Conservation Officer weekly report December 21

District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports most of time was spent following up on cases from deer hunting and trapping seasons. Ice conditions remain poor on Rainy Lake and Lake Kabetogama; people have been patient so far and are reminded not to push their luck as moderate temperatures have not been conducive to making ice. A report of a deer falling through the ice on Rainy Lake was successfully rescued with the help of the Int’l Falls Fire Department. A few more snowmobiles have been observed with recent snow fall.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Ray) reports monitoring angling, small game, and snowmobile activities throughout the area. For most of the snowmobilers, these were the first rides of the season. Few trails are open and grooming parties have been seen on the trail system. The ice conditions on area lakes still remain poor. Time was also spent on ongoing investigations and nuisance animal complaints.


- Closing the shackHook and Bullet Club

At the end of muzzleloader season, every hunter fires their gun. Some shoot at deer, others an unsuspecting tree branch, but everyone shoots.
Your only other option is to unload the gun by pushing the bullet back out. That’s no fun at all.
Sunday at dark my gun was still loaded even though I had every intention of knocking down a deer that day.
Hunting in the state park I had seen at least one deer every trip I made there. Except Sunday. Not only did I not see a deer, I didn’t see a deer track.
So much for whipping up a batch of deer track soup for supper.
We were supposed to get four to eight inches of snow on Sunday and of course that didn’t happen.
But knowing that could happen, it was time to go the shack and close everything down while we could still drive in.
Stands were dismantled out in the woods, canned goods were packed up in the shack and for good measure the sauna was fired up one more time.


County residents urged to take steps to protect septic tanks from freezing

The unusual mix of weather conditions affecting St. Louis County could cause a new sort of problem for rural residents. The St. Louis County Environmental Services staff is warning that low snowfall amounts and approaching winter temperatures could lead to potential freezing problems for septic systems.
Some common reasons septic systems freeze include: a lack of snow cover during cold weather, cold air entering the system, compacted soil, compacted snow on top of the system and irregular use of the system.
Residents are encouraged to protect their septic systems from freezing through proper homeowner or commercial owner maintenance. Recommended precautions to take now:
• Add a layer of mulch (eight to 12 inches of hay or straw) over the pipes, tank and soil treatment area. Keep the mulch loose to form air pockets, which act as insulation. This is particularly important if a system is new and vegetative cover has not been well established.


Final deer harvest up 19.4%

by Nick Wognum
The final numbers are in and the result is an increase in the harvest after two years where numbers dropped each year by more than 25 percent.
In 2013, the harvest was down 25 percent and in 2014 the numbers were down 30 percent for the firearms season.
Compared to 2010, the buck harvest in 2015 was still down over 37 percent (8,697 compared to 5,471).
But the DNR believes the area deer herd is on the road to recovery after some tough winters.
“When you get two tough winters in a row, that’s the kiss of death because you get a bad fawn crop,” said DNR area wildlife manager Tom Rusch.
“But last year was decent and the year before wasn’t too bad. Now if this winter is predicted as very mild we should get a very good fawn crop.


Hook and Bullet Club - The Hunt

On the last day of the 2015 firearms deer season, the crew from Camp Cholesterol gathered in the woods to celebrate. Finally we had a buck on the ground and venison for the winter.
For many deer camps in the Ely area this was a tough season. Some saw more wolves than deer. Many camps were only able to harvest one small buck. And some didn’t shoot any deer.
The last day of the season is often more about packing up camp than shooting a buck. But it’s not over til it’s over, even in the woods.
Sitting in a stand Sunday morning I wasn’t expecting to see much. Both Evan and I had sat in that stand during the season and each of us saw the same thing: squirrels.
The quickest way to get to that stand is to cross a swamp that has two streams running through it. This can be anywhere from tricky to muddy to easy once everything freezes.


DNR: Hunters register 68,401 deer during first weekend

Minnesota firearms hunters registered 68,401 deer during the first three days of firearms deer season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“Hunters are seeing more deer this year as we continue to build deer populations across much of the state,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations program manager. “We’ve issued a conservative number of antlerless deer permits, and because of this, many hunters are seeing deer they can’t shoot. However, patience this year should translate to more harvest opportunities in the future.”

Final numbers from the first three days show that the number of deer registered rose 6.3 percent from 2014. Buck harvest during the first three days of the fireams season was up 8.5 percent from last year.

Zone 1 total firearms harvest was up 8.2 percent, Zone 2 was up 5.9 percent and Zone 3 was up 3.2 percent.


New mobile app available for County Land Explorer

Just in time for hunting season, a new mobile app is available for the popular St. Louis County Land Explorer.
The Land Explorer is an interactive map application that has proven popular for business, personal and recreational uses.
It combines information from several County databases to provide the most up-to-date property details.
The Land Explorer allows users to view and search land records data by address, parcel identification number (PIN) and other methods.
Since its launch in 2013, the St. Louis County Land Explorer (stlouiscountymn.gov/explorer) has been one of the most used features on the County’s website.
The mobile app version of the County Land Explorer is free, and is available for anyone with an Apple or Android smart phone or tablet.
To download the new app, people should go to the appropriate app store and search for “Explorer for ArcGIS” by Esri.


2015 Ely-Tower area deer season forecast released

DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch in Tower released the 2015 Tower Area deer season forecast:
• The 2015 16-day firearms deer season will begin Saturday Nov. 7th and end Sunday Nov. 22.
• The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Office in Tower is forecasting a deer population on the rise but still below management goals for Northern St. Louis and Northern Lake Counties. Wildlife managers report the deer herd is below population goals in 7 of 9 of the deer permit areas in our area but rebounding from recent tough winters.
• Five out of the last 8 winters have negatively impacted the deer herd and fawn production in the Tower Area.
• The 2015 deer season framework will again be very conservative. Six permit areas are designated “Bucks Only” to allow the population to continue to grow. Three permit areas are designated “lottery.” Antlerless harvest and winter severity are the most significant factors in northern forest deer management.


Supreme Court rejects appeal filed by Rogers

by Tom Coombe


Whitefish, cisco sport netting dates announced for Shagawa, Ojibway and Bear Island lakes

Additional opening dates have been set for whitefish and cisco (tullibee) sport netting on area lakes, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Tower area fisheries office.

Lakes open to whitefish and cisco sport netting Saturday, Nov. 7 through Monday, Nov. 30:
• Shagawa Lake* (St. Louis County) requires a 3-1/2 inch or greater net stretch measure.

Lakes open to whitefish and cisco sport netting Friday, Nov. 27 through Monday, Dec. 28:
• Ojibway (Lake County) requires a 1-3/4 inch or greater net stretch measure.
• Bear Island (St. Louis County) requires a 1-3/4 inch or greater net stretch measure.


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