District 5 - Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports lots of people were out enjoying the woods and water, whether it was fishing, hunting, riding ATVs, or hiking. Animal related complaints and trespass complaints were handled throughout the week. A law presentation was given to an area trapper education class.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports working small game hunters, goose and duck hunters, ATV enforcement and anglers on the Rainy River. Bear hunting activity was also monitored this past week.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports nuisance bear reports continue to be heard, as well as complaints of people feeding other wild animals, which are causing problems and concerns for neighbors. The area was busy, with ATV riders, grouse hunters and waterfowl hunters contributing to most of the activity. In one instance, two off-highway vehicle operators drove next to the officer’s patrol vehicle at a stop sign and then continued onto the highway, operating in the driving lane and on the shoulder at a high rate of speed. Contact was made with both individuals. Work continues on a background investigation and equipment maintenance was tended to.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring public access sites and checking fishing activities. Small game hunting activities were checked, as were area forest roads. Equipment work continues. Other time was spent returning phone calls and dealing with nuisance animals.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily small game and decorative material enforcement. Larson worked with CO Bermel on a case that resulted in a large seizure of spruce tops. Larson also investigated a potential shoreline violation.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked small game, archery deer and waterfowl activity. In addition, time was spent speaking at a firearms safety class in Buhl, responding to calls and attending a community event in Chisholm. Hunting activity was slowed by precipitation that lingered throughout the weekend.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time investigating multiple trespass complaints involving ATVs and theft of decorative materials. He also assisted multiple law enforcement agencies with a search of a known individual who fled on foot during a traffic stop. Zavodnik continues to complete routine maintenance on equipment and is currently investigating several violations that occurred over the week.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, hunting and ATV activity. Recreational activity appeared lower this week. Waterfowl hunters reported moderate success with local ducks. Broughten also fielded calls regarding bears, trapping regulations and license questions.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports a weekend of clouds and rain did not deter small game hunters in the Ely area from searching trails for grouse. Success was again low, but most hunters checked said it was as much about enjoying the fall colors as shooting a bird. Waterfowl hunters reported still seeing a good amount of geese north of Ely but reported very few ducks.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked small game hunters and anglers on area lakes. ATV trails were monitored. He handled wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled forest roads and trails checking small game hunters and ATV operators. Manning also checked end-of-season trout anglers on inland lakes and worked the salmon run on Lake Superior tributaries.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily spruce-top theft cases throughout the week. He also checked some duck and grouse hunters. Three separate spruce-top thefts were solved, including a large theft on state forest land. Charges for gross misdemeanor timber trespass are pending. Additional enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded gun in a motor vehicle.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area small game hunting activity this week. Time was also spent on a continued background investigation.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) continued to work on a background investigation for the upcoming academy.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked small game and archery deer hunters this week. Mild weather and peak fall colors brought lots of travelers to the North Shore. Fall anglers are getting in some fishing on area lakes before weather turns cold. Several campgrounds are still busy with campers.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked grouse hunters and conducted ATV enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for no small-game license in possession, no ATV trail pass and transporting a loaded firearm.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked anglers, big game and small game hunters, boaters 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 waterfowl hunting activity and handled nuisance animal complaints this week. Angler success was good while hunter success was slower. Fairbanks and his K9 partner Si also assisted in locating a suspect who fled into the woods and located a juvenile runaway. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and an arrest was made for outstanding warrants.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked duck hunting activity in the area with continued success had by area hunters. Enforcement action was taken for not having small game licenses, federal duck stamps and a state waterfowl stamp. Sutherland has taken numerous calls of deer being hit by vehicles recently. Be careful while out driving as the deer are on the move.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) worked small game, migratory waterfowl, boating and big game enforcement activities throughout the surrounding areas. Several nuisance animal complaints were fielded and addressed. Questions regarding the upcoming firearms deer season were also answered.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to check waterfowl and grouse hunters. Grouse hunters are reporting seeing more birds in the woods as the leaves fall off the trees and shrubs. A law and ethics talk was given at a firearms safety class. Enforcement action was taken for several small game and bear hunting violations.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) focused on small game hunting and ATV activity. Lots of hunters and riders were seen in the woods and a few birds were seen in the bag. Complaints of trespassing, shooting too close to residences, operation of ATVs on closed trails and deer stand issues were handled. He assisted with the laws and ethics portion at a local firearm safety class.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued to investigate the possible illegal take of a black bear. Duncan worked small game hunting areas and checked waterfowl hunters during the week. Complaints were followed up on, including night shining deer locations, ATV trespass and possible illegal harvest of decorative materials. Anglers and archery deer hunters were also checked throughout the week.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued working on hunting and OHV enforcement throughout the week. Humphrey patrolled the Fond du Lac State Forest, wildlife management areas and county forest lands. Humphrey followed up on a big game investigation and a wetland case, and assisted with a detail in the Two Harbors station with CO Murray.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked small game hunters and ATV riders. The wet weather had bird hunters scrambling to find birds over the weekend. Olson attended a firearms safety class with CO Schmidt in West Duluth. He investigated birch pole cutting in the Brimson area with CO Duncan and responded to calls from people with questions about the firearms deer season.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers as the lake trout season drew to a close. ATV- and bear-related complaints were received and handled. A road-hit moose near Duluth was dispatched and signed over to a private party. A detail in the BWCA was worked related to fire closures. Enforcement action was taken for ATV complaints.