CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) and COC Blong Lor finished their last week of field training. They spent the week checking trappers and helping during fur registration day. They report a decline in trapper numbers, which is most likely due to fur prices. Violations this past week included lending/borrowing of tags and failure to validate a tag.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports muzzleloader deer hunting in the area has been relatively slow with hunters having limited success. Trapping activity was monitored and the close of the marten/fisher season was followed up by working the fur registration station in Big Falls. Most reports heard were the season was slow with less marten/fisher sign being seen. Several calls for assistance were responded to involving slippery conditions on area roadways. Ice fishing and spearing began this past weekend. Caution is advised when venturing out on any ice. And for those folks venturing out on snowmobiles, watch out for hazards that are hidden by the snow.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring muzzleloader deer-hunting activities. Area lakes were monitored with little activity noted. Questions and comments continue to be received regarding the poor deer hunting and a common question is, “Where are all the deer?” Public access sites were checked and equipment was worked on.
CO Duke Broughten (Cook) spent the week monitoring trapping, deer-hunting, and angling activity. Few trappers were observed taking to the woods. Muzzleloader deer hunters reported poor success. Ice conditions are limiting anglers, with reported ice thickness from 3 to 7 inches. Broughten also assisted with fur registration.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) found a few hunters out muzzleloader hunting but didn’t see much success. He worked the fur registration in Tower. Unofficially, it appears harvest numbers may be down. Ice on Lake Vermilion still varies, with some reports of 8 to 9 inches. Extreme caution should be used if anglers are venturing out on the ice.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked muzzleloader deer season, which included working the special state park hunt, fisher, marten and bobcat trappers, registered furs, investigated a deer dumping and wanton waste case, and followed up on open deer-season cases. Enforcement action was taken on hunting deer over a baited area and a fisher-tagging violation.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) followed up on some issues from deer season and attended the fisher and pine marten fur registration. The number of trappers registering pelts appeared to be about the same as last year. Some area anglers were checked. Ice thickness has ranged on Virginia-area lakes from 3.5 to about 7 inches.
CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) checked trapping activities and assisted DNR Wildlife with fur tagging in Eveleth. A few ice houses have been showing up on area lakes and anglers report up to 6 inches of ice. A few snowmobiles have been seen but for the most part snow conditions are poor.
International Falls #2 – vacant.District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) assisted the St. Louis County Rescue Squad with the recovery of a missing person near Isabella. The missing person’s vehicle had been located by CO Anthony Bermel, and after a short search of the area by both the St. Louis County Rescue Squad and Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies the person was located and recovered.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports a variety of different activity during the week. He checked trapping, pike spearing, snowmobile, ATV, and ice angling activity. He also assisted with fur registration in Grand Marais.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked the fisher/marten trapping season and assisted DNR Wildlife with fur registration. Snowmobile trails are snow-covered, but it is thin and grooming will have to wait for more snow. Lake ice thickness is extremely varied and anglers are advised to check frequently when they choose to venture out.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked mainly trapping enforcement and followed up on deer cases. Fur was registered in Tower along with Wildlife personnel and CO Hopkins. Enforcement action for the week included an illegal trap set, untagged deer, unlawful party hunting, failure to validate a deer tag, and failure to register deer as required.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) continued training with COC Karon. Officers stepped up work with ice angling activity and continued trapping work. Some time was also devoted to muzzleloader deer season.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking trappers and anglers. Wildlife calls were handled. Enforcement action was taken for trapping violations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked fishing and trapping activity during the week. Murray assisted with a youth snowmobile safety class and a fur registration station. Bough harvest checks continued and nuisance animal complaints were handled.District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked muzzleloader hunters, trappers, and anglers, and issued possession permits for several car-killed deer. He performed maintenance, put away boats and got out and prepared winter equipment.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) reports finishing up training with COC Nathan Benkofske, who will be stationed in Milaca. Time was spent working small-game and muzzleloader hunters, as well as anglers. Time was also spent working alongside DNR Wildlife staff during fur registration in Effie. This will be the last year in Effie, so trappers will have to go to a neighboring office to get their fur tagged.
CO Sarah Grell (Grand Rapids) checked hunting and fishing activity this past week. Ice conditions are fairly good on surrounding lakes with up to 10 inches reported on smaller, shallow bays and 5 inches in other areas. Open water can still be found on the deeper lakes like Trout. Be cautious when using the ice.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Taylor Hochstein focused on trapping enforcement throughout the week. A fur registration station at the Grand Rapids DNR office was attended on Friday. TIP complaints from the firearm deer season continue to be investigated. Several possession permits were also given out for road-killed deer.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked trapping activity and assisted the county with a person being held against their will and a burglary in progress call. Area spearing success was good this week while trapper success was slow. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and an arrest was made for outstanding warrants.
Hill City – vacant.
NE ATV officer – vacant.District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) patrolled the station for muzzleloader and trapping activity. Small-game hunters were seen still in the field as well. Trespassing issues are being investigated and enforcement action was taken for violations during the Jay Cooke State Park special hunt.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) and COC Leah Kampa continued to patrol and monitor trapping. Time was spent checking small-game hunters, anglers fishing on Lake Superior and monitoring fur registration. Deer possession permits were issued throughout the week and enforcement activities included hunting deer over bait and Lynx Management Zone violations.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) followed up on firearms deer season cases and worked muzzleloader deer-hunting activity. Anglers were checked with ice conditions reportedly improving daily. Humphrey received calls and complaints of a possible poached deer and trespassing. Humphrey also assisted at fur tagging in Cloquet.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) conducted training with K9 Schody and worked trapping activity in the area. Assistance was given to the Wildlife Section at fur registration in Cloquet where several pine marten and fisher were brought in to be registered. One person is under investigation for possibly taking a fisher out of season. Other time was spent working the special muzzleloader hunt in Jay Cooke State Park.Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked ice anglers in the Duluth area. More than 35 anglers had to be rescued from a floating chunk of ice in the Superior Bay. The Duluth Fire Department did a great job in the rescue. Olson patrolled the Jay Cooke State Park for the special muzzleloader hunt and responded to a report of an injured bear in the Hermantown area.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked early ice anglers with COC Tony Elwell. A good walleye bite was had in the Duluth Harbor before ice broke away from shore, leading to many anglers catching a ride in Duluth Fire Department boats to get back to shore. Inland lakes are showing better ice, with 8 to 9 inches found on many. As anglers begin to use ATVs and snowmobiles for fishing they need to check the registration and ensure everything is up to date. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV, and snowmobile violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.