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DNR Report: Person cited for dismantling, burying ice shack in snow

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report for the week of April 17.

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District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports most of the week was spent at Camp Ripley for in-service training. The catch-and-release spring walleye season on the Rainy River came to a quiet close with snow and rain moving into the area. Trail issues were also handled.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports swings in weather have caused ice conditions to deteriorate rapidly. Tributaries have begun their annual purge, causing water levels to change drastically in short time spans. Angling activity has all but ended for the time being while enthusiasts begin to plan for the next available opportunity. A variety of animal-related calls were handled. Training was completed and seasonal equipment maintenance was addressed.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports after a few days of unseasonable warmth, reality has arrived again as below-freezing temperatures and snow hit the area. Small streams have frozen back over. Ice remains unsafe. Outdoor activities have slowed due to the variable and unpredictable weather and temperature swings. Equipment work was completed, as were various administrative tasks. Numerous phone calls over the week on a variety of outdoor subjects were responded to.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling activity. Larson spent time checking anglers on Lake Vermilion as ice conditions rapidly decreased. Larson also spent time in training at Camp Ripley.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) spent the week instructing at in-service training at Camp Ripley and attended a CPR/First Aid refresher course. Conservation officers were also issued AEDs, which will provide additional support when they’re responding to medical emergencies.


CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time attending in-service training earlier in the week. He also spent time patrolling the Rainy River. Walleye fishing was extremely slow due to poor water clarity, but some anglers had success catching sturgeon. Zavodnik also attended Wisconsin Officer Breidenbach’s and Officer Scheel’s funeral as an Honor Guard member. He was among thousands who attended to pay respect for the two fallen officers in Wisconsin.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and ATV activity. Recent warm weather started to deteriorate lake ice. Panfish anglers reported limited success. Broughten investigated a complaint of birch pole theft. He also fielded calls regarding nuisance animals, injured animals, and ATV regulations.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais #1) checked anglers along rivers during the inland stream trout opener. The water is still very cold, but anglers were happy to finally be out. He attended the Cook County career expo talking to students interested in law enforcement at the Cook County high school. Time was also spent training and armoring handguns at Camp Ripley.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) spent the week at Camp Ripley attending annual training. Ledeen reports that most of the rivers and streams along the North Shore have opened. Please be careful when observing waterfalls and stay at a safe distance from the fast-moving water.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) attended annual training. Time was spent preparing material for upcoming Academy training and an upcoming college presentation. Enforcement action this week was taken for a fish house left out well past the deadline, litter left behind on the ice and illegal operation of an ATV on a state highway. Additionally, a motorcyclist was stopped for extreme speeds on a highway and was cited for speed and expired registration.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) attended annual training at Camp Ripley. A few early season anglers were checked on Lake Superior and state parks were monitored for flood activity. Area ATV trails remain closed until the spring melt is done. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports swapping out seasonal equipment and preparing for upcoming court appearances.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked Lake Superior angling activity and began to ready spring equipment for the season. Rivers in the area are rushing with spring runoff and caution should be used around river banks or attempting to cross swift water for angling access. Murray also took calls of car-deer collisions on Highway 61.


District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) monitored trapping activity, conducted ATV enforcement, and checked anglers. Brown also spent time working on the Rainy River checking sturgeon anglers. Enforcement action was taken for multiple boat safety, boat registration and fishing license violations.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended K-9 school with his K-9 partner, Fennec, this week.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked angling activity and recreational vehicles during the previous week. Ice conditions have significantly deteriorated with the recent warm weather and rain. Time was also spent investigating a TIP complaint and handling miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints. Holt followed up on a big-game-hunting violation from the previous bear season.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time at Camp Ripley for annual in-service training. Time was also spent instructing the new State Patrol Academy in officer water survival training. Turkey hunting got off to a slow start with difficult weather conditions for the first weekend.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) had planning this week for a Division Honor Guard Detail. He attended the funeral for Chetek, Wis., Officer Breidenbach and Cameron Officer Scheel as part of the colors detail at the funeral. Officers from the around the Midwest attended the funeral and gave them a proper sendoff. Multiple calls were fielded with ATV complaints and regulation questions.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent much of the week attending annual in-service at Camp Ripley. He checked Lake Superior tributaries for activity and assisted with flood closures. Schmidt attended the funerals for the fallen officers in Wisconsin as part of the DNR Honor Guard detail.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) checked open-water fishing on and along Lake Superior. Earlier in the week, Lake Superior was busy with many boats going after coho salmon. One day was spent providing a ride-along to a high school student. Duncan followed up on a possible public water violation that turned out to be unfounded after interviewing the complainant and talking with the suspect. Animal-related complaints were handled as well. One day was spent instructing a water confidence course for the cadets in the State Patrol Academy. Duncan also attended annual in-service training at Camp Ripley.

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) checked turkey hunters and worked recreational vehicle enforcement this week. ATV- and OHM-related violations were addressed, and an investigation involving an abandoned ice shelter was completed. The individual had left his shelter on the ice past the deadline, was warned, then decided to dismantle it and bury it in the snow on the ice in the hopes no one would notice. As the weather warmed and the snow began to melt, the dismantled shelter was revealed. He had scraped his ID information off the shelter, thinking that would keep him from getting caught. Elwell was able to match specific details in the wood with a photo of the shelter that was taken when the shelter was standing. Appropriate citations were issued.


CO Mikeena Wehr (Willow River) continued work on special projects and attended annual in-service training at Camp Ripley as well.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent the week training at Camp Ripley and handled miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints as well.

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Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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