District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) and COC Seifermann report the muzzleloader deer season is off to a slow start. They spent the past week conducting follow up from the firearms deer season, investigating a bear-related incident and issuing deer-possession permits.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) attended training at Camp Ripley. Slatinski monitored small-game hunters, trappers, and the opening of the muzzleloader deer season. He assisted a camper with collecting their belongings for departure at the seasonal closing of the Woodenfrog Campground. He also worked ongoing cases and took care of equipment maintenance. A background investigation for a potential hire was started.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports heavy snow continues and that slush, thin ice and deep snow resulted in no angling activity observed. Phone calls and comments continue about the lack of deer and general poor deer hunting this year. The winter storm arrived just in time for the muzzleloader deer opener, but no hunters were found afield. Equipment work continues. It appears a good, old-fashioned winter is upon us.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) reports that with snowy weather during the past few days, snowmobile activity has increased significantly over the region. Anglers have also taken advantage of the early ice this year. Many are having success within walking distance of public accesses. Zavodnik has observed varying reports of ice, with as few as 3 inches on some areas of the lake and as much as 10 inches on others. With that said, he advises ATV and snowmobile riders to use caution when out on the lakes, as we haven’t had optimal weather to make good ice yet. Zavodnik, the State Patrol, and local law enforcement responded to call Sunday afternoon involving a snowmobile going through the ice and partially sinking. Zavodnik worked with St. Louis County dispatch to identify where the stranded individual had fallen through and was transported via snowmobile to where EMS was standing by. Despite being wet and a little cold, the individual was found to have no apparent injuries.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) spent much of the past week following up on open deer-season cases. Help is wanted in identifying the hunter(s) responsible for shooting two deer in the same location in McCarthy Beach State Park on the last day of the firearms deer season. The deer were loaded up in a hurry. Please call the TIP line or Bozovsky directly. A snowstorm brought out the first snowmobilers of the season. It took Bozovsky only about a minute after leaving the office to find the first violation. Trappers are reminded to read the regulations book as a report of trappers targeting fishers, martens and bobcats was handled. The season doesn’t open until Dec. 21. Enforcement action was taken on various deer-hunting and snowmobile violations.
Virginia – vacant.
International Falls #2 – vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports angling activity peaked at the end of the week just before nearly a foot of snow fell in the Ely area. Snowmobile activity was steady, although most riders were still avoiding lakes because of recent mild weather and snowfall. Violations the past week included angling without a license in possession and failure to display snowmobile registration.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) reports muzzleloader hunters were met with tough conditions due to the recent snowfalls. Some snowmobilers are getting out, as are a few anglers, but some areas have slush and ice conditions are highly variable.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked for ice-angling activity. He also completed equipment maintenance and followed up on big-game investigations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) continued the wrap up the deer and bear seasons. Snowmobile trails are open and snow-covered to varying degrees. Lake ice thickness is extremely varied and anglers are advised to check frequently when they choose to venture out.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) finished up a deer-hunting investigation. A background investigation has started on a possible new hire. Some time was spent checking for angling activity, which has slowed with all the new snow. Bermel also checked a few snowmobile riders. Muzzleloader hunters are going to have a tough go of it with all the snow in the woods, although lots of deer movement was observed. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register deer.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling activity. Heavy snow and mild weather are not helping the ice. Some snowmobile activity has started as well.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports attending training at Camp Ripley during the past week. Hill also conducted maintenance on station vehicles and began a background investigation on a potential new conservation officer candidate for the upcoming Academy.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked the first snowmobile activity for the season with riders out trying their equipment. Ice-fishing activity has slowed and slush on area lakes has made travel treacherous. Murray assisted volunteer instructors with a youth snowmobile safety class during the week.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) worked small-game hunters and followed up on fall deer-hunting investigations. With the snow, the hunting activity has decreased. He spent time checking early ice anglers. Time was worked changing over equipment from fall to winter enforcement.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) and COC Marc Johnson worked small-game hunters, ice anglers and muzzleloader deer hunters. In addition, they monitored ATV and snowmobile activity. A large snowstorm that moved through the state limited recreation throughout the area.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the opening of the muzzleloader deer season with some success had by hunters during a snowstorm. Case work was finished up on from the rifle deer season and ice anglers were spotted on area small lakes. Please be careful as the ice is spotty in quality, at best, especially with the new snow.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) continued with fall deer-hunting investigations. He fielded nuisance-wildlife complaints. Van Asch checked anglers out on thin ice; caution is suggested until ice thickness increases. He finalized a fall deer-hunting case with charges being filed.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent time monitoring a variety of outdoor activities. Some anglers in the area found a decent crappie bite, making for a good start to the ice-fishing season. Several nuisance-animal calls were fielded and handled throughout the past week.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jake Willis (Brookston) wrapped up some leftover cases from the firearms deer season and saw a significant drop in the number of people out and about in rural areas. Assistance was given to local agencies during the recent winter storm event in the Duluth area. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and licensing violations. A reminder to everyone to make sure you renew snowmobile registration before venturing out now that the season is suddenly upon us.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) completed all paperwork and reports following the firearms deer season.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) followed up on deer-season investigations and reports and prepped equipment for the winter season.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) worked on finishing cases from the firearms deer season. Assistance was given to other area agencies after a blizzard hit the area. Several stranded motorists were checked on to make sure they were OK. A call was received Thanksgiving morning reporting a dog had found two fresh turkey carcasses that were breasted out in the Moose Lake area. Even though it was Thanksgiving, they were taken out of season so an investigation is underway. Anyone with information is asked to call TIP at 800-652-9093.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) followed up on complaints after the firearms deer season, worked snowmobile enforcement and assisted area agencies with vehicles in the ditch and stranded in the roadway during the winter storm that dumped more than 21 inches of snow in the Duluth area. Olson also checked anglers along the North Shore in the Duluth and Two Harbors areas.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked snowmobiles and assisted other law enforcement with vehicles stuck in the blizzard. Common violations of failing to display snowmobile registration numbers and modifying a muffler to be louder were found and handled. Equipment changeover to winter was handled. Enforcement action was taken for commercial and snowmobile violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.