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MN DNR Weekly Report for Feb. 18, 2020

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the busiest snowmobile weekend of the year, with lots of people from around the state and other states/countries enjoying the area trails. Snowmobile enforcement details with the U.S. Border Patrol agents and Voyageurs National Park rangers were conducted along the border trails. The International Falls Voyageurs Snowmobile Club held its annual Radar Run Event for Charity, which had a great turnout. Hat’s off to the club for the great event and cause. Enforcement action for past week included snowmobile registration issues, loud exhaust, fail to transfer title, and speed.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports the past week’s activity mainly involved angling and snowmobile activity. Most anglers reported fishing success slowed as the cold front moved in to the area. Snowmobile activity has been steady with most people choosing to use overland trails as the lake surfaces have developed snow drifts and, in general, aren’t as smooth. A meeting was attended in Koochiching County in preparation of spring fishing activity on Rainy River.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and snowmobile trails. Equipment work and administrative tasks were completed. Area forest roads were checked.

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CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time attending a week-long training and followed up on a few hunting violations from the previous deer-hunting season. Multiple snowmobile crashes occurred over the past week, some resulting in serious injury. Zavodnik also spent time patrolling the trails, with speed being the most common violation found.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Angling is pretty slow as we enter late winter. The trails were in good condition, but some fresh snow would sure be welcome. There was a fatal snowmobile crash south of Tower this past week. Remember to slow down and stay on the right side of the trail. Hopkins worked stop sign violations, speed, and driving on the wrong side of the trail.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers and snowmobile riders, and investigated the death of a gray wolf, and two bobcat-possession cases. Bozovsky responded to a snowmobile injury crash where speed appeared to be a factor. A wolf was killed on a snowmobile trail south of Side Lake. He is trying to determine whether it was intentional or accidental. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the TIP line or the Bozovsky directly. It’s not unusual to have dead animals in a CO’s truck, but to have a wolf, a bobcat and a bald eagle in one day of work is unusual and turned into a little extra work. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, unlawful transportation of wild animals, littering and snowmobile violations.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring snowmobile and fishing activity. Anglers reported limited success this past week. Snowmobiling activity remained high. Snowmobile trails are still in decent shape but could use some fresh snow.

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Virginia – vacant.

International Falls #2 – vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) assisted officers in the Lake of the Woods area with a work detail over the weekend. Fishing activity was very high as usual but most anglers had a difficult time and reported mostly smaller sauger being caught. Violations included angling without a license, overlimit, and angling with unattended lines.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Slush conditions have greatly improved and trail conditions are very good. Velsvaag received multiple calls about border-water fishing regulations and northern pike length restrictions.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the past week checking remote trout lakes and patrolling snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and angling violations.

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CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked angling and snowmobile activity in the area. Time also spent at the Duluth sports show.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports checking anglers and snowmobile riders throughout the week. A few small trout were seen in the bag. Overall, anglers were not catching too many fish. A snowmobile event was worked in Cook County. Riders from all over the state and even Canada were contacted enjoying the tolerable weather. A handful of registration violations were handled. The sunshine made for great visibility, and unfortunately multiple riders were stopped and cited for violating the snowmobile speed limit. Modified exhausts continue to be a problem.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile activity during the week. Area trails were in excellent shape but below-zero temperatures kept activity low. Enforcement action was taken for illegally possessing a deer without a permit.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and worked small-game, ATV, and snowmobile activity. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He took care of miscellaneous wildlife calls. He also patrolled state parks and campgrounds

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) patrolled area snowmobile trails, checked anglers and assisted the local police department. Angler success was good this past week. The area snowmobile trails are in good condition. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and arrests were made for outstanding warrants.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked snowmobiling activity over the past week with numerous sleds out on the trails. Trails are in the best shape they have been in many years, with multiple individuals from surrounding states coming to the Grand Rapids area to recreate. Enforcement action was taken for failing to register and failing to display registration. A deer case was also worked where a deer was taken illegally and not tagged.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused much of the past week on sport fishing and snowmobile enforcement. Additional snow accumulation over the weekend will only improve area snowmobile trails. Van Asch also gave assistance to local law enforcement agencies regarding calls for service. Enforcement action was taken for several angling, snowmobile, and big-game violations.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) focused efforts on patrolling area snowmobile trails. Several snowmobilers reported the trails are in excellent shape and that they were enjoying their ride. Violations addressed included angling without a license, unattended lines, and expired snowmobile registrations.

NE ATV officer – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jake Willis (Brookston) staffed the TIP Wall of Shame at the Northland Deer Classic and fielded questions about many natural resources topics. Ice anglers were checked with few fish seen. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession and ATV registration violations.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked area lakes and rivers. Unfortunately, the fish were not cooperating for anglers. Time was spent following up on ongoing cases and handling equipment maintenance. Schmidt taught at a snowmobile safety class in Cromwell and worked area trails. Trail conditions are still excellent. Big thanks to our clubs for all their hard work this winter! Schmidt also spent time working the Duluth Sport Show and Deer Classic.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) investigated a possible wolf depredation involving a dog, answered calls about trespass, and assisted with nuisance-wildlife complaints. He worked area snowmobile trails for snowmobile violations. Several lakes were checked throughout the week checking for angling violations. Duncan also assisted with the TIP booth at the Duluth Deer Classic.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked snowmobile and fishing enforcement. Humphrey also assisted other officers answering questions while working the TIP Wall of Shame at the Duluth sport show during the week. Humphrey assisted in a district snowmobile work detail in the Duluth area over the holiday weekend.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked with district officers at the annual sport show at the DECC in Duluth. The TIP display was on hand and officers answered many questions. He assisted CO Murray with a big-game case in the Two Harbors station and followed up on a dumping complaint in Duluth Township. Angler numbers are increasing along the North Shore. They’re in search of the remaining Kamloops rainbow trout in the Duluth-Knife River waters.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and snowmobilers. A table was worked at the Duluth Deer Classic with many questions about an upcoming deer-feeding ban. Boat-training materials were worked on. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

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