, hunting licenses/endorsements, and equipment violations.   

CO Colleen Adam (Ray) contacted many hunters over the weekend looking for grouse.  Some are having success finding a few birds.  Fall fishing success has been moderate.  Many cabins are closing up and boats are being pulled out for the season.  Contacts for loaded firearm in motor vehicle, no small game license, no license in possession, and juvenile bear mischief and moose season questions were handled.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area forest roads, public access sites, boating, angling, and ATV’s over the week. Grouse hunting remains poor with very few birds. Lots of questions on where all the birds are at. Very few grouse observed in the bag.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) had a busy week with a wide variety of incidents.  The officer took enforcement action on ATV in a state park, park sticker violation, illegal use of campsite, and illegal firewood.  The officer also dealt with no PFD in a watercraft and transporting a loaded firearm.  The officer investigated and submitted charges on an illegal decorative bough harvesting case.  The officer also assisted the county with a search for a juvenile and with an injury motorcycle crash.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked on-going hunting seasons, anglers, ATV’s, state park, and invasive species enforcement and an on-going forest product theft case.  A firearms safety class was taught in Hibbing.  Enforcement action was taken on no federal duck stamp, no small game license in possession, no PFD’s, uncased firearm, no burning permit, and various ATV violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent a majority of his time patrolling for and checking grouse hunters throughout the Virginia station. Hunters report seeing and flushing birds but advise there are still a lot of leaves on the trees that make the taking part of the hunt difficult. An area camper called to report a bear made numerous attempts to get inside their camper while they were inside it. CO Frericks called the following morning and learned they shot the bear. A lengthy track of the bear revealed it was likely a non-fatal wound. ATV activity remains high in the Virginia area. Enforcement action was taken for operating an unregistered ATV and allowing illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile.    

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marias #1) finished up a couple of commercial bear guide inspections, assisted the Forest Service with a snowmobile that had been left abandoned since last season, started a wetlands investigation, and checked grouse hunters.  Hunters report seeing lots of birds, but add that they are very spooky.  Hunting pressure has been down a lot compared to the last few seasons.  Assistance was also given on a medical call.

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais #2) reports a slight downtick in the number of nuisance bear calls received this week.  The officer also noted an uptick in the number of grouse hunters’ slow-trolling the forest roads in their vehicle of choice and questioning the warden as to where all the birds are.  CO Manning assisted Cook County deputies and Search and Rescue volunteers with an all-night search to locate a party who called 911 multiple times from somewhere in the woods near Grand Marais.  Located safely asleep in their tent, the person reported they had overreacted to a situation, tried to call for help, and then their cell phone went dead – leaving responders with the task of locating them and verifying everyone was ok.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area ATV trails and hunting activity.  CO Schottenbauer was notified of a headless moose in a gravel pit, when CO Schottenbauer checked the area, he found an old horse carcass heavily scavenged.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marias #3) spent the week in Red Wing for Use of Force instructor training.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked small game and waterfowl hunting activity during the week. Grouse hunting opportunities continue to be good and waterfowl hunters are seeing more birds in migration.  CO Murray is also working a complaint where geese were illegally shot and left floating in a pond.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) spent most of the week checking grouse and waterfowl hunters.  Also worked ongoing cases, gave a law presentation to the Bigfork firearms safety class, and handled calls on nuisance wildlife, injured wildlife, trespass, litter, ATV permits, various law questions, and road hunting complaints.  Enforcement action was taken for operating ATV’s on a public highway.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, patrolled for OHV activity, worked waterfowl enforcement, and monitored the harvesting of decorative materials. A few ducks migrating through this week as the temperature cools at night. Angler success was good and grouse hunters are flushing more birds. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, use motor boat in prohibited area and illegal OHV operation.

CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time working on a garbage dumping complaint.  She also worked small game and big game hunting activity.  She responded to a late shooting complaint and took a complaint of deer baiting.  Enforcement action was taken for duck hunting violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked waterfowl and archery deer hunters over the past week.  Northern flights of ducks have slowly started to show up in the Grand Rapids area. Enforcement action was taken for not having a federal waterfowl stamp, having a loaded shotgun in a motorboat while it is under-way, hunting deer over bait, and not having a license in possession.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) focused on big game, migratory waterfowl, angling, and small game enforcement in and around the surrounding areas.  CO Van Asch also spent time assisting at the Thunder Lake Gun Club’s youth firearm safety field day.  Area waterfowl hunters are reporting moderate success during bag checks and fall angling is picking up.

Pengilly – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) answered and return several calls throughout the week, checked several grouse hunters out in the field, and continued ATV enforcement work.  Waterfowl hunting violations were observed and handled and time was also spent working on evidence from a trapping case.  Officer Duncan also attended and helped with a firearm safety class. 

CO Andy Schmidt (West Duluth) worked small game hunters and anglers most of the week. Nuisance bear and beaver issues continue and trespassing complaints are picking up with fall hunting.  A TIP complaint was handled regarding parties rallying ducks and shooting while running under power. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued patrols in the Fond du Lac state forest and local wildlife management areas.  Lots of outdoor activity across the spectrum from leaf lookers, bird watchers, agate hunters, berry pickers, bird and deer hunters, off road vehicle users, commercial bough pickers, anglers, folks cutting wood, and pulling docks and boats out for the season.    CO Humphrey received calls/complaints on late shooting and unlawful tree stand construction.  CO Humphrey issued car kill bear and deer possession permits.  Some follow up was done on a couple open cases involving trapping and wolf vs. dog incident.  Violations for OHV use, transporting loaded firearm, and failing to have licenses in possession were encountered.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a meeting with the MN Trapper’s Association. Car kill deer permits were issued. Extra patrol was conducted in Jay Cooke State Park after State Highway 210 re-opened after being closed for five years as a result of the 2012 flood. Enforcement action was taken for parking in prohibited areas and no vehicle permits. K9 assistance was given to the US Fish and Wildlife Service with an ongoing investigation. K9 assistance was also given to the local Sheriff’s Office in searching for a person that fled from a deputy on foot. Assistance was given to a local Sheriff’s Office with an unoccupied personal watercraft that was found on an area lake. It is believed that the jet-ski just floated away from a dock.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended FAS youth field day at United Northern Sportsman range north of Duluth, where over forty students attended the event. He worked a case in conjunction with the USFWS Agent in Duluth, the investigation is ongoing. Responded to an injured bald eagle complaint, it ended up being a dead herring gull in the city of Duluth. The nice weather over the weekend had many people out getting some end of the season fishing on area lakes and Lake Superior. Bird hunting success is starting to get better north of Duluth. Bear complaints were responded to as well. Questions continue to increase for the upcoming firearm deer season and associated zone changes in the immediate area.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) conducted boat operation training for a local search and rescue unit.  Questions were answered about waterfowl and deer season.  Lake trout season closed on Lake Superior on October 8th, and any trolling activity will shift to salmon or rainbows.  Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

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