District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports despite the rain, wind, and cooler weather people were still out fishing on the Rainy River with fairly good success. A youth firearms safety class was also held where 50 youth battled the elements to complete the certification process. A bear complaint was handled along with a complaint of a possible sick moose. Enforcement action for the week included no angling license and illegal transport of fish.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) spent time teaching a firearms safety class at Border Patrol with approximately 50 class attendees. Despite the wet weather, there was great participation from all. Grouse-hunter activity was observed to be quite slow due to the unusually wet start of fall. Time was also spent successfully recovering an ATV from a previous felony fleeing case that occurred this summer.
CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports the moist weather has kept most hunters out of the woods. With limited frost, the forest understory is maintaining foliage and making it difficult to see very far off the trails for the elusive grouse. Investigations into two incidents of vehicles abandoned on state lands were initiated. Evidence of illegal use of state snowmobile trails has been common, with additional time spent focusing on contacting responsible parties. A report of criminal damage to property was taken. These are senseless acts that just cause animosity among the different trail user groups. Animal-related complaints involving bears and a moose were heard. The week was finished out providing 48 youngsters with training at a firearms safety field day. The weather did not cooperate – it rained all day – but no complaints were heard. Hats off to all the instructors who showed up to make it happen.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports with a week of rain, very few outdoor users were located. There are numerous areas of standing water adjacent to roads and trails. Complaints about the lack of ducks and grouse continue. Numerous beaver-related complaints were fielded over the week. Public access sites were checked and work with DNR Forestry continues.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent the past week working small-game hunters and ATV riders. Two individuals were dealt with who had loaded firearms in their vehicle. The walleye bite has subsided a bit, probably due to the sporadic weather conditions. A few nuisance-bear complaints also were reported.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked small-game and waterfowl hunters, ATV riders, the state park, a multi-ownership trespass complaint, and a WCA complaint. Deer-baiting complaints are starting to come in. Wet conditions kept most grouse hunters out of the woods, but it didn’t slow duck-hunting activity. Enforcement action was taken for an unplugged gun, unsigned federal duck stamp, no license in possession, blocking a gate on a WMA, and operating an ATV in a state park.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) is investigating an incident where a large buck was shot and killed – likely from the roadway – in Wouri Township north of Virginia. The person responsible removed the buck’s head and neck and left the rest to waste. This deer could have been legally taken by you, your son, daughter or your grandchild and would have made a beautiful trophy. If you know anything about this incident you can contact Frericks directly at (218) 404-0600. You can also use the TIP line. You can remain anonymous. Frericks started field training duties with COC Aaron Larson. Time was spent completing training tasks and checking on baited deer stands for archery hunters. Frericks and Larson assisted in the field day portion of a firearms safety class in International Falls for a class of nearly 50 students.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting and angling activity. Waterfowl and grouse hunters reported limited success. Continuing rain limited recreational activity. Broughten fielded calls regarding trespass and nuisance bears. He also assisted with a firearms safety class.
Cook – vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking anglers and hunters. He taught an ATV safety class at the Cook County middle school. Time was also spent assisting with an ATV work detail along the North Shore.
CO Sean Williams (Ely) attended a work crew with officers from around the state focusing on ATV recreation and small-game hunting south of Ely in areas of the Superior National Forest. Hunter success was fair with most hunters reporting seeing birds. Violations included hunting without a license in possession and failure to display current ATV registration.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and small-game activity during the week. Salmon have begun to move into area streams but recent rainfall has made for challenging fishing conditions on North Shore streams. Murray took a water-quality complaint on Lake Superior that is under investigation and continued big-game baiting investigations.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) spent the week checking ATV and small-game hunting activity. Time was spent checking anglers as well. Schottenbauer hosted a group of officers from around the state to work on hunting, angling, and ATV activity in the area.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked grouse hunters and anglers, worked ongoing cases, and patrolled for AIS violations related to watercraft transportation. He also handled calls about taking deer illegally, various permit issues, and nuisance bears.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked small-game, big-game, and fishing enforcement this past week. He also handled various wildlife-related complaints and patrolled campgrounds.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored OHV activity and checked waterfowl hunters. More ducks were seen in the area this past week. Enforcement action was taken for operating an OHV on a state highway and license issues.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Ryan Hanna assisted the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office with a medical emergency that resulted in a person being transported to a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. They also checked areas for anglers. One angler was checked and was shown different techniques for fishing rivers.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, waterfowl, big-game, ATV, and small-game enforcement. Poor weather conditions continued to plague hunting and angling activity over the weekend. Van Asch also spent time assisting Aitkin County in the search for a missing person.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) patrolled the area for hunting and fishing activity. Hochstein checked several permits of folks who were out cutting balsam boughs. Grouse hunters are still reporting a slow start with poor visibility due to tree foliage and very few birds being seen. Assistance was given to local law enforcement agencies on calls for service.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) assisted with handling a nuisance-bear call in the city of Duluth. Multiple deer-hunting calls were fielded and preliminary investigations started. A possible wetlands violation near a public access was also handled. The wet weather kept field activity low around the area.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) has been field training CO Derek Schneider. They have been dealing with calls about nuisance bears and deer-baiting complaints and checking anglers. Schmidt and Schneider also gave a law/ethics presentation to a firearms safety class in Hermantown. The rainy and cold weather kept most people indoors this past week.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) finished up step one of field training a new-hire conservation officer. They completed some training requirements and followed up on ongoing investigations. They completed a trapping investigation and took care of an illegal transport of a big-game animal into Minnesota. Duncan also worked fishing enforcement and checked waterfowl hunters as well. Grouse hunting and ATV activity were also worked.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) conducted patrols on county and state forest lands for hunting activity during the week. Humphrey took several calls/complaints about nuisance beavers, public-water access concerns, deer licensing, and waterfowl hunting.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended a Minnesota Trappers Association board of directors meeting in Brainerd. Hunting and recreational vehicle activity was worked in the Nemadji State Forest. Enforcement action was taken for no license in possession, hunting during a closed season, and equipment violations. After heavy rains, people are advised to use caution on the trails and roads in the state forest. There are reports of several washed-out roads and trails. Extra patrols were conducted in Jay Cooke State Park, where enforcement action was taken for not having vehicle permits.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers along the North Shore rivers. The large amount of recent rain has North Shore rivers and streams running at spring water levels. Olson responded with fellow officers on a nuisance-bear complaint raising a ruckus in a local neighborhood and complaint was investigated on the shores of Lake Superior with the area hydrologist. A pollution complaint was investigated in a local marina.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers along Lake Superior tributary streams. A few salmon and steelhead are being caught in and near rivers. ATV contacts were made and directions given to operators concerned with following lawful routes. State parks were checked and training was attended. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.