District 5 — Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports more leaves falling, which contributes to more grouse in hunters’ bags. Outdoor activities continue to be busy as the weather has been very cooperative for grouse hunting, ATV riding, fishing and spending time with family and friends. Compliance overall was good, and enforcement action was taken for unlawful deposit of garbage on public lands.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports bear-related complaints continue to come in. Most of these complaints can be traced to the bear finding some food source. Small-game and ATV activity continue to ramp up as fall progresses. Waterfowl hunters have not been as plentiful as we get into a bit of a lull waiting for migrators to show up. Follow-up on a waters complaint completed. Administrative tasks were completed, as was training.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and public access sites. ATV and small-game activities were checked. Duck hunting remains poor, with little to no birds observed in the area. Administrative tasks, phone calls, equipment maintenance and issuing permits rounded out the week.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time spent working a Turn in Poachers complaint regarding a possible angling violation early in the week. Zavodnik, along with CO Bermel and his trainee, found that a party was in possession of 40 walleyes over the limit and were also over the limit on northern pike.
He, along with other conservation officers, also worked a forestry case resulting in the seizure of several thousand spruce tops.
Zavodnik also assisted local law enforcement in the apprehension of an individual wanted for first-degree assault. The person was arrested without incident.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ongoing hunting seasons with an emphasis on duck hunters. A spruce top timber trespass was investigated.
Bozovsky assisted multiple agencies in a vehicle pursuit that ended near Kinney. The pursuit ended after the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office conducted pit maneuvers to stop the suspect. The driver and passenger were taken into custody.
Enforcement action was taken for an unplugged gun, no federal duck stamp, no Harvest Information Program certification, no personal flotation devices, no license in possession and ATV violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time patrolling area trails for grouse hunters. Much of the foliage has fallen and grouse hunters who are taking their time to walk the trails have been doing exponentially better than those who choose to use their ATVs.
A landowner called Frericks to report a grouse hunter shooting at a bird from the road near his house. A quick check of where the shotgun hulls were located revealed the bird was shot at well within 500 feet of the occupied residence. Enforcement action was taken for the trespass violation.
Other enforcement action taken included hunting without a small-game license, operating ATVs on the roadway and operating ATVs on a snowmobile trail.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring hunting, fishing, and ATV activity. Fishing success on local lakes has been limited. Grouse hunters willing to walk the woods are finding good hunting. Few ducks were observed in the bag this past week. ATV complaints continue to be reported. Broughten also investigated a trespass complaint.
District 6 — Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports several searches and rescues occurred over the week involving visitors who became lost off of trail systems. Please remember now that the woods are more open with no leaves or undergrowth, it is very easy to step off trail and become lost.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) checked anglers and grouse hunters this past week. He also took multiple nuisance-animal complaints and questions about the trespass law. Velsvaag also took several ATV-related complaints of speeding and illegal operation on the highway.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the past week checking small-game hunters, ATV riders and anglers. Nuisance-bear calls are still coming in daily. Don’t be the neighbor who causes a problem bear — bring garbage and your bird feeder inside. Enforcement action was taken for ATV, hunting, drugs and firearm violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) continued to wrap up issues from the bear season, including checking bait stations. Grouse hunters have continued to flock to the area, although numbers of birds taken by hunters is down from the first couple weeks.
She also checked anglers and ATV operators and stopped a rather inattentive driver for speeding, littering and failing to notice the flashing lights behind him for a couple miles.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) and COC Ryan Brown assisted CO Zavodnik on a walleye-overlimit Turn in Poachers tip on Lake Vermilion that resulted in a gross overlimit for four Indiana residents. Time was also spent on spruce top cases.
Archery deer, grouse and duck hunters; anglers; and off-highway vehicle operators were all checked. Some success was noted on grouse. A wide array of violations were addressed, including fishing with extra lines; fishing without a license; no federal duck stamp; unregistered off-highway motorcycle; illegal juvenile ATV operation; and transporting or possessing spruce tops without a permit.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) and COC Vincent Brown spent the past week focusing on small-game, fishing and boating enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for violations including transporting loaded firearms and no life jackets onboard a boat. They also spent time working balsam-bough-picking enforcement.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) hit local trails and roads this past week on his ATV and monitored recreational vehicle and grouse-hunting traffic. Birds are still plentiful and most people are going home with at least a meal. A reminder to keep at least one wing on your birds when transporting.
Unfortunately, loaded firearms were too common during the week as Hill found multiple people in violation. One hunter didn’t even know the shotgun they had cased in the rear of the vehicle was loaded with a shell in the chamber. That kind of negligence can lead to disastrous results.
Hill had multiple people approach him and call him during the week asking about the legalities surrounding discharging a firearm on a road while hunting small game. All hunters should refer to Page 9 of the latest hunting and trapping regulations booklet and familiarize themselves with the 500-foot rule.
Hill assisted with locating two stranded hikers near Carlton Peak.
A few ATV violations were handled, along with possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked big-game and small-game hunting activity this past week. Waterfowl hunters were getting some birds as migrating birds are on the move.
Litter complaints continue to be a problem as visitors choose to throw their trash at public landings and trailheads.
District 7 — Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, small-game and waterfowl hunters and boaters. He also patrolled campgrounds and for ATV and aquatic invasive species activity. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored waterfowl-hunting activity and checked small-game hunters. Angler success was great this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, possession of illegal-length walleyes and angling with extra lines.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked hunters this past week and worked on equipment maintenance. She received a birch pole theft complaint. She is investigating a call about an archery killed deer that was left to die.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Charles Scott checked local small-game and waterfowl hunters. Time was spent on ATV enforcement, with a few warnings issued. They assisted with rescue of a mountain bike rider who was injured and needed to be located and transported out of the woods. They assisted with a duck hunter who had capsized his boat. The hunter was able to remain afloat until other hunters were able to reach him because he was wearing his life jacket. Sutherland and Scott located a partially submerged boat and towed it to shore.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on angling, migratory waterfowl, boating, and small-game activities. Van Asch also assisted Itasca County deputies with a duck hunter whose boat capsized. The hunter was located and medical attention was given by first responders.
Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with extra lines, illegal-length walleye, illegal-length northern pike, failure to display watercraft registration, and no license in possession.
District 8 — Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) worked an ongoing spruce top case this past week that resulted in enforcement action for no buyer’s permit and failure to maintain required records. ATV activity was high with the nice weather and many people were seen out enjoying the trails. Willis also assisted with a detail in the metro area.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) and COC Curtis Simonson started the week working waterfowl enforcement on a Wildlife Management Area during the closed season. Enforcement action was taken for youth ATV operation on public roadways. Shore anglers were monitored throughout the area with fishing success increasing on some area lakes. Area small-game hunters were monitored as well, and they were having some success.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) checked grouse and waterfowl hunters throughout the past week. ATV enforcement continues to be worked. Duncan spent time training out of the area, worked shining complaints and participated in a detail in the metro.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued working various fall hunting seasons and off-highway vehicle enforcement. Humphrey investigated a waterfowl-hunting Turn in Poachers call, assisted in a deer shining work detail, worked commercial forest product enforcement, wolf depredation and trespass complaints. Several calls were received regarding hunting season- and licensure-related questions.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked on a deer-baiting complaint and attended a meeting in Grand Rapids on trapping enforcement. Small-game hunters were checked in the area and enforcement action was taken for operating a motor vehicle on a closed trail and license violations.
First aid assistance was provided to a person on an off-highway motorcycle that crashed on a trail in the Nemadji State Forest. Because of several suspected injuries, the victim of the crash was flown to the hospital in a helicopter.
Assistance was provided at a search warrant where several tree tops were seized for various violations.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked river anglers and trollers as the lake trout season drew to a close. Boaters are still getting out on Lake Superior when the wind allows, with good catches of rainbow trout and salmon.
ATV and off-highway motorcycle areas were worked, with calls handled regarding wolves, trespass, charter licenses and commercial fishing. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.