CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) finished Step 1 of field training with COC Blong Lor. Fishing and boating activity are staring to slow as people are heading to the woods for the first days of the small-game season. Kittelson handled complaints about animals and answered CWD-related questions about importing deer and moose into Minnesota from other states and Canada.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports bear hunting activity slowed this past week. Most hunters contacted were not excited with the unseasonably warm weather. ATV use has increased with the small-game hunting opener. Success for grouse was limited as expected with most trees hanging on to their leaves. Slatinski met with a homeowner concerned about a bear cub that had climbed a tree at the edge of the yard one day and was still there the next evening. It left on its own before the next morning.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area forest roads and trails. Small-game hunters were greeted on opening day by wind and rain. There were few hunters and fewer birds. ATV activity was monitored. Public access sites were checked and equipment worked on.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling, boating, ATV, bear-hunting, small-game hunting, and goose-hunting activity. Anglers reported good success on Lake Vermilion. Hunters reported poor success. Grouse-hunter success was limited by the amount of leaves on the trees. Broughten also fielded calls about deer feeding, angling licenses, and deer-hunting regulations.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) investigated a couple of wetland violations this past week. The small-game and archery deer season opened and Hopkins observed more grouse than hunters. He also worked smaller lakes in the station.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the small-game and archery deer openers, early goose season, bear hunters, anglers, boaters, and ATV riders. Low numbers of grouse hunters were seen on opener, with few busting the brush. A wolf was hit by a car and picked up by the driver. It is unlawful to pick up any road killed animal without a permit from a CO. An investigation of a number of large fires that occurred in May got wrapped up with citations for five violations. An ATV driving without lights on a city street at night was stopped. Bozovsky found the driver had a knocked arrow in his bow and an arrow release on his wrist. The ATV had a bucket of apples and an empty corn bag on it and the driver had a revoked driver’s license. He was cited for driving after revocation and having a knocked arrow in a motor vehicle. Other enforcement action was taken for unlawful possession of a wolf, angling without a license, more than one line on a designated trout lake, willful trespass, OHV trespass, wrong side of the road, and several ATV violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time patrolling the Virginia area for deer-baiting activity ahead of the archery opener. He started field training duties with COC Andrew Goodman. Anglers and boaters were checked on area lakes and enforcement action was taken for insufficient PFDs and no license in possession. Complaints from landowners were taken regarding possible trespass violations and dumping.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) worked the small-game opening weekend and noted the fewest number of hunters in years. Warm, wet weather was probably the reason. Fredin completed a background investigation of a potential CO candidate. Fredin looked into lake shoreline excavating and had repairs done on his squad.
International Falls #2 – vacant.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports small-game hunting got off to a slow start on the Echo Trail. Drizzle gave way to steady rain and most hunters reported seeing no grouse all day. Angling success, however, was very good on several lakes and several near-limits of walleyes were seen. Violations included transporting a loaded firearm and unmarked bear bait.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and grouse hunters this past week. Grouse hunting success was mixed but several hunters did well even with the amount of green vegetation. He also followed up on some old complaints and took several calls regarding nuisance animals.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) assisted the sheriff’s office with a call in the BWCA. He also checked grouse hunters, ATV operators, anglers, and bear hunting activity.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled state and national forest roads checking ATV operators, motorcyclists and grouse hunters. Manning also checked anglers, bear hunters and baits, and worked the start of archery deer season. Manning answered calls regarding the upcoming deer season and state parks hunts, small-game hunting, firearms transport and lake access.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy grouse opening weekend. Some very small, late-hatch grouse were noted in hunters’ bags with meat equal to that of a woodcock. Time was also spent on bear hunting, ATV, and angling enforcement. Enforcement action included possession of an illegal-length northern pike, insufficient PFDs, blocking a public access, expired ATV registration, and a passenger under 18 without a helmet.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked angling and boating activity in the area. Weekend activity revolved around the small-game opener and the ATV activity that goes with it.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked small-game hunters over the opening weekend. Success was limited with road hunters all driving the same roads. The hunters who got out of their vehicles or off of their ATVs had different results. Wahlstrom responded to a call for help in the BWCA with area officers and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. Enforcement action was taken for firearms violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) reports a slow opening weekend for grouse and archery deer hunters. With temperatures near 80 degrees and scattered thundershowers, game wasn’t on the move very much. Hunters checked reported flushing a few birds but ground cover is still too thick to see many of them. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations and nuisance bear activity was handled.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, hunters, and ATV operators. He investigated complaints of bear baits that were unregistered, unsigned, or contained garbage. Patten also looked at complaints of deer baiting. Enforcement action was taken for allowing a juvenile to illegally operate an ATV.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and boating activity, patrolled campgrounds, worked ATV activity, checked small-game and bear hunters, and worked AIS enforcement. He continued to work on various investigations. Hansen noted anglers were complaining about the new northern pike regulations. Grouse hunters had poor or no success. Violations included dogs off leash in campgrounds and no horse pass.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked the archery/small game openers, monitored OHV activity and assisted the county with a capsized watercraft. Warmer weather brought out many anglers. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and OHV registration issues.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked anglers in the area with the local panfish bite heating up a bit early this year. Fish seem to be setting up in their fall patterns at a quicker pace. A few hunters were out trying to shoot a grouse on the small-game opener, but with the trees still fully covered in leaves it made for a tough hunt for many. Enforcement action was taken for not wearing blaze orange while small-game hunting.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, big-game, ATV, and small-game enforcement. Small-game hunters were having a difficult time as much of the foliage is still present. Enforcement action was taken for several ATV and small-game violations.
Hill City – vacant.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) was busy with bear hunting TIP calls and the opening of the small-game season. Many hunters were checked in the field and a few birds were seen in the bag. Enforcement action was taken on registration issues, no license in possession and no type IV PFD.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) began training with COC Taylor Hochstein. They worked the small-game opener and checked hunters and ATV riders. Time was spent working area lakes and shore-fishing locations. Wolf depredations involving pygmy goats and an adult sheep were investigated. Violations involved equipment violations and registration on ATVs, license issues for anglers and watercraft registration.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) completed the first phase of field training a conservation officer candidate. Field work consisted of fishing and boating enforcement, bear hunting, and ATV activity. A TIP complaint continues to be worked. Several grouse hunters were checked on area trails and roads. Duncan also spent time working archery deer hunting activity.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked big- and small-game hunting, OHV enforcement, and ricing during the week. Patrols were conducted on area lakes and trails in the Fond du Lac State Forest, Sawyer WMA, Firebird WMA, and Jay Cooke State Park. Humphrey assisted on a wolf depredation complaint investigation in the Cloquet area. He also received a TIP complaint of a possible game violation, which is under investigation. Humphrey took several calls/questions about upcoming hunting seasons, licensing, and nuisance animals. Humphrey met with and talked at a new firearms safety class with CO Staples in the Barnum area. He also attended a Division Honor Guard meeting in Grand Rapids. Small-game hunters reported a slow opening weekend with warm weather and heavy foliage. Several OHV violations were encountered.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked small-game and archery deer hunting activity during the opener. Very few hunters were found out in the woods. A K9 talk and meet and greet was done with K9 Schody at an area church where local kids were invited for several activities. A talk was given to a firearms safety class in Barnum. Assistance was given to a couple of ATV riders when they became stuck in the Nemadji State Forest. After help was given they were educated on where they could ride in a limited forest since they were in an area where they should not have been.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked small-game hunters in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas. One hunter checked was wearing shorts, a tank top and flip flops due to the warm weather. He reported seeing no grouse during his jaunt. Lake trout are being caught on Lake Superior in decent numbers. Enforcement action was taken for minor ATV violations over the weekend.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Inland wild rice harvest in the Arrowhead is about done, with challenging rice conditions this year. Grouse season opened with foggy, warm weather. An injured eagle was delivered to a local rehab office and enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.