CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports another opening weekend of the deer firearms season in the books with most people at least seeing deer. Enforcement action during the first two days included hunting over bait, shooting from the roadway, trespassing, and ATV violations. People are reminded to keep safety at the top of their minds while out hunting.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) checked spruce top harvest sites, issued permits for car-killed animals, and met with a landowner about beavers creating a dam on a creek, causing water to back up near an access road. The firearms deer opener was busy, although reports of harvested deer were not common. One person lit a propane heater in their stand on opening morning, which malfunctioned and caught the stand on fire, burning it to the ground. They were able to get out without injury, but were shook up.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports a slow deer opener with hunter numbers down and few deer observed harvested. A number of complaints were looked into. Seasonal watercraft work is ongoing. A number of phone calls and permit questions were handled during the week.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring hunting and ATV activity. Grouse hunters experienced moderate success during the week. Broughten worked the opener of the firearms deer season. Multiple violations of hunting deer over bait were investigated. In one instance of an individual hunting over bait, the person stated he “watched those game warden TV shows and he should have known it was a matter of time before he was caught.” Enforcement action included hunting deer over bait, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling, operating an ATV in closed hours, and no big-game license in possession. Broughten also assisted with a DWI arrest and domestic abuse no-contact order violation.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) had one of his busiest openers and observed a good number of harvested deer. Hopkins found numerous hunters in violation of the baiting laws and seized many firearms. There were calls of shooting from vehicles and trespassing. One hunter was charged with hunting big game with the use of an electronic device. Hopkins also assisted a hunter who had trouble tracking a deer. The deer was eventually located and could be utilized.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked baited areas prior to the season and during the opening of deer firearms season. Baiting was on the forefront again, with five hunters cited and rifles seized on opening day. The reasoning remains the same time and time again – that they had quit baiting. However, all had bait present when caught hunting. One individual had a pile of carrots in front of him. A trumpeter swan was found dead, but that was likely caused by a collision with a power line. Blaze orange is required for deer hunting, even when a person is in their stand. Of the five people caught baiting, three had either no blaze orange on, or too little of it. A trapping complaint and trespass complaints were addressed. Other enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, no blaze orange and posting another person’s property.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) and COC Jacob Swedberg spent a majority of their time documenting and collecting samples from known baited deer stands ahead of the rifle deer season opener. On opening morning, they teamed up with area officers to check a deer camp where a majority of the stands were baited. From that hunting camp alone, four hunters were cited for hunting over bait.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) reports checking previously located baited deer stands on opening morning and many hunters’ hunt was stopped when they received a citation and had their firearms seized. A large litter-dumping case was worked with neighboring officer.
International Falls #2 – vacant.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports another busy firearms deer opener. The season started out promising after a handful of successful hunters were checked Saturday morning, but success seemed to fizzle into Sunday evening with the arrival of rain and snow. Deer baiting again was the most common violation found and several citations were issued.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and deer hunters this past week. Deer hunting was a little slow but fishing was good for those anglers who were out. Velsvaag received several calls about deer-hunting regulations and marten trapping.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) dealt with illegal deer baiting, checked whitefish nets and activity and assisted the sheriff’s office with a rollover crash. Assistance was also given to the U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a TIP complaint on deer baiting and checked deer and grouse hunters over the opening weekend of the firearms deer season. Manning also followed up on a trapping call, checked bear bait station sites, and attended the Cook County Aquatic Invasives Task Force Meeting.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) and COC Lerchen worked a very busy rifle opening weekend in the Northland. They spent the week leading up to the opener documenting baited deer stands. Seven deer baiters were cited and their rifles were seized on opening weekend. Other enforcement action included untagged deer, transporting loaded firearms in motor vehicles, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, insufficient blaze orange, failure to register deer, and DWI. The main excuse for deer baiters this year is they didn’t know the product they were using was illegal. The regulations booklet is very clear that hunters need to check the ingredient labels on the product.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked deer-hunting activity. A quiet start to the season turned silent as Sunday’s driving rain tuned to snow.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked the busy opening weekend of the firearms deer season. He assisted with a DWI arrest and fielded many calls about hunting regulations. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, DWI and license violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked the firearms deer opener along the North Shore with most hunters checked at least seeing some deer. Opening morning presented a perfect day to sit in a deer stand with no wind. By Sunday afternoon, a hard snow hit the Arrowhead and hunters headed in, calling it for opening weekend. Enforcement was taken for a loaded gun in a motor vehicle and deer tagging/transportation violations.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) spent time checking for deer baiting, checking deer hunters, and investigating deer hunting-related complaints. Enforcement action was taken for shooting from a roadway, shooting within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling, operating an ATV during closed hours, and no license in possession.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, worked ATV activity, checked small-game and waterfowl hunters, and worked AIS enforcement. He also worked the deer opener. Violations included operating an ATV during closed hours, transporting a loaded firearm, uncased firearm in a state park, unregistered ATV, taking deer with the aid of bait, taking antlerless deer without an antlerless permit, minor in possession of a handgun, and no park sticker/pass. Numerous calls about wildlife were answered. He also patrolled state parks and campgrounds.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) investigated baiting complaints, checked hunters, assisted the county with a suicidal male call and responded to a bar fight. The area deer hunters saw many deer but success for antlers was on the low side. Enforcement action was taken for illegal operation of an OHV, no license in possession and no skin patch on fillets.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy deer hunter with hunters having limited success. Enforcement action was taken on multiple baiting cases where deer and firearms were seized. Enforcement action was taken for untagged deer, unvalidated deer tags, illegal transportation of a big-game animal and allowing a minor to illegally take deer.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked a busy firearms deer season opener. Hunters reported steady success and decent weather for most of the weekend. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, untagged big-game animals, and failure to validate deer licenses.
Hill City – vacant.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) had a busy week leading up to the firearms opener answering TIP calls and regulation questions. A lot of hunting activity was seen with the mild weather. Trespass complaints were mediated and complaints were answered. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, failure to validate site tag, and illegal dumping.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) finished Step 3 training with COC Tony Flerlage. There’s been a few people fishing and having some success. Duck hunters are still finding birds. Most of the week was spent preparing for and working the deer opener. Trespassing issues have been the main complaint. Please know where the property lines are for the area to be hunted.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent the week preparing for the firearms deer-hunting season. Activities included following up on complaints, checking deer stands for possible baiting violations, and trespass issues. A few stand location disputes were also investigated. Opening weekend resulted in long hours worked and many hunters checked in the field.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) focused work on the firearms deer season throughout the week. Deer hunters reported a fair to good opener. Calls and complaints of trespass, damage to property, baiting, hunting without a license, shooting from the roadway, posting public land, lost hunters, licensing, and illegal ATV operation were received. Several seemingly common violations for untagged deer, failing to register, and failing to validate licenses were found. Other violations for taking antlerless deer without valid licenses, illegal ATV operation, and trespass were encountered. Hunters are reminded to review regulations before the season to avoid potential issues and enforcement action.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) found lots of successful hunters over opening weekend. Complaints of shooting from the road, unlawful ATV operation, baiting and trespassing were received and worked over the firearms deer season opener. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer without a license, hunting deer over bait, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, untagged deer, failure to validate a license and failure to have a license in possession. Time was also spent checking for compliance of permits and proper paperwork with balsam bough and spruce top harvesters in the area.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked the firearms opener primarily in the Cotton area. He saw moderate success among hunters during the weekend. Evening and nights were worked in areas with shining complaints from previous seasons. Enforcement action was taken for license violations.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and ATVs along with deer hunters. Commercial herring netters were checked, with moderate compliance with records requirements. A load of balsam boughs was inspected, with permitting and traffic violations found. An angler on Lake Superior decided to take a chance with an extra line when he thought wardens would be in the woods for deer season. Thanks to close observations and a quick response, he admitted to the violation and enforcement action was taken.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.