District 5 — Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports the second weekend of the regular deer firearms season has come and gone, with one more week left. Heavy, wet snow came, making it difficult to get in and out of camps and to see in the woods. It seems like the harvest is down the second weekend, compared to the first, because of the snow. Enforcement action for the week included ATV violations, borrowing and lending licenses, and site-tagging issues.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) reports checking many hunters out trying to fill their 2021 firearms deer licenses. Success rates were pretty good throughout the area. Enforcement action taken this past week was for possessing a small amount of marijuana and transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports heavy snow has arrived in the area. Some forest roads and ATV trails are not passable due to trees down. Little hunting activity was noted and very few deer were observed harvested. Complaints continue about the lack of deer and wolf numbers. Forest roads continue to be checked and equipment work is ongoing. Computer-based training was completed.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily deer-hunting enforcement. Larson encountered several violations throughout the week including taking deer with the aid of bait; expired ATV registration; no deer license in possession; operating an ATV during closed hours; and transporting a loaded firearm. Larson also worked a stolen-boat complaint, trespass complaint and a complaint related to operating an ATV on a bike path.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked big-game-hunting activity. Fewer hunters were seen in the field during the second week of the firearms deer season and those who were reported not seeing many deer. Numerous calls were fielded and some investigations remain ongoing. Violations encountered included hunting over bait, trespassing, failure to register deer, and no deer license in possession.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) assisted CO Aaron Larson with investigating a deer-baiting case involving multiple hunters in violation. Neighboring COs as well as a metro CO found that two bucks were taken over bait opening weekend. Multiple license and deer-registration violations were also found. Zavodnik assisted the State Patrol with multiple car crashes and a DWI arrest during the first snowfall. He also arrested an individual with a warrant while investigating a suspicious-activity complaint.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting and trapping activity. Hunters reported limited success this week. Broughten fielded calls regarding trespass, timber theft and hunting during closed hours.
District 6 — Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports hunting activity continued strong, although most of the camps in the Ely area emptied before the rain and snow fell in the middle of the week. A wolf was found shot and killed on the Echo Trail on Friday morning. Anyone who may have any information is encouraged to contact Minnesota Turn in Poachers at 800-652-9093.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking deer hunters and following up on investigations. He assisted the U.S. Forest Service on several complaints. Time was also spent on the water checking whitefish nets.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) saw mixed weather impact deer hunting this week, but lower temperatures and a dusting of snow seem to be working to hunters’ advantage.
Manning took two calls of hikers walking through areas very popular with deer hunters while wearing almost no orange and no brightly colored clothing. Both hunters stated they warned the hikers about hunters in the area. One pointed out that one orange hat between three people was not enough for them to be seen easily; apparently, their dog was well-attired.
Manning also took a couple after-the-fact calls of hunters claiming hunting privilege to public land based on past use; however, public land is open to all. Hunters seeking exclusive hunting areas should purchase land.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily firearms deer hunters. A few nice bucks were seen taken, but it’s been slow for most people. Enforcement action included shooting at big game from the road right of way and unlawful party hunting. A large spruce-top seizure was made after consent was unable to be produced. Enforcement action was taken.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area deer-hunting activity this week. Time was also spent checking bough-harvester paperwork.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports minimal deer movement during the week had some hunters frustrated. Some small bucks and a few does were checked at various camps. The cold front towards the end of the week pushed some deer around, so there’s hope for hunters with one more week to go. Work was done on an ongoing trapping case. Hill reported no violations for the week.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a much colder second weekend of firearms deer season. This week snow arrived on the North Shore and provided some tracking snow for hunters, improving the harvest some. Murray continued to investigate illegal baiting activity and responded to reports of hunter-harassment and trespass complaints.
District 7 — Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) enforced deer-hunting and ATV activities. Numerous Turn in Poachers reports were investigated as well as various other hunting related complaints. Enforcement action was taken for no blaze clothing, operating ATVs during legal deer-hunting hours, failure to register a deer, and failure to validate a deer tag.
An illegally taken doe was seized after it was taken in a bucks-only area, and a Turn in Poachers report of an individual hunting deer over corn was investigated. The baiting Turn in Poachers resulted in a firearm being seized as well as charges of hunting deer with the aid of bait.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks, worked anglers, big-game and small-game hunters, and monitored boaters and ATV operators. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy first week of deer opener, with the first snowfall of the year in the books. Enforcement action was taken for taking a deer overlimit; failing to validate multiple deer tags; illegally transporting a big-game animal; illegal party hunting; and baiting deer.
CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) focused primarily on deer-hunting activity throughout the previous week. Time was also spent investigating a Turn in Poachers complaint and checking anglers. Holt received several complaints regarding trespassing and assisted with numerous questions on big-game hunting. Enforcement action involved ATV violations and transporting loaded firearms.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) continued to focus enforcement efforts on the firearms deer season. With recent snow accumulation in the area, hunters’ low success rates continued over the second weekend of the season. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, transporting loaded firearms, and several ATV violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports that deer-hunting success among hunters significantly improved with the onset of colder weather. Several citations were issued for transporting a loaded firearm. Please ensure your firearm is unloaded before hitting the road.
District 8 — Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw many hunters out this weekend, and more success than the last. Turn in Poachers calls were answered and heavy hunting areas were proactively patrolled. The snow put a damper on the end of the weekend and made travel difficult. After following up on an ongoing case, two hunters were found to be hunting with the aid of bait. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent the week checking deer hunters. Complaints of illegal ATV use, baiting and trespassing have been the most common issues this season. Hunters are reporting a slow season and Schmidt has seen few harvested animals.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued to work the firearms deer season and related issues. Hunters were checked throughout the District 8 area. Many hunting shacks were visited and most were enjoying the season, even if they hadn't shot any deer. Trespass complaints were handled, with most people just needing an explanation of the posting requirements. Duncan also checked archery deer hunters and time was also spent working night-deer-shining complaint areas.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked the firearms deer season, investigating complaints of trespass, hunting without a license and baiting. Other contacts included unlawful ATV operation; transporting loaded firearms; unlawful transportation of a big-game animal; violations of blaze requirements; and license issues. Humphrey also checked on waterfowl-hunting and trapping activity. A few snowmobiles were seen out with the first accumulating snow of the season.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked in the Meadowlands to Two Harbors station during the week. Cooler weather and recent snowfall seemed to make the deer more active and provided hunters some needed tracking snow. Olson responded to a deer retrieval in Duluth Township between neighbors, working as an arbitrator for a successful outcome.
He also responded to a Turn in Poachers tip at the Lester River, resulting in violations for no angling license and trout stamp. He also addressed minor ATV violations during the week. Questions via phone have picked up in volume and frequency.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked deer hunters and addressed related complaints. Hunter harassment and use of bait were addressed, as was the transport of loaded firearms on an ATV. Waterfowl hunters are finding tough conditions and low bird numbers. Enforcement action was taken for big-game and ATV violations.