CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) started his second week of field training with CO Candidate Blong Lor. Time was spent assisting other agencies, checking anglers on Rainy Lake, fire investigation, working the port of entry, public waters violations, and bear bait checks. Enforcement actions included fish overlimit, illegal transportation of bear carcass and careless/negligent fire.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports anglers continue to be active in the area with success varying greatly from one day to the next. One group on Kabetogama Lake stated fishing hadn’t been great, as all they had caught were small fish, but at least it is fun to catch some fish. Many of the leaves have begun to change but mostly not to the beautiful fall colors we look forward to. Instead, they appear to be drying up and turning brown. Time was also spent monitoring bear-baiting activity and attending annual in-service training at Camp Ripley.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports checking area forest roads and monitoring boating, angling and public access sites. Wild rice locations continue to be checked. Equipment work was completed. Wolves, beaver and ATVs were dealt with.
CO Duke Broughton (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling, boating, ATV, and bear baiting activity. Broughten also assisted local law enforcement with a suicidal individual.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers, ATV riders, bear baiting activity, and aquatic invasive species and state park enforcement. He also attended three days of in-service training at Camp Ripley. While checking bear baiting activity, Bozovsky already started locating bait placed for deer. Enforcement action was taken on baiting bear with solid waste (not bio-degradable), operating an ATV in a state park, no park permit, no helmet on passengers under 18, transporting aquatic macrophytes and failing to yield.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) patrolled the Virginia station for and documented bear baits. Frericks also spoke with firearms safety instructors about upcoming classes and attended fall in-service training in Camp Ripley. An incident where a contractor was installing riprap along a shoreline was investigated. There was no violation and as Frericks spoke with the contractor he told the CO he got in trouble for doing it wrong several years ago and wouldn’t make the same mistake again.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked on background investigation for a prospective future CO. Equipment was taken care of and office work was completed.
International Falls #2 – vacant.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports the people responsible for a fire on Bear Island Lake came forward. They had started a campfire late in the day and believed they had put it out, but the fire had travelled through the peat and rekindled. He also monitored bear baiting activity in the Ely area. Baiting was off to a busy start and many people reported baits being actively visited in spite of there being plenty wild foods available.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and bear baits this past week. Several calls came in about deer hunting regulations as well as the new statewide pike regulations. Velsvaag also took several nuisance animal calls.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) dealt with waters and invasive species violations during the week. Bear baiters, and their ATV usage, were checked.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) helped with and attended annual training in firearms, defensive tactics, first aid and evidence examination at Camp Ripley. She spent time in the woods checking bear bait stations and state forest campgrounds. Manning also worked a special detail at the Grand Portage Port of Entry with other COs, K9s, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents to inspect bears, fish and watercraft being brought into the state. Upon being checked, one gentleman declared, “I remember you! And I remembered to pull my drain plug this time!”
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked an extended BWCA patrol with COs Al Peterson and Mitch Lawler and COC Mike Lerchen. Activity was high, fishing was good, and some violations were detected including can and glass beverage containers, fishing without a license, expired watercraft registration, and no fishing license in possession.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity and bear baits this. COC Karon and Schottenbauer assisted with a District 6 work crew at the Pigeon River Point of Entry during the weekend.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked bear baits, ATV riders and anglers. Time was spent working at the Pigeon River Port of Entry with area officers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Enforcement action was taken for AIS and fish transportation violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a border detail with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors and U.S. Customs officers. Several violations were detected including fish overlimits, illegal bear importations, and AIS drain plug violations. Murray also attended a fall training session at Camp Ripley during the week and checked bear baiting activity.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked bear bait stations, investigated a litter complaint and attended training at Camp Ripley.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) and COC Nathan Benkofske report working ATV enforcement and checking bear bait stations in the Bigfork station. Enforcement action was taken for allowing youthful operation of recreational vehicles, juveniles not wearing helmets on ATVs, burning prohibited materials, and timber trespass.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Hochstein worked angling activity with the area bite still going strong. Commercial enforcement efforts were performed with minnow dealer checks. Sutherland and Hochstein also attended an ATV Safety class with CO Van Asch over the weekend.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked ATV, sport fishing, AIS, boating, and big-game enforcement throughout the surrounding areas. Van Asch also spoke at a local ATV safety class put on by the Range Riders ATV Club in Nashwauk. A special thank you to all the instructors who assisted at the class!
Hill City – vacant.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) spent time at Camp Ripley this week as part of the training team conducting annual training for the division. Off-road vehicle patrol was also conducted in the district. Enforcement action was taken for operating an OHM on the road right of way and operating an unregistered OHM.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) and COC Leah Kampa patrolled area lakes for fishing and boating enforcement. Time was spent working on an early bear baiting complaint and a public waters violation. Time was also spent doing AIS checks at a landing. The officers the assisted St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office with a medical. Enforcement action included no fishing license, no license in possession, insufficient personal flotation devices, no throwable device on board a watercraft, failure to affix valid registration, operating a PWC during closed times and no PWC rules decal on a watercraft.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended annual in-service training at Camp Ripley this past week. Follow up was conducted on a previous wetland violation in which the responsible party is fixing the violation. More complaints on wolves attacking dogs and sheep were received. Staples, K9 Schody and other COs assisted with a work detail on the Canadian border in conjunction with the U.S. fish and Wildlife Service and Customs. Assistance was given with inspecting incoming wildlife. Enforcement action was taken on several violations including improperly transporting wildlife, overlimits, license, invasive species and other federal transport violations.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) attended annual training at Camp Ripley. He worked Lake Superior in the Grand Marais area – catches of salmon are showing up in the creels. Surface temperatures are in the low 60s. Olson also worked a detail at the Grand Portage Port of entry over the weekend, resulting in overlimits of fish and big-game violations. He also worked Tribute Fest in the Duluth-Superior harbor for boating safety patrol.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) continued field training with COC Elwell. They checked bear baits on ATVs and patrolled area ATV trails. The Minnesota State Fair booth was worked with many questions about upcoming deer seasons and licenses. A border crossing detail was worked in Grand Portage with enforcement action taken for AIS and overlimit violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.