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Minnesota DNR: To avoid bear visits, move garbage inside, remove bird feeders

Department of Natural Resources report for the week of June 21, 2021.

District 5 — Eveleth area

Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports fishing and boating pressure continues to increase on Rainy Lake as the summer moves forward.

A report of a mat of floating cattails that are blocking the main channel of the Rat Root River near the Rat Root Lake was investigated. Animal-related complaints and wetland issues were also looked into.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) reports checking anglers and monitoring recreational boating activity on Rainy Lake. ATV activity was monitored in the area as well. Enforcement action taken this week was for no license in possession; not having a Type IV throwable device; operating ATVs without headlights; and youth operation without helmets.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) fielded calls of newborn animals and birds left on their own and the callers concerned for their wellbeing. The act of picking up these creatures, thinking you are going to save them, is actually more of a hindrance than help.

Nuisance-animal complaints continue to be called in. Anglers and boaters were contacted with improved fishing reports heard and various boating and fishing violations addressed.


CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes for boating and angling activities. Area forest roads and public access sites were checked. Equipment work was completed and administrative tasks tended to.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked ATV enforcement, boating enforcement and monitored public accesses. Numerous nuisance-bear complaints were received and people are reminded to not leave garbage outside and to remove bird feeders in order to avoid unwanted visits from bears.

An investigation was completed regarding illegal off-highway motorcycle activity that resulted in enforcement action. Time was spent assisting on a wildfire investigation near Scenic State Park.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time discussing career development opportunities. He also fielded multiple lakeshore and nuisance-animal complaints over the week. Zavodnik continues to patrol on the lakes and ATV trails as the summer is in full swing.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, boating and ATV activity. Anglers reported limited success this week. ATV activity slowed this week but ATV-operating complaints continue to be reported.

Broughten fielded calls regarding a trespass and a waters violation. Broughten also assisted with a wildfire.

District 6 — Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) responded to a home in the Ely area after receiving a report of a nuisance bear. He found, after speaking to the homeowner, that the bear had entered a kitchen window while the residents were in the home. They were able to get out of the house safely and call for help. After the bear had exited the house, it showed no fear of them or vehicles. The homeowner was found to have no bear attractants on his property and no explanation for the bear’s boldness.

Please avoid feeding bears, as they are very well-adapted at finding wild foods. Bears can travel great distances and the less fear a bear has of humans the greater the chances of a negative encounter.


CO Mary Manning (Hovland) assisted Honor Guard members from around the state with the line-of-duty-death funeral service for Grand Rapids Meds-1 Paramedic Troy Boettcher and Deerwood Police Officer Charlie Banks. She checked anglers and ATV operators and took calls related to nuisance bears and beavers.

Bears continue to frequent dumpsters, bird feeders and any place they can find a free meal.

Manning also responded to a report of a dead bald eagle. It turned out to be a less-majestic turkey vulture.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) spent time working station lakes and the vacant Tower station. Enforcement action included illegal-length northern pike, extra lines and littering.

Bermel responded to a report of a young bull moose that plunged over the edge into a granite quarry and died. A possession permit was issued.

Nuisance-bear calls continue to come in, particularly in local campgrounds. Assistance was provided on a couple wildfires.

CO Don Murray ( Two Harbors) checked anglers and worked on commercial minnow retailer inspections this week. Most anglers checked had some fish but activity was slower this week.

Fire danger remains high in the area and campers need to make sure all campfires are extinguished before leaving the area, and that any local burning restrictions are followed.


District 7 — Grand Rapids area

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) patrolled area lakes and rivers checking anglers and boaters. Boat safety issues were addressed and enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines and possession of illegal-length fish.

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

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked boating and angling activity with numerous anglers on area waters. The fishing has improved and many nonresidents are starting to trickle into the state to vacation and enjoy Minnesota’s great resources.

Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, operating a watercraft without a valid registration and operating an unregistered ATV.

Because registrations are still backed up at the DMV, it is a good idea to renew your registrations online, which allows for faster processing and stickers to be sent out in a timely manner.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked boat and water enforcement, and investigated a fire. Fairbanks and his K-9 partner, Si, also certified in Police Dog 1 through the United States Police Canine Association this week.

Enforcement action was taken for no angling license, insufficient personal flotation devices, extra lines and no throwable.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working angling, boating and ATV activity throughout the surrounding areas. Assistance was also given to neighboring law enforcement agencies with various calls for service.


Enforcement action was taken for several boating and angling violations.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to check anglers and monitor boating and personal watercraft activity. Time was spent patrolling ATV trails and talking with folks who were out enjoying the trails.

Several natural resource-related phone calls were fielded and advice was given on how to minimize issues with nuisance wild animals.

District 8 — Duluth area

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) continued to spend time on area lakes. Many anglers were checked and fish were measured. Boating safety was also checked while on area lakes. Aquatic invasive species regulations were talked about with boaters while at accesses.

Duncan assisted with a vehicle-moose kill and made arrangements for the moose to be salvaged. ATV activity was also worked throughout the week.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued working angling, boating, off-highway vehicle and aquatic invasive species enforcement during the week.

Humphrey conducted permit compliance checks on weed-roller use. Low lake water levels have had lakeshore owners out removing aquatic vegetation. Several were contacted and educated about aquatic plant management and permit requirements.

Nuisance-animal complaints continue to be received. Humphrey also attended a Division Honor Guard meeting.


CO Scott Staples (Carlton) attended K-9 trials in St. Cloud and helped with certifying new police dogs. A talk was given to a firearms safety class in Barnum. Extra patrols were done on area lakes with enforcement action taken for angling without a license, no life jackets and registration violations.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked boating and aquatic invasive species enforcement on area lakes north of Duluth and the Two Harbors area. His focus was on personal watercraft enforcement on Island Lake. Olson assisted the Lake County Sheriff’s Office with a trespasser in Silver Creek Township.

Enforcement actions were taken for personal watercraft operation, boat registrations and angling violations.

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Katie Rohman has served as the managing editor of the Duluth News Tribune since 2019. She started with Duluth Media Group in 2017 as regional editor of the Superior Telegram, Pine Journal, Lake County News-Chronicle, Eastern Observer and Western Weekly. She has worked in newspapers around the Midwest since 2004.
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