CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the firearms deer season ended and muzzleloader and trapping seasons began. Few trappers were out and about as complaints of low fur prices being main reason for not doing it. Trappers are reminded to make sure they are wearing blaze orange as muzzleloader hunters are in the field at the same time. A nuisance bear complaint was also handled.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports trapping and muzzleloader deer hunting were the main activities focused on the past week. Trappers are very active in some areas and others were pretty sparse. Slatinski assisted other officers from the Bemidji area with a deer-poaching case; one involved party had ties to the area. Possession permits for road-killed animals were issued.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and access sites. The recent warm-up has deteriorated what little ice was present. No angling activity was observed. Equipment work was completed and phone calls were returned.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the fisher, marten and bobcat trapping opener as well as the muzzleloader deer opener, which included a special hunt in the station’s state park. He also followed up on rifle deer season cases. A snowmobile fleeing case was also worked with Bozovsky tracking the snowmobile to a home miles away. He assisted the Keewatin Police Department with an uncooperative passenger in a traffic stop and the Hibbing Police Department with a hold-up alarm and a complaint of an impaired driver. Bozovsky found and stopped the vehicle. The driver was arrested for DWI by the police department. Enforcement action was taken on no license in possession, no blaze orange, OHV trespass, and railroad trespass.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time preparing and submitting reports to be turned into court for big-game violations. The fisher and pine marten trapping season began and few trappers and sets were seen so far. Muzzle-loader deer hunters were checked and nearly every one that Frericks checked was cited for having a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. One of the hunters cited for the loaded firearm violation was stopped in his ATV with his father. When the hunter was asked for his deer license he replied that he didn’t have one. The hunter told Frericks he thought it was OK because he and his father were hunting together and he was hunting under his father’s license.
International Falls #2 – vacant.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily marten trapping and some deer season follow-up. A trapping group called after catching a lynx in a foothold trap that escaped with the trap still on its foot. The group, including one individual from Australia who was along for the experience, along with Bermel, was able to push the lynx into heavy cover where the chain got caught. While Bermel held a shield, the trapper successfully released the lynx unharmed. Enforcement action for the week included failure to register deer, no blaze orange, taking protected birds, pre-empt a trap site, illegal trap set, untagged trap, and several ATV violations.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) checked trappers and ATV riders, and responded to wildlife calls. Anglers are excited and venturing out on the ice for the early season bite.
CO Sean Williams (Ely) checked his first groups of ice anglers slowly making their way out on the ice early in the week. Warm weather arrived over the holiday and there was rain and freezing rain that continued into the weekend, which made for a slow start to the muzzleloader season. Violations included lynx zone trapping violations.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked trappers and deer hunters this past week. Marten trapping was good but muzzleloader deer hunters were off to a slow start. Velsvaag had several calls about trapping and the new pike regulations regarding spearing.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling, trapping, and muzzleloader deer season activity this past week. Most hunters checked were seeing some deer but bucks were elusive. Ice conditions in the area deteriorated during the warm up but most area lakes were holding 4 to 6 inches of ice.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) continued to follow up on firearms deer season issues and worked opening weekend of the muzzleloader deer season. She also checked fisher and pine marten sets as that short season opened. A few bear bait stations were also found to have stands still in place and some hunters will be receiving “reminders” by mail.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked with COC Karon this past week. Time was spent checking ice anglers and trapping activity. Little muzzleloader activity was noted.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked anglers, trappers, and muzzleloader hunters. He also worked baiting complaints, issued car-kill permits for various animals, and assisted in locating a lost trapper.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) continued training COC Nathan Benkofske. Time was spent patrolling the station working small-game and muzzleloader seasons. Time was also spent assisting the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office and other COs locating a lost 16-year-old near Wirt. Violations included no blaze orange during the muzzleloader season.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) conducted follow-up investigation on deer cases and monitored trapping activity. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in locating a lost trapper. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and OHV registration issues.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) spent time checking hunting and trapping activity. She also took calls about a dead hawk and pileated woodpecker.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Taylor Hochstein spent time doing a variety of work. Tasks included follow-up work from the firearms deer season and checking muzzleloader hunters and trappers. Ice angling activity in the area is starting to pick up with ice conditions varying greatly. Sufficient ice has formed on many smaller lakes but anglers are reminded to use caution when venturing out on bigger lakes.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working muzzleloader hunters and trapping and angling activity. Time was also spent completing an open big-game investigation from the firearms deer season. Early ice anglers are starting to venture onto area lakes. A reminder to use extreme caution before heading out on the ice. Enforcement action was taken for several angling violations.
Hill City – vacant.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) answered questions regarding deer-season issues when the rifle season concluded. Equipment maintenance was tended to and paperwork caught up on. Activity in the station slowed with the seasonal hunters leaving after a fairly successful season.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) followed up on cases from the deer season and met with the county attorney. Ice anglers were checked as they returned to shore and Schmidt followed up on calls pertaining to the trapping season and muzzleloader opener.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) and COC Leah Kampa responded to a call of a deer in a person’s basement. Duncan and Kampa were able to wrestle the deer and safely get her upstairs and outside without hurting the deer or anyone inside the residence. Deer possession permits were issued throughout the week. Kampa spoke to a news broadcast about ice safety and trapping enforcement was worked in the Lynx Management Zone.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) followed up on firearms deer season cases and worked the muzzleloader deer opener. Ice anglers were seen venturing out onto area lakes, but caution is advised. Humphrey attended funeral services for retired CO Bob Hodge (Ely) as part of DNR Enforcement’s Honor Guard contingent.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked muzzleloader hunters and trappers in the area. Follow-up investigations were conducted from the firearms deer season. Enforcement action was taken for license violations and an ongoing investigation is continuing for a baiting violation. A permit was issued for a car-killed bobcat.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked trapping activity north of Duluth and checked ice anglers. Area lakes have between 4.5 and 6 inches of walkable ice. Be sure to check conditions before venturing onto the ice. Remember ice is never safe and conditions change rapidly.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) and COC Tony Elwell conducted patrols inland along the North Shore. The pair report slow activity for the muzzleloader deer opener. Time was also spent locating and checking trap lines. The wet weather, followed by snow and cold, has seemed to slow things down for most activities, except for a few anglers on local lakes. Ice conditions should improve with the cold weather.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.