MN DNR Weekly Report for Nov. 24, 2014

District 5 - Eveleth area CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) worked the deer hunting activity in the area. Hunters continued to find little success during the last week of the season. Follow up investigation is being conducted on a trespass co...

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Jim Van Asch (International Falls) worked the deer hunting activity in the area. Hunters continued to find little success during the last week of the season. Follow up investigation is being conducted on a trespass complaint. Time was also spent on trapping enforcement and checking surrounding ice conditions with a few individuals getting out on the early ice to spear. CO Van Asch also assisted International Falls Police Department with a possible bomb threat at a local business in town.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports low numbers of deer hunters and it appears many have given up for the season. Ice houses are starting to show up on area lakes and a few snowmobilers are out on the first snow of the year.

CO Brad Schultz (Cook) reports the 2014 firearm deer season ended quietly. Some hunters voiced their opinion that perhaps too many quality bucks, and small spikes and forks were killed due to the buck’s only season in the area. Ice fishermen are starting to venture onto the ice. Some reported up to 7 inches of ice in some of the shallower bays. A couple 40 inch plus northerns were taken. Caution is urged due to the fact that ice is never consistent in depth and is never totally safe.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) during the week officer took complaints on trespassing and hunting over bait, investigation into these matters is ongoing. It appears that many deer hunters in the area had given up on the final weekend. Ice has now covered Lake Vermilion and anglers are venturing out into the bays. Ice is reported to be 2-8 inches in the bays) depending on the area. It is still very early so use extreme caution when venturing out on the ice. Enforcement action was taken on angling with extra lines and license not in possession.


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) closed out the firearms deer season just the way it started, with a deer baiting case. Snow aided in the case as a deer was shot over bait the previous day. All the evidence was easy to follow, including the destination of the illegally taken deer via an ATV to the hunter’s house. ATV tracks were also followed over a mile into a Hunter Walking Only access area where two hunters were installing a huge deer stand, aided with the ATV. Enforcement action for the week was taken on hunt deer over baited area, multiple transport loaded firearms, deer over limit, unlawful party hunting, operate ATV during restricted times, operate ATV in prohibited area (hunter walking area) and unregistered ATV.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time checking the few deer hunters remaining in the woods and observed that some of those hunters began resorting to rather unsportsmanlike practices including trespass, operating ATVs during closed hours and not wearing a stich of blaze orange. Most area lakes started to make good ice and a few spearing shacks were seen out but with warmer temps over the weekend the ice seemed to have deteriorated a little. Angler area advised to use caution when venturing out onto Virginia area lakes.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) finished up the week’s deer season with does being shot from roadways and fields. One individual found in possession of a doe stated that while in his stand a injured doe ran by and he let it go knowing not to shot does, but later found it dead and harvested it. The bullet hole in the doe’s side clearly shows cause of death. Most hunters who did not see deer stated wolf signs were everywhere and wished more wolves would be removed.

Ray - vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely) assisted St. Louis County with a lost hunter on the Echo Trail. The hunter was 8 hours late meeting with the rest of his hunting party when rescuers arrived. He was however able to find his way to a road where he was found by another group. When Officer Williams arrived on scene two of the lost hunter’s party had gone into the woods in an attempt to locate him and were now unaccounted for. Rescuers had to then turn their attention to finding the other members of the group who went searching with no way to communicate. Fortunately they were able to hear the sound blasts from a rescue vehicle and followed it the St. Louis County Rescue Squad.

CO Marty Stage (Ely) worked on some fall cases and stored seasonal equipment. The deer season was very quiet and the deer were a bit tough to come by. The weather didn’t always help with some days having what seemed like hurricane force winds. Now everyone will be on to ice fishing. The ice was building nicely, but with the recent warm rains, it will be more dangerous than ever. Be extra careful and use safety equipment such as ice picks, PFDs, and an ice chisel to check ice thickness.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports a significant increase in wolf sign compared to the last two deer seasons. Many of the tracks seen were from packs and scent marking spots were common during the last couple of weeks. Many of the shallow lakes were checked by the CO and he found 4-7 inches of ice on the lakes he checked. Use caution on all lakes especially the deeper ones that take longer to freeze. If you feel you must venture out, ice picks and throwing on a life jacket would be good ideas. The warmest weather of the deer season couldn’t coax hunters out on the last weekend as most had given up. Early ice walleye fishing has been good so far.


CO Mary Manning (Hovland) took a report of a vehicle dragging a beaver; the carcass was located along with a number of others intended as bait for the upcoming wolf hunt. The officer checked deer hunters and several stands and blinds; few successful hunters were encountered. The officer also checked ice anglers, who reported better success

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling and deer hunting enforcement, including road hunting complaint areas. A few more hunters were out with the warm weekend weather. Ice conditions are good for foot travel in most areas. Enforcement action for the week included transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, too far from tip-up, and no license in possession.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked another week of deer hunting. It ended the way it started with few hunters, and fewer deer. Time was also spent checking those that are starting to venture out on area ice. CO Schottenbauer encourages caution on area lakes as ice conditions vary.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked deer hunters, trappers and ice fishermen. A few anglers are making their way out onto the ice with some nice fish caught. The firearm deer season wrapped up with a foggy and rainy day. Many hunters were discouraged with the low deer numbers along the shore. Complaints were handled and investigations were followed up on.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) continued to investigate big game and trapping cases. Baiting and illegal dumping of animal carcasses and debris on public lands continue to be common complaints. The last weekend of firearms deer season was a warm and foggy one with few deer harvested. Some dark house spearing and angling has started on some area lakes with a few shallow lakes having up to seven inches of ice being reported.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked deer hunters and worked complaints of possible hunter harassment, baiting, trespass, shoot from a roadway, and shoot from a motor vehicle. Enforcement action was taken for lend/borrow license and tags.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked angling, big game, and ATV activity. Violations included hunting deer over bait, shoot from the roadway, lend borrow a license, illegal transportation of big game, take antlerless deer in bucks only area, deer over-limit, fail to validate tag, fail to register deer, and operate ATV in closed hours.


CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked deer hunting complaints, monitored bough harvesting, investigated trapping complaints and checked anglers. CO Fairbanks and his K-9 partner Si assisted CO Hanson with a shooting from the road case. K-9 Si was able locate a spent rifle casing on the roadway where the illegal hunter had shot from. Enforcement action was taken for fail to tag, fail to register and shoot from roadway

CO Sarah Sindelir (Grand Rapids) checked firearms deer hunters this past weekend. Deer hunting seemed slow, even though the weather was warmer. She also worked trapping and fishing enforcement. Ice is never considered safe, please use caution. She responded to a call about a fire on an island on Deer Lake, no one was hurt and no buildings were on fire. As it turns out, it was a recreational bonfire.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the last week of rifle deer season with some hunters out braving the cold weather. CO Sutherland also worked late season duck hunters with some local success had. Enforcement action was taken for taking an antlerless deer in a lottery zone without a permit, wanton waste, deer over-limit and failing to register a deer.

CO Shawn Wichmann (Hill City) spent the week working deer hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for shooting from roadway, allowing minor to hunt in violation and trespassing.

CO John Velsvaag (NE Region ATV officer) checked ATV activity and deer hunters during the past week. CO Velsvaag also checked a few ice anglers venturing out onto thin ice. CO Velsvaag received several calls about the upcoming fisher/marten season and spearing regulations.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth) continued working the firearm deer season. Many telephone calls were received and returned during the week. Several deer shacks were visited. A couple TIP complaints continue to be investigated and an antlered deer taken in an antlerless only zone was reported.

CO Andy Schmidt (Brookston) followed up on trespassing complaints, ATV off hour’s complaints and followed up on a trapping issue; which resulted in an enforcement action.


CO Randy Hanzal (Duluth) worked firearm deer season hunters, where low success rates were being reported in most deer camps; however the stories were plentiful. Early ice fishing anglers are now venturing out. Some lakes are reporting up to 7 inches of ice, however, thickness can vary greatly this time of year so use extreme caution. A bobcat that was accidentally caught in a snare was released.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked game enforcement. CO Humphrey issued a restoration order on an APM violation at Eagle Lake and assisted with training at the DNR’s Forest Officer academy in Cloquet. CO Humphrey investigated baiting, trespass, and shooting from roadway complaints during the week. Deer hunters continued to report a slow season with fewer deer seen and harvested than in previous years.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) observed very low numbers of deer being taken in the area during the firearms deer season. The number of hunters was also down in the area. Complaints of hunting over bait, shining and hunting without licenses were investigated. Assistance was given to the sheriff’s office when it was reported that a hunter accidentally shot himself in the foot while climbing out of a stand. A person came into the local DNR office to report a large hairy object in the ditch of I-35 near Cloquet. After the individual nervously asked several questions about Bigfoot, the area was checked and no large hairy object was found.

WREO Mike Scott checked deer hunters in the Duluth area. They talked to about the lack of deer in the area, comparing it to 1970s deer hunting. He staffed the MSP Dispatch center in Roseville during the weekend. Several calls from folks reporting deer that had fallen through the ice on area lakes. Most wanted to know what to do and how the deer could be saved. Folks were advised on the safety issues trying to save deer on the thin ice.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

Sgt. Keith Olson (Marine Unit) worked with fellow District 8 officers in several locations in the district. The final week of firearms season continued to be slow for hunters. Most deer camps checked over the final weekend had already been cleaned up and locked for the season. Some hunters North of Duluth reported seeing very few deer tracks for the entire season. Ice anglers have been venturing out on the ice. Most reports are coming in with 4-6 inches of ice. A reminder to anglers that ice is never safe. Proceed with caution and care. Reports of bears still roaming the woods came in.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit) checked a few deer hunters on the final weekend of a very slow season. One hunter called for a possession tag for the rack and skull of a deer he had been seeing during season. Before the hunter could legally take the deer, he overheard a pack of wolves take down the nice buck. A check of the area a few hours later revealed no remnants of the 11-pointer other than a backbone, ribcage, skull, and a leg. Multiple dumping sites have been discovered where lazy hunters dumped carcasses in the ditch, some very close to houses. This gives a bad image to all hunters. Enforcement action taken for ATV and litter violations.


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