DNR Conservation Officer weekly report for the week of December 14

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked on Upper Red Lake with area officers and CO Lawler. High levels of activity were observed, and many violations were encountered such as extra lines, unattended lines, overlimits of walleyes, too many walleyes over 17 inches, possession of dressed fillets, unregistered recreational vehicles, no shelter tags, and drug paraphernalia. Additional time was spent checking anglers, grouse hunters, muzzleloader deer hunters, and ATV activity in the station, with enforcement action taken for insufficient blaze orange, land-use trespass, and youth ATV violations.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) attended in-service training and instructed firearm qualifications at Camp Ripley. He monitored ice fishing and followed up on complaints of early trout fishing and trapping violations.

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports ice angler success was generally low. He checked a good number of anglers on several lakes across the Ely area. ATVs have become abundant and are operating on the lakes that froze early. However, a fish house feel through the ice on one those same lakes. People are reminded to continue to be vigilant of ice conditions. Violations included operating an unregistered ATV, failure to transfer ATV registration, and no identification on a fish house.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked muzzleloader hunters and anglers this past week. Ice conditions continue to improve but some lakes have areas that are still open or have very little ice. Multiple people called about the northern pike regulations and whitefish netting.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ice angling and trapping activity this past week. Ice conditions continue to improve on most area lakes but anglers must still use caution on early ice and check ice depth frequently. Grouse hunters continue to find birds with the lack of deep snow cover.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked with CO Wahlstrom on a case involving a deer caught in a trap and another trapping situation that turned out to be legal. She also took reports of drivers led astray by Google. At least three drivers, including one in a semi-truck, followed their phone?s advice down unplowed forest roads and ATV trails that are part of the county snowmobile system. The semi-driver shared a nice evening and dinner with the good Samaritan who rescued him while he waited five hours for a tow. Manning also followed up on an ATV issue and a trapping case from earlier this fall.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked an area TIP complaint and spent time checking angling activity.

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers and muzzleloader deer hunters, and followed up on a firearms deer season case. Drug evidence was sent to the BCA lab from a 2nd-degree possession and sales of a controlled substance case, which originated from a spruce top theft case. Enforcement action was taken for failure to register deer.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) investigated a number of trespass complaints over the past week. Panfish and walleye fishing remains steady, and quality ice is being formed due to lack snow cover. Zavodnik continues to complete paperwork from this year?s deer-hunting season. He wants to remind snowmobilers to take a look at their registration on their sleds and make sure it?s not expired. The season is quickly approaching.

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time following up on several trespass violations. He spoke to a landowner who has started to feed deer in such large numbers that several car vs. deer accidents have occurred near the landowner?s residence. The landowner was advised that with the mild winter at this point, the deer population is not hurting. Frericks checked numerous ice anglers. They have been catching some crappies and panfish. A few people were checked preparing for the upcoming trapping season.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring fishing, hunting, and trapping activity. Few muzzleloader deer hunters were observed taking to the field. Ice anglers reported limited success. Ice conditions continue to vary significantly from lake to lake. Anglers reported average ice thickness of 4 to 6 inches, but some deeper lakes still have open water.

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the 2020 muzzleloader season came to a quiet close with very few people observed the last weekend. The ice conditions on Rainy Lake are improving in the bays, but people are reminded there is no such thing as safe ice. The spearing activity on the area lakes has increased with most people at least seeing fish. Success was down from the previous week. Enforcement action for week included license violations.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports muzzleloader deer hunters were scarce but northern pike spear fishing activity was very active. Success was reported as being pretty fair during the week but as the weather front closed in the fish seemed less active. Slatinski was flagged down by an individual on a bridge after he observed three deer trying to cross the bridge. The animals panicked when they met his truck. Two continued on but one jumped over the side and did not survive the drop. The deer was collected and utilized.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports continued monitoring of angling activity on area lakes. He also checked local forest roads, tended to equipment work and attended training.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) started the past week checking deer hunters and small-game hunters in the area. A few ice anglers were checked throughout the week having some success on the early ice. Grouse hunters reported seeing a few birds but did not have much success hunting. Enforcement action was taken for not having licenses in possession.