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Minnesota DNR fields complaints of residents feeding deer despite ban

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report for the week of Jan. 10.

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District 5 — Eveleth area

Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports ice fishing and spearing activity on Rainy Lake and Lake Kabetogama have been slow because of the frigid temperatures. Snowmobile activity has also been minimal with Saturday being the busiest day. After that it was relatively quiet. Enforcement action for the week involved illegal ATV operations.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports snowmobiles began to trickle into the area over the weekend, along with snowmobile complaints. Time was spent following up on trespass complaints. The best place to operate snowmobiles is on established trails. When operating off marked trails, remember to respect neighboring landowners and stay off their land if you don’t have permission. Angling and spearing activity continues to bring people onto area lakes. They’re having inconsistent success. Slush has formed on lake surfaces.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports a week of frigid temperatures saw little outdoor activity. Snowmobile activity was monitored. Area lakes were checked and anglers report slow fishing with few fish caught. Area forest roads were checked and public access sites were monitored.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily snowmobile and angling enforcement. Larson came across violations relating to ATV/snowmobile registration and shelter licenses.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and snowmobile activity. In addition, time was spent presenting at a snowmobile safety class in Chisholm. Violations encountered included taking fish without an angling license; operating a motor vehicle on a snowmobile trail; expired ATV and snowmobile registration; and no angling license in possession.


CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time following up on several big-game violations and patrolling on snowmobile. Zavodnik found that a person had shot a deer without a license and then transported it illegally. Several other violations were also discovered during the investigation. As the busy snowmobile season is approaching, he wants to remind riders to be mindful of their speed on the trails.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, trapping and snowmobile activity. Cold weather appeared to limit recreational activity. Anglers reported limited success. Even with recent snowfall, snowmobile trails are still in poor condition.

District 6 — Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports the brief warmer weather brought out a good deal of snowmobile and angling activity. Fishing reports from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness were fair to good, although travel was difficult due to flowing water. Violations included failure to display snowmobile registration and operating an unregistered snowmobile.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) reports snowmobile trail conditions improved but on the lake it’s a little bumpy. Fishing was slow this past week and a little slush showed up after the snow. Velsvaag took several calls on trapping and northern pike regulations.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking anglers on remote lakes in the BWCAW and patrolled snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled area lakes and grant-in-aid snowmobile trails. Recent snowfall has improved trail conditions and groomers are playing catchup. Snowfall has led to slush on many of the lakes and anglers and riders should be on the watch. Manning also handled calls on angling and a wolf in a coyote trap.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy week of winter activity. Plenty of enforcement action to report, including shelter ID and tag violations; fishing without a license; fishing with an extra line; illegal-length northern pike; expired snowmobile registration; no non-resident trail pass; loud/altered snowmobile exhaust; and marijuana/drug paraphernalia.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity during the week. He assisted volunteer instructors with a snowmobile safety class in Finland, as well as enforcing those laws in the area after the class.


CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports beginning a background investigation this week.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity this week. Area trails are freshly groomed and in good shape, bringing many riders to the area. Fishing was slow with the recent subzero temperatures and not many anglers were encountered. Murray also assisted volunteer instructors with a youth snowmobile safety class in the Duluth station.

District 7 — Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked ice anglers, enforced snowmobile activities and monitored trapping activity. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing licenses in possession; no spearing license; no shelter tag on a permanent fish house; and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, small-game hunters, and snowmobile activity. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies. He also responded to numerous complaints of people feeding deer since the deer feeding ban went into effect Dec. 30, 2021. People are not allowed to place feed for deer in Itasca or Koochiching counties, as well as in other counties.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity, worked snowmobile trails and assisted with motor vehicle accidents this week. Angler success was a little slower on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and an arrest was made for outstanding warrants.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) worked area snowmobile trails and checked anglers during the previous week. Time was also spent following up on trapping complaints and monitoring trapping activity. Enforcement activity involved snowmobile-registration violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling and pike spearing activity in the area over the past week, with success had by area anglers for both panfish and bigger gamefish. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling without a license in possession and having expired ATV registration. More and more full-sized vehicles are showing up on area lakes with the colder weather, but slush is present on almost all lakes so travel with care.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working snowmobile, dark house spearing and ice angling activities. The brief break in the frigid weather gave snowmobilers a chance to enjoy the area trails. Enforcement action was taken for several angling and snowmobile violations.


CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports that outdoor activity levels were highly dependent on the weather over the past week. When the temperatures were bearable, the snowmobile trails were fairly busy. Enforcement action was taken for excessive speed on a snowmobile and registration issues.

District 8 — Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) saw a large increase in snowmobile activity as trail conditions gradually improve. Enforcement action was taken for registration violations. A law and ethics talk was also given at a snowmobile safety class.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent a few days working from a snowmobile. Most area trails are in good condition and getting plenty of use. Winter fishing was also worked. Many people have been out fishing on area lakes. Calls of injured deer, deer-possession permits, and general questions from the public were tended to throughout the week.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

Reports unavailable.

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