District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) attended training at Camp Ripley for part of the work week. Despite the cold, rainy, snowy, and windy weather, people still ventured out onto the Rainy River for some walleye fishing, while some people took to the woods for grouse hunting. Enforcement action for the week included no angling license in possession, overlimit of walleyes, and transporting a loaded firearm. Because of all the rain people are encouraged to get out of their vehicles and ATVs and walk so not to tear up the trails and forest roads.
CO Shane Zavodnik (International Falls #2) was patrolling on Highway 53 when he observed a familiar ATV operator he had cited for driving after revocation on Highway 53 two months prior. The individual was found to be in violation of the same offenses he had been stopped for previously, which was driving after revocation, operating an ATV without lights on, operating on the road right of way, and operating an ATV with expired registration. When the individual was asked why he chose to operate on the highway again knowingly aware of the offenses, he was told there’s nowhere else to drive an ATV. Zavodnik also assisted the State Patrol and St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office with an extremely intoxicated and uncooperative motorist who was also found to be in possession of a loaded handgun. Other violations encountered over the week included transport of a loaded firearm and hunting without a small-game license.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports heavy rain and some snow over the week. Outdoor activities remain light. Hunting success continues to be poor. Standing water and rutting on trails have appeared. Beaver complaints continue as the rain continues. Numerous phone calls and permit requests were handled over the week.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) spent a good part of the past week at training. There were complaints about nuisance bears and beavers this past week; hopefully the bears will start hibernating soon. Anglers who braved the rain had pretty good luck on the water.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked ongoing hunting seasons, ATV riders, balsam bough cutters, deer baiting, illegal deer stand complaints and a recurring trespass complaint. Bozovsky also dealt with an injured deer, and in Chisholm, a goose that had an arrow in it, along with geese with deformed wings that would not be capable of making it south for the winter. Anyone with information on the goose that was shot in town is urged to contact Bozovsky or the TIP hotline. Enforcement action was ATV-related.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time on administrative tasks. When out in the field, he checked deer stands placed over bait. A few anglers were checked and had limited success. A juvenile OHM rider was stopped for operating in the road right of way. He and his father were advised about the laws regarding operating off-highway motorcycles. Some bear-related complaints had come in and Frericks assisted with a search warrant.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting and angling activity. Waterfowl and grouse hunters reported good success. Broughten fielded calls regarding trespass, nuisance bears, the youth deer season, and injured animals.
Cook – vacant.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) focused on small-game hunting activity over the weekend. Hunter activity was again sparse and seemed to increase and decrease as the weather switched from snow to rain to sunshine. Violations included illegal transportation of game birds.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and duck hunters this past week. He also checked grouse hunters, although the weather made hunting difficult. The few anglers out have been getting some nice fish and duck hunting picked up at the end of the week.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked small-game hunters and ATV riders, assisted the Forest Service and responded to hunting complaints. He attended training at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for ATV, small-game and firearms violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled state and federal forest lands checking grouse hunters and ATV operators. Road hunters are reminded it is their responsibility to know they are more than 500 feet from occupied dwellings before discharging their firearms. Hunters should also note that state forest roads with land posted on both sides of the road by the same person are often prescriptive easements for travel through private property – not public roadways open to taking of small game.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) followed up on a felony fleeing case and worked on a big-game case in which a buck was illegally taken with an invalid archery license the same day it was purchased. A search warrant was executed resulting in the seizure of the rack, venison, and archery equipment.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area hunting and ATV activity this past week. Time spent at Camp Ripley as well.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked deer-baiting investigations and took nuisance-bear complaints. Most grouse hunters in the area report seeing few birds. Several questions were answered on the upcoming youth deer hunt and Lake Superior stream regulations.
Tofte – vacant.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Randy Patten (Northome) checked grouse and duck hunters, assisted with bear-depredation complaints in crops, and helped with a search for a missing person. He also worked with the Northome ATV club to certify 19 students in ATV safety training.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) checked anglers, small-game hunters and waterfowl hunters, and worked ATV activity and AIS enforcement. Numerous wildlife-related calls were answered. He also patrolled state parks and campgrounds.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked hunters, monitored OHV activity, assisted in the search for a missing person and spoke at the Deer River High School career day. Enforcement action was taken for license issues and litter.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Ryan Hanna responded to a complaint of bears knocking over trash cans in Cohasset. They searched the area but were not able to locate the elusive bear. They want to remind people to minimize access to garbage cans and bird feeders for the bears as much as possible. They also assisted the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with locating a missing person.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working big-game, waterfowl, small-game, ATV, and angling activity throughout the surrounding area. Waterfowl hunters are reporting slightly better results with new birds arriving to the area. Van Asch also attended training held at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for transporting loaded firearms and hunting license violations.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) reports that despite the wet and soggy conditions in the woods, several hardy hunters had success with both grouse and woodcock hunting. Assistance was given to the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office with an ongoing search for a missing person. Enforcement action was taken for ATV violations and transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.
NE ATV officer – vacant.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) continues to see more activity in the woods as the fall progresses. Safety instructors were assisted with an ATV safety class in Floodwood. Enforcement action was taken for expired ATV registration, railroad trespass, obstructing a state trail and for juveniles not wearing a helmet on an ATV.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) has been field training CO Derek Schneider this past week. Few anglers were out with the poor weather conditions. Some grouse hunters contacted were having success. Compliance was good for people checked afield. Schmidt also spent time training at Camp Ripley.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) checked grouse hunters, deer hunters and waterfowl hunters throughout the past week. A deer-baiting location continues to be worked and night deer-shining complaint areas were worked. Duncan also spoke at an archery deer hunting class with many female hunters in attendance.
CO Scott Staples (Carlton) spoke to first graders from different schools about the DNR K9 unit and introduced them all to K9 Schody. Waterfowl hunters and anglers were checked over the past week with some success found with waterfowl hunters on area lakes. One angler was cited for angling without a license and stated that he never knew a license was needed. He was cited for that violation and also taken to jail on an outstanding warrant. An investigation is being conducted on a report of a shot trumpeter swan that had a picture circulating on social media. K9 assistance was given to a local police department that needed a wooded area searched for a firearm.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked on commercial operations on Lake Superior, worked north of Two Harbors on a duck-hunting complaint and trespass issues, and worked with U.S. Coast Guard station personnel with some watercraft-related items. Small-game hunters have been hitting the inland areas pretty hard for grouse, with minimal success thus far, although the wet snow, rain and wind took down a large amount of leaf cover over the weekend.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters throughout the past week. Training was attended at Camp Ripley and seasonal maintenance was performed. Salmon anglers were also checked in North Shore rivers. Changing weather has ducks and waterfowl hunters on the move. Enforcement actions were taken for ATV-related violations.
Lake Superior Unit – vacant.