CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports waterfowl opener resulted in varied success among the hunters. The weather has not been the most cooperative lately except for waterfowl hunting, as the small-game hunters are finding limited success and fishing hasn’t been the most pleasant. Kittelson worked with the area hydrologist looking at various projects on Rainy Lake and gave assistance to a couple of stranded canoeists on Kabetogama Lake.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) continued to monitor small-game hunters earlier in the week with waterfowl hunting the main focus this past weekend. Although the waterfowl opener wasn’t spectacular, several parties were encountered with enough birds in the bag to be satisfied. Trail use was monitored with evidence noted in several areas of unauthorized use. He assisted other agencies with a semi vs. car collision and canoeists who became hung up on rocks when they got caught in high winds, which caused waves to fill the boat with water. Slatinski contacted two individuals who were located loading firewood logs from a pile at a yarding area without a permit for such activity.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) monitored duck-hunting activities, checked area forest roads and public access sites, and monitored small-game hunting activities. ATV activity was checked. Beaver problems continue.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring angling, ATV, bear hunting, small-game hunting, and waterfowl hunting activity. Broughten worked opening weekend of waterfowl season. Hunters reported limited success. Anglers continue to report success on Lake Vermilion. Grouse hunters wait anxiously for more leaves to fall.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked small-game and waterfowl hunters this past week. Hunters had mixed success, but the number of hunters seemed to be down.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the duck opener, anglers, watercraft, ATV riders and a deer-baiting complaint. He taught firearms safety classes in Hibbing and Buhl. Duck hunters did well over opening weekend when hunting in wild rice. They had mixed bags of wood ducks, mallards and blue-winged teal. One duck hunter who didn’t have a federal duck stamp lost his duck and was arrested for a failure-to-appear-in-court arrest warrant. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm in a motorized watercraft, unplugged gun, possessing toxic shot, no license in possession, unregistered ATV, operating a vehicle on a closed trail in a WMA and transporting aquatic macrophytes.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) continued field-training duties with COC Andrew Goodman. The COs investigated baiting and forestry violations. Frericks and Goodman spoke at a trapper education class hosted by members of the MTA. During the opening weekend of duck season, a strong number of duck hunters were observed and checked. All hunters who were checked reported seeing a good amount of ducks and having success. Enforcement action was taken for insufficient PFDs, possessing lead shot, and no license in possession.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) visited the site of a reported possible waters violation by pulling a bed box spring through the lake to remove vegetation. Waterfowl opener was worked and a few hunters were out but most had limited or no success.
International Falls #2 – vacant.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports waterfowl opener was not well attended around Ely and the Echo Trail. The few hunters who were contacted reported good numbers of ducks and geese, with mostly mallards and wood ducks being seen. Grouse hunters didn’t fare as well as much of the ground is still covered with foliage and cold, rainy conditions didn’t make for much success.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked small-game hunters and waterfowl hunters this past week. Grouse hunters had low overall success and waterfowl hunters had mixed success. Velsvaag also checked bear-hunting activity and anglers with weather conditions limiting most peoples’ time afield.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) completed bear guide inspections, checked anglers at remote designated trout lakes, grouse hunters and bear-hunting activity.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports a slow weekend for grouse hunters with few birds seen or in hand. Plenty of ducks were seen, though hunter numbers were down from last year. Manning assisted Cook County with a search for a woman who swerved to miss a deer on a local gravel road. Unfortunately, she had no idea which road she was on so volunteers searched for considerable time before she was located almost 10 miles from where her cell phone had indicated. Manning also answered questions about stream trout fishing and nuisance beavers, and checked ATV operators and bear bait stations.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports a decent number of waterfowl hunters were out over opening weekend in the area with pockets of good bird numbers. A few groups did very well. Enforcement action for the week included unplugged shotgun, no PFDs, extra lines, and allowing illegal juvenile ATV operation.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area anglers. Much of Schottenbauer’s time was spent working small-game and off-road activity in the station.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked small-game hunters, archery deer hunters and bear hunters. Time was spent following up on bear-hunting complaints and checking ATV activity.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked waterfowl, small-game and big-game activity during the week. Grouse hunting continued to improve with cooler weather and Murray was lucky enough to encounter an excited youth hunter with his younger brothers and dad moments after he shot his first grouse. Big-game investigations continued with enforcement action taken for failure to register big game, failure to tag big game and wanton waste violations.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, grouse hunters, and waterfowl hunters. He patrolled area ATV trails, handled several nuisance wildlife calls, and investigated a deer-baiting complaint. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and boating activity, patrolled campgrounds, worked ATV activity, and checked small game hunters, bear hunters. He also worked AIS enforcement. Grouse hunters were found to be in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Duck hunters were also checked.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked the waterfowl opener. There were more ducks seen on Saturday than Sunday. During the week he assisted other law enforcement agencies. Fairbanks patrolled for small-game hunters and outdoor recreational users. With the weather changing the activities are changing as well.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy waterfowl opener with plenty of ducks around. High winds the day prior brought many blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, ring-necked ducks and mallards to the area. Enforcement action was taken for not having a small-game license, not having waterfowl licenses in possession and for not having enough lifesaving devices on board a watercraft.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working a busy waterfowl opener. Hunters reported varying success over the weekend and mixed bags. One individual decided to start the waterfowl season early by shooting a goose out of season with a rifle. The individual was located and citations were issued. Enforcement action was taken for taking/possessing geese during the closed season, taking migratory game birds with an illegal device, no small-game license, and no license/stamps in possession.
Hill City – vacant.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jake Willis (Brookston) spent the week still checking area anglers and answering TIP calls. Waterfowl opener was slow with not a lot of activity in the Brookston station. Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, using an extra line angling, and boat registration issues.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) and COC Taylor Hochstein spent time investigating a wetland complaint where a cease and desist order was given to both a landowner and a contractor that were filling in a wetland. A busy waterfowl opener was worked over the weekend. People seemed to be enjoying the nice weather on Saturday with most reporting some success. Complaints involving shooting before legal shooting hours were looked into. Other violations included not having a small-game license or HIP certification in possession and failure to transfer ATV registration
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the week working the following activities: Watercraft and ATV operation, boat and shore-fishing enforcement, grouse, archery deer, and waterfowl hunting. Fishing activity has picked up, and many people were out participating in all the fall hunting opportunities. The weather on opening day of waterfowl season was great and everyone checked had shooting opportunities. Many different types of ducks were taken.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked waterfowl hunting, AIS, and OHV enforcement. Patrols were conducted at area lakes and trails including the Fond Du Lac State Forest and Sawyer WMA. Humphrey fielded several calls and questions about upcoming hunting seasons, licensing, and nuisance animals. Waterfowl hunters were reporting a fair to good opening weekend with good numbers of wood ducks, teal, ring-necked ducks and mallards. Humphrey attended the Carlton chapter MDHA banquet, where he assisted with the Laser shot booth and information and education. Several OHV and waterfowl hunting violations were encountered. A resource protection notification was issued for a potential wetland violation
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked an information booth at the annual Minnesota Deer Hunters Association banquet in Carlton. Assistance was given at a work detail in the Carlos Avery WMA over the waterfowl opener. A TIP complaint was received of someone shooting a swan in the Sturgeon Lake area. After questioning, the suspect denied shooting at any swans. He said he only shot a coot and showed Staples a ring-necked duck. After discussing the importance of being able to identify waterfowl while hunting them, it was learned that he also did not have a license or any of the stamps. Enforcement action was taken for several violations. Another wolf complaint was received in the Cloquet area, where two sheep were taken out of a barn and killed. The complaint is still under investigation.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked small-game and archery hunters during the week. Some birds were seen but the hunters put some miles under their boots to get them. Olson worked the duck opener north of Duluth and saw a few ducks on Saturday. He checked an area slough where there historically are complaints of early shooting. Anglers are still catching lake trout in Lake Superior.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked duck hunters and some fall anglers as the weather took a real turn toward autumn. Hunters saw some success with local puddle ducks, but some of them had issues with shooting accuracy and purchase of licenses. PFD compliance was good among those hunters checked. Enforcement action taken for waterfowl violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.