District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) reports working angling, ATV, forestry, big-game, and small-game enforcement over the past week. Even with the heavy amount of rain as of late, bear hunters have reported a fair amount of success in the field since the start of season. Archery deer and grouse-hunting activity was quite low over the weekend, with much of the outdoor activity trending towards getting deer camps opened up and lanes cleared out. Zavodnik also observed angling activity has started to increase on the Rainy River with some anglers being able to harvest some nice sturgeon over the weekend. Enforcement action taken over the week included ATV operating violations, failure to have a legal life-saving device on board a watercraft, transport of aquatic macrophytes, and angling with extra lines.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports with all the outdoor opportunities available this time of year there was no shortage of people enjoying the fall weather. A few grumbles were heard about the amount of moisture we have received, although one day of sunshine seems to make up for it. Assistance was provided for a medical transport from a remote location and with a motorcycle crash involving a deer. Bear hunters and anglers are providing positive reports. Grouse hunters are reporting very few flushes. A reminder to know the status of trails where you plan to travel. Some trails change from motorized to non-motorized at various times of the year.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports the grouse opener was very poor – few people and fewer birds. Heavy, dense leaf cover and the return of rain did not help efforts. Angling activity continues, as does boating. Area forest roads and trails were monitored and public access sites were checked.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) reports more bear-hunting issues this past week. The small-game and archery deer seasons opened, but there were not too many hunters out. Lake Vermilion was busy this past weekend and the bite is improving. Hopkins took enforcement action for a loaded gun in a motor vehicle and dealt with an individual driving dangerously.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the small-game and archery deer openers, as well as anglers, ATV riders, an ATV ride, and an aquatic plant removal complaint. He also met with a landowner and the SWCD on a wetland fill violation. More evidence was located on the previous week’s bear-dumping cases. Fewer ruffed grouse hunters than usual were afield for the opener, but most hunters checked had some birds, with one hunter showing a limit. An ATV grouse hunter was not demonstrating good decision-making as he was found with a child who had no helmet. But the worst part of the equation was that the adult was drinking, had an open container of alcohol and a loaded shotgun sticking out over the front windshield of the Class 2 ATV. The adult hunter was cited. Enforcement action was taken on unlawfully transporting game birds, transporting a loaded firearm, open container, and a number of OHM and ATV violations.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spoke at a Rotary Club meeting to Virginia-area business people. Topics covered included the upcoming youth deer hunt and other new law changes. A few goose hunters were checked and the wild rice harvesting season is coming to an end. A few shore anglers were checked and enforcement action was taken for angling without a license. The opening of the small-game season was extremely slow and no birds were seen in grouse hunters’ bags. Frericks assisted in field training with COC Seifermann.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting and angling activity. Bear hunters continued to report moderate success. Few small-game hunters and archery deer hunters were observed over the opening weekend. Broughten also fielded calls regarding trespass, an injured bear, and hunting license questions.
Cook – vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports thick underbrush and foliage on trees made for some tough hunting conditions for the small-game opener. Overall, the volume of hunters was way down from previous years, especially considering the break in the cool, rainy weather for the weekend. Bird numbers reported, however, seemed about average and the few hunters contacted reported seeing a good number while on foot, hiking little-used trails.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked bear hunters and grouse hunters this past week. He also followed up on a litter complaint and an ATV complaint. Velsvaag also checked on early waterfowl blinds and the end of ricing.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) focused enforcement efforts on small-game and bear hunters and ATV riders. The woods are still thick but the hunters who put time in and got off the beaten path were rewarded with some birds. Wahlstrom also spent some time checking anglers on area lakes and following up on complaints.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) spent time patrolling the BWCA with CO Lawler and working big-game enforcement. Several calls and complaints were taken throughout the week. A litter investigation is ongoing.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling, boating and hunting activity this past week. Schottenbauer also assisted with Silver Bay’s firearms safety class. Special thank you to the instructors for their hard work.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) reports a slow opener to the grouse season. Not many hunters reported seeing birds as cover remains thick. The bear harvest remained high with many hunters already ending the season. Murray attended an officer water survival and instructor course this past week and answered questions about ATV regulations.
Tofte – vacant.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) continued work on an applicant background investigation, checked grouse hunters, and patrolled for illegal ATV activity. He also spent time working ongoing cases.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) and COC Marc Johnson worked bear hunting, waterfowl, ATV enforcement and small-game activity in their station. Small-game opener brought more hunters into the station and officers spent additional time checking area public landings and patrolling the state parks and campgrounds. Warnings and citations were issued for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, no helmets on youth on an ATV, no small-game license in possession, operating an ATV with no headlights and unrestrained pets inside a state campground. Hansen and Johnson also spent time coordinating to speak at an upcoming firearms safety class in Bigfork.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked waterfowl complaints and monitored OHV activity. Angler success was slow this past week. Enforcement action was taken for license issues.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the small-game and archery deer opener with many hunters hitting the woods. Some ruffed grouse were seen by hunters, but with full foliage being present on the trees, many hunters only heard the elusive birds flying away. Enforcement action was taken for hunting migratory waterfowl without a state waterfowl stamp or federal waterfowl stamp and not having HIP certification.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working small-game, waterfowl, ATV, angling, and big-game enforcement throughout the surrounding areas. Grouse hunters were out in full force but reported limited success likely due to dense foliage cover. Van Asch also gave assistance to the Minnesota State Patrol with a motorcycle accident. Enforcement action was taken for several ATV and hunting license violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent a majority of the week monitoring bear-hunting and ATV activity. The small-game opener over the weekend brought a few grouse hunters out but success rates were low due to foliage on the trees. Assistance was given to other agencies on calls for service. Violations included failure to validate a bear tag and shooting a cub.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) spent time afield during the small-game opener. ATV activity was heavy but few hunters were out. Enforcement action was taken for juveniles without helmets on ATVs, operating an unregistered ATV, failure to transfer ownership and controlled substance crimes.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent much of the past week working area lakes and rivers. Small-game opening weekend was relatively slow for hunters but there was a lot of ATV activity on roads and trails. A wetland complaint was handled, as was an illegal-dumping complaint.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) and COC Hanna Wood had poor weather this past week but spent time looking for and checking shore anglers. They took calls regarding wolf depredation and one regarding an injured raptor. They spent some time at the courthouse and were able to sit in on a court trial, arraignments and DWI court. They also assisted Wisconsin wardens with a big-game investigation. Other activities included ATV, small-game, archery deer, and bear enforcement.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked early goose hunting and the small-game and archery openers. He attended a 9/11 memorial in the Twin Cities honoring CO Eugene Wynn and other Minnesota fallen officers. Humphrey conducted patrols in area WMAs and the Fond du Lac State Forest. He received calls about nuisance beavers, firearms safety classes and an injured deer.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) gave a talk about the job of a CO to a local college law enforcement class. K9 assistance was requested to help search for evidence in a case involving a bear hunter in the area. K9 Schody was successful in assisting. The case is still ongoing and under investigation. A large amount of garbage was dumped in an area state forest. A search through the garbage revealed some mail with names on it. After contacting the owners of the mail, it was determined two other individuals were responsible. They were paid to take this garbage to the dump and instead dumped it in the state forest and pocketed the money. Charges are pending.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent the majority of the week in a Division training class at Camp Ripley. Opening weekend of the small-game and archery deer season was worked north of Duluth and bear hunters were worked in the evenings. Lake Superior commercial enforcement was also worked, resulting in records violations. ATV and OHM violations were addressed over the weekend.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked river and boat anglers. Salmon are starting to enter rivers, but another week will help. Trollers are still making use of the nice weather to get out after lake trout and salmon. Training was attended, and follow up was completed on a commercial net that was caught in a troller’s gear. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.