District 5 — Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports fall recreational activities are increasing with bear hunting and ATV riding being the main focuses. Instructing emergency vehicle operations to fellow conservation officers was conducted at Camp Ripley. More than 50 local youth received their firearms safety certificate over the weekend.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) reports checking anglers on Rainy Lake as well as checking bear baits in the area. Unregistered bear baits and bear baits without the required signage were located. Enforcement action was taken for these issues. Simonson also assisted with a youth firearms safety class in the International Falls area.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and boating activities. ATV-riding and goose-hunting activities were checked. Forest roads were monitored and other time was spent on equipment work and administrative reporting.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily ATV enforcement and bear-hunting enforcement. Larson worked a case related to ATVs in a state park, and assisted another CO with a case related to operating an ATV under the influence.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked big-game, ATV and fishing activity. Time was also spent following up on calls, responding to nuisance-bear/beaver complaints, and speaking at a special archery hunt orientation in Side Lake.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia Station) assisted multiple agencies with a person who was stranded on an ATV trail for nearly 10 hours in their disabled pickup truck. He also assisted a person who had their Class II ATV stuck in a bog on a snowmobile trail. Zavodnik continues to work on equipment maintenance for the fall hunting seasons and also prepared for upcoming Honor Guard training. Several ATV and waterfowl violations were addressed.
District 6 — Two Harbors area
CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) checked anglers and boaters this past week. He also followed up on a couple of burning complaints during the current fire restrictions. Bear-hunting activity, including bear baiting, has been slowing down, as have bear-related complaints in general.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked bear hunters and followed up on big-game investigations. Time was spent checking anglers and ATV riders. Enforcement was taken for big-game and ATV violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked bear hunters and rechecked bait stations of successful hunters who were done. After some investigation, she located a hunter who had used entire beaver carcasses in a bait station that was registered to a young hunter who had already gotten his bear. A few unregistered bait stations were also investigated, along with some illegal ATV operation.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked Labor Day patrolling local ATV trails and complaint areas with CO Larson. A couple citations were issued for allowing illegal youth operation of an ATV and operating on a closed trail. One individual was arrested for DWI on an ATV. Emergency vehicle operations course refresher was completed. Twenty youth were certified in firearms safety in Babbitt.
Additional enforcement action was taken for fishing without a license and for speeding after an individual passed the officer and continued at over 100 mph.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area bear-hunting and angling activity this past week. Time was also spent at Camp Ripley with training and collecting backgrounds for an upcoming Academy.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports bear hunters have all but left the area after an extremely busy first week of the season. Violations have been minimal since the first few days and Hill thanks the hunters for sticking to the regulations books.
Speaking of regulations books, questions are starting to pour in about the upcoming white-tailed deer seasons. Now is a good time to get your questions answered, and Hill stresses that the majority of the questions can be answered with just a few page flips. Hill started a background investigation for an applicant in the hiring process for the CO Prep program.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked early goose and bear-hunting activity during the week. Bears continue to be active, with hunters seeing high use at baits. Murray also checked fall anglers and wild rice harvesters. Several questions on fire restrictions were answered.
District 7 — Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) spent the week focusing primarily on bear-hunting activities. Time was also spent enforcing ATV activities and checking a few anglers and waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action was taken for fishing while fishing privileges are revoked; expired ATV registration; failure to display ATV registration; improper bear-bait signs; placing bear-bait warning signs; and for two people hunting over unregistered bear-bait stations.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, big-game waterfowl hunters, watercraft operators and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked bear hunting, monitored off-highway vehicle activity and investigated Turn in Poachers complaints. Angler success was great this week. Enforcement action was taken for allowing illegal operation of ATVs by juveniles, illegal transportation of fish and license issues.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked bear-hunting activities, with the hunter success rate being very high. Sutherland also worked fall fishing activities. With the water cooling, fish are starting to become active again. Enforcement actions were taken for operating an ATV on a U.S. highway and not displaying valid registration numbers.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working big-game, migratory waterfowl, angling and boating enforcement. Assistance was also given to local law enforcement agencies for various calls for service. Questions regarding the upcoming duck and deer seasons were also fielded and answered. Enforcement action was taken for several angling violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) responded to several nuisance-wildlife and injured-animal calls. Bear-hunting activity has slowed significantly after the first week. Assistance was given to other law enforcement agencies and enforcement action was taken for various violations, including burning prohibited materials.
District 8 — Duluth area
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) checked several past deer-baiting locations. He continued working an illegal bear-baiting station that is not registered or signed, and checked anglers on area lakes and shorelines. ATV activity was worked at high-use locations. A trespass complaint was investigated and will require follow up. Duncan also spent a day at Camp Ripley for emergency vehicle operations training
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued working various hunting and off-highway vehicle enforcement. He investigated litter and bear-carcass dumping complaints. A nuisance-bear permit was issued at a farm with crop damage. Humphrey attended a Sept. 11 memorial event in Grand Rapids as part of a joint Honor Guard detail.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) reports Lake Superior has been producing good catches of lake trout, pink salmon and some coho salmon in the waters near Silver Bay and Twin Points. The recent nice weather and sea conditions had many people out enjoying the lake. He worked possible deer shining and trespassing in the Saginaw area. Bear hunters are still having success in the Two Harbors area as well.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked shore anglers and those out trolling. Goose hunting was monitored and commercial fishing items worked. ATV-related complaints were received, and yet another operator was found transporting young children without helmets. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and waterfowl violations.