MN DNR Weekly Report for Feb. 23, 2015

District 5 - Eveleth area CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports snowmobile traffic in area has slowed with colder temperatures moving into area and trails are in good shape with recent snowfall. A meeting with Ontario Ministry of Natu...

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports snowmobile traffic in area has slowed with colder temperatures moving into area and trails are in good shape with recent snowfall.  A meeting with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Conservation Officers and Minnesota DNR Conservation Officers was attended in Fort Frances, Ontario. Enforcement action for the week was excessive snowmobile speed.

CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) spent the week focusing on snowmobile and angling enforcement. CO Van Asch worked a snowmobile detail with neighboring officers along the Arrowhead, Hagerman, and Bill Morgan trail systems. The trails were in very good condition throughout the week and into the weekend. The fishing report remains to be sporadic with anglers; although the cold weather has not stopped them from enjoying a day on the lake.  Enforcement action was taken for operating a snowmobile in excess of posted speed limits, failure to display valid snowmobile registration, and angling without a license in possession.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports little outdoor activities with subzero temps throughout the week. Vehicle work along with office and computer work and computer training were tended to.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports a small amount of new snow in the area has helped the snowmobile trails, however more snow would help. The extreme cold has prevented most outdoor recreation. A bobcat that was struck by a vehicle was dealt with.


CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) with the bitterly cold weather this week activity was low. Officer attended a round-table discussion in Ely, with CO Williams. The round table included amateur naturalists, addressing issues concerning endangered, threatened, and species of special concern. Toward the end of the week, with the warmup, activity level increased. The snowmobile trails in the area are in good condition and the number of snowmobilers has increased. Enforcement action taken:  speeding on snowmobile, no registration, failure to display numbers, fail to display current registration, and improperly marked shelter. After observing a number of near misses on the trails, just a reminder that you should never enter corners at a speed that prevents you from staying to the right side of the trail.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling and snowmobiling activity, worked a snaring complaint and attended meetings in Duluth and with Ontario COs and Minnesota border COs. The officer also worked a complaint of theft of wood from a log stockpile from a state logging sale. Enforcement action was taken on trapping without a license and a number of snowmobile violations.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) saw an increase in snowmobile activity due to recent snowfalls. Fishing remains slow on most lakes. Time was spent meeting with FAS instructors to plan for upcoming classes. Fredin attended training and award recognition with other MN COs and Ontario COs.

Ray - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) reports snowmobile activity was up over the weekend with the area receiving between 4-6 inches of new snow. Although the trails received heavy use they were still in good condition. Officer Williams and other area Officers assisted St. Louis County Deputies and Rescue Squad personnel with locating two motorists who had gotten stuck for several hours in a remote area of the Echo Trail.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked snowmobiles and fishing throughout the week. Stage attended a meeting in Fort Francis and met with other officers concerning an old case. The new snow should help the trails and there is slush on some of the trout lakes. The finish of the northern and walleye season was quiet with the cold windy weather. Snowmobilers using the trails are reminded that when you come around a blind corner and you end up on the wrong side of the trail, you are going too fast. 

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports snow is knee deep to a six foot man in the higher elevations of Cook County. The snow there is starting to add up. Activity overall has been way down this winter and the trout lakes are starting to slow down a bit after a very good early start. A border detail was worked with COs from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources along remote border lakes. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile registration violations during the week.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) assisted the moose research team retrieving a moose that was far off the beaten path. It was quite the process to get to the moose and retrieve it so it could be taken to the U of M for research, including a long snowmobile ride, riding down railroad tracks, and busting through an alder swamp. A border meeting was attended with Ontario COs. Time was spent preparing for an upcoming trial. Enforcement action included snowmobile registration violations, and many instances of snowmobile speed.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) focused enforcement efforts on anglers and snowmobilers. The officer worked remote trout lakes and checked a few anglers on Lake Superior. Wahlstrom followed up on a trespass violation that occurred on state land. A public whitetail deer meeting was also attended.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked snowmobile and angling activity during the week. Groomed trails were in excellent shape with the recent snowfall in the area. Enforcement action was taken for unattended lines and snowmobile registration violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, ATV and snowmobile activity, attended a meeting, and assisted with a theft of a game camera case. Fish houses are being monitored for litter and the approaching deadline. Violations included snowmobile on roadway. 

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, attended K-9 training, monitored snowmobile activity and assisted the county with a barricaded suspect. CO Fairbanks and his K-9 partner Si also conducted K-9 demonstrations for a local DARE class and at the Becoming an Outdoors Woman winter workshop. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no license in possession and failure to display valid registration on snowmobile.

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked angling activity this past week.  Frigid cold temperatures kept many people indoors.  She worked a detail at the Eel Pout Festival on Leech Lake.  Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice anglers and snowmobile enthusiasts over the past week.  Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and failing to have to proper ID on an angling shelter. 


CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked fishermen, snowmobile trails, and trappers. He also taught a snowmobile safety class during the week.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working fishing and snowmobile activity. Snowmobile activity increased over the weekend due to snow accumulation. CO Wichmann assisted with an ongoing investigation with a subject from Iowa.

CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) checked ATV activity this past week as well as ice fishermen. CO Velsvaag saw a decrease in snowmobilers with the cold and received a litter complaint stemming from anglers in portable fish houses. CO Velsvaag also received a call about collared deer and coyotes.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent time working anglers on area lakes. Snowmobile activity was worked on trails and lakes. Officer Schmidt worked the Tip Wall at the Duluth Sportshow.

CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) gave a presentation at a local Firearms Safety Class. The officer helped answer questions at a local sports show, attended a meeting on AIS prevention and assistance was given to rescue crews with the transportation of a patient who had broken his arm while operating a snowmobile. Hanzal also spent time checking anglers and snowmobile patrol.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) spent the week staffing a booth for the Wall of Shame at the Duluth Deer Classic. Time was also spent checking winter fishing and snowmobile activity.  Officer Duncan also returned several telephone messages and completed paperwork for animal possession. 

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) checked angling activity and worked snowmobile enforcement throughout the week. CO Humphrey along with CO Hanzal attended a Wildlife Society meeting with wildlife students and professionals answering questions on Conservation Officer careers and duties. CO Humphrey assisted at the Duluth area Sportshow and Deer Classic staffing the TIP Wall of Shame. CO Humphrey also assisted with the Cloquet snowmobile safety class field day put on by the Wood City Riders Snowmobile Club. CO Humphrey took calls/complaints of deer caught in a fence, snowmobiler chasing/harassing deer, poultry depredation, road killed wolf and AIS training.  Angling and snowmobile violations were encountered.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) and K9 Schody attended a week long detection school in the metro where assistance was given to other new dog handlers and their partners in preparing to become K9 detection teams.

WREO Mike Scott staffed an AIS booth at the Duluth Sportshow during the week with Minnesota Sea Grant Folks talking to folks about AIS issues, and concerns as well as the new trailer sticker law and where the state is at on that issue. The wolf issue as well as the last year’s dear hunt garnered a lot of comments and questions

Lake Superior Marine Unit

Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) checked anglers on Lake Superior near 21st Ave East. Several lake trout have been seen in the 15- 20 pound class. The pack ice is between 4-9 inches. Anglers are venturing out on the pack ice from Brighton beach. Time was spent on the set up and working the “Wall of Shame” at the Duluth boat and travel show hosted at the DECC. Many questions and comments received. Warnings issued for license violations. Road kill deer responded to. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday spent at the Sport and Travel show.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked ice anglers on Superior. Many anglers were out trying their luck with the rare ice conditions. Several groups had multiple large trout to take home, some of these may be good candidates for “catch and release” to help sustain the population and provide future opportunity. The TIP booth was worked at the Northland Deer Classic. Several anglers were found to be without a trout stamp, enforcement action taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked anglers on Lake Superior throughout the week and also checked snowmobile trails. Lots of use on both. Seeing some anglers catching lake trout, salmon, and herring. Also helped out at a snowmobile safety class in Carlton County and setting up and taking down the TIP display at a sports show in Duluth. Worked on reports and other evidence work. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

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