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DNR Reports: Outdoor activities at a standstill waiting for snow, ice, cold weather

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report for the week of Nov. 28.

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District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports it was very quiet over the holiday and weekend with the deer muzzleloader season opening and the relatively nice weather. A few miscellaneous animal-related complaints were handled. He also answered questions about licenses, youth muzzleloader hunting, and trespass issues. People are reminded to use extreme caution when venturing out onto the ice.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week monitoring muzzleloader deer hunting, trapping, and small-game-hunting activity throughout the area. Nuisance/injured-animal complaints were handled and trapping related questions were answered.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports the muzzleloader deer hunt has started much like the regular firearms season came to a close: Hunters wondering where all the deer are at. Quite a few grouse hunters were encountered, and they reported fair success. One landowner was enthusiastic to show Slatinski videos of a grouse that has taken a liking to him, jumping up onto the front of his ATV or windowsill of his pickup. Those looking for ice to begin the spearing and hard-water fishing seasons are not having very good luck in the area. The big lakes were losing ice with several days of temperatures in the 40-degree range.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports the muzzleloader season started like the rifle season ended: No hunters observed and no deer. Lakes and streams have again begun to open, with open water noted and most snow melted. Outdoor activities appear to be at a standstill waiting for snow, ice, and cold weather. Computer training and equipment work were completed.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked on checking muzzleloader hunters in his station. Larson spent time working on equipment maintenance and prepared for ice fishing and winter activity. He also spent time working on a case related to state parks.


CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) spent time maintaining and preparing station equipment for the upcoming seasons. Time was also spent assisting local law enforcement agencies, following up on calls, and investigating a trespass violation. The muzzleloader deer season opened over the weekend, but not many hunters took to the woods despite warm weather.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) and COC Coby Fontes conducted follow up in reference to a trespassing complaint, which resulted in enforcement action being taken against a person who was attempting to take deer with a firearm after the close of the season. Snowmobile enforcement was also conducted, which resulted in one person being cited, and another person being warned for several violations, including operating without a helmet as required, operating a snowmobile without being safety certified, failing to yield before crossing a roadway, and operating an unregistered snowmobile. They also continued working on several cases from the previous week.

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports warmer weather arrived for the opening of the muzzleloader deer season. Few hunters were seen and the pattern of little hunter success continued.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) followed up on big-game investigations and worked on equipment maintenance.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) checked ice anglers, grouse hunters, and deer hunters. Activity is low in the area. Time was also spent on an ongoing investigation.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) wrapped up a slow deer season that ended with heavy snow for much of the area. A few snowmobile riders were out enjoying the early snow, and ATV riders continue to operate as trails remain open through the end of November. Watercraft were stored for the winter. Enforcement action taken for ATV-related violations.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports conducting equipment maintenance throughout the week. Yearly training was completed. Hill issued a cease and desist order to a contractor for unpermitted work along Lake Superior.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping activity and monitored decorative materials harvesting in the area. Most area lakes are still unsafe for travel at this time. Recent warm weather melted snow and ice, delaying safe ice conditions.


District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked small-game hunters and a few anglers out taking their chances on some early ice. Spruce-top thefts were investigated. One spruce-top theft investigation led to a residence where an individual with an outstanding warrant was encountered. The individual was placed under arrest on the warrant and was found in possession of methamphetamine and a loaded handgun. Spruce tops were seized along with equipment used in the theft.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks, checked anglers, and worked big-game hunters and ATV riders. Numerous game and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Roemeling spent the week following up on a big-game violation case and a spruce-top theft case. Several smaller lakes in the area have frozen over and anglers have been having moderate success.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) followed up on complaints from the firearms deer season. Time was also spent investigating a TIP complaint of people illegally cutting decorative boughs and spruce tops. Some lakes in the area are beginning to freeze over but ice conditions appear to be unsafe for any type of travel.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports that while some of the smaller lakes have sufficient ice, most lakes don’t have enough ice for ice fishing. Please remember that if you are going to venture out on the lakes to check the ice thickness often and carry the proper safety equipment.

District 8 - Duluth area

CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) fielded TIP calls regarding ATV/OHM complaints, late shooting, and ongoing hunting complaints. One was found to be unfounded, the others remain ongoing. Enforcement action was taken for trespassing.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) assisted with deer-hunting complaints that came in after the firearms season and followed up on an ATV-trespass complaint involving a closed area. Duncan checked trapping areas and checked some trappers who were enjoying the access to open water. Duncan also spoke at an area high school about the job of a conservation officer.

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) worked on follow-up investigations from the firearms deer season and prepared for the upcoming muzzleloader deer season. Nuisance-beaver complaints were fielded, as were ATV and OHM complaints. Enforcement action was taken for OHM-registration issues.


CO Mikeena Mattson (Willow River) completed annual training. Calls were fielded regarding deer hunting. She worked on a special project.

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