MN DNR Weekly Report for Nov. 10, 2014
District 5 - Eveleth area CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports the least amount of activity he has seen for deer hunting. Overall, the worst deer hunting he has seen along with the lowest numbers of deer hunters. A number of traditional hunting camps sat...
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports the least amount of activity he has seen for deer hunting. Overall, the worst deer hunting he has seen along with the lowest numbers of deer hunters. A number of traditional hunting camps sat vacant. Phone calls and watercraft storage continue.
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports opening weekend of firearms deer season as slow with very few deer taken or seen. Some hunters while sitting in their deer stands on opening morning were wondering why the local conservation officers were paying them a visit so early to discuss why the corn was spread on the forest floor below their deer stands. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over baited area and transporting loaded firearms. Kittelson and CO Van Asch assisted the State Patrol with a one vehicle crash which involved the vehicle along with a horse trailer striking a power pole and knocking power lines across highway, all parties including the horse were uninjured.
CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) reports checking hunters for the opening deer season. Hunters are reporting that the deer numbers have been very low throughout the area during the opening weekend. Time was also spent investigating complaints of illegal hunting activities in the area. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over baited area and transporting a loaded firearm. CO Kittelson and Van Asch also assisted local law enforcement after an SUV and horse trailer hit a power pole leaving live wires hanging across the highway.
CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports working the 2014 F/A deer hunting opening weekend. There were few hunters and fewer deer in the area. A couple large bucks were observed. Smaller lakes and rivers are starting to freeze over. Keep an eye on pets and kids so they don’t go out on this dangerous ice.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) Officer spent the week preparing for upcoming deer season. Enforcement action was taken on early discharge of a firearm, hunting over bait, untagged deer, no blaze orange while hunting, and numerous failure to have hunting license in possession. Officer investigated and assisted DNR Wildlife with a call of an injured moose with a radio caller, no apparent foul play and wildlife took animal for analysis.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) documented baited deer stands ahead of deer opener, worked small game and trapping seasons and the firearms deer opener. Windy and cold temperatures deterred many deer hunters from staying in the woods. The low numbers of deer was reflected in low numbers of bucks being taken. Deer baiting was again present and the officer cleared half of the baited stands with citations the first weekend. ATV deer hunters driving during the restricted times was the highest violation rate the officer has seen. A deer hunter was sitting in his car while the loaded rifle he had been using was leaning against the rear bumper and pointed near his back. The hunter didn’t seem to think there was a problem with it when the officer brought it to his attention. Enforcement action was taken on hunt deer over baited area, transport loaded firearm, take deer with an invalid license, operate ATV during restricted times, no deer license in possession, fail to validate deer site tag, fail to display ATV registration, and willful trespass.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) followed up on a report of a suspicious vehicle seen off-road east of Cotton. The vehicle was located and the two occupants were cutting boughs on county land without a permit. One of the two occupants was arrested on an outstanding warrant. CO Frericks met with the owner of a dog that was caught in a trap. The dog owner was concerned about walking through the area in the future and that it might not be legal to trap there. CO Frericks advised her that it was legal to trap where the trap was located and that people had been trapping at that spot for decades. CO Frericks then instructed the dog owner on how to remove a dog from a trap. A very slow deer hunting opener was encountered. It appears that cold temps, high winds and low deer numbers kept hunters out of the woods. Few deer were seen that had been taken. A common violation encountered was failure to validate a deer tag. Several hunters learned that hard way that they need to read the ingredients on the materials they put in front of the deer stands. These hunters received citations for hunting deer over bait.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) received complaints of hunters cutting trees on private property which turned out to be spruce top cutters. Last minute hunters were sighting in rifles within the five days prior to season at an area gravel pit that is within four miles of a designated rifle range. Hunter open was slow with fewer than normal hunters out, very few bucks seen, and many stating they are pulling the plug after sitting all weekend and not seeing a thing. Fredin asked one hunter for his hunting license and the hunter responded that he didn’t have one and he was party hunting off his friend’s license.
Ray - vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely) had a busy and active firearms deer opener with what appeared to be significantly more hunters north of Ely on the Echo Trail. Officer Williams also assisted neighboring Officers on the Fernberg Trail, and Babbitt. Violations included hunting deer over bait, and failure to validate site tag.
CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked the opening deer season and found very few hunters and very few deer. A party of hunters near Tower said they only heard three shots all day. Stage himself only saw two bucks taken on opener, and one of those was illegal because the tag had not been validated. Hunters using bait has shown to still be prevalent even with the threat of firearms loss.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports smiles ear to ear as he encountered a young man and his father after the youngster shot his first deer, a very nice 8-point buck. Other than that, the deer season was poor. Enforcement action was taken for, unlawful party hunting, lend borrow tags, transport of unlawfully taken big game animal, fail to tag big game animals, fail to validate tags, set or tend whitefish nets after hours, and no/improper navigation lights on watercraft. Two nice 8-point bucks were seized because a hunter couldn’t follow the most basic of hunting laws. The same hunter had two deer seized from him a couple years ago.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled on foot and ATV checking deer stands and blinds for bait in the week before the firearms opener. The officer worked with CO Wahlstrom and Schottenbauer on deer baiting cases, checked deer, duck and grouse hunters in the field and checked for illegal ATV use in a state park. Enforcement action was taken for hunt deer without license in possession, taking doe in a buck’s only area and hunting ducks without a state duck stamp.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked an active deer opener weekend, but success was low. A few duck hunters were also checked. Enforcement action included several instances of hunting deer over bait, unlawful party hunting, allowing a juvenile to hunt in violation of the game laws, and no PFDs. Road hunting complaints and trespass complaints were also worked. Assistance was given to wildlife putting down a sick, collared moose. The moose will be tested and researched.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked the deer opener activities in the area. Baiting activity noted and action taken. CO Schottenbauer noted very few deer seemed to be taken in the area.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked the firearms deer opener with area officers. The officer assisted the fire department with a mower that caught fire on a cross country ski trail. Wind, cold temps and low deer numbers led to many unsuccessful hunters. Hunting over bait still continues to be a problem. Enforcement action was taken for several hunters hunting over bait, transport loaded firearm and ATV violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping and hunting activity during the week. A cold and blustery deer opener made for low hunter activity and harvest in the Two Harbors station. Complaints of trespass and illegal deer baiting were investigated along with a trap tampering incident. Enforcement action was taken for no hunting license in possession and failure to validate tag.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) attended a district meeting, worked a complaint on trespass, and checked baited deer stands. Enforcement action taken for hunting deer over bait and transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. Extremely low deer numbers have made baiting gain popularity again. Fortunately for those hunters choosing to use bait they will get to sit out next season and give the herd a chance to rebound.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked big game and waterfowl activities this week. Violations included hunting over bait, trespass, ATV on the roadway, ATV in closed hours, illegal shooting lanes and ATV trails.
CO Mike Fairbanks ( Deer River) worked the firearms deer opener, monitored trapping activity, worked AIS and assisted the county with vehicles rolled over. Hunter success was on the down side with the very windy and wet conditions. Enforcement action was taken for fail to tend traps, transport loaded firearms and no license in possession.
CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) spent time this past week checking hunters in the field. She answered questions from the public concerning the Grand Rapids city deer hunt and the state firearms deer opener. A few deer were harvested over the opener. Enforcement action was taken for baiting, illegal ATV operation, failing to validate deer tag and tagging deer, and transporting a loaded firearm on a motor vehicle.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked deer opener with the total harvest in the area looking down. CO Sutherland took enforcement action on a couple individuals who were hunting deer over corn and oats. CO Sutherland also took enforcement action on an individual who shot a deer across a public roadway. The deer was seized and a citation was written. Action was also taken over the weekend for failing to validate a deer tag at the kill site.
CO Gary Lefebvre (Pengilly) worked ATVs, trappers and big game deer hunters. He also responded to several hunting complaints during the week.
CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) worked fall hunting activity during the week. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.
CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV Officer) checked ATV activity and deer hunters this past week. CO Velsvaag saw low success rates for deer hunters, but got reports of good duck hunting in several areas. CO Velsvaag took several complaints of early shooting and hunting near property lines.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) spent much of the week following up on baiting complaints. Trespassing complaints and erecting stands on private property complaints were investigated. Opening weekend was windy and cold and very few harvested deer were observed. Enforcement action taken for timber trespass, hunting over bait, ATV during closed hours and transport loaded firearms.
CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) had several contacts opening morning with hunting big game over a baited area. The consensus was unanimous it’s not worth getting caught and losing your firearm, fees and automatic revocation. Cutting of shooting lanes, untagged big game animal, operating ATV during restricted hours and no current registration are a few of the violations encountered. The officer also assisted in a search for a missing person.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) finished work as a field training officer for the most recent new Conservation Officers. Preparations were worked for the firearm deer season. Time was also spent working water trapping locations. Baited deer stands, closed hours for ATVs, and trespass were the theme on opener. Many hunting camps were visited during the weekend. Night shining complaint areas continue to be worked.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked big and small game enforcement. Trappers were active over the weekend with many pulling water sets with the expected freezing temperatures forecast. A trap theft was reported. CO Humphrey conducted a site inspection with DNR Fisheries staff at a lakeshore property on Eagle Lake. A Cease & Desist order was issued with a restoration order pending. CO Humphrey assisted DNR Forestry with follow up on timber trespass in the Fond Du Lac State Forest; several contacts were made with enforcement action taken. Deer opener found CO Humphrey assisting CO Speldrich with a deer baiting case in neighboring Pine County. Enforcement action resulted in the seizure of firearms and citations were issued. CO Humphrey responded to complaints of unlawful motor vehicle and ATV use. Patrols into the Fond Du Lac State Forest and local Wildlife Mgt. areas were conducted. CO Humphrey and Lt. Speldrich responded to a hunter fatality in rural Automba Twp. with Sheriff’s Deputies and local EMS. Deer hunters were reporting a slow opener with fewer deer seen and harvested than in previous years.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked hunter harassment, baiting and trespassing complaints over the firearms deer opener. Several hunters were checked in the area and were found to have had little success. Enforcement action was taken for shining, hunt without license in possession and operating ATVs in prohibited areas. K9 assistance was given to a local police dept. in locating a suicidal person that fled into the woods. Assistance was also given to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office in locating a missing teenager with special needs that was believed to be lost in a wooded area. On the day before the firearms deer opener, a shot from a high powered rifle that was fired in the direction of this officer was investigated and found three individuals that were shooting at beaver in a pond. Enforcement action was taken for possessing an illegal firearm out of doors within five days before the firearms deer opener and also for illegally taking a fur bearing animal with a rifle. A follow up on a litter violation where a large amount of garbage was dumped in the Nemadji State Forest resulted in a ticket and a requirement that the suspect also clean the mess up.
WREO Mike Scott worked with DNR Forestry on a trespass issue where a construction company working on CN RR created a road through a bog for access to their construction site. Officer Scott spent the deer season opener at the Minnesota State Patrol Dispatch center in Roseville answering calls from hunters across the state and assisting the dispatchers with DNR related calls. Numerous calls were fielded for questions about deer hunting, laws and rules as well as licensing. One call from a father with his 12-year-old son was handled where the boy shot and killed their first buck that walked by their stand. As the young hunter and father were looking at the buck it was discovered that the deer had already been shot once. Several minutes later a hunter following the deer tracks and blood trail approached them and told them he had shot the deer and was tracking it. The young hunter decided to give the deer the hunter as, in their words, “It was the right thing to do.” Although this was hard for the young hunter he understood that he prevented the deer from going to waste. Hats off to this young man!
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) worked opening weekend in the Duluth area. With fellow District officers worked baited stands on opening morning. The locations contained bait. However, no hunters in the stands. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV during closed hours. Olson worked a detail with the decoy north of Duluth. The opener was one of the slower one’s this officer can recall in a decade. The high winds and cool temps did not help. It appeared most hunters had left the woods by early afternoon on Sunday.
CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked deer hunters on a windy and cold opening weekend. Some hunters still found success, while others had issues with baiting, tagging, and tag validation violations. Plans are starting for the renewal of the Lake Superior Fisheries Management plan in 2015. Stay tuned to the French River Fish Hatchery for information on upcoming public input meetings. Enforcement action taken for deer and ATV violations.
CO Troy Ter Meer (Marine Unit) checked anglers and commercial fishermen on Lake Superior. Opening morning of deer season was spent on the traditional walking into baited deer stands to check for hunters. Some trappers were checked pulling their water sets before they get iced in. Deer hunters were checked over the weekend with little success. Enforcement action taken for big game violations.