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DNR Report: Vehicle-deer crashes up along Northland roadways

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report for the week of April 10.

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District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports working the Rainy River this past week. Anglers reported the bite being slower overall. Registration and safety equipment violations continue to be an issue.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) spent time checking waters-related projects. Current water levels have created some favorable conditions for dock work and many individuals are taking advantage of it, recovering from the high-water event of a year ago. Training was attended at Camp Ripley. Equipment maintenance activities were tended to. Angling activity was worked on area lakes and the Rainy River. It appears the big walleye push on the river is yet to come.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports rapidly changing conditions as temperatures were well above freezing at week’s end. The spring thaw is upon us. Road closures were monitored. ATV riders have reappeared. The snowpack remains well over 1.5 feet. Ice conditions are changing daily. Confiscated furs were disposed of and various administrative tasks were completed.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) primarily worked angling and snowmobile enforcement. Larson spent time checking anglers on several different lakes across his station. Many anglers were targeting crappies and had mixed success bagging both crappies and whitefish/tullibee. The snowpack on most lakes was receding quickly with warmer weather, and snowmobile activity has become very limited.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked ATV and trapping enforcement. Time was spent completing online training and attending meetings. Several calls were fielded, including a complaint of dogs chasing deer that resulted in citations being issued.


CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) reports spring is finally in the air as the weather has started to turn the corner. Angling activity for crappies has increased with much of the snowed-in lakes becoming navigable as of late. Panfish harvest remains variable day to day. Zavodnik continues to prepare for the open-water season and ATV patrol. Administrative tasks were also completed throughout the week.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring ice fishing activity. Anglers continued to limited success. Recent warm weather has deteriorated snowmobile trails. Broughten also fielded calls regarding dogs chasing deer.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) followed up on calls regarding angling and snowmobile activity. Border waters were worked and a burning complaint was followed up on. He assisted the county with a search for a missing person.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) spent the week patrolling area lakes, rivers and streams. Ledeen reports lots of deer activity along Highway 61 and advises motorist to keep an eye out for deer crossing the road. Equipment maintenance and trainings were completed.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) completed online training. Snowmobile conditions and activity remained good throughout the week but have now come to an end with the warm weather. Crappie-fishing effort has been high, but success has been very low. Enforcement action was taken for expired snowmobile registration, allowing illegal juvenile operation, loud exhaust, failure to display ATV registration and no helmet on a juvenile ATV passenger.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked ice and water conditions as North Shore streams start to rise with snow melt. State parks are prepping for a busy spring as river flow increases. Assistance was given to local agencies with follow up to another fatal snowmobile crash. Training was attended at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for littering and snowmobile violations.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports the winter seasons are coming to an end with warm weather hitting the area. However, Hill still contacted cross-country skiers and snowmobile riders on area trails. One skier was cited after Hill determined their three-year pass expired in 2018, even though the skier was adamant they had a current pass. A stop of three snowmobile riders led to violations that included operating an unregistered snowmobile, no trail sticker, failure to display registration, failure to transfer ownership and a modified exhaust. The lead rider of the group was held responsible for all of the violations. Hill was traveling home one evening when he came upon an illegal fire on private property. Because the responsible party had left, a visit the next morning led to a citation for burning prohibited materials. Although spring cleaning season has arrived, please depart with your refuse in a legal manner and do not burn it in your family’s campfire ring.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked the end of the snowmobile season along the North Shore. Anglers were still enjoying good ice conditions chasing perch and crappies. Deer are being hit in high numbers along roadways as they attempt to find snow-free areas to feed. Please slow down and watch for deer this time of year to avoid a collision.


District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked anglers and monitored snowmobile and ATV activities. Brown talked to a few people out tapping trees and looking for places to trap beavers, but the large amounts of late snow and thick ice have made both activities difficult this spring. Area lakes continue to produce good sunfish, crappie, and perch bites.

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

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling activities over the past week with more anglers hitting area lakes with the snow pack declining. Panfish have moved into the shallows and anglers are having success. Sutherland also took calls about road-killed deer as many are seeking food in the newly snow-free ditch.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) monitored recreational vehicles and angling activity throughout the previous week. Time was also spent on injured-animal complaints and reports of abandoned property on the ice. Holt followed up on open cases and checked closed snowmobile trails.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports that for the first time since last fall, more ATVs were observed operating in the area than snowmobiles. Ice conditions vary from lake to lake and begin to change dramatically as the weather continues to warm. Please do not use the ice unless extreme caution is exercised.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) tended to seasonal equipment-maintenance issues. Multiple calls about regulations were fielded. A call about a possible waters violation was actually from across the border into Wisconsin, so it was referred to the appropriate agency. Snowmobile trails are showing wear from the warm weather and will be unusable after this week.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) continued to work snowmobile activity on the North Shore State Trail. He followed up trespass complaints and monitored stream conditions. Some shore anglers have been out, but their luck has not been great.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked snowmobile enforcement earlier in the week. The North Shore State Trail had plenty of riders even though we are a week into April. Area lakes were checked and several people are still out attempting to catch crappies. Area tributaries are still very much iced over. A trespass complaint was followed up on, and Duncan also responded to a couple calls for service involving injured animals.


CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) worked ice angling and answered calls pertaining to the upcoming turkey season. A litter complaint was investigated and several injured-animal calls were fielded.

CO Mikeena Wehr (Willow River) continued to work on special projects. Calls were fielded about spearing rough fish and the condition of area trails.

K268 Ben Karon (Pine City) spent the week continuing to monitor fishing activity. Ice conditions are becoming poor quickly and ATV activity has started to pick up. In Pine County, an ATV or side-by-side is allowed on many of the roads (not all) but must be ridden to the very right side of the road. They cannot be operated in the lane of traffic traveling as part of traffic unless no shoulder is available. Many road-killed animal permits were requested. Karon completed follow up on other cases.

Members Only
Kari Kilen, who has hiked more than 1,000 miles at Redhead, has created a community of hikers who come together to hit the trails in the former mine pit.
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Look for panfish over deeper mud basins — if you can get out there.
In this episode of Northland Outdoors, host Chad Koel enlists the help of Steve Pennaz, a Minnesota fishing hall of famer, and his electronics to not only scope out a location on the lake, but fine tune that location.

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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