Grouse hunters report moderate success
Department of Natural Resources report for the week of Oct. 11, 2021.
District 5 — Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports most of the week was spent checking grouse-hunting activity and fishing activity on the Rainy River. Grouse hunters had the best success, with most people having a few birds in the bag.
Animal-related complaints, primarily related to bears, keep being reported. People are reminded to do their part by removing any food source.
Enforcement action for the week included ATV violations and failure to report killing of animals that are causing damage to property.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) reports working the Rainy River this past week. Anglers are reporting the walleye bite being fairly slow. Time was also spent working ATV enforcement and checking small-game hunters in the area.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) continues work on a background investigation. Grouse hunters are reporting tough hunting conditions with the underbrush still hanging on to its foliage. Questions on deer-hunting license options were fielded.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring ATV riding, boating, angling and hunting. Duck-hunting reports are very poor and most report very few ducks observed. Numerous phone calls over the week were responded to. He continued work on equipment. Other time was spent on computer and administrative tasks.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily small-game and ATV enforcement. Larson investigated a deer-hunting case from the previous year that resulted in several violations including hunting without a license, failure to validate a tag, failure to tag a deer, failure to obtain a roadkill permit for a turkey, and other violations.
Larson also assisted in capturing an injured eagle to be brought to wildlife rehabilitation.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked small-game and ATV activity. Time was spent speaking at three firearms safety classes in Hibbing, investigating calls that were received, and maintaining station equipment. Investigations continue on open trespassing and illegal-hunting complaints.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting and fishing activity. Anglers and grouse hunters reported moderate success. Waterfowl hunters reported seeing fewer ducks this week. Broughten field calls regarding nuisance bears and coyotes.
District 6 — Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports that because of the continued fair weather, ATV activity was high in the Ely area over the week. Waterfowl- and small-game hunting activity slowed over the week although birds were still being taken. Trespass, nuisance-bear and shoreline complaints were also investigated.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) checked anglers and hunters this past week. He also followed up on several ATV-related complaints of illegal operation on the highway. Velsvaag also took several calls on trapping regulations and waterfowl-hunting questions.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked anglers, ATV riders and small-game hunters. Time was spent in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for a work detail.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked anglers along the North Shore and bird hunters in the woods and on trails. Manning also completed annual training, handled equipment issues and phone calls, and checked ATV operators.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked grouse anglers, worked ATV enforcement, followed up on several complaints, and issued possession permits.
Enforcement action included transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle; no small-game license; an open container on an ATV; operating an ATV in public waters; unregistered ATV; and removing numerous lake rocks without a permit.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area grouse hunters this week. He also spent time in the BWCAW working boating and angling activity. Continued work on a background for hire was done as well.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports contacting multiple anglers on Lake Superior tributaries throughout the week. Some nice coaster brook trout and steelhead were caught, along with some lingering pink salmon. A report of a few kings in the net surfaced over the weekend.
One angler was observed using treble hooks in a necked down section of the Temperance River. Hill contacted them after they foul hooked a fish in the tail. They were a bit hesitant to disclose to Hill what they were using, but they finally pulled the illegal lure out of their pocket. Enforcement action was taken.
A few days were spent in the BWCAW and users are reporting excellent fall paddling conditions, aside from a few showers rolling through. A commercial bear guide inspection was conducted. A few miscellaneous wildlife-related complaints were handled.
Other enforcement action included no personal flotation devices on board a kayak in the BWCAW, illegally camping at a public water access site, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked illegal deer-baiting activity and small-game hunters during the week. Leaves have begun to drop, making grouse easier to see along trails, thus increasing hunter success. Nuisance-bear activity continues as bears try to pack on the calories before a long winter nap. Removing a tempting food source is always the easiest method of deterring hungry bears.
District 7 — Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) worked small-game, ATV and big-game enforcement. Large numbers of hunters in the area report small numbers of grouse and woodcock being taken.
Enforcement action was taken for numerous ATV-registration violations, allowing illegal operation of a side-by-side by a child; grouse hunting with no small-game license; grouse hunting with no small-game licenses in possession; and transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles.
Questions related to small-game hunting were answered and miscellaneous hunting complaints were taken.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, big-game and small-game hunters, boaters and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers and investigated complaints of litter, wanton waste, trespass and hunting after hours this week. Fairbanks and his K-9 partner, Si, also taught the laws and ethics portion of a firearm safety class.
Enforcement action was taken for license issues and transporting a loaded firearm.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked duck-hunting activity with a lull in the area action. It seems local birds have gone south and there hasn’t been any weather to bring ducks down from Canada.
Enforcement action was taken on an individual who dumped a large amount of construction debris on private property. A citation was issued and the party cleaned up the pile.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on migratory waterfowl, small-game and big-game hunting, ATV and angling activities. Waterfowl hunters are reporting moderate success at best, with teal and wood ducks being the most prevalent ducks observed during bag checks.
Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of trout; angling with extra lines; no trout stamp; hunting without a license; and transporting loaded firearms.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) noticed varying success rates among area grouse and woodcock hunters. Hunters who were willing to walk and get off the main trail had better luck than those who stuck to the trail.
Panfish anglers had some luck as the crappies moved off the weed beds and started to group up in deeper water.
District 8 — Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) responded to a complaint of trespassing that involved numerous landowners and violations. Trespassing complaints have been quite common with the upcoming deer season and small-game season in full swing. ATV-complaint areas were worked and a complaint of litter was handled.
He also assisted with a missing person search in Pine County.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent time working a shining complaint that involved an illegally taken deer. Trespass complaints were investigated and time was also spent on a hunter-harassment violation. Fishing, waterfowl hunting, and archery deer hunting were also worked throughout the week.
A bear-hunting violation investigated. Duncan also spoke at a youth firearms safety class.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) assisted Pine County with a search and checked small-game hunters throughout the week. As the boating season comes to an end, AIS checks were done on lakes in the Duluth area. He also checked Lake Superior accesses for enforcement of the closed lake trout season.
Olson responded to a trespass case and shooting from the roadway complaint in the Floodwood area.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked waterfowl and small-game hunters in open patrol stations. Equipment maintenance was handled and court was attended regarding a 2020 deer season case.
Miller took enforcement action for small-game and ATV violations during his patrols.