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MN DNR Weekly Report for Dec. 27, 2016

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO John Slatinski (International Falls #2) continued to monitor trapping and archery hunting activity. Ice fishing and snowmobile activity are starting to increase with improving conditions. If the storm system comes through after Christmas like expected, we could likely see slush forming on some of the area lakes. Officer Slatinski assisted with response to a residential fire and a vehicle rollover. Required training was also completed. Enforcement activity included license violations.

CO Colleen Adam (Ray) reports snow and cold have blanketed the area however trail conditions are poor to fair due to the wet warm fall; swamps are still not cooperating for grooming.  Contacts were made for expired snowmobile registration, fail to display registration on ATV and snowmobiles, and no angling and spearing license in possession.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes with little angling activity observed.  Little snowmobile activity observed over the week and public access sites were monitored. 

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time patrolling for trapping and snaring activity. Numerous bobcat and other trappers are still out and fortunately no trapping violations were encountered. However, as CO Frericks was patrolling along one stretch of county road he saw drag marks coming from the ditch. A quick check showed a deer had been taken possibly with a firearm. Tire tracks left at the scene matched up with tire tracks farther down the road and a short interview with a suspect revealed he shot the deer with a handgun. The suspect now faces gross misdemeanor charges. Area lakes have the best ice conditions in several years and people have started to put their shelters out on the lakes. Several anglers and dark house fishermen were checked. Snowmobiling activity remains slow.    

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports a busy week for ice fishing and snowmobile activity. The snowmobile trails are still ungroomed but are generally passible and have already seen some use. Ice conditions vary widely with ice depths seen between two and twelve inches. Violations included angling without a license in possession and unmarked fish house.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked ice anglers and snowmobilers during the week.  Fishing was slow and the walleyes caught were small.  Ice conditions on the smaller lakes are good with the deeper lakes just freezing over at the end of the cold snap so they won’t be safe for travel for a while.  Remember to check for yourself and check often as ice conditions can change in short distances, especially with the insulating snow we’ve received just after the bigger lakes froze.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) followed up on deer season violations with enforcement action taken for taking an over limit of deer, taking does without antlerless permits, and late registration violations.  A trapping investigation was also concluded with enforcement action taken for failure to turn in incidental pine marten and fisher, fail to site tag and register furs, and illegal transportation.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity this week.  Many lakes have good ice, with patchy areas of slush, and thin spots where they usually are.  Snowmobile activity is light, and trails are still in need of a few more inches of snow to cover the rocks.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored snowmobile activity and investigated trapping complaints. The area snowmobile trails are still being cleared of trees. Enforcement action was taken for license and registration issues.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice anglers and northern pike spearing activity.  One spearer’s fishing trip was cut a little short when it was found out that he had a warrant for his arrest.  He was booked in at jail and angler checks were resumed. 

CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, trappers, snowmobiles, and state trails.  He also handled littering and trespassing complaints during the week.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Hill City) worked angling, spearing, trapping, and snowmobile enforcement.  Area snowmobile trails are in poor condition due to the warm weather and lack of snow.  Time was also spent following up with ongoing investigations for trapping and big game violations.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Caleb Silgjord (Brookston) spent time during the week checking anglers and trapping activity in the area.  A fire complaint was investigated with enforcement action being taken for burning garbage.  Follow up was conducted on a timber trespass case and cases from deer season. 

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) followed up on case files from deer season and met with the county attorney.  Time was spent working on trapping complaints and checking trap lines in the area.  Injured animal complaints were handled as well as nuisance wildlife complaints.  A trespassing complaint involving theft of timber and illegal ATV use was investigated.  Anglers were checked on area lakes and the Duluth Harbor and ice conditions were improving prior to the recent rain.  

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked ice fishing enforcement on area lakes.  Time was also spent working ATV and snowmobile enforcement.  Trapping activity continues to be monitored and a few ski passes were checked during the week.  Other activities included answering and returning calls, equipment maintenance, and office work. 

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers and late season trappers.  ATVs were contacted riding on snowmobile trails.  Though the trails have not been groomed for sleds yet, this operation can cause extra challenges for establishing a solid base for the season, and is one of the reasons that snowmobile trails are closed to ATVs beginning Dec 1st.  Warmer weather caused some deteriorating ice conditions on the harbor. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.

Lake Superior Unit - vacant.

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