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MN DNR Weekly Report for July 23, 2018

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) spent time at Camp Ripley attending a refresher course in field training and meeting conservation officer candidates prior to field training. Fishing and boating activity on Rainy Lake continues with nice weather and anglers are reporting more fish in the bag. Nuisance beaver complaints and equipment issues were handled.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports anglers continue to be active on area lakes with success reports varying greatly from one day to the next. Invasive species regulations were monitored and contact was made when two vehicles pulling boats passed the officer on the right shoulder of the highway as he was waiting for traffic turning left in front of him. As the boats went by it was noted both had their drain plugs in. Contact was made with both parties with appropriate action taken. Several ATV questions were fielded as their use has increased with the bumper berry crop this year. Time was also spent at Camp Ripley assisting with training for the ongoing CO Academy.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports fishing has slowed and is generally poor. Boating activity was monitored. Bears and wolves continue to cause problems. Area forest roads were checked and public access sites monitored. Equipment work is ongoing.

CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent much of the week instructing at the CO Academy. The rest of the time was on Lake Vermilion. Hopkins worked loud boat enforcement and dealt with some violations. Many of the anglers checked had fish but few limits were seen.

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reports primarily working anglers, boaters and ATV riders. He followed up on non-compliant Wetland Conservation Act restoration order violations and worked complaints at the state park. Bozovsky assisted the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office and the State Patrol on a call of an intoxicated/under the influence of drugs call, which also entailed a domestic dispute. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, no trout stamp, no angling license in possession, no state park permit, and a number of watercraft and ATV violations.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) reports speaking about the importance of wearing life jackets at a Take a Kid Fishing event on Lake Vermilion. Training at Camp Ripley was attended. Angling activity on area lakes and rivers has picked up significantly. At one public access, as Frericks was checking a few people, he noticed that one of the people in the group was acting particularly suspicious. After Frericks obtained that person’s information he went back to his squad to check for warrants. As Frericks was doing this the suspicious person ran off. A short foot chase followed. Frericks caught and arrested the person, who had numerous warrants for his arrest.

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) reports being called to Fishermen’s Point campground in Hoyt Lakes on a bear that climbed a tree after being scared up it by individuals. Once the area was cleared of people the bear climbed down and walked off. Angling activity was checked throughout the week and most anglers report slow fishing. Violations of angling with extra lines, no license in possession, and loud exhaust on a boat were addressed.

International Falls #2 – vacant.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) received several calls about injured and nuisance animals. He also followed up on previous violations from the Cook area, completed some required annual training and took several complaints about the new northern pike regulations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) attended annual use of force instructor training and in-service planning at Camp Ripley. While at Ripley, Manning also assisted with scenarios for the Conservation Officer Academy. She also took calls on BWCA camping, nuisance animals and the upcoming bear season.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked the week at Camp Ripley with officer training, as well as preparation for the Academy 18 field training process. Time was also spent working a beaver complaint in the area.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked anglers on area lakes, attended in-service at Camp Ripley and followed up on complaints.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ATV and angling activity during the week. Fishing success was varied on area lakes but most anglers willing to put up with the biting bugs caught fish. Murray investigated illegal garbage dumping at a state campground and personal watercraft being operated to close to shorelines.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Jayson Hansen (Big Fork) worked ATV activity, boating, AIS, and sport fishing. He patrolled state park and state forest areas, answered questions, took complaints on various wildlife issues, and checked public water accesses. Violations included ATVs on the roadway, careless operation of an ATV, allowing illegal operation of an ATV, ATV equipment, and youth on ATVs without helmets. Anyone under 18 is required to wear a helmet on an ATV on public land. This includes Class 2 ATVs.  

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended use of force in-service, answered calls about many boats traveling too fast in no-wake zones and taught at the Academy this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity with the local walleye lakes heating up. Sutherland also attended training at Camp Ripley, gave an ATV and youth firearms safety law talk and took enforcement action for an individual who burned a trailer house.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working boating, ATV, AIS, and sport fishing. Anglers are still reporting a fair amount of success on area lakes, despite the warm weather. Enforcement action was taken for burning prohibited materials, no angling license in possession, and insufficient number of PFDs.

Hill City – vacant.

NE ATV officer – vacant.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) spent time at Camp Ripley with the Use of Force Team in preparation for upcoming Division in-service training. Willis also assisted in training conservation officer candidates at the current Academy. Calls were fielded regarding nuisance animals and questions about a career as a conservation officer.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent much of the week working anglers on area lakes. Nuisance animal complaints involving bears and deer were handled and ATV complaint areas were worked. Time was spent working a trespass complaint and Schmidt attended training at Camp Ripley for field training.  

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent time working ATV enforcement in past complaint areas. Fishing and boating enforcement continues to be worked throughout the week. One day was spent at Camp Ripley training. AIS was also worked at area accesses and while patrolling the Duluth area.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked OHV and AIS enforcement. Humphrey assisted local law enforcement and EMS in attempting to locate a person in a reported heat-related medical situation on the Soo Line Trail between Denham and Moose Lake. Humphrey received calls on a nuisance animal and a trespass complaint. He also followed up on several cases including a big-game case where evidence was transferred.

CO Scott Staples (Carlton) investigated complaints of a waters violation and a nuisance beaver on an area roadway. Extra patrols were conducted in area state parks. One case of vandalism is under investigation at Jay Cooke State Park. Time was also spent at the Academy at Camp Ripley teaching trapping enforcement to the newly hired officers.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent the week on angling, AIS and boating safety enforcement efforts. The highlight of the week was responding to the report of a pickup truck and empty boat trailer completely submerged at the Abbott Road public access on Island Lake. A tow truck was able to recover the rig quickly and without any injuries or environmental concerns. The owner took the mishap in stride. Olson assisted the Two Harbors Police Department with an overdose situation along the shoreline of Lake Superior. Fishing has slowed on the area lakes north of Duluth.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Water levels are dropping and mud is starting to decrease on the big lake. Assistance was given to Two Harbors Fire with a structure fire and training given on boat operation. Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations.

Lake Superior Unit – vacant.