MN DNR Weekly Report for Oct. 15, 2018

District 5 - Eveleth area CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports a busy week checking grouse, waterfowl, and archery deer hunters, along with anglers. All were having some luck, but some had more than others. The weather has affected m...

District 5 - Eveleth area CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports a busy week checking grouse, waterfowl, and archery deer hunters, along with anglers. All were having some luck, but some had more than others. The weather has affected most people but they are still out trying to enjoy the fall or early winter – whatever you want to call it. CO Slatinski and Kittelson gave a short presentation at the Trails End Chapter of MDHA Fall Gathering and accepted a gracious donation of Mossberg training guns for local youth firearms safety classes. Enforcement action was taken for illegal transport of fish, illegal-length fish, and an overlimit of fish. Complaints about animals continue to come in as well.


CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports about the only group of people he spoke with this past week that were happy with the weather were waterfowl hunters. Locally, the number and different species of ducks showing up in bags is ahead of most years by several weeks. As of Sunday, most of the waterfowl that had been around the past several days appear to have headed south with a lull in birds coming in from the north. He also fielded several injured and nuisance animal complaints. The snow and wet weather have slowed grouse hunters in the area, although several groups were contacted that had been camping in the area. They were not impressed waking up to snow covering their tent. Slatinski attended a Fisheries meeting in Baudette concerning proposed regulation changes for Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River.


CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports another week of heavy rain, wind and snow. Outdoor activities were slow at best. Area roads and trail are saturated from rain. Hunters report a lack of grouse. Beaver problems continue as rainfall increases water levels. Roads, trails, and public access sites continue to be monitored.



CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling, ATV, small-game hunting, and waterfowl-hunting activity. Fewer anglers were observed. Broughten inspected several bough harvesters and fielded calls regarding trespass. Broughten also assisted local law enforcement with a domestic.


CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports with the wet and cold conditions, the number of hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts was low this past week. With the foliage dropping, grouse hunting is a little more productive. Hunters who were able to get out between the periods of rain had some success. Hopkins assisted the Gilbert Police Department and the sheriff's office with an ATV pursuit and search. There was also a bear complaint and the officer got a licensed hunter to try help out.


CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ongoing hunting seasons and investigated complaints of moose parts dumped in the road ditch and property being unlawfully stored in a state park. He also followed up on an earlier bear-hunting case with enforcement action taken for hunting and baiting violations. Rain most of the week and snow around midweek kept most hunters out of the woods. A balsam bough buyer who had already purchased over 10,000 pounds of boughs had no buyers license and his records were missing key information on bough sellers. The buyer was cited. Enforcement action was taken for hunting within 100 yards of an unregistered bear bait station, failure to register a bear bait station, bear bait station with non-biodegradable bait, storing property in a state park, no bough buyers license, inadequate bough buyer records, and ATV violations.


CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) started field training duties with COC Jacob Swedberg. They checked small-game hunters and investigated waterfowl decoys left unattended on an area lake. They assisted St. Louis County deputies and other area law enforcement agencies in searching for a suspect who fled from police on an ATV.



International Falls #2 – vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) spent the latter part of the week patrolling areas of the BWCA by canoe and on foot. Fishing reports were slow with mostly northern pike being caught, but a fair amount of grouse and ducks were seen in spite of the weather. Violations included angling without a license, no canoe registration, and possessing glass beverage containers inside the BWCA.


CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked duck and grouse hunters this past week. The duck hunting improved with the weather conditions and fishing was tough. Velsvaag took calls on an injured bear and questions on whitefish netting and marten trapping.


CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) checked grouse hunters, anglers and bear-hunting activity during the week.



CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled the woods checking bird hunters, archery deer hunters and ATV operators. The most frequently encountered violation was again juvenile passengers riding in Class 2 machines without helmets. Manning answered numerous questions about the firearms deer hunts in local state parks. Letters from these parks may include incorrect dates and hunters need to be aware that the season dates are the same as the surrounding Permit Area 126. Manning also assisted Cook County in searching for a group of overdue backpackers who turned up a day late, but in good health.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) and COC Lerchen began Phase 3 field training. A majority of their time was spent on waterfowl, small- and big-game, and ATV enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for an unplugged shotgun, public access parking violations, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Several wildlife-related calls were handled.


CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area hunting activity this past week. He also checked lakes and ATV trails.


CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked small-game hunters, ATV riders and fall anglers. Enforcement action was taken for firearms and hunting violations.



CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a wet and stormy week with Lake Superior flooding shoreline areas with gale force winds. Time was spent searching for the owner of a watercraft that had broken free of its mooring lines and drifted across an area lake in the wind storm. The owner was contacted and the watercraft was retrieved. Big-game investigations continued and a training session was also attended during the week.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked grouse and waterfowl hunters, attended a meeting in St. Paul, checked on deer-baiting complaints, and handled calls about injured wildlife. Enforcement action was taken for littering.


CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and boating activity, worked ATV activity, checked small-game hunters and state parks, and worked AIS enforcement. Vehicle maintenance was taken care of. 


CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked waterfowl activity, handled trespassing complaints and attended K9 medical training. Many ducks were seen in the area this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and arrests made for outstanding warrants.


CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked waterfowl activity with another good batch of ducks coming into the area. Enforcement action was taken for not having a license in possession and not being HIP certified. Multiple road kill deer permits have been given out and there are many reports of nuisance bears in the area looking for a free meal before they go into hibernation.



Hill City – vacant.


NE ATV officer – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) checked small-game hunters and saw many folks out getting their deer shacks ready for the upcoming season. ATV activity was heavy and hunters were having some success now that more leaves are down. Willis also spoke at an ATV safety class in Floodwood along with a conservation officer candidate. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display ATV registration, failure to transfer ownership, operating an ATV with no lights on, and failing to obtain a burning permit.


CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked several complaints throughout the week. He assisted with a wildlife call involving a deer, continued follow up on a waterfowl violation, and monitored small-game hunting. Many hunters were checked during the week. Enforcement action was taken against a couple of grouse hunters for transported loaded firearms on their ATVs. Duncan also monitored archery deer-hunting locations and checked anglers throughout the week. He also continued working nighttime deer-shining complaint areas.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked waterfowl and small-game hunting activity throughout the week. OHV patrols were conducted with several violations observed. A citation was issued to a waterfowl hunter for taking a protected migratory bird. Other violations were found for no license/stamps, unsigned stamps, and no HIP certification. A TIP call and subsequent investigation resulted in seizure of a deer and archery equipment for hunting with the aid or use of bait. Charges are pending.



CO Scott Staples (Carlton) assisted in judging a test for bomb and game dogs in the metro area. K9 assistance was given to a local sheriff’s office in searching for a missing hunter in Pine County. The hunter was ultimately found in an area pond. Staples also attended a K9 training for first aid for injured K9s. K9 training was also conducted at an area state park where detection and tracking people was the focus.

Lake Superior Marine Unit CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) pulled watercraft and worked on maintenance items at the U.S. Coast Guard station following the midweek storm and heavy winds. It was reported waves peaked around the 26-foot mark on certain parts of Lake Superior. Olson worked duck-hunting complaints north of Duluth, and checked small-game hunters and some late archery hunting complaints. Violations included loaded firearms and ATV violations. The weather has dropped many leaves and grouse hunters are seeing better success as a result. He also reports walleyes are biting well on the reservoir lakes north of Duluth.


CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked small-game and waterfowl hunters.  Questions were answered regarding open-water hunting on Lake Superior, and Fisheries items were handled at French River. A local trespass issue was checked with proper postings found on all sides. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and waterfowl-hunting violations.


Lake Superior Unit – vacant.

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