District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the walleye season came to a quiet close on the Rainy River as the cold and windy weather kept most people away. The remainder of the workload revolved around ATV enforcement, animal-related complaints, and assisting other agencies with incidents. People are reminded that burning restrictions are in place. People operating ATVs need to be respectful of the trails and forest roads.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports anglers have shifted their targets but are still venturing out onto the area waterways with mixed success. State campgrounds and facilities were checked and monitored. There seem to be more beaver trappers this year with overnight freezing and barely above-freezing temperatures during the day making for frustrating circumstances for some. Several wild-animal-related complaints were fielded.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports completing equipment work and maintenance, checking area forest roads and public access sites, and completing administrative tasks.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) responded to a brush fire that got out of control late Friday evening. Upon arriving, the individual was black from head to toe with soot while attempting to put out the fire on his own for several hours. The individual admitted that starting the fire with high winds in conjunction with kerosene was a bad idea but seemed to think that burning down the remaining trees for a better view of the water was his only option. Zavodnik continues to work trapping and OHV enforcement.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the stream trout and turkey openers, patrolled the state park, monitored ATV and OHM riders and beaver trappers, and served a Wetland Conservation Act Resource Protection Notification. An accidentally trapped otter, a person getting caught in a beaver trap, and a fire complaint were also dealt with. Bozovsky encountered 16 ATVs in a group, all illegally operating on a non-motorized state trail, causing rutting, consuming alcohol, and presenting a number of registration issues. Social distancing was not a consideration. Another large group of ATV riders gathered around their ATVs was encountered, though with fewer violation issues. Bozovsky reminded the physician in the group that social distancing was not being observed. Enforcement action was taken for numerous ATV, OHM, and operating-a-motor-vehicle-on-a-state-trail violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring ATV, trapping, and fishing activity. Cold weather slowed ice-out. ATV activity was high this week despite the weather. Broughten followed up on litter complaints and fielded calls regarding nuisance animals.
Virginia – vacant.
International Falls #2 – vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports ATV activity was again high over the week and weekend. The majority of snow is now gone from the roads and woods, making it much easier to navigate on some of the forest roads. Williams asks that ATV riders pay close attention to all road and trail markers and not operate on trails closed to ATV use.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked a few anglers this past week, along with ATV and OHM riders. He also took several calls about beaver trapping and nuisance-animal questions. Velsvaag also did some equipment maintenance and checked spring fish-run activity.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking state parks and DNR campgrounds and buildings. A large influx of people from the Twin Cities and surrounding area flooded the state parks over the weekend. Very few people decided to buy a park pass. Wahlstrom assisted the county with crowd control during a structure fire in Grand Marais. Time was spent checking anglers along the North Shore tributaries. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV and state park violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) assisted Cook County with a structure fire in downtown Grand Marais. Manning also worked a busy week checking anglers on Lake Superior’s shore and tributaries and checking areas closed to fishing. State park use was very high again over the weekend and compliance with permit purchase was improved. The majority of visitors to the North Shore are still from well outside the area.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the Rainy River during the catch-and-release walleye season. Few boats were seen on the river. Time was spent on equipment maintenance and monitoring ATV use.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area fishing activity this past week. Cold weather slowed fishing greatly along Lake Superior’s tributaries. State parks remained very busy with several vehicle pass and illegal-camping violations noted. A reminder that state park and state forest campgrounds are closed. Fire conditions near Lake Superior are getting worse, and will continue as the snow slowly melts up the hill away from the lake.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports contacting multiple trout anglers during the past week. Most behaved, but a few were found to be in possession of marijuana. Fish were also finicky with temperatures still a little cold. State park vehicle passes were again hard to come by as people continue to enter the park without a permit. A few people were also contacted for camping violations. Even though they saw the signs stating the campgrounds were closed, they took the risk and ultimately received citations.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked Lake Superior stream-fishing activity and monitored state parks. Large numbers of travelers from far and wide were encountered along the North Shore over the weekend. Spring beaver-trapping activity increased and fire restrictions have begun in many areas along with state forest road closures.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, worked small-game hunters and ATV riders, and patrolled state parks. Numerous game and fish questions were answered. He also took care of miscellaneous wildlife-related calls.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked turkey hunters, monitored trapping activity, investigated wildland fires and assisted the county with a welfare check. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and arrests for outstanding warrants.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the turkey opener, ATV activity, spring fish-run and wildfire activities. Sutherland took enforcement action for a turkey overlimit, failing to tag a turkey and failing to validate a turkey tag.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked angling, trapping, ATV, and turkey-hunting enforcement. He also assisted local station officers with a Rainy River work detail. Fire activity has started to increase throughout the surrounding areas. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of turkeys, failure to validate a turkey tag, untagged turkey, illegal equipment while hunting turkeys, and failure to register a turkey.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spoke with several people who were prepping their boats for the open-water season. Most of the smaller lakes are now ice-free and many of the larger lakes are opening up. Two separate instances where people were tampering with legally set traps were investigated.
Northome – vacant.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jake Willis (Brookston) worked an ongoing trapping case and fielded calls for service. ATV activity remains high throughout the area given the current circumstances with many students out of school. Enforcement action was taken for no Type IV PFD, expired boat registration, expired ATV registration, and no angling license.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) worked area rivers and the North Shore for angling activity. ATV and trespass complaints have been increasing. He has been working spring trapping and also been trying to find a turkey hunter. Smelt activity is picking up as well.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued to work the North Shore checking shore and river anglers. Many people were observed and checked throughout the week. Time was spent in area state parks as well. Duncan fielded calls on trespass, dumping, and illegal burning.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked fire, fishing, turkey hunting, and OHV enforcement throughout the past week. He patrolled the Fond du Lac State Forest during spring road and trail closures. Humphrey also spent time working in area state parks and wildlife management areas. A fishing TIP complaint was worked with CO Willis. Several calls about smelting, turkey hunting, OHV operation, and safety training were received. Contacts were made for illegal burning, OHV operation, and angling/boating violations.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spent some extra time patrolling area state parks. Time was also spent assisting in training a new group of working dogs. Assistance was given to the State Patrol with a person walking on the interstate who stated he was lost.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports a busy week along the North Shore, with visitors enjoying area rivers, parks, trails and Lake Superior. Time was spent working Gooseberry and Jay Cooke state parks. Parking areas in both parks were at full capacity over the weekends. Violations included park permit issues and minor fishing violations on Lake Superior. Bears are awake and are out and about. Remember to take care on garbage nights.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked river and shore anglers. Trollers are having issues with strong winds. Rising water temperatures have steelhead and a few smelt coming into the rivers. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.