District 5 — Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports bear baiting is in full swing with reports of lots of bears hitting the baits. Fishing and boating continue to be the major outdoor activity, but people are starting to venture into the woods, which brings increased ATV activity. Animal-related complaints and public water issues were also handled.
Enforcement action taken for the week included fishing license violations, boat safety equipment issues, and boat registration issues.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) received various animal-related complaints throughout the week.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) monitored area lakes for boating and angling activities. Forest roads and public access sites were checked. Equipment work was completed and phone calls were returned. Administrative tasks were completed.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) spent time working with CO Bermel assisting the U.S. Forest Service with evacuating the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness after recent closures. Larson also spent time working angling enforcement, bear baiting, and illegal camping in a state park.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) investigated a wolf-depredation case involving sheep and helped free a buck that had its antlers wrapped in fencing.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, ATV, ricing and bear-baiting activity. Anglers reported poor success this week. Heavy smoke in the air likely limited recreational activity.
Broughten also fielded calls regarding ATV regulations, burning restrictions, and nuisance bears.
District 6 — Two Harbors area
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked bear-bait stations and registrations. Numerous violations of U.S. Forest Service regulations were noted, as were a few state violations. She patrolled state forest campgrounds and other closed areas of the Grand Portage State Forest and Superior National Forest.
Manning also took calls and emails about nuisance bears and camping restrictions. Despite some rain in the area, many campsites and all dispersed camping is prohibited, as are all campfires.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked in the BWCAW with CO Larson. Assistance was provided to the U.S. Forest Service with BWCAW evacuations and closure. Time was spent on bear-baiting enforcement, preparing for upcoming seasons, and handling miscellaneous calls and complaints.
Enforcement action included cans and glass in the BWCAW, insufficient personal flotation devices, and fishing without a license.
Very few teal are in the area with the new early teal season approaching.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area bear-baiting activity this week. Due to dry weather, high winds and forest closures, most of these checks were done on foot as opposed to ATV, for fear of sparking another fire. Hunters are encouraged to monitor fire activity as some parts of the forest are now closed to hunting activity.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports assisting the U.S. Forest Service with fire duties in the Tofte station. Campers and boaters were reminded of the fire danger. A few angling licenses were checked and the bite on Lake Superior has slowed down a bit, but with enough time and effort you should leave with fish.
Multiple bear-bait sites were inspected and so far very few violations have been seen.
A reminder to limit your impact in the area when establishing your baits and definitely do not cut down larger trees.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent week checking on bear baits and following up on ATV-related complaints. He assisted with the Lake and Cook county fires.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked bear-baiting activities and assisted fire security personnel as needed with the Greenwood Fire.
Bear hunters are reporting high bear activity at bait stations.
Murray also checked on wild rice harvesting activity and took nuisance-animal complaints.
District 7 — Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) spent the majority of the week monitoring bear-baiting, ATV, and fishing activities. Aquatic plant and wetland violations were detected and investigated and various questions about wildlife and hunting were answered.
Enforcement action was taken for illegal use of pesticides on aquatic vegetation; excavating in a wetland; fishing with no fishing license in possession; expired ATV registration; and numerous youth ATV helmet violations.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored wild rice harvesting, patrolled the area ATV trails, worked bear baiting and assisted the county with a domestic disturbance and bar fight.
Fairbanks and his K-9 partner, Si, also assisted in searching for a suspicious person howling and screaming in the woods near residences.
Enforcement action was taken for license issues and illegal operation of an off-highway vehicle.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked angling activity over the past week, with many non-residents in the area on vacation before school starts.
Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession and not having enough life jackets onboard a watercraft.
Sutherland also worked wild-ricing activity in the area, with the harvest being average at best this year with the low water conditions.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused enforcement efforts on boating, angling, ATV, and big-game activities. Enforcement action was taken for several angling and boating violations.
Bear-baiting activity was also checked, as the season opener is coming fast.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to monitor bear-baiting and angling activity. One angler was observed casting his line into the river several times. When Hochstein approached the angler, he no longer had a fishing rod in his hands and denied that he was fishing. After a short questioning session, the angler admitted to fishing and retrieved his rod that he threw about 15 feet into the bushes in an attempt to avoid a citation for angling without a license.
District 8 — Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) fielded calls regarding the upcoming bear season and about current burning restrictions and regulations. Despite the recent rain, conditions are still extremely dry. Even if it is legal to have a campfire, use extreme caution throughout the area.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boaters and anglers on Lake Superior. Nuisance-bear questions were answered and security details worked on the Greenwood Fire. Some rain was finally received to start making up for the water deficit, but more will be necessary to reduce fire danger.
Enforcement action was taken for ATV and boating violations.