District 5 — Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports time was spent at Camp Ripley instructing emergency vehicle operations to Academy 20. Animal-related complaints were also handled throughout the week.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports angling and camping are still prominent activities in the area. More temperate conditions appear to be favorable among anglers, leading to increased catch rates. Many visitors are reporting they are new to the area this year or haven’t been here in several decades. Please check for applicable regulations and requirements for both camping and fishing prior to arriving and finding the way it used to be has changed.
Bear baiting has begun and ATV users are asked to be mindful that recent rainfall amounts have caused previously dry areas to become saturated, making them susceptible to rutting and damage.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) continued monitoring angling and boating activities on area lakes. Area forest roads were checked. Public access sites were visited. Additional time was spent on equipment work. Wild rice monitoring is ongoing.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) reports area lakes have been quite active despite the up-and-down weather as of late. He also continues to work on wrapping up a wolf case from the previous deer-hunting season. During the week, Zavodnik investigated several aquatic plant management and lake access violations.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked angling and boating activity and the start of bear baiting. He also dealt with a trespass complaint. Enforcement action was taken on boating, fire and trespass violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring ATV, fishing, boating and aquatic invasive species activity. ATV activity remains high. Anglers reported moderate success. Few bear hunters were observed for the start of bear baiting.
District 6 — Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) spent the past weekend monitoring bear-baiting activity. Although activity was lower than in past years, a fair number of baits were located and checked. Violations included operating an unregistered ATV, taking trout without a stamp, and operating an ATV with a juvenile passenger with no helmet.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) checked anglers this past week. He also followed up on several complaints and took questions about nuisance animals and the new snaring regulations. Velsvaag also received a personal watercraft complaint and an ATV complaint during the week.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking anglers, watercraft and bear-baiting activity. He responded to several nuisance-wildlife complaints. Enforcement action was taken for angling, public lands and watercraft violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) reports a busy start to bear baiting. Hunter conflicts are being reported and handled by Manning as some hunters still think of public-land bait stations as “theirs.” Manning also checked ATV riders and boaters. Both groups are reminded to read the regulation books for their chosen activity before hitting the woods and water.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area bear-baiting activity this week. Time was spent at the academy, and following up on a few nuisance-bear complaints as well.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a lot of bear activity in the station throughout the week. Bears have already been hitting baits after the baiting season started Aug. 14. Unfortunately, bears are still getting into dumpsters and garages along the shore. A reminder to bear hunters: Consult with U.S. Forest Service and DNR regulations regarding off-trail ATV travel. Although it may look like a road/trail to operate your machine, it very well could be an illegally maintained trail.
Also keep in mind that long-standing bait stations on public land are first-come, first-served. Hill took a report of a male party arguing that it is “his bait” and that he has been baiting it for many years. This kind of behavior is unnecessary and there are many opportunities elsewhere to establish a bait station.
Hill spoke with a person for illegally harvesting wild animals within the Highway 61 State Game Refuge.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ATV and bear-baiting activity this past week in preparation for the bear-hunting opener. Recreational activity was high in the area with most state parks and campgrounds full of visitors. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and licensing violations.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) continued to spend time on nuisance-bear issues. Additional time was spent working aquatic invasive species, ATV and angling enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for angling with an extra line.
District 8 — Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) handled a personal watercraft complaint on the St. Louis River. Enforcement action was taken for operating within 150 feet of shore, operating during prohibited hours, and failure to display registration. ATV trails were also patrolled, with wet conditions found in most of the area. Enforcement action was taken for a nonresident failing to obtain a state trail pass.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) spent the entire past week at the CO Academy and assisted with instruction related to off-highway vehicles. Part of the week focused on emergency vehicle operations. Complaints related to a lake outlet were handled and nuisance-animal complaints were received.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) followed up on a couple waters complaints involving area lake levels. He also worked ATV enforcement in past complaint and high-use areas. Duncan checked fishing activity on area lakes and talked with boaters about aquatic invasive species regulations at area accesses. Duncan also spent time working bear-baiting locations for illegal bear baiting.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) investigated a report of fish carcasses being dumped and followed up on a nuisance-bear complaint. Humphrey took calls/questions on rice harvesting, bear baiting, licensing and hunting. Copious amounts of rain in the area have made access and travel messy for those bear baiting. Humphrey completed online registration in preparation for future training exercises.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) investigated an early bear-baiting complaint and also took nuisance-bear calls in the area. Assistance was given to the State Patrol with a vehicle that was ramming another vehicle on the interstate. The suspect vehicle ended up in the median and the victim on the side of the interstate. The suspect driver was arrested for DUI.
An investigation was started in regards to a complaint of a stolen minnow trap in the Wrenshall area. If anyone has any information, they are asked to call the Turn in Poachers line.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior. Anglers were having success depending on the water temperatures. He also focused attention on aquatic invasive species enforcement at area boat landings during the week. Olson assisted CO Murray in the Two Harbors area with bear baiting and locating potential bear guides. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations and minor aquatic invasive species violations.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boat and shore anglers on Lake Superior. ATV trails remain busy, and bear baiters have started to establish baits. State park activity remains high, with multiple bear-related complaints received. Enforcement action taken for ATV violations.