District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports lots of people out in the woods preparing for the upcoming firearms deer season. A youth firearms safety class was held at the Indus School, where 15 students completed the online and field day certification course. Grouse hunters continued to have success throughout the area. Animal-related complaints and hunter disputes over hunting stands and public lands were handled.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports the seemingly early cold weather has caused difficulties for many individuals planning for the upcoming deer season. Caution should be exercised both when using watercraft and on OHVs when dealing with water crossings and wet conditions. You do not have to be completely submerged in water for hypothermia to set in. Slatinski worked with a Voyageurs National Park ranger and checked whitefish netters Kabetogama Lake. For an activity that is always associated with cold weather and water, recent conditions have been downright brutal. Time was also spent at a firearms safety field day in Indus and seasonal equipment maintenance was completed.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports streams and ponds have frozen over, as have bays on area lakes. Water trapping appears over. Permit requests continue. Injured-animal calls and car-killed deer permits continue. Equipment work is ongoing. Numerous phone calls were taken over the week.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time with local conservation officers certifying students in firearms safety at the Indus School District. Despite the snow and winter weather-type conditions, most of the students were attentive and eager to be a part of the field day portion. Complaints were fielded about non-motorized hunting trails being used by motorists who seem to think the trail regulations don’t apply to them. While Zavodnik was on duty, he observed a white trash bag containing plucked ducks dumped on the shore of the Willow River. If anyone has information regarding the violation please call the TIP line at 1-800-652-9093. You can remain anonymous. Zavodnik also observed the last good push of ducks hitting the region with goldeneyes, buffleheads, and bluebills observed on the larger lakes.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent much of the week getting ready for the upcoming deer rifle season. Time was spent winterizing equipment. Hopkins also investigated an illegal decorative material harvesting case. Enforcement action was taken and a number of spruce tops were seized.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ongoing hunting seasons and ATV riders, assisted the Hibbing Police Department with a call about an attempted suicide, investigated two spruce top timber trespass incidents, and spent considerable time documenting baited deer stands for the firearms deer opener. While investigating what was thought to be a trout-fishing-out-of-season issue, Bozovsky located a spruce top theft area and coincidentally found other suspects violating U.S. Forest Service rules, unrelated to the timber trespass. They were turned over to the U.S. Forest Service for enforcement action. Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm, an uncased firearm in the city, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of an occupied building, a blaze orange violation and ATV violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring hunting and trapping activity. Broughten investigated multiple trespass complaints. He also gave a presentation regarding natural resources law enforcement to high school students at Mesabi East High School.
Virginia – vacant.
International Falls #2 - vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports hunting activity tapered off over the week as snow and cooler weather arrived. Angling activity completely stopped on most lakes as several are beginning to form ice and smaller bodies of water have frozen over.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked hunters and whitefish netters this past week. Duck hunting has been slow but whitefish netters have been doing well. Velsvaag followed up on calls and answered several questions on baiting deer and trespass regulations.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking small-game hunters and ATV riders. Wildlife-related calls and past investigations were followed up on. Enforcement action was taken for burning, hunting and firearms violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) took questions about the upcoming firearms deer season and checked stands and hunting areas for deer bait. She also took a report of a grouse hunter in a state park and an accidental-catch fisher. She checked trap sets, grouse hunters and anglers.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) and COC Aaron Larson began Step 3 of field training. A spruce top case resulted in a citation for not carrying consent. Time was spent in the Baudette station on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River checking waterfowl hunters and anglers. Enforcement action included extra line, fishing without a license, possessing frozen shiners without a VHS-free label, nontoxic shot while waterfowl hunting, and an unsigned federal duck stamp. Deer stands were checked for bait.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area hunting activity this past week. Time was also spent working ATV trails and back roads for activity. Traps and stands were located as well.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports taking over duties in Tofte. Equipment inventory and radio maintenance was completed and Hill familiarized himself with different areas of his new station.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) checked grouse hunters and continued big-game baiting investigations. Cold weather has frozen most area ponds as trappers continue to trap beavers. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked grouse hunters, attended meetings, investigated and documented deer-baiting complaints, and worked ongoing trespass and road-hunting complaints.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers and small-game activity and worked ATV and AIS enforcement. Numerous wildlife-related calls were answered. He also patrolled state parks and campgrounds and attended a district meeting.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked waterfowl hunters, monitored decorative material harvest, attended meetings and issued permits this past week. Some birds migrated through the area. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and illegal operation of OHV.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) was busy with giving out road-killed deer possession tags this past week. The deer are really on the move so be careful driving out there during low-light conditions. Enforcement work was done also in preparation for the upcoming deer rifle opener.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked activities related to angling, big-game, small-game and waterfowl hunting, ATV riding, and decorative forest products. Several hunters were contacted making last-minute firearms deer season preparations. Follow up continues on open cases, and several wildlife-related complaints were fielded and handled. Time was also spent investigating a spruce top theft.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) patrolled for big-game, small-game, and waterfowl-hunting activity. Several folks were contacted out in the woods who were collecting decorative forest materials and their permits were checked. Transporting a loaded firearm continues to be a common violation. (See page 23 in the hunting regulations book to review how to legally transport a firearm.)
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) reports lots of activity in the station with preparation for the upcoming firearms deer season. Multiple calls about different property disputes were fielded, and an unlawfully taken deer was investigated in Alborn. Ongoing complaints continue to be worked as well.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked archery deer hunters and small-game hunters most of the past week. Most of the lakes are starting to freeze, limiting waterfowl hunters. ATV activity was also worked and winterization of boats was handled.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) investigated a possible illegally taken deer. An arrow was found in the deer and follow up is required. A possible wolf depredation was also investigated. Several nights were worked in night deer shining complaint areas and boat and other equipment maintenance was completed. A baiting case was completed that resulted in criminal charges.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) followed up on a wetland violation with the local zoning office. A call of a dead swan was looked into. It was determined that the swan flew into some power lines and died as a result. Assistance was given to a local agency in searching for a suicidal male who fled into the woods. K9 Schody was deployed and started searching. The search was stopped early when it was found that the male had gotten a ride to a local bar where he was found unharmed. Contacts were made with various decorative tree and bough haulers where enforcement action was taken for traffic violations. Information on trespassing and baited stands has been coming in.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked small-game and waterfowl hunters in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas and attended a meeting for Division training at Camp Riley. Enforcement action taken for a forestry violation within the city limits of Duluth. Calls from people with firearms deer season questions were steady during the week.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked small-game hunters and shore anglers. Boat maintenance was handled for the end of the season, and preparations were made for the upcoming rifle deer season. A complaint of an injured goose was received and will be monitored. Enforcement action was taken for commercial violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.