District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports a very busy MEA weekend with lots of people out enjoying the nice fall days. Most of the workload revolved around small-game hunting, ATV enforcement, youth deer hunting, and fishing on the Rainy River. Enforcement action taken for the past week included no angling license in possession, no small-game license in possession, illegal juvenile operation of an ATV, and parents allowing illegal operation of an ATV.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports small-game hunting and the youth deer hunt were popular activities this past week. Several questions were fielded about the youth hunt and it was later apparent many hunters deemed it a success. Grouse hunters seem to be having a little more success as the leaves drop from the underbrush. Violations observed included transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle on a non-motorized trail, and trespass.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) fielded numerous phone calls over the past week. Permit requests continue, as does work with DNR Forestry. There were numerous beaver-related complaints over the past week as trappers wait for the season to open. Public access sites were checked and area forest roads were monitored.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ongoing hunting seasons, the youth firearms deer season, anglers and ATV riders. He also fielded a call of trapping squirrels in town, a TIP call of an illegally taken deer and a wetland-fill complaint. Hunters are seeing more grouse in the woods and the folks putting in a good walking effort are bagging birds. Two limits were checked. In both instances, the hunters paid their dues by each walking 15 miles. Most small-game hunters were unaware they needed the full complement of blaze orange when the youth firearms deer season was taking place. A double-digit tally of violations was encountered. While interviewing a person on a TIP call, a vehicle was observed backing into a parked car. The driver was dealt with and cited for driving after suspension. Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, no blaze orange, driving after suspension and a number of ATV violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring hunting and angling activity. Anglers reported a good walleye bite. Waterfowl and grouse hunters reported good success. Broughten fielded calls about the youth deer season and hunter harassment.
Virginia – vacant.
Cook – vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) attended an ATV and small-game hunting work crew in the Finland area over the weekend. Hunting activity was good but most people contacted were ATV riders enjoying the warm dry weather. Violations included hunting deer over bait, failure to display current ATV registration, and taking small game without blaze orange.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and hunters this past week. He also followed up on an ongoing litter complaint. Duck hunting has been slow but some nice walleyes are being caught. Velsvaag took several calls on the youth deer hunt and trapping regulations.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking small-game hunters, anglers and ATV operators. Numerous wildlife-related calls were handled. Wahlstrom and other area officers and volunteer instructors assisted with an ATV safety field day at the Cook County school.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) conducted field checks of ATV operators, small-game hunters and anglers. Manning also worked with volunteer instructors, U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers, and other COs conducting an ATV field test for 31 students from Cook County schools. She attended the funeral for retired CO Reynold Lasko as part of the DNR Honor Guard and provided Cook County with assistance in a search.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy MEA weekend with a wide array of outdoor activities monitored. Numerous calls and questions were addressed throughout the week. Enforcement action included trespassing on posted land, open burning of garbage, small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, taking deer from a road, operating an OHM on a roadway, excessive speed on an ATV, and no helmets on juvenile ATV passengers. Assistance was provided to CO Broughten with a hunter-harassment case, CO Williams with an archery deer baiting case, and St. Louis County with a search warrant.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area hunting and angling activity this past week. Time was spent working ATV trails and back roads for hunting activity with officers from around the state up to assist. The conservation officer candidate Schottenbauer is training, COC Aaron Larson, worked grouse hunting, fishing, and ATV enforcement. Several contacts were made over the busy weekend. Many vacationers were in the area to enjoy the outdoors over the MEA break. Reminder that youth must wear a helmet until they are 18 while driving or riding on an ATV.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ATV and small-game hunting activity this past week. ATV riders enjoyed beautiful riding weather over the weekend as warmer weather replaced the snow showers earlier in the week. Hunters are reporting grouse have been sparse in the area so far this season.
Tofte – vacant.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and small-game hunters, and worked ATV activity and AIS enforcement. Numerous wildlife-related calls were answered. He also patrolled state parks and campgrounds.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored the early youth deer season, patrolled for OHV activity and assisted the local police department with a burglary in progress. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in locating a lost person. Hunter success was good. Enforcement action was taken for license issues, no trailer lights and operating an OHV on a state highway.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling, waterfowl, small-game, big-game, and ATV activities. Several nuisance-animal complaints were also fielded and handled. Enforcement action was taken for license violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time monitoring waterfowl hunting, grouse hunting, and late-season walleye fishing. While waterfowl and angling reports were slow, most hunters targeting grouse reported success. Assistance was given to other law enforcement agencies on calls for service.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) conducted patrols on county and state forest lands for various hunting activity during the week. Humphrey also monitored commercial forest product harvest. Humphrey investigated a deer-poaching complaint and assisted local law enforcement on a shooting incident in Cloquet. A report of a dog caught in a trap was also received. A good number of kids were out for the inaugural youth-only firearms deer season. Several first deer, and some nice bucks to boot, were seen and reported harvested.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) checked waterfowl and other small-game hunters over the past week. Enforcement action was taken for license and ATV violations. Complaints of trespassing and harassment were looked into and are still under investigation. Several young hunters appeared to be successful over the four-day youth deer hunt in the area.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) continued training COC Schneider in station. They spent much of the week working ATV areas and trails. Small-game hunters have been out in force enjoying the great fall weather. Anglers were checked at area lakes and rivers, as were waterfowl hunters.
CO Jake Willis (Brookston) and CO Brett Wiltrout worked the youth deer season, small-game hunters, and boat and water enforcement given the warm weather. Phone calls were fielded regarding the youth season and the upcoming regular firearms season. Enforcement action was taken for small-game license violations, trespass violations, and not having licenses in possession.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked the youth deer season and had the opportunity to visit with several youth hunters. A couple hunting complaints were investigated. One youth hunter was found hunting over a baited area. Small-game hunters were all over the woods during the nice weather. ATV activity continues to be worked. Area lakes were worked for fishing and waterfowl hunting. Night shining complaint areas were also worked, which resulted in violations for shining deer more than two hours after sunset.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked commercial enforcement on Lake Superior. On-the-water training was also conducted with U.S. Coast Guard crews, including towing and man-overboard drills. The youth deer hunt was worked in areas north of Duluth and Two Harbors. The nice weather over the weekend had many out enthusiasts in the woods and on the waters. Firearms deer season questions were fielded and a damage-to-tree-stand complaint investigated.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boat and shore anglers on Lake Superior. Small-game hunters were taking to the woods, with better success for grouse now that leaves are falling. A nuisance-bear complaint was handled and ATVs were checked as part of a multi-district work crew. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.